The Fourfold Gospel
7:1 After he had ended all his sayings in the ears of the people, he entered into Capernaum1.
HEALING THE CENTURION'S SERVANT
Matthew 8:1,5-13; Luke 7:1-10
- After he had ended all his sayings in the ears of the people, he entered into Capernaum. See Matthew 8:1.
7:2 And a certain centurion's servant1, who was dear unto him, was sick and at the point of death.
- A certain centurion's servant. A slave boy.
7:3 And when he heard concerning Jesus1, he sent unto him elders of the Jews, asking him that he would come and save his servant2.
- And when he heard concerning Jesus. The sequel shows that the centurion had probably heard how Jesus had healed the son of his
fellow-townsman. See John 4:46-54.
- He sent unto him elders of the Jews, asking him that he would come and save his servant. See Matthew 8:5.
7:4 And they, when they came to Jesus, besought him earnestly, saying, He is worthy that thou shouldest do this for him1;
- Saying, He is worthy that thou shouldest do this for him. The centurion evidently believed in and worshiped God, but, influenced
probably by his profession, did not become a proselyte by being
circumcised and conforming entirely to the Mosaic law. He was what
later Jews would have termed a Proselyte at the Gate, and not a
full-fledged Proselyte of Righteousness.
7:5 for he loveth our nation, and himself built us our synagogue1.
- For he loveth our nation, and himself built us our synagogue. The ruins of Capernaum show the ruins of a synagogue. It was a beautiful
structure, built of white limestone, shows by its architectural
features that it was built in the time of the Herods, and there is
little doubt that it is the one which this pious Gentile erected, and
in which Jesus taught and healed. On the synagogue, see Mark 1:39.
7:6 And Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself; for I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof1:
- For I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof. See Matthew 8:8.
7:7 wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee1: but say the word, and my servant shall be healed2.
- Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee. The centurion, well knowing that it was unlawful for Jews to go into the
houses of the Gentiles, lest they should sully the sanctity which they
desired to maintain, wished to spare Jesus any embarrassment. Whatever
he may have thought of this custom with regard to the Pharisees, he
attributed to Jesus so high a degree of sanctity that he accepted the
doctrine as true in reference to him.
- But say the word, and my servant shall be healed. See Matthew 8:8.
7:8 For I also am a man set under authority1, having under myself soldiers: and I say to this one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.
- For I also am a man set under authority. See Matthew 8:9.
7:9 And when Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him1, and turned and said unto the multitude that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
- And when Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, etc. See Matthew 8:10.
7:10 And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole1.
- And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole. The centurion, long before this when he was building the
synagogue, had doubtless heard with delight concerning the wonderful
works wrought by the mighty prophets in the olden time; he little
dreamed that his own eyes should see them all surpassed.
7:11 And it came to pass soon afterwards, that he went to a city called Nain1; and his disciples went with him, and a great multitude2.
JESUS RAISES THE WIDOW'S SON.
(At Nain in Galilee.)
- A city called Nain. Nain lies on the northern slope of the mountain, which the Crusaders called Little Hermon, and between twenty
and twenty-five miles south of Capernaum, and about two miles west of
Endor. At present it is a small place with about a dozen mud hovels,
but still bears its old name, which the Arabs have modified into Nein.
It is situated on a bench in the mountain about sixty feet above the
- And a great multitude. We find that Jesus had been thronged with multitudes pretty continuously since the choosing of his twelve
7:12 Now when he drew near to the gate of the city, behold, there was carried out one that was dead1, the only son of his mother2, and she was a widow3: and much people of the city was with her4.
- There was carried out one that was dead. Places of sepulture were outside the towns, that ceremonial pollution must be avoided. To this
rule there was an exception. The kings of Judah were buried in the city
of David (2 Kings 16:20; 2 Kings 21:18,26).
- The only son of his mother. The death of an only child represented to them as to us the extreme of sorrow (Jeremiah 6:26; Amos 8:10; Zechariah 12:10).
