But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
I. OUR LORD DID SOT CHOOSE HIS ASSOCIATES BECAUSE HE LIKED THEM. That may be a proper ground on which to select our private friends. It is not proper for one who has the trust of power which he is to use. Whether he likes it or not, that man must find the sphere in which he can best use his powers. No man ever did really noble work in the world until he learned to put his likes on one side, and just do his duty. But such a man is almost sure to find that a new set of likes grows up round his duty. The refined person does not like rough and rude associations. And the folk that Christ companied with could not have been very pleasing to him. The elegancies and proprieties and gentlenesses of refined society would have suited him better; and we can quite imagine the circle he would have preferred.
II. OUR LORD CHOSE HIS ASSOCIATES IN ORDER TO DO THEM GOOD. He chose them as a teacher chooses his class, he seeks those who need his teaching. As a doctor chooses his patients, he seeks those who need healing. As a Saviour chooses his subjects, he seeks sinners, who need delivering from their sins. Mrs. Fry, for her own sake, would have sought and enjoyed cultivated society. Mrs. Fry, with a conscious power of ministry, sought out the miserable and degraded prisoners. According to our trust we must choose our associates. If we were here on earth only to enjoy, we might properly prefer luxurious Pharisees; but seeing we are here to stand with Christ, and serve, we had better, with him, find out the "publicans and sinners." - R.T.
I will have mercy and not sacrifice.
I. Because it indicates more clearly man's relation to Himself. Cannot judge of man's character by outward ordinances, but when he straggles against sin.
II. Because it is more serviceable to our neighbours, Religious exercises may do us good, a pure life useful to others as well.
III. Because it brings the greatest happiness to us.
(Seeds and Saplings.)I. THAT NATURAL RELIGION IS LIFE FOUNDATION OF ALL INSTITUTED AND REVEALED RELIGION. Our Lord owns that which the Pharisees objected, but purified it —
1. By telling them that it was allowed to a physician no converse with the sick in order to their cure.
2. By endeavouring to convince them of the true nature of religion, and of the order of the several duties thereby required.Natural and moral duties more obligatory than ritual and positive; showing mercy is a prime instance of these moral duties - sacrifice is an instance of positive and ritual observances.
1. That the Jewish Scriptures everywhere speaks of these as the main duties the Jewish religion.
II. THAT NO REVEALED RELIGION WAS EVER DESTINED TO TAKE AWAY THE OBLIGATION OF NATURAL DUTIES, BUT TO ESTABLISH THEM.
1. That all revealed religion calls men to the practice of natural duties.
2. The most perfect revelation that ever God made, furnishes helps for the performance of moral duties.
3. The positive rites of revealed religion are shown to be subordinate to them.
(J. Tillotson, D. D.)
I. THE TENDERNESS OF THE SAVIOUR'S CHARACTER.
1. In connection with what has been revealed to us concerning His mission and life and work. This harmonizes with all the prophetic intimations given of His character. The tenderness of His character has accompanied Him to heaven, a permanent condition of His nature.
II. VIEW THIS COMPASSIONATE ATTRIBUTE OF OUR LORD IN ITS BEARING IN SOME OF THE EXPERIENCES OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE.
1. How should we be comforted by it under our early convictions of sin, and doubts of the Divine forgiveness.
2. It should be comforting under the weakness of our failing hearts, when it is hard to grasp the promise, and faith is uncertain.
3. As it bears upon our slow progress in the Divine life, and fluctuations of religious feeling.
4. In adversity and temptation the Christian has a strong refuge in Christ's tenderness.
5. In death he feels the Saviour's tenderness.
(D. Moore, M. A.)
(J. P. Gledstone.)
I came not to call the righteous.1. He calls sinners by making appeals to the conscience.
2. By preaching an all-sufficient atonement for sin.
3. By means of an offer of reconciliation.
4. By raising in their minds hopes of future glory.
(R. Burgess, B. D.)A young man was recommended to Diogenes for a pupil; and his friends, thinking to give Diogenes a good impression concerning his intending disciple, were very lavish in his praises. "Is it so?" said the old philosopher; "if the youth is so well accomplished to my hands, and his good qualities are already so many, he has no need of my tuition." As little are self-righteous people fit for Christ.
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