Imágenes de páginas

t .

• "-- —

sistable weight of his own example. He and he only of all the sons of men, acted up in every the minutest instance to what he taught; and his lise exhibited a persect portrait of his religion. But what completed the whole was, that he taught, as the evangelist expresses it, viith authority, with the authority of a divine teacher. The ancient philofophers could do nothing more than give good advice to their followers; they had no means of ensorcing that advice; but our great Lawgiver's precepts are all Divine Commands. He spoke in the name of God: he called himself the Son of God. He spoke in a tone of superiority and authority, which no one before had the courage or the right to assume: and sinally, he ensorced every thing he taught by the most solemn and awsul sanctions, by a promise of eternal selicity to thofe who obey- -m ed him, and a denunciation of the most tremendous punishment to thofe who rejected him.

These were the circumstances which gave our blessed. Lord the authority with which he spake. No wonder then that the people " were astonished at his doctrines;

and that they all declared he spake as never man spake*..'"

i. .

* John vli. 46.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small]


The eighth chapter of St. Matthew, a part of tvhich will be the subject of this Lecture, begins with the miraculous cure of the leper, which is related in die following manner;

When our Lord was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him, and behold there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand and touched him, saying, I .will; be thou clean: and immediately his leprofy was cleansed. And Jesus foith unto him, see thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gist that Mofes commanded, for a testimony unto them."

The leprosy is a disorder of the most malignant and disgusting nature. It was once common in Europe. Thofe insected with it were called Lazars, who were separated from all human society (the disease being highly contagious) and were consined in hofpitals called I azarettos, of which it is said there were no less than nine thousand at one time in Europe. For the last two hundred years this distemper has almost entirely vanished from this and other countries of Europe, and an instance of it now is but seldom to be met with. In the East it still exists to a certain degree; and there in former ages it had its source and origin, and raged for a great length of time with extraordinary violence.

In the law of Mofes, there are very particular directions given concerning the treatment of lepers, and a ceremopial appointed for the examination of them by the priest when they were suppofed to be cared. But no wtora?" remedy is prescribed by Moses for the cure of it. It was considered by the Jews as a disease lent by God, and to be cured only by his interposition. T^iere could not-, therefore, be a stronger proof of our Saviour's divine power, than his curing this most loathsome disease, of which many instances besides this occur in the Gofpels. The manner too in which he performed this cure was equally an evidence that all the sulness of the Godhead dwelt in him*; it was instantaneous, with a touch, and a sew words, atyf V those words the most sublime and dignisied that can imagined: I Will; Be Thou Clean: and immediately the leprofy departed from him. This was plainly the lani guage as well as the act of a God. I Will; Be Thow Clean.

Yet with all this supernatural power there was no ostentation or parade, no arrogant contempt of ancient ceremonies and institutions (which an enthusiast always tramples under foot;) but on the contrary a persect submissicn to the established laws and usages of his country. . He said to the man who was healed, " See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and ofser the' gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them." Here he gave at once a striking example both of humility and obedience. He enjoined the man to keep secret the astonishing miracle he had wrought, and he commanded him to comply with the injunctions of Moses; to shew himself to the priest, to undergo the examination, and to ofser the sacrisice prescribed by the lawf; which at the same time that it shewed his disposition to sulsil all righteousness, established the truth of the miracle beyond all controversy, by making the priest himself the judge of the reality of the cure. This was not the mode which an impostor would have chofen.

Aft6r this miracle, the next incident that occurs is the remarkable and interesting story of the centurion, whose servant was cured of the palsy by our Saviour. The relation cf this miracle is as follows; "When Jesus was

* Collosi. ii. 9. f Lev. liw.

entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centirnon, beseeching him and saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented*. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldeil come under my roof, but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a maa under authority, having soldiers under me; and I say unto this man go, and he goeth; and to another come, and he cometh; and to a third do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said tb them that followed him, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great saith, no, not in Israel. And Jesiis said unto the centurion, go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so belt done unto thee: and his servant was healed in the selfsame hour."

This is the short and edisying history of the Roman centurion; and the reason of its being recorded by the sacred writers was, in the sirst place, to give a most striking evidence of our Saviour's divine power, which enabled him to restore the centurion's servant to health at a distance, and withoutso much as seeing him-; and in the next place to set before us, in the character of the centurion, an illustrious example of thofe eminent Christian virtues, humanity and charity, piety and generofity, humility and saith.

Of the former es these virtues, humanity and- charity,

*In the parrallel passage of St. Luke, chap- v!i, it is said that the centurion sent messengers to Jesus; but no mention is made of his coming to him in person. This difficulty may be cleared up by observing, that in scripture what any person does by his messengers he is frequently represented as doing by himsels. .Thus Christ, who preached to the T?phefians by his apostles, is said to have preached to them himself. Kph. ii. 17. But it seems to me not at all improbable, that the cer^ ".irion may both have sent messengers to Jesus, and afterwards gone to him in person. "Not thinking himself worthy," (as he himself expresses it) to go to.Christ in the sirst instance, he sent probably the elders of the Jews, and then some of his friends, to implore our Lord to heal his servant, not meaning to give him the trouble of coming so his house. But when he found that Jesus was actually on his way t» him, what was more natural sor him than to hasten out of his house to. oieet him, and to make hi- acknowledgments to him in person i

« AnteriorContinuar »