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And, in the presence of all, went forth with his couch his shoulders
Thus were the enemies of Jesus effectually put to silence— Yet none understood the full extent of the conclusion to be drawn from the miracle
They still viewed Christ only as a "man" acting by a delegated authorityWhereas truly God
they should have acknowledged him to have been
They all however "glorified God" for the marvellous displays of his power
And confessed that they had never before seen such stupendous works-]
1. Jesus is as able, and as willing now to forgive sins, as ever he was
[When he sojourned on earth as a poor man, he had power to forgive sin
And often exercised that power unsolicited, uncontrolled—He even subjected himself to the charge of blasphemy rather than he would conceal his right
Has he then less power or compassion now that he is enthroned in glory?
Or, now that he is exalted on purpose to exercise that power, will he neglect to exert it?
Will he who bestowed mercy unasked, cast out our petitions?
Let us then present ourselves before him with all our miseries and wants
Let us try, by all possible means, to get access to him→→→ Let us break through every obstacle that would defeat our endeavours
And let us approach him with an assurance of his power and willingness to save
Sooner shall heaven and earth fail, than he reject one such a believing suppliants]
2. We have reason to be thankful for any affliction that brings us to him
[If the paralytic had never been disordered he had never been brought to Jesus
Had he never come to Jesus his sins had never been forgiven
Would he not then rejoice to this hour that God had sent him that affliction?
Would he not number that amongst his richest mercies?
e Matt. ix. 8.
8 Matt. xxi. 22.
f Acts v. 31.'
Thus many of us would never have thought of Jesus if we had not known trouble
But through temporal afflictions we were brought to the enjoyment of spiritual blessings
Let those then, who have experienced this, give thanks to Godh
And let those, that are now in trouble, seek chiefly the remission of their sins
3. We have all possible encouragement to intercede for ungodly friends
[Many of us, alas! have friends, whose souls are dead in trespasses and sinsTheir faculties
are altogether destitute of spiritual motion
But we may bring them by faith into the presence of the compassionate Jesus
He will be pleased, rather than offended, with our officious
Nor shall our labours of love be without many good effectsLittle do we think how many thousands have been converted in answer to the intreaties of God's praying people
And who can tell but that God may fulfil to us that promise?k
Who can tell but that we may see our friends healed of their sins, and triumphing in their blessed Saviour?
We are sure, at least, that our prayers shall return into
our own bosom"
Let us then improve our knowledge of the Redeemer's grace
And exert ourselves, that all around us may participate his saving benefits-]
h Ps. cxix. 71, 75.
i Ps. xxv. 18.
k James v. 15.
CCLXXXVII. THE MAN HEALED AT THE POOL
John v. 14. Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.
MOST men will make good resolutions in a season of affliction-But few carry them into execution when they have obtained deliverance-They, however, to whom
troubles are sanctified will remember the vows that are upon them-They will repair as soon as possible, not to houses of dissipation or amusement, but to "the temple" of God-And, while others are only hardened by their mercies, these will be favoured with fresh manifestations of God's love-The man whom our Lord addressed in the text, experienced this-When he was returning thanks for the cure he had received in his body, Jesus instructed him for the good of his soul-We shall consider I. The cure wrought for him
Bethesda was a pool that possessed very singular quali
[The name Bethesda signifies an house of mercy-The pool so called had the property of healing all manner of disorders-Its healing operations, however, were confined to certain seasons-They depended also on the agency of a superior power-And were limited to the first person that went into it after its waters were agitated by an angel-Multitudes of diseased persons constantly attended there-And five porches were built for their accommodation-When that healing power was first given to it cannot be ascertained-Probably God had but a few years before endued it with those qualities, in order to prepare the people for their Messiah, and to typify his works-]
In the porches around this pool an impotent man had long waited in vain
[He had laboured under an infirmity thirty-eight yearsAnd had long attended there in hopes of a cure-But he had no friend to help him with sufficient speed-Nor had the people charity enough to let him take his turn-Every one consulted his own good in preference to his-And thus his efforts were daily frustrated, and his hopes continually deferred-1
But Jesus seeing him, wrought a miracle in his favour
[Jesus needed no solicitations to excite his pity-Though unasked, he tendered the man effectual relief-Little indeed did the man understand the import of our Lord's questionBut Jesus uttered the irresistible command-And instantly was health restored to his diseased body-Yea, he, who but the moment before could not get into the pool for want of help,
To ascribe them to the blood of the sacrifices stirred up in the water by a messenger from the temple, only shews to what wretched shifts infidelity is often driven by its desire to explain away the miracles of Christ. b Ver. 6, 7.
