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46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;
49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken ;
50 The Lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,
51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
* Or, cut him off. administration either as to kind, or the gum also on Esther ix. 14, reads, “Whocircumstances of the servants.
soever does not wish prosperity to MorVerse 47. Ruler over all his goods, &c. decai shall be cut in pieces, and his house -He shall be promoted to a higher shall be made a dunghill. So Samuel honour, who is faithful in the rior “hewed Agag in pieces, bet the Lord." ministrations at first assigned him.
His This punishment is transferred from corgifts shall be multiplied, his usefulness poral torment, to the terrible inflictions and influence enlarged, and his reward of God's wrath upon unfaithful servants in eternity shall be heightened.
in another world. Some, however, take Verse 48. My Lord delayeth his coming, O1XotOuew, in the sense of severe scourging, 8:0.—And from this delay doubts whether in which sense the Greek Teuvely, and the he will come at all, nourishing a secret Latin discindere, are sometimes used. infidelity as to the fact of his being a Others use the word in the sense of dissevere judge of unfaithful servants, or carding, or depriving of office, or cutting at least grows presumptuous upon the off from the family. Beza renders, separalong-suffering and patience exercised; bit eum. Still the weight of the punishand shall begin to smite his fellow-ser- ment belongs to the eternal state, as is vants, acting the part of a tyrant instead sufficiently denoted by what follows: and of a mild and faithful director; and to appoint him his portion with hypocrites ; eat and drink with the drunken, giving there shall be weeping and gnashing of himself up, not only to pride and violent teeth. St. Luke adds to hypocrites, “untempers, but to sensuality and indul- believers :” both terms were probably gence, ease and luxury : the lord of that used by our Lord, and with great force, servant shall come in a day when he look- inasmuch as such unfaithful ministers ed not for him, 8c., and the surprise shall have usually presumed much upon the be followed by the highest degree of pu- sanctity of their profession as affording nishment; for to be cut asunder, or sawn them the hope of the divine favour ; asunder, or cut in pieces, was one of the whereas our Lord intimates, that that terrible modes of capital punishment very profession unworthily supported amongst the Jews, as we learn from would only be charged upon them as a Heb. xi. 37, “they were sawn asunder ;” mask of hypocrisy, and their pretended which death, Jewish tradition says, zeal for faith would not prevent them from Isaiah suffered from Manasseh. The Tar- being ranked with unbelievers, only with CHAPTER XXV.
1 The parable of the ten virgins, 14 and of the talents. 31 Also the description of the
1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom
an aggravated punishment. In this highly virgins ; for the phrase, "the kingdom of admonitory parable, Christ looks beyond heaven,” always refers either to the gospel his immediate disciples, whom he was dispensation, or that which is connected about fully to constitute apostles and with it, as a part of its administration. As evangelists, and to send forth “ into all the parable is founded upon the customs the world,” to gather churches and to observed at Jewish marriages, to state rule and feed them in his name, as his these will usefully serve to explain the lite“stewards,” to the Christian ministry as ral sense of the parable. After the marhe knew it would exist and be abused in riage ceremony was performed and attestfuture ages. The character of pride, ty- ed, it was customary for the bridegroom, ranny, sensuality, luxury, and infidelity, in the evening, to conduct his spouse from which are here so forcibly drawn in few her friends to his own home, in a proceswords, have been written broadly and sion rendered as brilliant and imposing as legibly upon the priesthood of all fallen the circumstances of the bridegroom would churches; and the threatened punishment allow. His young female friends and is so tremendous, that it will make even relations were invited, and with lamps, the faithful minister tremble lest he waited in a company near the house, till should fall by unwatchfulness into the the bridegroom returned with the bride, same condemnation.
