« הקודםהמשך »
separate the righteous from the wicked; one shall be taken and another left. He then gives them a charge to watch, and repeats, “ they know not the hour." Christ illustrates his warning by the figure of the good man of the house, and then charges them to be also ready, as the good man would, if he knew in what watch the thief would come, showing us, plainly that all true believers will know near the time, as Paul says, “ But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day shall overtake you as a thief.”
From 45–47, he tell us of the faithful and wise servant who watches and gives warning of his coming, and speaks of the blessings that servant shall inherit when he comes and finds him so doing.
48–51, Christ gives us the marks of an evil servant: 1st mark, he will “ say in his heart, My Lord delayeth his coming." He may not preach or speak against Christ's coming; no, he will only say it to himself. But he will not say he will never come; no, he will only think in his heart, “ My Lord delayeth his coming. When he hears the voice of the faithful servant saying, “ Behold, the bridegroom cometh,” he will say nothing in public against it; no, not so bad as that. Neither will he say any thing in favor of the cry; but mutter in his heart, 5 Áy Lord delayeth his coming.” The second mark, " And shall begin to smite his fellow-servants.” It does not say he will beat and bruise his fellow-servants, or the faithful servant who watches and cries; but he shall begin to smite, &c., meaning he will begin the persecution, set others on, and himself he will keep back, in his heart deceitful. 3d mark, “And to eat and drink with the drunken.” To eat and drink with the drunken — it does not say he gets drunk; no, it only says he eats and drinks with them that are so. By this I understand he fellowships with them, and is engaged in, and employs his time, his talents, his mind, to build up some popular and worldly object, which men of the world would be pleased in promoting. He courts popular applause; he Beeks to please men more than God. “ The Lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour he is not aware of. And shall cut him
asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
“ Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps and went forth to meet the bridegroom." I think we cannot be mistaken in the application of this parable. " Then,” that is, at the time when the wise servants are looking for and proclaiming his conting, and when the evil servant says in his heart, My Lord delayeth his coming. Then, too, when he will come, and they that are ready go in to the marriage, and the door is shut. This must mean the time when Christ comes to judgment, for he cuts off the evil servant, and appoints him his portion, and shuts the door against the foolish virgins; and when they knock, he opens not, but tells them, I know you not.
Where, then, is the millennium? say some. After the judgment sits, and not before; after the bridegroom comes, and the beloved city is completed; when Christ shall move his saints home, and live and reign with them on the new heavens and new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. If there could have been a millennium before Christ should come and gather his saints into one body, it must be a very imperfect one. A part of the body in heaven, a part in the earth, and the remainder under the earth; separated, divided, wounded, and torn by enemies and death, absent from our head. No, it cannot be ; if in this life only we have hope, we are of all men most miserable. If we are to have a temporal millennium, why did not our Savior mention it on the mount of Olives, as preceding his coming? He did not, neither has any of the apostles; but all speak of troublous times, departure from the faith, iniquity abounding, and the love of many waxing cold in the latter days. Our parable, to which we are now attending, says, at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. “At midnight;" this teaches us that at the time of his coming there will be much apathy and darkness on this subject; that is the coming of the bridegroom. The parable implies the same. “For while the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept." Can we not bear witness that
this has been the true state of the church for a number of years past? The writers on the word of God have adopted in their creeds, that there would be a temporal millennium before Christ would come. I call it temporal, because they have all of them taught that it would be in this state of things, not in an immortal state, neither in a glorified state; and that Christians would have all kingdoms under their control ; that is, in a temporal sense; and that they would be married and given in marriage, until the coming of Christ after this 1000 years, or, as some say, 360,000 years. This has been, and is yet, the prevailing opinion among our standard writers and great men. No wonder, Christ says, they will say in their hearts, My Lord delayeth his coming, and that the wise and foolish are all sleeping and slumbering on this important subject. For while we look for a temporal kingdom, behold, he cometh and destroys all that is perishable, all that is temporal, and erects upon these a new heaven and a new earth, which is immortal, and that fadeth not away, eternal in the heavens. I shall now,
