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selves,. This man blasphemeth. . Who can forgive sins but God only
And immediately, when Jesus perceived in his spirit, that they so reasoned within themselves, he said' unto them, Why. reason ye these things in your hearts ?
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.
-Ard 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 the Jaw, 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 curiosity.. The poor man, who was
disabled by the palsy, was.. certainly thoroughly persuaded in his own mind of our SAVIOUR's ability to heal him, or he would not in his
kelpless condition have risked an experiment which must have put himn 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 convinced of his merciful disposition, and of his power to perform mira. cles. 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
of 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 free quently 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 ohu 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 inward workings of kis 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 his sins were forgiven him. This expression naturally gave offence to the Pharisees, who regarded him as a blasphemer, through they forebore to accuse him as such 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 view; and to convince them that he actua ly had power to distina guish the inward thoagh.s of men, and pronounce par.
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 miracle 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 Spirit 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 Dı. VINE WORD made known through him the gracious purposes of the SUPREME BEING, men would bave re. mained 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,
THE CALL OF MATTHEW. THE DISCUURSE OF
JESUS WITH THE PHARISE ES.
From Mattbew, Chap. ix.-Luke, v. And as JE$US passed forth from thence, he saw a man named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom : and he saith unto him, Follow me,
And he left all, rose up, and followed him. And be 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 to 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. grcom 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
taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse.
Neither do inen 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 were hateful to the Jews 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 undertake it hut 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 thosePublicans 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 fol. lower of CHRIST, was an immediate proof that he, at: least, was not an incorrigible sinner.
See Sect. XY,
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, andi persons of ordinary character, usually called sinners by the Pharisees ;, and our Lord, in token of his
appro. bation of Matthew's conduct, and of his own com. passion 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 our LORD, therefore, represented himself as the physician