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to enjoy heaven as his due, --some-, solemn admonition, “If any man thing which he could challenge at love the world, the love of the Father the hand of God as his undoubted is not in him." right on account of previous de If thou wilt enter into life, keep the sert. A desire to obtain everlast- commandments. If we would obtain ing happiness is quite consistent eternal life under the moral law as a with that proud and independent covenant of works, then we must frame of mind which is the essence render complete, unfailing, sinless of rebellion, and alienation from the obedience to that law.
But this, living God. Again, there was pro- through the fall, has become imbably no small degree of unfounded possible. See Rom. iii. 20—28; self-complacency, - and ignorance, Gal. ii. 16; Eph. ii. 9; 2 Tim i. 9.more or less voluntary, of the real If we would be saved under the nature and tenor of his past conduct, Gospel, then we must keep the com-in that question of this young mandments, or fulfil the demands, man, What lack I yet? He had not of that dispensation. These comperfectly fulfilled the moral law, mandments are summed up in the even so far as it related to his duties duties of repentance towards God, towards his neighbours. But he was and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. not acquainted with his own de- We are required to surrender ourmerits ; and therefore little disposed selves sincerely to the love and to exercise penitence, humility, and service of God, coming to him by faith. And, moreover, he appears to faith in the one Mediator Jesus have been a slave of covetousness, or Christ, and showing forth our faith at least of a love of the world and of by our works. This, through grace his present possessions. He could given, we can do, and must do, if not consent to renounce his riches we would partake of that great gift even at the command of one whom of God, eternal life.—The comhe seemed disposed to recognise as a mandments to which our Lord “good teacher.”—Let us gather in- referred the young man were those struction from his history. Let us of the second table, comprising our be willing to receive eternal life, duty to our neighbour; and, if he had humbly and thankfully, as the gift failed in respect of them, how much of God, and not as the fruit of our more had he come short of his duty own doings or deservings. Let us towards God! He asserted, however, honestly compare our own lives and that he had kept all these things actions with the entire and perfect from his youth up. Perhaps he had law of God, and learn to seek pardon done so, outwardly, in the letter; for our offences, rather than to boast but he had failed in the spirit. His of a fancied righteousness. And let covetousness and love of the world us watch and pray against the in- had involved practically the neglect sidious and encroaching love of of many a duty; and this continued present good; remembering that to be one of his besetting sins. Our
Lord therefore proposed a test, with man shall hardly enter into the kingdom reference to this evil disposition; and of heaven. We find, by reference to he could not abide it.—Let us contin- St. Mark, that our Lord is here ually seek not only for that mercy speaking particularly of “them that which may pardon our transgressions trust in riches.” But it cannot be and failings, but also for that grace doubted that the mere possession of which may write the law upon our wealth is, in itself, a source of temphearts, and enable us to obey it not tation, and forms a difficulty to be in the letter only, but in the spirit. overcome,—an especial obstacle to “For the grace of God that bringeth be surmounted--in the way of salsalvation hath appeared to all men, vation. Still, praise be to the Divine teaching us that, denying ungodli- goodness, and the power of Divine ness and wordly lusts, we should live grace, these difficulties are not soberly, righteously, and godly in necessarily fatal. He who gives this present world; looking for that abundance of riches, is also ready to blessed hope, and the glorious ap- bestow abundance of that spiritual pearing of the great God and our influence whereby their pecuhar Saviour, Jesus Christ; who gave dangers may be successfully met and himself for us, that he might redeem overcome. With men it is impossius from all iniquity, and purify unto ble to deliver the rich man's heart himself a peculiar people, zealous of from the love of this world,—to save good works. Titus ii. 11-14.
it either from grasping covetousness Jesus saith unto him, If thou wilt be on the one hand, or from self-indulperfect, &c.—As a touchstone of his gence and sensuality on the other; sincerity and the universality of his but “ with God all things are obedience, our blessed Lord proposed possible," and this among the rest. to this young ruler the same line of He can give power to obey that conduct which had been already command. “If riches increase, set adopted by his Apostles. He gave not your heart upon them.” And, him the same call (Follow me) to through his grace strengthening us, which others had cheerfully respond we may be enabled to “trust not ed, forsaking all. They, through grace in uncertain riches, but in the living given, had obeyed the call; but he, God.” through pride and ignorance, and an Then answered Peter,--still, as on evil love of the world, resisted the other occasions, the forward speaker, grace, and refused to obey. Let and in this instance betraying pertheir conduct be our pattern and haps some symptoms of human encouragements; and let his be our weakness, Behold we have forsaken warning. He went away sorrowful. all and followed thee; what shall we Riches that keep the heart from God, have therefore?-It was comparatively will one day be sore occasions of little of this world's good which these sorrow to their possessors.
