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Jesus of Nazareth; which, it should be remembered, was written at a time when the religion of the Jews was little more than superstition ; for the law of God was made void by the absurd tradition of the fathers.* Yet no trait of false Judaism is discoverable in the character of Christ. In short, the history of the four evangelists is the very reverse of what might reasonably be expected from ignorant men, who had strongly imbibed their nation's bigotry and superstition. The gospels carry their own evidence, and prove the men who wrote them not only had the example of Jesus for their guide, but that they were divinely inspired. They have mixed up none of their own corrupt notions or false ideas, but presented us with a book which is not unfitting the God of Truth to acknowledge as
Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.-Isaiah xxxv. 6.
BLESSED Jesus, we behold thee surrounded by the diseased and wretched. We see thee attend that
* Mark vii. 9. 13.
+ 2 Tim. iii. 16.
seat of misery, the pool of Bethesda, whose cloisters oft resounded the plaintive voice of sorrow; for within its porches were assembled many of the sons and daughters of affliction. Amidst the group was one, who, for thirty-eight long years, had sighed over his poor enfeebled limbs, and who oft had heard the joyful sound of Bethesda's agitated waters. But, alas ! this Angel of Mercy brought no healing balm for his diseased limbs. Oft had he seen a companion in misery hastily rush into the troubled pool; and beheld their diseased bodies healed by one plunge into those sacred waters. Yet his slow, though anxious steps, never reached its brink, until some happier object had possessed its healing properties. His case attracted the kind attention of Jesus, to whom, when questioned, he tells his tale of wo. But hark! a voice is heard, “ Arise, take up thy bed, and walk." The astonished cripple no longer needs the friendly crutch, but treads with ease and joy his gladsome path. Yes, beneath the porches of Bethesda's pool, the Godhead of Jesus darts forth its clear and splendid rays. Well might the fame of this wondrous Physician spread, and multitudes of the afflicted press to share his favours. Behold, amidst the numbers who throng his door, a poor paralytic cripple, borne by four. Every effort to force a passage through the dense crowd is fruitless. Faith does not easily relinquish its subject, and the roof is even bared to admit this subject of misery into the immediate presence of the Healer of diseases. Nor were their efforts unsuccessful. One
word from him does more than the united skill of all
earth's physicians; and he, who, a few moments before, required a couch to support his palsied frame, is now seen forcing his passage through the astonished multitude, triumphantly carrying his own bed. Surely “ it was never so seen before,” even “ in Israel,” that land so famed for miracles. Jesus not only wrought miracles himself, but when he sent forth liis disciples to preach the everlasting Gospel, he gave them authority to work miracles, in order to prove their commission to be from Heaven. We behold these fishermen of Galilee, in the name* of their divine Lord and Master, Jesus of Nazareth, healing all manner of sicknesses, diseases, and infirmities; testifying both to the friends and enemies of the crucified Jesus, that' God was with them, indeed and of a truth, so mightily did the word of the Lord prosper. The blessings of the Messiah's reign are frequently exhi
* Acts i. 6.
hited to our view under the simile of water. Jehovah promises, “ when the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them; but will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys.” He will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. Rivers of water in a thirsty wild, are not more acceptable to the fainting traveller, than the salvation of Jesus is welcome to the convinced sinner; to such whu believe he is precious. The conditions of obtaining it are inscribed by the finger of God; we behold them written in legible characters:
Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money, come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” Ezekiel, in vision, beheld this holy water issuing from the temple of God. Its sovereign efficacy was such, that whithersoever it flowed, healing and life attended its course. John in the Apocalypse, describes it as the “ pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb;” its banks adorned with continual fruitfulness, and never-fading verdure. The salvation of Jesus is also described as a “fountain which is opened
to the house of David, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and uncleanness.” May we know its purifying and refreshing qualities : may we drink deep of the living waters, which
well of water springing up unto everlasting life.” Jesus himself personally invites “all that are athirst, to come unto him and drink.”
This fountain of life, is not of recent discovery; the antedeluvian world beheld it as a small rivu. let, which continued to increase as it flowed down the patriarchal age, widened under the Mosaic dispensation, and became broader and clearer, as it warbled along the prophetic course, and now displays itself as the grand and majestic fountain of living waters, whose streams make glad the city of our God.
Then said I, LO, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.-Psalm xl. 7,8.
The psalm from which these words are selected, was written by David, king of Israel, but never can they with justice be applied to him. We dare not