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nigh unto them.". Probably he acknowledged and
2 worshipped the true God, who in the beginning had made the heavens and the earth : certainly, however, he honoured him, and built his people a synagogue. And this his simplicity and sincerity, in following the light which he had, was now to meet with its reward.
7. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him.
8. 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.
9. 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.
This reply affords us, first, an example of real humility. The Jews had said of him, He is worthy that this should be done for him ; but he declared of himself, I am not worthy. I have no claim to the distinction of receiving under my roof the Son of God. So it is with every sincere Christian. Others admire and praise them; but they are so intimately aware of their own infirmities, that they cannot take such praise unto themselves; and rejoice in the reflection, that they have something better to depend upon than their own worthiness. And this state of mind is pleasing to God: “He that humbleth himself shall be exalted."
We have further, an example of faith in this centurion. Being a man in authority himself, as well as under authority, he knew what was the effect of authority; he knew that he obeyed the command of his king, and that he had only to say to his servants,
· Deut. iv. 7.
Do this, and they did it. And he believed that Jesus had the same authority, the same power; that he had but to speak the word, and his will should be done; that not only “the winds and the sea," but disease and death, would obey him.
This was what, at that time, men were bound to believe concerning Jesus : they were to own what Nicodemus owned, that “no man could do the miracles that he did, unless God were with him.” This the Jews in general refused to believe; but the centurion had no obstinate prejudices, encouraged no disposition of mind which opposed bis conviction; and the miracles he had seen, or the doctrines he had heard, had produced their proper effect, and wrought in him Faith. And our Lord, who knows what is the state of mind in which faith is wrought, and what is the state of mind which resists the influence of the Holy Spirit, approved his faith, and honoured it with a special mark of favour.
10. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, 3 and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found 80 great faith, no, not in Israel.
11. And I say unto you, that many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.
12. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness : there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
3 He marvelled. The evangelist speaks of the impression which our Lord's manner had upon those who stood by : he had the appearance of surprise. But he “ knew what was in man,” and required no outward proof of it.
Here the great truth is laid open, which the Jews were so unwilling to receive, and which only a special vision led even Peter to acknowledge, that “ in every nation, he that feareth God, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” 4
The reason why it should be so, whilst the children of the kingdom should be cast out, is plain from the history which relates the fact. The book of Acts is full of examples. One will suffice; 5 “ When the Jews saw the multitudes"-saw how many were
”come from the east and west, in order to listen to the words of the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob_“ they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you : but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo! we turn to the Gentiles.” Thus many of the Gentiles became partakers of the patriarchs' faith, and shall hereafter be partakers of their resurrection; whilst the children of the kingdom closed the door of everlasting life against themselves : rejected the word, “ which was able to make them wise unto salvation through faith that is in Christ Jesus." 6
13. And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way, and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.
What is here said to the centurion, is applicable to all, at all times. The language of the Gospel is, As thou hast believed, “according to thy faith,” 80 be it done unto thee. According to our faith in the divine Word, and in Him whom that word makes known to us, so will it be with us all.
4 Acts x. 35.
5 lb. xiii. 46.
0 2 Tim. iii. 15.
May He who sees every heart and knows what is the spirit of every individual, may he give us that true faith on which the promise of everlasting life depends!
SICKNESS HEALED ANSWERS TO A SCRIBE AND
MATT. viii. 14–22.
14. And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever.
15. And he touched her hand, and the fever left her : and she arose, and ministered unto them. 16. When the even was come, they brought unto him
that were possessed with devils ; and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick :
17. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses."
In a double sense he took our infirmities : he became subject to them, that he might take them away: he bore our sicknesses that he might bear our sins ; "bear them in his own body on the tree,” that we might be delivered from their burthen. Therefore the words of Isaiah were fulfilled, “ Truly he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows." And now, by relieving those who were possessed with devils, and healing all that were sick, he gave an earnest of his farther and greater purpose, the deliverauce of their souls.
1 Isa. liii. 4.
18. Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side.
19. And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.
20. And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests ; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
We may suppose that this scribe had witnessed the miracles which Jesus was performing, and saw that “God was with him:"? and believing, with
2 the rest of his countrymen, that the Messiah was to reign like David on an earthly throne, he desired to obtain his favour, by early devoting himself to his service. He might hope for that which the wife of Zebedee asked in behalf of James and John:
Lord, grant that these my sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left in thy kingdom.
If these were the scribe's thoughts, the answer would be a rebuke. Jesus, who “needed not that any should testify of man, for he knew what was in man;" _saw his purpose, and reproved it; as if saying, Thou comest to me, not that thou mayest hear the things that pertain to the kingdom of God,
2 John iii. 1. 3 See Ch. xx. 21. * John ü. 25.