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obstinacy, and the admission of the Heathens tou
“ The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son.”
That is, the dispensations of the Almighty, with respect to the Christian religion, which is called the kingdom of heaven, may be compared to the conduct of a certain king, who (as was the custom in those times, especially among the eastern '
nations) gave a splendid feast in consequence of his son's marriage.' And in this comparison there is a peculiar propriety, because both the Jewish and the Christian covenant are frequently represented in Scripture under the similitude of a marriage contract between God and his people*.
“ And he 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." This signifies the various and repeated offers of the Gospel to the Jews; first by John the *** See Isaiah, liv. 5. Jeremiah, iii. 8. Matth. XXV.5.
2 Cor. xi..
Baptist, Baptist, then by, our Saviour himself, then by his apostles and the seventy, disciples, both before and after his ascension. ".. But all these gracious offers the greater part of the nation rejected with scorn. They would not come to the marriage; they made light of it, and went their ways, one, to his farm, another to his merchandize; and the remnant took his servants and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. They not only slighted and treated with contempt the words of eternal life, and preferred the pleasures and the interests of the present life to all the joys of heaven, but they pursued, with unceasing rancour, the first preachers of the Gospel, and persecuted them even unto death.
“ But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth; and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed these murderers, and burnt up their city.” This points out, in the plainest terms, the Roman armies under Vespasian and Titus, which, not many years after this was spoken, " besieged Jerusalem, and destroyed the city,
and slaughtered an immense number of sinhabitants. This terrible devastation our Lord here predicts in general terms, as he
does more particularly and 'minutely in the twenty-fourth chapter, and he here représents it as the judgment of God"on" this perversen and obstitate people
for their rejection de the Christian religion, their savage treatment of the apostles and threir associates, and their fnany other atrocious crimes. This punishe. ment however is here, by anticipation, repres sented as having been inflicted dering the marriage feast ; though it did riot'in fact take place till afterwards, till after the Gospelhad been for some time promulgated!? 225 foris
Then said he to his servants; the wedanie 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 Wetterbhe trio the hidhurave
highways, and gathered together allt de many as they found, both had ad güéd ; thu tlie wedding was furnished witli' guests:
"315 al It may be thought, perhaps, at the first
views that out
a státice not very naturale probable: tutmay De ráágitied that t a magnificent loyatentér tainment, if any of the guests happened.to fail in their attendance, a great king Wopli neret punum
think of supplying their places by sending his servants into the highways to collect to gether, all the travellers and strangers they could meet with, and make them sit down at the marriage feast. But strange as this
this may seem, h there is something that approaches very near to it in the customs of the eastern nations, even in modern times. For a trável ber of great credit and reputation, Dr. Pococke, wforms us, that an Arab prince will often dine in the street before his door, and call to all that pass, even to beggars, in the name of Gods, and they come and sit down to table; and, when they have done, retire with the usual form of returning thanks *.
This adds one more proof to the many others I have already pointed out in the course of these Lectures, of the exact correspondence , of the various facts and circumstances recorded in the sacred weitings to the truth of history, and to ancient oriental customs, and manners. - Abis part of the parable alludęs, to the call ing in; jof the Gentilesizer Heathenartsuthese privileges
jileges of the Gospel after they had been 14#1 Pocoeke, wab.co7 and 182 See also Diod. Sickaülip 875, 376.36 I 9.994 imtis not?
haughtily rejected by the Jews. This was
first done by St. Peter, in the instance of Cornelius, and afterwards extended to the Gentiles' at large by him and the other apostles, conformably to what our Lord declares in another place *. Many shall come from the east and from the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of God; but the children of the kingdom (that is the Jews) shall be shut out.” And in this gracious invitation, no exceptions, no distinctions were to be made. The servants gathered together alt as many as they found, both 'bud and good; men of all characters and descriptions were to have the offers of mercy and salvation made to them, even the very worst of sinners; for it *was these chiefly that our Saviour came to *call to repentance; " for they that are whole
need not a physician, but they that are sickt;" and of these great numbers did actually embrace the gracious offers made to them; for our Lord told the Jews; i" the publicans and the hárlots go into the kingdom of God be fore you 3 * Matth. viii. 11, + Ib. ix. 19. # Ib, xxi. 31.