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334 Reflections on the Parable of the unfaithful Husbandmen. Sect. 152. him, and to lay. a Plot for his Life, which they w might execute with less Hazard to themselves.
W H EN we read this Parable, and consider it as levelled at the
W Jews, we applaud the righteous Judgment of God in revenging so severely upon them the Quarrel of his Covenant, and the Blood of bis Son: But let us take heed to ourselves, lejt we also fall after the same
Example of Unbelief. (Heb, iv. 11.) Mat.xxi. 33. God has given to every Man some part of his Vineyard to cultivate
and improve, or some Advantages to know and serve him. And as for us who enjoy the Christian Dispensation, we have particular Reason to say, The Lines are fallen to us in pleasant Places. (Pfal. xvi. 6.) What could
be have done more for this Part of his Vineyard How ungrateful thereVer. 34,-36. fore shall we be, and how miserable too, if we with-hold the Fruits he
so reasonably expects ; if we fight the Messengers, by whom he so fre
quently and fo pathetically demands them ; yea, if by wilful ImpeniVer. 37,-39. tency and Unbelief we in effect renew the Slaughter of his beloved Son,
after that amazing Favour he has done us, in charging him with an Em
bassy of Peace to us, whose aggravated Crimes had long since deserved, Ver. 45. that he should have sent amongst us the Messengers of bis Vengeance. Oh
that we may never be condemned out of our own Mouths, in the Censures
we pass on the guilty Yews! Ver. 43.
We cannot surely think of the awful Threatening of our Lord without some fecret Terror for ourselves, when we consider how shamefully we of this Nation have abused our Privileges. The Kingdom of GOD, said he, hall be taken from yeu, and given to a Nation bringing forth the Fruits thereof. God had been jutt, had he long since executed such a Judgment upon us : May he be merciful to us all, in suspending and averting it ! May his Compassion particularly extend to those amongst us, who reject Christianity ; for the Passage before us has a dreadful
Aspect upon such ! Whether they will hear, or whether they will forVer, 42. bear; whether they will submit, or whether they will oppose ; Chrift
is made the Head of the Corner, and God will for ever establish him as such. Woe to them, who instead of joining with him, and fixing the
Stress of their Souls upon him, deliberately set themselves to oppose his Ver. 44. Cause ! On such undoubtedly will be fall, like a mighty Rock of Ada
mant, and crush them in Pieces, and grind them to Powder.
Thus did our Lord warn his Enemies, most wisely, and most graci
ously ; but they despised the Admonition, and hated him for what was Luke xx. 19. so kindly intended. They fought to lay Hands on him, because be bad spoken CHRIST delivers the Parable of the Marriage-Feaft. 335 this Parable against them. High Provocation indeed ! to set their Danger Sect. 152. faithfully before them, that if by any Means it were possible, they w might be awakened to escape it ! But, alas, what can save those, whose Spiritual Distempers are exasperated by the most proper Remedies prefcribed for their Cure !
attend their rejecting the Gospel, or resting in an infincere
MAT. XXII. r.
MAT. XXII. r. AND Jesus answered and AND when the Priests and Scribes were re-Sect. 153: A spake unto them again tired, Yefus, being still surrounded with the w by Parables, and said, Multitude, answered and spake to them again in M
Mat. XXII. Parables, suited to the present Circumstances of " 2 The Kingdom of Hea- Affairs, saying, The Kingdom of Heaven, or 2 ven is like unto a certain the Dispensation of the Gospel, is like, and may King, which made a Marriage for his Son,
be well compared to that which happened in
made a splendid Marriage - Feast for his Son.
might come immediately to the Nuptial Banquet (6).
(a) The Kingdom of Heaven is like a King.) See Note (i) on Luke vii. 32. Vol. i. pag. 355. - It is observable, that Luke does not relate this Parable here, because he had given us one very much like it before, which was spoken on a different Occasion : (Luke xiv. 16,-24. Sect. 120.) For the fame Reason he omits the Question of the Lawyer, Mot. xxii. 35, most of the Discourse against the Pharisees, Mat. xxiii. and the Parable of the Talents, Mat. XXV. 14, & feq.
