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warning, or perhaps it would be more true to say, he listened for a moment, then, unable to bear the pain of remorse, he madly rushed into every vice in hopes that he might forget. A few more years were given. At last, in early manhood, he sunk into the grave, a grief and a shame to his friends, an object of pity to some, of solemn warning to all. And many who read this must remember some such sad example, for in every station of life, alas ! there are always some who blight the promise of their youth by giving themselves up to early vice, and the end is always the same, for a dissipated youth never can blossom into the strong and useful man.

And to woman the ruin is yet quicker and more certain, for her body and her nerves are more delicate, her mind feels more keenly. If she gives herself in her early years to vice, woe unto her, for there is not any thing in all nature so miserable, so lost to hope, as a bad woman.

But some are early warned; they find, while it is yet time, the madness of their choice, and seeking for help from God, who is never sought in vain, they have strength given them to break through their evil habits, to leave all sinful companions ; soul and body they are saved : they rise from their fallen state and follow Christ. Let all the young then listen to the words of the Lord Jesus, when to the man He had just raised from thirty-and-eight years of weakness and of pain, He said, “ Behold, thou art made whole; sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.”

A worse thing! What an awful insight do these words of Christ give of the judgments of God against sin! Here is a solemn warning against something yet more terrible than a whole life given over to bodily suffering. And what is life compared to eternity ? What were thirty-and-eight years of pain and weakness, of disappointed hope, of friendless loneliness, when compared to the awful state of the lost soul, “where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched ?” Whatever be the meaning of these awful words, they surely tell of horrors, com

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pared to which, a life of misery is but dust in the balance. Let each of us then ponder them in our hearts, and, when God in his mercy, has raised us up from any trouble, let us remember that the voice of his Son calls upon us to greater holiness of life, “lest a worse thing come unto us.

When the man knew that He who healed bim was Jesus of Nazareth, he made haste to tell it to those Jews who had found fault with him for carrying his bed, thinking, no doubt, that when they knew it was that Jesus who was already so famous among the people, they would be satisfied that he had done right in taking up his bed at his command.

JOHN v. 15. The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus which had made him whole."

Did this new wonder, this new proof that the power of God dwelt in Jesus, convince them that they would do well to listen to him ? Did they see in the man before them a witness to the truth, that Jesus was indeed, what He claimed to be, the Son of God, who had power on earth to forgive sins, and to heal all manner of diseases by a word ? (Matt. iii. 17. John iv. 25, 26, 42. Luke v. 24.)

They saw nothing of all this. They were blinded by their prejudices, and their self-will. They only saw that Jesus did not keep to their traditions, since He had dared to make the sick man whole on the Sabbath day, and therefore for the very reason that should have taught them the truth, they went the further in the mad struggle against that kingdom of God upon earth, which Jesus was come to set up among men.

Verse 16. And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because He had done these things on the sabbath-day.

Let this, their mad blindness, teach us to be afraid of obstinately maintaining our own opinions in matters belonging to religion, lest we, like the Jews, be found to have set up the prejudices of men in the stead of God's simple truth. Some have carried this great mistake so far, that when they cannot find what they want in Scripture, even now they build themselves up upon the traditions of men. This must always be dangerous, for men are, and ever have been, easily deceived by the strength of their own opinions. It is the inspired word of God only, the Scriptures themselves, that can be a safe guide. Had the Jews followed them they would have known the Saviour, as one by one each prophecy and promise was fulfilled by him.

men.

Let us see how gently the Lord Jesus reasons with them, giving us a lesson by his example against the angry impatience men are apt to feel against the religious errors of their fellow

We may be mistaken ; we may call that error, which indeed is truth ; but the Son of God could make no mistake : yet gently, mildly, he reasons with the obstinate Jews. They were angry with him because He had made a man whole on the Sabbath-day; they should rather have considered what it was this deed of His taught them. They did not quarrel with the healing power given by God to the pool of Bethesda on the Sabbath-day. Had they not seen the sun rise that Sabbath-morn? Did they not themselves find that God gave them all their daily blessings on the Sabbath as on other days ? Did not the buds of spring swell, and the fruits of summer and autumn ripen on the Sabbaths as on the week-days ? And what did all this teach them? Was it not plain that God's works of mercy were never stopped, and that when He commanded man to cease from labour on the Sabbath-day, it was that his body might rest, and his soul, set free from worldly cares, might the better seek to fit itself for the Divine life for wbich God had made it? The Jews were all agreed that every work of mercy was done by God. They knew these works of mercy were carried on through every Sabbath, and that the whole race of man would be ruined if God stopped those works of mercy on the Sabbath. Why then did not this teach them that He who had healed the sick

upon

the Sabbath, worked with God and as God, that He was in truth what He said, “the Son of God."

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John v. 17. Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I works.

The Jews at once understood the meaning of his words, but their pride and their anger only became more furious.

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Verse 18. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.

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Prayer.

O God, save us from prejudice and pride. Save us from that angry spirit that turns even the word of God into a cause of strife, instead of taking it into our hearts as the gospel of peace and good will to men. O let us leave all vain disputes, and earnestly seek grace from thee, that we may see in every new mercy a call to greater holiness of life. Blessed Lord, forgive the sins of our youth. Blot them out, О our Saviour, that they may no more be named against us, for we cannot stand in judgment one moment before thee if they are remembered against us. We trust in thy promise that all our sins shall be forgiven us, for the sake of all thou hast done and suffered for us; and Oh, we pray thee, look in pitying love upon the young. Leave them not to be cheated into misery by the lying promises of Satan. Open their eyes that they may see the great truth that there is no happiness but in serving God, that what are called the pleasures of sin are but poisons, sweet for one short moment, but bringing surely torture and death. Thou, O God, art our Father, give to us the hearts of children, that we may trust to thee to provide for the happiness and the pleasures of thine own, for Jesus Christ's sake, our Lord. Amen.

X.

We have just read that the Jews sought the death of the Lord Jesus, because “He not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.” It is thought that the chief men among them met together at this time, and that Jesus was called before them to answer to the charge of blasphemy, which, by the law of Moses, was punished with death. (Lev. xxiv. 16.)

Wilfully to speak against God was blasphemy. All words spoken with the intention of taking away from the honour and glory of God were blasphemy, and, if any man said that he was himself equal with God, it certainly would have been very dreadful blasphemy. Jesus therefore stood accused before the priests and rulers of the Jews of a great crime. We shall now read his defence. We shall see him claim the

power the Son of God.

of God as

John v. 19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, (that is as man only) but what he seeth the Father do : for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise."

The meaning of this is plain. Had Jesus been a man only, as they who accused him were men, He could not by his own power have worked miracles; (John xiv. 10, 11,) but being the true, the real Son of God, He was of one mind, one will, and one power with God bis Father, and nothing He did was, or could be, apart from him. In his human body dwelt the Godhead, (Heb. i. 1-3,) and it was his part to carry out on earth

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