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Christ exhorts bis Disciples to Watchfulness.
119 Let the Heathens abandon themselves to these low Anxieties ; but as Sect. 113. for us, let us thank GOD and take Courage, opening our Hearts wide to w every Sentiment of Faith in God, and Charity to Men ; and while we Ver. 33. have this inexhaustible Bank to draw upon, let us be rich in good Works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate, so laying up in Store for ourfelvés a good Foundation against the Time to come, that we may lay hold on Eternal Life; (1 Tim. vi. 18, 19.) the very Hope and Expectation of which, if our Heart be set upon it, will give us incomparably sweeter Ver. 34. Delight, than the securest Possessions of this empty World. and the most ample Magazines of its richest Stores.
SE CT. CXIV.
in Expectation of his Coming, and of the final Account to be
LUKE XII. 35. I ET your Loins be gird O U R Lord having thus exhorted his Disciples Sect. 114. Ied about, and your Lights to a due Moderation as to their worldly burning i
Luke XII. Poffeffions, proceeded to press upon them a serious Luke Preparation for their final Remove from Earth, and for the awful Solemnities of Death, Judgment, and Eternity (a). He therefore went on to fay, Consider yourselves always as Servants, who have a Master in Heaven ; and that you may approve your Diligence and Fidelity to him, let your Loins be still girded up in a Posture for active Service, and your Lamps continually burning (6) ?
(a) A serious Preparation for Death, Judgment, and Eternity.] I shall give the Reason of my interpreting this Passage thus, a little below, in Note (f); tho' I am sensible, the Generality of Readers would rather have expected an Apology, if I had gone about to interpret it otherwise, i
(6) Let your Loins be girded up, and your Lamps burning.) As the Easterns wore long Garments, it was necessary, that when they had any thing to do, which required them to exert their Strength or Agility, they should tuck them up, and gird them close ; a Practice, to which there are frequent References, both in the Old Testament and the New. (See i Kings xviii. 46. 2 Kings iv, 29. ol xxxviii. 3. er. i. 17. Eph. vi. 14. and 1 Pet. i. 13.) That the Lamps should be found extinguished, might be an inconvenient Circumstance to the Master, and would be a Demonstration of the Servant's Idleness. The Expressions taken together may intimate, the Care we should take to inform ourselves in our Duty, and the Refolution with which we havuld apply to the Performance of it.
120 They fould wait like Servants for their Master's Return. · Sect. 114. And be you on the whole, in every other Respect,. 36 And ye yourselves like w like Men, who being Servants left with a proper Lord, when he will return
unto Men that wait for their 11. Charge, wait for their Master's Return from a from 36.
the Wedding, that Marriage-Feajt (c), or any other late Entertain- when he cometh and knockment; that when ever becomes and knocks at the
beecher at the eth, they may open unto
him immediately. Door, they may immediately open it to him, and not 37 be surprized in any Disorder. Happy are those 37 Blessed are those SerServants, whom when the Master comes, he mall
es he vants whom the Lord when
he cometh shall find watchfind watching : And you will be happy, if it be ing: your Case ; for verily I say unto you, fo condescend- that he thall gud himself, ing is your Master, that if you answer this Charac- and make them to sit down
to Meat, and will come forth ter, he will reward you as graciously, as if some and serve them. great Man, absent on such an Occasion as I have supposed, finding his Servants diligently waiting for hiin at his Return, should gather up his Clothes and gird himself, and cause them to fit down to Sup-'
per, and should come forth himself and wait upon 38 them (d). And at whatever Hour the Time of 38 And if he shall come his Arrival be, whether he comes early in the fecond, in the second Watch, or
come in the third Watch, or late in the third Watch of the Night (e), and finds and find them lo, blefled are [them) thus employed, those Servants are happy.
But do not think it is enough, if you would : 39 And this know, that then be happy, to make some sudden Preparation
if the Good - man of the
House had known what upon Notice of his Coming ; for the Day of the Hour the Thief would come, Lord fo comes as a Thief in the Night, and you he would have watched, and know this, that there is none so negligent and itu. not have suffered his Houle
to be broken through,
as he knows not when the Thief will come, he
(c) From a Marriage-Feaft.) There is no particular Mystery in this Circumstance. Our Lord might probably instance in this, because Marriage-Feafts were generally the most fplendid, and so prolonged to the latest Hours.
(d) And should come forth himself, and wait upon them.] It is true, (as Grotius, and many others observe,) that the Roman Masters did sometimes, during the Saturnalia, practise fome Condescenfions like these, to their Šlaves : But that was, perhaps, chiefly for their own Diversion; and it is difficult to judge, how far Christ's Hearers might be acquainted with it; at least the Words would be very intelligible without supposing any such Reference.
