Page images
PDF
EPUB

The parable of the labourers

St. MATTHEW.

in the vineyard.

everlasting life. A glorious portion for a persevering believer! | truck, and become the first, the chief and most exalted people The fulness of Grace here, and the fulness of GLORY hercafter! of God. That this prediction of our Lord has been literally See on Mark x. 30.

fulfilled, the present state of the Christian and Jewish Churches Ver e 30. But many that are first, &c.] The Jews, who sufficiently proves. To illustrate this fully, and to demonstrate have been the first and most distinguished people of God, that the Jews and Gentiles were now put on an equal footing will in general reject the gospel of my grace, and be conse-| by the gospel, our Lord speaks the following parable, which quently rejected by me. The Gentiles, who have had no name has been unhappily divided from its connection, by making it among the living, shall be brought to the knowledge of the I the beginning of a new chapter.

CHAPTER XX.

The similitude of the householder hiring labourers into his vineyard, to shew that the Gentiles should be preferred to

the Jews, according to that was hinted at the close of the last chapter, 1—16. On the way going up to Jerusalem he predicts his sufferings and death, 17–19. The mother of Zebedee's children, requests dignities for her sons, 20, 21. Christ, by his answer, shews that suf'erings, not worldly honours, are to be the lot of his most faithful followers, and that seats in glory can be given only to those who are prepared for them, 22, 23. From this our Lord takes occasion to teach the necessity of humility, and to shew that those who wished to be chief, must be servants of all, 24—28. On his coming to Jericho, he restored sight to two blind men, who being restored, follow him, 29—34.

LOR the kingdom of heaven is like for a "penny a day, he sent them into A. M.1038. An. Olymp. unto a man that is a “housholder, his vineyard.

An. Olymp. which went out early in the morning

FOR

3 And he went out about the third to hire labourers into his vineyard.

hour, and saw others standing idle in the mar2 And when he had agreed with the labourers ket-place,

A.M.4033.
A. D. 29.

A. 1. 29.

CCII. 1.

CCII. 1.

• Ch. 13. 27. & 18. 23. & 21. 28. John 15. 1.

Isai. 5. 1—7. Jer. 2. 21.

The Roman penny is the eighth part of an nunce, which after five shillings the

ounce, is seven pence halfpenny, ch. 18.28. Heb. 3. 7. - -John 11.0.

day's labour at that time. See Tobit, chap. v. 14. In 1351 NOTES ON CHAP. XX.

the price of labour was regulated in this country by parliaVerse 1. For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a mana ment; and it is remarkable, that “ corn-weeders and hayhousholder] The very commencement of this chapter shews it makers, without meat, drink, or other courtesy demanded," to be connected with the preceding. The manner of God's were to have one penny per day! In 1314 the pay of a chap-proceeding under the gospel dispensation resembles a house lain to the Scotch Bishops, who were then prisoners in Engholder, who went out at day-break, os pece negwitogether with the || land, was three halfpence per day. See Fleetwood's Chronicon morning ; as the light began to go out of its chambers in the || Precios. p. 123. 129. This was miserable wages, though. East, so he went out of his bed-room to employ labourers, that things at that time were so cheap that 24 eggs were sold for a they might cultivate his vineyard. This was what was called penny, p. 72. a pair of shoes for four-pence, p. 71. a fut among the Jews and Romans, the first hour; answering to six || goose for two-pence halfpenny, p. 72. a hen for a penny, p. 72. o'clock in the morning.

eight bushels of wheat for two shillings, and a fat or for sit To hire labourers] Some workmen, twv egyarwn—for he had shillings and eight-pence! Ibid. In 1336, wheat per quarter, not got all that were necessary, because we find him going out 2s. a fat sheep, 6d. fat goose, 2d. and a pig, ld. page 75. at other hours to hire more.

Verse 3. The third hour] Nine o'clock in the morning. Verse 2. A penny] A Roman coin, as noted before, Market-place] Where labourers usually stood till they were chap. xviij. 28. worth about seven-pence halfpenny or seven hired. I have often seen labourers standing in the marketa pence three farthings of our money, and equal to the Greek places of large towns in these countries, waiting to be emdrachma. This appears to have been the ordinary price of a ployed.