and her attendant friends; when, after the
customary congratulations, those who CHAPTER XXV. Verse 1. Be likened were in waiting joined the train, and with unto ten virgins, &c.-In an inferior sense acclamations, and other expressions of it has been supposed this parable may be joy, proceeded to the bridegroom's house, applied to the state in which the Chris- to the nuptial entertainment, which tian church would be found at the com
among persons of rank was of the most ing of Christ to judge the Jewish nation, splendid and costly kind. The doors were although its ultimate reference is admitted then closed to prevent the intrusion of to be to the day of judgment. We do strangers. The following extract from not, however, know that the state of the Ward's “ View of the Hindoos” shows Hebrew churches, or that of Jerusalem how unchanged many of the customs of the in particular, answered to the description east remain, and strikingly illustrates this of the parable. It is more satisfactory to parable :—“At a marriage, the procesconsider it as relating solely to the day sion of which I saw some years ago, the of final account, but suggested by the bridegroom came from a distance, and sudden coming of Christ to judge the the bride lived at Serampore, to which Jews, which was a type of his sudden place the bridegroom was to come by second advent to judge the church and water. After waiting two or three hours, the world. That it is the CHRISTIAN at length, near midnight, it was anChurch, and not the Jewish nation, of nounced, as if in the very words of scripwhich the parable speaks, is indicated by ture, ‘Behold, the bridegroom cometh! the introductory formula, Then shall The go ye out to meet him.' All the persons KINGDOM OF HEAVEN be likened unto ten employed now lighted their lamps, and
2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them :
ran with them in their hands to fill up dered as under the influence of grace, their stations in the procession. Some yet the work in the hearts of some of of them had lost their lights, and were them was more deep and effectual than unprepared : but it was then too late to in the others. The terms wise and seek them, and the cavalcade moved for- foolish, opoviuos and uwpai, are to be unward to the house of the bride ; at which derstood in the sense of prudent foreplace the company entered a large and sight, and the contrary ; and the first imsplendidly illuminated area, before the plies that steady regard to all future house, covered with an awning, where a dangers and trials of grace, which leads great multitude of friends, dressed in to a careful preparation for them. This their best apparel, were seated upon mats. is beautifully represented under the figure The bridegroom was carried in the arms of the prudent virgins taking oil in their of a friend, and placed on a superb seat vessels with their lamps ; for, although it in the midst of the company, where be is true that we can lay up no store of sat a short time, and then went into the grace, so as to render us less dependent house, the door of which was immediate- upon the aid of God in future time than ly shut, and guarded by sepoys. I and at the present hour, yet the vigorous use others expostulated with the door-keepers, of our present spiritual strength, that is, but in vain.”
of that moral power we derive from the The mystical meaning of the parable influence of the Holy Spirit, so leads to may be opened by the following remarks. those richer communications from God, 1. The virgins represent not merely pro- and so strengthens the habit of holy defessed members of the church, but per- cision in the will, and serves so to confirm sons who had all been under the influence the right and vigorous tendency of the of grace; and this view rendered the pa- affections, that he who is faithful to Prerable specially admonitory to the disci- Sent grace does by that constantly conples, the professed friends of our Lord, tribute to his future safety. The foolish to whom it was doubtless addressed. virgins, therefore, represent those who do There was a time when the lamps of the not prudently look forward to the danwhole ten virgins had been replenished gers and conflicts of future life, and so with oil and were all burning; a time too give up themselves fully to “grow in when even the foolish virgins were at their grace, and in the knowledge of Christ," post of duty, waiting for the bridegroom. but sink into carelessness and lukewarmThe oil in the lanp, being of the same ness of spirit. In this case the oil of the quality of that in the vessel, the fault of lamp burns out, and there is no supply the five foolish virgins was that of not in the vessel, because their hearts are taking enough. There was deficiency of withdrawn from the influence of God. quantity; the delay of the bridegroom Thus the principle of spiritual life perishes, discovered the deficiency. The parable and death cuts off the possibility of resto. is specially designed to warn against rest- ration for ever. ing in a superficial and partial piety. 3. The eternal union of Christ with his The mere number ten does not appear faithful church is represented under the to involve any particular mystery; this figure of marriage. In the same metanumber being a favourite indefinite term phorical language the covenant relation among the Jews.
of Jehovah and the Jewish people is 2. Though all the persons repre- frequently mentioned in the Old Testasented by the ten virgins are to be consi- ment; and some of the most striking
4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
passages of the prophets, expressive both the wicked, and the righteous could not of tenderness and reproof, are founded lapse from their state of security. Ages upon it. There are also predictions in have indeed passed, and the Bridegroom the Old Testament of the union of the still tarries; but every serious mind will evangelical church with Christ, that spi- live under the influence of the most solemn ritual church, composed of believers of thoughts of that day ; because of the unall nations, which was to succeed that certainty of life, and the equal certainty founded on natural descent from Abra. that in the same moral state in which ham. Of this the xlv. Psalm is a beauti. death transmits him into the eternal ful example. ere, in the parable before world, the day of final account must find us, the subject is the union of Christ with him. his church, glorified in heaven. She is 5. It is added, they all slumbered and to be brought to the house of the bride. slept. Those interpreters who consider groom “ adorned as a bride for her hus- these words as intimating that all, even band,” arrayed in all the beauty and glory the most vigilant, are subject to religious of grace and purity, to be united for ever · decays, and are apt to fall into a slumwith him, and to receive all the expres- bering and lukewarm state, do not appear sions of his love, and to render them back to consider that their interpretation inwith entire and unabated affection. volves the absurdity of supposing that
