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selves, This man blasphemeth. Who can forgive sins but God only?

And immediately, when Jesws perceived in his spirit, that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts i

Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy,

Thy sins be forgiven thee: or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? /....:

But that ye may know that the Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins (he saith to the sick of the palsy) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.

And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house,. glorifying God.

And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange - things to-day.

''

ANNOTATIONS And REFLECTIONS.

It is supposed that the Pharisees and doctors of thelaw, who resorted to our Saviour on this occasion,. came with a view of furnishing themselves with matter of accusation against him; as they were greatly alarmed lest his doctrine should prevail, to the subversion of their own. Conscious that he had divine power, by which he was able to counteract their wicked designs, our Lord. continued to instruct his numerous followers as usual. The report of his being thus attended attracted general cariosity... ,. t'

The poor man, who was so disabled by the palsy, was certainly thoroughly persuaded in his own mind of our Saviour's ability to heal hihi,. or he would not in his

helpless helpless condition hare risked an experiment whichr must have put him to great inconvenience; neither' would his friends, who carried him, have taken such pains to place him in a situation to engage our Lord's attention, unless they also had been cdHvinced of his merciful disposition, and of his power to perform miracles. We must not, however, suppose, that they conveyed the man to the top of such a high house, roofed with beams and rafters, and' then covered entirely with laths and tiles, for this was totally impracticable The houses in the eastern countries consisted of one story or ground floor, and had flat roofs, with a kind of gallery at the top: in the roof was a door which communicated with the apartments; and there was frequently a ladder or stairs on the outside; by these stairs; the paralytic man was doubtless carried up, and let through the door of the roof. His bed being borne of four, most probably was something of the carpet or. blanket kind.

When the poor afflicted creature had thus far obi. tained his desire, he seems to have been apprehensive that his sins would occasion him to be rejected: our Lord, to shew that he knew the inwaTd workings of his mind, and at the same time.to revive the drooping:. spirits of one whose humble penitence and faith rendered him an object of divine compassion, assured him: that hissins were forgiven him. This.expression natural'y gave offence to the Pharisees, who regarded. him asI a. blasphemer, though they forebore to accuse him as sucfi at that time; intending, it is likely, to produce his own words as evidence against him in the great council but their malicious designs were opened to his viewiahd to convince them that he actua ly had power to d.stin-' guish the inward though. s of men, and.prorfounce parF 6 dbi

don to the penitent, our Lord immediately healed the man, and then appealed to their own reason to determine, whether it was not as easy to forgive sins, as to enable a paralytic man to walk.

Surely this ifliracle alone was sufficient to shew, that our Saviour was by nature more than human; for he performed it by a power inherent in him, and not as a minister or servant of the Lord. Let us then, like the man who was cured, and the multitude that beheld the astonishing transacion, glorify God, who, by a communication of his Holy Spirit and Divine Word to one born of a woman, gave him discernment to judge with unerring wisdom and perfect equity, and authority to acquit or condemn. the innocent or guilty. Had not the SrmiT of Jehovah rested upon Jesus, he would not have been constantly and fully acquainted with the secret motives of the actions of men. Had not the DiVine Word made known through him the gracious purposes of the Supreme Being, men would have remained in a state of uncertainty, in respect to the for. giveness of sins: neither could they have discovered the will of their heavenly Father, as the knowledge of these things is beyond the reach of human reason and unassisted by divine revelation.

SECTION XXXII.

CALL OF MATTHEW. THE DISCOURSE Or

JESUS WITH THE PHARISEES.

From Matthew, Chap. ix.—Luke, v.

And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a atan named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me,

And

And he left all, rose up, and fpllowed him. And he made a great feast in his house.

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

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

But when Jesus heard that, he 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 t» call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

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

And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bride.chamber' mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bride, groom shall be taken from them, and then they shall fast.

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

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.

ANNOTATIONS And REFLECTIONS. * It has already been mentioned, that the Publicans • See Sett IT.

were were hateful to the Jew* in general, on account of their office; but the Pharisees entertained against them the most inveterate aversion and contempt, and disdained to hold any intercourse with them. Their employment was in its nature disgraceful, and few would undertakeit but men greedy of gain, who regarded not the honour of the. nation: it is likely, however, that there were some amongst them who were of a different character ^ that engaged in the business merely for a maintenance, and executed it with integrity. Our Saviour, who knew all hearts, disapproved the motives on which the Pharisees hatred of this set of people was founded, and at the same time pitied the unhappy situation of those. Publicans who lay under an odium they did not deserve: he therefore resolved to shew, by his own divine example, that no person should be despised merely for. his profession; and the readiness with which Matthew forsook the profits of his. employment, to become a follower of Christ, was an immediate proof that he, at least, was not an incorrigible sinner.

As a testimony of his gratitude, Matthew prepared a; liberal entertainment soon after his call, to which he invited, in hopes that they also might become objects of our Saviour's kindness, a number of publicans, and: persons of ordinary character, usually called sinners by the Pharisees ; . and our Lord, in token of his approbation of Matthew's conduct, and of his own compassion for sinners, took his place amongst them. This,. we find, was considered by the Pharisees as a very. scandalous action, and they questioned his disciples in a reproachful manner concerning the meaning of it; to. which he condescended to reply. It was the peculiar business of the Messiah to convert and save sinners; cur Lord, therefore, represented himself as the physician i of

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