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the house of Israel. They were miserable, and they were miserably destroyed. The means of divine instruction were taken away, and conferred on a people who would make good use of them; or to use the words of Christ, in which he himself makes a direct application of the parable, “the kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof,” ver. 43.
That ihis is the true application of the parable, there seems no room for doubt. We have shown, that our Lord derived the design from Isaiah v. 1, 2. There the vineyard is expressly said to be the house of Israel. The figure is varied but a trifle ; and the destruction of the Jews is represented by the destrnction of the vineyard, of which the walls were broken down, that it lay waste; it was neither pruned nor digged; briars and thorns sprung up in it; and the clouds gave it no rain
The object of God in sending his servants to the Jews, was to induce them to bring forth fruits worthy of the distinguished advantages they enjoyed. John, the Baptist, told the Pharisees, to "bring forth fruits nieet for' repentance,” Matt. iii. 8. This is very well represented by the master's sending his servants to the husbandmen, to receive the fruits of the vineyard.
The chief priests and elders saw plainly that they were intended as the husbandmen who had the charge of the vineyard, and who had behaved so unfaithfully in maltreating the messengors of God. See verse 45. “And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard' bis parables, they perceived that ly probable, therefore, from these circunistances, that the words, they say unto him, have been introduced into this place by some mistake, a conjecture which is confirmed by the authority of one manuscript copy of the originnt, which owits them.". Note og Matt. axi. 41.
he spake of them.” And then, as though to verify that to which they took such strong exceptions, "they sought to lay hands on Jesus, but they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet." Ver. 46. They then stood ready to seize the heir and kill him, but they were afraid of the people, who had been instructed by Jesus, and in whose affections he held a high place. They never, however, abandoned their object; and afterwards they succceded in slaying him.
The coming of Christ in his glory, at the end of the legal dispensation, is represented by the lord of the vineyard's returning to his household; at which time the Jews, the enemies of Jesus, who shed the blood of the prophets and apostles, and crucified Jesus Christ, were destroyed, as will be shown more fully under a succeeding parable. The words of Jesus, recorded in Matt. xxiii. 34-36, illustrate this. “Wherefore, behold I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes; and some of thein ye shall kill and crucily, and some of them shall ye scourge in your syuagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood ot Zacharias, son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the tem-, ple and the altar. Verily, I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation." Their guilt in destroying the different messengers whom God had sent, is here described, and the punishment thereof is denounced; and all this we are as; sured should come upon that generation. Hence, the Jews were destroyed during that generation. The kingdom of God, which till the death of Christ, had been preached only to them, was afterward preached to the Gentiles, according to the last command
Jesus gave bis apostles, as follows: "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." Mark xvi. 15. These were the nations who were to bring forth the fruits of it; and they did bring forth the fruits of it. It was established among them; and has had an amazing influence, in turning thein froin darkness to light, and from the power of sin and satan unto God.
Jesus quotes to the chief priests and elders a saying of David, recorded Psalms cxviii. 22; "the stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head stone of the corner.” From this he draws a very forcible figure, see ver. 44. "And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it shall grind him to powder." The Jews had then already fallen on that stone, (Christ) and it was afterwards to fall on them. Paul says, Rom. ix. 32, "they stumbled at that stumbling stone.” A person may be injured by falling on a stone; but is that stone fall on him, the injury must be ipuch greater. The tremendous judginents in which Jesus descended upon the Jews, are represented by the stone falling on them, which was to grind them to powder. They may be said, almost literally, to have been ground to powder. The nation was destroyed; and the different individuals of which it was composed, were driven, as it were, by the winds of heaven, into every corner of the earth. The punishment was great, but it was just ; it was commensurate to their great wickedness.
Their eyes had been shut against the light of truth; the most taithful counsels they had set at naught; the messengers of God they had stoned, and his son they had slain. The judgments of God fell upon them; and they were ground to powder beneath their force.
Parable of the Marriage Feast.
MATT. XXII. 2-13.
“The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son. And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding : and they would not come. Again,he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready; come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise. And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore inta the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garmant: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having a wedding-garment? And hé was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness : there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
It will be perceived, by a reference to the commencement of this chapter, that the same subject is continued which occupies so large a part of the preceding, viz: the rejection and destruction of the Jews, and the reception of the Gentiles into the kingdom of God. See ver. 1: 6 And Jesus an. swered and spake unto them again by parables.”
The parable now before us was addressed to the same people to whom the two parables in chap. xxi had been addressed. Compare xxi. 23, 45, 46, and xxii. 1. And that the parable before us was designed to illustrate more fully what had been taught in the two preceding parables, is proved by a comparison of xxi. 35-39, with xxii. 6, and xxi. 41, with xxii. 7. Jesus having said to the chief priests and elders, xxi. 43, “ the kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof," he designs, in the parable before us, to show the welcome reception which the gospel would meet among the Gentiles. What is said in vers. 11–13 is rather an appendix to the parable, to show that those who professed to embrace the gospel, if they were not clad in the proper chistian virtues, would be detected, exposed and punished.
The parable of the marriage feast," like that of the ten virgins, Matt, xxv. 1-13, is founded upon the customs of the Jews, at their weddings. One of their most indispensable customs was that of furnishing a feast, or feasts, at a marriage; and if the parties were wealthy, the feasts continued seven days, as will appear from Judges xiv. 10, 12, 17. Hence, many commentators render the passage, “the kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, who made a marriage feast for his son;" and several instances are given from the classics, where gamous is used to signify marriage festivals. Thai a marriage festival is intended in the case before us, is evident from ver. 4. This, as we have said, was an indispensable part of the nuptial ceremonies. The guests who were invited to the marriage, were expected to be dressed in a manner suited to the splendor of such an occasion. Among