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servants of Christ went out through all the world. They went into the highways, the lanes, the streets, the markets, and all places of public resort, and preached the gospel to mankind. They met with great success. Before the destruction of Jerusalem, the gospel had been preached to all nations, and great multitudes had become obedient unto the faith. Thus the wedding was furnished with guests.
It should be very distinctly l'emarked, that the servants “gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good.” This shows that Jesus foresaw that some unworthy professors would claim to be members of his kingdom, or guests at the marriage feast, a fact which is stated in several of the parables. In one we find that the bowheat and
are mingled together; Matt. ii. 12; in another the tares and the wheat ; xiii. 30; the net that was cast into the sea gathered of every kind; xiii. 48. Many would say, “Lord, Lord,” that would not do the will of their Father in heaven; they would pretend that they had prophesied in the name of Christ, in his naine cast out devils, and done many wonderful works. He would reply to thein, “ I never knew you; depart from me ye that work iniquity.” vii. 21-23. Let these facts be remembered, while we pass to the consideration of the guest who had not on the wedding garment."
4. Who were signified by the guest that had not on the wedding garment"? When the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man who had not a wedding garment. And he said unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.” The persons assembled on this occasion, were collected together from the highways, and must,
therefore, have consisted of poor, as well as of rich. Hence it may appear strange that the king should ask one of the guests, with surprise and displeasure, how he came there without a wedding garment, and punish him with so much severity for not having one, when his poverty might have been so reasonably urged in his defence, as an excuse for his dress. This difficulty is removed when we consider the customs of the eastern nations, whose wealth consisted very much in possessing large collections of dresses. 'Hence it is, says Kenrick, “that when our Lord speaks of laying up treasures on earth, he says, that the moth may corrupt,' Matt. vi. 20, plainly alluding to
From these dresses, or from others collected on the occasion, it was customary, as we have said, to furnish the guests at marriage festivals; and as one was offered to each person, this man was highly blameable for appearing in his cominou dress; as he thereby offered an indignity to the person who invited him. He was thus left without excuse, as he might have been clad in the wedding garment,' had he seen fit.
By the guest without the wedding garment,' we are disposed to think Jesus designed to represent such of the Jews, as having nominally embraced Christianity, did not possess the virtues of the Christian Charactersuch as cried Lord, Lord, but did not the will of God. Notwithstanding the Jews generally rejected the gospel, and made light of the invitation to the marriage feast,' some of them, it is well known, went in with the Gentiles, and were guests. But not all those that went in were fit subjects of the kingdom. There were some claiming to be Christ's disciples, who professed to cast out devils, and do many wondertul works in his
name, to whom he said, in the day of his coming to destroy the Jews, “I never knew you, depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matt. vii. 21-23. These, we think, were represented by the guest without the wedding garment.' He accepted the invitation to the feast, and mixed with the approved guests; and was detected, exposed and punished because he was not array ed in the dress he should have worn at the feast. The order was given to the servants, to “ bind bim hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him: into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." This was the fate which awaited all the Jews who rejected Jesus Christ. Matt. viii. 12. Luke xiii. 28. It was the fate of those represented by the tares, in the parable of the “tares of the field,” Matt, xiii. 42; of the wicked, represented by the bad fish, which were took in the net, xiii. 50; of the unfaithful servant, Matt. xxiv. 51; and of the unprofitable servant, Matt. xxv. 30. In the opinion we have here expressed, that the man without the wedding garment represented those Jews who had professed to embrace Christ, but were not worthy and faithful disciples, we coincide with Dr. Whitby, to whose observations, which here follow, we invite the attention of the reader. “ That this man must represent the Jews is evident, 1st, Because he is cast into outer darkness, where is weeping and gnashing of teeth, which Christ applies to the Jews, the sons of the kingdom, Matt. viii. 12, Luke xiii. 28, whilst the Gentiles are said to come to this supper. 2d, Because the reason assigned for this punishment is that many are called, but few are chosen, ver. 14, which language belongs peculiarly to the Jews. 3d, Christ said in the former chapter, that the kingdom of God should be taken from them; and here proceeding to discourse of the same thing, as appears from the connective partiele, ver. 1 of this chapter, he shews how worthy the Jews would be of this punishment, as being either wholly refractory to God, calling them by his Son to the participation of these blessings, or coming without due preparation, as the false apostles and deceitful workers did, or else by casting off that wedding garment they had once put on, as did those Jews whose charity waxed cold, Matt. xxiv. 10–12., and who being scandalized fell off from the Christian faith: it remains then that these backsliders, or these false aposiles, must be the persons represented by the man not having on his wedding garment."
Previously to bringing the notes on this parable to a close, we wish to offer a few observations in illustration of the phrases "outer darkness," and “weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth." These expressions are found in the following passages, Matt. viii. 12, xiii. 42, 50, xxii. 13, xxiv. 51, xxv. 30. Luke xiii. 28, The expression “outer darkness,” is derived from the circumstances of Jewish weddings. The nuptial ceremonies took place at night. “ Hence at those suppers the house of reception was filled with lights, called dades, lampades, lukneia, phanoi, torches, lamps, candles and lanthorns, by Athenæus and Plutarch : so they who were admitted to the banquet, had the benefit of the light; but they who were shut out were in darkness, i. e. the darkness on the outside of the house, in which the guests were; which must have appeared more abundantly gloomy, when compared with the profusion of light within the guest chamber." The phrase outer darkness was derived
Com. note on Matt. xxii. 11. 2 Adam Clarke's Commentary, on Matt. viii. 12.
from these circumstances; and as those who were thrust out, were not only exposed to shame, but also to hunger and cold, it is said they wept and gnashed their teeth. These expressions have long been applied to the imagined misery of the damined in hell, in the future world. We have endeavored to give their primitive sense. They are a part of the parable, and are to be understood as representing the extreme misery of the Jews, excluded from the kingdom of the gospel, shut out from the light of truth, enveloped in the darkness of error, and suffering the treinendous inisery brought upon them at the destruction of their city and iation. This is not only their primitive, but their only application. If this was the sense Jesus affixed to them, what right have the Doctors of the church to give them any other sense? The parable now under consideration was completely fulfilled within fifty years after the Saviour's death ; and there is no reason that any part of it should be supposed to refer to the events of the future existence. The words of the great Teacher should be interpreted with the greatest caution ; their original meaning should be sought; and when this is ascertained, it should not be put aside, or caused to share credence, with any secondary sense whatsoever.
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