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his divine mission. He resided at Capernaum, where Jesus had wrought so many illustrious miracles. His house was on the borders of the lake, on which, but a few days before, the voice of the Redeemer had stilled a furious tempest; on which the winds and the waves had acknowledged him as the Lord of nature, and been calm. He beholds the Saviour now surrounded by a vast multitude, who publish aloud the miraculous cure of the paralytic, which has just taken place. Ought he then to have hesitated when Jesus said to him, “ Follow me ?” Besides, these words were doubtless accompanied by a secret energy, a divine power, which he could not resist. No wonder then, that he immediately abandoned his office, in order to attend constantly upon Jesus, to learn his docrines, to witness his miracles, and to be prepared for that important ministry to which Christ destined him.

“ And Levi,” says St. Luke, “ made him a great feast at his own house, and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them.” Perhaps they came, hoping to be made partakers of that grace which Matthew had received; or, more probably, Matthew had invited them, desirous that their hearts might be touched by the instructions of the Saviour. “ What sinner,” exclaims the excellent Bishop Hall, “ can fear to kneel before thee, blessed Jesus, when he sees publicans and sinners sit with thee? Who can fear to be despised of thy meekness and mercy, when thou didst not abhor to converse with the outcasts of men ? Thou didst not despise the thief confessing upon the cross, nor the sinner weeping upon thy feet, nor the Canaanite crying to thee in the way, nor the odious publican, nor the forswearing disciple, nor the persecutor of


disciples, nor thine own executioners ; how can we be unwelcome to thee, if we come with tears in our eyes, and with faith in our hearts. O Saviour, our hearts are too often shut against thee !.thy bosom is. ever open to us !"

The pharisees were offended at this condescension of the Saviour, and addressing his disciples, they insolently asked them, in the hearing of the guests, “ How is it that your master eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners 2” Jesus, overhearing them, 'replied, “ They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick.” . You do not blame the physician for visiting those whose disorders require his aid. I am the physician of souls, and the object of my ministry is to cure them of their sins, and their

Should I not then be with the spiritually sick. They who, like you, have a high opinion of their own righteousness, will not feel their need of me, and there is little hope of benefiting them. But they who, like these publicans, are without this vain conceit of their own excellency, are readily brought to feel that they are sinners, and to prize the physician of souls. Why then, since you acknowledge that they need healing, should you be offended at me for visiting them ?'

My brethren, let this declaration of our Saviour teach us the danger of self-righteousness. There are many who are lost eternally, because confiding on a moral and decent life, they suppose they have little need of Jesus. -A'man who, in dying circumstances, denies his need of help, as effectually destroys himself, as though he swallowed poison, or plunged a dagger in his heart. Deny not then your need of the heavenly Physician. Think not to heal yourself by any self-righteous methods. If, like the

publican, you would go down to your house justified, you must, like him, cry, “God be merciful to me a sinner.”

Let this declaratiou teach us to beware of unbelief. We are apt to make the depth of our misery a reason for despondency. But to doubt the heavenly Physician's power, will be as destructive to the soul as to deny our need of him. Whatever be our spiritual infirmity, we may find a remedy in Christ.

To silence these proud censurers, Jesus also refers them to a passage in the prophet Hosea, “ Go. ye, and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice:” that is, I prefer the exercise of mercy to all the ceremonial worship, and even to sacrifices, which constituted the principal part of it.

The application of this passage is striking. It is as though the Saviour had said, · Even if the ceremonial law forbade us to visit sinners, yet, still, this law ought to be forgotten when it is an obstacle to their conversion; for, since God prefers works of mercy to sacrifices, and since the most excellent of these works is that of converting and saving sinners, he must prefer their conversion to the observation of a rule which prohibits eating with them. Do not then, unreasonably magnify ceremonial duties, at the expense of charity.'

The Saviour adds, “I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” The pharisees, proud of their false righteousness and imaginary perfection, believed that heaven was due to their merits. They even dared to carry their pride to the tribunal of their God, and demand of him a merited reward, instead of pardon. This is strikingly represented to us, by our Lord, in the parable of the pharisee and publican, where the first boasts of his

good works, while the other deplores his sins, confesses them, and supplicates pardon for them. Jesus then, who knew the temper of the pharisees, indirectly says to them, Of what do you complain? It is not for you that I have come. You

suppose yourselves righteous, perfect men. You think


have no need of repentance, and that you have not committed sin. The physician need not go to you, who think you .

have no maladies to cure. It is to those who feel the weight of their sins and miseries, who sigh after pardon and grace, that I must turn. They feel their need of me, they will welcome me.'

Probably the pharisees felt the force of this remark; but in souls of the character of which theirs was, reproof or admonition excites irritation and anger, instead of leading to a salutary compunction. The history of our Saviour abundantly proves this truth. Publicans and sinners were converted, but the pharisees became more and more wicked. Such is too often the unhappy effects of the vices of the mind. They are not perceived or felt, however great they may be. Full of pride, of ambition, of envy,

of cruelty, of malignity, the pharisees still believed themselves saints, because they were not guilty of those gross vices, which we cannot disguise into virtues, por hide from the world, and which draw down the contempt of society. Their pride rendered them incorrigible ; censures, remonstrances, only inflamed them. On the other hand, the vices to which shame is attached, humble the sinner, and prepare him for repentance. Thus the pharisees, who had the vices of the fallen angels, had also their impenitence. Whilst publicans and sinners, who had the vices of corrupted men, repented and reformed.

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Mat. ix. 14-17. Luke viii. 41-56. Mar. ix. 27–

38. x. 1-4.

In our last lecture on the life of our Saviour, you heard him calling Matthew from the receipt of custom, and you beheld this publican cheerfully relinquishing the profits of his office, in order to become a follower of Jesus. You saw him, anxious that his brother-publieans should hear the words of

grace and mercy, which fell from the lips of the Redeemer, inviting them to a festival, which he honoured with his presence. Your hearts were moved at the tender and conclusive vindication of his conduct, which Jesus presented, when the haughty and cruel pharisees murmured that he associated with such persons : + They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

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