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that are sanctified," and "has become the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.”
My brethren, what a glorious subject is this to the believer in Jesus! How inexpressibly blessed is it to see that all the great and precious things of God's first dispensation, are only shadows, faint shadows, of the inestimable blessings and privileges which God has vouchsafed to ourselves-blessings and privileges of which, notwithstanding the clearness with which they are set before us, we can still form but a faint conception. How gracious to be invited to meditate upon "the good things to come,' upon all the mercies and the glories that are in store for the people of God, purchased for them by the precious blood of the Son; "reserved in heaven for them," where all is "incorruptible, and undefiled, and fadeth not away."5 What happiness to think of that all-sufficient sacrifice which he has offered, to know that it covers every sin, and will meet every charge; to be assured that this plea, "It is Christ that died,”6 is such that no one can gainsay; to know that the way will be open into the holy of holies, hereafter for our persons, and it is now for our prayers and praises; that at this moment we have through Jesus access unto the Father, by the Spirit; that he is now interceding for us at the right hand of God, and daily procuring for us fresh mercies which shall last for ever.
If such then be the greatness and the fulness of
3 Heb. x. 11. 14.
4 Heb. v. 9.
5 I Pet. i. 4.
6 Rom. viii. 34.
7 Ephes. ii. 18.
LUKE xix. 12.
A CERTAIN NOBLEMAN WENT INTO A FAR COUNTRY TO RECEIVE FOR HIMSELF A KINGDOM, AND TO RETURN.
ONE general opinion seems to have pervaded the minds of the Jewish people as to the nature of the Messiah's kingdom, that it was to be set up with authority, power, and glory. A difference indeed existed as to who was the Messiah. The bulk of the people, more especially the learned, seeing in Jesus of Nazareth nothing but his humiliation, thought it impossible that he could be the person, and therefore resolutely rejected him; for this reason principally, that his station and appearance in life seemed to set their hopes at defiance. But his own followers, who saw in his mighty works a sufficient pledge that nothing was impossible to him, concluded that he could at any moment lay aside the form of lowliness, and assume at once all the authority, and display all the power that belonged to the character of the Messiah. And therefore they clung to the idea that all the hopes of the nation would be realized in him ; and this expectation of theirs is the key to the pa
rable, as we read in the 11th verse, that "he spake a parable unto them because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear." He was followed by those whose desire and impulse it was to take him by force and make him a king; an impulse indeed which we find they could hardly resist on this occasion, as they proclaimed him as such on his entry to the royal city, saying, "Blessed be the king that cometh in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest." He therefore prepared them for their disappointment by this parable, in which he speaks of himself as "going into a far country, to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return,"-an allusion which they would readily understand, as the kings of those countries which were tributary to Rome, among which was Judea, were in the habit of repairing to the imperial city to obtain the recognition of their claims; not implying by this, that his reign was not to commence before his return, but only that that which they were most anxious for, namely, his appearance in majesty and great glory, was not to take place until then; when his kingdom should be visibly established; when every thing that exalteth itself against God should be overcome, and all enemies, death included, put under his feet. And therefore the same parable points out to them their duties in the intermediate time. He speaks of himself as of a master calling his servants together, and placing in the hands of each a piece of money, with the di
rection to improve it; meaning that he gives to each of his servants many opportunities, many advantages both temporal and spiritual, with the command to turn them all to good account, to keep the period of his return in mind, and, in the interval, to trade with what he had thus committed to their care, so that, when he came, he might find that they had diligently employed the time, and advanced his interest. The principal part of the parable refers to what shall take place at the day of his return; and in the consideration of it we are all directly interested, as we must “all stand before the judgment seat of Christ," when " every one of us shall give an account of himself to God," and as every one here present must belong to one or other of the three classes that May the examination of it be blessed to ourselves, that when the Lord Jesus does return, and return he will," this same Jesus shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven,' we may be among the number of those,
are spoken of in it.
who, "when he shall appear, may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.' 993
pass then to the consideration of THE CIR"It came to pass that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading." Of that number, then, the first which
CUMSTANCES ATTENDING HIS RETURN.
1 Rom. xiv. 10-12.
3 1 John ii. 28.
2 Acts i. 11.
4 Luke xix. 15.
appeared spake thus, "Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds."
Now, in the first instance, we are led to notice the INDUSTRY of this servant. There had been a tenfold increase of that which had been committed to him. This represents the improvement which the industrious and active Christian will make of the trust with which he has been favoured-and this must all be grounded in his own personal advancement in the ways of God. Much fear is sometimes entertained concerning the statement of this, as if it tended to infringe on the perfectness of the Saviour's work; or-as if it might lead any to rest on themselves; or-as if it might appear to contradict the obvious truth, that sin dwelleth in us, and will be in us to the last. I believe that no one can be more opposed to any of these errors than I or see more fully the dangers connected with them, but I cannot shut my eyes to the statements of Scripture, which represent the progressive state of believers; that there are "babes," and those who are "of full age;" that there are "little children and young men and fathers." I am quite willing to admit that the state of the least advanced of these is safe; and that to be "in Christ" is every thing, as on that depends our deliverance from wrath and condemnation, and our title to eternal glory. But if, on the one hand, there be danger that the idea of increase may keep some low, by leading them to look too much into themselves, and causing
4 Luke xix. 16.
5 1 John ii. 13, 14.