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ter the troubling of the Water, Jlepped in j 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 Feafl.
Now it is well known, that the Feast When its of the Passover lasted eight or .nine Jg^j8 Days, including the Days of unkavened heoan&ni Bread, and possibly this miraculous how long Quality of the Bath might have begun ic IaPed* on the .first Day, or perhaps some few Days before; but how it came to be diseover'd at first, we have no Intelligence from Scripture, only we may suppose, that some yew, of an Infirm, or otherwise diseased Constitution, bathing one Day for his Pleasure and Recreation", might-find himself surprizing, ly 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 lame Benefit, and so by degrees the Place be crowded with Multitudes, expecting the troubling of the Water.
Why, at the Time of this Feast only, the Waters of this Bath had a sanative Quality imparted to them, the learned
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 Passover (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 Jests was coming among them, and, what they law miraculously done by its Waters, was but an Earnest 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 them, 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 luppos'd to arise from the Silence of Jewish Writers. For if this Miracle was but of a Week or ten Days.
Continuance, 'tis no Wonder it came to be forgotten so soon, when, (in so short a time) its Credibility was hardly well established. Taking the Story however in a less advantageous View, and supposing (as the Crowd of Commentators do) that this miraculous Virtue of the Pool lasted for some Term of Years among the Jews-, yet, even in this Cafe, I cannot perceive any thing, that may not be fairly accounted for.
It may seem a little strange indeed, Jofephufi that the Jewish Historian, Jofephus,TMTM^ sliould give us no Account of this Pool, acc0lint. efpecially when the ianative Virtue of ed for. its Waters, occasioned by so extraordinary a Means, could not but redound to the Honour of his Country. But when it is considered, e that the like Omissions have been frequently made by other Historians, who have neglected to insert, in their Writings, several considerable Matters of Antiquity, merely because they were so familiar and well known to them: When it is considered, that Jofephus is silent on several other Occasions, that bear some Relation to Jesus j that he does not so much as intimate the Slaughter of the Infants at Bethlehem mentioned by fSt. Matthew^ gives no clear Account of the Roman
Census ! Bp. SmaUlnkes Vind. /• 498. \ Matt, ii. 16.
Census or Taxation, that is recorded by s St. Luke; and none at all of the Galileans, whole Blood Pilate had mingled with their Sacrifices, as related by h the lame Evangelist: When it is consider'd, that, the miraculous Virtue of the Pool of Bethefda, and the miraculous Cure of the Impotent Man by Jesus, had Ib visible a Connection, that he could not, in decency, give an- Account of the one, without making some mention of the other, arid therefore chose rather to decline the History of both: And lastly, when it is considered (what is told us by I'ertullian)" That this Pool of "Bethefda, which cured Diseases till "the Coming of Christ, and some time "after, ceas'd to be beneficial to the ie Jews, upon their final Perseverance "in Blaiphemy and Infidelity against "Christ;" there is no wonder at all, that yojephus, who was so very defective in other Matters, should omit giving us an Account of a Pool, whose lanative Virtue was extinct and gone, when first he wrote his Antiquities, and which he could not well mention, without giving an implicit Honour to Christ.
* Lulie ii. I, i. h Luke xiii. i.
* It may be observed farther, that, as "Josephus wrote his History for the Information of the Greeks and learned Romans, who were Heathens; ib he seems very tender of dwelling too much upon Miracles. .Nay, he has omitted the mention of some, and endeavoured by natural Causes to account for others, which h« undoubtedly did both believe, and teach too, as he was a Jewish Priest. Thus, in the Israelites passing over the Red-Sea, he makes it a doubt whether the parting of the Waters Was occasioned by the Command of God, or by the natural Courfi of Things; and refers his Reader (as a parallel Event) to what befel Alexander and his Army, at the Pamphylian Sea.
But, after all, it is no improbable He proConiecture of ' some great Criticks, bably
. J _, - , ... , & . , ,A mentions
that yojephus did not entirely neglect it under to take Notice of this Pool, though he amther did it under a different Name; for he ame' tells us of two Pools at ferusalemy the one named s^sO/or and the dther d/utuySaAov, which djuuyd'ahov (upon a imall Variation of the Original) signifies great and eminent, and is therefore thought to be the fame, with that of Bethejda in St. John, as having that Sur-name from its
* Dr. Pearce's Vind. Part 4. p. 19. 'Vid. P. Lamy de Tabernac. £5 Temple L. 4. C. 5.