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There is another circumstance which we do well to notice here; and that is, that among the things which Jesus told his disciples should take place in that generation, his coming in his glory, &c., is included. See verses 30, 31 of chapter xxiv. And it is also necessary to remark, that this coming of Christ is the same as set forth in the last parable of chapter xxv, which our divines are in the habit of calling the last, and the general judgment. As I have elsewhere, and in a number of instances, shown that the parable of the sheep and goats was spoken to represent the rejection of the Jews and their dispersion, and the reception of the Gentiles to the privileges of the gospel, I deem it unnecessary to labor to substantiate this application in this place, further than to request the reader to notice that the coming of Christ, set forth in the parable of the sheep and goats, is the same coming of which mention is made in the preceding chapter, and which Christ said should take place in that generation. Whoever will carefully notice this, will be fully satisfied that our divines are incorrect in applying the last parable in chapter xxv, to a future judgment.
Let us now return to the order of the account in chapter xxiv. See verse 36, But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.' The Saviour then proceeds to compare the event which he had been relating, to that of the flood, and at the 42d verse, begins a special exhortation to his disciples. The reader will keep in mind, that Jesus was speaking to his disciples only, and alone. He says: Watch, therefore, for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched,
and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore, be ye also ready; for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh.' Here again is the same coming of the Son of man of which Jesus speaks in the last parable of chapter xxv, which our doctors constantly apply to the last judgment in the future state. But who will undertake to account for their mistake? Do they suppose that Jesus meant to exhort his disciples, there on the mount of Olives, to keep up a constant watch, looking out for the coming of the Son of man, until some period of time which is now future? Do they suppose that these disciples have, ever since the interview which they had with Jesus privately on the mount of Olives, been looking for his coming? Nearly eighteen hundred years have passed away since Jesus told his disciples that he should come with power and great glory in that generation, and exhorted them to watch that they might be on their guard on the occasion; and our divines contend that he has not come yet! And to keep along with their error, they now come forward with these exhortations, which Jesus delivered to his disciples in private, and insist that Jesus meant to exhort us, in this day, to watch for his coming! And if things go on as they have done, after we have watched all the days of our lives, the generations which may come upon the stage hereafter will be told that Jesus meant that they should watch.
It is possible that the reader may wish to ask why Jesus exhorted his disciples to watch. The answer is, because his coming would be at a time when, if they were not watchful, they might least expect him : and also because the coming of which he had spoken to them was for the desolation of Jerusalem, and if they were not on their guard they would be shut up in the city by armies of the Romans. Look back
When ye, therefore,
to verse 15th and onwards: shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth let him understand) then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains: let him which is on the house top not come down to take any thing out of his house; neither let him that is in the field return back to take his clothes. And wo unto them that are with child and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day. For there shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.' That his disciples might watch and make their escape from Jerusalem, at the day and hour of danger, Jesus gave them these warnings and exhortations. It is truly humiliating to hear our divinės, who pride themselves in their learning and in their high attainments in the knowledge of the holy Scriptures, now urging the exhortations of Jesus to his disciples, respecting their escape from the destruction of Jerusalem, on the people of our day, as if we were in danger of being shut up in that ancient city by the Romans who destroyed it nearly eighteen hundred years ago!
Let us return to the account as it proceeds in order. See verse 45 and onwards: Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his Lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his Lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, that he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My Lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken, the
Lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' The reader will now call up what he was requested to remember, viz. that Jesus called those on whom he denounced the judgments of heaven, in chapter xxiii, hypocrites, by which it appears that the divine Teacher intended to signify to his disciples, that if they neglected their duty, got off their watch and proved unfaithful to his cause, he would, at his coming, appoint them their portion with those hypocrites on whom they had just heard him denounce destruction. These disciples were appointed rulers over the household of their divine Master, to give to his household their meat in due season; and if they proved faithful, he promised them promotion; but if they should prove unfaithful, he would devote them to the same destruction which he had just denounced on his enemies, the Jews. This general intimation would properly apply, not only to those disciples who were then present, on the mount of Olives, but also to others, who should, in their day, be employed in the gospel ministry.
It appears evident from the above, that the Saviour was informing his disciples how it would fare with them and other professors of christianity, at the time when Jerusalem should be destroyed, and the Jews dispersed.
The 25th chapter contains three parables, which evidently relate to events set forth in the 24th chapter. But care should be taken to make the distinctions in the parables according to their evident application.The two first, no doubt apply to the disciples of Jesus;
the last applies to the unbelieving Jews who persecuted the disciples, to christian believers who kindly entreated the disciples, and to the disciples themselves. The disciples of Christ and professors of his gospel were represented by ten virgins in the first parable; and by servants who received different sums of money in the second; and it is very clear that these two parables apply to the subject with which the 24th chapter closed. Compare the close of that chapter: 'There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth,' with the close of the second parable: There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth: The reader will do well to open to the place and carefully read, comparing these two first parables with the subject treated of in the last of the 24th chapter, which will supersede the necessity of my saying more on this part of the subject.
But the last parable has a more extensive application; for there are evidently three classes of which the judge speaks the sheep on the right hand, the goats on the left, and his brethren who had been kindly intreated by those on his right, but neglected by those on his left.
Here again recollect, that Jesus was speaking to his disciples, whom he was about to employ in the promulgation of his gospel; and as he had just before, in this discourse, informed them that they would be persecuted by his and their enemies, he now gives them to understand, that he would treat the people, when he came to execute the judgments which he had just denounced on the Jews, accordingly as they should treat them. These disciples he calls his brethren, and assures them that any favor which the people should show them, he should consider as shown to himself; any neglect with which they should be treated, he