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and give it unto him which hath ten talents. 29 For unto every one that hath, shall be given, and he shall have abundance; but from him that hath not, shall be taken away even that which he hath. 30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant
not to suppose that the master here confirms the allegation of this "wicked and slothful
Ver. 29. A proverb, repeatedly used by Christ, (see Matt. xiii. 12; Luke viii. 18; xix. 26;) and introduced here as expressing the general principle on which the transfer, awarded in the preceding verse, was made: "give it unto him which hath ten talents, for unto every one," &c. It is a general rule of Providence, that possessions accumulate to greater possessions, and that want grows into destitution; especially in cases like the present, where the receiver is held responsible for the use of advantages committed to him. —from him that hath not ;] either a strong negative for hath but little, or an elliptical expression for hath not what is required of him; since it is immediately added, "shall be taken away even that which he hath."
into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the [holy spurious, according to Griesbach] angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his
widely separated from the one previously treated of, and an event altogether foreign to the general subject. It is well known with what difficulty and mutual disagreement, they select the point where the discourse leaps over such a huge interval both of time and subject, and with what violence they are obliged to break up the connection, fix the point of transition, where they will. Nothing, however, can be plainer from the context, than that there is no such point of transition, in the discourse. When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the angels with him,] which he had, but just before, told them should take place in that generation: see Matt. xxiv. 30, 31, 34, where we find "the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory," and sending his angels, &c. all within that generation. (See, also, xxiv. 37, 39, 42, 44.) It should be obVer. 30. -cast . . . into outer dark- served that Christ now only repeats his former ness;] probably, into prison. Among the phraseology; and, of course, he means the Romans, (who then had the jurisdiction of same as before. He repeats it in order to fix Palestine,) prisons were sometimes dungeons anew the attention of his disciples on the under ground, and consequently in utter dark-period and train of events he had already so ness. (Rosenmüller in Matt. viii. 12.) Many abundantly defined.* then,] viz. at that interpreters however, understand the expres- time of his coming. -shall he sit upon the sion thus: cast him forth into the darkness of night without, from the hall which was to a day of general judgment hereafter. (See Paige's Seleclighted for a feast. But the "weeping and tions, in loco.) Among the European continental interpregnashing of teeth," which follows, seems toters and theologians, J. Harduin applies it to the time of the denote rather a prison. there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth;] the natural consequence of confinement in such a dungeon. It is the same phrase, and apparently with the same reference, that was used just before, concerning the unfaithful servant, in the end of the 24th chapter. (See Note on Matt. xxiv. 51.) We need not say that no figure could more truly represent the condition to which unfaithful Christians must have been reduced, when they found themselves, with the unbelieving Jews, involved in the "great tribulation such as was not from the beginning of the world to that time." (Matt. xxiv. 21.)
Ver. 31. The remainder, at least, of this chapter is referred by nearly all interpreters, to the yet future end of time,*-a period
*Not by all, however. Some of the American Unitarians refer it, apparently, to the time of the destruction of Jerusalem. (See Norton's Statement of Reasons, &c. Appendix, particularly pp. 311, 312; and Furness's Jesus and his Biographers, pt. ii. chap. v. particularly p. 201.) Rev. Newcome Cappe, an English Unitarian, refers it explicitly to that time, and traces out its context accordingly. Bishop Pearce, one of the greatest critics the Church of England has produced, does the same; though he afterwards remarks, inconsistent. ly enough, that, in ver. 41 and 46, "Jesus seems at length to have had the day of general judgment in his thoughts." Dr. Hammond, also of the Church of England, and for a long time the standard commentator in our language, refers it partly to the destruction of Jerusalem, though principally 3
destruction of Jerusalem, and says, "the sheep are those Jews who had either been converted, or had kindly treated the converts; "the goats," those Jews who had neither been converted, nor shown kindness to the Christians. C. F. Bahrdt applies it to the same time, and refers the sepuration mentioned in it, to the distinction then made, not betians on the one hand, and their enemies on the other. So likewise does E. F. C. Oertel To the same time, and nearly in the same manner, do J. F. Des Cotes, and G. L. Horn apply it. C. C. L. Schmidt thinks it was designed to set forth the effect which the destruction of their nation and temple would have on the Jews, in converting some to Christianity, and plunging the rest into despair. J C. R. Eckermann refers it to the complete separation which took place between the Christian and the Jewish communities, after the destruction of Jerusalem. J. F. Gruner and J. N. Milow explain it nearly as Harduin does, of the conversion of the country, and of the utter rejection of the rest. (See Keilii better disposed among the Jews, after the destruction of their Opuscula Academica De Argumento Loci Matt. xxv. 31-46, pp. 142-144.)
