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Verses 19-20

Matthew 4:19-20. He saith unto them Namely, after some previous circumstances, an account of which is given, Luke 5:1-11. Follow me That is, not only now and then, as you have hitherto done, since my baptism, John 1:37; but now leave your ordinary employments, and become my constant attendants; that by continually hearing my doctrine, and seeing my miracles, you may be fitted, in due time, to become my messengers to mankind. It is observable that, when God has called men to offices of dignity and usefulness among his people, or has particularly appeared in their favour, they have generally been engaged in some honest employment. Saul was seeking his father’s asses, and David was keeping his father’s sheep, when the Lord called them to the kingdom. The shepherds were feeding their flocks when they received information from the angel, accompanied by the heavenly host, of the birth of Christ. God called Amos from the flock, Gideon from the threshing floor, and the apostles here from their fishing. God does not encourage idleness, nor despise persons in mean employments. And I will make you fishers of men You shall gather men into the gospel net, and gain them over to the faith; and such abundant success will I give you, that the number of souls converted by you, shall be greater than that of the fishes you have been used to catch. See notes on Ezekiel 37:6-10. Observe, reader! The work of ministers is here set forth. They are not to fish for a livelihood, much less for honour and applause to themselves, but to win souls to God, and are to bait their hooks and order their nets for this end: which, however, will never be answered if, either by mere general discourses, they make the meshes so wide that sinners will find an easy passage through them, or, by abstract reasonings, and fine-spun speculations, they make the threads so small that they can easily break them; or, if they neglect to close the net upon those they have enclosed, by a proper and pointed application of their subject. Nor will all our art or labour make us fishers of men, without the divine blessing. Without this, like the disciples of old, we may toil all day and all night, but we shall catch nothing, or nothing to purpose. And it is to be observed further, that the apostles were not immediately to enter upon the work of the ministry, but were first to follow Jesus. And the apostles, in the choice of one to succeed Judas, limited themselves in their election to those that had companied with them all the time the Lord Jesus had gone in and out among them, Acts 1:21. Those who do not observe this become fishers for something else rather than the souls of men. They straightway left their nets and followed him Influenced by the power of his word, and struck with the wonderful miracle recorded Luke 5:6-9. It is not of indispensable necessity that those who are called to the ministry of the word should have nothing else to do. Paul’s hand ministered to his necessities and those of his companions. But it is very desirable that they should be so supported as to be able to give themselves wholly up to the work of the Lord.

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