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Jesus Feasting With Publicans and Sinners

Jesus Feasting With Publicans and Sinners

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Published by glennpease
BY THOMAS ARNOLD, D.D.



Luke, v. 29.



And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there
was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down
with them.
BY THOMAS ARNOLD, D.D.



Luke, v. 29.



And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there
was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down
with them.

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Published by: glennpease on Oct 04, 2013
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JESUS FEASTING WITH PUBLICANS AND SINNERSBY THOMAS ARNOLD, D.D.Luke, v. 29.And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and therewas a great company of publicans and of others that sat downwith them.The text on which I have been speaking for thetwo last Sundays, describes our Lord as continuallysurrounded by a multitude of persons who wereconstantly coming and going, a moving crowd,full of curiosity to hear a prophet of whom theyhad heard so much, and hopiug too to see some of his wonderful miracles performed before them.The verse which I have now chosen from St. Lukeshows him nearly in the same situation : he was aguest at a great feast, at which a great company of publicans and others sat down with him. And wesee, from what immediately follows, of what sortof character wore many of the persons thus assem-bled ; because the Pharisees directly asked OUTLord's disciples, " Why eateth your Master withpublicans and sinners ?"No doubt, in some respects, our Lord's peculiar222 SERMON XXIII.character as a prophet makes his example some-what different from the case of common persons.He is not mentioned as doing many things which
 
we, in the mere discharge of our common duties,not only may, but must do. We cannot, nor oughtwe, in a literal sense, to go about doing good : wehave our own homes, and our own settled callings ;and it would be only producing wild confusion,if we were all to think of deserting them. Yetstill our Lord's example is applicable to us allmore or less : it teaches us what sort of employ-ment is always, perhaps, so far as we can pursue it,the most useful to our souls ; it shows us, at anyrate, what business there is which we can none of us safely neglect altogether ; for that which Christdid always, Christ's servants cannot certainly be justified if they never do. And this business con-sists in mixing with others, not in the mere line of our trade or calling, and still less for mere pur-poses of gaiety ; but the mixing with others,neither for business nor yet for pleasure, but in thelargest sense of the word, for charity.It will, then, be seen how many persons thereare who have need to be reminded of this duty.They who really live mostly to themselves are, in-deed, in these days very few; and embrace onlythat small number of persons whose time is prin-cipally spent in study ; that is, men who are de-voted to literature or science. But those who,SERMON XXIII. 2'2:)while they mix with others, yet do it in the line of their business, or for pleasure's sake, include a verylarge portion of the world indeed. Statesmen,lawyers, soldiers, sailors, tradesmen, merchants,farmers, labourers, all are necessarily brought muchinto contact with their fellow-men ; there is nodanger of their living in loneliness. And personsof no profession, the young, and women of all ages,
 
in the richer classes especially, they too desiresociety for the pleasure of it ; they think it dull tolive out of the world. Yet it is very possible thatneither of these two large classes of people maymix with others in the way that Christ mixed withthem ; they may do it for business or for pleasure,but not for charity. And I said that I used theword charity in its largest sense, meaning by it, " adesire to do good to others in body or soul ;" forit is by no means right to confine it to that nar-row sense only, in which it merely means, " reliev-ing the bodily wants of the poor."To those then who are not inclined to be idle,but who, whether from necessity or from activityof mind, are sure to have plenty of employment ;nay, who may be so much engrossed by it that itleaves them, as was the case with Christ, " DOleisure so much as to eat," it becomes of greatconsequence, not only that they should be as busyas Christ was, but that part of their business, atleast, should be of the same kind; not only thai224 SERMON XXIII.they should be fully employed, but that their em-ployment may, in part at least, be of that sort, as,when they fail, may cause them to be received intoeverlasting habitations.A vast field of consideration here opens beforeus ; as vast, indeed, as the various situations whichmen fill in the world, and the various ways inwhich they may do works of charity. But it willbe better, perhaps, to choose such points, out of the multitude which might be noticed, as seemmost likely to suit our particular circumstanceshere.

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