Page images

greater abilities; but this is not a reason wny we should do no. Thing, 2 Cor. viii. 12. That situation is honourable, and may be useful, where God has placed us ; and though humble, yet in ihat we may do much good, I Cor. xi. 11-31. Men of slender abilities oiten do more good in the world than men of much greater talents. It is rather a warm heart than a strong head which is required to do good.

19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.

"After a long time,' &c. By this is denoted the return of Christ to call men to an account for the manner in which they have improved their talents. See Rom. xiv. 12. 2 Cor. 1. 10. I Thess. iv. 16. Acts i, 11 ; xvii. 3). "Reckon with them.' To inquire into their faithfulness, and to reward or punish them accordingly.

20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliver. edst unto me five talents ; behold, I have gained besides them five talents more. 21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant : thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things : enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. 23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things : enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.

"I have gained.' Gained by trading, ver. 16. By honest industry. 'Ruler over many things. I will promote thee to greater honours and more important trusts. “Joy of thy Lord. The joy of his lord may mean either the festivals and rejoicing at his return, or the rewards which his lord had prepared for his faithful servants. Those who rightly improve their talents shall, at the return of Christ, be proinoted to great honours in heaven, and be partakers of the joys of their Lord in the world of glory. See ver. 34; also 1 John ij. 28.

24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gather ing where thou hast not strawed:

"The design of this part of the parable is to show that no one ja

excused in indolence because he has few talents. God will require of him only according to his ability, 1 Cor. iv. 2. Luke xii. 48. 2 Cor. viii. 12. “A hard man. Of a sordid, griping disposition; taking advantage of the poor and oppressing them.

Reaping,' &c. This is indicative of an avaricious and overbearing disposition. Compelling the poor to sow for him, and reaping all the benefit himself. Hast not strawed.' The word 'straw' means to scatter, as ren scatter seed in sowing it.

25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth : lo, there thou hast that is thine.

I was afraid.' I feared lest, by some accident, thy talent would be lost if I put it out to trade, and that I should be severely punished by a hard master. “That is thine.' There is what properly belongs to thee. There is the original talent that thou gavest me, and that is all which can be reasonably required. This expresses exactly the feelings of all sinners. God, in their view, is hard, cruel, unjust. All the excuses of sinners are excuses for indolence and sin, and to cheat themselves out of heaven. Sinners grudge every thing that God requires. And if they give, they do it with hard feelings, and deem it all that he can claimn.,

26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:

Slothful.' Indolent, lazy; who had done nothing. God will judge men, not merely for doing wrong, but for not doing right. See ver. 45. That servant was wicked, because he had such an opinion of his master; he had shown that he was slothful, by not making a good use of the talent, ver. 27. ' Thou knewest,' &c. If you knew he was such a man, you ought to have acted accordingly, so as to have escaped punishment. This is not intended to admit that he was such a man, but to convict the slothful servant of guilt and folly in not having been prepared to give a good account to him.

27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.

The exchangers were persons who were in the habit of borrowing money, or receiving it on deposit at a low rate of interest, to be lent to others at higher interest. They commonly sal by tables in the temple, with money ready to exchange or lend. See Matt. xxii. 12. This money was left with the servant, not to exchange, nor to increase it by any such idle means, but by honest industry and merchandise ; bat since he was too indolent for that, he ought at least to have lent it to the exchangers, that

his inaster might have received some benefit from it. "With usury. With interest, increase, or gain.

28 Take therefore the talent from him, 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.

For unto every one that hath shall be given. See note, Matt. xiii. 12. This seems to be a proverbial expression. I whosoever rightly improves what is committed to him shall receive more, or shall be rewarded, but he that misimproves what is committed to him shall not be rewarded. The unfaithful and indolent shall be taken away from their privileges and punished.

30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

"And cast,' &c. See note, Matt. viii, 12. The spiritual meaning of the parable may be thus summed up: 1. The servants of God are not all endowed with equal gifts and talents. 2. They are bound to employ their talents in promoting his honour, and in a proper improvement of them. 3. By employing their talents in a proper manner, they improve and strengthen thein. 4. They will be judged according to the improvements they have made. 5. They will be judged, not merely for doing wrong, but for neg. lecting to do right. What must they expect who abuse their talents, destroy by drunkenness and lust the noble faculties conferred on them, and squander the property that might be employed in advancing the interests of morals and religion !

