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means we are assured will continue to be exercised, "until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in." But,
4. In what sense was it true, that none of those who were first bidden should partake of the supper? We have here arrived at a point of our inquiries, that will be regarded probably with particular interest. Those who believe in endless misery have long used this circumstance under consideration to prove that some of the human race will finally be cast out from the favor of God, and not be permitted to taste the blessings of his love forever and ever. A sentiment so dishonorary to the character of God, and fatal to the hopes and happiness of men, should not be received on slight evidence. Let us examine then, the evidence which the parable before us is supposed to furnish of the truth of that doctrine. Those who were first bidden to the supper, and refused attention to the request, and of whom it is said, "none of those men who were bidden shall taste of my supper," must be lost forever, according to the usual application of the parable. But did Jesus mean to teach any such doctrine? Did he who said, "I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel," mean to teach that those "lost sheep" never would be restored? We think not. Did he mean to teach, that the Jews who were first bidden to the supper of the gospel, must be lost and miserable forever? It does not seem reasonable to us. Indeed, we know that cannot have been his meaning. If we never should succeed in ascertaining positively what was the meaning of the Saviour, we do know positively what it was not he did not mean to declare the endless misery of the Jewish nation, nor of any part of that nation. Is it reasonable that the dear Saviour who
said, "if I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto me," John xii. 32-"all that the Father hath given me shall cone to me, and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out;" John vi. 37—Is it reasonable that he meant to be understood as teaching the eternal exclusion of the Jews from his gospel kingdom? Was it not the covenant of God in relation to these very people, "I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts, and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people; and they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord, FOR ALL SHALL KNOW ME, FROM THE LEAST TO THE GREATEST?" Jere. xxxi. 33, 34. Heb. viii. 10, 11. To know God is eternal life; John xvii. 3, and if they are all to know him without exception, "from the least to the greatest"will any be eternally excluded from the blessings of the gospel? If the opinion of the apostle Paul is to be relied on in this case, that question must be answered in the negative. In his epistle to the Romans, this eminent servant of Jesus Christ, pursues a luminous course of argument to prove the salvation of both Jews and Gentiles. Drawing towards the close of that subject he says, "For I would not, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery (lcst ye should be wise in your own conceits) that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. AND SO ALL ISRAEL SHALL BE SAVED." Rom. xi. 26. This appears to settle the question. Here it is said in regard to those people who were first invited to the supper, and did not come, and of whom it was declared "none of those men shall taste of my supper" that they shall "all be saved." We say the question is settled, Jesus did not mean to teach that the Jews would finally be lost.
The sense of the parable before us is, in our opinion, clear. Those who were bidden to the supper and refused, did not taste of it, not one of them-they were cast into outer darkness, where was wailing and gnashing of teeth. Blindness happened to them; they had eyes but they saw not. They were sunk in the darkness of unbelief; but God concluded them in unbelief only that "he might have mercy upon all." Rom. xi. 32.
Here we see then, that the gospel which Jesus preached by himself and with his apostles, and more particularly the opportunity he furnished men of embracing the gospel when he labored personally on earth, preaching and working miracles in his Father's name, is compared to the supper. The servants of God first invited the Jews to the feast. They refused, missed the first opportunity and were miserably destroyed-yet they shall eventually be saved, even from the least unto the greatest of them. The servants of God next went into the highways, and invited the poor Gentiles; they no longer confined themselves to Judea, but went through all the world, preaching the gospel. So it was ordained in the order of Providence, the Gentiles were first to be converted and afterward the Jews. Thus Paul saith to the Gentiles, "For as ye (Gentiles) in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief; even so have these (Jews) also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all." Rom. xi. 30-32.
Parables of Counting the Cost.
LUKE XIV. 28-30.
"For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it. Lest haply after heath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.”
VERSES 31, 32.
"Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace."
WE have often had occasion to notice in this volume, that many of the injunctions and precepts of our Lord, as well as his parables, sprung out of the occasion, and had reference to present objects and circumstances. The parables now before us, are an instance of the truth of this remark, and a proof of the readiness with which he conceived his beautiful images,
After Jesus had spoken the parable of the Supper we are informed, "there went great multitudes with him," ver. 25, who had probably been attracted by his preaching, and the report of his wonderful works, and who, therefore, manifested some disposition to become his disciples. He said unto them, "if any man come to ine, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple," ver. 26; "and whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot
be my disciple," ver. 27. These were the terms of discipleship in the primitive age; but they have been grossly misunderstood, by a perversion the idioms which are found in the passage, Jesus did not intend that a man should actually hate his father, mother, wife, children, brethren, sisters, and himself also- this would have been impossible, for the apostle says, "no man ever yet hated his own flesh," Eph. v. 29. To hate in this instance signifies merely to love in a less degree; and hence in a similar passage we read, "he that loveth father or mother more than me, and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." Matt. x. 37. When it is said, Rom. ix. 13 "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated," the meaning evidently is, I have loved Jacob more than Esau ; and that this is no arbitrary interpretation of the word hate, but one agreeable to the Hebrew idiom, is evident from Gen. xxix. 30, 31, where we read, "he loved also Rachel more than Leah; and when the Lord saw that Leah was hated," &c. Here it is evident hatred signifies a less degree of love, See also Deut. xxi. 15-17. Something resembling what Jesus here teaches, is said by Philo concerning the duty of the Jewish high priest; that he was to estrange himself from all his relations, and not, out of love to his parents, his children, or brethren, to omit any part of his duty, or act in any thing contrary to it. Cru cifixion was one of the most infamous, as well as cruel punishments,iuflicted by the Romans andJews, Hence the cross came to be used metaphorically for all ki: ds of evils; to bear the cross therefore, and come after Christ, is to expose ourselves with for? titude to the greatest evils in his cause.2 A
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Sobyetu, Darky Moky
1 See Bp. Pearce on Luke xiv. 26. 2 Kenrick Expos. on the passage.