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20Very truly, I tell you, whoever receives one whom I send receives me; and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.”


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20. Verily, verily, I tell you. In these words either the Evangelist relates a discourse on a different subject, and in a broken and imperfect state, or, Christ intended to meet the offense which was likely to arise from the crime of Judas; for the Evangelists do not always exhibit the discourses of Christ in unbroken succession, but sometimes throw together, in heaps, a variety of statements. It is more probable, however, that Christ intended to provide against this scandal. There is too good evidence that we are very ready to be wounded by bad examples; for, in consequence of this, the revolt of one man inflicts a deadly wound on two hundred others, while the steadiness of ten or twenty pious men hardly edifies a single individual. On this account, while Christ was placing such a monster before the eyes of his disciples, it was also necessary that he should stretch out his hand to them, lest, struck by the novelty, they should fall back. Nor was it only on their account that he said this, but he also consulted the advantage of those who should come after; for, otherwise, the remembrance of Judas might, even at the present day:, do us grievous injury. When the devil cannot estrange us from Christ by hatred of his doctrine, he excites either dislike or contempt of the ministers themselves.

Now this admonition of Christ shows that it is unreasonable that the impiety of any whose conduct is wicked or unbecoming their office, should at all diminish the apostolical authority. The reason is, we ought to contemplate God, the Author of the ministry, in whom, certainly, we find nothing which we have a right to despise; and next, we ought to contemplate Christ, who, having been appointed by the Father to be the only Teacher, speaks by his apostles. Whoever, then, does not deign to receive the ministers of the Gospel, rejects Christ in them, and rejects God in Christ.

The Papists act a foolish and ridiculous part, when they endeavor to obtain this applause for themselves, in order exhibit their tyranny. For, in the first place, they adorn themselves with begged and borrowed feathers, having no resemblance to the apostles of Christ; and, secondly, granting that they are apostles, nothing was farther from Christ’s intention, in this passage, than to transfer his own right to men; for what else is it to receive those whom Christ sends, but to give place to them, that they may fulfill the office which has been committed to them?




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