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his master might have received some benefit from it. With usury. With interest, increase, or gain.
28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. 29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
For unto every one that hath shall be given.' See note, Matt. xiii. 12. This seems to be a proverbial expression. It means, whosoever rightly improves what is committed to him shall receive more, or shall be rewarded, but he that misimproves what is committed to him shall not be rewarded. The unfaithful and indolent shall be taken away from their privileges and punished.
30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
And cast,' &c. See note, Matt. viii. 12. The spiritual meaning of the parable may be thus summed up: 1. The servants of God are not all endowed with equal gifts and talents. 2. They are bound to employ their talents in promoting his honour, and in a proper improvement of them. 3. By employing their talents in a proper
manner, they improve and strengthen them. 4. They will be judged according to the improvements they have made. 5. They will be judged, not merely for doing wrong, but for neglecting to do right. What must they expect who abuse their talents, destroy by drunkenness and lust the noble faculties conferred on them, and squander the property that might be employed in advancing the interests of morals and religion !
31 | When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
This is in answer to the question which the disciples proposed to him respecting the end of the world, ch. xxiv. 3. It contains the account of the last judgment, to take place at the end of the world, 1 Thess. iv. 14-17. In his glory. In his own proper honour. With his glorified body, and as the head and king of the universe, Acts i. 11. Eph. i. 20—22. 1 Thess. iv. 16. 1 Cor. xv. 24, 25, 52. “The throne of his glory. This means, in the language of the Hebrews, his glorious or splendid throne.' It expresses the idea that he will come as a king and judge, to assemble his subjects before him, and to appoint them their rewards. 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations ,
and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats :
At his coming, the dead in Christ, that is, all true christians, snall be first raised up from their graves, 1 Thess. iv. 16. The living shall be changed, that is, shall be made like the glorified bodies of those that are raised from the dead, 1 Cor. xv. 52–54. 1 Thess. iv. 17. All the wicked shall rise and come forth to judgment, John v. 28, 29. Dan. xii. 2. Matt. xiii. 41, 42. Rev.
And he shall separate,' &c. Shall determine respect ing their character, and shall appoint them their doom accordingly.
33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
By the sheep' are denoted, here, the righteous. The name is given to them because the sheep is an emblem of innocence and harmlessness. See John x. 7, 14–16, 27. Psa.c. 3; lxxiv. 1; xxiji. 'On the right hand.' The right hand is the place of honour. See Eccl. x. 2. Eph. i. 20. Psa. cx. 1. Acts ii. 25, 33. “The goats.' The wicked. See Ezek. xxxiv. 17. "The left.' That is, the left hand. This was the place of dishonour, denoting condemnation. See Eccl. x. 2.
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world :
'The King.' That is, the Lord Jesus, the King of Zion, and of the universe, now acting as judge, Luke xix. 38. John xviii. 37. Rev. xvii. 14; xix. 18. Blessed of my Father.' Made happy, or raised to felicity by my Father. See note, Matt. v. 3. Inherit the kingdom.' Receive as heirs the kingdom, or be received there as the sons of God. Christians are often called heirs of God, Rom. viii. 17. Gal. iv. 6, 7. Heb. i. 14. 1 John iii. 2. Prepared for you,' &c. That is, designed or appointed for you. The phrase "from the foundation of the world' is used to denote that this was appointed for them in the beginning; that God has no new plan; that the rewards which he will now confer on them he always intended to confer. Accordingly, the salvation of his people is uniformly represented as the result of the free gift of God, according to his own pleasure, bestowed on individuals, and by a plan which is eternal, Rom. viii. 29, 30. Eph. i. 4, 5, 11, 12. 2 Thess. ii. 13. 1 Peter i. 2. John vi. 37. All men are by nature equally undeserving. Bestowing favours on one does not do injustice to another, where neither deserves favour. Pardoning one criminal is not injuring another. Those who perish choose the paths which lead to death, and will not be saved by the merits of Jesus. No blame can be charged on God if he does not save them against their will, John v. 40. Mark xvi. 15, 16.
35 For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat : I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
'I was an hungered. The union between Christ and his people is the most tender and endearing of all connexions. It is represented by the closest unions of which we have knowledge, John xv. 4–6. Eph. v. 23–-32. 1 Cor. vi. 15. It is a union of feelings, interests, plans, destiny; or, in other words, he and his people have similar feelings, love the same objects, share the same trials, and inherit the same blessedness, John xiv. 19. Rev, iii. 5, 21. Rom viii. 17. Hence he considers favours shown to his people as shown to himself, and will reward them accordingly, Mait. x. 40, 42. 1 John iji. 14, 17. James ii, 1–5. Mark ix. 41. "Was a stranger. The word “stranger' means a foreigner, or traveller. To receive such to the rites of hospitality was, in eastern countries, where there were few or no public houses, a great virtue, See Gen. xviii, 1–8. Heb. xiii. 2. 'Took me in.' Into your house. Received me kindly. Naked.' Poorly clothed. Among the Jews they were called naked who were clad in poor raiment, or those who had only the tunic or inner garment, without any outer garment.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in ? or naked, and clothed thee ? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
This answer is indicative of humility-a deep sense of their being unworthy of such commendation. They will feel that their poor acts of kindness have come so far short of what they should have been, that they have no claim to praise or reward.
