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be troubled with another man's marriage. All which I believe to be of easy application, and to betoken a three-fold and allcomprehending form of Antichrist yet to be.-6th. From ver. 21 to the end is the gathering of two despised parties (by two distinct acts), on whom alone the honour of the supper is to be conferred, ver. 24.—7th. The expressions “ bring in hither," and “compel to come in ” (vers. 21, 23), refer to the place where the supper is to be held. But it is important not to make these expressions, of themselves, mean more, in respect of the actual supper, than the “ gathering to furnish the wedding meant, Matt. xxii. 10.—7th. Finally, I need hardly add, that I apprehend the “servant” of this parable to be spoken of in Matt. xvii. 11. Verse 24 is only an intimation of a determination, to the servant; not any present judgment of the parties, but analogous to Matt. xxi. 43.
7. Parable of the hired Labourers, Matt. xx. 1-16.—The word for, ver. 1, shews that this parable was spoken to explain how it should come to pass that" many that are first shall be last, and the last shall be first” (xix. 30), when the time comes to “inherit everlasting life " (twny alviov, xix. 29); when “the Son of Man shall sit on the throne of his glory,” xix. 28 (and shall judge the nations, ta kõvn, Matt. xxv. 31-46). But it is clear that the expressed judgment in this parable, vers.9, 10, is not final, as respects the parties judged, whoever they be ; for all receive alike: and what they all receive must fall short of the "eternal life” which only some shall afterwards inherit, xix. 29 and xxv. 46. The parable reaches not to the gift of “eternal life," but implies a judgment whereby the first shall be made last and the last first, before the bestowal of that final gift to the righteous. Moreover, "eternal life” (Cwmv alwvior) at ver. 29 of the preceding chapter, means the life of the age to come (awyos); and, though the gift of it were contained in the present parable, it would by no means of necessity imply that individuals are the parties judged. But that individuals are not the parties here intended, is plainly shewn by their being “ hired” at stated intervals of the day; whereas the calling of individual Christians has been one continuous act. It is out of the question for the “day.” to mean a man's life; for it is one day, and not many; and the “evening” is of one and the same day (ver. 8). The parties hired at the 11th hour (ver. 6) I believe to be the same which were" gathered” from the streets and lanes, &c. in ver. 21 of the parable last considered, and the act to be identical therewith; and that the judgment in this parable ensues thereafter. And I suppose that the pennywhose superscription shall it bear?- which all parties receive alike, is the answer to the second petition of the Lord's Prayer, which all alike shall one day receive, but many with no small
VOL. III.-NO, I.
dissatisfaction. Ver. 12 shews the cause of that dissatisfaction; and vers. 14, 16, the consequence, by clearly intimating that "many first called are not chosen," and that the “ few last” called are " chosen.” The steward (ET LT POTOS, not olkovouoc) is neither the Lord nor Heir of the vineyard, but probably the “servant" of whom we read in the last parable.
8. Parable of the Prodigal Son, Luke xv. 11–32.- Some have supposed (and I think there is great reason for such an opinion) that this parable contains, under the similitude of the two sons, an allusion, in some sort, to the Jews and Gentiles. For my own part, I think that the sole and sufficient proof of this will be found to be, that the whole parable is capable of a full, fair, and minute prophetic interpretation, on the supposition that Jacob, and not Esau, was intended by the younger son. The expression at ver. 31 has, I think, been misconstrued. In it, the father intends no more than to contrast his elder son's portion, of a home, and all necessaries, comforts, &c. with the forlorn, wandering, and starving lot to which his younger brother has been for a long time subjected. The expression, I believe, so far from meaning to state who was undisputed heir, is quite consistent with all the displeasure which the occasion implies that the father probably felt at the elder brother's inhumanity (even had such displeasure amounted to a disposition to disinherit him). I think that nothing more than the preparation for a feast will be seen, by attentively considering vers. 23, 24. It is my opinion that this is the preparation for the actual supper, about which we were just now reading; and that we have advanced another stage in the progress of matters. The despised party "gathered” in the parable of the supper (Luke xiv. 21) were content with the common " hire" (Matt. xx. 9), and “chosen” (Matt. xx. 16); and here, I doubt not, is received as the "younger son,” to whom the “ best robe,” &c. is given, and shall presently partake of the supper. Moreover, there was withal a great party (at Luke xiv. 18, 19) who made light of the tidings of the supper; who “murmured ” (Matt. xx. 11); whose dismissal unapproved was indicated Matt. xx. 14-16; who here is “angry," and will not come in, though entreated.
9. Parable of the unjust Stewurd, Luke xvi. 1-13.—This parable, with our Lord's own application of it, was spoken to the poor (ver. 1), and intimated that they were one day to become rich (ver. 9); and for the rich, who, being unfaithful in the use of riches (vers. 11, 12) shall be deprived of the stewardship committed to them by their Lord (ver. 9): and, in contemplation of such an event, advertises the faithful to make to themselves “ FRIENDS" who may, nevertheless, receive them into everlasting habitations (alviove oknvovs). The discourse concludes with a solemn warning, ver. 13. And the Pharisees “ derided” the Lord (ver. 14), probably for the poverty of his hearers (ver. 1), to which the discourse must have seemed very ill-suited.
ill-suited. There possibly may be interpretations of this parable (but I have yet seen none) which do not utterly violate the similitude with which it is constructed.
