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the world an ideal character, which, through all the changes of eighteen centuries, has shown itself capable of acting on all ages, nations, temperaments, and conditions; has been not only the highest pattern of virtue, but the strongest incentive to its practice, and has exercised so deep an influence that it may truly be said that the simple record of three short years of active life has done more to regenerate and soften mankind than all the disquisitions of philosophers and all the exhortations of moralists."1

Jesus taught by example before He taught by word. We are drawn toward Him more by the charm of His life than by the sublimity of His doctrine and the eloquence of His speech. The sermons of our Saviour inspire us indeed with esteem for virtue, but His conduct stimulates us to the practice of it. Never did any man speak as Jesus spoke. The most admired discourse that He ever delivered was the Sermon on the Mount. But even the Sermon on the Mount yields in force to the Sermon from the Cross. And if, like the Scribes and Pharisees, our Lord had restricted His mission to the preaching of the word, without illustrating that word by His glorious example, He never would have wrought that mighty moral revolution which has regenerated the world, nor would He be adored to-day by millions of disciples from the rising to the setting sun. When asked by the disciples

'Lecky, European Morals, II., 8-9.

of John whether He was the true Messiah, He laid more stress on His deeds than on His preaching. "Go," He says, "and relate to John what you have heard and seen. The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, . . . the poor have the Gospel preached to them.”1

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When we hear our Saviour saying on the Mount: "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven," we are impressed with the sublimity of His teaching. But when we see Him acting out His words: "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air nests: but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head,"3-oh, then, we are made to feel the blessedness of voluntary poverty; we cherish and embrace our Teacher, who, when He was rich, became poor for our sake. When we hear Him say: "He that exalteth himself shall be humbled, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted," we admire the virtue of humility. But when we see Him at the Last Supper laying aside His upper garments, girding Himself with a towel, pouring water into a basin, and washing the feet of His disciples, then that virtue assumes for us special attractions. When we hear Him say: "Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy,' 99 we are delighted with His doctrine. But we are more profoundly moved when we witness His compassion for the hungering multitude in the desert, and His mercy shown to the erring Magdalen. 'When He says: “If Matt. VIII., 20.

1 Matt. XI., 4, 5. 2 Matt. V., 3.

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you will not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive you," He is clothing an old commandment in new words. But when He prays from the cross for His executioners: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do," He gives a sublime lesson of forgiveness never before exhibited by sage or prophet.

When we listen to these words: "Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice's sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for My sake," we are in admiration at His doctrine. But when we behold the innocent Lamb Himself accused of being a blasphemer, a seditious man, and a disturber of the public peace, we are consoled in our trials and calumny loses its sting.

Beautiful above the sons of men was Jesus in His glorious transfiguration; but far more beautiful is He to us when suspended from the Cross. The crown of thorns is more comforting to us than the halo that encircles His brow on Mount Tabor.

Our Saviour excels the philosophers as well in His moral teaching as in His personal virtues.

There is not a single principle of the natural law, there is not a healthy moral precept of sages or legislators, nor any commandment of the Decalogue, that is not engrafted on the Evangelical Code; for Christ came not to destroy, but to fulfil the law.2

1 See Ecclus. XXVIII., 3, 4.

* Matt. V., 17.

The Christian religion appropriates all that is good, preserving the gold and eliminating the dross.

The moral teachings of our Saviour are as much superior to the Jewish law as the Jewish law itself surpassed all the Gentile moral codes. The Christian religion is more searching, more exacting, more specific in its obligations than the Mosaic legislation. The latter regulated chiefly the exterior conduct, the former guides the movements of the heart; the one forbade the overt act, the other the evil intention; the one condemned the crime of bloodshed, the other prohibits the sin of anger; the one demanded retaliation for injuries received, the other enjoins forgiveness of injuries; the one required us to love our friends, the other bids us love our enemies. "You have heard that it was said to them of old: Thou shalt not kill. And whosoever shall kill, shall be in danger of the judgment. But I say to you, that whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of the judgment.

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"You have heard that it was said to them of old : Thou shalt not commit adultery. But I say to you, that whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her, hath already committed adultery with her in his heart.

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"You have heard that it hath been said: An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you not to resist evil: but if one strike thee on thy right cheek, turn to him also the other..

"You have heard that it hath been said: Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thy enemy. But

I say to you: Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you; and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you: That you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven, who maketh His sun to rise upon the good and the bad, and raineth upon the just and the unjust. For if you love them that love you, what reward shall you have? Do not even the tax-gatherers the same? And if you salute your brethren only, what do you more? Do not also the heathen this? Be ye, therefore, perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect."1

The intrinsic excellence of the Christian moral code is enhanced by its broad and comprehensive spirit adapting itself to all times and circumstances, to all races and forms of government, and sympathizing with every class of society.

Unlike the national religion of the Jews, the Christian religion proclaims the law of universal brotherhood. Unlike the sanguinary religion of Mohammed, which subsists only under despotic rule, and which demands the surrender of one's faith as the highwayman demands the traveler's purse, at the point of the sword, the Christian religion flourishes under every system of government, from an absolute monarchy to the freest republic. Unlike the school of the Pagan philosophers, which was restricted to a narrow circle of disciples, the Gospel of Christ is proclaimed to Jew and Gentile, Greek and barbarian, to bond and free.

1 Matt. V., 21-48.

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