Page:An Exposition of the Old and New Testament (1828) vol 5.djvu/299

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293
ST. MATTHEW, XXV.

brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. 21. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 22. He also that had received two talents came, and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. 23. His lord said unto him. Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 24. Then he which had received the one talent came, and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: 25. And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. 26. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: 27. Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. 28. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. 29. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. 30. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.


We have here the parable of the talents committed to three servants; this implies that we are in a state of work and business, as the former implies that we are in a state of expectancy. That shewed the necessity of habitual preparation, this of actual diligence in our present work and service. In that, we were stirred up to do well for our own souls; in this, to lay out ourselves for the glory of God and the good of others.

In this parable, 1. The Master is Christ, who is the absolute Owner and Proprietor of all persons and things, and in a special manner of his church; into his hands all things are delivered. 2. The servants are Christians, his own servants, so they are called; born in his house, bought with his money, devoted to his praise, and employed in his work. It is probable that ministers are especially intended here, who are more immediately attending on him, and sent by him. St. Paul often calls himself a servant of Jesus Christ. See 2 Tim. 2. 24.

We have three things, in general, in this parable.

I. The trust committed to these servants; Their master delivered to them his goods: having appointed them to work, (for Christ keeps no servants to be idle,) he left them something to work upon. Note, .. Christ's servants have and receive their all from him: for they are of themselves worth nothing, nor have anything they can call their own but sin. 2. Our receiving from Christ is in order to our working for him. Our privileges are intended to find us with business. The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. 3. Whatever we receive to be made use of for Christ, still the property is vested in him; we are but tenants upon his land, stewards of his manifold grace, 1 Pet. 4. 10. Now obseive here,

(1.) On what occasion this trust was committed to these servants; The master was travelling into a far country. This is explained, Eph. 4. 8. When he ascended on high, he gave gifts unto men. Note, [1.] When Christ went to heaven, he was as a man travelling into a far country; that is, he went with a purpose to be away a great while. [2.] When he went, he took care to furnish his church with all things necessary for it during his personal absence. For, and in consideration of, his departure, he committed to his church truths, laws, promises, and powers; these were the παρακαταθήκη—the great depositum, (as it is called, 1 Tim. 6. 20. 2 Tim. 1. 14.) the good thing that is committed to us; and he sent his Spirit to enable his senants to teach and profess those truths, to press and observe those laws, to improve and apply those promises, and to exercise and employ those powers, ordinary or extraordinary. Thus Christ, at his ascension, left his goods to his church.

(2.) In what proportion this trust was committed. [1.] He gave talents; a talent of silver is computed to be in our money three hundred fifty-three pounds eleven shillings and ten pence half-penny; so the learned Bishop Cumoerland. Note, Christ's gifts are rich and valuable, the purchases of his blood inestimable, and none of them mean. [2.] He gave to some more, to others less; to one five talents, to another two, to another one; to every one according to his several ability. When Divine Providence has made a difference in men's ability, as to mind, body, estate, relation, and interest, divine grace dispenses spiritual gifts accordingly, but still the ability itself is from him. Observe, First. Every one had some one talent at least, and that is not a despicable stock for a poor servant to begin with. A soul of our own is the one talent we are every one of us intrusted with, and it will find us with work. Hoc nempte ab homine exigitur, ut prosit hominibus; si fieri potest, multis; si minus, paucis; si minus, proximis; si minus, sibi: nam cum se utilem cæteris efficit, commune agit negotium. Et si quis oene depe meretur, hoc ipso aliis prodest quod aliis profuturum parat—It is the duty of a man to render himself beneficial to those around him; to a great number, if possible; but if this is denied him, to a few; to his intimate connexions; or, at least, to himself. He that is useful to others, may be reckoned a common good. And whoever entitles himself to his own approbation, is serviceable to others, as forming himself to those habits which will result in their favour. Seneca de Otio Sapient. Secondly, All had not alike, for they had not alike abilities and opportunities. God is a free Agent, dividing to every man severally as he will; some are cut out for service in one kind, others in another, as the members of the natural body. When the householder had thus settled his affairs, he straightway took his journey. Our Lord Jesus, when he had given commandments to his apostles, as one in haste to be gone, went to heaven.

II. The different management and improvement of this trust, which we have an account of, v. 16—18.

1. Two of the servants did well.

(1.) They were diligent and faithful; They went, and traded; they put the money they were intrusted with to the use for which it was intended—laid it out in goods, and made returns of it; as soon as ever their master was gone, they immediately applied