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its practices superstitious, its spirit sanguinary, and its maxims immoral. But could they only be persuaded to institute a calm and dispassionate enquiry into its intrinsic merits, could they be prevailed upon to learn its real character, from those who must be presumed to be best acquainted with it, they would find it, I will venture to say, to be in every respect the very reverse of those foul and odious misrepresentations, by which it has been so monstrously and unjustly disfigured. Its doctrines they would perceive to be heavenly, its worship sublime, its practices holy, its spirit mild, its maxims replete with the most pure morality. They would observe in the number of its devoted adherents a long catalogue of distinguished characters, who have been shining models of every Christian virtue; and they would acknowledge it in the end to be as deserving of admiration for its sanctity, as it is venerable for its antiquity.

Another remarkable feature in the character of the centurion is his profound humility. How completely this most amiable of Christian virtues had taken possession of his soul, is evident from the manner in which he solicited our Blessed Saviour in behalf of his servant. “Lord, said he, I am not worthy that thou shouldst enter under my roof, but speak only the word, and my servant shall be healed.” This lowliness of mind in a Roman centurion is the more remarkable, because humility, in the Gospel sense of the word, is a virtue with which the Romans were totally unacquainted. They had not even a term in their language to convey an idea of it. The word humilita occurs, it is true, in classical authors. But then it is employed in a very different acceptation from that in which it is used in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For in the Gospel of Jesus Christ it denotes that mild, gentle, unassuming, and inoffensive frame of mind which was so conspicuous in the person of its Divine Author. But, in the profane writers of ancient Rome, it is meant to express whatever is low, mean, and contemptible. A haughty, imperious, and over-bearing temper, a high opinion of their own virtue and wisdom, a contempt of all other nations but their own, a quick sense, and a keen resentment not only of injuries, but even the slightest affronts; such was the favorite and predominant character among the Romans : and that gentleness of disposition, that low estimation of our own merits, that ready preference of others to ourselves, that fearfulness of giving offence, that abasement of ourselves in the sight of God, which we call humility, they consider as the mark of a mean, abject, and unmanly mind. When, therefore, we see this virtuous centurion differing so widely from his countrymen in this respect, we may certainly conclude, that his notions of morality were of a much higher standard than theirs; and that his disposition peculiarly fitted him for the reception of the Gospel. For, humility is that virtue, which more than any other, disposes the mind to yield to the evidences, and to embrace the doctrines of the Christian revelation. It is that virtue which the gospel was peculiarly meant to produce, on which it lays the greatest stress, and in which, perhaps, more than any

other consists the true essence and vital principle of the Christian temper. We therefore, find the strongest exhortations to it in almost every page of the Gospel

“I say to all among you,” says St. Paul, “not to be more wise than becometh to be wise, but to be wise unto sobriety.” (Rom. c. xii. v. 3.)

“ Mind not high things,” the same Apostle exhorts, “but condescend to the humble : Be not wise in your own conceits.” “Blessed are the meek,” exclaimed our divine Saviour,“for they shall possess the land.” “Whosoever shall humble himself as a little child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” “Learn of me, because I am meek and humble of heart.” Such, my friends, and many more, are the passages in holy writ, in which humility is recommended as peculiarly characteristic of every true disciple of Jesus Christ.

Let it be your endeavour therefore, my Christian friends, to imitate those two excellent qualities of faith and humility which shone forth so conspicuously in the character of the Centurion. Let faith prompt you to reject without hesitation, every suggestion which the pride of human reason may possibly oppose to the revelations of the Most High: and let humility make you sensible of your own demerits, and cause you to refer whatever excellence may be in you, to the great Author of every good and perfect gift. Thus, whilst the incredulous and arrogant votaries of a false philosophy, who obstinately resist the evidence of the Gospel, “shall be cast into outer darkness, where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth,” it will be your happy lot to "sit down with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.”

SERMON V.

THE FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER THE

EPIPHANY.

ON AFFLICTIONS.

GOSPEL. St. Jattheu, viï. v. 23-27. At that time, when Jesus entered into the ship, his disciples followed him; and behold a great tempest arose in the sea, so that the boat was covered with wares, but he was asleep. And they came to him, and awaked him, saying, Lord, save us, we perish. And Jezus saith to them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then rising up, he commanded the winds and the sea, and there came a great calm. But the men wondered, saying, What manner of man is this, for the winds and the sea obey him? The storm which is related in this day's gospel to have excited such consternation in the minds of the disciples, who had followed their Divine Master into a ship on the lake of Genesareth, may fairly be considered as a figurative representation of the afflictions and troubles to which his followers are liable to be exposed on the tempestuous ocean of the world. “And when he entered into a ship his disciples followed him; and behold a great tempest arose in the sea, so that the ship was covered with the waves." To the repose to which Jesus is stated to have consigned himself amidst the impending dangers which threatened them with destruction, may be assimilated in like manner

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