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THE POOL OF BETHESDA.
of complete recovery; and these signs are accordingly in him, he shall be defiled; he is unclean: he shall pointed out in the chapters to which we have refer- dwell alone; without the camp shall his habitation red with remarkable precision and distinctness. The be.”—Lev. xiii. 45, 46. The reader will do well to want of some such rules as were by the divine bene- compare this with the short description of the condificence imparted to the Hebrew people, would among tion of the Burmese leper which we have quoted them, as in Burmah, have had the effect of excluding from Malcolm. Most of the points coincide in whole generations of men from the free intercourse substance, and differ only in some small details. In of life, on account of a disease which may at one almost every country where leprosy prevails, the time have affected an ancestor; and of preventing leper is obliged to wear some kind of distinctive those who, from the impulse of natural affection, dress, so that people may know and avoid him. might place themselves in communication with a dis- Among the Burmese his head is covered with a eased relative, from evermore returning to the society conical cap; among the Hebrews his head was bare; of unafflicted men, although they may never, in their his garment was rent (in front it is understood), own persons, have known the leprous taint. How in token of his afflicted condition; and, in the presmall, in comparison, would then have been the bene- sence of a clean person, he stood covering his mouth fit conferred by our Lord upon the lepers whom he with his hand, or the skirt of his robe. In addition cured! It would, indeed, have relieved them from to which distinction of dress, the leper is, in some the disease; but he could not, by that act, also have countries, obliged to notify his presence or approach restored them to their place in the commonwealth, by some loud and peculiar sound. In some places a or have enabled them thenceforth to walk the high- small drum is used for this purpose; in others, the ways and the streets with freedom, or to mingle with leper strikes a metal dish, or rattles something in it; glad hearts with the multitudes that kept holy day in but the Hebrew leper, when he saw a stranger apthe courts of the Lord's house.
proaching, or when he found himself near any place A circumstance has just come under our notice, of resort, was obliged to keep up his melancholy cry which seem to afford a further corroboration of our of Tarnee, tarnee! impression that there was a permanent or hereditary condition of leprosy among the Hebrews, although
THE POOL OF BETHESDA. among them this was not, as with the Burmese, the rule, but the exception.
BY THE REV. PATRICK FAIRBAIRN, SALTON. The law of Lev, xiii. and xiv. is very minute We are informed, in the 5th chapter of the Gospel in its directions respecting the course to be taken by John, that on a certain Sabbath our Lord fell by a person when he first comes under the taint of in with a man beside the Pool of Bethesda, who had leprosy-how he is to conduct himself while in a been labouring under an infirmity for thirty-eight leprous condition, and how he is to proceed when he years. He had come there hoping to obtain the cure supposes himself cured. Many of these obligations of his discase; for it was ascertained that an angel are very onerous; and the afflicted persons might be at certain times went in to agitate the waters, and tempted to neglect or postpone them, were not some that the person who first afterwards stepped into them heavy penalty thereby incurred. But the Book of was cured of whatever disease he had. This unhappy the Law does not annex any penalty to disobedience; | individual was so disabled in body, and so utterly and we must resort to the Talmud, and other Jewish destitute of help, that he could not move himself at writings, to know what was the actual penalty in such the proper time, and thus had the mortification of
From this source we learn, that the penalty seeing himself always anticipated by some more for an infringement of any of the rules laid down in fortunate neighbour. But now, tinding an interest in the law was quite severe enough to insure general the sympathy of Jesus, he was immediately restored attention, and to protect society from the dangers to such soundness of health that he could take up which transgression might involve. It was no less than his couch, and carry it away. Regarding the Pool that his leprosy should cleave to him for ever! We itself we have no further information, than simply are not sure whether it was supposed that the leprosy that it was beside the sheep market (or gate, as it became permanent and hereditary by a special judg- should rather be), and that it had five porches. The ment from God, as in the case of Gehazi; or that the word rendered pool, however, literally signifies a leprosy of such a person was to be held as never to be swimming place, a bath; and the name Bethesda is cured, and that he was never to be examined by the made up of two Hebrew words, which mean house of priest, with a view to his re-admission to society. mercy; 80 that in all probability it was, as to its Taken either way, it shows or implies that Gehazi proper design, a public bath, constructed and built and his descendants were not alone in their perma- round with porches, for the accommodation and renient leprosy; but there was a permanent body of freshment of the poorer classes. The beneficial effects lepers.-- possibly including some persons who, as on health and comfort which such a work would be among the Burmese, were free from disease, not as fitted to produce on them, especially in such a country a necessary effect of their having been lepers, but a as Judca, might well entitle it, on that score alonc, penal infliction for disobedience of the law.
to be called a house of mercy.
