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Jesus gave his 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 them from 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 if that stone fall on him, the injury must be much greater. The tremendous judgments 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 faithful coun sels 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 into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gath ered 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 he 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: And Jesus answered 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. Tha: 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

said xix. 30, "but many that are first shall be last, and the last shall be first ;" and this fact is rendered more evident from the circumstance, that immediately on closing the parable, Jesus adds. " $0 the last shall be first, and the first last," as he had illustrated in the parable.

We proceed then to say, that the dealings of God with men, in the dispensation of the gospel, were like those of a householder, who went out early in the morning to hire laborers into his vineyard. The earliest professors of Christianity, were those who went first into the vineyard. Those who subsequently embraced the gospel, were such as entered the vineyard later in the day. As the lord of the vineyard rewarded all the laborers, so all the followers of Christ were assured of their reward; and as the master of the house, in rewarding the laborers, began at the last, and proceeded unto the first, so some that embraced the gospel at a late season, would be rewarded before others who had been more conspicuous in their defence of Christianity. As those who entered first into the vineyard murmured against the good man of the house because he gave to each laborer a penny, so the disciples were desirous of being exalted above others, in consequence of their labors in the vineyard of their Master.

This, it appears to us, was the original design of Jesus in uttering this parable. We are willing to admit, however, that it is easily susceptible of an application to the Scribes and Pharisees, who murmured at Jesus Christ, because he received sinners, and showed them favor. In fact the words which, as we have shown, the parable was designed to illustrate, are applied in another place to the Jews. See Luke xiii. 28-30, where the evangelist de

scribes the rejection of the Jews from the kingdom of the gospel, and the reception of the Gentiles; when he adds, "and behold there are last that shall be first, and there are first that shall be last." Here these words signify, that the Jews to whom the gospel was first preached, would be the last to embrace it; whereas the Gentiles, to whom it was not preached until after it was rejected by the Jews, would embrace it first. If we interpret the parable to refer to the Pharisees, the application cannot be very particular. In that case, we inust suppose the circumstances to be thrown together for the purpose of setting out the envious and murmuring disposition of the Pharisees, who thought they had a difficult duty to perform in serving God, who claimed a large reward for it, expecting to be exalted above others, and who found fault with 3 Jesus because he bestowed blessings on all mankind. That such was the disposition of the Phari3 sees we have sufficiently shown in this work; and their conduct may be well illustrated by that of the laborers who murmured against the good man of the house, because each one received a penny.

The same disposition is frequently seen at the present day, in those persons who profess to be the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. They boast that they serve God in this life, while others { are engaged in the practice of sin; and they confidently look forward to the time of reckoning, when they hope to be distinguished from others, and exalted above them. If we tell them that at last every man will receive a penny, or, in other words, that God will raise all men to the enjoyment of equal bliss, they are angry; they murmur against those who preach such a doctrine, as the laborers murmured against the master of the house; they

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