- And she was a widow. But in this case the sorrow was heightened by the fact that the mother was a widow, and hence evidently dependent
upon her son for support. Her son had comforted her in her first loss
of a husband, but now that her son was dead, there was none left to
- And much people of the city was with her. The Jews were careful to give public expression to their sympathy for those who were bereaved
7:13 And when the Lord saw her1, he had compassion on her2, and said unto her, Weep not3.
- And when the Lord saw her. Some take this use of the phrase "the Lord" as an evidence of the late date at which Luke wrote his Gospel;
but the point is not well taken, for John used it even before Jesus
ascension (John 21:7).
- He had compassion on her. As the funeral procession came out of the gate, they met Jesus with his company coming in. Hence there were many
witnesses to what followed. But the miracle in this instance was not
wrought so much attest our Lord's commission, or to show his power, as
to do good. As Jesus had no other business in Nain but to do good, we
may well believe that he went there for the express purpose of
comforting this forlorn mother. Compare John 11:1-5.
- And said unto her, Weep not. Good blessings may come to us when reason speaks and God's wise judgment answers; but we get our best
blessings when our afflictions cry unto him and his compassion replies.
7:14 And he came nigh and touched the bier1: and the bearers stood still2. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise3.
- And he came nigh and touched the bier. The Greek word "soros", here translated "bier", may mean a bier or coffin, and the authorities are
about equally divided as to which it was. It was more likely a
stretcher of boards, with the pallet or bed upon it, and the body of
the young man wrapped in linen lying upon the bed. Coffins, which were
common in Babylon and Egypt, were rarely used by the Jews, save in the
burial of people of distinction; and, if we may trust the writing of
the later rabbis, the burial of children. When they were used, the body
was placed in them, and borne without any lid to the place of
sepulture. We find no coffin in the burial of Lazarus or Jesus.
- And the bearers stood still. Jesus was, no doubt, known to many in Nain, and it is no wonder that those who bore the bier stood still
when he touched it. Though we cannot say that he had raised the dead
prior to this, we can say that he had healed every kind of disease
known among the people, and therefore his act would beget a reasonable
expectancy that he might do something even here.
- And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. Here, as in the other instances where Jesus revived the dead, we find that he issues a
personal call to the party whose remains are before him. It suggests
the sublime thought that he has as full dominion and authority over the
unseen as over the seen; and that should he issue a general call, all
the dead would revive again as obediently and immediately as did the
single one to whom he now spoke (John 5:28,29). The command of Jesus,
moreover, is spoken with the ease and consciousness of authority known
only to Divinity. Compare the dependent tone of Simon Peter (Acts 3:6).
7:15 And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak1. And he gave him to his mother2.
- And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. Thus showing that not only life, but also health and strength, were restored.
- And he gave him to his mother. As the full fruitage of his compassion. The scene suggests that Christ will, with his own hands,
restore kindred to kindred in the glorious morning of resurrection.
7:16 And fear took hold on all: and they glorified God1, saying, A great prophet is arisen among us2: and, God hath visited his people3.
- And fear took hold on all: and they glorified God. Because the power of God had been so signally manifested among them. They
recognized the presence of God's power and mercy, yet by no means
apprehended the nearness of his very person.
- Saying, A great prophet is arisen among us. Expectation of the return of one of the prophets was at that time widely spread. See
Luke 9:8,19. That they should esteem Jesus as no more than a prophet
was no wonder, for as yet even his apostles had not confessed him as
the Christ. In state and conduct Jesus appeared to them too humble to
fulfill the popular ideas of Messiahship. But in wisdom and miracle he
outshone all God's former messengers.
- And, God hath visited his people. The "visiting" of God refers to the long absence of the more strikingly miraculous powers of God as
exercised through the prophets. None had raised the dead since the days
of Elisha (2 Kings 4:32-37).
7:17 And this report went forth concerning him in the whole of Judaea1, and all the region round about.
