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land, and were considered by the inhabitants as very great blessings.
“ Uncle Selumiel,” said Simon, as they proceeded up the valley of Jehoshaphat, " is not this the valley where the judgment will take place? I have heard people say that all nations were one day to be assembled in the valley of Jehoshaphat to be judged."
Many of our countrymen do indeed believe so," said Selumiel,“ because the prophet Joel says, “The Lord will gather all nations in the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there.' But Jehoshaphat (i. e. the judgment of God) is undoubtedly symbolical, and the meaning of the whole passage is merely that God will judge all nations."*
As they passed up the valley, the view of
* The following extract from the journal of Messrs. Fisk and King in 1824, will help to illustrate that most sublime prophecy, Joel iii. 2–12.
“ With some olive branches from Olivet, and some flowers from the mansion-house of Lazarus in our hands, we returned by a winding way around the south of Mount Olivet, till we came to the brook Kidron, where it enters the valley of Jehoshaphat. This valley seems like a fright- . ful chasm in the earth, and when you stand in it, and see Mount Zion and Moriah towering above it, with steep hills and precipices on your right hand and left, you can
the temple, with its lofty porticoes and pillars, glittering in the morning sun, whose rays were reflected back in all the hues of the rainbow, was most sublime. I remember a passage of Josephus, a Jewish historian, who describing the temple, says, “ Its appearance had every thing that could strike the mind and astonish the sight; for it was on every side covered with solid plates of gold, so that when the sun shone upon it, it reflected such a strong and dazzling effulgence that the eye of the beholder was obliged to turn away from it, being no more able to sustain its radiance than the splendour of the sun."
The third hour (nine o'clock, A. M.) had
easily feel the force of those sublime passages in the prophet Joel, in which the heathen are represented as being gathered together there to be judged. The prophet seems to represent the Almighty as sitting in his holy temple, or on the summit of Zion, to judge the multitudes in the valley beneath him; and then executing his judgments, while the sun and moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining, and Jehovah roars out of Zion, and utters his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth shake ; and it is thus made manifest, to the confusion of idolaters, and to the joy of the true Israel, that God dwells in Zion, his holy mountain, and is the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.”
now arrived, which was the usual hour of morning prayer in the temple, which had been observed by the Christians.* As they passed through the golden gate, and were about to ascend the steps that led up in the outer wall of the temple to the court of the gentiles, the little boys, eager to reach the temple, began to ascend the steps. Selumiel called to them to stop, in order to make the preparations necessary to go up to the house of the Lord. Their shoes must be exchanged for sandals; the dust must be carefully wiped from their feet; their money, if they happened to have any, must be taken from the purse and carried in the hand; they must enter the court leisurely and gravely, and demean themselves with reverence and fear. Selumiel must leave his staff. These and various other things were required by the Sanhedrim, Jewish court, of all persons entering the temple.
After the usual services in the temple, they passed out by the same gate by which they had entered, and went to visit the pool of Bethesda. It was situated, as I told you, near
* Acts ii. 15.
the north-east corner of the temple. It was a large basin or hollow, cut out of the rock, into which the springs from the mountain discharged their waters. The whole extent of the place was one hundred and twenty paces, or six hundred feet long, two hundred feet broad, and forty feet deep, and it had five cloisters or porticoes built around it for the reception of the sick, who used to resort to it.*
• What makes the water look so muddy, uncle?” said Jonathan, as they stood upon
its brink. Selumiel pointed to the sheep-market, which lay a little to the north of it, where were stationed the lambs for sacrifice. " This pool,” said he, “ was constructed for the purpose of washing the lambs, and was originally called the sheep-pool. It received the name Bethesda (house of mercy) from the cures wrought by its waters.
When Jesus was on earth, these porticoes were filled with infirm persons, lame, halt, blind, &c., waiting for a certain commotion of the waters, which was caused by the descent of an angel ; then whomsoever stepped in first was
* The basin itself is described by some travellers to be 150 feet long, 40 wide, and 8 deep.
made whole of whatever disease he had. This spot was the scene of a miracle which I once heard our dear father John relate in a most touching manner. Jesus had come up to attend the annual feast at Jerusalem, as his custom was, and on the succeeding Sabbath was passing this pool on his way to the temple. These porches, which are now beginning to crumble to pieces, were then new, having been recently erected for the accommodation of the sick who resorted to it. In them lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. Jesus, moved with compassion at the sight of suffering, drew near, and turning from the multitudes of cripples who were pressing on each other, each anxious for himself and indifferent about his neighbour, fixed his
eyes upon a poor man who lay in one of the porches, neglected by his companions and unable to rise, having had an infirmity in his legs for thirty-eight years.
To him, as the most destitute, Jesus addressed himself, and knowing that he had lain there now a long time, with a kind tone and manner, asked him if he would be made whole.