The reward given

CHAP. XX.

to those labourers.

A.M.40 3.
A. D. 29.

A.M. 4083.

A. D. 49. An. Olymp.

CCII. 1.

CCII. 1.

their way.

4 And said unto them; Go ye also the eleventh hour, they received every An. Olyınp. into the vineyard, and whatsoever is man a penny. right I will give you. And they went 10 But when the first came, they

supposed that

that they should have received 5 Again he went out about the sixth and ninth more; and they likewise received every man a hour, and did likewise.

penny. 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out, 11 And when they had received it, they murand found others standing idle, and saith unto mured against the good man of the house, them, Why stand ye here all the day idle ? 12 Saying, These last "have wrought but one 7 They say unto him, Because no man hath hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us,

He saith unto them, Go ye also into which have borne the burden and heat of the the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall day. ye receive.

13 But he answered one of them, and said, 8 So when even was come, the lord of the vine- Friend, I do thee no wrong : didst not thou yard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, agree with me for a penny ? and give them their hire, beginning from the last 14 Take that thine is, and go thy way:

I unto the first.

will give unto this last, even as unto thee. 9 And when they came that were hired about 15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I.

hired us.

a Col. 4. 1. 1 Cor. 15. 58. Rom. 6. 23.

Or, have continued one hour only.Rom. 9. 21.

sentences.

Verse 5. The sixth hour] Twelve o'clock. Ninth hour--three similitude. He was in all cases, an eminent master of the o'clock in the afternoon.

Verse 6. Eleventh) Five o'clock in the evening, when there Verse 13. Friend, I do thee no wrong] The salvation of the was only one hour before the end of the Jewish day, which, in Gentiles can in itself become no impediment to the Jews ; matters of labour, closed at sir.

there is the same Jesus both for the Jew and for the Greek. Verse 7. No man hath hired us.] This was the reason why Elernal life is offered to both through the blood of the cross ; they were all the day idle.

and there is room enough in heaven for all. And whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.] Ye may expect

Verse 15. Is it not lawful for me) As eternal life is the free payment in proportion to your labour, and the time ye spend gift of God, he has a right to give it in whatever proportions, in it; but this clause is wanting in some of the best MSS. Ver- || at whatever times, and on whatever conditions he pleases. sions and Fathers.

Is thine eye evil] An evil eye among the Jews meant a maliVerse 8. When the even was come] Sir o'clock, the time they || cious, covetous, or envious person. ceased from labour, and the workmen came to receive their

Most Commentators have different methods of interpreting wages.

this parable. Something was undoubtedly designed by its Steward] EtiTwTos. A manager of the household concerns principal parts, besides the scope and design mentioned at the under the master. The Rabbinical writers use the very same conclusion of the last chapter. The following, which is taken kord in Hebrew letters, for the same office, didiqu'ox epitro- principally froin the very pious Quesnel, may render it as usepos. See Kypke.

ful to the reader, as any thing else that has been written on it. Verse 11. They murmured] The Jews made the preaching of

The Church is a vineyard, because it is a place of labour, the gospel to the Gentiles a pretence why they should reject where no man should be idle. Each of us is engaged to lathat gospel; as they fondly imagined they were, and should be bour in this vineyard—to work out our salvation through him the sole objects of the divine approbation. How they mur-who worketh in us to will and to perform. Life is but a day, mured because the Gentiles were made partakers of the king-whereof childhood, or the first use of reason, is the day-break dom of God, see Acts xi. 1,&c. and xv. 1, &c.

or first hour, verse 1. in which we receive the first call. There are many similitudes of this kind among the Jews,

The promise of the kingdom of glory is given to all those where the principal part even of the phraseology of our Lord's || who are workers together with him, ver. 2. parable may be found. Several of them may be seen in

The second call is in the time of youth, which is most comSchoetgen. "Our Lord, however, as in all other cases, hasmonly idle, or only employed in dissipation and worldly cares, greatly improved the language, scope, design, and point of the Il ver. 3.