- And this report went forth concerning him in the whole of Judaea,
- and all the region round about. This great miracle caused the fame of Jesus to fill all Judea as well as Galilee. It seems, from what next
follows, to have reached John the Baptist in his prison on the east of
the Dead Sea. See Matthew 11:2.
7:18 And the disciples of John told him of all these things.
THE BAPTIST'S INQUIRY AND JESUS' DISCOURSE SUGGESTED THEREBY.
Matthew 11:2-30; Luke 7:18-35
7:19 And John calling unto him two of his disciples1 sent them to the Lord, saying, Art thou he that cometh, or look we for another?
- John calling unto him two of his disciples. See Matthew 11:2.
7:20 And when the men were come unto him, they said, John the Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that cometh, or look we for another1?
- Art thou he that cometh, or look we for another? See Matthew 11:3.
7:21 In that hour he cured many of diseases and plagues and evil spirits1; and on many that were blind he bestowed sight.
- In that hour he cured many of diseases and plagues and evil spirits,
- and on many that were blind he bestowed sight. It may be inferred that Jesus withheld answering the messengers (Luke 7:20) and went one with
his works of grace, that these might testify to John more potently than
mere words of assertion. Jesus did not work miracles to gratify
skeptical curiosity, but he did use them, as here, to strengthen
wavering faith (Mark 9:24; John 11:15; John 14:11).
7:22 And he answered and said unto them, Go and tell John the things which ye have seen and heard1; the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good tidings preached to them2.
- And he answered and said unto them, Go and tell John the things which ye have seen and heard. See Matthew 11:4.
- The poor have good tidings preached to them. See Matthew 11:5.
7:23 And blessed is he, whosoever shall find no occasion of stumbling in me1.
- And blessed is he, whosoever shall find no occasion of stumbling in me. See Matthew 11:6.
7:24 And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to say unto the multitudes concerning John1, What went ye out into the wilderness to behold? a reed shaken with the wind?
- He began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, etc. See Matthew 11:7.
7:25 But what went ye out to see? a man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they that are gorgeously apparelled, and live delicately, are in kings' courts.
- But what went ye out to see? a man clothed in soft raiment? See Matthew 11:8.
7:26 But what went ye out to see? a prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet.
- But what went ye out to see? a prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet. See Matthew 11:9.
7:27 This is he of whom it is written1, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, Who shall prepare thy way before thee.
- This is he of whom it is written, etc. See Matthew 11:10.
7:28 I say unto you, Among them that are born of women1 there is none greater than John: yet he that is but little in the kingdom of God is greater than he.
- Among them that are born of women, etc. See Matthew 11:11.
7:29 And all the people when they heard, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John1.
- And all the people when they heard, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. They justified or
approved the wisdom of God in sending such a prophet as John and
establishing such an ordinance as baptism.
7:30 But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected for themselves the counsel of God, being not baptized of him1.
- But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected for themselves the counsel of God, being not baptized of him. The counsel of God was
that the nation should be brought to repentance by John, that it might
be saved by Jesus; but the Pharisees frustrated this plan so far as
they were concerned, by their proud refusal to repent. All who followed
their example shared their unhappy success. It is noteworthy that Jesus
emphasizes baptism as the test as to whether men justify or reject
7:32 They are like unto children that sit in the marketplace, and call one to another1; who say, We piped unto you, and ye did not dance; we wailed, and ye did not weep.
- They are like unto children that sit in the marketplace, and call one to another. See Matthew 11:16.
7:33 For John the Baptist is come1 eating no bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a demon.
- For John the Baptist is come, etc. See Matthew 11:18.
7:36 And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him1. And he entered into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat2.
JESUS' FEET ANOINTED IN THE HOUSE OF A PHARISEE.