(e) In the second, or third Watch of the Night.] This included all the Time, from Nine in the Evening, to Three in the Morning ; and was as if he had said, whether he come early, or late.
in the Morni, the Night.] Thipposing any fuchacquainted with us
· The Son of Man comes at an Hour when we think not. 121 also: for the Son of Man fore also ready; for at fuch a Season as you think Sect. 114. cometh at an Hour when ye not of it, the Son of Man cometh f); and as the w think not. Day of final Judgment will be a Surprize to
- Luke XII. the World in general, so the Day when particular Persons are called out of this Life, is often a sudden Thing, and too frequently a fatal Surprize to the Persons most intimately concerned in it. (Compare
Mat. xxiv. 43, 44. Sect. 163.) 41 Then Peter said unto Peter then said unto him, Lord, dost thou speak 41 him, Lord, speakeft thou this awakening Parable (g) to us thine Apostles this Parable unto us, or even to all ?
in particular? or is it also unto all in general, that
what thou hast been saying is directed ? 42 And the Lord said, And the Lord said in Reply, Tho' none are 42 Who then is that faithful and wise Steward, whom his
this entirely unconcerned, yet you my Ministers are
more peculiarly to apply it to yourselves, and to his Houshold, to give them consider me as asking each of you, Who is that their Portion of Meat in due
faithful and prudent Steward (h), whom [his] Master Season?
Mall set over all the Servants of his Family (i), to
Reward of his Fidelity will be proportionably
eminent At such a Season as you think not, the Son of Man cometh.] The Coming of the Son of Man often fignifies, his Providential Interposition for the Destruction of Jerusalem. (See Mat, x. 23. Note (8), Vol. i. pag. 464) But here, I think, it cannot be taken in such a Sense; because our Lord speaks of an immediate Reward to be bestowed on all faithful Servants, and an immediate Punishment to be executed on all that were unfaithful ; and expressly declares this to be a Matter of universal Concern: All which Particulars have very little Sense or Propriety, when applied to the Destruction of Jerufalem. It must therefore be understood of his Coming, to remove them from the Capacities of Service here, to give up their Account. And if we suppose it to relate to Death, as well as Judgment, (which by a Consequence at least it undoubtedly does,) it strongly intimates his having such a Dominion over the invisible World, that every Soul removed into it might be said to be fetched away by him. Compare Rev. i. 18.
(g) This awakening Parable.] It may fignify particularly, the Similitude of the Master and Servants, or may extend to the whole of the Discourse.
(b) Who is that faithful and prudent Steward?) This Interrogation had a lively Force to turn their Thoughts inward, that each might ask himself, whether he was the Man? The Prussian Version therefore, (and that English one which follows it so close,) loses much of the Spirit of the Passage, in rendering it, If there be any faithful Steward, &c.
(i) The Servants of his Family.] So I render Japan Hd, which (as Elsner shews at large, Objerv. vol. i. pag. 235.) exactly answers to the Latin, Famulitium, all the Servants of a Family; for which we have no one English Word; any more than for oilouelcrow, which Itrictly signifies, a determinate measure of IVheat; but here is put for all the daily Food. (See Erasmus here.) By such a Version ihe Distinction between this, and the 44th Verse, is set in
a clearer Light, than Criticks have generally given it. To be raised from the Care of giving - cut Food to the Servants, to have the Charge of the whole Estate, was a noble Preferment. Vol. II.
122 The faithful Servant rewarded, and the negligent punished. Sect. 114. eminent a Station, whom his Lord at his Arrival whom his Lord, when he
w ball find thus employed, in a faithful Discharge of cometh, shall find so doing. Luke Xll. the Trust committed to him. Truly I say to 44 Of a Truth I say unto 44. you, that he will prefer him to a much higher Sta- you, that he will make him
Ruler over all that he hath. tion of Honour and Usefulness; as if a Person finding his domestick Steward thus faithful, should upon that appoint him to take the care of all that be hath, Abroad as well as at Home. (Compare
Gen. xxxix. 4, 5, 6.) 45 But on the contrary, if that Servant I spoke 45 But and if that Ser. of before as set over the Family (k), should say
vant say in his Heart, My
Lord delayeth his coming; in his Heart, My Lord delays his Coming, so that and thall begin to beat the I have nothing to apprehend from it; and on Men-fervants, and Maidens, that foolish Presumption Mall grow so insolent and to eat and drink, and to
riotous and extravagant Manner, so as to debauch
vant will come in a Day Day when he does not expect him, and in an Hour him, and at an Hour when which he is not aware of, and will scourge him with he is not ware, and will cut such Severity, that he will even cut him alunder (1); point him his Porrion with
him in sunder, and will apand notwithstanding all his Professions, God will the Unbelievers. appoint him his Portion with Infidels; nay, in some Respects his Case shall be worse than theirs, as his
Opportunities and Engagements have been greater. 47 For that Servant, who like him I have been 47 And that Servant
speaking of, knew his Master's Will by a particular which knew his Lord's Will, Declaration of it, and did not keep himself ready (m), neither did according to bis
and prepared not himself, nor set himself to do according to his Will, shall be Will, shall be beaten with beaten with many [Stripes] (n). (Compare Deut. xxv. many Stripes.
