Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Read Chapter 11
Augustine of Hippo
You are to “take my yoke upon you, and learn from me.” You are not learning from me how to refashion the fabric of the world, nor to create all things visible and invisible, nor to work miracles and raise the dead. Rather, you are simply learning of me: “that I am meek and lowly in heart.” If you wish to reach high, then begin at the lowest level. If you are trying to construct some mighty edifice in height, you will begin with the lowest foundation. This is humility. However great the mass of the building you may wish to design or erect, the taller the building is to be, the deeper you will dig the foundation. The building in the course of its erection rises up high, but he who digs its foundation must first go down very low. So then, you see even a building is low before it is high and the tower is raised only after humiliation.
Stand apart from the inclination to love sin and to love the flesh. Turn to deeds worthy of praise. Draw near to me, so that you may become sharers of the divine nature and partakers of the Holy Spirit. Jesus called everyone, not only the people of Israel. As the Maker and Lord of all, he spoke to the weary Jews who did not have the strength to bear the yoke of the law. He spoke to idolaters heavy laden and oppressed by the devil and weighed down by the multitude of their sins. To Jews he said, “Obtain the profit of my coming to you. Bow down to the truth. Acknowledge your Advocate and Lord. I set you free from bondage under the law, bondage in which you endured a great deal of toil and hardship, unable to accomplish it easily and accumulating for yourselves a very great burden of sins.”
3. Next, having brought them by His words to an earnest desire, and having signified His unspeakable power, He after that invites them, saying, Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 Not this or that person, but all that are in anxiety, in sorrows, in sins. Come, not that I may call you to account, but that I may do away your sins; come, not that I want your honor, but that I want your salvation. For I, says He, will give you rest. He said not, I will save you, only; but what was much more, I will place you in all security.
We are naturally obliged to state our opinion clearly to such people, and to reply: O, you! Why do you reason to your own perdition rather than your salvation? And why do you pick out for yourselves the obscure passages of inspired Scripture and then tear them out of context and twist them in order to accomplish your own destruction? Do you not hear the Savior crying out every day: “As I live … I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live” [Ezekiel 33:11]? Do you not hear Him Who says: “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” [Matthew 3:2]; and again: “Just so, I tell you, there is joy in heaven over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:7, adapted)? Did He ever say to some: “Do not repent for I will not accept you,” while to others who were predestined: “But you, repent! because I knew you beforehand”? Of course not! Instead, throughout the world and in every church He shouts: “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will ...
He calls all mankind, not only the Jews, but also the Gentiles. By those "that labour" understand the Jews, who follow the strict observances of the law and labor in the occupation of fulfilling the commandments of the law. Those who are "heavy laden" are the Gentiles, who are oppressed by the burden of sins. To all these does Christ give rest. For to believe, to confess, and to be baptized, what labor is it? Is it not, rather, rest? For here in this life you are unburdened of the things which you did before your baptism, and there in the next life rest awaits you.