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exposition is due to his bondage to Millenarian views. We accept what there is good in that system, but we must continue to testify against its great mistake in closing its eyes to the facts of the Messiah's present rule and judgeship over the world. Hence, instead of being hampered by the idea that this must be the judgment of some one living generation of men in the future, whose ignorance of Christ he confesses he is unable to satisfactorily explain, how much better to view it as beginning, as the words of Jesus in Chapter xxiv. 29-34 require, before that generation passed away that is with His glorification as the Christ—and as continuing during that kingdom of the Son of Man foretold in Daniel's vision and to which His words refer.
Who are these described as "all the nations" that are gathered before the King when He comes in His glory and all the angels with Him? The right answer is tolerably plain. They are the living nations spared to witness the second coming of our Lord, possibly not inclusive of the people of Israel. That we ought not to find here all the dead of all the ages seems to follow from several weighty considerations.
1. Nothing is said in this passage, or in the great prophecy of which it forms a part, concerning the raising of the dead, whether just or unjust. To introduce the raised dead into this crowning description would, therefore, be to travel beyond the record which may reasonably be regarded as measurably complete in itself.
2. The gathering of these nations before the King is said to take place when He comes in His glory, and this event happens a full thousand years before the dead, small and great, are raised to judgment (Eev.^xx.), Hence it would be a distinct act of gratuitous dislocation of the revealed order of events to include in the "all nations" here gathered before the King all generations of men, many of whom are not to rise until the general final judgment.
3. No one supposes, that we know of, that there will be no living nations on the earth at the time when Christ comes to reign; and as we cannot well imagine those nations to be simply admitted into the Kingdom without discrimination and without trial, we may as well allow that here we have them designated in the simplest possible way,
4. It is well known to scholars that the Greek words here employed to denote "all the nations" (panta ta ethnee) are also to be found in the SeptHagint of Joel iii. 11, 12, and if there is in that chapter any allusion to the raising of the dead we have been unable to find it. This consideration holds good, if the judgment scene there should turn out to be—in spite of all seeming differences—identical with, or preliminary to, the scene here in Matt. xxv.
5. The crucial difficulty of the account we are considering will be increased a hundredfold if "all the nations" be held to include all the generations of all foregoing ages. What! have none of the righteous of any of the centuries since our Lord uttered these words been aware of having ever shown kindness to Him in the persons of His poor brethren? Inconceivable! and yet these righteous ones, in the present description, are ignorant of ever having done Him such service. It may be difficult to conceive of a single generation of the righteous who had never seen in man the Son of man, though we deem it not impossible. But to attribute such obliviousness to all the righteous who have lived through all these Gospel-lit centuries is not only to do an absurd thing, but is inevitably to import into the teaching before us an ntterly inadmissible amount of unreality. It is the bane of current expositions of the Bible to foist upon the Book forced interpretations. So many expositions are either strained or constrained, and thereby passages of Scripture are compelled to say either more or less than their words naturally import.
What, now, is the principle of judgment upon which the King proceeds in separating the men of all the living nations into two diverse groups, "as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats (or kids)"? The answer is simple and inevitable. Humanity and inhumanity make all the difference. Nothing else is assigned as differentiating the sheep from the goats; and we dare not add to our Lord,s words.
Of course the humanity is active, operative, out-going, selfdenying. The pity which is felt is that which passes into deeds, and naturally costs something in its exercise, though, quite as naturally, it brings with it its own reward. Nevertheless, though operative and helpful and self-sacrificing, it is humanity pure and simple—that and no more! We are not permitted to put Christconscious motive into it. They who did these acts of mercy did not know they were doing them to Christ. The Great Teacher has taken pains to make this clear. The righteous do not dream of denying that they have clothed the naked, visited the sick, and so forth. Their sole astonishment is to be told by the King that they have done these things unto Him. They have had no thought of such a thing. They are amazed. For, let us consider, have we any right to deny the Son of man's brotherhood with men as men? To deny it, too, when that is the very title by which He has here chosen to name Himself, in the very opening words of this scene : "When the Son of Man shall come in His glory"? Either every man is the King's brother or He is no Son Of Man. He could have called Himself son of David—of Abraham—of God, had he pleased; instead of which He has said simply "Son of man;" and we will not eviscerate this blessed designation of its implied brotherhood with every son of Adam, just for fear of putting too much simple humanity into our Lord's lips when He leaves His hearers to share among themselves the endearing relationship of brotherhood with Himself. Oh no! a thousand times no! nothing else can be in keeping with the Speaker's own description of Himself—with the scene— with the surprised innocence of any ulterior reference in the deeds of pity previously done by the hearers, than the strongly-implied underthought: "Wherever, near you, was a suffering, hungry, naked, imprisoned man, there was a brother of Mine." With respect to those on the King's left hand, there is no need to say more at this stage of our inquiry than that simple inhumanity to man of the most negative kind is the only sin laid on their account. They had not done what those on the right hand had done—they had not clothed the naked, visited the sick, and so on. No otner sin is mentioned, and this offence is not aggravated by a single word.
It is true their neglect is now made to appear a heinous offence —but how? In no other way than by the King's constructively identifying Himself with the objects of their neglect. We say constructively, and manifestly to the genuine surprise of the inculpated; for it is not once hinted that they either knew or might have known that their indifference bore this higher reference. In other words the King does not answer their surprised inquiry, "When saw we Thee hungry?" etc., by replying, "But you might have known that I was suffering in them."
Let us now consider briefly the awards pronounced by the King upon those respectively on His right hand and on His left.
1. The former are welcomed into "thekingdom prepared for them from the foundation of tne world," and thereby they are invited to the enjoyment of "agelasting life." This blending of the kingdom and of life, especially when the blessing is viewed as prepared from the foundation of the world, is probably of great significance. For this is not the only occasion whereon our Lord jn His teaching has made the same combination (Matt. xix. 16, 17, 23). So that perhaps it is not necessary for us to travel out of the present context for the correct answer to the question, What kingdom can this be? the reply being neither more nor less than this. It is the kingdom of life; the Divine Sovereignty under which man attains to the fitting and prearranged consummation to his being. He was created, not to die, but to live; not to enjoy a life measured by days or years, or even centuries, but to attain to a life meted out by ages. He was fitted to live unto ages of ages—not indeed in the sense of instant qualification and irrevocable destiny; but in the more qualified and self-commending sense of being at his creation endowed with powers to which agelasting life should be the only satisfactory crown. It might be needful for the Divine image in him, which could only have been outlinear and shadowy at first, to be deepened and brightened by training and experience, and so made abiding before the tremendous gift of unending life should be rendered complete and irreversible. But still, in calling and destiny, it was there. Man was not made to die. God's purpose was to immortalize him in due season; and the Divine plans were laid accordingly. Hence the kingdom of life was prepared from the foundation of the world. Perhaps, moreover, this reference to the founding of the world may rightly intimate that the world was intended to be the base and sphere of man's royal dominion. A thoughtful comparison of Ps. viii. with Heb. ii. would seem