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Living fountains of water. A pure river of water as olear as crystal from under the throne of God. These are watering-places accessible to all of us. We do not have a laborious packing up before we start—only the throwing away of our transgressions. No expensive hotel bills to pay; it is "without money and without price.,, No long and dusty travel before we get there; it is only one step away. In California, in five minutes I walked around and saw ten fountains all bubbling up, and they were all different; and in five minutes I can go through this Bible parterre and find you fifty bright, sparkling fountains bubbling up into eternal life—healing and therapeutic. A chemist will go to one of these summer watering-places and take the water, and analyze it, and tell you that it contains so much of iron, and so much of soda, and so much of lime, and so much of magnesia. I come to this Gospel well, this living fountain, and analyze the water; and I find that its ingredients are peace, pardon, forgiveness, hope, comfort, life, heaven. "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye" to this watering-place. Crowd around this Bethesda this morning. O, you sick, you lame, you troubled, you dying— crowd around this Bethesda. Step in it, oh, step in it I The angel of the covenant this morning stirs the water! Why do you not step in it? Some of you are too weak to take a step in that direction. Then we take you up in the arms of our closing prayer, and plunge you clean under the wave, hoping that the cure may be as sudden and as radical as with Captain Naaman, who, blotched and carbuncled, stepped into the Jordan, and after the seventh dive came up, his skin roseate complexioned %& fee flesh Qf * Uttle child
THE TIDES OF MUNICIPAL SIN.
He beheld the city, and wept over it—Luke xix: 41.
The citizens of Old Jerusalem are in the tip-top of excitement. A country man has been doing some wonderful works and asserting very high authority. The police court has issued papers for his arrest, for this thing must be stopped, as the very government is imperilled. News comes that last night this stranger arrived at a suburban village, and that he is stopping at the house of a man whom he had resuscitated after four days' sepulture. Well, the people rush out into the streets, some with the idea of helping in the arrest of this stranger when he arrives, and others expecting that on the morrow he will come into the town, and by some supernatural force oust the municipal and royal authorities and take everything in his own hands. They pour out of the city gates until the procession reaches to the village. They come all around about the house where the stranger is stopping, and peer into the doors and windows that they may get one glimpse of him or hear the hum of his voice. The police dare not make the arrest because he has, somehow, won the affections of all the people. O, it is a lively night in Bethany. The heretofore quiet village is filled with uproar, and outcry, and loud discussion about the strange acting countryman. I do not think there was any sleep in that house that night where the stranger was stopping. Although he came in weary he finds no rest, though for once in his lifetime he had
a pillow. But the morning dawns, the olive gardens wave in the light, and all along the road, reaching over the top of Olivet toward Jerusalem, there is a vast swaying crowd of wondering people. The excitement around the door of the cottage is wild, as the stranger steps out beside an unbroken colt that had never been mounted, and after his friends had strewn their garments on the beast for a saddle, the Saviour mounts it, and the populace, excited, and shouting, and feverish, push on back toward Jerusalem. Let none jeer now or scoff at this rider, or the populace will trample him under foot in an instant. There is one long shout of two miles, and as far as the eye can reach you see wavings of demonstrations and approval. There was something in the rider's visage, something in his majestic brow, something in his princely behavior, that stirs up the enthusiasm of the people. They run up against the beast and try to pull off into their arms, and carry on their shoulders, the illustrious stranger. The populace are so excited that they hardly know what to do with themselves, and some rush up to the roadside trees and wrench off branches and throw them in his way; and others doff their garments, what though they be new and costly, and spread them for a carpet for the conqueror to' ride over. "Hosanna!" cry the people at the foot of the hill. "Hosanna!" cry the people all up and down the mountain. The procession has now come to the brow of Olivet. Magnificent prospect reaching out in every direction— vineyards, olive groves, jutting rock, silvery Siloam, and above all, rising on its throne of hills, the most highly honored city of all the earth, Jerusalem. Christ there, in the midst of the procession, looks off, and sees here fortressed gates, and yonder the circling wall, and here the towers blazing in the sun, Phasaelus and Mariamne. Yonder is Hippicus, the king's castle. Looking along in the range of the larger branch of that olive tree yon see the mansions of the merchant princes. Through this cleft in the limestone rock you see the palace of the richest trafficker in all the earth. He has made his money by selling Tyrian purple. Behold now the Temple 1 Clouds of smoke lifting from the shimmering roof, while the building rises up beautiful, grand, majestic, the architectural skill and glory of the earth lifting themselves there in one triumphant doxology, the frozen prayer of all nations.
The crowd looked around to see exhilaration and transport in the face of Christ. O, no! Out from amid the gates, and the domes, and the palaces there arose a vision of that city's sin, and of that city's doom, which obliterated the landscape from horizon to horizon, and he burst into tears. "He beheld the city, and wept over it."
Standing in some high tower of the beloved city of our residence, we might look off upon a wondrous scene of enterprise, and wealth, and beauty; long streets faced by comfortable homes, here and there rising into affluence, while we might find thousands of people who would be glad to cast palm branches in the way of him who comes from Bethany to Jerusalem, greeting him with the vociferation: "Hosanna! to the Son of David." And yet how much there is to mourn over in our cities. Passing along the streets to-day are a great multitude. Whither do they go? To church. Thank God for that. Listen, this morning, and you hear multitudinous voices of praise. Thank God for that. When the evening falls you will find Christian men and women knocking at hovels of poverty, and finding no light, taking the matches from their pocket, and by a momentary glance revealing wan faces, and wasted hands, and ragged bed, sending in before morning, candles and vials of medicine, and Bibles and loaves of bread, and two or three flowers from the hot-house. Thank God for all that. But listen again, and you hear the thousand-voiced shriek of blasphemy tearing its way up from the depths of the city. You see the uplifted decanters emptied now, but uplifted to fight down the devils they have raised. Listen to that wild laugh at the street corner, that makes the pure shudder and say: "Poor thing, that's a lost soul!" Hark! to the click of the gambler's dice and the hysteric guffaw of him who has pocketed the last dollar of that young man's estate. This is the banquet of Bacchus. That young man has taken his first glass. That man has taken down three- . fourths of his estate. This man is trembling, with last night's debauch. This man has pawned everything save that old coat. This man is in delirium, sitting pale p,nd unaware of anything that is transpiring about him— quiet until after awhile he rises up with a shriek, enough to make the denizens of the pit clap to the door and put their fingers in their ears, and rattle their chains still louder to drown out the horrible outcry. You say: "Is it not strange that there should be so much suffering and sin in our cities?" No, it is not strange. When I look abroad and see the temptations that are attempting to destroy men for time and eternity, I am surprised in the other direction that there are any true, upright, honest, Christian people left. There is but little hope for any man in these great cities who has not established in his soul,sound, thorough Christian principle.