I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
The man who thinks he is not so very bad, is no true penitent. "I am the chief of sinners," said holy Paul, and that is sure to be the feeling of the man who is truly penitent. A good Quaker told me once how he visited a sick neighbour, and began to talk to the man about soul-matters. Religion was all very good, the poor sick man acknowledged, but he could not see what need he had to concern himself abort it, for he had never done anybody any harm in his life. The good Quaker tried to convince him that he had lived without hope and without God in the world, and that he was not fit to die; that he had neither prayed nor worshipped, nor read his Bible, nor trained up his children in the fear of God, and he ought to feel himself a sinner in the sight of his Maker. The good Quaker knelt and prayed with him, and visited him again and again, and began to observe that the man gradually forgot to boast of his innocence; and, at last, seemed to be growing very tender, for he observed him in tears. At last he could conceal his state no longer, but burst out into weeping — "I am too great a sinner," said he; "there is no mercy for me!" "Thank God!" said the good Quaker, "I have hope of thee now. Let us pray once more, and see if there be no mercy for thee." The Quaker prayed, and the poor sinner prayed; and before they gave over, the sinner's soul was set free, and he rejoiced in the pardoning love of God.
Parallel VersesKJV: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.