God will dispensé his

ST. MATTHEW.

blessings as he sees good.

4. 11, 1033. will with mine own? . Is thine eye || first last : ' for many be called, but few 4. M. 4033. A.1. Olymp. evil, because I am good ?

chosen.
16 So the last shall be first, and the 17 | And Jesus going up to Jeru-

CCII. 1.

An. Olymp.

CCII.1.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

The third call is at the age of manhood.

it. The youth were instructed, almost from their cradle, in The fourth, in the decline of life, ver. 5.

military exercises. The Campus Martius was the grand field The fifth, when sickness and the infirmities of life press upon in which they were disciplined: there, they accustomed themus. How many are there in the world who are just ready to selves to leaping, running, wrestling, bearing burdens, fencing, leave it, before they properly consider for what end they were throwing the jarelin, &c. and when, through these violent exer. brought into it. Still idle, still unemployed in the things cises, they were all besmeared with dust and sweat, in order to which concern their souls; though eternal life is offered to | refresh themselves, they swam twice or thrice across the Tyber! them, and hell moving from beneath to meet them! ver. 6. Rome might at any time bave recruited her armies by volun

Others consider the morning the first dawn of the gospel ; 1 teers from such a mass of well-educated hardy soldiers; but and the first call to be the preaching of John Baptist.

she thought proper, to use the words of the Abb. Mably, that The second call. the public preaching of our Lord: and the honour of being chosen to serve in the wars, should be the that of the Apostles when they got an especial commission to reward of the accomplishments shewn by the citizens in the the Jews, chap. x. 5, 6. together with that of the seventy dis- Campus Martius, that the soldier should have a reputation to ciples mentioned, Luke x. 1.

save; and that the regard paid him, in choosing him to serve, The third call, which was at mid-day, represents the preach should be the pledge of his fidelity and zeal to discharge his ing of the fulness of the gospel after the ascension of Christ, duty. The age of serving in the army, was from seventeen to which was the meridian of evangelic glory and excellence. forty-five, and the manner in which they were chosen, was the

The fourth call, represents the mission of the Apostles to following: the various synagogues of the Jews in every part of the world After the creation of consuls, they every year named twentywhere they were scattered; the history of which is particularly four military tribunes, part of whom must have served five given in the Acts of the Apostles.

years at least, and the rest eleven. When they had divided The fifth cull, or eleventh hour, represents the general call of among them the command of the four legions to be formed, the Gentiles into the Church of Christ, when the unbelieving the consuls summoned to the capitol, or Campus Martius, all Jews were finally rejected. What makes this interpretation the citizens who, by their age, were obliged to bear arms. They the more likely is, that the persons who are addressed at ver. 7. drew up by tribes, and lots were drawn to determine in what say, No man hath hired us, i.e. We never heard the voice of a order every tribe should present its soldiers. . That which was Prophet announcing the true God, nor of an Apostle preach- the first in order, chose the four citizens who were judged the ing the Lord Jesus, until now. The Jews could not use this as most proper to serve in the war; and the six tribunes who an argument for their carelessness about their eternal interests. commanded the first legion, chose one of these four, whom they

Verse 16. So the last shall be first, and the first last] The I liked best. The tribunes of the second and third legions likeGENTILES, who have been long without the true God, shall now wize made their choice one after another; and he that remained, enjoy all the privileges of the new covenant; and the Jews, entered into the fourth legion. A new tribe presented other who have enjoyed these from the beginning, shall now be dis- | four soldiers, and the second legion chose first. The third and possessed of them; for, because they have rejected the Lord, he fourth legions had the same advantage in their turns. In this also hath rejected them.