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
* One of the least of these. One of the poorest, and most despised, and afflicted. “My brethren.' Christians, whom he condescends to call brethren. See Heb. ii. 11. Matt. xii. 50.
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.
On the left hand. The wicked. “Ye cursed.' That is, ye who are devoted to destruction, whose characters deserve everlasting punishment, and who are about to enter into it. To curse, is the opposite of, to bless. It implies a negation of all the blessings of heaven, and a positive infliction of eternal sufferings.
Everlasting fire.' Fire, here, is used to denote punishment. It expresses extreme suffering, as a death by burning is one of the most horrible that can be conceived. This image was well known to the Jews, Isa. Ixvi. 24, and therefore expressed in a very strong manner the certainty, intensity, and eternity, of future torment. To us it is a subject of comparatively little consequence what will be the mode of punishment. The fact that the wicked will be eternally punished, cursed of God, should awe every spirit, and lead every man to secure his salvation. As, however, the body will be raised, it is not unreasonable to suppose that a mode of punishment will be adopted equivalent to the concentration of all earthly woes, all that makes man miserable here, poured upon the naked body and spirit of the wicked in hell, for ever and ever, Prepared for the devil. The devil is the prince of evil spirits. This place of punishment was fitted for him when he rebelled against God, Jude 6. Rev. xii. 8, 9. ' His angels. His messengers; his servants, or those angels that he drew off from heaven by his rebellion, and whom he has employed as his messengers to do evil. There is a remarkable difference between the manner in which the righteous shall be addressed, and the wicked. Christ will say to the one that the kingdom was prepared for them; to the other, that the fire was not prepared for them, but for another race of beings. They will inherit it because they have the spirit of the devil, the same character, and are therefore fitted to the same place; not because it was originally designed for them.
42 For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, say
Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
“Inasmuch as ye did it not,' &c. By not doing good to the followers of Christ, they showed that they had no real love to hin. Let it be observed, here, that the public ground of their condemnation is the neglect of duty, or because they did it not. We are not to suppose that they will not also be condemned for
their open and positive sins. See Rom. ii. 9. Eph. v. 5. Col. iii. 5, 6. 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10. Rev. xxi. 8. Psa. ix. 17. But their neglect of charity, or of doing good to him and his people, may be the public reason of condemning them, because he wished to give preeminency to those virtues, to excite his followers to do them. Sin is a violation of the law. Besides, nothing better shows the true state of the heart than those duties, and the true character can be as well tried by them as by open crimes.
• One of the least of these. These on my right hand. My brethren. Those who are saved.
46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
And these,' &c. These persons. Into everlasting punishment.' The original word, here translated “punishment,' means torment, or suffering inflicted for crime. It does not mean simply a state or condition, but absolute, positive suffering. In regard to the meaning of the word “everlasting in this place, it is to be observed, that the literal meaning of the word expresses absolute eternity-always being, Matt. xviii. 8; xix. 16. Mark iii. 29. Rom. ii. 7. Heb. v. 9; that the obvious, plain interpretation of the word demands this signification; that the word used here is the same in the original as that used to express the eternal life of the righteous; if one can be proved to be limited in duration, the other can by the same arguments. The proof that the righteous will be happy for ever is precisely the same, and no other than that the wicked will be miserable for ever; and it is confirmed by many other passages of scripture, 2 Thess. i. 7-9. Luke xvi. 26. Rev. xiv, 1], Psa. ix, 17. Isa, xxxiii. 14. Mark xvi. 16, John iii. 36. “Life eternal.' Man, by sin, has plunged himself into death, temporal, spiritual, eternal. Christ, by coming and dying, has abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light, 2 Tim. i. 10. . Life' denotes, here, freedom from death, and positive holiness and happiness for ever.
CHAPTER XXVI. 1 AND it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples, 2 Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.
See also Mark xiv. 1-11. Luke xxii, 1–6. John xii. 1-7. After two days is the feast of the passover.' See note, Matt. xii. 1–8. The festival of the passover was celebrated to preserve among the Jews the memory of their liberation from Egyptian servitude, and of the safety of their first-born in that night when the first-born of the Egyptians perished, Ex. xii. The name passover' was given to the feast because the Lord passed over