tween different classes of the Jews, but between the Chris
*Commentators are, for the most part, agreed, that his
coming to judgment, mentioned in Matt. xxiv. 29-31, was his coming to the destruction of the Jewish people. Still, general rule, and that he usually means a day of universal they seem to think that passage a striking exception to the judgment hereafter, when he speaks of such a coming. Now, there are a few facts which, we think, will correct this impression. 1. In all of the four Gospels, there are ten cases only in which he mentions what is called his second coming, or any coming whatsoever subsequent to his ascension, viz. Matt. x. 23; xvi. 27, 28; xxiv, xxv. (which we put together, being but one discourse,) xxvi. 64. Mark viii. 8, with ix. 1; xiii. Luke ix 26, 27; xvii. 20 to 37; xxi. John xxi. 20 to 23. Several of these are indeed parallel texts. 2. In every one of these passages, except two, viz. Matt. xxvi. 64, and Luke xvii. 20 to 37,) his coming is expressly fixed to that generation, or to a time before some of those then living, should die. 3. Even in the two passages we have excepted, no other time is specified or alluded to. One of them is unquestionably parallel with part of Matt. xxiv. and the other
TWENTY-FIFTH CHAPTER OF MATTHEW. MATT. XXV. MATT. XXV. glory: And before him shall be gathered the goats on the left. all nations; and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but
throne of his glory;] a Hebraism, for "his
end of that age.
34 Then shall the king say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 For I was an
Ver. 32. before him shall be gathered, &c. ;] a figure manifestly taken, like most of the figures in this representation, from the customs of eastern courts, before which the parties under trial are arraigned, in propria præsentia. But as neither a visible throne, nor a formal assembling before it, belongs to the processes of divine justice, the simple meaning evidently is,-shall then be made the subjects of his special retributive administration. The prophets, as is well known, habitually employ the imagery of a throne, with angelic attendants and the congregated nations, in their descriptions of divine judgments on states and parties. -all nations;] or, more literally, "all the nations;" used here merely in the popular sense in which Christ just before used the same phrase, in Matt. xxiv. 9 and 14, where he told his disciples that they should be hated of "all the nations," and that their preaching should be for a witness to "all the nations," before the destruction of Jerusalem. These nations, not only Jews, but Gentiles also, would now be the subjects of his retributive administration. -shall separate them,] viz. the people of those
nations. The pronoun, in the original, does
probably refers to the same subject. Such are the facts with
of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he com-
have seen the kingdom of God come with power." (Mark
of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when
of God." (Luke ix. 26, 27.)
Ver. 33. -on his right hand;] the place of favour and honour. -on the left;] the place of disfavour. These figures are, of course, but parts of the imagery, and denote only, in a general way, that one party was to be approved, and the other condemned.
Ver. 34. The forms of regal judicature are still continued by representing the king as pronouncing vocally, in solemn and formal verdict, his award to the first party. inherit the kingdom,] viz. the kingdom of Christ, the kingdom of God, which Christ had told the Jews, on another occasion, when referring to this very time, "shall be taken from you, and given unto a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof." (Matt. xxi. 43.) They were now introduced, for the first time, to its privileges; of course, they had not before enjoyed the inheritance, had not belonged to Christ's kingdom. -prepared for you from the foundation of the world;] World,-kosmos. In the divine counsel, this kingdom, or the gospel, had always been designed for them, though they received an inheritance in it only at so late a period. The phrase, "prepared for you,' &c. was a proverbial one, as we find from the book of Tobit, where the angel says to him, concerning his wife, "she was prepared for thee from the beginning of time;" (apo tou aionos, Tobit vi. 17;) I. e. was always designed for him in the divine counsel. The phrase in the text may, therefore, refer only in the same general way to the fore-orderings of Providence; although it is, indeed, a specific truth, asserted in other Scriptures, that the original promise of the gospel expressly
embraced the Gentiles.
Ver. 35, 36. The king is represented as proceeding to specify the immediate reason why he awarded the inheritance to them. It was, as he here expresses it, because they had affectionately ministered to the king, that is, to the Messiah.
hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or, thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the king shall answer,
Ver. 37-39. -the righteous,] or just, (dikuioi;) meaning, either comparatively just, or that they were justified on that occasion, in contradistinction to the other party, which was condemned. They, however, are represented as totally unconscious of having served the Messiah, or of having paid him any attention whatsoever. This circumstance must be carefully remarked; because it is here brought forward as one of their distinguishing characteristics.
Ver. 40. Nor does the king himself imply, when he comes now to state his meaning more definitely, that they had ever paid any attention directly to the Messiah. But they had received his disciples, and ministered to them; all of which he accounted as done to himself. And this was all that he really intended in his previous declaration. It was on this ground alone that the inheritance was now awarded to them. -unlo one of the least of these my brethren.] Here, be it observed, is a third party brought into view, viz. the brethren of the king, or the disciples of Christ. These were not arraigned as subjects of his trial: their case had already been sufficiently represented, in the preceding parables. In the present scene, they were not a party concerned; were neither on the right hand, nor on the left. Of course, those on the right hand represent a class of people who had not been disciples of Christ, nor recognized a Messiah; but who had nevertheless kindly received and treated his disciples, and who were at that time admitted to the blessings of Christ's kingdom. And it is well known that we find such a class among the Gentiles of that age; who were then received, moreover, into the covenant of the gospel, and, in the striking language of the text, made to "inherit the kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world." The kingdom of God was taken from the Jews, and given unto a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. (Matt. xxi. 43.)
