« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
there cannot be a more perfect completion of any prophecy, than that which St. Paul's description sets before us with respect to this.
But we must not confine this promise of our Saviour's to his own immediate followers and disciplész: it extends to all his faithful servants in every age ad nation of the world, that part
with any thiog which is dear and valmable to them for the sake of the Gospel Whoever has passed any time in the world, must have seen that every man who is sincere in the profession of his religion, who sets God always before him, and who seeks above all things his favour and approbation, must some times make great and painful sacrifices to the commands of his Maker and Redeemer; and whoever does so, whoever gives up his pleasures, his interests, his fame, his favourite pursuits, his fondest wishes, and his strongest passions, for the sake of his duty, and in conformity to the will of his heavenly Father, may rest assured, that he shall in no wise lose his reward. He shall, in a degree proportioned to the self-denial he has exercised, and the sufferings he has undergone, experience the present comfort and support here promised to the apostles; and shall also, though not to the same extents have an extraordinary recompence in the kingdom of heaven.
Let no one then be deterred from persevering in the path of duty, whatever discouragements, difficulties, or obstructions he
may meet with in his progress, either from the struggles he has with his own corrupt affections, or from the malevolence of the world. Let him not fear to encounter, what he must expect to meet with, opposition, contumely, contempt, and ridicule; let him not fear the enmity of profligate and unprincipled men i but let him go on undaunted and undismayed in that uniform tenour of piety and benevolence, of purity, integrity, and uprightness of conduct, which will not fail to bring him peace at the last. Let him not be surprized or alarmed if he is not exempt from the common lot of every sincere and zealous Christian; if he find it by his own experience to be true, what an apostle of Christ has long since prepared him to expect, that whosoever will live godly in Christ Jesus shall in one way or other suffer persecution. But let biin remember at the same time the reviving and consolatory declaration of his divine Master ; “ Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, persecute you,
all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad; for great is your reward in heaven.”
NOW pass on to the twenty-second chapa
ter of St. Matthew, in which our blessed Lord introduces the following parable:
“ The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his and sent forth his servants to call them that vere 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. But 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. But when the king heard there
of, he was wroth; and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and
up their city. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding 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 went out into the highways, and
gathered together all as many as they could find, both bad and good, and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment. And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having on a wedding garment? and he was speechless. Then said the king to his servants, Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth ; for many are called, but few are chosen."
The primary and principal object of this parable is to represent, under the image of a marriage feast, the invitation given to the Jews to embrace the Gospel, their rejection of that gracious offer, the severe punishment inflicted
upon them for their ingratitude and Vol. II.