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of the parables :--Ist, That, out of all question, the most of them are prophetic, even upon the common shewing. 2d, That the similitudes wherewith they are constructed are exact, and not loose, and are therefore to be held very sacred by every disciple of the Lord. 3d, That no parable can be fully intelligible per se, which is connected (in reason or in grammar), by a conjunctive particle, with the words or sense of a preceding or following discourse (see Matt. xxiv. 45, xxv. 1, and xxv. 14, the words apa, tore, and yap). 4th, That such passages of our Lord's discourses as represent the evil as to be gathered out from the good (Matt. xiii. 30), and such as represent the good to be gathered out from the evil (Matt. xxiv. 31, 40, 41), must have a reconciliation in fact. 5th, That, as respects the judgment of the good and evil, no similitudes in any parable must by interpretation mean any thing which disagrees with the fact that when the Lord comes the saints are brought to him, as in 1 Thess. iv. 17; and that none else are so brought to him then; and that the saints abide ever with him thereafter (ver. 17). 6th, That, as the Lord is to come with all his saints (Jude 14 and Zech. xiv. 5), they must needs go to meet him first : and therefore that, the Lord's coming to and with the saints implying two things, it must not be assumed as a matter of course that there is littie or no interval between them, or that the former is that which "every eye shall see.”

1. Parable of the Wedding Garment, Matt. xxii. 1-14.- The most important thing in studying this parable is to look carefully at the terms; and, 1st, Not to confound any where, but especially at ver. 11, the King with his Son the BRIDEGROOM;—2d, Not to preconceive that “OUTER DARKNESS," &c., ver. 13, must mean the state of final punishment; for it is very dissonant with the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone;"--3d, Not to imagine the guests seated at table, in ver. 10;-4th, To observe that the comment, ver. 14, is utterly inapplicable, unless that man, vers. 11, 12, is “many,” or one in whom are many; 5th, To look on the whole parable, to its crisis, as one continuous prophecy, the interpretation of which to ver. 9 is plain to every one ;-6th, That the sin of the “man is irreverence and presumption, not mere negligence; and the expression of the King, wonder (as in Isa. lix. 16; Jer. v. 30): and the man is not implied to be naked. In a word, the judgment in this parable must be applied to something which takes place before the arrival of the Bridegroom: and it should not be difficult to Protestants, we think, for it is plain where those servants (ver. 10) have "gathered” us guests. The visit of the King seems parallel to Dan. vii. 9: and this parable, with one which contains the identical judgment, forms the first of a series. The discourse receives much light from a careful perusal of the pre

ceding chapter, where it may be ascertained to what " Jesus answered (ver. 1). But we have not space to enter on that subject at present.

2. Parable of the good and evil Servant, Luke xii. 42-46, and Matt. xxiv. 45–51.- 1st, Let it be observed first and especially in this parable, that to be “ RULER over God's household” and to be made “ ruler over all” that God hath (Luke xii. 42, 44, and Matt. xxiv. 45, 47) positively cannot belong to any man but Jesus Christ; and, therefore, that our Lord is assuredly that Good Servant. So the parable is a contrast of two, and not a mere alternative spoken of one. The contrast is clearly of Christ and some form of Antichrist. -2dly, The “ Lord of that servant,” ver. 46, is the same with the Lord of that servant, ver. 43 : and the personal coming of Christ is in no wise contained in this parable ; as will be evidently seen by perceiving that it is contained in a parable which, it will be shewn, intimates a judgment chronologically consequent to that contained herein.-3dly, The true exposition of this parable is elicited by observing that it was spoken (Lukexii.)in answer to Peter's question ver. 41; and that Peter's question sprang from a supposition of some pre-eminence to be intended for the Apostles-compare Luke xxii. 29, 30, and similar passages, with ver. 37 of this chapter) and also, probably, that some one of them was intended by the “good man, of the house," ver. 39; on which last expression (Matt. xxiv. 43), or on something spoken in allusion thereto, the parable is linked, as recorded by Matthew ; for “ who then, &c. is not a form of beginning an independent discourse.-4thly, The coming of the Lord’ in this parable (ver. 46) I believe to be the same as the visitation by the “ King ” in the parable last considered (Matt. xxii. 11): and the identity of the judgment in this parable with that detailed in the last is ascertained by adding carefully together Luke xii. 46, Matt. xxiv. 51, and Matt. xxv. 1: in which last it is proved, that all parties unlike virgins were in the preceding verse “ cut asunder” and separated in that "evil servant," and so have been put out of the kingdom of heaven”—which must be equivalent to being in “outer darkness.” Note, that the portion of “ hypocrites and unbelievers ” is implied to be pre-existent to the judgment of this evil servant;" so that of necessity more than himself must have been cast out, to make the kingdom of heaven come to be likened unto virgins (Matt. xxv. 1).

3. Parable of the Virgins, Matt. xxv. 1-13.-1st, The word “Then,” with which this parable begins, must be strictly expounded to mean “ after what took place in the preceding verse.”—2dly, The similitude of “ virgins” is equivalent to neither hypocrites nor unbelievers, nor that evil servant, nor any implied to be contained in him and cut asunder with him. -3dly, The number ten (ver. 1) indicates times of the Gentiles and what times.--4thly, From ver. 2 to 6 the character and history of these virgins is given till “ MIDNIGHT;” and I believe thenat verse 7 synchronizes with “ then” in verse 1; the virgins alone having light and all being dark around them.-5thly, What the virgins' lamps are, see by 2 Cor. v. 7: and the oil must needs be what is fitted to feed such lamps. But see particularly 2 Pet. i. 19 for a definition of what is to give virgins light amid darkness till the day, dawn-(compare also Luke xii. 35).-6thly, They that sell oil must be the two olive-trees (Zech. iv. 3.)—7thly, The lamps of the foolish go not out till after the process of trimming, ver. 8; but how long after the awakening of the virgins (ver. 7) is not said: but it is certain that when they go out another party is cast into “ DARKNESS.' -Sthly, The coming of the Bridegroom, ver. 10, is the personal manifestation of Christ to his saints; and the entering in of the wise, their being taken to him, as in 1 Thess. iv. 17.9thly, And I believe that it is “ this robbery of the house,' hinted at in Matt. xxiv. 43, which causes the “ foolish” to return and cry“ open to us” (ver. 11).

4. Parable of the Talents, Matt. xxv. 14–30. — The word FOR,” ver. 14, shews, in the very outset of this parable, that it is an explanation, in some sort, of the preceding: On study, it will be found to explain why the foolish virgins were not “ ready,” at ver. 10; by detailing a judgment, to which these are subject, before the Bridegroom comes. It will be perceived that this parable contains no intimation of the actual coming of Christ, by observing as follows: That the expressions at verses 14 and 19 are but of the same weight as similar expressions in Matt. xxi. 33 and 40; that the award of dominion, verses 21, 23, is but a promise, and not a present instalment; which it is in Luke xix. 17, 19; that the joy of the Lord,” verses 21 and 23, is parallel with the day-star of 2 Pet. i. 19, and quite compatible with Matt. v. 11, 12. Leaving out our interpolation at ver. 14, I consider the verse to continue our Lord's discourse thus, “ For as a man travelling into a far country he called his own servants,” &c.; and to indicate that a reason is about to be given of something; which, in fact, must precede as a cause the thing for which it accounts. i have no doubt, therefore, that the coming ” indicated at ver. 19 is that of xxii. 11 and xxiv. 50; and that this parable is the second act of the judgment.-What the “ Talents" entrusted to God's

own servants” mean, may be learnt at Matt. xiii. 11, Mark iv. 11, and Luke viji. 10. For, in the context of the two last of these passages, our Lord presently sets forth, in the abstract, the very judgment contained in this parable-read Mark iv. 21-25, with Luke viii. 16-18. The taking of the

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talent from the slothful (ver. 28), seems to bear the same relation to his being put into

darkness as the going out of a lamp would. The margin of ver. 8 reads “ going out;" and I think the crisis of this parable reads “ went out.” The excuses &c. (verses 24—27) are easily intelligible, and but too forcibly applicable.

