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· But the wicked mall bave bis Portion with Hypocrites. 397 47 Verily I say unto you, ner (f). Verily I say unto you again, as I for-Sect. 163. that he shall make him Ruler merly did, that he will prefer him as highly, u n over all his Goods.

as if a Man should make his domestic Steward Mat.XXIV.
who had served bim faithfully, Ruler or Director 47.
of all bis Estate, as a Reward for his Care in the
due Management of his Office. (Compare Luke

xii. 42,-44. pag. 121.)
48 But and if that evil But on the other hand, the faithless Wretch, 48
Servant ihall say in his that is dishonest in the Execution of so high a
Heart, My Lord delayeth
his Coming,

Charge, shall be severely punished: And if that

wicked Servant mall presume to say in his Heart,
49 And shall begin to My Lord delays his Coming ; And shall on
smite his Fellow-Servants,
and to eat and drink with that Presumption begin to beat and abuse those 49
the Drunken:

of his Fellow-Servants, who are more faithful
than himself, and to eat and drink in a riotous
and extravagant Manner with the debauched and

drunken Part of them, or with other dissolute
50 The Lord of that Ser. Persons ; he will do it at his Peril : For 50
vant shall come in a Day

ay the Lord of that Servant shall certainly come in a

1 when he looketh not for him, and in an Hour that Day when he does not expečt [him,) and in an Hour he is not aware of ; when be is not at all aware, and cannot have Time:

to put on a Face of better Order, or to provide 51 And fall cut him and invent artful Excuses; And seeing him asunder, and appoint him his in the midst of his Revels and Usurpations, Portion with the Hypocrites:

there he shall scourge him so severely, that he hall

even cut him afunder (g), and appoint [hims his
Portion with Hypocrites, the most odious Kind
of Sinners in the sight of God (b): With these

fhall.

Happy is that Servant, whom his Lord when he cometh, &c.] As no peculiar Rewards were conferred on any of the Apostles, or other faithful Ministers, at the Time of Christ's coming to destroy Jerusalem, this Clause sufficiently proves a Reference to the final Judgment; and will not permit us, with Dr. Hammond, to understand the Gnosticks, or with Dr. Whitby, the Apoftate Jews, as particularly intended by the wicked Servant mentioned afterwards; which seems plainly to refer to a debauched and persecuting Clergy, hypocritically pretending to a distinguished Zeal for Christian Forms and Institutions.

(8) Shall cut him afunder. ] That tearing, and cutting Persons into several Pieces, was a cruel Punishment used among the Antients, none acquainted with Antiquity can doubt; and Wolfius on this Text has demonstrated it, more copiously than any other Critick I have seen. Yet as the Criminal is here represented as surviving this Punishment, and consigned over to wailing and gnashing of Teeth, after it had been in Aicted ; I therefore, as before, (Luke xii. 46.). must understand it of being severely scourged, after which idle Slaves were often thrown into a Prison, where they lived miserably in every respect. To this our Lord alludes with a most obvious Propriety. See Seet. 114. Note (l), pag. 122.

(b) His Portion with Hypocrites. ) Mahomet in his Alcoran mentions Seven Caverns in Hell, the deepest and most wretched of which is to be inhabited by Hypocrites. (Sur. iv. V. 144.) Elsner, who takes this for a Jewish Notion, by a very singular Criticism supposes

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51.

35.

398

A general Exhortation unto all to watch. Sect. 163. Thall this false Creature be righteously doomed there shall be weeping and

to dwell for ever in those doleful Regions, where gnashing of Teeth. Mat, XXIV

there shall be nothing but weeping and gnashing
of Teeth, proportionable to his former Indulgence
and Luxury, and to the Importance of that Trust
which he so wickedly betrayed. (Compare Luke

xii. 45, 46. pag. 122.) Maik XIII. Let me then caution you, oh my Apostles MARK XIII. 35. Watch

and Ministers, never to suffer this important Ex- ye therefore, for ye know hortation, which I have now been giving you, to Houfe cometh. Go Even op

not when the Master of the be forgot in any Circumstance of Life; but watch at Midnight, or at the Cockye therefore continually, for ye know not when the crowing, or in the MornMaster of the Family cometh, whether in the ing:)

Evening. Watch, or at Midnight, or at the Cock26 crowing, or in the Morning : Early and late 36 Lelt coming suddenly,

hold yourselves in a prepared Posture, left coming he find you Deeping.

suddenly, be find you sleeping, and negligent of your
37 proper Duty. And what I say to you in 37. And what I say unto

publick Characters, I say to all my Disciples, in you, I say unto all, Watch.
every Station of Life, and in every Age, watch;
for in every Age and Station you will have Need
to do it, and Security may be attended with the
most fatal Consequences.

