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With gratitude to God for His great mercy in permitting the work, the author now issues these Spiritual Studies on our Lord's words in St. Mark, thus completing a full series of Studies on all the four Gospels. The volumes upon St. Matthew, St. Luke, and St. John, have been most kindly received by many friends, and it is hoped that these upon St. Mark may find the same indulgent welcome, and prove to be not less helpful and edifying.
SPIRITUAL STUDIES IN
“And He began to speak unto them by parables. A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place for the winefat, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country. And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant, that he might receive from the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard. And they caught him, and beat him, and sent him away empty. And again he sent unto them another servant; and at him they cast stones, and wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully handled. And again he sent another; and him they killed, and many others; beating some, and killing some."St. Mark xii. 1-5.
Exposition.-Isaac Williams says: "The hedge that was thrown around God's vineyard some,
as Theophylact, would explain as the hedge of the Law, keeping them from the Gentiles; some would explain it as angelic guards; others, with St. Hilary, as the custody of just men, which was like a wall around them, as the name of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; some, with Origen and Chrysostom, as the watchful care of God. But the latter interpretation may be supposed to include all others, for the care of God of course implies the protection of saints, and good angels, as well as much more; and the Psalmist in complaining of God's having forsaken this Vine, says, Thou hast broken down her hedges. In like manner, although ancient writers would explain differently the meaning of the winepress, yet all their interpretations come to intimate the same, namely, such things in the Jewish economy as contained within them significations of the sacrifice of Christ. Thus Origen speaks of it as the place of sacrifice; another as the altar; another as the Word of God which crucifies the old man, and to which the nature of flesh is opposed; St. Irenaeus and Hilary as the prophets; St. Ambrose as the Psalms, in which are contained the mysteries of our Lord's passion, and which are overflowing with the new wine of the Spirit. These words of St. Ambrose respecting the Psalms, as intended by the wine-press, might with equal propriety be