- And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. We learn that the Pharisee's name was Simon (Luke 7:40). Because the feast
at Bethany was given in the house of Simon the leper, and because Jesus
was anointed there also, some have been led to think that Luke is here
describing this supper. See Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; John 12:1-8. But Simon
the leper was not Simon the Pharisee. The name Simon was one of the
most common among the Jewish people. It was the Greek form of the
Hebrew Simeon. The New Testament mentions nine and Josephus twenty
Simons, and there must have been thousands of them in Palestine at that
time. The anointing at Bethany was therefore a different occasion from
- And he entered into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat. Literally, reclined to eat. The old Jewish method of eating was to sit
cross-legged on the floor or on a divan, but the Persians, Greeks, and
Romans reclined on couches, and the Jews, after the exile, borrowed
this custom. We are not told in plain terms why the Pharisee invited
Jesus to eat with him. The envy and cunning which characterized his
sect leads us to be, perhaps, unduly suspicious that his motives were
evil. The narrative, however, shows that his motives were somewhat akin
to those of Nicodemus. He wished to investigate the character and
claims of Jesus, and was influenced more by curiosity than by hostility
--for all Pharisees were not equally bitter (John 7:45-52). But he
desired to avoid in any way compromising himself, so he invited Jesus
to his house, but carefully omitted all the ordinary courtesies and
attentions which would have been paid to an honored guest. Jesus
accepted the invitation, for it was his custom to dine both with
Pharisees and publicans, that he might reach all classes.
7:37 And behold, a woman who was in the city1, a sinner2; and when she knew that he was sitting at meat in the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster cruse of ointment3,
- And behold, a woman who was in the city. Because the definite article "the" is used before the word "city", Meyer says it was
Capernaum, and because Nain is the last city mentioned, Wiesler says it
was Nain, but it is not certain what city it was.
- A sinner. Older commentators say "the city" was Magdala, because they hold the unwarranted medieval tradition that the sinner was Mary
Magdalene, that is, Mary of Magdala. No trustworthy source has ever
been found for this tradition, and there are two good reasons for
saying that this was not Mary Magdalene: (1) She is introduced soon
after as a new character and also as a woman of wealth and
consequence. See Luke 8:2,3; Matthew 27:55. (2) Jesus had delivered her
from the possession of seven demons. But there is no connection
between sin and demon- possession. The former implies a disregard for
the accepted rules of religious conduct, while the latter implies no
sinfulness at all. This affliction was never spoken of as a reproach,
but only as a misfortune.
- She brought an alabaster cruse of ointment. The cruse which she brought with her was called "an alabaster". Orientals are very fond of
ointments and use them upon the face and hair with profusion. They were
scented with sweet-smelling vegetable essence, especially that
extracted from the myrtle. Originally the small vases, jars, or
broad-mouthed bottles, in which the ointment was stored, were carved
from alabaster, a variety of gypsum, white, semi-transparent, and
costly. Afterwards other material was used, but the name "alabaster"
was still applied to such cruses. That used by Mary of Bethany was
probably the highest grade ointment in the highest priced cruse
(John 12:3). The context here leaves us free to suppose that both
the cruse and the unguent were of a cheaper kind.
17:38 and standing behind at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.
- And standing behind at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head, and kissed
his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. To see this scene we
must picture Jesus stretched upon the couch and reclining on his left
elbow. The woman stood at the foot of the couch behind his feet. His
feet were bare; for every guest on entering left his sandals outside
the door. The woman, feeling strongly the contrast between the
sinlessness of Jesus and her own stained life, could not control her
emotions. Says Brom,
"The tears poured down in a flood upon his naked feet, as
she bent down to kiss them; and deeming them rather fouled
than washed by this, she hastened to wipe them off with the
only towel she had, the long tresses of her own hair. She
thus placed her glory at his feet (1 Corinthians 11:15), after
which she put the ointment upon them."
7:39 Now when the Pharisee that had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet1, would have perceived who and what manner of woman this is2 that toucheth him, that she is a sinner3.
