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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.
A S our blessed Saviour was going up to Jeí rusalem, to keep the second passover, he came to the pool of Bethesda, which was near the temple,' and famous for the many miraculous cures performed there. For, as the Evangelist tells us, “an angel went down into the pool at a “ certain season, and troubled the water, and “ whoever first stept in, after the troubling of “ the water, was made whole of whatsoever dis“ ease he had.”
Now as Jesus was passing by this place, he cast his eyes upon a deplorable object, a paralytic man, who had kept his bed for eight and
thirty years, and had all that time waited in vain to partake of the sovereign virtues of these troubled waters. Our Saviour; struck with compassion for his unhappy case, said unto him, “ Wilt thou be inade whole?" The paralytic answered, “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." Upon which our Saviour was moved with compassion and healed him :“ Rise,” says he, “ take up thy bed and walk. “ And immediately the man was made whole, " and took up his bed and walked.” And not long after, Jesus, finding him in the temple, gave him that important caution contained in the wore of my text, “ Behold, thou art made « whole : sin no more, lest a worse thing come " unto thee."
Now this poor paralytic, who was afflicted so many years, is a natural image of those poor afflicted sinners who come to the altar of God to seek the spiritual cure of their souls. We have all of us infirmities of long standing, which bow us down, to the earth with shaine and sorrow : we have all of us, therefore, need to fly for help to the great Physician of our souls, And behold, here is the pool of Bethesda, at which he may be found ! Here is the spiritual healing, by
which we may be made whole ! For in the holy Sacrament Christ is ever present to heal our infirmities, to wash away our past guilt, and to seal-the forgiveness of our sins by his precious blood.
My intention is, in the following discourse, first, to make some observations upon the literal sense of the text; and, secondly, to shew the greatness and excellence of that cure which Christ grants to us in the Sacrament;-" Ber " hold, thou art made whole.”
And first we may observe, that our Saviour found the paralytic man in the temple, when he addressed' him in the words of the text. His ine firmity had doubtless deprived him of the comfort of going there for many years : but as soon as he was healed, his first care was to go to the house of God.
It is indeed too common with those who have escaped any imminent danger, or received any signal mercy, to return to their farms, and their merchandize, and their yokes of oxen, regardless of the hand of Providence that preserved them in the hour of danger and the day of distress. But the poor paralytic man had not so learned his duty. His first business was to go
to the temple of God, and there offer up luis tribute of praise and thanksgiving to that almighty power, whose mercies he had just experienced. .
We may observe, secondly, that the bodily cures, which our Saviour wrought upon the sick, were all preparatory to those spiritual graces he afterwards bestowed upon them. Thus when he met the paralytic man in the temple, he first puts him in mind of the miracle which had been wrought upon him; that his healing was not a common or imperfect recovery, subject to relapse, or requiring time and regimen to confirm it; but compleat and instantaneous; that so by duly weighing the greatness and excellence of the miracle, by comparing his past misery, under which he had languished for so many years, with his present vigour, he might be the more deeply sensible of the mercy bestowed on him, and thereby the more disposed to receive also the benefit of spiritual healing.
For the same purposę also our Saviour gives him that important caution,“ Sin no more." It is indeed very dangerous to judge of men's characters by their good or bad success in life, since God often sends his severest chastisements upon his most faithful servants : yet it is plain
from our Saviour's words, that this poor man's infirmity was the consequence of his sins. Well knowing, therefore, how prone men are to forget in prosperity the resolutions and vows they make in the day of distress; he cautions hiin against relapsing into those sins which had been the cause of his former misery ;-“Behold, thou “ art made whole ; sin no more." ;
And, that this remonstrance might make the deeper inpression, he adds to it a severe threatening of some new and greater torment;-"Sin " no more, lest a worse thing come upon thee." Whether by this our Saviour meant another distemper worse than the former, or rather the pains of another life, in comparison of which all his past sufferings were nothing, is not clear. It is however plain, that he intended to awaken his fears, and to deter him from the commission of sin, by reminding him of the horrible punishment that would ensue:-" Thou art made
“ whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come .“ upon thee.”..
*** Such are the remarks which obviously offer themselves upon a view of the literal sense of the text. And I hope it will not be thought foreign to the subject to lead your thoughts from thence to the consideration of that spiritual ..GA