But go and learn what that means, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
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Prophyry and the Emperor Julian insist from this account, that either the historian is to be charged with falsehood, or those who so readily followed the Saviour with haste and temerity; as if He called any without reason. They forget also the signs and wonders which had preceded, and which no doubt the Apostles had seen before they believed. Yea the brightness of effulgence of the hidden Godhead which beamed from his human countenance might attract them at first view. For if the loadstone can, as it is said, attract iron, how much more canthe Lord of all creation draw to Himself whom He will!.
But they had seen the Publican turning from sins to better things, and finding place of repentance, and on this account they do not despair of salvation. It should be observed, that when the disciples seemed to be doing what was sinful, these same addressed Christ, "Behold, thy disciples are doing what it is not allowed to do on the Sabbath.” Here they speak against Christ to His disciples, both being the part of malicious persons, seeking to detach the hearts of the disciple from the Master.
For they do not come to Jesus while they remain in their original condition of sin, as the Pharisees and Scribes complain, but in penitence, as what follows proves; “But Jesus hearing said, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.”.
Hosea 6:5: This text from Osee is directed against the Scribes and Pharisees, who, deeming themselves righteous, refused to keep company with Publicans and sinners.