We can only The condition of the Hebrew leper is described in speak of this, however, as a matter of probability, the following words: “ His clothes shall be rent, and for Jewish writers are silent regarding it; and its | his head bare, and he shall put a covering upon his very position is now invelved in a degree of un
upper lip, and shall cry, ' Turner, tarnce!' (unclean, certainty. What is pointed cut as the remains of it, unclean!) All the days whcrein the plague shall be is a dry basin or reservoir vutside of the northern
wall of the Temple Mount, and which has been so things of a peculiar and extraordinary kind, because carelessly examined that the most widely different these were necessary to furnish Jesus with the opporaccounts are given of its dimensions. For example tunities he needed to bring fully out before men his Röhr makes its length to be one hundred and twenty real character and Godhead. Supernatural manifesfeet, its breadth forty, its depth eight; while Robin- tations of divine power and goodness, such as clearly son, the latest and best authority, makes the length bespoke the operation of a gracious God, were the fit three hundred and sixty, the breadth one hundred and and proper heralds of his approach, as these, exerthirty, and the depth seventy-five.
cised in surpassing measure by himself, were the It is not, however, what Bethesda might be as a natural indications of his glorious presence, and the public bath that deserves any particular notice here; seals of his divine commission. Hence, immedifor as such it could only have resembled, more or less, ately before bis being manifested to Israel, there works of a similar kind, which were to be found in were gifts of prophecy then again beginning to most ancient cities, Rome itself possessing upwards show themselves forth in the Church---in the devout of eight hundred of them. What alone calls for Anna, in the aged Simeon, and especially in John the special consideration, is the remarkable circumstance Baptist, who, in some respects, was even more than mentioned concerning the waters of this Pool-that a prophet. But the only purpose for which they they were occasionally moved by an angel, and that were so gifted, was to point the minds and expecta when so moved the first person who then stepped tions of men to Christ, as the great light of the in, but only the first, was healed of his infirmity. world, and to render the more conspicuous that glory Does it not look like a somewhat strange office this in him which so far excelled what was in them. In for an angel to perform ? And if so exalted a mes- the spiritual as in the natural world, a dawn preceded senger did really stoop to perform it, does not the the bright shining of the glorious orb of day. For effect resulting from his agency appear very partial the same purpose, also, there were gifts of healing; and capricious ? Why was only one victim of dis- which sometimes, at least when exercised with prayer ease healed, and that the first who stepped in, rather and fasting, we have good reason to think, were sucthan any other ?
cessful in relieving to a certain extent such as were Such questions very naturally occur, if the circum- labouring under the oppressions of the adversary, stance is viewed apart from its great end and object which were then permitted peculiarly to abound.
