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or that “Christ is divided ;” or that salvation is partly by faith, and partly by holiness; but the faith which God expects to see in every Christian, is that faith which leads to sanctification, and “works by love.” An idle, barren trust in Christ, as having done all for us, is only a part of the wedding garment. And, on the other hand, a self-righteous confidence in a sober moral life, is a different robe from that which God has commanded us to wear. Scripture teaches us, that “we are justified freely by grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” “No man cometh unto the Father but by Him." 2 And Scripture no less clearly shows, that true faith in Christ “puts off the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and puts on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” 3 So that “not every one that saith unto Him, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of his Father which is in heaven.
In reply, therefore, to the great question, what is the wedding garment,-holiness must be combined with faith, to weave the perfect robe. To the kingdom of God here on earth, faith is the title of admission. The sinner who repents and turns to God, has need but to plead the blood shed for the remission of sin, and is "accepted in the Beloved.” But
But the faith Rom. iii. 24. John xiv. 6. * Eph. iv. 22–24.
4 Matt. vii. 21.
which is admitted into the kingdom of God in heaven must have been “made perfect by works;" 5 must have “ brought forth fruit unto holiness.” No man will sit down at the heavenly feast, except as a disciple of Christ Jesus. No one will be allowed as a disciple of Christ Jesus, who has not "purified himself even as He is pure.” To the self-righteous, and to the unrighteous, the question will equally apply, Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having a wedding garment? The one has not “washed his robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." The other has forgotten, that " without holiness no man shall see the Lord.”
13. “Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand
and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer
darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 14. “For many are called, but few are chosen.”
The silence of the rejected guest is no less worthy of remark, than the rest of this important parable. It is entirely different from the conduct which we find in this world. Here men have always something to say in their defence. The Antinomian pleads, that“ he that hath the Son hath life.” The self-righteous plead, that
every man shall be rewarded according to his works.” The poor plead their ignorance, their
" temptations, their evil companions, their difficult circumstances. Others plead their worldly concerns, their business, their families. And others
James ii. 22.
defend themselves on the ground of their passions, and their natural corruption. In some of these ways, all extenuate their own case, and put off repentance; yet hope to be accepted at the last.
But we learn here that no such excuse will avail before God. The man without the wedding garment had not a word to allege. He was speechless. The only plea which could possibly have been urged, that he could not procure the wedding garment, is precluded by the merciful freeness of the gospel offer. that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out.” “My grace is sufficient for thee." “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sin, and
ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Provision is made for the renewal of the heart, as well as for the pardon of sin. The royal master of the feast of ancient times was wont to prepare apparel in which he clothed his guests according to the occasion. And so Christ offers to purify, as well as to pardon : whom He justifies, them He also sanctifies, and prepares for the kingdom which He has purchased for them.
Let us then endeavour to realize to our minds the time, when this, which is described in the parable, shall happen to ourselves. Distance obscures the prospect: present things interfere to hide it. Let faith remove these barriers ; for
6 A custom similar to that which is practised by us at funerals.
“faith is the evidence of things not seen.” Let faith anticipate the day “when the king shall come in to see the guests assembled,” among whom we ourselves shall have a place; and he will at once perceive who bear, and who do not bear, the wedding garment. There are none who will be admitted without it; and there are none who may not acquire it. “If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children ; how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him!”
Blessed are they, whom the Lord, when He cometh, shall find clothed in “that righteousness which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe." They shall sit
8 down with Him in that presence where is “fulness of joy, and pleasures for evermore.”
SUDDENNESS OF THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM, AND
OF THE END OF THE WORLD.-A STATE OF PREPARATION.
MATT. xxiv. 32–51.
32. “ Now learn a parable of the fig tree: When his branch
is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that
summer is nigh: 33. “So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things,
know that it is near, even at the doors.
7 Luke xi. 13.
8 Rom. iii. 22.
34. “Verily I say unto you. This generation shall not pass,
, till all these things be fulfilled.' 35. “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words
shall not pass away.” The preceding verses had described the tribulation which should attend the siege of Jerusalem. The utter destruction of the city follows. This is represented in terms, which, at first sight, might seem to belong to the dissolution of the world itself. But we find that it had been
. customary with the sacred writers to predict the like calamities by the use of like expressions. Such are those words of Ezekiel, foretelling the desolation of Egypt. “And when I shall put thee out, I will cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light. All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over thee, and set darkness upon thy land, saith the Lord God.” Joel also writes, in reference to the event now approaching, “ I will show wonders in the heavens, and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come."
Still there would be many circumstances in common, between the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world, which render the like description applicable to both. Especially its They took place within 40 years.
· Ezek. xxxiii. 7, 8. * Joel ii. 30. Jer. iv. 23. Amos v. 20. Zeph, i. 14.