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HEALING WATERS OF BETHESDA.
John v. 2, 3, 4.-" There is at Jerusalem, by the
" sheep-market, a Pool, which is called in the + Hebrew tongue, BETHESDA, having five
porches. In these lay a great multitude of - impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.
For an angel " went down at a certain season into the pool " and troubled the water; whosoever then, “ first, after the troubling of the water, step
ped in, was made whole of whatsoever disease « he had."
I know not any subject contained in the Scriptures, the contemplation of which is better suited to the circumstances of us who are here assembled, than that of the HEALING
WATERS of Jerusalem. There are now col. lected here, as formerly at Bethesda,“ a great “ number of infirm persons, of halt and wither
ed,” who have come to the healing waters at this place ; and who expect a cure, not from the hand of man, but of God. We have come to try the efficacy of waters which flow by the divine command ; medicinal waters, which owe nothing to human art or power, and whose nature and origin man does not even fully understand.*
* Buxton is situated on the ridge of that mountainous region commencing in Derbyshire, which extends to the northern extremity of the kingdom, and which has been called by some Geographers the British Appenine. The medicinal well is nearly in the middle of England, and is supposed to be upwards of 1500 feet above the surface of the sea. It further occupies a most interesting situation, as being surrounded by beds of shells, corals, and other marine products, the remains of the antediluvian world, and indelible testimonies of the truth of the Mosaic Record. The temperature of the air in these regions is always cooler than in the lower countries. There is generally a turbulent atmosphere; but this renders the change of air greater, and more salutary in certain complaints, than in any other part of northern Europe. From vestiges lately discovered, it it ascertained that buildings were erected at the Well of Buxton in the time of the Romans. In the middle ages it acquired the name of St. Ann's Well. In the reign of Queen Elizabeth a Treatise was written on the “ Virtues of the Water of Buck-stones, by Dr. Jones of Derby,” and it appears at that time (1572) to have been a place of great resort. But it is only within these few years that buildings have been erected for invalids
The first view of the scene before us will suggest to our minds some interesting topics of reflection.
While we behold this healing fountain flowing like a torrent, * and consider its long duration, and the benefit derived from it to multitudes perhaps in every age, we have to admire an illustrious instance of the wisdom and goodness of God in creation. How wonderful that this salubrious spring should retain the same degree of heat, through every change of season, and from age to age!And again, what
suitable to the importance of the place. For these the nation is indebted to the Duke of Devonshire. His Grace is proprietor of Buxton and of the country round it, and he has, with a liberality which ought to be more known and cele. brated, erected a suite of extensive and magnificent buildings, called the CRESCENT, and a spacious and elegant church, both of hewn stone ; also pools for bathing, besides various other edifices for the accommodation of the visitors and invalids; the whole expense of which is stated to have been not less than 150,000/. The munificence of this nobleman, referring as it does to the health of his countrymen, is entitled to a national acknowledgement.
*“ The quantity of water flowing from the springs has been calculated to be after the rate of sixty gallons in a mirute.”—Denman on the Buxton Waters, p. 56.
+ The heat of the medicinal spring, called St. Ann's Well, of which the invalids drink, “ is always s1 by Farenheit's Thermometer. The heat of the medicinal pool in which the invalids bathe, is precisely and invariably 82 by Farenheit's Thermometer. The temperature of these waters does not in
limit shall we assign to its duration ? It is probab'e that it was first opened “ when the foun" dations of the earth were laid,” and that it will continue to flow till time shall be no more. The same power which gave virtue to the well of Bethesda, hath opened the fountain of health in this place. These, therefore, may be called God's WATERS. They flow by the divine mercy, and we expect that they will prove beneficial to our infirm bodies only by the divine blessing. Let us, then, approach them with sentiments of gratitude and piety, having our minds prepared to give God the glory for any benefit we may derive from the use of them,
In viewing any striking object in the works of creation, it is useful to reflect in what man
any degree depend on rain, or other accidental circumstances.” Denman, p. 53, 57.
Philosophy has long attempted to investigate this subject, but as yet without any satisfactory result. “ Hast thou en“ tered into the springs of the sea ? or hast thou walked in “ search of the depth ?”—Job xxxviü. 16. We neither understand accurately by what means the waters acquire their heat, nor, when they have acquired it, how the temperature should always continue the same, without being affecied, like every other substance of this earthi, by heat and cold, and distance from the sun. " Philosophers," says Dr. Hunter, * have differed much in their opinions about the cause of heat in warm waters ; but I do not find that any of them have as yet been able to lay down ca hypothesis, which is not liable to some objections."—Hunter on the Nature and Vir tues of Buxton Walers, p. 8.