-the bearing it was intended to have on the appear- The design and tendency of such gifts was only to ing and work of Christ—and treated simply as a piece herald the coming and display the peerless majesty of of common history, recording events that belonged to Him who, both in respect to body and mind, was to an ordinary age of the world. In that case, like the cure every form of disease, and to heal all that were demoniacal possessions, it lies open to various doubts oppressed of the devil. And that such preparatory and surmises of unbelief, which are more easily stated and inferior gifts of healing should have been conthan satisfactorily disposed of. And hence it is that nected with the Pool of Bethesda was the more natuso many shallow and ridiculous suppositions have been ral, as it was not only in itself a place of refreshment resorted to, with the view of accounting for, by natu- for the weary, but the waters with which it was filled ral causcs, what the evangelist plainly ascribes to a flowed from that Fountain of Siloam, or Shiloah, supernatural one-such as that the waters of the which, even in ancient times, was taken to represent Pool possessed some mineral quality, which had a the safety and blessedness derived from the gracious healing influence on certain diseases; or, that the en- presence and help of Jehovah. When the Jews, in trails of animals slain for the temple service were the days of Ahaz, revolted in their hearts from the thrown into it, and rendered it capable of exerting Lord, and put their trust in an arm of flesh, they were such an influence, when stirred by some messenger charged as “refusing the waters of Shiloah that go appointed for the purpose. These are the poor de- softly” (Isa. viii. 6); for that perpetual and copious vices of a half-infidel Christianity, which would not spring of waters, rising within the walls of the city, altogether reject the Gospel history as a "cunningly and constituting one of its greatest natural advandevised fable,” but can as little rise to the apprehen- tages, was fitly regarded as a striking emblem of the sion of the great truths and principles with which it sure and unceasing flow of benefits that its people is interwoven. Of that history Jesus Christ, God might derive from the presence and blessing of God. manifest in the flesh, is at once the great centre and In later times, the people perfectly understood the the grand miracle. To view the other circumstances allusion of the prophet, and carrying it too far, as belonging to the age and time of his appearance apart persons of a Pharisaical spirit never fail to do with from him, were as unwise, and as unlikely to lead to everything of a like kind, they came to look upon satisfactory results in divine truth, as it would be in those waters of Siloam as in themselves possessing a philosophy to consider the phenomena of this earth kind of divine property, from their supposed peculiar without respect to the sun, which is their common connection with God, and on the last day of the Feast source and centre. But if, on the other hand, viewed, of Tabernacles, when they poured out bucket-fulls as they all should be, in their proper connection with of them on the sacrifice, they gave utterance to their Christ, there is nothing in any of them but what may sentiments by singing with enthusiastic joy the words admit of a most satisfactory explanation-certainly of the prophet: “With joy shall ye draw water from there is nothing here.
the wells of salvation." We take it for granted that at such a time, when This, of course, was an unwarranted, a superstisuch a personage appeared, and such a work was in tious use of the allusion in question; but it at least progress on the earth, there must have been many ' indicated a marked, and in itself a becoming, atten
“ENTER INTO THY CLOSET.”
tion to the natural lesson taught by these waters in tions were necessary to adapt the whole properly to regard to God's covenant-love and goodness, and con- the end which it was intended to serve; and we do sequently rendered u all the more fitting and likely, not see how any circumstance could have been matethat such waters might be employed in some peculiar rially altered without having so far tended to lessen way to lead the hearts of the people to Him, the its suitableness to the peculiar wants of the time. blessings of whose presence and protection they so The same may also be said of the manner of the cure strikingly represented. The Lord sought, on one performed by our Lord in respect to its being done occasion, during the Feast of Tabernacles, to turn on the Sabbath, and followed up with an injunction them to such a use, when, seeing the people all en- to the restored individual to take his couch along with grossed with the profitless ceremony of drawing him. This was not, certainly, intended, as the Jews water from Siloam, and pouring it out in the temple, improperly imagined, to weaken the obligation to he stood and cried, “ If any man thirst, let him come keep the Sabbath as a day sacred to the Lord. It anto me and drink; he that believeth on me, as the was a circumstance obviously chosen for the purpose Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of arresting men's attention to the case, which might of running water." And we have no doubt that it otherwise have passed unheeded, and drawing them was for the purpose of leading the people to make in living faith to the Lord of the Sabbath. Not only substantially the same use of the waters of Siloam, was the cure itself a work of mercy toward the indithat a healing virtue was communicated to these vidual, and as such no violation of the Sabbatical rest, waters, yet so, that even they might be said to con- but both that and his thereafter carrying his couch fess their Lord. There was a miracle of healing at was a work of mercy, if rightly interpreted, to the that time connected with them, to testify that, whole people. It was a great matter-of-fact