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Verses 35-36

Matthew 25:35-36. I was a hungered, and ye gave me meat, &c. All the works of outward mercy here mentioned suppose faith and love, and must needs be accompanied with works of spiritual mercy, such as instructing the ignorant, alarming the careless, encouraging the disconsolate, comforting the distressed, strengthening the weak, confirming the wavering, reclaiming the wicked, edifying the righteous. But works of this kind could not be mentioned by the Judge in the same manner: he could not say, I was ignorant, and you instructed me; I was in error, and you recalled me to the truth; I was in sin, and you brought me to repentance. But how astonishing is it to hear the great Judge declaring, that all the good offices which men have ever performed, supposing they performed them in obedience to his will, and with a single eye to his glory, were done to him! It is as if he had said, “In the whole of your conduct you have imitated the goodness and benevolence of my Father, and therefore I now declare you blessed and beloved of him, and appoint you to inherit this kingdom. Moreover, that you may know how acceptable acts of kindness and charity are to me, I assure you that I reckon every thing of this kind as done to myself. It was I who was a hungered and athirst, and a stranger and naked, and sick and in prison. It was I whom you clothed and lodged, and visited and comforted in prison.” The word επεσκεψασθε , rendered, ye visited, properly signifies to take the oversight and care of any thing that requires diligent inspection and attendance; (compare James 1:27;) and it strongly intimates that such an attendance on the poor in their illness is a very acceptable charity: and this is what many may have an opportunity of doing, who have very little money to spare.

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