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1. To whom was the parable of the two sons delivered ? To the chief priests and elders in the temple. 2. What persons were meant by the first son ?

Those who had but few privilcges, and who at first disobeyed God; the Gentiles are probably referred to. 3. What persons were meant by the second son ?

Those Jews, who made many professions of zeal and activity in the service of God, but yet neglected their duty to Him, and rejected Christ.

4. How was the conduct of the self-righteous and hypocritical Jews .censured ?

Christ said that the publicans and harlots who believed and repented, entered the kingdom of God before these boasting professors, who despised and persecuted the Son of God.

5. What lessons should we learn from the parable of the two sons ?

We should repent of our past disregard to the commands of God; we should work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God that worketh in w to will and to do of his good pleasure; and we should remember that all professions are vain which we not followed by obedience.

CHAPTER XXII.

THE WICKED HUSBANDMEN.*

Matt. xxi. Mark xii. Luke xx.

" There was a certain householder which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time. And at the season when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen that they might receive from the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard.t And the husbandmen caught his servants, and beat one, and sent him away empty, and killed another, and stoned another. And again he sent unto them other servants more than the first, and they did unto them likewise : and at him who was the chief they cast stones, and wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully handled and empty. And again he sent another the third time, and him they wounded also, and cast him out, and killed : and many others, beating some and killing some.

Then said the Lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my son. Having yet therefore one son, his well-beloved, he sent him also last of all unto them, saying, It may be they will reverence my son when they see him. But when the husbandmen saw

* I have formed the accounts of the three Evangelists into one.

+ Anciently the rent was paid by a part of the produce, a practice still pursued in some parts of the world.

the son they reasoned among themselves, saying, this is the heir, come let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance, that it may be ours. And they caught him and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.

When the Lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. Jesus said, he shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others. Therefore I say unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And when they heard it they said, God forbid.

1. Who are meant by the householder and his son ? God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. 2. Who were the husbandmen? The Jews, and especially their teachers and rulers. 3. What is the vineyard ?

The Jewish church and country, on which God conferred peculiar favours and privileges. 4. Who were the servants ?

The prophets and teachers whom God sent, from time to time, to his professing people. 5. How were these prophets treated ?

Some were despised and persecuted, others were slain, and none of them obtained those fruits which the Lord of the vineyard had a right to demand.

6. Whom did the Lord of the vineyard at last resolve to send?

His only and well-beloved son. In the fulness of time Jesus Christ was sent into the world.

7. How did the husbandmen aci to his son

They caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him : thus, in a short time after, the Jews seized and crucified the only-begotten Son of God.

8. What punishment was threatened against these wicked husbandmen ?

The lord of the vineyard shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others : thus the kingdom of God was taken away from the Jews, and was received by the Gentiles, and to this day their city and their country are possessed by strangers.

9. What should this parable of the wicked husbandmen teach us?

To take heed lest we fall " after the same example of unbelief” as the Jews; (Heb. iv. 11.) to watch and pray lest our superior privileges should hereafter rise up in judgment against us; to labour diligently for our divine Master; and to bring forth those fruits of love, and obedience, and righteousness, which Christ requires of us.

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CHAPTER XXIII.

THE MAN WHO HAD NOT THE WEDDING-GAR

MENT.*

Mat. xxii. 1 to 14. “ And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said,

The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,

And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.

Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready : come unto the marriage.

But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, and another to his merchandise :

And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.

But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those mur. derers, and burned up their city.

Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.

Go ye, therefore, into the highways; and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.

So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all, as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.

* This

able is, in part, similar to that of the Great Supper; and therefore we shall chiefly dwell on the additional circumstances that it contains.

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