III. Make an application of our subject. And,
1st. The time of the fulfilment of this parable is evidently come, in part at least. The world for a number of years have been trimming their lamps, and the wise and foolish have been engaged in translating the word of God into almost every language known unto us upon the earth. Mr. Judson tells us that it has been translated into one hundred and fifty languages within thirty years; that is, three times the number of all the translations known to us before. Then fourfold light has been shed among the nations, within the short period of the time above specified ; and we are informed that a part if not all of the word of God is now given to all nations in their own language. This, surely, is setting the word of life in a conspicuous situation, that it may give light to all in the world. This has not been done by the exertions of Christians or professors only, but by the aid of all classes and societies of men. -Kings have opened their coffers, and favored those engaged in the work; nobles have used their influence, and have cast
into the treasury of the Lord of their abundance; rich men have bestowed of their riches; and in many cases the miser has forgot his parsimony, the poor have replenished the funds of the Lord's house, and the widow has cast in her mite. How easy to work the work of the Lord when the hearts of men are made willing by his power! But shall we forget those who have forsaken the land of their fathers, the home of their nativity, and have spent lonesome years of toil among strangers, yes, worse than strangers, among heathen idolaters, and the savage of the wilderness, in the cold regions of the north, and under the scorching rays of a vertical sun, among the suffocating sands of the desert, or in the pestilential atmosphere of India ; who have risked their lives to learn a language, and prepare themselves to trim a lamp for those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death? No, we will not forget them; the prayers of thousands have ascended before the golden altar, morning and evening, on their behalf, and Israel's God has been their protector. Surely we may hope that these have oil in their lamps, who have sacrificed so much to bestow a lamp upon others. But remember, my brethren, the Lord he is God, and let him have all the glory. This is the time, and the same time that Gabriel informed Daniel, “many should run to and fro; and knowledge should increase.” This, too, is the same time when the angel flying through the midst of heaven had the everlasting gospel to preach to them who dwelt upon the earth. Here are Christ's words fulfilled, where he says, “ And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations ; and then shall the end come.”
2dly. It is plain to any diligent observer of the signs of the times, that all the societics for moral reform in our world at the present day are parts of the fulfilment of the parable, giving more light. What of our Bible societies? Are not these trimming the lamp for millions of human beings? Thirty years past, more than three fourths of the families in what we call Christian lands were without the lamp of life, and now nearly all supplied. Many of those who sat in heathenish dark.
ness then, are now rejoicing in the light of God's book. And much of this has been performed through the in. strumentality of Bible societies, and not only through the agency of the church, but political men, men of the world, the great men, merchants of the earth and those who trade in ships, all who live under the influence of the gospel, the kingdom of heaven," have engaged in the work. Will not the most skeptical acknow.edge, that this society has succeeded beyond the most sanguine expectation of its most ardent advocates ? And is not this strong circumstantial evidence that the Bridegroom is near, even at the door?
3d. The missionary societies of all sects and denominations, which have been established within forty years, have as far exceeded all former exertions of this kind as the overflowing Nile does the waters of the brook Kidron. See the missionary spirit extending from east to west, and from north to south, warming the breast of the philanthropist, giving life and vigor to the cold-hearted moralist, and animating and enlivening the social circle of the pious devotee. Every nation, from India to Oregon, from Kamtschatka to New Zealand, have been visited by these wise servants (as we hope) of the cross, proclaiming “ the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God," carrying the lamp, the word of God in their hands, and oil, faith in God, in their hearts. All classes of men are engaged in this cause, from the gray hairs of old age down to the sprightly youth of ten years. Who, then, can doubt but that the virgins in this sense have and are trimming their lamps, and the bride is making herself ready? 6 Go ye out to meet him.”
4th. The Sabbath schools and Bible classes are but a part of the fulfilment of the parable, yet clearly an evidence that the virgins are now trimming their lamps. This system of teaching the young and ignorant took its rise between forty and fifty years since, at the very time that the Christian world were praying, and ardently praying, for the coming of Christ, before that part of the Savior's prayer was forgotten, “ Thy kingdom come.” From a little fountain this stream of water has be