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fits of the great offices which they expected to enjoy in his kingdom. Among the rest Peter was much disappointed, finding that his stewardship was to be of little service to him, the office he supposed his Master had promised him under the metaphor of « the keys of the kingdom.” Wherefore, addressing Jesus in name of the rest, he begged him to consider, that his apostles had all done what the young ruler refused to do; had left their relations, their employments, and their possessions, on his account. And since he was pleased to tell them, that rich men could not enter into his kingdom, which was the same thing as to tell them there would be no kingdom, he desired to know what reward they were to have. Matt. xix, 27. Then answered Peter, and said unto him, (Mark, Then Peter began to say unto him) Bee hold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? It seems Peter thought their labour was lost, bea cause they were to have no recompence on earth. Jesus replied, that they should certainly have a peculiar reward, even in this life; because immediately after his resurrection, when he ascended the throne of his mediatorial kingdom, he would advance them to the high honour of judging the twelve tribes of Israel; that is, of ruling his church and people, of which the twelve tribes were a type. 28. And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me in the regeneration, (*adsye Yousat) you who have left all and followed me, in order to assist me in accomplishing the creation of the new heavens and the new earth, predicted Isaiah Ixv. 17. * when the Son of man shall sit in
• Ver. 28. When the Son of man, &c.] In the seventh chapter of Daniel, the prophet speaking of the erection of Messiah's kingdom, says, verse 9. I bebeld till the thrones were set (not cast down, as it is in our translation) and the Ancient of days did sit, namely, on one of the thrones that were set. 13. And behold one like the Son of man came to the Ancient of days, while he sat on his throne, and they brought him near before him, and there suas given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom By the kingdom that was given to the Son of man, the prophet meant his mediatorial kingdom; and by the glory, his being seated beside the Ancient of days on one of the thrones mentioned, ver. 9. in testimony of his exaltation to that kingdom. The throne of his glory, therefore, which our Lord speaks of in the text, is the throne of his mediatorial kingdom, called the throne of his glory, in allusion to the representation which Daniel had given of it. In this kingdom, the apostles likewise were to be seated on thrones, and to judge the tribes; that is, were to be next to Messiah in dignity and office; his ministers, by whom he was to subdue and govern his church. Luke xxii. 28. 01.30. we find this promise repeated to the disciples in words still more full to the same purpose, re are they which have continued avith me in me temptations, answering to what is here termed, a following him in the regeneration, and I appoint unto rou a kingdom, as my Father bath appointed unto me. The kingdom which the Father bestowed on Jesus as the reward of his humiliations, was his mediatorial kingdom, (Phil. ij. 9.) not the happiness of heaven, which he enjoyed from eternity. Wherefore, the king. dom which he bestowed on his apostles as the peculiar reward of their ser.
the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, * judging the twelve tribes of Israel, He spake next of the rewards which his other disciples should receive, both in this life and in that which is come. Matt. xix. 29. And (Mark, Jesus answered and said, he likewise returned this answer, Verily I say unto you) every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sise ters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake (Mark, and the gospel): Our Lord is not here speaking of such as have actually separated themselves from the persons, and parted with the possessions here mentioned; for if that had been his meaning, he would not have said that wives and children were to be forsaken, having himself on a former occaşion expressly prohibited divorce on any account except fornication. But he is speaking of those, who for his sake and the gosa pel's, have renounced the pleasures and satisfactions which relations and possessions usually afford; see on Luke xiv. 33. 93.shall receive an hundred fold, and shall inherit everlasting life, al
luding vices, being of the same kind with his own, was nothing else but the authority which they enjoyed next to him in the gospel-dispensation. That ge may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom. This expression is evidently metaphorical, and signifies, that they were to share with him in the ho. Dours and pleasures of his high dignity, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. As their eating and drinking at his table does not im. ply any single act, but a continuation of enjoyment, so their sitting on the thrones judging, cannot signify their being assessors to Christ in the one act of passing sentence upon the tribes; it rather implies a continuation of action, viz. in their giving laws to the converted tribes, by the gospel which they preached to them. See the following note.
