Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

wnto thee : there was a certain creditor which had two debtors, the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty ; and when they had nothing to pay he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most. Simon answered and said, I suppose that he to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, thou hast rightly judged. Our divine Instructor then immediately applied this short parable to the cause of the woman, concerning whom the Pharisee had so unjustly reasoned in his heart. Simon, continued he, seest thou this woman * I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet ; but she washed my feet with her fears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss ; but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. Mine head with oil thou didst not anoint ; but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment, JWherefore, I say unto thee, her sins, which are many, are forgiven ; for she loved much : but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.

Our Saviour having thus, with great delicacy, rebuked the unjust and injurious suspicions of the Pharisees, and vindicated his own character, as well as the conduct of the woman, whose extraordinary kindness and tender affection were in no danger of losing their reward from one who enjoyed the fine feelings of human nature in their highest perfection, now addressed the woman with the soul-reviving news, that her sins were forgiven. But while her heart expanded with that holy gratitude and joy, which was inspired by the great declaration, the Pharisees beheld both our Redeemer and the woman with rancour, disdain, and sullen contempt: they could not endure the thought, that great sinners should be pardoned, and set on a level with themselves; nor could they be reconciled to the authority which our Redeemer had assumed ; for being ignoránt of his divinity.they concluded that he had infringed on the prerogative of the Almighty, who only had a right to pardon sins. But the great friend of sinners, regardless of their malicious murmurs, confirmed his gracious words, by repeating his assurances to the woman, adding, that her faith had saved her, and bidding her depart in peace.

Some little time after this, our great Redeemer departed from Capernaum and travelled through some parts of Galilee, going through every village, preaching and shewing the glad-tidings of the kingdom of God, Luke viii. 1. And after this short tour he prepared to go to Jerusalem to eat the passover; this being the second feast of that kind since the commencement of his public ministry. In this journey, he was accompanied by several pious women, amongst whom were Joanna the wife of Herod's steward, Susanna, Mary Magdalene, and various others, who had been dispossessed of devils, or cured of dangerous and painful diseases; some amongst them were persons of wealth, and were willing not only to acknowledge the great benefits they had received, but to make such returns as Providence had put in their power, and, therefore, they freely ministered to him of their substance.

[graphic]

CHAPTER XV.

CHRIST, being at Jerusalem at the Time of the passover, heals an impotent Man at the Pool of Beth saida on the Sabbath-day : He healeth one possessed with a Devil, who was blind and dumb : He showeth (hat Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is an unpardonable Sin : and sheweth whom he regardeth as his nearest Relations. He alledgeth Scripture in ercuse of his Disciples, whom the Pharisees charged with breaking the Sabbath in plucking the Ears of Corn on the Sabbath-Day: He appealeth to reason, and healeth the withered Hand on the Sabbath-Day.

NEAR the temple in Jerusalem was a pool of water, into which ran the blood of the sacrifices, and the water which was used by the priests in preparing the victims, and on other occasions. This pool was called in the Hebrew tongue Beth saida, that is the house of mercy. It was surrounded by five porches, or cloisters, and these were filled with a great multitude of impotent folks, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season and troubled the water: whosoever then first, after the troubling of the water, stepped in, was made whole of whatsoever discase he had. The account of this miraculous pool is given us by the evangelist John, but is not mentioned by any more of the sacred writers: and various questions have arisen concerning these wonderful waters, which it hath been impossible to resolve, because the pool of Bethsaida is not mentioned by any other Jewish writer, sacred or profane.

For the above reasons, it cannot be precisely deter

mined, when this miraculous power of healing first

appeared in this pool; but it is almost universally

agreed, that it could not be long before the coming of

oor Redeemer; and that the miracle was intended to - U.

lead to the Son of God, and to prepare the nation for the reception of him. Nor is it strange, that a healing virtue should attend those waters, which were stained with the blood of the sacrifices, which pointed to CHRIST, at the time when this great person was about to be manifested. The gift of prophecy, and that of miracles, had ceased amongst the Jews above four hundred years; and therefore, it must be supposed, that this miraculous event would rouse the attention of the nation, awaken every desire in their hearts for the coming of the Messiah, and make them more circumspect in observing the tokens of his appearance. And as the Jewish nation, at this time, was under great tribulation and contempt, and oppression of the Gentiles, it may be supposed, that the God of Israel graciously condescended to give them this eminent token of his favour, and gave this wonderful healing virtue to these blood-stained waters, that they might not despair of the fulfilment of his ancient promises, but have an eye to the blood of the covenant, and expect the appearance of that great person, of whom Isaiah prophesied, He was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities. And as God was pleased, at this time, to give such a wonderful virtue to a fountain of water, it may reasonably be supposed, that he designed to lead the minds of the devout worshippers in his temple to that great person, of whom it was prophesied that he should be a fountain opened for sin and uncleanness.

Jesus being come to Jerusalem to the feast of the passover, repaired to the pool of Bethesda, and took a view of the various subjects of disease, infirmity, and affliction, which crowded the porches and waited for the troubling of the waters. Had these miserable objects applied to our great Redeemer for help, no doubt, they would all have experienced the great effects of that divine power of healing, which this illustrious person so eminently possessed : but it is to be supposed, the , he was absolutely unknown amongst them and no blessing or benefit was expected from him. This may be supposed to be the reason why our great Redeemer did not extend his heavenly goodness to the whole number of those afflicted and diseased persons; for the general account which the evangelists give of his divine compassion on other occasions is, that he healed all who came to him. Such diseased persons who left their habitations, out of a persuasion of his divine power and goodness, were the first objects of

his compassion, and never returned without a cure ; *

but the sick at the pool of Bethesda, were attentive to other means of relief, and thought not of the Redeemer of Israel.

Amongst these miserable objects, was a man who had labored under his disease no less than thirty-eight

years. The long continuance, as well as the distress

ful nature of this man's affliction, was well known to the Son of God; and amongst the great number of diseased persons which he beheld crowding the porches that surrounded the pool, our exalted Saviour singled

out this poor man as the object of his compassion; and .

accosted him with this question, Wilt thou be made whole * this question seemed designed to excite the attention of the people around, and to give the impotent man an opportunity of relating the malignant nature, and long continuance of his disease, and, of consequence, making manifest the divine power which could instantâneously remove it. The infirm person, thinking the question of our Lord had an immediate reference to the waters of the pool, replied, 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. But our great Redeemer soon convinced him, that he was not to receive his cure from the healing virtue of the waters, nor to wait till the angel came down to trouble them ; but would receive im

mediate relief, by the mighty power of the Son of God,

and accordingly bid him arise, take up his bed, and walk, The powerful words had no sooner fallen from

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »