It is a great mistake to regard the publican as a decent sort of fellow who knew his own limitations and did not pretend to be better than he was.  It is one of the marks of our time that the Pharisee and the publican have changed places, and it is the modern equivalent of the publican who may be heard thanking God that he is not like those canting humbugs, hypocrites, and killjoys, whose chief offense is that they take their religion seriously.  This publican was a rotter, and he knew it.  He asked for God’s mercy because mercy was the only thing he dared ask for. – T. W. Manson (1893-1958), commenting on Luke 18.9-14.

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