• Ver. 28. Fudging the twelve tribes of Israel.) According to the common interpretation of these words, they relate entirely to the other life ; implying, that at the general judgment the apostles shall assist Christ in passing sentence upon the Israelites. Yet this explication may justly be disputed; because the promise thus understood, would make the apostles very much inferior to all other saints, of whom it is said expressly, that they shall judge the world, and not the world only, but the angels also, s Cor. vi. 2, 3. Besides, the promise, in the ordinary sense of it, is not ap plicable to Judas at all, who being a bad man, cannot be supposed capable of the dignity of Christ's assessor at the general judgment. In the Hebrew language, to judge, signifies to rule or govern. Thus, Judges xii. 7. Yephtha judged Israel twelve years. 1 Sam. viii. 5. Make us a king to judge us, like all the nations. Wherefore, by the apostles sitting on thrones judging the tribes, may be understood their ruling the Christian church, of which the Jewish was a type, by the laws of the gospel, which their Master inspired them to preach, and by the infallible decisions relative to faith and manners, which he enabled them to give in all difficult cases.
Such seems to have been the true nature of the dignity which Jesus now promised to his apostles. However, as they had always been accustomed to look on Messiah's kingdom as a secular empire, they would naturally interpret their sitting on thrones, and judging the tribes, of their being made chief magistrates in Judea under their master; and would fi... thence take courage again, after having been greatly dispirited by the declaration which Jesus had made, concerning the impossibility of rich mens entering into his kingdom.
luding to the ruler's expression, “What shall I do that I may inie herit eternal life?" Mark expresses the promise more fully, X. 30. He shall receive an hundred fold now in this timej (Lukeje manifold more this present time) houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions ; did in the world to come everlasting life: They who have forsaken all. for my sake shall be no losers in the issue ; because God, who de : signs to admit them into heaven, will give them the comforts ne. cessary to support them in their journey thither, and will raise them up friends, who shall be as serviceable to them as theit nearest kindred, whom they have forsaken. By the special be nignity of his providence, they shall have every thing valuable that relations or possessions can minister to them, and besides, shall have persecutions, whose heat will nourish virtues in them of such excellent efficacy as to yield them, even in this present world, joys an hundred times better than all earthly pleasures; . so that they shall be fed by the bread of sorrows. But above all, in the world to come they shall have everlasting life. Their af. flictions contributing to the growth of their graces, which are the : wings of the soul, they shall in due time be raised on them even up to heaven, leaving all sorrows behind them, and shall fly swifte. ly into the bosom of God, the fountain of life and joy, where they shall have full amends made them for all the evils they have undergone on his account. Thus, many who in the eyes of their fellows, are last in this life, by reason of their afflictions, mortifications, and self-denial, are really first, not only in point of future reward, but even in respect of present satisfaction. Matt." xix. 30. But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first. These words were spoken also with a view to keep the disciples humble after their imaginations had been warmed with the prospect of their reward. For in all probability, they interpreted the promise of the thrones so as to make it refer to the highest offices in the temporal kingdom, the offices of greatest power, honour, and profit in Judea, and supposed that the other posts which were to be occupied at a distance from Messiah's person, such as the government of provinces, the generalship of armies, &c. would all be filled by their brethren Jews, to whom of right they belonged, rather than to the Gentiles. Nay, it was a prevailing opinion at this time, that every particular Jew whats. ever, the poorest not excepted, would enjoy some office or other in the vast empire which Messiah was to erect over all nations. In this light Christ's meaning was, Though you may imagine,
that you and your brethren have a peculiar title to the great and - substantial blessings of my kingdom which I have been describing,
the Gentiles shall have equal opportunities and advantages for obtaining them ; because they shall be admitted to all the privileges of the gospel, on the same footing with you Jews; nay, in
point of time they shall be before you; for they shall universally embrace the gospet before your nation is converted. Rom.xi. 25, 26.
