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They must present the same truths in various shapes, if by any means they may win the souls of their hearers
Nor should they be intimidated even by the niost imminent dangers
Jesus had spoken a parable that greatly offended the Pharisees
They even sought to take away his life on account of it
But he still persisted in his benevolent labours for their good
And repeated the same offensive truths in the parable before us
We shall confine our attention to its two leading fea. tures 1. The glorious representation here given of the gospel
Some of the parables are simple-This is rather complex
1. It compares the gospel to the marriage of a king's son
[God is that “ certain king, who makes a marriage for his son”
Christ, his only Son is the bridegroom, and the church is his bride
This similitude frequently occurs in the prophetic writings
Nor is the use of it uncommon in the New Testament also
St. Paul intimates that there is a strict analogy between the relation of a man to his wife, and of Christ to his church · The gospel is the means of bringing us into that relation to Christ
It commends to us his excellencies, and fills our hearts with love to him
When we accept his offers, we give up ourselves entirely to him
We engage to love, honour, and obey him with our whole hearts
On the other hand he gives himself to us as our protector
We have communion with him in all which he himself possesses
Through him we become children of his heavenly Father
a Isai. liv. 3. Jer. iii. 14. . ,
b Matt. ix. 15.
· And joint-heirs, together with himself, of an eternal inheritance
The present time indeed is only the season of our espousals
The consummation of the nuptials is reserved for a future periodh
But the engagement made shall never be dissolved ]
2. It compares the gospel to a feast instituted in honour of that marriage
[In this feast “ the oxen and fatlings, and all other things are ready”—'
There is nothing wanting that can conduce to the welfare of any guest
Are we strong and of full age? there is strong meat set be. fore usk
Are we weak and only babes in Christ? there is milk proper for us
Are we hungering after pardon? there is an abundance for allm—
Are we thirsting for peace? it flows down there as a river
Are we panting for holiness? the spirit of holiness is there poured out
Whatever be our state, there are provisions suited to us
There are “ exceeding great and precious promises” extending to every want
And the banquet, suited to the dignity of the king, will be prolonged to all eternity! * This feast is made on occasion of the church's union with Christ
And we, who, collectively, are the bride, are, individually, the guests-]
Such representations might well engage our regard to the gospel
But we shall see reason for nothing but grief, while we consider II. The reception which the gospel meets with in the
world The invitations of the gospel are sent equally to all
[Not a creature in the universe is excepted as unworthy
i Rom viii. 17.
& Jer. ij. 2. 2 Cor. xi. 2. Rev. xix. 7. k Heb. v. 14.
11 Pet. ii. 2. n Isai. xlviii. 18.
Isaixli. 17, 18. 9 Rey. vii. 16, 17. Comp. Esth. i. 3, 4.
The more unworthy we feel ourselves to be, the more acceptable guests we shall be accounted by the king
We are even solicited to become the bride of the king's son
Though we be in the most loathsome condition, he will not despise us"
He will adorn and beautify us that we may be fit for his presence
And rejoice over us as a bridegroom over his beloved bride'-)
But the generality treat these invitations with scorn and indifference
[The prophets and apostles were God's messengers to mankind
They came to declare the goodness of God to our fallen race
And to urge men to accept his proffered mercies
This enmity indeed is at present kept within bounds by human laws, and the superintending providence of God
Nevertheless it exists as strongly as ever in the carnal heart And, when permitted, will rage again with equal fury .
Men's hatred of the gospel is not less evidently shewn by their neglect of it
They “ make light of it” 26 though it did not concern 'them
The concerns of this life are constantly urged as an excuse for their conduct*
But the truth is declared in the text, “ They will not come".
They are so occupied with carnal things that they have no taste for those that are spiritual
And so wedded to this world that they have no desire for an union with Christm]
In due time however they will meet with the recompence they deserve
[When “ the wedding is filled with guests” the doors will be shut
The persecutors of God's messengers will then suffer in their turny
Dreadful was the vengeance inflicted on the Jewish nation· But far more dreadful will be their punishment in the last day
The contemners of God's mercy also will be excluded from the banquet
Ezek. xvi, 5, 6, 8. u Ver. 6.
Ib. 4- 14. * Ver. 5.
Isai. lxii. 5. y Ver. 7.
They who would not feast now with him, shall not then so much as taste of his bounties
And they who would not become his bride, shall be treated as his enemies-] INFER
1. How inconceivably great is the honour and happi. ness of God's people!
[It would be thought a great matter to be invited to a royal banquet
And still more to be united to the son and heir of a monarch
But how contemptible are such honours when compared with the Christian's!
Let us not rest satisfied with earthly comforts or distinctions
Let our ambition soar to the highest heavens
2. How astonishing is the infatuation of the careless world!
[If we offered them carnal enjoyments they would have ears to hear
But they seem wholly insensible to spiritual objects, however great
If the things set before them were either trivial or uncertain, or, if they might be neglected with impunity, we might account for their supineness
But there is no room for any surmises of this kind
Let us then awake from our slumber, and cry mightily to God
Thus we may even yet realize the figures we have now considered ]
CCLXXII. THE WEDDING GARMENT.
Matt. xxii. 11-13. And when the king came in to see the
guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: and he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hi.. ther, not having a wedding-garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
THERE has ever been a diversity of characters in the church of God
This, though much to be lamented, cannot be avoided
The very zeal which animates the ministers of the gospel, has a tendency to produce this effect
Their charity prompts them to hope well of all who appear in earnest
And to admit to their communion those who “ witness a good confession”
Thus it was that “the wedding in the parable) was furnished with guests”
But he who searcheth the hearts will distinguish the hypocrites from others
And will deal with men according to their real cha. racters
This being intimated in the text, we shall consider 1. What we are to understand by the wedding-garment
The wedding-feast is intended to represent the blessings of the gospel
The garment suited to the occasion must therefore im. port a meetness to partake of those blessings · In this view we may perhaps understand the wedding. garment as signifying the righteousness of Christ
[Our blessed 'Lord wrought out a righteousness by his obedience unto death
Every believer has this righteousness both given to him, and put upon him
St. Paul abhorred the thought of depending on any otherb
Nor will any other avail us for our justification before Gode
Hence we are exhorted to " put on the Lord Jesus Christ” · And described as being clothed' with him as with a garment
The possession of this garment founds our title to heaven And is a source of unspeakable joy to the believing soul
Every one that wears it may well exult with the church of old-]
But we must doubtless understand it also as signifying our own inherent righteousness
* Rom. iii. 22.
b Phil. jii. 9.
c Rom. v. 18, 19.