. 2, 3.)
(k) If that Servant I spoke of before, &c.] It is necessary thus to go back to ver. 42. for the Explication of this; for it is most evident from the whole Tenor of Scripture, that the Servant who at his Lord's Coming has passed his Account in an honourable Manner, will never afterwards be in Danger of incurring his Displeasure.
(1) Scourge him with such Severity, that he will even cut him afunder.] Dr. Whitby has so clearly proved this to be the Sense of de zoounds, that I am surprized that any should since have coldly rendered it, thall separate him from the rest. But this is one Instance of many, in which the Version of 1727. has followed the Pruffian Testament, in some of those Parts of it, which are the least judicious.
(m) Did not keep himself ready.) So Mons. L'Enfant renders flouvages, I suppose to distinguish it from the following Clause; and I follow him, tho' not without some Hesitation. Perhaps both may be joined thus, Did not prepare, or fet himself, to do according to his Will.
(n) Shall be beaten with many Stripes.] Scourging was a usual Punishment for negligent Ser. vants; but I cannot find, that what is properly called Giving the Bafiinado was in Use among the Jews, tho' some suppose it to be referred to here. Brennius thinks, that these Words
Reflections on the faithful and unfaithful Servant.
I 23 48 But he that knew not, 2, 3.) But he, who, like the Heathen, did not Sect. 114. and did commit Things wor- know the Particulars of his Duty by a clear Reve- m thy of Stripes, shall be beaten with few Stripes. For unto lation, and yet sinning against the Light he had, whomsoever much is given, committed Things which deserved Stripes, shall be beatof him shall be much requi- en indeed, but with fewer and lighter (Strokes] 0) red: and to whom Men have committed much, of him
than the other. For it is a received Maxim among they will ask the more. Men, and God will make it the Rule of his final
Judgment, that much Improvement is required from
A Y our Souls be awakened by these awful Truths! And may we Luke xii. 35, IVT be engaged to gird up the Loins of our Mind, to be fober, and 36. watch to the End! (1 Pet. i. 13.)
Great are our Encouragements to Diligence, on the one Hand; and on the other, dreadful will be the Punishment of our Neglect. The Time of our Lord's Appearance is uncertain; let us therefore always be ready; Ver. 40. solicitous that when he comes, he may find us so doing, as he has required; living not to ourselves, but to him, and employing ourselves about that Ver. 43. particular Thing, whatsoever it may be, which, all Circumstances confidered, we are verily persuaded may most promote the great Ends of Life, and the important Purposes of his Glory.
How glorious are the Rewards promised to such! How justly may Ver. 42, 44. they awaken our Emulation ! He will prefer them to Stations of more
od important Service. He will set them down at his Table, Ver. 37. and minister (as it were) himself to their Delight, bringing forth the choicest Dainties of Heaven, and spreading before them an eternal Ban- . quet. Lord, may we, thro' thy Grace, be found worthy to taste of that Supper! May the Lamb that is in the Midst of the Throne, feed us, and guide us to Fountains of living Water! (Rev. vii. 17.)
On the other Hand, let us seriously consider the Punishments to be Ver. 45. inflicted on the unfaithful Servant. Let Ministers, if such there are, who
have a peculiar Reference to the Case of Ministers, who have such fingular Advantages for knowing Christ's Will; so that they will certainly be in the Number of the most happy, or the moft miserable of Mankind. May we seriously consider it, and rejoice with Trembling in thole Distinctions of our Office, which will draw after thein such solemn Consequences ! L! Shall be beaten indeed, but with fewer Strokes.] This strongly intimates, that Ignorance will not entirely excuse any, who have neglected God's Service, since they might in gene
af nave known, at least, the main Branches of their Duty ; as every Servant may know in the main, what kind of Conduct his Master will approve, tho some may be much more fully initructed, than others, as to his particular Pleasure,