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the book I am now preaching to you about) he was a Jew, employed to receive taxes from the people. He was, on that account, called a publican. His office made him much disliked by the people, who always ranked these poor publicans with sinners. Jesus, however, who knew the hearts of men, knew that this man's heart was right, though his situation in life was one, which drew upon him much abusive language. He therefore said to Matthew, follow me. And Matthew, who was a well-disposed man, left the business he was carrying on, and followed Jesus. He received our Sa. viour into his house; and as they sat at meat, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples. When some men, who were high in rank, and so proud also that they thought themselves too good to be with poor sioners, forgetting that they were sinners themselves, saw it, they said to the disciples, If your Master is so good himself, why will he sit down and eat with publicans and sinners ? When Jesus heard it, he said, They that are whole, they that think themselves well, need not a physician, but they who are sick, need one. I keep company with sinners in order to draw them away from their sins: I seek not the company of them who fancy themselves good and will not hear me. I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Now you must know, that the people, who found fault with our Saviour, were bypocrites, unjust,covetous, proud, wicked. Yet they thought, because they were higher in rank, and were outwardly very religious, though inwardly very bad, that they were righteous, they wanted no Saviour, they had too high an opinion of themselves and despised others. Our Sa. viour never liked these proud, and conceited men. He said that the greatest sinners would go to Heaven before these would: because repentant sinners would humble themselves before God, would repent, and God's Holy Spirit would enable them to leave off their sins.
I will not draw any remark from this history, which may lead to wrong notions: but I wish you, my friends, to look upon yourselves in that humble light, as to be the sinners, with whom your Saviour sits, and whom be teaches.
He is not present with you with his body: he is with his Spirit. He came to call sinners to repentance: not them who think themselves righteous already, for who can be so? what man is there who liveth and sinneth not? On you your Saviour calls by me in these words : Come unto me,
that labour and are heavy laden, who' feel the weight of your sins, and I will give you rest: rest from sin here, rest from its punishment hereafter. Take
my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart: think humbly of yourselves: think yourselves sinners, and ye will know my value. Ye shall find rest unto your souls, ye shall, in
all your labours, and in all your distresses, find joy and peace in believing on me: the hopes of Heaven will refresh you: the trust that your Father in Heaven is reconciled to you, will keep up your drooping spirits, whatever ye may suffer in this world; and ye shall find rest, peace, and joy unto your souls, both now, and for ever
And now to God, &c.
ST. MATTHEW ix. 18. While he spake these things unto them,
behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead; but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live.
Oh blessed Jesus, thou didst leave the glory of Heaven, and didst come into the world to seek and to save that which was lost. Thou didst come to be a light to the blind and life to the dead. Thou didst come to turn us from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that we may obtain an inheritance with thee in Heaven, among all them who are sanctified, or made holy by faith in thee.