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ways of speaking, may not possibly be explain'd to a critical Satisfation; yet will it not therefore follow, either that St. John's whole Account of this (Pool of Bethefda is an incredible Romance, or that our Saviour's Cure of the Impotent Man, at that Place, was not a real Miracle.

'Tis true indeed, Place, as well as Time, is a Circumstance unavoidably attending Matters of Faff; but, in the Account of Matters of Fact:, the Circumstance of the particular Place may oftentimes be indifferent, and insignificant; i. e. when it adds no new Confirmation, or Illustration to the Transaction itself. Nay, a narrative of Transactions may be really true, when the Scene of them is mistaken, miscalled, or even quite forgotten. However, 'tis certain, that the Account of such a mere Circumstance is no farther material, nor does it properly affect the Story itself* but only as it serves to give some new Light or corroberating Evidence to it.

* We must observe then, that, in this Narration of St. "John, there are two distinct Miracles to be separately considered; that which was wrought by the Fool, after its Water was troubled,

and.

* Dr. Pearce's Vind. Par! 4. p. 6.

and that, which our Saviour wrought
upon the Impotent Man. The Miracle
upon the Impotent Man, is what St. John
primarily intended to relate; and his
mention of the Pool of Bethesda is only
introductory to it. To Ihew indeed how'
this Man became the Object of our
Saviour's Notice and Compassion, he
speaks of him, as among a Multitude of
People, that were diseased j and to
shew, for what Reason such a Multitude
of diseased People were met together,
he makes mention of the sanative Virtue
of the Pool; but the Pool was not his
principal Subject; it is 'only mention'd •
for the lake of something that follows:
nor is the Miracle, he was concern'd to
establish, that of the Pool, but that of
our Saviour's curing the Man, without
any use of the Pool at all. And there-
fore whatever Difficulties attend our
accounting for the Miracles of the Pool,
the Cure of the Man stands good, nor
is it at all affected by them.

But instead of evading, let us see Some Ac-
what account may be given of this Pool.count of
c At Jerusalem, not far from the Place thisP°o1'
called the Sheep-Market, (or ratherd the
Sheep-Gate) there was a Bath, (for so
the Word KoAy^0pa signifies) built for

the

• Dr. search Vind. Part 4. p. 7. * Neh, xxxt. 6p %iu 3?."

S

the use of such of the common People, as lov'd to swim, and bathe themselves in the Water; which, in those warm Climates, was both a pleasant and healthful Exercise. Around this Bath \^ere built five Porches, or rather Portico's (for so the Word sroa/ signifies) which were design'd, as Places for the People to walk in, under covert, in the heat of the Day, if they had no mind to bathe; and for the Conveniency of dressing and undressing in the Shade, for those that had: For which Reason, both the Bath and (portico's were call'd by the Name of Bethesda, i. e. the House of Mercy or Kindness, because the erecting them was a great Act of Kindness to the common People, whose Indilpositions in hot Countries requir'd frequent Bathing; tho' others suppose that the Pool receiv'd that Name from the miraculous Cures, which were perform'd there.

At this Bath, about the Time of the Feafl, (most probably the Feast of the Passover) a great Multitude of impotent Polk, of blind, halt, and wither'd, lay in the Portico's, waiting for the moving of the Waters. For (as St. John lays) an Angel went down Kara Kxipov at the Season (i. e. of the Passover) and troubled the Water, aud whosoever then Jirfl, after ter the troubling of the Water, stepped iny was made whole of whatsoever Disease he had. This is St. John's account of the Matter: And from hence it does not appear, that the Waters of this Pool or Bath, had ever received this miraculously healing Virtue, before the Time of this Feajl.

Now it is well known, that the Feast When its of the Passover lasted eight or .nine y£JtJ7e Days, including the Days of unleavened £,wand Bread, and possibly this miraculous how long Quality of the Bath might have begun {tlafied' on the first Day, or perhaps some few Days before; but how it came to be discovered at first, we have no Intelligence from Scripture, only we may suppose, that some Jew, of an Irifirm, or otherwise diseased Constitution, bathing one Day for his Pleasure and Recreation', might«find himself surprizingly cur'd, upon a preternatural Motion of the Water, and that other infirm People, hearing thereof, might likewise repair to the Pool, in hopes of finding the fame Benefit, and so by degrees the Place be crowded with Multitudes, expecting the troubling of the Wafer.

Why, at the Time of this Feast only, the Waters of this Bath had a sanative Quality imparted to them, the learned

and

and ingenious Author, from whom I have borrow'd this Account, has this

not improbable Conjecture. That our

Saviour, having gone through all the Cities of Galilee, and most of the other Parts of the Country of Judea, preaching and healing Diseases, came up to Jerusalem at this PaJJbver (which was the second, since the Commencement of his publicfc Ministry) with an Intent to fix his Abode there; and that, to prepare the Way before, him, God might give this Pool an healing Quality, thereby to shew the "Jews, that the divine Power in Je/its was coming among them, and, what they law miraculously done by its Waters, was but an Earneft and Emblem of what this great Messenger of the Covenant was going to do for them; but that they, instead of giving him a kind Reception, took Council together how to take away his Life, which made him withdraw himself from themy and thereupon the miraculous Virtue of the Water ceas'd.

However this he, 'tis certain that the preceding Account has this Advantage in it, that it clears the Story from several Difficulties, and especially from what may be iuppos'd to arise from the Silence of Jewish Writers. For if this Miracle was but of a Week or ten Days.

Con

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