10. The unmerciful Fellow-Servant, Matt. xviii. 23-35.That this parable is of individual application to every Christian, is certain from ver. 35. But application and interpretation are not the same things : and I have been taught to observe so much of consistency and harmony in the words of our Lord's discourses, that I am led to expect that more is implied here than is generally supposed. It must not be forgotten, that, by the parable of the Talents, no individual was represented as owing more than ten talents, inclusive of interest : but here is one whose enormous debt is ten thousand talents! The leading points of this parable are, that such an one, owing ten thousand talents, had a judgment coming heavily upon him (ver. 25), which was withdrawn (ver. 27): that the same one presently after unmercifully seized by the throat, &c. a fellow-servant, who owed him a hundred pence (ver. 28); and that, consequently, the judgment without mercy returned upon himself (ver. 34). And this parable helps us, I think, to expound an expression in Rev. xvi. 21.-Note, the debts must have an analagous meaning: the man, ver. 34, is quite insolvent; which, and that this is the place of his judgment, may, I think, be shewn by no trivial arguments.
11. Parable of the Goats and Sheep, Matt. xxv. 31–46.This parable, as others have already shewn, relates not to individuals, but to nations as such. The words “shall be ga
. thered” (ver, 32) imply, not an instantaneous act, but the completion of a process which has been carried on in the “ darkness” into which the unwatchful parties in the discourse which precedes (from xxiv. 45) were indicated to be cast (xxiv. 51; xxv. 8, 30). I shall only observe further, that the judgment of these nations is clearly according to the treatment which individual children of the Lord have received at their hands (ver. 40, 45); and that, in its interpretation, too strong an emphasis can scarcely be put on the “WONDER
WONDER” of the opposite parties judged therein.
I hope to send, for your next Number, interpretations of some of these parables ; in which their mutual relations will be more fully pointed out, and the strong and steady light they may thus be found to cast, not only reciprocally upon each other, but, taken as a whole and altogether, upon the purpose of God
. and the corresponding train of thought in the mind of our blessed Lord.
THE KING OF SHESHACH
In Jerem. xxv. The Prophet Ezekiel was “sent to the children of Israel” (ii. 3), and the special subject of his visions related to the departure and subsequent return of the glory of Jehovah to the temple and city of Jerusalem (iii. 12; ix. 9; x. 18; xi. 23; xii. 27, 28; xl.; xliii. 2).
The Prophet Jeremiah, on the other hand, was" ordained a prophet unto THE NATIONS” (i. 5), which office is again referred to in xxv. 13. In this latter chapter is contained a single and complete prophecy, beginning with a denunciation against the house of Judah for their iniquities; proceeding with a declaration of the Gentile nations by which the punishment of Judah should be effected ; and going on to an enumeration of those nations which, after having accomplished God's purposes against his people, should themselves be visited for their own
The names of these Gentile nations are mentioned in vers. 18–25, when the prophetic strain thus proceeds: “All the kings of the North, far and near, one with another, and all the kingdoms of the world, which are upon the face of the earth ; and THE KING OF SHESHACH shall drink after them.” The draught which they are to drink is “the wine cup of the fury of the Lord God” (ver. 15). The description of the consequences of their drinking, or, in less figurative language, the details of the troubles which are to come upon the nations, are thus described : “ Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel ; Drink ye, and be drunken, and spue, and fall, and rise no more, because of the sword which I will send among you. And it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup at thine hand to drink, then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Ye shall certainly drink.”
Let us for a few moments stop to contemplate this remarkable expression, and examine whether our historical recollections enable us to find any thing analagous to it until the present times. We have here depicted a period when the nations feel an unusual apprehension at entering upon a state of war. In general, wars at their commencement are popular, and nations rush into them with avidity: but here their natural taste is described as being contrary to all former experience, so that they “refuse" to fight. It is scarcely necessary to remind our readers of the anxiety which has been felt in England and France, lest the Holy Alliance, and the policy of the ministers of William the Fourth, should involve these nations in conflict; and the urgency with which the present ministers have assured the people that the maxims of their government should be “non-interference” with foreign nations. But, to proceed :
For, lo, I begin to bring evil upon the city which is called by my name, and should ye be utterly unpunished ? For I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, saith the Lord of hosts. Therefore prophesy against them all these words, and say unto them, The Lord shall roar from on high, and utter his voice from his holy habitation; he shall mightily roar upon his habitation; he shall give a shout, as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth. A noise shall come even to the end of the earth: for the Lord hath a controversy with the nations; he will plead with all flesh: he will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the Lord. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth. And the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried : they shall be dung upon the ground,” &c.
It is abundantly clear that the judgment here spoken of takes place at the same period, or, more properly speaking, is identical, with that mentioned in the Apocalypse, and other places, as the vintage, and the treading of the wine-press of Almighty God. This great, universal, and final destruction of the apostate nations is by the sword, which runs through them all; and the last who shares in it is called THE KING OF SHESHACH. The
question is, who was this “King of Sheshach” in the time of Jeremiah, and what analogy is there in these days with such a personage?
The word occurs only in one other passage in this prophet (li. 41), where it seems to be put for the name of a city. The expressions, therefore, have the same signification : just as if we were to say, “ the King of France,” or France,” is at war. The modern commentators give but slender information upon
the subject. Wilson's Dictionary calls it, “the name of a country.” Basnage thinks it the same as Sesostris, king of Egypt. Henry says, it is the king of Babylon; which is some approximation to the right country. Scott says, it "evidently means Babylon, though it is not certain on what account it was so called.” Blaney, and Lowth also, are of the same opinion; but the former adds, " among the reasons that have been assigned for this name I have met with none that I think satisfactory;" and subjoins an idle derivation, as the best he knows. Munster and Clarius affirm, Secundum Hebræos hic est Rex Babel; Vatablus, that it is Babylon. These all seem copied from Jerome, who gives a cabalistic transposition of the letters, by the equivalents of which Sheshach is made to mean Babel. Instead of recounting, however, all the writers who have not known the meaning of the term, it is better to consider those who have,