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SECTION XVIII.

Chap. ix. ver. 1–17.

CHRIST CURES ONE SICK OF THE PALSY.

1. And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city.

2. And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed :

This is mentioned to show how utterly disabled he was, and to magnify the power of Christ in his cure.

We want it no less, and shall experience it no less, if we apply to him under a sense of our miserable impotence, as the paralytic did. For no doubt he was brought to him at his own desire, and in faith of relief from him. Observe again what faith is, and what it will do for us. It is trust in Christ, and the soul's going out of itself to him for help in all its needs; and to this faith help is never denied. You were brought to him in baptism; and when did you bring yourselves to him for renewed forgiveness, and strength to perform the vow that was then made in

your

names? 2. And Jesus seeing their faith, Both of the man, and those who brought him.

2. Said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, be of good cheer ; tlay sins be forgiven thee.

This was a great deal more than he expected; but we all want forgiveness of our sins from the Lord Jesus Christ, and it shows him to us in his better capacity, and proper office of physician of the soul. No restoration to spiritual health, but by faith in him for the remission of sins.

3. And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth.

Woe be to us if Christ does not do for us what the scribes thought it blasphemy in him to pretend to!

4. And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in

your

hearts ? He knows every thought of your hearts and mine, every moment of our lives; and as the root and guilt of sin is there, there he looks for it. Now see what you have done for yourselves, when you have polished only your outsideș. If you would know yourselves in some measure as Christ does, take his rule into your hands. Never lose sight of the sermon on the mount.

5. For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk ?

One was as easy to him as the other; and he here leads us to the root of all our bodily disorders. We cannot be mistaken in supposing it to be sin, and should be warned by them to make diligent search into ourselves for it. Not that we have any warrant to conclude from hence, that men are greater or less sinners, as they are, or are not, afflicted in their bodies.

6. But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on ,

on the Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. clowns 7. And he arose, and departed to his house.

立 The first time Christ said, “ Thy sins be forgiven thee;" the second time, he said, “ Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.' Now mark the consequence of forgiveness: it restores us to a power of working, and sets us free to do the will of God.

8. But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.

You now hear this, that you may glorify God for his power in you.

sence.

9. And as Jesus passed forth from thience, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.

Matthew was in a way of great gain, and yet at the call of Christ he was divorced from it in a moment. Behold the miracle wrought upon the soul! and think it not less than any other of which you read.

“ And he arose and followed him.” Lord, speak thy word with power into the depth of our souls, and we shall follow thee. Farewell all such love of the world as would keep us from Christ.

10. And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinvers came, and sat down with him and his disciples.

He is still the same condescending Jesus, and, sinners as we are, always ready to admit us into his pre

If men do not think themselves too good to come to him, he thinks none too bad,

11. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners ?

The Pharisees were pretenders to great strictness, conceited of their own righteousness, and, defective as it was, trusted in it for salvation : which of all things is the most contrary to Christ and his gospel. And therefore he, who at other time was all mildness, censured them as severely as they did others; detecting upon all occasions their hypocrisy, pride, and self-ignorance, and admonishing the people to beware of them.

“Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners ?" Meaning that they themselves were not sinners, and that he disgraced himself by eating with them. Hast thou nothing of this disposition, no lofty opinion of thy own virtue, no proud disdain of poor sinners, as if they were beneath thy notice, and their company would be a stain to thy purity ?

12. But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.

Sin then, in the judgment of Christ, is sickness; and a deadly one too, if he does not take it away. But who are they that are so whole as to have no need of him ? I appeal to your own conscience whether it be yourself. Are you then come to him with your sickness, and are you in his hands for a cure, trusting in his skill, and following his directions, as you would in the case of a dangerous bodily distemper?

13. 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.

Sacrifice was a prescribed part of their worship, not to be omitted. The meaning is, that mercy, or compassion to the souls and bodies of men, is by far the most acceptable worship we can pay to God, and that in the want of it no other is of any value.

I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Here, again, let us ask our own hearts whether we are of the number of those who strictly need no repentance, if there be any such. The truth is, all have need of Christ, but those only obtain healing from him, who feel their distemper, and know their want of him : the self-righteous, who say in the pride of their hearts, “ Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners," must for ever be what they are, that is, absolutely unrighteous, except they come to a better knowledge of themselves.

14. Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not ?

Probably, those who asked the question had a very high opinion of themselves for their fasting. He answers them, that all times are not alike proper for it, nor all persons alike capable of it.

15. And Jesns said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them ? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.

They will act unsuitably to their circumstances, if they do not.

16. No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment: for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse.

So old and tender, as not to bear a piece of new stiff cloth.

17. Neither do men put new wine into old bottles : else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish : but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.,

Bottles made of skins, which, if old, would burst, instead of stretching with the new fermenting liquor: signifying by both instances, that his disciples were yet but in a weak state, and must not have too much imposed upon them.

Not that they were always to continue weak. Fasting is not here denied, and at other times is supposed by Christ to be a duty; it has the example of all ages, and all holy persons to recommend it, and will be found a proper means to confirm and quicken us in our Christian progress, when used for right ends,-to conquer our appetites, wean our hearts from the world, examine and humble ourselves, and draw nigh to God. Bodily infirmities may be an exemption, but let every man be sincere with himself.

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