poor fishermen had been called upon Verily, I say unto you, that a rich to forsake; but still it was their all,
This they cheerfully yielded up at Peter's inquiry. And he added, the command of Christ; and we for the encouragement of all believknow, from the history of the widow ers, to the latest ages of the and her two mites, that the Lord church, Jesus Christ considers rather the in Every one that hath forsaken houses, tention and spirit of the donor, than or brethren, or sisters, or father, or the magnitude of the gifts. In like mother, or wife, or children, or lands, manner, let us comply with that de- for my name's sake, shall receive an mand, "My son, give me thy heart;" hundredfold, and shall inherit everand with that apostolic exhortation, lasting life.-If we make sacrifices “I beseech you therefore, brethren, from a principle of duty or conby the mercies of God, that you pre- science, and in the service of resent your bodies a living sacrifice, ligion, we shall be no losers. We holy, acceptable unto God, which is may not recover, or receive again, your reasonable service.”—Perhaps the same things, in kind, but we there was too much self-complacency, shall obtain the same, and far more, and too much of a mercenary spirit, in value. Not indeed that we can in this question of St. Peter; but the hereby make God a debtor ; but he Lord saw that there was withal is pleased to manifest his lovingsincerity and uprightness of heart, kindness and the riches of his grace, with faith; and he accepted those in this way, as well as in many good dispositions which had been others. — St Mark adds, “ with wrought by the power of Divine persecutions,” i.e. notwithstanding grace, overlooking the human imper- persecutions. The comforts and fections with which they were blend- blessings which God will give will ed. He saw that the young man's be very great, even taking into acheart was buried in the world, even count all the troubles we may suffer. while he was proposing that question, -"The gifts and graces, the comWhat good thing shall I do? And he forts and consolations of the Holy saw that Peter's heart was really Spirit shall be an hundredfold betgiven to God, even while he was ask- ter portion than any thing we can ing, What shall we have? The Lord part with for the sake of Christ and seeth not as man seeth; he judgeth his Gospel here. Though we may righteous judgment. He searcheth be losers for Christ, yet we never the hearts and trieth the reins of shall be losers by him. Christ gives the children of men.—How full of present recompences as well kindness and compassion does our future rewards; insomuch, that they Saviour appear on this occasion; who have suffered and lost most for amply sustaining his gracious cha- Christ have never complained of racter as one that “will not bruise their sufferings or losses. Therethe broken reed, nor quench the fore never be afraid to lose any thing smoking flax."
He condescended for Christ; he will not only see to give an encouraging reply to you indemnified, but plentifully re
warded; in this world an hundredfold, in that to come eternal life.”
LXIII. How happy a thing it is to serve a Master who has all the treasures of CHAP. XX. 1-16. nature and of grace, and all the ages of time and eternity, at his com Christ, by the similitude of the labourmand! Surely we may well write ers in the vineyard, sheweth that God is under such a promise as this the debtor unto no man. words which our blessed Lord addressed to his disciples on another For the kingdom of heaven is occasion, “ These things have I like unto a man that is an spoken unto you, that my joy might householder, which went out remain in you, and that your joy early in the morning to hire might be full.” John xv. 11.
labourers into his vineyard. HYMN.
2 And when he had agreed with the labourers for all
penny Thou boundless source of every good, Our best desires fulfil ;
a day, he sent them into his And help us to adore thy grace,
vineyard. And mark thy sovereign will.
3 And he went out about the In all thy mercies may our souls
third hour, and saw others Thy bounteous goodness see;
standing idle in the marketNor let the gifts thy grace imparts Estrange our souls from thee.
4 And said unto them; Go Teach us, in time of deep distress, To own thy hand, O God !
ye also into the vineyard, and And in submissive silence learn
whatsoever is right I will give The lessons of thy rod.
you. And they went their In every changing scene of life,
5 Again he went out about A mind at peace with thec.
the sixth and ninth hour, and
did likewise. "Do thou direct our steps aright, Help us thy name to fear;
6 And about the eleventh And give us grace to watch and pray
hour he went out, and found And strength to persevere.
others standing idle, and saith Then may we close our eyes in death,
unto them, Why stand ye here Free from distracting care ; For death is life, and labour rest,
all the day idle? If thou art with me there.
7 They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and what
| The Roman ponny is the eighth part of an ounce which after five shillings the ounce is sevenpence halfpenny. ch. xviii, 28.-10r, have continued one hour only.-a kom. ix. 21.-5 Deut. xv. 9. Prov. xxiii. 6. ch.
soever is right, that shall ye re- and the first last : "for many ceive.
be called, but few chosen. 8 So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the la- vi. 23.-c ch. xix. 20.-2 ch. xxii. 14. bourers and give them their hire, Reader. This parable of the labeginning from the last unto bourers in the vineyard is designed the first.
an illustration of the sentiment 9 And when they came that contained in the last verse of the forewere hired about the eleventh going chapter, and repeated at the
close of the parable, that "many that hour, they received every man
are first shall be last, and the last a penny.
shall be first.” We are taught that 10 But when the first came, God, in his treatment of the various they supposed that they should members of the church, will not make have received more ; and they any difference whatever on account of likewise received every man a the time of their calling, or the age penny.
of the church in which they lived. 11 And when they had re
He will show no favour to the early
patriarch or to the later Christian, ceived it, they they murmured
as such; but will give all and each against the goodman of the their due. And we are also given house,
to understand that among the mem12 Saying, These last" have bers of the later church there will wrought but one hour, and be many who will obtain priority, thou hast made them equal and gain advantage over the earlier unto us, which have borne the believers.-More particularly, the burden and heat of the day.
parable seems to refer to the calling 13 But he answered one of of the Gentiles, and their being
made partakers of equal privileges them, and said, Friend, I do with the Jews. The Gentiles are thee no wrong: (lidst not thou represented under the figure of the agree with me for a penny 2 labourers hired at the eleventh
14 Take that thine is, and hour; and the unwillingness of the go thy way: I will give unto Jews to acquiesce in the Divine disthis last, even as unto thee. pensation concerning them is des
cribed under the image of the mur15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine muring of the earlier labourers
against “ the goodman of the own ? "Is thine eye evil be- house ;”—just as the elder son is cause I am good ?
represented as complaining of his 16 So the last shall be first, father's reception of the younger