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PARABLE OF THE KING AND HIS SERVANTS AND ENEMIES.

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force; but this, that faithful use for God of every capacity will ever open fresh opportunities, in proportion as the old ones have been used, while spiritual unprofitableness must end in utter loss even of that which, however humble, might have been used, at one time or another, for God and for good.

3. To these Parables, that of the returning King and His reckoning with His servants and His enemies may be regarded as supplemental. It is recorded only by St. Luke, and placed by him in somewhat loose connection with the conversion of Zacchæus.& The St. Luke most superficial perusal will show such unmistakable similarity with the Parable of The Talents,' that their identity will naturally occur to the reader. On the other hand, there are remarkable divergences in detail, some of which seem to imply a different standpoint from which the same truth is viewed. We have also now the additional feature of the message of hatred on the part of the citizens, and their fate in consequence of it. It may have been that Christ spoke the two Parables on the two different occasions mentioned respectively by St. Luke and St. Matthew-the one on the journey to Jerusalem, the other on the Mount of Olives. And yet it seems difficult to believe that He would, within a few days of telling the Parable recorded by St. Luke, have repeated it in almost the same words to the disciples, who must have heard it in Jericho. This objection would not be so serious, if the Parable addressed, in the first instance, to the disciples (that of the Talents) had been afterwards repeated (in the record of St. Luke) in a wider circle, and not, as according to the Synoptists, the opposite. If, however, we are to regard the two Parables of the Talents and of the Pieces of Money as substantially the same, we would be disposed to consider the recension by St. Matthew as the original, being the more homogeneous and compact, while that of St. Luke would seem to combine with this another Parable, that of the rebellious citizens. Perhaps it is safest to assume, that, on His way to Jerusalem, when His adherents (not merely the disciples) would naturally expect that He would inaugurate His Messianic Kingdom, Christ may have spoken the latter Parable, to teach them that the relation to Him of Jerusalem, and its fate, were quite other than they imagined, and that His Entrance into the City and the Advent of His Kingdom would be separated by a long distance of time. Hence: it was theirs to work, not to reign; after that would come the reckoning, when the faithful worker would become the trusted ruler. These elements would, of course, closely touch upon the Parable of the Talents, and, with the view of presenting it as a whole,

xix. 11-28

VOL. II.

Η Η

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St. Luke may have borrowed details from that Parable, and supplemented its teaching by presenting another aspect of it.

It must be admitted, that if St. Luke had really these two Parables in view (that of the King and of the Talents), and wished to combine them into new teaching, he has most admirably welded them together. For, as the Nobleman Who is about to entrust money to His servants, is going abroad to receive a Kingdom, it was possible to represent Him alike in relation to rebellious citizens and to His own servants, and to connect their reward with His ‘Kingdom.' And so the two Parables are joined by deriving the illustration from political instead of social life. It has been commonly supposed, that the Parable contains an allusion to what had happened after the death of Herod the Great, when his son Archelaus hastened to Rome to obtain confirmation of his father's will, while a Jewish deputation followed to oppose his appointment—an act of rebellion which Archelaus afterwards avenged in the blood of his enemies. The circumstance must still have been fresh in popular remembrance, although more than thirty years had elapsed. But if otherwise, applications to Rome for installation to the government, and popular opposition thereto, were such frequent events amidst the quarrels and intrigues of the Herodians, that no difficulty could have been felt in understanding the allusions of the Parable.

A brief analysis will suffice to point out the special lessons of this Parable. It introduces a certain Nobleman,' Who has claims to the throne, but has not yet received the formal appointment from the suzerain power. As He is going away to receive it, He deals as yet only with His servants. His object, apparently, is to try their capacity, devotion, and faithfulness; and so He hands—not to each according to his capability, but to all equally, a sum, not large (such as talents), but small—to each a 'mina,' equal to 100 drachms, or about 31. 58. of our money. To trade with so small a sum would, of course, be much more difficult, and success would imply greater ability, even as it would require constant labour. Here we have some traits in which this differs from the Parable of the Talents. The same small sum is supposed to have been entrusted to all, in order to show which of them was most able and most earnest, and hence who should be called to largest employment, and with it to greatest honour in the Kingdom. While the Nobleman' was at the court of His suzerain, a deputation of His fellow-citizens arrived to urge this resolution of theirs: We will not that this One reign over us." It was simply an expression of hatred ; it stated no reason,

THE RETURN OF THE KING TO HIS COUNTRY.

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and only urged personal opposition, even if such were in the face of the personal wish of the sovereign who appointed him king.

In the last scene, the King, now duly appointed, has returned to His country. He first reckons with His servants, when it is found that all but one have been faithful to their trust, though with varying success (the mina of the one having grown into ten; that of another into five, and so on). In strict accordance with that success is now their further appointment to rule—work here corresponding to rule there, which, however, as we know from the Parable of the Talents, is also work for Christ—a rule that is work, and work that is rule. At the same time, the acknowledgment is the same to all the faithful servants. Similarly, the motives, the reasoning, and the fate of the unfaithful servant are the same as in the Parable of the Talents. But as regards His enemies,' that would not have Him reign over them-manifestly, Jerusalem and the people of Israel — who, even after He had gone to receive the Kingdom, continued the personal hostility of their . We will not that this One shall reign over us '—the ashes of the Temple, the ruins of the City, the blood of the fathers, and the homeless wanderings of their children, with the Caincurse branded on their brow and visible to all men, attest, that the King has many ministers to execute that judgment which obstinate rebellion must surely bring, if His Authority is to be vindicated, and His Rule to secure submission.