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Lukexxi. 36.

W H AT Nothful Hearts must we have, if these repeated Admonitions Mat. xxiv. VV do not awaken us; even Line upon Line, and Precept upon Pre42: Mark cept? The Patience of GOD is waiting upon us, as it did on the old xiii. 33.

World, while the Ark was preparing : (i Pet. iii. 20.) May we take

the Warning, and seek Shelter, before the Door be shut against us! Let Lukexxi. 34. us therefore take heed, lef Sensuality and secular Cares overcharge and

depress our Hearts, and amuse us with vain Delusions, till sudden and

unavoidable Destruction come upon us. (1 Thes. v. 3.) Mark xiii. We are by Profession the Domelticks of Christ. Let us 34. Offices he has assigned us, tho' he seem at a Distance. Let us diligently Mat. xxiv. wait his Coming, at whatever Season. Let his Ministers especially wait it; 45, 46.

and be solicitous, that they may be found so doing, conducting themselves

like

it, or something analogous to it, referred to here, and Rev. xxi. 3. where he thinks Lyars are the same with Hypocrites, and observes very precariously, that taking the Fearful and Unbelieving, or those that thro' Cowardice apoftatize, for the first Sort of Criminals, Lyars are the seventh Class.

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Refle&tions on preparing for the Coming of Christ. 399 fike wise Stewards of the Mysteries of GOD, dispensing to every one his Sect. 163. Portion of Food in due Seafon. Then will our Account be honourable, and i n our Reward glorious. .

May God deliver us from the Guilt, and Condemnation of the cruel, Ver. 18. 10. the imperious, and the luxurious Servant, who began to beat his Fellows, and to eat and drink with the Drunken ; since we are expressly told his dreadful Doom! Justly does our Lord declare, that to such a one he will appoint a Portion with Hypocrites, terrible as their Portion must be; for Ver. 51. no Hypocrisy can be baser, than to call ourselves the Servants and Minifers of Chris, while we are the Slaves of Ambition, Avarice, and Intemperance. Where-ever such are found, under whatever Mask and Form. may he reform them by bis Grace, or disarm them of that Power and Influence, which they continually abuse to his Dishonour, and to their own aggravated Damnation! Let us in the mean Time he exhorting each other daily, while it is called To-day, left any by insensible Degrees be kardened thro the Deceitfulness of sin ; (Heb. ii. 13.) and let us always remember, that every Exhortation, which we give to others, returns with redoubled Weight upon ourselves.

es.

SECT. CLXIV.
CHRIST enforces his Exhortation to Watchfulness, by the

Parable of the Ten Virgins. Mat. XXV. 1,---- 13. .
MAT. XXV. 1.

MAT. XXV. 1.
THEN shall the King. O U R Lord, in order to impress upon the Sect. 164.

I dom of Heai en be liken. Minds of his Hearers a "Concern about ww ed unto Ten Virgins, which :

"took the great and awful Day of future Judgment, Mat. XX

to which the latter Part of his preceding Dif-
course had so plainly referred, went on to repre-
sent it under à Variety of most lively Figures,
and particularly by the following Parable; fay-
ing, Then, or in that Day of final Account, when
the faithful Servant shall be rewarded, and the
treacherous Hypocrite so severely punished, shall
the Kingdom of Heaven, or the State of Things
under the Gospel Dispensation, appear to be like
the Case of Tin Virgins (a), who being invited to

a

(a) Ten Virgins.] This whole Parable contains a plain Reference to the Custom, which prevailed among tne Jews tnen, and still prevails among many Eastern Nations: (See The

Customs

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The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins.
Scct. 164. a Marriage-Feast, (which, according to the Cuf- took their Lamps, and went
v o tom of this Country, was to be celebrated in the forth to meet the Bride-
Mat. XXV. Night,) took their Lamps as soon as it begun to

grow dark, and went out together to meet the
Bridegroom, and to light him to the House where

the Banquet was to be kept.'
2. And it appeared by their Conduct, that Five

of them were prudent Persons; and Five of them wise, and Five were foolish.
were foolish and inconsiderate, who made no

Provision against an Accident which might very 3. Naturally happen. They that were foolish, when 3 They that were foolish they took their Lamps, went forth with them took their Lamps and took

no Oil with them :
lighted, but did not take any Oil with them, beside
that which was at first poured in: Whereas 4. But the wise took Oil
the prudent Maidens, considering that they might in their Vessels with their
perhaps be obliged to wait fome Hours took a Lamps.
Reserve of Oil with them in their Vefsels, which
they carried with their Lamps, to feed the Flame

when the former Stock Mould be wasted.
5. But while the Bridegroom for a long Time de

bridegroom for a long time ae- 5 While the Bridegroom layed his Coming, as they were sitting near the tarried, they all Numbered House from which they expected him to come and Nept.

out, they all sumbered, and at length fell fast 6 asleep. And in the very Middle of the Night (6), 6 And at Midnight there

there was a loud Cry made in the Street, Behold, was a Cry made, Behold, the the Bridegroom is coming, go ye out immediately

Bridegroom cometh, go ye

out to meet him.
to meet him, and arise to attend the Procession
according to Order.