now easily took up his bed and walked-Nor was he intimidated by those who accused him of violating the sabbath— He rightly judged that the person who had power to heal him thus miraculously, had also authority to direct his conduct-]
For a short season the man knew not the name of his benefactor-But soon after enjoyed an interview with him in the temple-On this occasion the Evangelist relates II. The advice given to him
It was sin which had brought this infirmity upon him
[God often punishes transgressors even in this life-This was extremely common under the Jewish economy-Nor are there wanting instances under the Christian dispensation If we could dive into the secrets of God it is probable we should trace many of our troubles to sin as their proper source-] Nevertheless this did not preclude the exercise of mercy towards him
[Jesus was full of compassion even to the most unwor thy-He often selected such to be the chief objects of his mer. cye-Indeed, the displaying of his sovereignty, and grace, is a principal end of all his dispensations—]
But he solemnly cautioned him against sin in future
[Though Jesus pities sinners, he abhors their sin-Nor will he accept the persons of those who live in its-He reminded the man of the deliverance he had experiencedAnd guarded him against the cause of his past calamitiesThis admonition too he enforced with a most weighty argument-The years of misery that the cripple had endured were nothing in comparison of hell torments These will hereafter be the recompence of sin-Nor will any feel them so bitterly as backsliders and apostates-]
1. Those who are under the pressure of bodily or spiritual infirmities
[Jesus possesses the same power still over bodily diseases -And will render the skill of earthly physicians subservient to the welfare of those who call upon him-But the infirmities of our souls are incomparably more grievous-Yet these also can he heal by the word of his mouth-If he only speak the word, we shall become new creatures-His ordinances shall
e Ps. cvii. 17, 18. Eph. ii. 7.
d 1 Cor. xi. 30.
e 1 Tim. i. 13-16. b Job xxxvi. 13.
be to us as Bethesda's pool-Nor is it the most active, but the most humble that shall obtain the cure-Let us then tarry his leisure with meekness and patience-Let us never needlessly absent ourselves from his house-We know not the time that he will come to our help-But his word to every one of us is, "Wilt thou be made whole?"-His servants are ready to render us all needful assistance-And if it be not utterly our own fault, we may all become monuments of his healing mercy-]
2. Those who have experienced any signal deliverance
[Temporal deliverances should be remembered by us with gratitude-And we should be glad to acknowledge them in the house of God-If we have received spiritual mercies, we have still more abundant cause for thankfulness-Let our renewed faculties then be ever devoted to God's service-Let us remember also that we are in danger of turning back from God-And how terrible must our state be if we should do so!k -Let the mercies of God then allure us, and his terrors persuade us-Let us endeavour to resemble him whom the apostles healed1-And soon we shall dwell where we shall know infirmity no more"-]
i How many desire the prayers of their friends and of the congregation, who never afterwards desire them to render thanks for mercies received! k2 Pet. ii. 20-22. m Isai. xxxiii. 24.
Acts iii. 8.
CCLXXXVIII.. THE MAN WITH THE WITHERED
Mark iii. 5-7. And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other. And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him. But Jesus withdrew himself with his disciples
to the sea.
THE exercise of benevolence is, in itself, calculated to excite universal admiration-But it is far from producing that effect on those who are blinded by prejudice or passion-They whose conduct is reproved by it will rather take occasion from it to vent their spleen the more-This our Lord uniformly experienced from the Pharisees-A remarkable instance of it is recorded in the text-Let us VOL. III. M m