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their ability to perform them, and He has interceded for them.
In fine, brethren, every eye shall see Him, for He shall judge all, quick and dead, good and bad. We will, therefore, conclude with this thought, which I pray God we may remember to our soul's health : “ What manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation of godliness, looking for, and hasting unto, the coming of the day of God.”
The Centurion whose servant was sick.
[Preached at S. Giles' on the Third Sunday after Epiphany, Jan. 22, 1843.]
FROM THE GOSPEL OF THE DAY.
S. Matthew viii. 8.
“LORD, I AM NOT WORTHY THAT THOU SHOULDEST COME UNDER
One of the most common professions among Christians of the present day is a profession of unworthiness. If we regarded merely the language which people use, we should be bound to confess, that never were men so deeply humble as they are now: for it is the ready answer, which comes from the lips of wellnigh all, that they are indeed great sinners, and utterly unclean in the sight of God. It is the almost universal acknowledgement of men's mouths, “I am not worthy.” Now, in this chapter of S. Matthew, we have an
account of one who likewise confessed, “Lord, I am not worthy," and who was graciously accepted and blessed by our Lord Jesus Christ. It may, therefore, be profitable for us, God the Holy Ghost assisting us, to consider the character and conduct of this person who said “he was not worthy that our Saviour should come under his roof,” and see how far it corresponds with the character and conduct of those who make the like profession now
Let us first, then, consider the whole narrative as inspired Evangelists have preserved it for our admonition, and to this end we must compare this eighth chapter of S. Matthew with the seventh chapter of S. Luke, where we shall find an account of the same transaction, with more full and particular details.
Our Lord “had ended all His sayings in the audience of the people," and had “ down from the mountain,” and had cleansed the leper, who came and besought Him, and had entered into Capernaum, wherein so many of His mighty works were done. And here an earnest request, beseeching the exer
cise of His Almighty power of healing, came to Him from a certain centurion.
Now this is a fact of peculiar interest to ourselves; for this centurion was not one of the commonwealth of Israel, but a Gentile soldier in the Roman army; and in this man's faith, and this man’s acceptance, we recognise the first shinings of that Light, which had arisen from among the children of the covenant, to be not only the glory of God's people Israel, but also to lighten the Gentiles. We have here thus early in the dispensation of the Gospel one of the true seed of Abraham, one of the followers of that faith which he had, being yet uncircumcised. It was an earnest of the breaking down of the middle wall of partition, and gave a sure promise that in Christ Jesus all should be one, both they of God's ancient people, and they who, such as we, being not a people, are yet of God's free grace made a people; so that henceforth as there is but one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, so should there be but one holy Catholic Church, reconciliation being made by the Blood of the Cross.
This centurion had a servant who was
sick" lying at home” in his master's house “sick of the palsy, grievously tormented,”—
ready to die:” and we are told that this servant was
“ dear unto the centurion." “ This man is the pattern of a true Christian master's love toward his servants, who retains those who are most incapable of doing him any service, and is to them instead of a father;"
nay, comes to Christ, and though deeply conscious of personal unworthiness, yet entreats for them the choicest blessings.
The next thing we are told of this centurion, thus afflicted in behalf of the servant who was dear unto him, is, that “ he had heard of Jesus,” and upon the faith of what he had heard " he sent unto Him, beseeching Him." The Jews had seen the miracles of our Lord, and their ears had listened to His wonderful words, when He spake in their presence with authority from the Mount. But this Gentile centurion had listened to no sermon, had seen no miracle ;—he had only heard of Jesus, and he believed that He had power to aid him in his affliction, and com