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of morality recommended virtue, because it generally brings with it its own reward of honour, success, and happiness. These motives, however, which, in circumstances the most favourable, are unable to withstand the strength of human passion, or the temptations to vice, must have been still less effectual in the circumstances of our Saviour's disciples, for he taught his followers to take up their cross and follow him, and to imitate him in a course of self-denying virtue.
Lastly, Jesus did not teach as the scribes, because the Jewish Rabbis contented themselves with discoursing about ceremonies and traditions ; but he drew their attention from those trivial and contemptible things, to lead them to the greatest and noblest objects.
I will conclude my remarks on our Lord's sermon on the mount, with desiring you, my dear' nieces, not merely to peruse it, but to commit it to memory; and let its precepts sink deep into your hearts. Dr. Jortin, a learned divine, observes, “ If there be any part of the New Testament which deserves a more serious consideration than the rest, it must needs be our Saviour's discourse upon the mount, recorded in St. Matthew's Gospel, which contains the sum and substance of the Christian religion. In it our Lord explains morality, condemns several Jewish opinions, commands some things which the law of Mosės did not require, and forbids some things which it permitted. He enables us to resolve a question which exercised, embarrassed, and divided the wise and learned of the ages which preceded the Gospel, viz. What is the chief good of man, and, consequently, what is the great end which man should always have in view? The chief good of man, as it may easily be collected from this discourse of our Lord, is eternal happiness in the life to come, and, in this present life, peace of mind and the advantages flowing from it. Whatsoever, therefore, tends to this, is good; what may deprive us of it is evil. To make his hearers more attentive, Christ begins his discourses with some short and remarkable sentences, in commendation of certain neglected virtues ; sentences which may be called Christian paradoxes, in which he declares those persons most happy, who, according to the estimation of the world, are most miserable."
Of the Miracle performed by our Lord, in the healing the Centurion's Servant.
a frie My dear Nieces,
ble de Having, in my preceding letters, made some remarks on our Lord's admirable ser- fizeti mon on the mount, I will now direct your fathee attention to the miracle he performed on the centurion's servant, recorded in Matthew viii. and Luke vii. - Judea, being a conquered province, had Roman soldiers stationed in it, who were appointed to keep the people in subjection. se wh Among these soldiers, a centurion, or captain of an hundred men, having heard the fame of our Saviour's miracles, was desirous of procuring his assistance in behalf of a favorite servant, sick of the palsy. To obtain bisats, healing aid, he sent to him some of the elders of the Jews, beseeching him by them, that he had dou would come and heal his servant. They ear- turist,
nestly enforced the centurion's request, saying, “ he was worthy for whom he should do this ; for he 'loveth our nation, and has built us a synagogue." .
Then Jesus went with them, and when he was not far from the house, the centurion sent other friends to him, saying by them, “Lord, trouble not thyself; for I am not worthy ihat thou shouldst enter under my roof. Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee; but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed.”
The miracles of our Lord appear to have been the subject of popular conversation and belief; and the manner in which he performed them seems to have been spoken of by those who had witnessed them, as evidence that he possessed an uncontrolled authority over the laws of nature ; so that he appeared like an absolute sovereign giving his commands, while all diseases, and even the elements, obeyed him with the instant submission of menial dependents. The centurion had doubtless heard that, by the command of Christ, given at a distance, the son of a noble
man at Capernaum was restored to health ; and he doubted not that he had power to produce, in the same way, a similar effect upon his servant. Hence he confidently expresses his belief, that Jesus exercised the same power over the maladies of men, which he himself did over the soldiers under his command : “ For,” says he, “ even I, who am a man under authority, have soldiers under myself ; and I say to one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh ; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.”
A late writer observes, that “our Lord appears to have had, from the beginning, a perfect knowledge of the great events which in after times should befal him; and his death, his resurrection, the rejection of the Jews, and the converson of the gentiles, were so frequent in his mind, so familiar to bis thoughts, that the slightest circumstance, calculated to revive the idea of them, instantly brought them to his recollection. Here we meet with a remarkable instance of this fact.
“A heathen, in terms the most decisive, expressing his faith in him, wbile Israel, to