Page images

be abased, and he that humbleth himself SERM, shall be eralted,

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

With a lesson of humility our Lord would often unite, what they equally wanted,' a lesson of charity. Having addressed one admonition in the form of parable to those that were bidden, he addressed another in some, what plainer language to him who had bidden them. This was probably sug, gested by observing, that the company now assembled at his table consisted of his Friends and Equals, wḥo were in a capacity to return his hospitalities; When thou makest a dinner or å supper, call not thy Friends nor thy Brethren, neither thy Kinsmen nor thy rich Neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and ą recompence be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind : and thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee; but thou shalt be recompensed at the resurs rection of the just,

This also, though not a parable, must be taken with some latitude of interpretation. It is a mode of language not uncommon in the holy scriptures, to state a proposition in positive terms,

$ 2



which is to be understood in a compaIX. rative sense. Thus in the words that I have newly quoted God declares by the

Prophet, I will have mercy and not sacrifice. Now we are not here to suppose, that he disapproved of sacrifice from the hands of the Jews, for this he had expressly enjoined them to pay; but he would have mercy rather than sacrifice; he preferred a moral to a ceremonial service.

In like manner the object of his present instruction is not to discountenance all those habits of hospitable kindness, which are the customary links of social intercourse in the middle and superior stations of life; but to recommend hospitalities to the

poor in preference. And this preference our Saviour justifies by a very powerful argument: for what they bestow upon the poor God himself will provide a recompence at the resurrection of the just,

When our Saviour spoke of a Resurrection, his language coincided with the sentiments of his Hearers. For though this doctrine was not universally received among the Jews, yet it was strenuously maintained by the Pharisees, Hence one of those that sat at


meat with him, on hearing these things serm.

SER said, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the Kingdom of God. Always ready to improve the good suggestions which arose in conversation, our Lord pursued both the sentiment and image in a parable.

A certain Man made a great Supper, and bade many. And he sent his Servant at supper-time to say to them that were bidden, Come, for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oren, and I go to


thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. So that Servant came and shewed his Lord these things. Then the Master of the house being angry said to his Servant, Go out quickly into the streets und lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor and the maimed and the halt and the blind. And the Servant said, Lord; it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. · And the Lord said unto the Servant, Go out unto the highways and hedges, and


prove them : I

[ocr errors]

$ERM. compel them to come in, that my house IX. may be filled. For I say unto you, that

none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.

Under this similitude we are to understand the benevolent economy of God, the Author and Dispensei of every good and perfect gift, who beside those bounties of his natural Providence, which he is every day diffusing on the world, has provided a far superior blessing in the dispensation of grace. The persons first invited to this feast of blessedness were the Jews. To them an early invitation was given by the Prophets: and the blessing being now fully prepared in its appointed season, it was expressly declared to them by the Minister of the New Covenant, Come, for all things are now ready. For such in effect was the tenour of his language, when he first began to preach ; The Kingdom of Hearen ts at hund; Repent ye, and believe the gospeld. But the Jews were too much occupied with worldly cares to attend to the message which he came to im

& Mark i. 152



part. Even those among them, who seem, from their knowledge in divine concerns and their professed acquaintance with the word of God were better competent to appreciate this overture of . heaven, the Pharisees and Lawyers, and the Chief Priests and Elders, were unhappily pre-engaged by the pleasures, the riches, and the honours of the world.

Being thus rejected of those to whom it was first offered; the invitation was extended to such as were scattered through the streets and lanes of the City or Commonwealth of Israel, to Publicans and Sinners, who were indeed derived from the same common stock of Abraham, and professed the same faith and worship with the general order of the Jews, but for some default in their observance of the ritual or the moral law were hardly admitted to the name and privilege of Brethren, and might be regarded in their religious character as the poor and the maimed and the halt and the blind. Fully sensible of their wants they were hungry for the bread of life, they received the call by Christ with gratitude and glad. ness of heart, and they readily and



« PreviousContinue »