- This man, if he were a prophet. Public opinion said that Jesus was a prophet (Luke 7:16), and Simon, from the Pharisee's standpoint, feared
that it might be so; and therefore no doubt felt great satisfaction in
obtaining this evidence which he accepted as disproving the claims of
- Would have perceived who and what manner of woman this is. He judged that if Jesus had been a prophet he would have known and repelled this
woman. He would have known her because discerning of spirits was part
of the prophetic office--especially the Messianic office (1 Kings 14:6
2 Kings 1:1-3; 2 Kings 5:26; Isaiah 11:2-4). Compare with John 2:25.
- That toucheth him, that she is a sinner. He would have repelled her because, according to the Pharisaic tradition, her very touch would
have rendered him unclean. The Pharisees, according to later Jewish
writings, forbade women to stand nearer to them than four cubits,
despite the warning of God (Isaiah 65:5). Thus reasoning, Simon
concluded that Jesus had neither the knowledge nor the holiness which
are essential to a prophet. His narrow mind did not grasp the truth
that it was as wonderful condescension for Christ to sit at his board
as it was to permit this sinner to touch him.
7:40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee1. And he saith, Teacher, say on2.
- And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. Jesus heard Simon's thoughts (Luke 7:39) and answered
- And he saith, Teacher, say on. Simon called Jesus "Teacher", little thinking how fully Jesus was about to vindicate the justice of the
title, thus given him in compliment.
7:41 A certain lender had two debtors: the one owed five hundred shillings, and the other fifty1.
- A certain lender had two debtors: the one owed five hundred shillings, and the other fifty. The denarius or shilling was a silver
coin issued by Rome which contained nearly seventeen cents' worth of
that precious metal. The two debts, therefore, represented
respectively, about $75 and $7.50. But at that time a denarius was a
day's wages for a laboring man (Matthew 20:2,9,10,12,13), so that the
debt is properly translated into our language as if one owed five
hundred and the other fifty days of labor.
7:42 When they had not [wherewith] to pay, he forgave them both1. Which of them therefore will love him most2?
- When they had not [wherewith] to pay, he forgave them both. In this brief parable God represents the lender, and the woman the big and
Simon the little debtor. Simon was (in his own estimation) ten times
better off than the woman; yet they were each in an equally hopeless
case--having nothing with which to pay; and each in an equally favored
case--being offered God's free forgiveness. Forgiveness is expressed in
the past tense in the parable, but merely as part of the drapery and
not for the purpose of declaring Simon's forgiveness. It indicates no
more than that Jesus was equalling "willing" to forgive both. But the
Pharisee did not seek his forgiveness, and the absence of all love in
him proved that he did not have it.
- Which of them therefore will love him most? It was Jesus' custom to thus often draw his verdicts from the very lips of the parties
concerned (Luke 10:36,37; Matthew 21:40,41).
7:43 Simon answered and said, He, I suppose, to whom he forgave the most1. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged2.
- Simon answered and said, He, I suppose, to whom he forgave the most. The "suppose" of Simon betrays a touch of supercilious irony, showing
that the Pharisee thought the question very trivial.
- And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. Simon's words were more than an answer. They were a judgment as well. Like Nathan with
David (2 Samuel 12:1-7), Jesus had concealed Simon's conduct under the
vestments of a parable, and had thus led him to unwittingly pronounce
sentence against himself. Simon, the little debtor, was a debtor still;
having no acts of gratitude to plead in evidence of his acquittal. From
this point the words of Jesus take up the conduct of Simon which we
should here picture to ourselves.
"We must imagine the guests arriving; Simon receiving them
with all courtesy, and embracing each in turn; slaves ready
to was the dust of the road from their sandaled feet, and
to pour sweet olive oil over their heads to soften the
parched skin. See Genesis 18:4; Genesis 19:2; Genesis 24:32; Ruth 3:3; 1 Samuel 25:41
Psalms 23:5; Psalms 141:5; Ecclesiastes 9:8; Daniel 10:3; Amos 6:6; Matthew 6:17). But there
is one of the guests not thus treated. He is but a poor
man, invited as an act of condescending patronage. No kiss
is offered him; no slave waits upon him; of course a
mechanic cannot need the luxuries others are accustomed
7:44 And turning to the woman, he said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman1? I entered into thy house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath wetted my feet with her tears, and wiped them with her hair2.
