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is the revelation of an ideal at which every soul may aim, and which every soul may hope some day to attain. We are capable, with that aid, of ever-increasing growth in truth, in righteousness, and in all grace, and of ultimate union with truth, and righteousness, and glory itself. This blessing is ours because of the truth declared in the textbecause there is a Saviour, who will save His people from their sins. Such is the profound significance of the angelic announcement which is recorded at the outset of the Gospels. It is the key to all that follows; and only in proportion as we apprehend the depth of its meaning and its supreme importance, can we be in a position to appreciate either the historic facts or the spiritual verities which are involved in the life and ministry of our Lord.

Let me remark, in conclusion, that the truth of this announcement has been tested by a long and blessed experience. Above all, in a degree which has too rarely since been approached, was it experienced and verified by the early Church. In the strength which this promise of a Saviour afforded them, and with the grace which that Saviour gave them, they sprang forward with irrepressible eager. ness in the pursuit of all Christian graces. The new world of the fruits of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance -faith, hope, and charity—seemed to open itself

to their hopes and energies, and they lived and breathed as new creatures in Christ. No delight seemed to them comparable to that of this spiritual career, and every moment seemed lost which did not advance them in likeness to their Saviour. That blessing and that glorious career are open to all of us. No soul need be so saddened by failure, or so oppressed by weakness, or so burdened by sorrow and pain, as to forego it. The message of the text is adequate to renew the spiritual life of every soul who is privileged to receive it. We may well feel, as we contemplate our past, our present, or our future, that we cannot save ourselves. But our Christian faith is summed up in the acknowledgment of One who was called Jesus, because He shall save His people from their sins. Let us only be among His people; let us trust Him, obey Him, pray to Him, work with Him; and we are assured by His promise, and by the unvarying experience of Christians, that He will guide, support, and deliver




"And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto Him a centurion, 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 shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard it, He marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.”—St. Matt. viii. 5–10. THE eighth chapter of St. Matthew is a portion of that Gospel which has peculiar value from the light which it throws upon our Lord's miracles. The eighth and ninth chapters contain a record of ten of His miracles, and these are one half of the whole number recorded by that evangelist; while it is also to be noticed that this record of all these works of supernatural power and mercy immediately follows the Sermon on the Mount. It may first be observed that this close juxtaposition of two such portions of the narrative is but one of many instances of the impossibility of separating the testimony of the evangelists to the miraculous works

of our Lord from their testimony to His moral teaching. Their credibility in reporting the latter is fully admitted by many persons who hesitate to admit it with respect to the former. But their admitted faithfulness in the one portion of their narratives cannot but add immense weight to their testimony in the other. In the three chapters preceding this miraculous record, St. Matthew has preserved to us, with a vividness and force of which the most sceptical are sensible, a long discourse by our Lord of supreme import, which is universally felt to embody some of His most characteristic teaching. Men of very diverse views, even among those who are most hostile to our faith as a whole, feel in their inmost consciences that these were the words of one who spoke to men with an authority beyond that of any other teacher, and accept them as a true account of the greatest moral instruction ever heard. Now, is it not a strange paradox, to suppose that a writer who was sufficiently imbued with the spirit of the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount to record its substance with a force and accuracy which have penetrated to the hearts of all subsequent generations, should immediately, and, as it were, almost in the same breath, pass to a similarly long narrative of purely illusive reminiscences? In the one passage, we are surrounded with a blaze of moral and spiritual light, piercing

to the very thoughts and intents of the heart, burning up all falsehood in word or deed, all hypocrisy and unreality; and in the next passage some would ask us to believe that we find ourselves in an atmosphere of illusion, credulity, and uncertainty! Such a transition from absolute light-light undimmed, unobscured by a single shadow, unperverted by a single false colour, is certainly unknown elsewhere, and may well be regarded as inconceivable. But it is the same throughout the Gospels. Many of our Lord's most precious sayings are inseparably bound up with His miracles, arise out of them and point their lessons. The two are indissolubly united; and the Sermon on the Mount is thus itself the best guarantee for the miraculous narratives which immediately follow it.

But there is a special characteristic about these two chapters which adds further weight to this consideration. The record of these miracles appears to be placed in this particular connection by express design; for they are narrated with a marked deviation from chronological order. There appears no question, from the narratives of the other evangelists, that the miracles here narrated did not all follow immediately-even if any of them did the delivery of the Sermon on the Mount. St. Matthew would seem to have grouped them together here, with little reference to the order in which they

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