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In this manner was the wedding furnished with guests. "And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not On a wedding garment; and he said unto him, Friend, how earnest thou in hither, 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: for many are called, but few are chosen/'
In order to understand this part of the parable, it must be observed, that among the ancients, especially in the east, every one that came to a marriage feast was expected to appear in a handsome and elegant dress, which was called the Wedding Garment. This was frequently a white robe; and where the guest was a stranger, or was not able to provide such a robe, it was usual for the master of the feast to furnish him with one; and if he who gave the entertainment was of high rank and great opulence, he sometimes provided marriage robes for the whole assembly. To this custom we have allusions in Homer, and K 4 other
6ther classic writers*; and there are some traces of it in the entertainments of the Turkish court at this very day-j~. It must be remarked also, that it was in a very high degree indecorous and offensive to good manners, to intrude into the festivity without this garment; hence the indignation of the king against the bold intruder who dared to appear at the marriage feast without the nuptial garment. "He was cast into outer darkness-;" he was driven away from the blaze and splendour of the gay apartments within, to thedarkr ness and gloom of the street, where he was left to unavailing grief and remorse for the offence he had committed, and the enjoyments he had lost.
This man was meant to be the representative of those presumptuous persons who intrude themselves into the Christian covenant, and expect to receive all the privileges and all the rewards annexed to it, without possessing any one of those Christian graces and virtues
* Odyss. viii. 402. Diod. Sic. 1. xiii. p, 37.5, 376.
f At the entertainment given by the grand vizier to, Lord Elgin and his suite, in the palace of the seraglio, pelisses were given to all the guests.
Which the Gospel requires from all those who profess to believe and to embrace it. Nothing is more common in Scripture than to represent the habits and dispositions of the mind, those which determine and distinguish the whole character, under the figure of bodily garments and external habits. Thus Job says of himself, " I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a cloak and a diadem And again in Isaiah it is said, "He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation; he hath covered me with a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with jewels -f." In the same manner we are commanded in the Gospel to put on charity,to be clothed with humility; and in the book of Revelation J, the elders are described as sitting before the throne of God, clothed in white raiment. And in the nineteenth chapter there is a passage, whichisaclearand beautiful illustration of that now before us. "The marriage of the Lamb is come; and to her (that is, to the church) was granted, that she should bs
t Job xxix. 14. f Isa. Ixi. 10.
J Cb. iv. 4.
arrayed arrayed in fine linen, clean and white; and this fine linen, we are expressly told, is the righteousness of saints. "And he saith unto me, Write, blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb; that is, of Christ the king*." This is a plain allusion to the-j parable before us; and most evidently shows, that the man without the wedding garment is every man that is not clothed with the robe of righteousness; every man that pretends to be a Christian, without possessing the true evangelical temper and disposition of.mind, without the virtues of a holy life; every one that expects to be saved by Christ, yet regards not the conditions on which that salvation depends; every profane, every unjust, every dissolute man; every one, in short, that presumes to say, " Lord, Lord, yet doeth not the will of his Father which is in Heaven-j -." All these shall be excluded from the marriage feast, from the privileges of the Gospel, and the joys of heaven, and shall be cast into outer darkness, there shall be 'weeping and gnashing of teeth; for many, we are told, are called, but few are chosen; that * Rev. xjx. 7,8, 9. t Matth. vii. 21.
is, many are called upon and invited to embrace the Gospel; but few, comparatively speaking, receive it, or at least conduct themselves in a manner suitable to their high and heavenly calling, so as to be chosen or deemed worthy to inherit the kingdom of heaven.
I have only to observe further on this parable, that although in its primary intention it relates solely to the Jews, yet it has, like many other of our ^Lord's parables, a secondary reference to persons of every denomination in every age and nation, who, through indolence, prejudice, vanity, pride, or vice, reject the Christian revelation; or who, professing to receive it, live in direct opposition to its doctrines and its precepts. The same future punishment which is denounced against the unbelieving or hypocritical Jews, will be with equal seyerity inflicted on them.
After Jesus had delivered this parable, the , Pharisees perceiving plainly, that it was directed against them principally, were highly incensed, and determined to take their reyenge, and endeavour to bring him into difficulty and danger by ensnaring questions. M 'J'hen went the Pharisees and took counsel