sermon through such signs, God was returning to visit his -a proof and manifestation of the revealed arm of people; but being designed only to announce the Jehovah-an undeniable evidence that the Most High coming, and discover the glory of Christ, there were was in the midst of them; and was, therefore, as fit limitations belonging to it: First, in regard to the and seasonable for that day as the labours of God's instrument-an angel from heaven, who, though a fit servants in his temple. For what higher object could messenger for such a visit of mercy, still was but a any of these have in view than to proclaim the precreature. In regard, also, to the persons who partici- sence, the power, and the goodness of God! So pated in the benefit--the first always that stepped in, that, in regard to the whole of this, as of every other to show that the cure was not an accident, but the part of the doings and arrangements of Christ, we result of divine power supernaturally conveyed; yet may justly say, “ He hath done all things well,” and still only the first, only that one, to show that it was divine Wisdom is here also justified by her children. divine power acting under restraint. And when Christ came to that poor and long-oppressed victim
“ENTER INTO THY CLOSET.” of disease, who, in consequence of these limitations, We do not need to enter the closet in order to find could derive no benefit from the angel's visits to the Lord. He is ever near to us. But we enter it Bethesda, and with a single word loosed him from bis in order to escape from distractions, and in order to infirmity-when he did this, not as a singular thing, regain those associations, and, it may be, to surround but merely as a specimen of that niraculous and ourselves with those mementoes which we formerly blessed working which was every day proceeding found helpful to our prayers. One who has great from his hand-what could more clearly and impres- powers of abstraction may take refuge from sursively prove that he was the grand reality which the rounding bustle in the depths of his own spirit, and waters of Siloam did but faintly represent, and so pass along the crowded streets in the perpetual hermuch better than these, even when stirred by an mitage of his own self-seclusion, undiverted and unangel's hand, as he is himself in nature higher than distracted by all that is whirling round him. But the angels, and his works of mercy surpassed theirs ? few have this talent of inward sequestration—this And as the miracle wrought upon the impotent man power to make a closet of themselves; and, in order was attended with circumstances which arrested the to find for their thoughts a peaceful sanctuary, they minds of the whole people of Jerusalem, could any- must find for their persons a tranquil asylum. It thing have been conceived more skilfully adapted to little matters where or what it is. Isaac went out constrain them to own Jesus, as Heaven's grand mes- into the field, and Jacob plied his night-long prayer senger, sent on an errand of mercy to the world ? or, beside the running brook. Abraham planted a grove, failing as they did to discern this, could anything and, in the cool shadow of his oaks at Beersheba, hé nave served more affectingly to discover their deplor-called on the name of the Lord. Abraham's servant able blindness and hopeless infatuation, than that knelt down beside his camel. And it would appear they should have so readily ascribed one miraculous from some of his psalms, that a cave, a mountain cure to the interposition of an angel's hand, while fastness, or a cavern in the rocks, was David's frethey obstinately resisted the evidence of thousands quent oratory. Peter had chosen for his place of of such cures performed in the midst of them, by the prayer the quiet and airy roof of his sea-side lodging, living voice and the outstretched arm of Christ? when the messengers of Cornelius found him. It
Thus we see, that when considered in relation to would seem that the open air—the noiseless amplithe great points which it was designed to illustrate tude of the “solitary place”-the hill-side, with the and unfold, there is nothing incredible, or even appa- stars above, and the shadowy world below--the frarently out of place, in the recorded circumstances grant stillness of the garden, when evening had disconcerning the Pool of Bethesda. The very limita- | missed the labourers, were the places where the Man
of Sorrows loved to pray. It was in the old church 1. Impress them deeply with the criminality and of Ayr that John Welsh was wont, all alone, to odiousness of insincerity. This may be done by readwrestle with the Angel of the Covenant; and we have ing and expounding to them portions of Scripture stood in the wild rock-cleft where Peden found fre bearing upon this point, and making them commit to
memory those portions of Scripture. quent refuge from his persecutors, and whence he
2. Always be sincere with them; never allowing caused his cry to ascend "unto the Lord most high." yourself to deceive them in any particular, or for any It does not need four walls and a bolted door to make cause. There is often a temptation, on the part of a place of prayer. Retirement, and silence, and the parents, to do the opposite of this. It is often a sequestered spirit will create it anywhere. By the quite convenient to deceive a child; but he who does shore of the sounding sea-in the depths of the
, does it to the child's moral injury and his own
guilt. He teaches falsehood by example, the most -in the remoteness of the green and sunny upland, effective of teaching-and the pupil will most surely or the balmy peacefulness of the garden bower learn and practise deceit himself. nay, amidst the dust of the dingy warc-room, or the
3. When your children commit an offence and cobwebs of the owlet-haunted barn—in the jolting confess it, commend them for the confession, and corner of the crowded stage, or the unnoticed nook
forgive them the wrong done.