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BEFORE HIS AGONY, AND THE SANHEDRISTS IN THEIR UNREST-THE BE-
TRAYAL-JUDAS : HIS CHARACTER, APOSTASY, AND END.

(St. Matt. xxvi. 1-5, 14–16; St. Mark xiv. 1, 2, 10, 11; St. Luke xxii, 1-6.)

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From the record of Christ's Sayings and Doings, furnished by St. Matthew, we turn once more to that of public events, as, from one or another aspect, they are related by all the Evangelists. With the Discourses in the Temple the public Teaching of Christ had come to an end; with that spoken on the Mount of Olives, and its application in the Parables of the Virgins' and the “Talents,' the instruetion of the disciples had been concluded. What follows in His intercourse with His own is parænetic rather than teaching,-exhortation, advice, and consolation : rather, perhaps, all these combined.

The three busy days of Passion-Week were past. The day before that on which the Paschal Lamb was to be slain, with all that was to follow, would be one of rest, a Sabbath to His Soul before its Great Agony. He would refresh Himself, gather Himself up for the terrible conflict before Him. And He did so as the Lamb of God-meekly submitting Himself to the Will and Hand of His Father, and so fulfilling all types, from that of Isaac's sacrifice on Mount Moriah to the Paschal Lamb in the Temple; and bringing the reality of all prophecy, from that of the Woman's Seed that would crush the Serpent's head to that of the Kingdom of God in its fulness, when its golden gates would be flung open to all men, and Heaven's own light flow out to them as they sought its way of peace. Only two days more, as the Jews reckoned them?—that Wednesday and

SO

II take leave to introduce a term which has become naturalised in German theological literature. There is no other single word which

expresses the ideas.

2 An attempt has been lately made, with great ingenuity, by the Rev. B. S. Clarke, of Boxted, to show that only the

weekly Sabbath and the Day of Atonement, but not the other festive, nor yet the natural days, began with the evening. The admission in regard to Sabbaths and the Day of Atonement is, in the absence of any qualifying remark in regard to them, a primâ facie argument against the theory. But there is more than this. In THE LAST SABBATIC REST BEFORE THE PASSION.

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Thursday--and at its Even the Paschal Supper! And Jesus knew it well, and He passed that day of rest and preparation in quiet retirement with His disciples—perhaps in some hollow of the Mount of Olives, near the home of Bethany-speaking to them of His Crucifixion on the near Passover. They sorely needed His words; they, rather than He, needed to be prepared for what was coming. But what Divine calm, what willing obedience, and also what outgoing of love to them, with full consciousness of what was before Him, to think and speak of this only on that day! So would not a Messiah of Jewish conception have acted; nay, He would not have been placed in such circumstances. So would not a Messiah of ambitious aims or of Jewish Nationalist aspirations have acted; He would have done what the Sanhedrin feared, and raised a “tumult of the people, prepared for it as the multitude was, which had so lately raised the Hosannah-cry in street and Temple. So would a disillusioned enthusiast not have acted; he would have withdrawn from the impending fate. But Jesus knew it all—far more than the agony of shame and suffering, even the unfathomable agony of soul. And the while He only thought of them in it all. Such thinking and speaking is not that of Man—it is that of the Incarnate Son of God, the Christ of the Gospels.

He had, indeed, before that, sought gradually to prepare them for what was to happen on the morrow's night. He had pointed to it in dim figure at the very opening of His Ministry, on the first occasion that He had taught in the Temple, as well as to Nicodemus. He had St. John hinted it, when He spoke of the deep sorrow when the Bridegroom » ii, 14 would be taken from them, of the need of taking up His Cross, of St. Matt. the fulfilment in Him of the Jonah-type,e of His Flesh which He would give for the life of the world, as well as in what might have seemed the Parabolic teaching about the Good Shepherd, Who laid down His Life for the Sheep, and the Heir Whom the evil hus- vi. 51 bandmen cast out and killed. But He had also spoken of it quite 11, 15 directly—and this, let us specially notice, always when some high- ist. Natt. point in His History had been reached, and the disciples might have been carried away into Messianic expectancies of an exaltation without humiliation, a triumph not a sacrifice. We remember, that the first

ii. 19

ix. 15
d x. 38
St. Matt.
xii, 40
St. John

& St. John X.

Chull. 83 a it is noted, in connection with
offerings, that as in the history of the
Creation the day always belonged to the
previous night (“one day'), it was always
to be reckoned in the same
Again, in Pes. 2 a it is stated that the day

lasted" till three stars became visible.
Lastly, and most important in regard to
the Passover, it is distinctly stated (Jer.
Pes. 27 c, below), that it began with the
darkness on the 14th Nisan.

manner.

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