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of that portion of the whole discourse, which we proposed to consider.

Still as the question of Peter, verse 41, was produced by what had just preceded, and as the answer to that question gave occasion to the rest of the discourse, down to verse 48, and as there is great similarity in the subject-matter both of the preceding and the subsequent parts respectively; we shall be justified in classing them together, and treating of them conjointly. The propositions, which I consider to be necessary to their explanation as one whole, and which admit of being established respecting both in common, or either in particular, are these three.

First, they carry on, both together, an entire parabolic or allegorical description, intended for similar purposes, and conveying the same moral in general, in each instance.

Secondly, the first part of the description is to be understood of Christians in general, regarded in their proper relation to Christ; and the second, of the ministers of religion in particular, regarded in their's.

Thirdly, both parts describe an œconomy of probation, preparatory to, and followed by, an œconomy of retribution; the one in reference to Christians in general, the other to the ministers of religion in particular.

With respect to the first of these propositions; that the substance of verses 35-40 was conceived by Peter to contain a parable of some kind or other, appears from his very words; "Lord, speakest thou "this parable with reference to us, or even with "reference to all?" We are justified, therefore, in

considering it though not a parable strictly so called, that is, not consisting of a parabolic history of any kind, yet to be parabolic or allegorical in general.

This being the case, the substance of what follows from verse 41-48, on the principle of analogy must be regarded as parabolic also. There is no doubt that as Peter called the former part a parable, so, had it been necessary, he would have called the latter a parable, likewise. It arose out of the former; and is in fact only a continuation of the train of thought begun and carried on, in that. For we may observe, that as there was a distinction of persons-one principal, the rest subordinate-in the former, so there is in this: as the relation of these persons in the former was the relation of a master and his servants, so it is in this: as the principal personage was supposed to be absent from home, but expected some time to return, in the former, so he is in this: as the subordinate personages were supposed to be waiting, or at least were required to be waiting, for his return in the former, so are they in this as something was promised in the way of reward for the observance of the duty of watchfulness on the part of the servants, against the return of the master, in the former, so is it in this: as the coming of the master, to be followed by such and such personal consequences to the servants, was sudden and unexpected in the former, so it is in this: as the principal personage, or the master, requires to be understood of Christ himself in the former, so does he in this; and as the subordinate persons, represented as his servants, must be supposed to denote Christians in the former, so must they in this: as the material representation is made the founda

tion of proper moral or practical inferences in the former, so is it in this: and as the grounds or data of these inferences are akin to each other in both, so are the conclusions deduced from them also, akin to each other in both.

In fact, the terms of both these paragraphs throughout, and especially of the second, applied to whom they may, and understood of what they may, are so clearly metaphorical, that to suppose them capable of a literal construction would be the height of absurdity. If so, they must be figuratively understood; and taken together they constitute an allegory, uniform and consistent in its character as considered by itself, which we are justified in classing with the rest of the parables of the same kind, and treating of as such. This may suffice for the proof of the first of our propositions.

With regard to the second; I must refer the reader in the first place to what was premised in the eighth chapter of the General Introduction, concerning the distinction of the component parts or members of the visible church, and the figurative or parabolic mode of denominating each of them respectively. I shall observe at present only, in addition to what was there said, that the apostles of our Lord, and such as were afterwards ordained by them to ministerial offices, as such, in the church-but such alone-may fitly be understood to denote the ministers of religion, in contradistinction to the people; and the rest of their fellow-disciples (which, as referred to the present period, or to the period immediately following the first promulgation of Christianity, would be the rest of the Hebrew Christians) may just as properly represent the peo

ple or laity, in contradistinction to the ministers of religion which being granted, I think it may next be shewn, by the aid of the descriptions themselves, that the subordinate personages immediately concerned in the first part of the allegory, its material representation, its scope and application, are Christians in general; and those, who are similarly concerned in the second part of it, are the ministers of religion in particular.

For first; the question of Peter was expressly designed to obtain the solution of this very difficulty, who were the parties more immediately concerned in the drift and reference of the allegory, which had just been delivered. The words of his question admit of being rendered, Speakest thou this parable with reference to us, or even with reference to all, just as much as, Speakest thou this parable unto us, or even unto all. In this case, supposing the words of the recent discourse not merely to have been addressed to such and such persons, but to have had a special reference to them, there were but two applications of which, in the judgment of Peter, it was capable; viz. either to his own case and that of others whom he classes with himself, as to a certain number distinct from the rest; or to the case of all, as including the rest, besides himself and those whom he classes with himself. But a question may still be raised, whether by all, even in this case, he understood the rest of the disciples, as distinct from the twelve apostles, or the rest of the people present, as distinct from the disciples; or both.

Of these suppositions, the first is the most probable. For Peter could not be ignorant that Jesus had both begun this present discourse by addressing

himself exclusively to his disciples, and had continued it as confined unto them, until he was interrupted by the request from the multitude standing by: and though, in consequence of that interruption, his discourse for a time had necessarily been directed to the people generally, yet he knew that the original address to the disciples had been resumed, and the discourse again confined to them as before. He was aware, then, that what had been last spoken, had been spoken to the disciples, and therefore must have been meant for the disciples; which renders it very unlikely that he would immediately ask whether it was designed for the multitude distinct from them, or for either as much as for the other. But admitting that what our Lord had just said, was intended for his own disciples in particular, and not for the people in general, there might still be reason sufficient to induce any one of the apostles to inquire further, whether all the disciples indiscriminately, or the twelve apostles exclusively, were most properly concerned in it.

It cannot be necessary to prove, that though the twelve apostles themselves, before the time of their ordination, might have ranked only as disciples or simple believers in our Lord, in common with the rest of his followers; yet since that ordination, which took place at the beginning of the second year of his ministry, they had constituted a distinct class of the disciples; and seemed to have been invested with a peculiar dignity, or set apart for the reception and enjoyment of peculiar privileges hereafter, in having been personally selected by their common Master from the body of his followers, to be always with him-to be admitted to his privacy

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