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Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they murmured against his disciples, saying, Why eateth your Master, and why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, he answering, said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: For I am not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.
And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast, and they come and say unto him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast often, and make prayers, but thy disciples fast not, but eat and drink. And Jesus said unto them, Can ye make the children of the bride-chamber fast and mourn, as long as the Bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. But the days will come, when the Bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.
And he spake also a parable unto them: No man seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment; else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old garment, and the rent is made worse, and the piece that was taken out of the new, agreeth not with the old. And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine will burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles shall perish. But the new wine must be put into new bottles, and both are preserved. No man also having drunk old wine, straightway desireth new, for he saith, The old is better.
Let us view with humble wonder and pleasure this instance of the condescension and grace of the Redeemer in the call of Matthew; his condescension in calling to so near an attendance and so intimate a friendship, a man who was a publican, infamous as that employment was; and his grace, which could immediately inspire him with so firm a resolution of quitting all the profits of it, that he might reduce himself to circumstances of life as precarious as those of his divine
Master. Many, no doubt, censured him as a rash enthusiast, or a lunatic, rather than a sober convert; but he is even now reaping the abundant reward; his loss is gain, and his contempt glory.
There is no reason to wonder that Matthew should gladly embrace so proper an opportunity of introducing other publicans and sinners into the presence of that condescending Saviour, from whom, though he once was numbered among them, he had received grace and the apostleship. Let us with pleasure observe how ready our blessed Lord was to receive them. Surely, whatever offence the proud Pharisees might take on such an occasion, Jesus will appear peculiarly amiable in such a circle as this.
From the example of Christ, and the whole genius of his gospel, let us learn to make all proper allowances to those about us, that we may teach them, and train them up as they are able to bear it; not crushing them under any unnecessary load, nor denying them any indulgence which true friendship will permit us to grant them; lest the good ways of God should be misrepresented, disgraced, abandoned, through our imprudent, though well-meaning, severity; a caution to be peculiarly observed in our conduct towards young persons; and not to be forgotten with respect to those who, like the disciples here in question, are training up for the ministerial office.
MATTHEW VIII. 5-13, 18-34-IX. 1, 10-38, X.-XIV.-MARK II. 23-28-III.—VI.-LUKE VI.-IX. 1-17.-JOHN V. VI.
IN WHICH IS CONTAINED THE PERIOD OF TWELVE MONTHS, FROM THE END OF THE FIRST YEAR'S PREACHING OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, IN THE BEGINNING OF TWENTYEIGHT, TO THE END OF THE SECOND YEAR, IN THE BEGINNING OF TWENTY-NINE.