(b) To call those, who had been invited, to the Nuptial Banquet.] The Word ga uxs here properly fignifies a Nuptial Banquet, in which Sense it is often used by other Writers. (See Rapbel. Annot. ex Polyb. pag. 93. and Wolfius, in loc.) It was sometimes customary to send Two M lages, as in the Care here supposed ; which represented the Condescension the greater, and suited the repeated Invitations given to the Jews, by Christ himself during his Life, and by the Apostles after his Death.
336 The Guests refusing to come, others are called from the High-ways. Sect. 153. Again be sent other of his Servants, saying, 4 Again he sent forth
V Go and tell them that were invited, that I must other Servants, saying, Tell Mat. XX1. insist upon their coming immediately; for bebold, hold, I have prepared my
them which are bidden, BeI have prepared my Dinner ; my Oxen, and my Dinner : my Oxen and my other fatted Beasts are Nain and dressed (c), and Fatlings are killed, and all
Things are ready : come all Things are just ready to be served up to the unto the Marriage.
Table ; therefore come to the Marriage - Feast 5 without any farther Delay." But such was the 5 But they made light of
Perverseness of the Guests, that notwithstand it, and went their Ways, this repeated Invitation, they refused to come ; his Merchandise':
one to his Farm, another to and not regarding [it, they went away, one of them to bis Field in the Country, and another to his Merchandise in the City. And the rest were 6 And the Remnant took so brutish, that laying hold on bis Servants, who his Servants, and entreated
them spitefully, and flew came with the Message, they insulted them in a them. very outragious Manner, and even carried their
Ingratitude so far, that they new some of them. 7 And when the King heard of it,] he was greatly 3 But when the King
provoked ; and not long after having sent his Ar- heard thereof, he was wroth: mies, be destroyed those Murtherers, and even burnt and destroved those Murder
and he sent forth his Armies, their City where they dwelt (d), which being dis- ers, and búrnt up their City. affected to him, had joined with these wicked Men in concerting this gross and intolerable Af
front. 8. In the mean Time then, as he received Intel. 8 Then saith he to his ligence of their Behaviour, be says to his Servants,
Servants, The Wedding is
y ready, but they which were The Marriage-Feast is prepared ; but they who were bidden were not worthy.
first invited, were not worthy of any part in it, or 9 indeed of any Invitation to it : Yet let not my Provisions be lost: Go ve therefore to the most the High-ways, and as many
as ye İhall find, bid to the publick Ways, and particularly to the Places where Marriage. several Streets and Roads meet (e), and invite as
(a) bing but the file we fee Princes of arts of a Royal greeable to the si
(c) My Oxen, and my fatted Beafts are pain.] It was agreeable to the Simplicity of the antient Ages, to mention these as the chief Parts of a Royal Entertainment. Thus in Homer, and other antient Writers, we see Princes of the first Rank and Dignity feasting each other, with nothing but the Flesh of Oxen, Sheep, and Swine, - Compare Ija. xxv. 6.
(d) Not long after having sent his Armies, &c.] This Clause must be supposed to come in by way of Prolepfis or Anticipation, for it is plain there could not be Time, before the Feaft already prepared was served up, to attempt an Execution of this Kind. This Circumstance seems to point at the Slaughter of the Jews, and the burning Jerusalem, and the other chief Cities of their Country, by the Romans ; who are here considered as the Armies of their affronted Prince, whose Embassadors they had indeed most cruelly and ungratefully murthered.
(e) The most publick Ilays, &c.] The Phrase SIE Eodxs tav of a signifies the Ways which were most frequented; which must be such, as are mentioned in the Paraphrase. See Boilius,
other chiens to point at chup, to attempt is plain there.com
One is observed, that had not on the Wedding-Garment. 337
many as you find there to the Wedding-Banquet. Sect. 153. 10 So those Servants went And accordingly those Servants went out, as their w but into the High-ways, and Lord had commanded them, into the Streets and you gathered together all, as mahy as they found, both Bad other (publick] Ways, and assembled all that they met and Good: and the Wed with, whether Bad or Good, without any Regard to ding was furnished with their Characters or Circumstances: And the Feast Guests.
was abundantly supplied with Guests. 11 And when the King But that, whatever Habits they had on before, il came in to see the Guests, they
Efts; they might appear worthy to fit at such a Table,
be delivered to each of them, and appointed
good as that which was offered him, had refused
and Gratitude, as to refuse to accept it in Com-
and conscious of his own Insolence and Folly.
