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ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
Our Lord's discourses were so very engaging, that the people in general could not forbear paying the utmost attention to them ; but the more efficacy they had, the greater was the rage of the Pharisees : however, he was not intimidated by them, but continued to preach daily. The parable of the wedding supper bears great great resemblance to one spoken on another occasion; with this difference, that here it is said the feast was made by a King on account of the marriage of his son, and in the former there is no mention of the man who came without a wedding-garment.
The parable of the vineyard seems to have been particularly addressed to the Jewish rulers ; this of the marriage supper to the people in general ; and, indeed, it includes all to whom the Gospel has at any time been made known.
By the King, we are to understand Gon; by the marriage of his Son, the covenant betwixt Christ and be. lievers ; the good things prepared, are the blessings of Christ's religion; the guests first invited were the Jews. When the invited guests were unmindful of the invita. tion they had received, the King sent to remind them of it, and to persuade them to come; this is figurative of God's goodness in sending the apostles to preach to the Jews after our Lord's death. The slighting behaviour of the guests represents the indifference and contempt with which the Jews treated the offer of salvation, occasioned by their attachment to worldly pursuits. By those who abused and ill-treated the messengers, are signified the Scribes and Pharisees, who our LORD knew would persecute the first propagators of the Gospel. The resentment of the King shews Gov's wrath at these pro.
ceedings, ceedings, and it was prophetic of the judgments which would be inflicted on the Jewish nation, who were to be punished as murderers. (We shall have occasion to observe how this prediction was fulfilled.) The commission given by the King to his servants to go out into the highways and hedges, alludes to the calling of the Gentiles, By those who were good are meant such as were well-inclined, and who practised in their unconverted state the duties of morality ; and the bad are those who, before the gospel was preached to them, had been notoriously wicked against the light of their consciences. The man without a wedding-garment signifies an hypocrite, one who pretends to accept the terms of salvation, but neglects to make the necessary preparation for it. The time of the king's coming means the day of judgment; and the punishment inflicted, the irreversible sentence of condemnation to be then passed on hypocrites. The conclusion of the parable, Many are called but few are chosen, intimates that, notwithstanding God has furnished every inducement to excite all men to embrace the Gospel, there will in all ages be numbers of profane, careless, and hypocritical persons, that will miss of salvation.
Those Christians who are descended from the Gentile nations, to whom the invitation was sent, after the rejection of the Jews, should reflect on the glorious privileges they enjoy, and notice the crimes which provoked the LORD to cast off his ancient people. Some amongst them were resolutely determined to reject the Gospel at all. events, and would not come. In Christian countries there are persons of this description : happy would it be, could these be persuaded to take warning by the fate of the Jews! Others were careless. How many are still indifferent in respect to their spiritual concerns ! Equally intent on worldly gain, few of the inhabitants either of cities or villages will find leisure to attend to religious
ordinances, unmindful of the danger of turning God's goodness into righteous indignation ! Inward piety and holiness, a truly Christian disposition, is the weddinggarinent which all may obtain who will yield their minds to the instructions of the Gospel, and accept the grace of God. Whoever is without these, though he may long have deceived mankind by plausible appearances, will be convicted by his own conscience, and consigned by his awful Judge, to a state of inexpressible and everlasting torment and anguish of mind. Let us, therefore, obey with thankfulness the joyful invitation of our Gov and Saviour, and endeavour to acquire those qualifications which are suitable to the Christian profession.
OUR LORD CONFOUNDS THE PHARISEES AND HERO.
From Matt. Chap. xxii.-Luke, xx.--Mark, xii.
Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.
And they watched him, and sent forth some of their disciples, and of the Herodians, as spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor.
And when they were come they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth : Is it lawful to give tribute to Cæsar, or not?
But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites ? Shew me the tributemoney. And they brought him a penny.
And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and sun perscription? They say unto him, Cæsar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Cæsar, the things which are Cæsar's; and unto God, the things that are God's.
And they could not take hold of his words before the people ; and they marvelled at his answer, and held their peace. And they left him, and went their way:
The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him,
Saying, Master, Moses said, Ifa man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.
Now there were with us seven brethren; and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and having no issue, left his wife unto his brother.
Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. And last of all the woman died also.
Therefore in the resurrection, whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.
Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.
For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels of God in heaven.
And as touching the dead that they rise; have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob;
He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living; ye therefore do greatly err.
And when the multitude heard this, they were asto. nished at his doctrine.
But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together.
And one of the scribes who was a lawyer came, and having found them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all ?
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth; for there is one God, and there is none other but he.
And to love bim with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt-offerings and sacrifices.
And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.
While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, What think ye of Christ? Whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David.
He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, The LORD said unto my LORD, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool ?
If David then call him LORD, how is he his son?
And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions,