Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a pharisee,
and the other a publican: the pharisee stood and prayed thus
with himself, God, I thank Thee, that I am not as other men are,
extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast
twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the
publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his
eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful
to me a sinner. Luke 18:10-13.
Iin the beginning of this chapter you read of the reason of the parable
of the unjust judge and the poor widow; namely, to encourage men to pray.
He spake a parable to this end, that men ought always to pray and not
to faint. And a most sweet parable for that purpose it is: for if through
importunity, a poor widow-woman may prevail with an unjust judge; and
so consequently with an unmerciful and hardhearted tyrant; how much more
shall the poor, afflicted, distressed, and tempted people of God, prevail
with, and obtain mercy at the hands of a loving, just and merciful God?
The unjust judge would not hearken to, nor regard, the cry of the poor
widow for a while: âbut afterward he said within himself, though I
fear not God, nor regard man; yet because this widow troubleth me, I
will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.â Hark,
saith Christ, âWhat the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge
his own elect, which cry day and night unto him?â I tell you, that
he will avenge them speedily.
This is therefore a very comfortable parable to such of the saints, that
are under hard usages by reason of evil men, their might, and tyranny.
For by it we are taught to believe and expect, that God, though for a
while he seemeth not to regard, yet will, in due time and season, arise
and set such in safety from them that puff at them. (Psa 12:5) let the
good Christian pray always; let him pray and not faint at seeming delays;
for if the widow by importunity prevailed with the unjust judge, how
much more shall he with his heavenly Father. âI tell you, [says Christ,]
that he will avenge them speedily.â
– John Bunyan, A Discourse on the Pharisee and the Publican