4. The tarrying of the bridegroom re- those persons whose hearts are abundantly presents the delay of Christ's second ad- furnished with holy affection, which is vent. That day was made known to no undoubtedly indicated by the wise virgins man. The first disciples appear therefore having made provision of oil in their to have felt that it might come at any mo- vessels, can sink into this supposed state ment, at least after the destruction of Je- of religious indifference, and that equally rusalem, or be combined with that event with others; for whatever this slumbering The apostle Paul, in writing to the Thessa- and sleeping may signify, it is expressly lonians, mentions the falling away which said to have happened to the wise and should come first, in order to correct an foolish virgins alike: they all slumbered error into which they had fallen in sup- and slept. This view also allows the posing that that day was “at hand ; ” and SAFETY of an unwatchful and lukewarm St. Peter, when rebuking the scoffers of state of mind, contrary to the constant his age, whilst he seems to justify the use doctrine of Christ. Add to this, that no of expressions common probably in the fault is ascribed either to the wise or discourses of the first preachers when foolish virgins for slumbering and sleepthey exhorted to preparation for that ing whilst the bridegroom tarried; but event, by referring the delay to God's the praise of the former was that they had “long-suffering ;” and yet hints its delay prudently taken oil in their vessels with by remarking that the lapse of ages could their lamps, and the fatal fault of the latmake no difference in the purposes of ter that they had neglected this necessary God, seeing that with him “one day is as
Such an interpretation cana thousand years, and a thousand years as not, therefore, be maintained, and the one day.” The whole mode of speaking on scope and design of the parable requires this subject was adapted to practical pur- us to understand slumbering and sleeping poses, and wisely connected the day of our to represent death. Whilst the Bridedeath with the day of final judgment; be- groom tarries, the successive generations cause the apostles all taught that after of Christians, whether prepared or not death there could be no redemption for for their Lord's coming, sleep in death ;
6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh ; go ye out to meet him.
and it is the last day only that shall fully were able thus to rekindle their lamps, declare which of them have taken oil in as they only had provided oil for this their vessels ; that is, whose hearts are in purpose, of which the others were destia state of preparedness to hail his second tute; and thus we are taught that those advent with joy, and to enter into his only whom the sanctifying grace of God everlasting kingdom.
has put into a state of due preparation 6. The sudden appearance of Christ at for eternity will be able to resume even the last day, and the pomp of it, is figured their profession. This lamp, the outward by the coming of the bridegroom. The visible sign of connexion with Christ, is gates are suddenly thrown open; the light in all others for ever quenched by death, of the torches of the attendants Aashes and can never again be lighted up. The at once upon the darkness of midnight; oil, the small measure of grace, which those who precede cry, “The bridegroom once supplied its flame, is consumed; the cometh !” then follows the splendour of vessel of the heart, which ought to have the procession itself, which, among the been replenished with it, is empty; and opulent, was elaborate and imposing: the opportunity for obtaining a supply is these were all images familiar to the past. This last most important point of Jews, and wonderfully adapted to impress instruction is illustrated by what follows; the imagination and to fix the moral which must be understood as intended of the whole. There is no reason simply to inculcate this general truth to conclude from this that Christ will For we are not to suppose that there is come to judgment literally at midnight; any thing in the case of persons found but this time is here mentioned to inti- unprepared for the second coming of our mate the delay of Christ's coming; for it Lord, to answer minutely to the applicawas long before midnight that the cere. tion of the foolish virgins to the wise to mony described in the parable usually give them of their oil, as though they took place. Several circumstances are should apply to them for grace; or in the introduced into the parable which must answer,
“ Go unto them that sell, and buy be interpreted in their general import, and for yourselves.” The general and solemn not strictly, as if every particular had a admonition and moral of this part of the mystical meaning, and nothing was to be parable is, that the case of all who, at the left to complete the narrative and to give second coming of Christ, are found desti. it grace and action. This discrimination tute of holy preparation for that event, is essential to the sober interpretation of will be as utterly hopeless as that of the all parables, and particularly to this. We five virgins who when the cry, “The shall not, however, stray beyond this bridegroom cometh ! ” was already heard, limit, if we consider the arising of the should attempt to purchase oil, when the virgins as representing the resurrection time would not admit of its being obtained from the dead, and the trimming of the before the bridegroom had entered his lamps, by pouring in oil, and thus as the house, and the doors were shut. The word ekoduno ay signifies, putting them in period, midnight, when the dealers in oil order for the purpose of meeting the were not likely to be found at their shops, bridegroom, as the resumption of that and the small space of time which reprofession of devotedness to Christ, and mained to resort to them had they been attention to the duty of “ waiting for his there, rendered success impossible ; and it appearing,” which they had assumed is this impossibility of repairing a previduring this life. Both the wise and the ous neglect of salvation, when Christ foolish virgins arose for this purpose; but shall come in his glory, which is the great it is to be remarked, that the wise only lesson intended to be conveyed.