inanner, cach tribe successively chose four soldiers, till the Many are called, &c.] This clause is wanting in BL. one legions were complete. They next proceeded to the creation other : and in the Coptic and Sahidic Versions. Bishop PEARCE of subaltern officers, whom the tribunes chose from among the thinks it is an interpolution from chap. xxii. 14. The simple soldiers of the greatest reputation. When the legions were meaning seems to be: As those who did not come at the in- thus completed, the citizens who had been called, but not ritation of the householder to work in the vineyard, did not chosen, returned to their respective employments, and served receive the denarius or wages; so those who do not obey the their country in other capacities. None can suppose that these call of the gospel, and believe in Christ Jesus, shall not inherit were deemed useless, or that because not now chosen to serve eternal life.

their country in the field, they were proscribed from the rights This place seems to refer to the ancient Roman custom of and privileges of citizens, much less destroyed, because other's recruiting their armies. Among this celebrated people, no were found better qualified to serve their country at the post one was forced to serve his country in a military capacity; and of honour and danger. Thus many are called by the preachit was the highest honour to be deemed worthy of thus serving liing of the gospel, but few are found who use their advantages

A. D. 29.

CCII. 1.

CCII. 1.

Christ foretells his death.

CHAP. XX.

The ambition of James and John. A. M. 4033. salem took the twelve disciples 20

20 पा " Then came to him the A. M. 4033. A. D. 29. An. Olymp. apart in the way, and said unto mother of « Zebedee's children with An. Olymp. them,

her sons, worshipping him, and de18 Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the siring a certain thing of him. Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief 21 And he said unto her, What wilt thou ? priests and unto the scribes, and they shall con- She saith unto him, Grant that these my two demn him to death,

sons o may sit, the one on thy right hand, and 19 And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to the other on the left, in thy kingdom. mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him : and 22 But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not the third day he shall rise again.

what

ye
ask. Are

ye

able to drink of the cup

a Ch. 16. 21.-_bch: 37. 2. Mark 13. 1, 16, &c.

28, &c. Aets 3, 13.

Luke 23. 1. John 18.

c Mark 10. 35.-_och. 4. 21 Lech. 19. 28. _f ch. 26. 39, 42.

Mark 14. 36. Luke 27. 49. Julm 18. 11.

delivered up.

in such a way as to becoine extensively useful in the church- One on thy right hand, and the other on (THY) liftI have and many in the church militant behave so ill, as never to be added the pronoun in the latter clause on the authority of admitted into the church triumphant. But what a mercy that almost every MS. and version of reput”. those who appear now to be rejected may be called in another That the sons of Zet edee wished for ecclesiastical, rather muster, enrolled, serve in the field, or work in the vineyard. than secular honours, may b: th ught probable, from the , How many millions does the long-suffering of God lead to re- allusion that is made here to the supreme dignities in the great pentance !

Sanhedrin. The prince of the Sanhedrim (HANASI) sat in Verse 17. And Jesus going up] From Jericho to Jerusalem. the midst of two rows of senators or elders; on his right hand ch. xix, 15.

sat the person termed AB, (the father of the Sanhedrin); and Verse 18. The Son of man shall be betrayed] Or, will be on his left hand the Chacham, or sage. These persons trans

This is the third time that our Lord informed acted all business in the absence of the president. The his disciples of his approaching sufferings and death. This authority of this council was at some periods very great, and was a subject of the utmost importance, and it was necessary

extended to a multitude of matters both ecclesiastical and they should be well prepared for such an awful event. civil. These appear to have been the honours which James

Verse 19. Deliver him to the Gentiles to mock] This was and John sought. They seem to have strangely forgot the done by Herod and his Roman soldiers. See Luke xxiii. 11. lesson they had learnt from the transfiguration.

To scourge, and to crucify] This was done by Pilate the Verse 22. Ye know not what ye ask.) How strange is the inRoman governor. The punishment of the cross was Roman, fatuation in some parents, which leads them to desire worldly or not Jewish ; but the chief priests condemned him to it, and ecclesiastical honours for their children. He must be much in the Ronans executed the sentence. How little did they | love with the cross, who wishes to have his child a minister of the know that they were, by this process, jointly offering up that gospel; for if he be such as God approves of in the work, sacrifice which was to make an atonement for the Gentiles his life will be a life of toil and suffering; he will be obliged and for the Jews; an atonement for the sin of the whole to sip, at least, if not to drink largely of the cup of Christ. world. How often may it be literally said, The wrath of man We know not what we ask, when, in getting our children into shall praise thee!

