No man - seweth - See Matthew 9:16. No man seweth a piece of unscoured cloth upon an old garment. In the common editions this verse begins with και, and, but this is omitted by almost every MS. and version of note. The construction of the whole verse is various in the MSS. The translation given here, and in Matthew 9:16, is intelligible, and speaks for itself.
See the notes at Matthew 9:15-17.
So it is with religion. When the warp and woof of religion will not stand the test of trial, the material of which it is composed is worthless. And an effort to patch the old cloth with a new piece does not better the condition of things; for the worn-out, flimsy material breaks away from the new, leaving the rent much larger than before. Patching will not do. The only way is to discard the old garment and procure a new one. The religion of self, composed of threads that fade and give way under the stress of temptation, must be cast aside, to be replaced by the religion woven by Him in whose life no selfishness found place. OHC 342.5Read in context »
Of the Roman officials in Palestine, none were more hated than the publicans. The fact that the taxes were imposed by a foreign power was a continual irritation to the Jews, being a reminder that their independence had departed. And the taxgatherers were not merely the instruments of Roman oppression; they were extortioners on their own account, enriching themselves at the expense of the people. A Jew who accepted this office at the hands of the Romans was looked upon as betraying the honor of his nation. He was despised as an apostate, and was classed with the vilest of society. DA 272.1Read in context »
When God's people are one in the unity of the Spirit, all of Phariseeism, all of self-righteousness, which was the sin of the Jewish nation, will be expelled from all hearts. The mold of Christ will be upon each individual member of His body, and His people will be new bottles into which He can pour His new wine, and the new wine will not break the bottles. God will make known the mystery which hath been hidden for ages. He will make known what are the “riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27) [verses 28, 29 also quoted]. 1SM 386.1
Jesus came to impart to the human soul the Holy Spirit, by which the love of God is shed abroad in the heart; but it is impossible to endow men with the Holy Spirit, who are set in their ideas, whose doctrines are all stereotyped and unchangeable, who are walking after the traditions and commandments of men, as were the Jews in the time of Christ. They were very punctilious in the observances of the church, very rigorous in following their forms, but they were destitute of vitality and religious devotion. They were represented by Christ as like the dry skins which were then used as bottles. The gospel of Christ could not be placed in their hearts; for there was no room to contain it. They could not be the new bottles into which He could pour His new wine. Christ was obliged to seek elsewhere than among the scribes and the Pharisees for bottles for His doctrine of truth and life. He must find men who were willing to have regeneration of heart. He came to give to men new hearts. He said, “A new heart also will I give you.” But the self-righteous of that day and of this day feel no need of having a new heart. Jesus passed by the scribes and the Pharisees, for they felt no need of a Saviour. They were wedded to forms and ceremonies. These services had been instituted by Christ; they had been full of vitality and spiritual beauty; but the Jews had lost the spiritual life from their ceremonies, and clung to the dead forms after spiritual life was extinct among them. When they departed from the requirements and commandments of God, they sought to supply the place of that which they had lost, by multiplying their own requirements, and making more rigorous demands than had God; and the more rigid they grew, the less of the love and Spirit of God they manifested. Christ said to the people: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.” “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone” (Matthew 23:2-7, 23). 1SM 386.2
The remnant church is called to go through an experience similar to that of the Jews; and the True Witness, who walks up and down in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, has a solemn message to bear to His people. He says, “I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent” (Revelation 2:4, 5). The love of God has been waning in the church, and as a result, the love of self has sprung up into new activity. With the loss of love for God there has come the loss of love for the brethren. The church may meet all the description that is given of the Ephesian church, and yet fail in vital godliness. Of them Jesus said, “I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: and hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love” (Revelation 2:2-4). 1SM 387.1Read in context »
16 (ch. 9:16). Manufactured Religion Not Life and Light—There are times before us that will try the souls of men, and there will be need of watchfulness, of the right kind of fasting. This will not be like the fasting of the Pharisees. Their seasons of fasting were occasions of outward ceremony. They did not humble their hearts before God. They were filled with bitterness, envy, malice, strife, selfishness, and self-righteousness. While their heads were bowed in pretended humiliation, they were covetous, full of self-esteem, self-importance. They were oppressive, exacting, proud in spirit. 5BC 1086.1
Everything in the Jewish service had been misinterpreted and misapplied. The purpose of the sacrificial offerings had been perverted. They were to symbolize Christ and His mission, that when He should come in the flesh, the world might recognize God in Him, and accept Him as the world's Redeemer. But their lack of true heart service for God had blinded the Jews to a knowledge of God. Exactions and ceremonies and traditions were the sum total of their religion. 5BC 1086.2
The Pharisees had yet to learn that righteousness exalts a nation, that form and ceremony cannot take the place of righteousness. Christ was teaching the people as verily when enshrouded in the pillar of cloud as when seated on the mount. The same compassionate consideration for the poor was enjoined as in the lessons given to the disciples. But the responsibility of every individual in the sight of God, His mercy, love, and compassion, were not included in the lessons given to the people by the rulers in Israel. Said Christ, “No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse.” The truth, the life, the light, which should characterize true godliness could not be united with the manufactured religion of the Pharisees (Manuscript 3, 1898). 5BC 1086.3
24 (Luke 16:13; James 4:4). Double-minded Men Satan's Allies—[Matthew 6:24 quoted.] Those who begin their Christian life by being half and half, will at last be found enlisted on the enemy's side, whatever may have been their first intentions. And to be an apostate, a traitor to the cause of God, is more serious than death; for it means the loss of eternal life. 5BC 1086.4
Double-minded men and women are Satan's best allies. Whatever favorable opinion they may have of themselves, they are dissemblers. All who are loyal to God and the truth must stand firmly for the right because it is right. To yoke up with those who are unconsecrated, and yet be loyal to the truth, is simply impossible. We cannot unite with those who are serving themselves, who are working on worldly plans, and not lose our connection with the heavenly Counselor. We may recover ourselves from the snare of the enemy, but we are bruised and wounded, and our experience is dwarfed (The Review and Herald, April 19, 1898). 5BC 1086.5
28, 29. Toil Cannot Duplicate Simplicity—Here He shows that notwithstanding that persons may toil with weariness to make themselves objects of admiration, that which they value so highly will not bear comparison with the flowers of the field. Even these simple flowers, with God's adornment, would outvie in loveliness the gorgeous apparel of Solomon (Manuscript 153, 1903). 5BC 1086.6
An Idea of God's Regard—If the lilies of the field are objects upon which the great Master Artist has bestowed care, making them so beautiful that they outrival the glory of Solomon, the greatest king that ever wielded a scepter; if the grass of the field is made into a beautiful carpet for the earth, can we form any idea of the regard which God bestows upon man, who was formed in His image (Letter 4, 1896)? 5BC 1086.7
Every Flower Expresses Love—The great Master Artist calls our attention to the soulless flowers of the field, pointing out the beautiful tints and the wonderful variety of shades one flower may possess. Thus God has revealed His skill and care. Thus He would show the great love He has for every human being. 5BC 1086.8
Every flower is an expression of the love of God (Letter 24, 1899). 5BC 1086.9Read in context »