- And turning to the woman, he said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? Simon is to look upon the woman as one whose actions stood in contrast
to his own.
- I entered into thy house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath wetted my feet with her tears, and wiped them with her hair.
Jesus here draws the first contrast. In the East, where the feet
without stockings are placed in sandals instead of shoes, water becomes
essential to one who would enter a house. The guest should be afforded
an opportunity to was the dust from his feet, not only for comfort's
sake, but also that he might not be humiliated by soiling the carpets
on which he walked, and the cushions on which he reclined. The trifling
courtesy Simon had omitted; but the woman had amply supplied his
omission, bathing the Lord's feet in what Bengel well calls "the most
7:45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but she, since the time I came in, hath not ceased to kiss my feet1.
- Thou gavest me no kiss: but she, since the time I came in, hath not ceased to kiss my feet. We have here the second contrast. A kiss was
the ordinary salutation of respect in the East. Sometimes the hand was
kissed, and sometimes the cheek (2 Samuel 15:5; 2 Samuel 19:39; Matthew 26:49; Acts 20:37
Romans 16:16). We may note incidentally that we have no record of a kiss
upon the cheek of Jesus save that given by Judas (Matthew 26:48,49
Mark 14:44,45; Luke 22:47). The woman had graced the feet of Jesus with
those honors which Simon had withheld from his cheek.
7:46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but she hath anointed my feet with ointment1.
- My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but she hath anointed my feet with ointment. Anointing was a mark of honor which was usually
bestowed upon distinguished guests (Amos 6:6; Psalms 23:5; Psalms 141:5). To anoint
the feet was regarded as extreme luxury (Pliny, Natural History, 13:4).
In this third case Jesus makes a double comparison. To anoint the feet
was more honored than to anoint the head, and the ointment was a more
valuable and worthy offering than the mere oil which ordinary courtesy
would have proffered.
7:47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven1; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, [the same] loveth little2.
- Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven;
- for she loved much. Her love was the result, and not the cause, of her forgiveness. Our sins are not forgiven because we love God, but we love
God because they are forgiven (1 John 4:19). Such is the inference of
the parable, and such the teaching of the entire New Testament.
- But to whom little is forgiven, [the same] loveth little. We search the story in vain for any token of love on the part of Simon.
7:48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven1.
- Thy sins are forgiven. See Mark 2:5.
7:49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves1, Who is this that even forgiveth sins2?
- And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves. They were naturally surprised at this marvelous assumption of
authority, but in the light of what had just been said they did not
dare to express themselves.
- Who is this that even forgiveth sins? Ignorance of Christ's person and office caused them to thus question him. It is easy to stumble in
the dark. We are not told that Simon joined in asking this question.
7:50 And he said unto the woman1, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace2.
- And he said unto the woman. Jesus did not rebuke his questioners, because the process of forgiveness was something which could not be
demonstrated to their comprehension, and hence their error could not be
- Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace. Jesus attributed her forgiveness to her faith. "Peace" was the Hebrew and "grace" was the
Greek salutation. It is here used as a farewell, and means "Go in the
abiding enjoyment of peace".
Several valuable lessons are taught by this incident (Luke 7:36-50):
(1) That the sense of guiltiness may differ in degree, but nevertheless
the absolute inability of man to atone for sin is common to all. (2) As
sin is against Christ, to Christ belongs the right and power to forgive
it. (3) That conventional respectability, having no such flagrant and
open sins as are condemned by the public, is not conscious of its awful
need. (4) That those who have wandered far enough to have felt the
world's censure realize most fully the goodness of God in pardoning
them, and hence are moved to greater expressions of gratitude than are
given by the self-righteous. But we must not draw the conclusion that
sin produces love, or that much sin produces much love, and that
therefore much sin is a good thing. The blessing which we seek is not
proportioned to the quantity of the sins; but is proportioned to the
quantity of "sinful sense" which we feel. We all have sin enough to
destroy our souls, but many of us fail to love God as we should,
through an insufficient sense of sinfulness.