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Jewish state, and that when Christ should come to judge and destroy them by the Roman power, the genuine followers of Christ should escape, and the rest be overwhelmed in the general destruction. See chap. xxiv. 30."
6. Matt. xiii. 36-43. Here you assume, as in the previous text, that the end of the world, (aion) (the time of the harvest) is the end of the universe. The arguments adduced on that are equally applicable to this. It is only necessary therefore to consider the figures here used-furnace, weeping and gnashing of teeth. In Isai. xxxi. 9, we read that God's fire is in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem. See also Ezek. xxii. 18, 20, 22. From these references, we see, that furnace is used in the Old Testament, to signify sore, temporal calamities. Now as our Lord spoke to Jews, who were familiar with the Old Testament, it not reasonable to suppose, that he used it in the same sense, in which it there occurs? And if he did not, would he not have mislead, rather than instructed his hearers? Add to this the fact, that they were to be cast into this furnace at the end of the age or Jewish polity, and there can be no doubt of its having a temporal signification.
Dr. Clarke says, the figure "weeping_and gnashing of teeth" was borrowed from the Jewish method of celebrating nuptial festivals, which took place at night, and in houses splendidly illuminated by lamps, torches and candles. Those excluded, he says, are represented as in outer darkness, and the shame to which they were exposed, and the cold which they suffered, are expressed by wailing, weeping and gnashing of
teeth. How forcibly then, do those figures represent the punishment of apostate christians. They were shut out from the kingdom; they were in outer darkness; they ceased to enjoy gospel privileges, the kingdom of heaven was taken from them. Hence their suffering and shame are forcibly expressed by wailing, weeping and gnashing the teeth. This application is strengthened by the fact, that the same figures are used in Matt. xxiv. 51, which is admitted to refer to the destruction of Jerusalem. This is the opinion of Pearce, Cappe and Hammond.
Your remark that the end of the world, cannot mean the end of the Jewish age, because tares are still among the wheat, will have no weight, when it is considered, that the good seed represented christians, and the tares apostates, those which were once a good seed.
The parable had a particular application to the end of the Jewish age: "So shall it be at the end of this world," (aion) which Pearce, Cappe and Clarke say, means the Jewish age. Your difficulty therefore, about the impossibility of tares becoming wheat, after being burned, is altogether imaginary, and founded on a false application of the text.
3. Matt. xxv. 1-12. Here you assume that the coming of the bridegroom represents Christ's coming to judgment at the last day. This is refuted, 1. By the commencement of the parable: Then shall the kingdom, &c. This adverb must refer to the time of which Christ had been speaking in the xxiv. chap. which was his coming to destroy the Jews. 2. It was a representation of the church at Christ's coming, which in this dis
course, he says, should be in that age. 3. Christ commands the disciples to watch, because they knew not when he would come. He gave the same commands in chap. xxiv. where he con- . fines his coming to that age. 4. This parable was a part of our Lord's answer to the disciples' question, when he should come, and in this answer, he declares it should be in that age.
Pearce. Ver 1. 'Then, i, e., at that time, and under those circumstances. This shows, that Jesus, in this chapter, is speaking on the same subject as in the foregoing one, viz. what was to happen at the destruction of the Jewish state. See Com. on ver. 13.'
Ver. 1. 'Rather, wherein the Son of man is to come. This plainly shows, that what was said before in this chapter relates to the destruction of the Jewish state, expressed by the Son of man's coming, as in chap. xvi. 27, 28. Com. in loc.
8. Matt. xxv. 14—30. (Luke xix: 11—27.) This parable, following that of the ten virgins and being a part of the same discourse, unquestionably refers to the same event. The arguments therefore, by which we have proved that the parable of the ten virgins, refers to the destruction of Jerusalem, we prove that this refers to the same time. Whitby, an orthodox writer, explains it thus: "The parable here, as it respects our Lord Christ going into a far country to receive a kingdom, and return again, either respects his going to heaven sit down at the right hand of God in majesty and glory, and so take possession of his mediatory kingdom, and then return to punish the unbelieving and obdurate Jews; or going by his apostles and disciples to erect a kingdom among the Gentiles, and then coming,
kingdom among the Gentiles, and then coming, as it were, back to punish the Jews, according to these words of his, this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached throughout the world for a testimony to all nations, and then shall the end [of the Jewish polity] come.- -Matt. xxiv: 14.
On the parallel text in Luke, Whitby says: "This parable doth certainly respect the Jewish nation, as appears, [1,] Because they are here said to reject Christ's kingdom, saying, we will not have this man to reign over us: and upon this account are styled his enemies, and devoted to destruction by him, which agrees still only to the Jews, ver. 27. [2.] To them is threatened the punishment of the unprofitable servants, to wit, to be cast out into utter darkness, &c. Matt. viii. 12, xxii. 13, Luke xiii. 28, Matt. xxv. 30. In fine, it is expressly said, he therefore spake this parable to them, because they thought the kingdom of God should immediately appear, ver. 11, and 12.' Annot. in Lnke, xix. 12.
It will be remembered that you assume that this parable refers to the future state.
9. Luke xiv. 15-24. (Matt. xxii. 2-14.) Here you assume, that this teaches, that this world is a probationary state, and that those who do not accept the offers of grace here, can never be saved. That your assumption is unfounded is evident, 1. Because a few verses preceding the parallel text, our Lord told the Jews, that the kingdom of heaven (the Gospel covenant) should be taken from them and given to a nation, (Gentiles) bringing forth the fruits thereof. This with other sayings greatly enraged the chief priests and pharisees, and they would have laid hands on him, but they feared the people. This
elicited the parable under consideration, in whicks is represented the offer of the Gospel to the Jews, their rejection of it, the calling of the Gentiles, and the casting out of the Jews from the gospel privileges. 2. This is evident from the character given of those who came they were the poor, maimed, lame and blind. Such were the Gentiles in the eye of a Jew. 3. The parable says, the king sent forth his armies and destroyed those murderers, and burnt up their city. Such was literally the case with the Jews. 4. Many are called, but few chosen. The Jews were all invited, but few chosen. The parable, therefore, referred to the Jews, and their destruction by the Roman army. (So say Larner, Gilpin and Whitby.) They experienced the sad fulfilment of our Lord's words "none of those which were first bidden, shall taste my supper." The kingdom was taken from them, and they fell in judgment. What was spoken of them, however, related to their rejection of Christ and its effects on the nation. Nothing is said of the future world.
10. Luke xvi. 19-31. This you call a history; therefore the rich man, a spirit, had eyes, hands, tongue, and was in a flame. Lazarus was literally in Abraham's bosom. You will say perhaps, all these are figurative expressions. Very well; then the account must be a parable; for it contains little or nothing literal. Your reasons why it is a history, will weigh nothing, when it is considered that the parable preceding this commences, precisely as this does. There was a certain rich man. Now apply your language to this, and see the result. 2. All parables are founded on some common custom,