Lord Ashley and the Thieves.
‘they that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick,’ was the significant answer of our Lord
to the self-righteous Pharisees who took offence at his companions,—the poor, the degraded, the weak, and the sinful.
‘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.’
The great lesson of duty inculcated by this answer of the Divine Teacher
has been too long overlooked by individuals and communities professedly governed by His maxims.
The phylacteries of our modern Pharisees are as broad as those of the old Jewish
The respectable Christian
detests his vicious and ill-conditioned neighbors as heartily as the Israelite did the publicans and sinners of his day. He folds his robe of self-righteousness closely about him, and denounces as little better than sinful weakness all commiseration for the guilty; and all attempts to restore and reclaim the erring violators of human law otherwise than by pains and penalties as wicked collusion with crime, dangerous to the stability and safety of society, and offensive in the sight of God.
And yet nothing is more certain than that, just in proportion as the example of our Lord
has been followed in respect to the outcast and criminal, the effect has been to