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36When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

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36. He was moved with compassion towards them Hence we infer, first, how great was the indolence of the priests, who, though they were scattered over the whole country, in order to enlighten the people with heavenly doctrine, were slow-bellies, (Titus 1:12.) True, they boasted that they were superintendents of the people; and the number of those who gloried in that title was not small. Yet not one of them does Christ own to be a pastor. A similar confusion may now be observed in Popery, though it is full of persons who are called pastors: for there is a prodigious crowd of those who under the name of clergy, eat up the flock. They are dumb dogs, (Isaiah 56:10,) and yet are not ashamed to make a vehement sound about their hierarchy. But we must listen to the voice of Christ, who declares, that where there are no laborers there are no shepherds, and that those sheep are wandering and scattered which are not collected into the fold of God by the doctrine of the gospel. His being moved with compassion proves him to be the faithful servant of the Father in promoting the salvation of his people, for whose sake he had clothed himself with our flesh. Now that he has been received into heaven, he does not retain the same feelings to which he chose to be liable in this mortal life: yet he has not left off the care of his church, but looks after his wandering sheep, or rather, he gathers his flock which had been cruelly chased and torn by the wolves.




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