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THE POOL OF BETHESDA. Just within the walls of the city, on the eastern side, and near St. Stephen's gate is a dry reservoir, the dimensions of which are-length, 360 feet, breadth, 130 feet, depth, about 70 feet. It is surrounded by a parapet, and, on the north and east particularly, it is surmounted by the buildings of the city. It is a deposit for rubbish, and contains in some parts an overgrowth of herbage and a few trees. This is generally affirmed to be the Pool of Bethesda. Its position renders it credible. The Pool of Bethesda was certainly near the site of the temple, as this is, and not far distant from one of the city gates. This, as I have already said, is near St. Stephen's gate. And besides, there is no other spot in Jerusalem at the present day which can support a counter claim.
Often, as I passed the Pool of Bethesda, did my mind recur to that absorbing narrative in John v. 249. From “ A Pastor's Memorial of the Holy Land," fc.
by the Rev. G. Fisk.
VALUE OF A PENNY.
It is an old saying, that “a pin a day is a groat a year," by which homely expression some wise man has intended to teach thoughtless people the value of small savings. We shall endeavour to show the value of a somewhat higher article, though a much despised one--we mean a penny.
Suppose that a young man just beginning to work for himself could save a penny a day, and there must be very few unmarried young workmen who could not do this. At the end of the year he might have £1. 10s. 5d. safely deposited in the Savings' Bank, where it would lie safely, with some small addition for interest, till he might want it. After five years' savings, at the rate of one penny per day, he would have between £8 and £9, which it is very possible he mighi find some opportunity of laying out to such advantage as to establish the foundation of his future fortune.
What poor man has not felt some time in his life how advantageously he could have laid out such a sum of
money, and how readily such a sum might have been saved, by keeping all the pennies and sixpences that had been thrown away?
Such a sum as £8, or £9, would enable a man to emigrate to Canada, where he might, by persevering industry, acquire enough to purchase a piece of land, and, if blessed with a moderate length of life, he might be the happy cultivator of his own estate.
Eight pounds would enable a mechanic, who had acquired a good character for sobriety and skill, to furnish himself on credit with goods and tools for five or six times the amount of his capital, and this might form the foundation of his future fortune.
It may be said that five years is too long a time to look forward to. We think not. This country is full of examples of men who have risen from very small begin. nings, through a long course of persevering industry, to competence, and even wealth. And we believe there is hardly a condition, however low, from which a young man of good principles and unceasing industry may not elevate himself, if blessed with good health, and not visited with unusual misfortunes.
But suppose the penny to be saved during one year only; at the end of it he finds he has £1. 108. 5d. Will he squander this at the ale house, or in idle dissipation, after having resisted temptation all through the year?We hope not. Now this £1. 10s. 5d. may perform a number of useful offices. It may purchase some necessary implements, some good substantial article of dress, some useful books, or, if well laid out, some important instruction in the branch of industry which is his calling. It may relieve him in sickness; it may contribute to the comfort of an aged father; it
young man in paying back that boundless debt which he owes to the care and tender anxiety of a mother, who has lived long enough to feel the want of a son's solicitude. However disposed of at the end of the year, if only it be well disposed of, the penny saved will be a source of real and reasonable satisfaction.
It would be impossible to enumerate all the good things that a penny will purchase; and as to all the bad things, they are not worth enumerating. But there is one which we cannot help mentioning. A penny will buy a pennyworth of gin, and a man may spend it daily without thinking himself the worse for it; but as every penny saved tends to give a man the habit of saving pennies, so every penny spent in gin tends to cause him to spend more. Thus the saver of the penny may at the end of the year be a healthy reputable person, and confirmed economist, with £1. 10s. 5d. in his pocket ; the spender. may be an unhealthy, ill-looking worthless fellow, a confirmed gin-drinker, with nothing in his pocket but unpaid bills.
SCRIPTURE TRUTHS ILLUSTRATED BY HISTORY.
There is no wisdom, nor understanding, nor counsel against the Lord. The horse is prepared against the day of battle : but safety, is of the Lord,
Prov. xxi, 30, 31, Ir is no less profitable than interesting, to read history with a view of observing in its pages the numberless instances in which God shows that not one of the declarations of his Holy Word will fall to the ground, but that while the great ones of earth are struggling and striving for petty pre-eminence, He rules triumphant over all, and proves how vain are all their efforts, if they run counter to his designs, or oppose his will. To the young, how ennobling a study would history become if pursued with such a purpose! It would not then be a mere barren detail of facts, or dazzling list of conquests and triumphs, but a real means of improvement and growth in grace; for as each link of the wondrous chain of God's providence is unfolded before us, the more shall we love and admire, fear and adore, the goodness, justice, righteousness and wisdom of Him who
governs the universe. There is not, perhaps, a more striking instance of the perfect inutility of earthly power being opposed to God, than in the downfall of the mighty Babylon. This great city was seated in a fertile plain, and has been celebrated throughout the world, not only for the amazing strength of its fortifications, but for the beauty and grandeur of the buildings within; its walls have been always famous
for their immense size; they were no less than eightyseven feet thick, and three hundred and fifty-three feet high; at different intervals were a hundred gates of brass; and the Euphrates rolled its glorious waters quite through the city. It would require pages to describe the grand and beautiful works which adorned this far-famed place, for the Babylonians were far advanced in civilization, and we should no doubt hear them much extolled, if profane historians alone had spoken of them: but let us hear what the warning word of God says of this great and wonderful city.
“ Sit thou silent, and get thee into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans; for thou shalt no more be called, The lady of kingdoms.” “For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness; thou hast said, None seeth me. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge have perverted thee; and thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me. Therefore shall evil come upon thee; thou shalt not know from whence it ariseth ; and mischief shall fall upon thee, thou shalt not be able to put it off; and desolation shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou shalt not know."
Every reader of Scripture knows that the successor of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon was Belshazzar; this impious king disregarded every duty, and lived only for self-gratification. When once a man makes this the object of his life, he can never tell how far he may be drawn from the right path, or what sins he may be guilty of.
Well, Belshazzar, while feasting with his nobles, commanded to be brought the gold and silver vessels that had been taken from the temple of Jerusalem; and while he and his subjects drank from the consecrated vessels, which had come from the temple of that God who alone is to be worshipped, they "praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone." While thus engaged, a mysterious handwriting appeared on the wall. Belshazzar not having that safe conscience which ensures peace of mind under all circumstances, was greatly terrified, and after all the astrologers and soothsayers had tried in vain to interpret the words on the wall, Daniel, the prophet of God,