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Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for their's is the kingdom of heaven.” Such was the commencement of our Saviour's exhortations to his followers; and we must confess, that here are virtues brought to notice which hitherto had remained undiscovered ; and here are perfections praised, which, as yet, were unknown: and the precepts which follow, and the explanations of the law which succeed, are worthy of such a beginning. Men had heretofore yielded to the corruption of their natures, and had attributed too much consequence to those affections of the mind which were showy and specious, while they had too much despised humility and mildness; ambition and pride had been considered great and noble, while humble content, and patience under afflictions, had been regarded as weakness and pusillanimity. He, therefore, who could dare thus to oppose men's conceptions and desires ; who could, so boldly and so fearlessly, contradict their passions and their prejudices, must himself have been more than man; “Truly he was the Son of God.” . pin
: Another peculiarity in our Saviour's mode of teaching, which is a proof, at least, of the superiority of his intellect, is the great number and variety of his parables. The more ancient Scriptures, indeed, contain a few parables; and it is well known that stories of this description were very acceptable to oriental nations. But the multiplicity of subjects on which our Lord touched by means of his, the great variety of materials from whence he drew them, and the almost innumerable occasions upon which he made use of them, at once shew the power of his mind, and the inexhaustible nature of his intellectual resources.
The miracles which he wrought, the nature of them, and the mode in which he performed them, is another proof of Christ's divinity. He “went about doing good!,” “ healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease ?." He sacrificed every personal advantage, that he might contribute to the benefit of others; he refused no labour by which he might alleviate the distresses of mankind. Through him “ the blind received their sight, and the lame walked; the lepers were cleansed, and the deaf heard ; the dead were raised up, and the poor had the Gospel preached unto them 3.” Although his mission, in its original purpose, was to the lost sheep of the house of Israel 4,” yet he refused not the benefit of his assistance to such of the Gentiles or Samaritans who applied to him. He was like his heavenly Father, “who sends down his rain upon the just and upon the unjust, and maketh his sun to shine upon the evil and upon the
He was “ truly the Son of
Our Lord was pleased also to give certain of his disciples a visible and outward proof of his divinity, in permitting them to behold him when clothed with that glorious array with which, we believe, he is adorned in his Father's kingdom. He took three of his disciples into a high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them. His face did shine as the sun, and his garment was white as the light; and there appeared Moses and Elias talking with him. And from out of a cloud, which overshadowed them, proceeded a voice, “ This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him ?." Was not he, to whom this evidence was given, “ truly the Son of God ?"
And this we may also learn from his presence of mind, and the readiness of his replies upon all emergencies. It is well known that, from the very first of his appearance in public, when he began, in his own person, to teach the multitude, and to put to silence those who had hitherto been their instructors, that these latter, the Scribes and Pharisees, were instantly excited by the passions of envy, hatred, and malice, against him, and that they actually watched his words with the hope of catching hold of some expression or other, which they might turn into a subject of accusation.
* Matt. v. 45.
2 Matt. xvii. 5.
But, resolved as they were to effect this, and prepared as they were to entrap him, although he was surrounded continually by them, and though they actually sent out spies for the purpose, yet not even in a single instance did he give them the opportunity which they wished. If we consider his answers only in a worldly point of view, if we look upon them only as the efforts of human ability, what a beauty -and propriety shall we find in them. We may instance, in particular, the mode in which he evaded pronouncing the extreme sentence of the law on the woman taken in adultery, at the same time that he did not at all palliate her