It ought not to be overlooked, in the account of this apostle of Jesus, that in the list given by the other evangelists, of our Lord's disciples, he is placed before Thomas; but in this, of his own, he places Thomas first. And whereas, after his call to the apostleship, the brethren, in making mention of him dropped his former occupation of a publican, yet Matthew himself still preserves it. Grace always humbles. The call of this man, the distinguishing nature of that grace, the effects, and blessedness of it, open some sweet thoughts for meditation, which, under divine teaching, cannot fall of being profitable to the saint, and encouraging to the sinner: and it will be well, my soul, for thee to exercise thine evening devotion upon it. He was a publican; that is, a tax-gatherer for the Romans. Of such characters we cannot have a more lively idea, than from what our Lord himself said of them. For when Jesus, in his description of a sinner more than ordinarily to be avoided, sets him forth as such, he said, "Let him be to thee as an heathen man and a publican." Such was Matthew when called. And where was he when called? Not in the synagogue, attending the means of grace, or desiring to seek the Lord; but when seeking him not, yea, sitting at the seat of custom, and fully engaged in his pursuit of worldly gain. Pause, my soul, and mark the property of grace! Surely in this man's instance, as well as in thousands of others, the Lord might say, "I am found of them that sought me not!" And Oh! what a surprising, unexpected, unlooked for call, was that of the Lord Jesus to Matthew! What a powerful, gracious, saving, and effectual call was it! Precious Redeemer! are we not authorized to consider all these, and other similar points of view, as purposely intended to tell poor sinners, like Matthew, that thy grace is not the effect of our merit, nor the result of any man's worth? Surely, Lord, every poor sinner may from this learn, that whatever best tends to magnify the riches of thy grace, must be in the purposes of thy holy will and pleasure. Hence it is, that thou makest thy grace to shine on such lost, ruined, and undone sinners as we are. But, my soul, take another short view of this man, and thy Saviour's grace towards him. When the Lord had called him by his grace, he invited the Lord to his home: no sooner did Jesus open Matthew's heart, than Matthew opened his house to receive Jesus. See to it, my soul, that thou art daily manifesting the same proofs of thy calling. Oh! for grace to take Jesus home to our hearts, to our houses, to our neighbours, to our families, children, and servants, if we have any, and spread forth the sweet savour of his name, and the efficacy of his blood and righteousness, in every direction. Like the Psalmist, let our language be, "O come hither, and hearken, all ye that fear God: and I will tell you what he hath done for my soul!" From the POOR MAN'S MORNING AND EVENING PORTIONS.
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