5. Parable of the Pounds, Luke xix. 11-27.--Observe, Ist, That there is no pretence for making the subject of this parable identical with that of the last, for many reasons, of which the following may suffice: that here, each servant has one pound entrusted to him (ver. 13); but there, each has talents, five, two, or one, according to his capacity : and that here, the pounds are improved ten-fold and five-fold (verses 16, 18); there, the talents all one-fold alike.—2dly, This parable was spoken to negative the erroneous expectation alluded to at ver. 11; and the speaker of it is without doubt the “nobleman who went into a far country,” ver. 12; and returned, having received the kingdom,” ver. 15 having left his servants, meanwhile, to

occupy till he came,” ver. 13.-3dly, As trading is no regal occupation, these servants, if kings, can be only Christ's kings elect; and they probably imply especially, if not solely, the preachers of the “Gospel of the kingdom,” which the “ Nobleman” went away to receive.—4thly, I think there is reason to believe, that, as ver. 15, is the arrival of the Bridegroom, Matt. xxv. 10; so the “ coming of the first” and of the “ secondservant, verses 16, 18, in this parable, are contained in the

entering” of the wise virgins, Matt. xxv. 10 (for the endowment with power, verses 17, 19, is here a present gift, not a promise, as in the Talents); and that the “coming” of®“ another” ver. 20, is contained in the after-" coming ” of the “ other virgins,” Matt. xxv. 11.–5thly, What the “ pounds” exactly mean, is not directly obvious : but I am rather inclined to think that it may be discovered in an intermediate symbol, suggested by the “ napkin” (sudarium) ver. 20 (see the passages, Matt. xxvi. 7-13; Mark xiv. 3-9; John xii. 3, 7), as testifying, before the Lord's burial, to that Spirit by whose energy he should arise from the dead, Rom. i. 4; and the shedding of which upon his body, the church, should fulfil the type of Psal. cxxxiii. : the gift of which Spirit, as defined by Luke x. 19, and similar passages, is perhaps here indicated. It must be noticed also, that the “pounds” are a gift to be kept after the judgment, in this parable ; and that the addition of one is a reward, by verses 24, 25, and probably implies that with it there accrues some augmentation, extensive or intensive, of the dominion previously adjudged to the party receiving it. I conceive, then, that both the parable of the Talents and this parable are illustrative of that of the Virgins : that the former imports a judg

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ment before the arrival of the Bridegroom, while the wise are preparing and the foolish going to seek oil; that the latter imports the judgment which ensues on the wise entering in and the foolish thereupon "coming” for admittance. pose that the taking away of the one pound from the servant closes this present dispensation of the Spirit.—The words “bring hither,” ver. 27, import a process spiritual and actual, implied to be consummated in the word “ gathered,” Matt. xxv. 32. But there intervene several parables, in which this process, nevertheless, may be distinctly traced on its way to consummation,

6. Parable of the Supper, Luke xiv. 16–24.—To understand this parable, the first thing necessary is to observe that the “ dinner" represented to be ready, Matt. xxii. 3, 4, meant something quite independent of the resurrection of the dead; nay, independent also of our Lord's resurrection; for the first set of servants (ver. 3), were prophets, of whom John was the last (Matt. xi. 13); and, doubtless, had the guests been worthy the dinner should have had place.-2d. Now the next thing to be noticed is, that this suPPER means not the same thing as that DINNER, nor the parties excluded from it (ver. 24) the Jewish nation ; chiefly, but by no means solely, because then the “highways," ver. 23, should be identical with the “ highways,” Matt. xxii. 9; and, then, who could " that servant” be (ver. 21, &c.) of this parable ? Not John Baptist surely: nor our Lord, upon his own declaration, Matt. xv. 24. Moreover, after the casting away of the Jews, “ many servants” (Matt. xxii. 8), and not one, had the commission of calling the Gentiles.- 3d. But that "dinner” took not place, because the guests were unworthy (Matt. xxii. 8); and this “supper” is consequent upon the delay occasioned by gathering fresh guests (Matt. xxii. 9, 10). I believe these have been gathered, for the most part, in the “ city,” ver. 21, of this parable; and turn out as unworthy as the former.-4th. The servant (ver. 17, &c.) is one who comes at a time when“ ALL” the guests, who had been invited, excuse themselves from attendance (ver. 18), and in consequence it is predenounced that “ NONE of them (ovõets) shall partake (ver. 24); which, I think, determines the time in this parable to be subsequent to all that we have been previously considering; for it will be borne in mind, that the virgins, at their departure, left all parties in " darkness.---5th. As respects the three excuses (verses 18, 19, 20), which engross all parties, they run thus :-One has bought a field, or part of a field, which is probably without the city, and must needs go and visit it. Another has bought five yoke of oxen (which are ten), and goeth to prove them (also without the city, I suppose). The third has married a wife, and so cannot

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