In your issue of Nov. 5, Rev. M. H. James quotes a...

Eastern Morning News

In your issue of Nov. 5, Rev. M. H. James quotes a fragment of a verse from Matthew's Gospel, "They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick," and therefrom deduces Divine authority for the present system of drugs and potions as a means of restoration for the sick. But surely it is only right to examine the context and take the lesson as a whole if we are to avoid falling into error. Jesus was sitting at meat in the house of Matthew the publican, "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."

Why did not this critic quote the whole of the passage? Christ Jesus was careful to guard his words from misinterpretation. Is it not clear from the context quoted that the Christ himself was the physician referred to, and that he will accept the heart that is full of mercy and humility, and not the Pharisaic giver of sacrificial gifts? His mission was not to the self-righteous (see Alford's notes), but to the sinner and to the publican who smote his breast and exclaimed, "God be merciful to me a sinner."

Had Jesus' words on this occasion reference to the sick, or to the sinful? They were addressed to the Pharisees in reference to their objection that he should sit down at the same table with publicans and sinners; the question of bodily sickness had not been mentioned; and. lest his words should be distorted to refer to such bodily sickness, he continued his sentence as quoted above and as omitted by this critic.

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