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THE POOL OF BETHESDA.

"Now there is at Jerusalem, by the sheep market, a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue, Bethesda, having five porches.” – John v. 2.

I.
The aged sufferer waited long

Upon Bethesda’s brink;
Till hopes, once rising warm and strong,

Began in fears to sink.
And heavy were the sighs he drew,

And fervent was his prayer,
For he, with safety full in view,

Still languished helpless there.

His hope grew dim; but one was nigh

Who saw the sufferer's grief.
That gentle voice, that pitying eye

Gave promise of relief.
Each
pang

that human weakness knows
Obeyed that powerful word:
He spake, and lo! the sick arose,

Rejoicing in his Lord.

Father of Jesus, when oppressed
With grief and pain we lie,

And, longing for thy heavenly rest,

Despair to look so high,
Oh
may

the Saviour's words of peace
Within the wounded heart,
Bid every doubt and suffering cease,
And strength and joy impart.

S. G. Bulfinch.

II.

AROUND Bethesda's healing wave,

Waiting to hear the rustling wing Which spoke the angel nigh, who gave

Its virtue to that holy spring,
With patience, and with hope endued,
Were seen the gathered multitude.

Among them there was one, whose eye

Had often seen the waters stirr'd; Whose heart had often heaved the sigh,

The bitter sigh of hope deferr'd,
Beholding, while he suffered on,
The healing virtue given and gone !
No power had he; no friendly aid

To him its timely succour brought!
But while his coming he delayed,

Another won the boon he sought;

Until THE SAVIOUR's love was shown,
Which healed him by a word alone!

Had they who watched and waited there

Been conscious who was passing by, With what unceasing, anxious care

Would they have sought his pitying eye; And craved, with fervency of soul, His Power divine to make them whole!

But habit and tradition swayed

Their minds to trust te sense alone, They only hoped the Angel's aid;

While in their presence stood, unknown, A greater, mightier far than he, With power from every pain to free.

Bethesda's pool has lost its power!

No Angel, by his glad descent, Dispenses that diviner dower

Which with its healing waters went. But He, whose word surpassed its wave, Is still omnipotent to save.

And what that fountain once was found,

Religion's outward forms remain With living virtue only crowned

While their first freshness they retain;

Only replete with power to cure
When, Spirit-stirred, their source is pure!

Yet are there who this truth confess,

Who know how little forms avail; But whose protracted helplessness

Confirms the impotent's sad tale; Who, day by day, and year by year, As emblems of his lot appear.

They hear the sounds of life and love,

Which tell the visitant is nigh; They see the troubled waters move,

Whose touch alone might health supply ; But, weak of faith, infirm of will, Are powerless, helpless, hopeless still!

Saviour ! thy love is still the same

As when that healing word was spoke ; Still in thine all-redeeming NAME

Dwells POWER to burst the strongest yoke! O! be that power, that love display'd, Help those whom Thou alone cast aid !

Bernard Barton.

THE SCRIPTURES.

"Search the scriptures.”—John v. 39 It is the one True Light,

That, when all other lamps grow dim, Shall never burn less purely bright,

Nor lead astray from Him.

It is Love's blessed band,

That reaches from the eternal throne To him - whoe'er he be -- whose hand

Will seize it for his own !

It is the Golden Key

To treasures of celestial wealth, Joy to the sons of poverty,

And to the sick man, health!

The gently proffer'd aid

Of one who knows us - and can best Supply the beings he has made

With what will make them bless'd.

It is the sweetest sound

That infant ears delight to hear, Travelling across that holy ground,

With God and angels near.

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