Ver. 41. The forms of eastern judicature are still continued, and sentence is pronounced on those on the left hand. As those on the right were called "ye blessed of my Father," these are now called "ye cursed." -depart from me ;] denoting their rejection. —into ever
and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer
lasting fire, (eis to pur to aiōnion;)] denoting a long-enduring state of tribulation. Fire is the favourite metaphor, in the New Testament as well as in the Old, to represent the sufferings of nations and communities, or the divine judgments. For this purpose had John the Baptist used it, ("unquenchable fire,") with reference to the time alluded to in the text. (Matt. iii. 12.) So likewise had Christ, with reference to the troubles that followed his ministry: "I am come to send fire on the earth." (Luke xii. 49, comp. Matt. x. 34.) We need not quote other examples, particu larly from that storehouse, the book of Reve lation; nor refer to the Old Testament, where they are known to abound in such profusion.* Everlasting, or aiōnion; often applied to things of the present life. -prepared for the devil and his angels;] an allusion to the contemporary Jewish opinions; as in the parable of the wheat and tares, Matt. xiii. 37-43; also Rev. xx.
Ver. 42, 43. As in the former case, the king is here represented as proceeding to specify the grounds of his decision; which were, that they had not ministered to the king, i. e. to the Messiah.
Ver. 44. They, however, were surprised a this charge, confident that they had bee faithfully devoted to the cause of their king. or Messiah; they even challenged the proof of delinquency in this respect. Their self
To exemplify still further the frequency and extent of application with which the Jews, just before Christ's time, were accustomed to employ this figure, we subjoin a summary of its use in the Apocrypha, where it denotes merely temporal judgments or sufferings. Many of the expressions will be found to bear a close affinity with the phraseology of plain them. "The vengeance on the ungodly is fire and such controverted passages as our text, and may help to exworms; in the congregation of the ungodly, a flame is kindled, and, in a rebellious nation, wrath is set on fire; the congregation of the wicked is like tow wrapped together, and the end of them is a flame of fire to destroy them; let the heathen nations be consumed by the rage of fire; an evil ed; the lewd shall be a heritage to moths and worms; they
tongue burneth as a flame of fire, and shall not be quenchkindle a fire in their flesh; a hot mind is as a burning fire, punishment upon Babylon, fire shall come down upon her which will never be quenched till it be consumed; as a from the Everlasting, long to endure, and she shall be inhabited of demons for a long time; the hardships which Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob suffered were their trial by fire; woe to the nations that rise up against the Jews! the Lord Almighty will punish them in a day of judgment, putting fire and worms in their flesh, and they shall feel and weep forever," (eos aionos.)
him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto
assurance, contrasted as it is with the total unconsciousness evinced by those on the right hand, is made a prominent feature in their character, and is important for ascertaining the class of people here intended.
Ver. 45. In reply to their challenge, the king alleges no direct delinquency on their part, and does not maintain his charge in the prima facie sense in which they understood it, but explains it merely of their cruel neglect of his brethren, or of the disciples of Christ; and this he accounted as neglect of himself. These on the left accordingly represent a people who thought themselves faithful to the cause of their expected Messiah, and who had, in fact, been punctilious in what they regarded as his service, but had mistreated those that proved to be his disciples. This was their guilt. It scarcely need be observed, that we find this description realized, with striking exactness, in the religious Jews, who were rejected of God at that time, and doomed to a state of alienation and suffering, which has not yet ceased.
Ver. 46. into everlasting punishment, | (eis kolasin aiōnion;] see note on ver. 41 and 45. eternal life, (zoën aiōnion;) i. e. the life of the gospel, as the phrase often means; thus, "This is life eternal, (aiōnios zoë,) that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." (John 148
you, inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
xvii. 3.) "He that believeth on the Son, hath everlasting life," (zoën aiōnion.) (John iii. 36.) "He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, (zoën aiōnion,) and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death into life." (John v. 24.) In other places, also, Christians are said to have passed from death into life, (eis zoēn.)
REMARK.-It has sometimes been contended that, since the most of the Jews (the Pharisees) of Christ's time held an eternal retribution for mankind after death, he must have been understood to teach the same idea, when he spoke of "everlasting fire" and "everlasting punishment," because these are the leading terms of that doctrine, and associated with it by common usage. They are, indeed, the leading terms of our modern doctrine of endless misery; but it is worthy of special notice, that they do not appear to have been thus appropriated by the ancient Jews, who, so far as we can ascertain, employed other terms and other figures to signify that idea; so that they would not understand Christ to speak of that subject, when he used neither the phraseology nor the representations which they connected with the doctrine, to say nothing of the evident tenour of the context.
THE DIVINE GOVERNMENT.
BY T. SOUTHWOOD SMITH, M. D.
“Beholding, in the sacred light
Of his essential reason, all the shapes
GIHON, FAIRCHILD & CO.