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buildings to assemble in, there can be no public worship. Without public worship there can be no religion; and what kind of creatures men become without religion; into what excesses of barbarity, ferocity, impiety, and every species of profligacy they quickly plunge, we have too plainly seen: God grant that we may never feel ! The next remarkable feature in the character of the centurion is his humility. How completely this most amiable of human virtues had taken possession of his soul, is evident from the manner in which he solicited our Saviour for the cure of his servant; how cautious, how modest, how diffident, how timid, how fearful of
offending, devoutly to be wished, that the present Parliament would, to a certain extent at least, follow so honourable an example. It is, I am sure, in every point of view, political, moral, and religious, well worthy the attention of the British legislature. A sufficient number of new parish churches, erected both in the capital and in other parts of the kingdom where they are wanted, for the use of the members of the church of England of all conditions, would very essentially conduce to the interests of religion, and the security and welfare of the established Church.
offending, even whilst he was only begging an act of kindness for another! Twice did he send messengers to our Lord, as thinking himself unworthy to address him in his own person; and when at our Saviour's approach to his house he himself came out to meet him, it was only to entreat him not to trouble himself any further; for that he was not worthy that Jesus should enter under his roof. This lowliness of mind in the centurion is the more remarkable, because humility, in the Gospel sense of the word, is a virtue with which the ancients, and more particularly the Romans, were totally unacquainted. They had not even a word in their language to describe it by. The only word that seems to express it, humilitas, signifies baseness, servility, and meanness of spirit, a thing very different from true Christian humility; and indeed this was the only idea they entertained of that virtue. Every thing that we call meek and humble, they considered as mean and contemptible. A haughty,
imperious, imperious, overbearing 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 of the slightest affronts, this was the favourite 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 considered as the mark of a tame, 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 embrace the doctrines of the Christian - revelation. 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 every man that is among you,” says St. Paul, “not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think, but to think soberly. Mind not high things: be not wise in your own conceits, but condescend to men of low estate. Stretch not yourselves beyond your measure. Blessed are the poor in spirit, says our Lord, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever shall humble himself as a little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Though the Lord be high, yet hath he respect to the lowly. As for the proud he beholdeth them afar off. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to - the the humble. Learn of me, says our Saviour, for I am meek and lowly in heart,
and ye shall find rest unto your souls”.” I come now lastly to consider that remarkable part of the centurion's character more particularly noticed by our Lord, I mean his FAITH. “I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.” Now the reason of the high encomiums bestowed on him by our Saviour on this account was, because he reasoned himself into a belief of our Lord's power to work miracles, even at distance; because he who had been bred up in the principles of heathenism, and whose only guide was the light of nature, did notwithstanding frankly submit himself to sufficient evidence, and was induced by the accounts he had received of our Saviour's doctrines and miracles, to acknowledge that he was a divine person. Whereas the Jews, to whom he was first and principally sent, who from their infancy were instructed in the
* Rom. xii. 3, 6. 2 Cor. x. 14. Matt. v. 3. xviii. 4. Psalm, cxxxviii. 6. James, iv. 6, 10. Matt. xi. 29.