But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.
Our Lord makes fasting a duty, but, nevertheless, He excuses the children of the bridechamber while the bridegroom was with them, and then gives, as one reason for excusing them, the inexpediency of prescribing austerities to those yet young in His religion: it would only be likely to alienate and disgust them, driving them back to what they had abandoned, and thus making the rent worse, even as would the new cloth fastened on the old. Attend carefully to this. There is all the difference between keeping a duty entirely out of sight, and enjoining it only at a certain stage in Christian experience. Undoubtedly, as a Christian grows in grace he grows fitted for sacrifices, privations, and endurances, which would have quite overcome him if demanded at an earlier point of his career as a believer; and it is not so much Christian prudence as Christian truth to avoid requiring from the young convert what may justly be required from the practised disciple. If our duties grow, as they certainly do, with our Christian age, it is not merely inexpedient, it is actually erroneous, to ask a beginner to perform a task, or to bear a burden, for which he may not have strength till grown into a veteran.
(H. Melvill, B. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.