Page:An Exposition of the Old and New Testament (1828) vol 5.djvu/303

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297
ST. MATTEW, XXV.

is trading with what wc have, and the returns will be rich; it will multiply the meal in the barrel, and the oil in the cruse; but those that are sordid, and niggardly, and uncharitable, will find that those riches, which are so got, perish by evil travel, Eccl. 5. 13, 14. Sometimes Providence strangely transfers estates from those that do no good with them, to those that do; they are gathered for him that will pity the poor. Prov. 28. 8. See Prov. 13. 22. Job 27. 16, 17. Eccl. 2. 26. (2.) We may apply it to the means of grace. They who are diligent in improving the opportunities they have, God will enlarge them, will set before them an open door; (Rev. 3. 8.) but they who know not the day of their visitation, shall have the things that belong to their peace hid from their eyes. For proof of this, go see what God did to Shiloh, Jer. 7. 12. (3.) We may apply it to the common gifts of the Spirit. He that hath these, and doeth good with them, shall have abundance: these gifts improve by exercise, and brighten by being used; the more we do, the more we may do, in religion; but those who stir not up the gift that is in them, who do not exert themselves according to their capacity, their gifts rust, and decay, and go out like a neglected fire. From him, that hath not a living principle of grace in his soid, shall be taken away the common gifts which he hath, as the lamps of the foolish virgins went out for want of oil, v. 8. Thus the arm of the idle shepherd, which he had sluggishly folded up in his bosom, comes to be dried up, and his right eye, which he had carelessly or wilfully shut, becomes utterly darkened, as it is threatened, Zech. 11. 17.

2. He is sentenced to be cast into outer darkness, v. 30. Here,

(1.) His character is that of an unprofitable servant. Note, Slothful servants will be reckoned with as unprofitable serants, who do nothing to the purpose of their coming into the world, nothing to answer the end of their birth or baptism, who are no way serviceable to the glory of God, the good of others, or the salvation of their own souls. A slothful servant is a withered member in the body, a barren tree in the vineyard, an idle drone in the hive, he is good for nothing. In one sense, we are all unprofitable servants; ([[Bible (King James)/Luke#17:10|Luke 17. 10.) we cannot profit God, Job 22. 2. But to others, and to ourselves, it is required that we be profitable; if we be not, Christ will not own us as his servants; it is not enough not to do hurt, but we must do good, must bring forth fruit, and though thereby God is not profited, yet he is glorified, John 15. 8.

(2.) His doom is, to be cast into outer darkness. Here, as in what was said to the faithful servants, our Saviour slides insensibly out of the parable into the thing intended by it, and it serves as a key to the whole; for, outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, is, in Christ's discourse, the common periphrasis of the miseries of the damned in hell. Their state is, [1.] Veiy dismal; it is outer darkness. Darkness is uncomfortable and frightful, it was one of the plagues of Egypt. In hell there are chains of darkness, 2 Pet 2. 4. In the dark no man can work, a fit punishment for a slothful servant. It is outer darkness, out from the light of heaven, out from the joy of their Lord, into which the faithful servants were admitted; out from the feast. Compare 18. 12.—22. 13. [2.] Very doleful; there is weeping, which bespeaks great sorrow; and gnashing of teeth, which bespeaks great vexation and indignation. This will be the portion of the slothful servant.


31. When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the tlirone of his glory: 32. And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33. And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand. Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for yon from the foundation of the world: 35. For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36. Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, wlien saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38. Whien saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39. Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40. And the King shall answer and say unto them, verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. 42. For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43. I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44. Then shall they also answer him, saying. Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45. Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.


We have here a description of the prt)ccss of the last judgment in the great day. There are some passages in it that are parabolical; as the separating between the sheep and the goats, and the dialogues between the Judge and the persons judged: but there is no thread of similitude carried through the discourse, and therefore it is rather to be called a draught or delineation of the final judgment, than a parable; it is, as it were, the explanation of the former parables. And here we have,

I. The placing of the Judge upon the judgmentseat; (v. 30.) When the Son of man shall come. Observe here,

1. That there is a judgment to come, in which every man shall be sentenced to a state of everlasting happiness, or misery, in the world of recompence or retribution, according to what he did in this world of trial and probation, which is to be judged of by the rule of the everlasting gospel.

2. The administration of the judgment of the great day is committed to the Son of man; for by him