Then all those Virgins arose, and dressed their 7 Then all those Virgins
Lamps, that they might shine as bright, and ap- arose, and trimmed tħeir

pear Lamps.

Customs of the Jews and Indians compared, pag. 41, & feq.) The Bridegroom used to conduct his Bride Home in the Evening, by the Light of Lamps, which were used (as Elsner Thews, Obferv. Vol. i. pag. 114, 115.) by the Jews and Romans on the like Occasion: They were carried by Bride- Maids, who used afterwards to sup with them; and some tell us, their Number must at least be Ten. It seems from the Circumstances of this Parable, that if any of the Neighbours, belides those who were directly invited, thought it worth their while to pay their Respect to the new-married Couple, it was esteemed a decent Piece of Civility to admit them to a Share in the Bridal Feaft, if they made their Appearance at a proper Time.

(6) In the Middle of the Night.] Perhaps the Tradition, which ferom mentions, that asserted, Christ would come to Judgment at Midnight, might be borrowed from hence; tho’ to be sure, it is a very absurd one, since that can be the Case only under one Meridian at a Time.- A celebrated Commentator has clouded this Parable exceedingly, by attempt ing to explain it of the different Effects Chrif's Admonition concerning the Diftruction of Jerusalem would have on different Persons.

(c) Buy

selves.

The Wife are admitted to the Feast, and the Foolish excluded. 401 8 And the Foolish faid pear as clean as possible. And the Foolish Dam-Sect. 164. unto the Wise, Give us of sels in great Surprize said to the Prudent, Give m your Oil, for our Lamps are

y gone out.

' us some of your Oil, for you seem to have a great at. A

Stock with you; whereas our Lamps are gone out, 9 But the Wise answered, and all our Oil is spent. But the P saying, Not fo; left there be

it,l left there mould not be
not enough for us and you:
but go ye rather to them enough for us and you, and so we thould all be left
that sell, and buy for your- on a sudden without Light, and the Bridegroom

be disappointed and affronted; but rather go je to
them that fell Oil in the Neighbourhood, and buy
some for yourselves, as soon as possible, that ye

may follow and join the Procession (c).
10 And while they went And while they went to buy it at that inconvenie 10
to buy the Bridegroom came; ent Time of Night, the Bridegroom and his Re-
and they that were ready,
went in with him to the tinue came; and those Maidens that were ready to
Marriage, and the Door was receive him. joined the Company; and when they
lhut

came to the Bridal House, they went in with him
to the Marriage-Feast; and, to prevent Distur-

bance, the Door was put and fastened. 11 Afterward came allo And some Time after the other Virgins also il : the other Virgins, saying, came, and knocked at the Door, and called with Lord, Lord, open to us.

great Importunity, saying, Sir, Sir, we desire
you would open to us, who are also some of your

Guests, tho’ by an unfortunate Accident we are 12 But he answered and come a little too late. But be, being unwillsaid, Verily I say unto you, ing to be disturbed in the Feast, and to open the I know you not.

Door again, answered them, saying, Tru
unto you, I know you not (d): My House is al.
ready furnished with Guests, and I will admit no
more. Thus these thoughtless Creatures entirely
loft both their Labour and Expence, meeting
with nothing but Disappointment and Shame.
And such will be your Case, if you content your-
selves with a mere empty Profession of Religion,
while you sink into a careless and negligent Con-

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duct,

- to imagine,) it perenggation ; fince if ictrine of a Stock of ftrange,

, (c) Buy for yourselves.] This seems merely an ornamental Circumstance; and it is strange, that any Popis Writers should consider it, as favouring their Doctrine of a Stock of Merits in the Church, founded on Works of Supererogation; since if it referred to them at all, (which there is no Reason to imagine,) it would rather expose, than encourage any Dependance upon them.

(d) I know you not.] This Circumstance in the Parable is not absurd; for nothing intimated a personal Acquaintance with them, and Guests asking Admittance with such a Pre. tence, might have been multiplied beyond all Reason and Convenience. At least its Significancy in the Application is very apparent and important: VOL. II.

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