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division of chap. 25. from verse 14—31. and we think he must also be convinced, that the parable of the talents, was spoken by our Lord to illustrate and enforce the duty of faithfulness upon them. Here I ask every candid reader to say-is it not the same Son of man which is mentioned in both chapters? . Are not the servants to whom the goods were delivered the same as in chap. 24: 45.? Is not the faithfulness and unfaithfulness of the servants the same in both ? And is not the coming of our Lord to reckon with them the same coming in both? Who can with any show of reason deny these things ? But who can admit them, yet contend that this second part of chap. 25. has any relation to a day of general judgment?
3d. In verse 46. and to the end of chap. 24. our Lord states the consequences which would result, according as they were found watchful and faithful, or the contrary. Now compare this with the third division of chap. 25. from verse 31--46. and all must see how exactly the one corresponds to the other. In the one, he states what rewards and punishments would, at bis coming, be awarded his servants: and in the other, he goes on to illustrate this, by what may as justly be called the parable of the rewards and punishments, as the two former are called the parables of the ten virgins and talents. This agreement of chaps. 24, 25. is not an accidental thing, but the effect of design, and clearly marked by the word then, with which chap. 25. be. gins; but it is not noticed by most readers as it ought, by the improper division of our Lord's discourse into chapters and verses. Our Lord no more ends his discourse, chap. 24. than Paul ends his Epistle to the Romans, chap. 4. If the question is asked, when shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins ? The answer is found in chap. 24: 42, 44, 46, 50. where his coming is repeatedly mentioned, and in
verse 34. is expressly said to be during that generation. We ask every candid man, Is not the Son of man, mentioned chap. 25: 31. the very same Son of man as is spoken of in chap. 24? And is not his coming in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, the same coming and glory as is mentioned chap. 24: 30.? It was this perfect agreement of the three divisions of chap. 25. to the three things stated in chap. 24. which changed our views of this subject many years ago, so that our views of these two chapters are not influenced by any change of opinions since.
Keeping these general remarks in view, let us attend to the words—" And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal.” The first question is--"Who shall go away into everlasting punishment ?” The context answers, the goats, verse 33. whose conduct is described, verses 41–46. The wicked and slothful servants, verses 24-29. The foolish virgins, verses 10--12., And the evil servants, chap. 24 : 48, 49.
2d. Let us ask the question-What everlasting punishment were these persons to go away into? Answer: the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels, verse 41. The outer darkness, verse 30. See also verse 10. and chap. 24: 51. all of which, it will be allowed, refer to the same punishment. In the first part of this inquiry it has been shown, that by the devil and his angels, verse 41. our Lord referred to the unbelieving Jews and opposers of Christianity. In the Inquiry into the words Sheol, Hades, &c. it has been also shown, that fire is a figure often used in Scripture for temporal punishment, and is the same here, as hell fire in other places. In both Inquiries it has been shown, that the term everlasting, is applied to the punishment which the Jews are now enduring. In confirmation of these things, comp.
Luke 13: 23--31. Matth. 18:11, 12. 13 : 42, 50. and 22: 13.
3d. Let us ask again-When were these persons to go away into everlasting punishment? The answer from the context evidently is—“When the Son of man came in his glory,” verse 31. Well, when was this ? Not at a day of judgment, for not a word is said about this in the two chapters. It was when the Lord of the servants came to reckon with them, verse 19. When the bridegroom came, verse 10. At the time when the slothful servants were not looking for him, chap. 24: 41–51. And at the time referred 10, verse 44. when he said to his disciples, “ be ye also ready; for in such an hour as ye think not, the son of man cometb.” Christ's father only knew of this day, verse 36. It was to come like a thief in the night, or like the flood on the old world, verses 37, 43. But it was certainly to come during that generation, verse 34. Then he was to reward every man according to his works, which exactly agrees to some going away into everlasting punishment, and some into life eternal.
But it will be asked, What throne of glory did Christ sit on when he came to take vengeance on the Jewish nation at the end of the age? The Greek in chap. 25: 31. is, tote kathisei epi thronou doxes autou, and is the same which Matthew used, chap. 19: 28. and is rendered in both places by Dr. Campbell in the same way. The whole verse he renders thus“Verily I say unto you, that at the renovation, when the Son of man shall be seated on his glorious throne, ye my followers, sitting also upon twelve thrones, shall judge the twelve tribes of Israel.” Here let the reader turn to the last Section, and read the quo, tations made from Dr. Campbell and Macknight on this verse.
These writers have shown, that the com, ing of Christ was at the end of the Jewish dispensa
tion, that the throne on which he sat was the throne of his mediatorial kingdom, and the judging then to take place, the ruling or governing men with his truth. His throne was no more a literal, visible throne, than were the twelve thrones of the apostles. The time when, the nature of the throne, and the same language used in both cases by Matthew, show, that there is no reference to a day of general judg. ment, as is generally supposed. If Matthew used this language, chap. 19 : 28. as these writers explain it, by what fair rule of interpretation do we give the same words, chap. 25: 31. such a very different interpretation ? Men now would feel indignant at having their words interpreted in such an arbitrary and capricious manner. What right, then, has any man to affirm, that the Son of man's coming in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, refers to a day of general judgment, when the same writer, in the same book, has used the same or similar language, where it is manifest he is speaking of Christ's coming at the end of the Jewish age or dispensation? It is well known, that the term rendered angel, simply signifies a messenger of any kind: and it is allowed, on all hands, that angels are mentioned as connected with our Lord's coming at this period. See Matth. 24: 30, 31. and 16: 27. Mark 8: 38. 9:1. and 13: 26, 27. Luke 21 : 27. The angels being then mentioned, is a confirmation, not an objection to the views advanced. See Whitby and Macknight on Matth. 24. who show the angels referred to to be human beings.
But it will be objected --How, upon your views, can it be said, “and before him shall be gathered all nations ?” Answer; the phrase “ all nations” occurs twice before in this very discourse of our Lord's, chap. 24: 9, 14. “ And ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world, for a
AN INQUIRY-PART II.
witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come.'