31 T When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

This is in answer to the question which the disciples proposed to him respecting the end of the world, ch. xxiv. 3. It contains the account of the last judgment, to take place at the end of the world, 1 Thess. iv. 14-17. “In his glory. In his own proper honour. With his glorified body, and as the head and king of the universe, Acts i. 11. Eph. i. 20—22. 1 Thess. iv. 16. 1 Cor. xv. 24, 25, 52. “The throne of his glory. This means, in the language of the Hebrews, his glorious or splendid throne.ft expresses the idea that he will come as a king and judge, to assemble his subjects before him, and to appoint them their rewards. 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations,

and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats.

At his coming, the dead in Christ, that is, all true christians, snall be first raised up from their graves, 1 Thess, iv. 16. The living shall be changed, that is, shall be made like the glorified bodies of those that are raised from the dead, I Cor. xv. 52–54. 1 Thess. iv. 17. All the wicked shall rise and come forth to judgment, John v. 28, 29. Dan. xii. 2. Matt. xii. 41, 42. Rev. xx. 13. “And he shall separate,' &c. Shall determine respect ing their character, and shall appoint them their doom accordingly.

33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

By the 'sheep' are denoted, here, the righteous. The name is given to them because the sheep is an emblem of innocence and harmlessness. See John x.7, 14-16, 27. Psa.c. 3; lxxiv. l;xxiii. 'On the right hand.' The right hand is the place of honour. See Eccl. x. 2. Eph. i. 20. 1. Acts ii. 25, 33. “The goats.' The wicked. See Ezek. xxxiv. 17. “The left.' That is, the left hand. This was the place of dishonour, denoting condemnation. See Eccl. x. 2.

34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Conie, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world :

"The King. That is, the Lord Jesus, the King of Zion, and of the universe, now acting as judge, Luke xix. 38. John xviii. 37. Rev. xvii. 14; xix. 16. “Blessed of my Father.' Made happy, or raised to felicity by my Father. See note, Matt. v. 3. 'Inherit the kingdom.' Receive as heirs the kingdom, or be received there as the sons of God. Christians are often called heirs of God, Rom. viii. 17. Gal. iv. 6, 7. Heb. i. 14. 1 John iii. 2. • Prepared for you,' &c. That is, designed or appointed for you. The phrase "from the foundation of the world' is used to denote that this was appointed for them in the beginning; that God has no new plan; that the rewards which he will now confer on them he always intended to confer. Accordingly, the salvation of his people is uniformly represented as the result o the free gift of God, according to his own pleasure, bestowed on individuals, and by a plan which is eternal, Rom. viii. 29, 30. Eph. i. 4,5, 11, 12. 2 Thess. ii. 13. 1 Peter i. 2. John vi. 37. All men are by nature equally undeserving. Bestowing favours on one does not do injustice to another, where neither deserves favour. Par. doning one criminal is not injuring another. Those who perish choose the paths which lead to death, and will not be saved by he merits of Jesus. No blame can be charged on God if he does jot save them against their will, John v. 40. Mark xvi. 15, 16.

* 35 For I was an 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.

'I was an hungered.' The union between Christ and his people is the most tender and endearing of all connexions. It is represented by the closest unions of which we have knowledge, John xv. 4-6. Eph. v. 23--32. I Cor. vi. 15. It is a union of feel. ings, interests, plans, destiny; or, in other words, he and his peo. ple have similar feelings, love the same objects, share the same trials, and inherit the same blessedness, John xiv. 19. Rev. iii. 5, 21. Rom viïi. 17. Hence he considers favours shown to his people as shown to himself, and will reward them accordingly, Matt. x. 40, 42. 1 John ii. 14, 17. James ii. 1-5. Mark ix. 41. "Was a stranger.' The word “stranger' means a foreigner, or traveller. To receive such to the rites of hospitality was, in eastern countries, where there were few or no public houses, a great virtue. See Gen. xviii. 148. Heb. xiii. 2. "Took me in.' Into your house. Received me kindly. "Naked.' Poorly clothed. Among the Jews they were called naked who were clad in poor raiment, or those who had only the tunic or inner garment, without any outer garment.

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?

This answer is indicative of humility-a deep sense of their being unworthy of such commendation. They will feel that their poor acts of kindness have come so far short of what they should have been, that they have no claim to praise or reward.

40 And the King shall answer 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.

One of the least of these. One of the poorest, and most despised, and afflicted. My brethren.' Christians, whom hec descends to call brethren. See Heb. ii. 11. Matt. xii. 50.

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.

« PreviousContinue »