4. When you detect your child in a lie, invariably of the travellers' room, you have only to shut your punish him for it. Whatever other offence goes uneyes, and seclude your spirit, and you have created a punished, let not this. If Jehovah regards lying as closet there. It is a closet wherever the soul finds a crime, that parent who omits severe discipline in itself alone with God.-“ Mount of Olives."
case of falsehood, is certainly deserving of censure.
Our Saviour tells us that he who lies bears Satan's BIBLE COMFORT.
image. “He was a murderer from the beginning,
and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth WHEN Dr Watts was almost worn out and broken in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh his down by his infirmities, he observed, in conversation
own; for he is a liar, and the father of it.” And with a friend: “I remember an aged minister used Jehovah hath said: “All liars shal Thave their part to say, that the most learned and knowing Christians, in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone." when they come to die, have only the same plain While the path of sincerity is straight and plain, promises of the Gospel for their support as the com- and the sunlight of heaven rests upon it, and while mon and unlearned; and so," said he, “I find it. It it leads upwards to the home of God and truth, the is the plain promises of the Gospel that are my sup- paths of 'dissimulation are dark and crooked, and port; and I bless God they are plain promises, that do lead down to the abode of the prince of darkness, not require much labour and pains to understand them; Can we be too careful that our children should be for I can do nothing now but look into my Bible for kept in the way of the Father of lights, and out of some promise to support me, and live upon that.” the tortuous, snaky course, of the infernal serpent ?
This was likewise the case with the pious and ex- Mother's Magazine. cellent Mr Hervey. He writes, about two months before his death: “I now spend, almost my whole time in reading and praying over the Bible.". And THE JEWS_“ A PEOPLE SCATTERED." again, near the same time, to another friend: “I am “ Their restless feet are pressing at this very hour now reduced to a state of infant weakness, and given the snows of Siberia, and the barning sands of the over by my physician. My grand consolation is to desert. Our friend Gobat found numbers of them meditate on Christ; and I am bourly repeating those in the elevated plains of Abyssinia, eighteen hundred heart-reviving lines of Dr Young:
miles to the south of Cairo; and when Denham and "This--only this-subdues the fear of death.
Clapperton, the first travellers that ventured across And what is this? Survey the wondrous cure,
the great Sahara, arrived on the banks of the Lake And at each step let higher wonder risc ! 1. Pardon for infinite offence !--2. And pardon
Tchad, they also found that the wandering Jew had Through means that speak its value infinite !
preceded them there by many a long year. When 3. A pardon bought with blood ! - 4. With blood divine. the Portuguese settled in the Indian Peninsula, they 5. With blood divine of Him I made my foe!
found three distinct classes of Jews; and when the 6. Persisted to provoke!-7. Though woo'd and aw'd, Bless'd and chastis'd, a flagrant rebel still!
English lately took possession of Aden, in the south 8. A rebel 'midst the thun:lers of His throne.
of Arabia, the Jews were more in number there than 9. Nor I alone!-10. A rebel universe !
the Gentiles. By a census taken within the last few 11. My species up in arms !-12. Not one exempt ! months in Russia, they amount to two millions two 13. Yet for the foulest of the foul He dies !
hundred thousand; so that their population in that 14. Most joy'd for the redeer'd from deepest gulf!15. ds if our race were held of highest
immense empire exceeds that of our twenty-two And Godhead dearer, as more kind to man.'
cantons. Morocco contains three hundred thousand,
and Tunis one hundred and fifty thousand. In the HOW MAY I TEACH MY CHILD SINCERITY? they assemble together in eighteen synagogues.
one small town of Sana, the capital of Arabia Felix, That children are naturally indisposed to sincerity Yemen counts two hundred thousand. The Turk- il must be admitted. A propensity to deceive by word ish empire two hundred thousand, of which Conand act is among the bitter fruits of our common stantinople alone contains eighty thousand. At apostasy: “ The wicked," saith the Psalmist, Brody, where the Christians, who are ten thousand : estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as in number, have only three churches, the Jews, they are born, telling lies.” One of the first things twenty thousand in number, have one hundred and observable in children is an effort to deceive. To fifty synagogues. Hungary has three hundred thouexonerate themselves from blame, or free themselves sand. Cracovie twenty-two thousand. In a word, from anticipated punishment, they falsify their word, it is imagined that, were all the Jews assembled to or cover up what truth and duty demand should be gether, they would form a population of seven milexposed. Very important, therefore, is it to prevent lions; so that, could you transport them into the ! this—to nip this evil propensity in the bud, and cul- land of their fathers this very year, they would form tivate a frank, open, sincere disposition. How may a nation more powerful and more numerous than our this be done?' I suggest four things :
Switzerland."- Professor Gaussen of Genera.
