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the popular religion, embraced and countenanced by the rich and great, men naturally, and from motives of worldly interest would have embraced it; if they had etrove at all in that case, it must have been to have kept out. The blessed doctrine of universal grace at the present day, like christianity in the primitive age, is opposed by the proud, the self-righteous, and those who call themselves religious ; and it hence requires an effort on the part of those who embrace it, to rise above the influences of the world, and sacrifice all minor considerations to the cause of truth. Popular prejudice, in the days of Christ, set, like the current of a river, against the truth, and those who followed him, were obliged to encounter this obstacle, and gain truth under all these disadvantages. For this reason entrance into the gospel was represented by a strait gute, to which men had access by striving.
But there is another fact to be noticed. Not every one that did strive was able to enter in. Many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.' This seems to be a hard case, that after endeavoring to enter the gate of the gospel, they should be excluded. For what reason was this ? Answer, because they did not strive soon enough. While the enemies of Jesus were comparatively safe, eating, and drinking and making merry, they could not protess the name of Christ before men; but when thick troubles began to gather upon the Jewish church and state, and the divine favor began to be manifested in an unusual manner in favor of the persecuted religion of Jesus, then they turned their eyes to him, and cried Lord, Lord, open the gate of the gospel unto
To these events the following words of Christ are applicable. Whosoever, therefore, shall be
ashamed of me, and of iny words, in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of Man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father, with the holy angels ;' and Jesus assured them that this should take place, during the natural lives of that generation. Mark viii. 38 compared with ix. 1. To illustrate this fact, the parable now under consideration was spoken. “When once the Master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us, and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are. Then shall ye begin to say, we have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say,
you I know you not whence ye are : depart from me all ye workers of iniquity.” The purport of this advice is, strive to enter now into the acceptance and profession of my gospel ; be not ashamed of me, nor of my doctrine before this sinful generation. If you do not embrace the present opportunity, the time will come when you will regret it. Your nation will soon be overthrown with the most dreadful calamities; and then not a hair on the heads of my disciples shall be hurt. When that time coines, it will be too late for you to enter the kingdom of God; the door will be shut; you will wish you had embraced past opportunities; but it will be of no avail ; you will put forth pretences and claims to be considered my followers, but you will not have the test of true discipleship. At that critical time, there cannot be this change of character. Christians then will be christians, and enemies must remain enemies—the judgments cannot be averted. He that is unjust will then be unjust still; he that is filthy will be filthy still; he that is
righteous will be righteous still ; and he that is holy will be holy still.' Rev. xxii. 11.1 I shall then command you to depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.
Vers. 28, 29. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye (the Jews) shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they (the Gentiles) shall come from the cast, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God. That the kingdom of God signified the spiritual reign of the Messiah, all commentators have conceded; and this we have shown in the notes on the parable of the offending hand or foot, pp. 12–14. The Jews, when the time of sober reflection came, would see that Abraham, and Isaac and Jacob, and all the prophets, did in reality embrace Christ, by faith in the promises made to them, and in this sense, they entered the kingdom of God. These patriarchs, and the prophets, the Jews held in the highest estimation; and nothing could be a greater grief to them, than to see them in the kingdom of God, and they themselves cast out; and when that took place, therefore, it is well said, 'there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth,' the most demonstrable signs of sorrow; and this was heightened by the reflection, that they should see the Gentiles, whom they had always despised, enjoying in this kingdom the fellowship of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This is the view taken of this subject by Dr. Whitby, whose authority in this case will not be iinpaired by the suspicion, that he was biased by his creed in the interpetration. “To lie down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven, doth not signify to enjoy everlasting happiness in heaven with them, but only to become the sons of Abraham through faith, Gal. iii. 7, and so to be blessed with faithful Abraham, ver. 9, to have the blessing of Abraham coming on them, that they may receive the promise of the spirit, ver. 14 through faith in Christ to be the seed of Abraham and heirs according to the promise, ver. 29, viz: the promise made to Abraham, Gen. xii. 3. renewed to Isaac Gen. xxvi. 4, and confirined to Jacob Gen xxviii. 14, and to be, according to Isaac, the children of proinise, Gal. iv. 28. This, says Christ, shall be the blessing of the believing Gentiles; they shall be sons of Abraham, and heirs of the promises made to the patriarchs, and mentioned by all the holy prophets of the Old Testament, whereas, the unbelieving Jews, wanting the faith of Abraham, shall be deprived of the blessings promised to his seed; for they who seek to enter, and shall not be able, becarise the master has shut to his door, Luke xiii. 24, 25, are those Jews who sought for righteousness by the works of the law and not by faith, and therefore found it not, Rom. ix. 31, 32, vi. 7, who entered not into the rest prepared for them, by reason of their unbelief, Heb. iii. 18, 19, iv. 2, 5, 8, from whom the kingdom of God was taken away, Matt. xxi. 43, they are they who shall say to Christ, we have eaten and drunk before thee, and thou hast taught in our streets,' Luke xiii. 26, which could be said only by the Jews.”1
1 That this passage had its fulfillment at the coming of Christ to destroy the Jewish state, is evident from comparing Rev. xxii. 10,
11 and 12.
Various figures were employed by the Saviour, to represent the Jews as excluded from the blessings of the Gospel. They were said to be cast into
1 Com. and Annot. on Matt. viii, 11, 12.
Gehenna,—their last state was worse than the first -they were the tares that were bound in bundles and burned--the bad that were cast away when the net was drawn on shore-and those cast into outer darkness at the wedding feast. All these figures were employed to represent them, as left in the darkness of ignorance, and suffering the most grievous punishments, while others entered into the king loun of God, and had rest. The Bible does, however, teach us, that they shall at last all know God. Paul repeatedly declared this fact. "66 All Israel shall be saved,” Rom. xi. 26. “ All shall know me from the least to the greatest,” Heb. viii. 11. The parable under consideration had no reference to the eternal state of the Jews, their condition in immortality ; but described the great and leading feature in their history, which occupies so prominent a place in all the parables, their rejection and destruction at the time heaven gave them up, the victims of their own wickedness, and of the wrath of the Roman armies,