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Matth. ix. 9.

j&td as ye/us pajfed forth from thence, he,

sfaw a man named Matthew fitting at the

receipt of Cujlom: and he faith unto him,

Follow Me. And he arose and followed

Him. ,.-,'.

T)EHOLD, exclaimed the voice of Prophecy, ere it became silent for four hundred years; Behold the Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his Temple , even the Messenger os the Covenant, in whom ye delight. Behold He shall come, faith the Lord of Hosts (a). The Lord comes to his Temple. The Spirit of the Lord, he cries, is upon Me; because He hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek: He hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to pro

'' ''' (a) Malachi, iii. j.

claim s

tfaim liberty to the captives, to comfort all

that mourn. Come unto Me, and I will give

you rejl. I am He which giveth life unto the

world {b). Does not the world flock to

welcome the invitation? Hear the words

of the Son of God: Ye will not come unto

Me that ye might have life. Many are

called; but few are chosen (c). Such was

$he general result. But among the few

who. obeyed the call, and were chosen,

were those, who became the instruments

of calling unborn multitudes to salvation.

Their voice is gone out through all the earth,

and their words to the end of 'the world (d).

jSuch was St. JMatthew.

In pursuing the history of the Redeemer of the world, the Evangelist is conducted by the cpurse. of his narrative to the most important event of his own life By prbfeflion he was a publican; a collector or* the public revenue, a receiver of tEeHaxes yrhich the Jews paid" to the Roman go^. vernment/ On several accounts the Pul> Ijcans^^were extremely odious to their countryrndn) partly, because it was their Ijiisiness to gather the tribute exacted by

($) Isaiah, Ixi. i, 2. Matth. xi. 28, 29. John, vi. .3.3' 35. [,.'(f)'John, y.c40.. Matth. xxii. 14..

...'^ Psalm xix. 4, ._, '••;..;

G4 the

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the enemy, to whom the land of Israel was now in subjection; partly, because the intercourse .in which their occupation engaged them with foreigners and idolaters, rendered them, in the eyes of their own nation, unclean and profane; and partly, because, in executing their office they were proverbially guilty of extortion, with a view to encrease their own emolument, or to recommend themselves to their rapacious masters. Of the contempt and hatred '*' with which they wene^beheld you discern repeated proofs in the Gospels. When our 5 Lord instructs his disciples, that for a man '& to iove only his brethren and those whb'" love him is a very low degree of Christian * virtue j he impresses this truth by the question; Do not even the publicans this *. sam^t On another occasion, in order toillustrate the extreme disgrace, the com*- '" plete exclusion from-fellowship and brotherhood,.. to be inflicted on every man J who should disobey the apostolical autho- w: rity of the. Church ; - he delivers this direc- * tion: Let him be unto thee as a heathen manr and a Publican. . The condescension '" of Christ ,in ,admittiag Publicans ,into, {6- H:" ciety with..Himdisgusted and scandalised^". * ^ the Pharifisep,- J¥b$ tateth your 'Master 'r'',[ '°, with

with Publicans and finners? Behold a friend, of Publicans and finners! The name of Publican was in fact so detested, that the term finner was almost invariably coupled' with it by the Jews. The extensivenefs and the general truth of the charge of ex-" tortion advanced against the Publicans are confirmed by the reply of John the Baptist, when they came to his baptism, and demanded of him; Majler, what Jhall we' do? ExacJ no more, he answered, than that which is appointed you. Yet from this obnoxious class of men our Lord selected an Apostle. Why? Possibly for various reasons unknown to us, but manifest to the unerring wisdom of the Son of God. Some, however, of his motives appear discernible. By this proceeding he probably designed to abate the extravagant violence of Jewish prejudice against Publicans, and other despised and abhorred portions of the human race; to {hew that he was able and ready to bestow repentance unto life on the vilest-of sinners: and to prove that his Gospel needed not the aid of human favour for its support, but should overcome all opposition through the might of that God, who by the feeblest instrument can accomplish the most arduous purpose.

8 When

When St. Matthew heard the call of Christ, what was his conduct? He arose g.ndfollowed him. Such is his own modest account. St. Luke, in his narrative of the fame transaction, expresses the circumstances more strongly; He left all; rose up, and followed him (e). He immediately abandoned his lucrative employment, forsook his, patrons, his friends, his wealth, his home, to become the constant attendant of a persecuted Master, who had not where; to lay his head. 1 ,,

Jjs any man serve we, faith our Lord, les

him fallow me (f). Every person is called

upon, like this eminent Apostle, to follow

Christ. Every person who would obtain.

salvation, must, like him, leave all, and;

arise, and follow Christ. Not that we are

required, under the ordinary dispensations

of Providence, to relinquish our possessions,

pur occupations, our friends, and our fami*

lies. On .the contrary, we are to.fervp

Christ with our possessions* by ,our ,Occiu,

pations, among ©,ur friends, in the; bosom

of our families. In what; respects then ifi

every one of .us.at present required to leave

all, and to rise and follow Christ? Acr

^cording to the nature of the obligation in 11 ;i'q }rr... i •'•'* r~ "Tt£l T

(/) Luke, v. 28. (f) John, xii. 26.

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