** : . . This doctrine Jesus illustrated by the parable of the householder, who hired labourers into his vineyard, at different hours, and in the evening gave them all the same wages, beginning from the last unto the first * The true scope therefore of the parable is to shew, that the Jewish nation, who of all people were first in respect of external privileges, and particularly in respect of the offer, should be last in receiving the gospel. And that when they did receive it, they should enjoy no higher privileges under that dispensation, than the Gentiles who were called at the eleventh hour. The application of the parable, suggests this interpretation, « So the last shall be first, and the first last; for many be called, but few chosen." The vineyard signifies the dispensations of religion in general, which God gave to mankind in the different parts of the world. The hiring of the labourers early in the TM morning, represents that interposition of Providence by which the Jews then alive were born members of God's church, and laid under obligations to obey the law of Moses. Matt. xx. 1. For the kingdom of heaven (the Master of the kingdom of heaven) 'is like unto a man that is an householder (osxodes TITÁ, the master of a family) which went out early in the morning to hire la
bourers "Many indeed imagine our Lord's design in the parable was to teach us, that God converts some in childhood, some in youth, some in their riper years, some in the decline of life, and some in old age. But had this been his meaning, he could not have said at the conclusion of it, Many be called, but few chosen. For according to that interpretation, the calling of the labourers signifying conversion, all who are called must necessarily be chosen. Farther, in the parable, the labourers receiyed equal wages; every man a penny. This must imply, that the rewards of the righteous shall be all equal; whereas, from other passages of scripture we know, that every man shall receive according to his work, or in proportion to the dem grees of grace he has been enabled to acquire. In the third place, the labourers who began early in the morning, murmured against the householder, for giving those who came at the eleventh hour as much wages as he had given to them. According to the common interpretation, this would lead one to think, that the saints in heaven envy one anothers happiness; whereas, it is most certain, that all murmurings and grudgings are for ever banished from those blessed abodes. To conclude, when the householder went out at the eleventh hour, and asked the men that were in the market-place, why they stood there all the day idle ? they replied, Because no man both hired us. But can it he said with truth of any Christian, that he is in the market-place, or that he stands there idle, because he is not hired? All Christians are hired through the external call of the gospel, and by making profession of Christianity, have gone into the vineyard, so that it is plain they are idle thee, if they be idle. These reasons, I think, prove that the paralite of the labourers, cannot be understood of God's calling men to repentance at the different seasons of life. Its true meaning seems to be that given in the paraphrase.
bourers into his vineyard. God's bestowing the gospel-dispensation upon mankind, and the preparations previous thereto, may be illustrated by an householder's sending labourers at different hours of the day to work in his vineyard. 2. And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day (daragis, à denarius, equal to our sevenpence-halfpenny, and the common wages of a day-labourer in those times) he sent them into his vineyard to work, according as the steward or overseer should direct them. The hiring of the labourers at the subsequent third, sixth, and ninth hours, signifies the various interpositions of Providence, by which many of the Gentiles in the different ages of the world were converted, either in whole or in part, to the knowledge and worship of the true God, becoming, some proselytes of righte. ousness, others proselytes of the gate. 3. And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the market-place, where labourers usually waited, in order to be hired. 4. And said unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right, I will give you. And they went their way. 5. Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. The invitation given at the eleventh hour, signifies God's calling the Gentiles in every country, by the light of nature, to live piously and wisely. 6. And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the doy idle? 7. They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard,, and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive. The householder did not, in the bargain which he made with those whom he hired at the third, sixth, ninth, and eleventh hours, fix any particular sum as their wages; he only said he would give them what was right, that is, give them in proportion to the hours which they should work; therefore his bestowing on them a whole days wages, was an act of generosity, especially to those who came at the eleventh hour. The labouring of those who began early in the morning, signifies their performing the various duties imposed by the law of Moses, the dispensation they were under, which, because it was a grievous yoke, obedience to its precepts was fitly expressed by bearing the heat and burden of a whole day. The Jabouring of such as were called at the subsequent hours, signifies the obedience which the proselyted Gentiles yielded to such precepts of the law as were obligatory on them. The labouring of those who were called at the eleventh hour, signifies the works of piety, justice, temperance and charity, imposed upon the heathens by the law of nature, the dispensation under which they liv. ed, beautiíully sat forth by their labouring only one hour in the cool of the evening ; their duty being light in comparison of what was required of thc Jews. 8. So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labcurers,