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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE - Chapter 17 - Verse 17

 

Verses 17,18. Where are the nine? Jesus had commanded them to go to the priest, and they were probably literally obeying the commandment. They were impatient to be healed and selfish in wishing it, and had no gratitude to God or their Benefactor. Jesus did not forbid their expressing gratitude to him for his mercy; he rather seems to reprove them for not doing it. One of the first feelings of the sinner cleansed from sin is a desire to praise his Great Benefactor; and a real willingness to obey his commandments is not inconsistent with a wish to render thanks to him for his mercy. With what singular propriety may this question now be asked, Where are the nine? And what a striking illustration is this of human nature, and of the ingratitude of man! One had come back to give thanks for the favour bestowed on him; the others were heard of no more. So now. When men are restored from dangerous sickness, here and there one comes to give thanks to God; but "where are the nine?" When men are defended from danger; when they are recovered from the perils of the sea; when a steamboat is destroyed, and a large part of crew and passengers perish, here and there one of those who are saved acknowledges the goodness of God and renders him praise; but where is the mass of them? They give no thanks; they offer no praise. They go about their usual employments, to mingle in the scenes of pleasure and of sin as if nothing had occurred. Few, few of all who have been rescued from "threatening graves" feel their obligation to God, or ever express it. They forget their Great Benefactor; perhaps the mention of his name is unpleasant, and they scorn the idea that they are under any obligations to him. Such, alas! is man, ungrateful man!

This stranger. This foreigner; or, rather, this alien, or this man of another tribe. In the Syraic version, "this one who is of a foreign people." This man, who might have been least expected to express gratitude to God. The most unlikely characters are often found to be most consistent and grateful. Men from whom we would expect least in religion, are often so entirely changed as to disappoint all our expectations, and to put to shame those who have been most highly favoured. The poor often thus put to shame the rich; the ignorant the learned; the young the aged.

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