THE CIIRISTIAN TREASURY.
THE BELIEVER'S AFFLICTIONS; HIS PROSPECTS; THE INFLUENCE OF THE ONE UPON THE OTHER; AND THE STATE OF MIND REQUISITE TO THE
EFFICACY OF THAT INFLUENCE.
BY RALPH WARDLAW, D.D., GLASGOW. Suce seem to be the four topics contained in the had, in their various kinds and measures, their two closing verses of the 4th chapter of the allotted share; and so have many since been Second Epistle to the Corinthians : “For our called to suffer, in different parts of the world light afiliction, which is but for a moment, and periods of the Church's history. It has worketh for us a far more exceeding and eter- not ceased to be the policy of “the prince of nal weight of glory; while we look not at the this world” to stir up the enemies of the cross things which are seen, but at the things which against those who have taken it up to bear it are not seen: for the things which are seen are after Jesus—to incite the subjects of his own temporal; but the things which are not seen kingdom against the subjects of Christ's. In are eternal." I wish to draw the reader's the history of modern mission we still have attention to each of these topics; and having exemplifications of this policy--some of them been premonished that brevity, which has in no ordinary degree severe and affecting. In been said to be the soul of wit, is to be the our own favoured country we have little to soul, too, of the Christian Treasury, I shall not fear. Public persecution there is none, or of a attempt to introduce them all into one paper, description so negative and limited as to be but, with the editor's permission, shall distri- unworthy to be called by the same name. Let bute them into a series of two or three in suc. us be thankful. In the enjoyment of religious cession.
liberty and civil protection, we here, according 1. The first of the four topics is—TIE BE- to Eastern figure, “sit every man under his LIEVER'S AFFLICTIONS.
What is here said of vine and under his fig tree, no one making us them ?—“Our light afliction, which is but for a afraid.” And yet, while the exterminating moment.” The sufferings which Paul had here sword of legal persecution does not awake chiefly in his eye were such as he himself and against us, it must not be thought that there is others, his fellow-labourers in the Gospel espe- no persecution. There are the persecutions of cially, were called in providence to endure for private life—the persecutions of family, of kin. the name's sake of Jesus—the afflictions arising dred, of friends—the realization of the Saviour's from the persecuting violence of the “enemies own words in Matt. x. 34–36; and to spirits of of the cross of Christ.” The reader may see affectionate sensibility, these are many a time this by looking at the preceding context, verses worse to bear than the proscriptions, and prisons, 4–12. In various other places he refers point- and banishments, and deaths, of more public edly and largely to this description of trials- opposition. To such spirits, the forfeiture of a setting forth their variety, their amount, and father's or a mother's smile, the alienation and their constancy. Consult, for example, chapters loss of relations and bosom friends, may have vi. 4, 5, and xi. 23-27, of this same Epistle; and more in them of the terrific and the tempting of the former Epistle to the same Church, chap- than the most excruciating of corporeal tortures, ter iv. 9–13. Such, with little interruption, was or the worst forms of death. Paul's own condition; such it had been from But although, in the passage before us, and the time of his conversion and installation in in others of a similar description, there may his apostolic office; and such, from past expe- be a primary reference to persecution and its rience, as well as from his knowledge of the trying effects, there is not the slightest reason unchanged identity of his doctrine, and of the for restricting the application of them exclunature against whose pride and corruption its sively to sufferings of this one kind. By such principles militated, was his prospect for life. a principle of restriction, the afflicted people of He had no ground on which to expect its cessa- | God would be deprived of a large amount of tion, but with the cessation of his ministry; and their consolation--no inconsiderable proportion that ministry he could not lay down till his of what is addressed in the New Testament to latest pulse had beat. And of such "afflic-sufferers having evidently the primary refeLion” all his fellow-servants and fellow-believers rence that has been mentioned. But in the No. 4.
March 20, 1846.