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- And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive. So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more, and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they had received it, they murmured against the good man of the house, Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. * But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong; didst thou not agree with me for a penny ? , -, Take that thine is, and go thy way; I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own is thine eye evil, because I am good So the last shall be first, and the first last : for many be called, but few chosen.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
Our Lord having in the last section promised his Apostles that they should sit upon twelve thrones in heaven, judging the twelve tribes of Israel, proceeded to obviate a mistake into which he knew some would fall,
that those who were first called to the knowledge of Christ should have the pre-eminence in glory ; and intimated God's rejection of the Jews, to whom the Gospel was first preached, and his acceptance of the Gentiles, by declaring, that many who were first, in respect to advantages would be the last to improve them; whilst others, from whom it would be the least expected, would embrace the Gospel, and be received as members of his kingdom. To illustrate this, our Lord spake the parable of the labourers in the vineyard; the principal intent of which was to shew, that the Gentiles, though newly called, should enjoy as great privileges, as the Jews, who had so long been distinguished as the peculiar people of God. If we reflect on the history of the Jews, we shall be ready to allow, that it was perfectly consistent with the justice of God to put the Gentiles on a level with them. This his infinite goodness has completely effected; for the descendants of Jewish and Gentile converts are so blended, that all distinction is lost between them, and they are now fellow-labourers in the vineyard of God, under the name of Christians. It no longer remains a question who is first or last amongst them in respect to birthright, but who shall have the preference with God on account of their diligence in improving the means of salWatton, - w The work required of all who bear the name of Christiavs, is the cultivation of their own minds in religious attainments, in order to glorify God, and an attention to the good of their fellow-creatures. If those to whom the Gospel has been made known are idle and remiss, they have not the same excuse as the heathen formerly had ; but as it frequently happens that persons, through a neglected education &nd bad connections, remain in ignorance of their duty, till they are
far advanced in life, such, when they sincerely resolve to live a Christian life, may derive encouragement from our Lord's assurance, that “many who are last shall be first.” Whilst others, who have, from their very infancy, enjoyed every advantage, may learn to improve them, in order that they may appear among the happy number of those who are not only called but chosen. We must not infer from this parable, that an equal reward awaits all who profess Christianity without any regard to their character or improvements, or that we may safely defer the reformation of our lives to advanced age. There can be no excuse for neglect of duty, but unavoidable ignorance of it. It has pleased God to set a reward before us, though we can claim nothing from him as our due, but through his infinite goodness; which may be compared, as in the foregoing parable, to the benevolence of a man of independent fortune, who employs poor people merely to keep them from idleness, and then pays them for working for themselves. Who, in such a case, would not exert his utmost industry with thankfulness of heart Surely, then, Christians ought to be equally vigilant, and acknowledge with the deepest gratitude the unmerited kindness of the Supreme Be ING, submitting to all his dispensations, without repining at the superior advantages which others may seem to enjoy, since each has much more than he has any natural right to expect. The Roman penny was equal to seven pence halfpenny of our money, which is supposed to have been at that time the usual price for day-labourers. The third hour was about nine o'clock in the morning, the sixth twelve at noon, the ninth three in the afternoon, the cleventh five in the evening. * SECTION
From john, Chap. xi.
Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) Therefore his sisters sent unte him, saying, Loks, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was. Then after that, saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judea again. His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day ! If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him. These things said he and after that, he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.
Then Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes, that I was not there (to the intent ye may believe), nevertheless let us go unto him. Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellow-disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him. . Then when Jesus came, he sound that he had lien in the grave four days already. (Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fif. teen furlongs off.) And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus Was coming, went and met him : but Mary sat still in the house. Then said Mattha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. Jesus saith unto her, thy brother shall raise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. * And whosoever liveth, and believeth in me, shall never die. Believest thou this She saith unto him, Yea, Lo R D : I believe that thou art the CHR 1st the Son of God, which should come into the world. - And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is