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The man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him. If there had been any thing amiss before, any want of faith in his seeking the actual presence of Jesus, instead of saying, Speak the word only, and my son shall be healed : this was now removed. He believed.
He believed. He exercised the same faith as St. Paul commends in Abraham ; (Rom. iv. 20;) “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.”
51. And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth.
52. Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they suid unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.
53. So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth ; and himself believed, and his whole house.
54. This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judea into Galilee.
It is proper to remark here, that these healings of the body are emblems of the recovery of the soul. Jesus said to the anxious father, Go thy way, thy son liveth. Though this was spoken at the distance of a day's journey from the scene of the illness, it was soon found that the fever had been obedient to his command. It is the same with the restoration of the soul. Though he is in
heaven, and we who believe in him and make our supplications to him, are on earth; he still will speak the word, and the sin which is repented of shall be pardoned; the power of Satan which threatens to destroy, shall be kept in subjection ; the lusts which war against the soul, shall be subdued. Only let there be the same sense of our own weakness; the same confidence in Christ's strength; the same earnestness in prayer " for grace to help in time of need.”
It should also be kept in constant remembrance that, in one sense, the case of this parent is the case of all parents. His necessity is their necessity, and his prayer should be their prayer. For without Jesus, their child must likewise die.
Believing this, let them “ ask in faith, nothing wavering.' Let them ask at the font, when their infant is “received into the congregation of Christ's flock,” that he will “ mercifully look upon their child, wash him and sanctify him with the Holy Ghost,” and make him an “inheritor of his everlasting kingdom.”5 Let them daily continue to entreat, that the good work which has been begun, may be carried on unto the end ; and the child be kept “by the power of God, through faith, unto salvation.” We may humbly, but confidently, hope and trust, that children shall not finally perish, who are children of these prayers.
5 See Baptismal Service.
A CRIPPLE IS HEALED AT THE POOL OF
JOHN v. 1--9.
1. After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.?
2. Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.
3. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.
4. For an angel went down at certain seasons into the pool, and troubled the water : whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in, was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.
This place, where a number of diseased persons were collected together, too nearly resembles the picture of our moral world. What does the world contain, but what these porches of Bethesda contained ? A great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered. Impotent we are, unable to fulfil the commands of God; not loving him with all our heart, nor our neighbour as ourselves. The apostle has described our state; “ I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing. Blind too we are, as to our best and truest interests; and too often loving darkness rather than light; or boasting that “ we see,” when in truth we know nothing as we ought to know.
i So this feast, the Passover, required. See Deut. xvi. 16.
2 That is, the house of mercy.
These moral evils, also, were brought on in the same way as the bodily evils mentioned in the history.
Adam sinned ; and with sin came death : and with death, all that leads to death ; all disease, and pain, and infirmity. Again, Adam sinned, and the soul became corrupt : hence the sinful character of his posterity : hence their blindness in spiritual things, their enmity towards God: till he in his mercy lightens our darkness, and restores us to himself. Let us be thankful that there is a provision for this, of which the pool of Bethesda is the emblem.
The multitude of diseased persons lying there, were waiting for the moving of the water; for an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water : whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in, was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.
So too must the diseases of the soul be cured; healed from above : the water must be troubled ; the heart must be moved with a sense of its condition and its danger, and this must come from the Holy Spirit : he must descend and prepare the soul to receive the remedy which Christ proposes, to apply the means which he prescribes, and by which it may be made whole of whatsoever disease it has.
5. And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.
6. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?
7. The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool : but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.
When sin is the disease to be removed, men are not always willing to be made whole. They do not feel the evil ; therefore they do not desire a cure.
It is very different in the case of a bodily disorder : that we do feel, and are eager to be rid of. There was no hesitation as to the wish of this unhappy patient. But he had little hope: he had no friend to assist him, and others continually stepped down before him. And this exhibits another symptom of our moral disease. man had not strength to keep his turn, and they had not the justice to give it him. To step before another : to obtain some good for ourselves, without looking to other's interests, often by supplanting them—this is the way of the world. The Gospel would change that evil way; and bids us live, “ in honour preferring one another :” and says, “Let no man seek his own, every man another's wealth.” And when the spirit of these precepts is more generally observed, the course of this world and the will of God will more nearly agree together.
8. Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.
9. And immediately the man was made whole, and took