Compar. in loc. This intimates, that the Gentiles had as little Reason to expect the Call of the Gospel, as common Passengers and Travellers to expect an Invitation to a Royal Banquet.
(f) Who was not clothed with the Wedding-Garment he had provided.] It was usual for Persons to appear at Marriage-Feafts in a sumptuous Dress, generally adorned with florid Embroidery, as some Writers tell us : (See Rev. xix. 8. and Dr. Hammond, in loc.) But as it could not be expected, that Travellers thus pressed in should themselves be provided with it; we must therefore conclude, not only from the Magnificence of the Preparations, to which we must suppose the Wardrobe of the Prince corresponded, but likewise from the following Circumstance of Refentment against this Guest, that a Robe was offered, but refused by him. And this is a Circumstance, which (as Calvin observes,) is admirably suited to the Method of God's dealing with us; who indeed requires Holiness in order to our receiving the Benefits of the Gospel, but is gracioufly pleased to work it in us by his Holy Spirit; and therefore may juftly resent, and punifh our Neglect of so great a Favour. .
(g) He was ftruck speechless.] I render it (ftruck speechless,] because the Word eoipadno is in the Passive Form, and is very expressive. It is applied to the muzzling of Cattle, i Cor. ix. 9. Compare 1 Tim. v. 18. and i Pet. ii. 15. Vol. II.
. (b) Caff
The King orders him to be cast into outer Darkness. Sect. 153. Bind bis Hands and Feet, and take him away Hand and Foot, and take
h ence, (i. e. from the Guest-Chamberwhich him away, and calt bim inMat. XXII.
to outer Darkness: there was finely illuminated, and richly adorned,) and ñall be weeping and gnashcast him out into the Darkness which is without (h); ing of Teeth. and there, instead of the Mirth and Delight of my Banquet, there mall be nothing but weeping and gnashning of the Teeth for Anguish and Despair. (Compare Mat. viii. 12. Vol. i. pag. 339.)
Nor imagine, said our Lord in the Conclusion 14 For many are called, and Improvement of the Parable, that this will but few are chosen. be the Case of one alone; for I must say, tho' it be a dreadful Truth, that even the greatest Part of those to whom the Gospel is offered, will either openly reject, or fecretly disobey it; many indeed are called to the Gospel-Feast, but few chosen in such a Sense as finally to partake of its Blessings. (Compare Mat. xx. 16. pag. 245.)
Thus did he strongly intimate to the Jews, that since they despised the rich Provisions of his Gospel- Grace, incomparably more valuable than those of a Royal Feast, and since they used the Messengers whom God had sent to them in so ungrateful and barbarous a Manner, they must expect to be cut off and destroyed, by those hostile Armies which Divine Providence would speedily bring upon them; but that the Gospel should be embraced by the Gentiles, and vast Numbers of them be converted and saved by it.. And he farther intended to insinuate, by the Cir. cumstance of the Wedding - Garment, that as God had made Provision in his Gospel for the Sanctification of Men's Hearts, and the Reformation of their Lives, he expected true Holiness and cordial Obedience from all who professed to embrace it; and would another Day take a strict Review of all its Professors, that he might sepa
(h) Cast him out into the Darkness which is without.] The Mention of this Circumstance in this Connection would incline one to think, either that the Word apisov (in ver. 4.) may fignify Supper as well as Dinner, (which some Criticks have thought,) or that the King is represented as visiting the Guests in the Evening ; but it is a Matter of little Moment. (See Note (8) on Mat. viii. 12. Vol. i. pag. 339.) Considering how splendid and magnifi. cent the Entertainments of the Eastern Princes were, it cannot be thought an unnatural Circumstance, that such an Affront as this offered to the King, his Son, his Bride, and the rest of the Company, should be punished with such Bonds.