-the CHURCH, we take upon ourselves to answer for their call Verse 20. The mother of Zebedee's children] This was to the sacred office, and for the salvation of the souls that are Salome.

put under their care. Blind parents ! rather let your children Verse 21. Grant that these my two sons] James and John. beg their bread, than thrust them into an office to which God See Mark xv. 40. In the preceding chapter, ver. 28. our has not called them; and in which they will not only ruin Lord had promised his disciples, that they should sit on their own souls, but be the means of damnation to hundreds; twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes. Sulone, probably for, if God has not sent them, they shall not profit the people hearing of this, and understanding it literally, came to request | at all. the chief dignities in this new government, for her sons; and And to be baptized with the baptisnt that I am baptized it appears it was at their instigation that she made this re- || &c.] This clause in this, and the next terse, is wanting in quest, for Mark, chap. X. 35. informs us, that these brethren BDL, two others (7 more in ver. 23.) Coptic, Sahidic, themselves made the request, i. e. they made it through the Æthiopic, Mr. WHEELock’s Persic, Vulgate, Saxon, and all the medium of their mother.

Itala, except two. Grotius, Mill, and Bengel, think it should

A. D. 29. An. Olymp. CCII.1.

CCII. 1.

Those who reign with Christ,
St. MATTHEW.

must suffer with him. 4. M. 403. that I shall drink of, and to be bap-|| 24" And when the ten heard it, A M. 40.3.

tized with the baptism that I am they were moved with indignation An. Olymp.

baptized with ? They say unto him, against the two brethren. We are able.

25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, 23 And he saith unto them, "Ye shall drink Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exerindeed of my cup, and be baptized with the cise dominion over them, and they that are baptism that I am baptized with : but to sit on great exercise authority upon them. my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to i 26 But "it shall not be so among you : but

give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is whosoever will be great among you, let him be prepared of

my
Father.

your minister;

• Luke 12. 50.-6 Acts 12. 2. Rom. 8. 17. 2 Cor. 1.7. Rev. 1. 9.

ch. 25. 31.

d Mark 10. 41. Luke 22. 24, 25. - 1 Pet. 5. 3. ch. 23. 11.

Mark 9. 35. & 10. 43.

be omitted, and Griesbach has left it out of the Text in both Verse 24. When the ten heard it they were moved] The amhis editions. It is omitted also by Origen, Epiphanius, Hilary, bition which leads to spiritual lordship, is one great cause of Jerom, Ambrose, and Jurencus. According to the rules laid murmurings and animosities in religious societies; and has down by critics, to appreciate a false or true reading, this proved the ruin of the most flourishing Churches in the clause cannot be considered as forming a part of the sacred universe. text. It may be asked, Does not, drink of my cup, convey the Verse 25. Exercise dominion-and-exercise authority upon same idea ? Does the clause add any thing to the perspicuity' them.] They tyrannized and exercised arbitrary power over of the passage? And though found in many good MSS. is the people. This was certainly true of the governments in not the balance of evidence in point of antiquity against it? our Lord's time, both in the east and in the west. I have Baptism among the Jews, as it was performed in the coldest endeavoured to express, as nearly as possible, the meaning weather, and the persons were kept under water for some of the two Greek verbs, xataxugs evovos, and xatiçourselovely, time, was used not only to express death, but the most cruel and those who understand the genius of the language will kind of death. See Lightfoot. As to the term cup, it was a' perceive, that I have not exhausted their sense, however common figure, by which they expressed calamities, judg- some may think that no emphasis was intended, and that ments, desolation, &c.

these compound rerbs are used for the simple xvzievey and They say unto him, We are able.) Strange blindness! Youčovcialty. See Wakefield and Rosenmuller. can? No, one drop of this cup would sink you into utter The government of the Church of Christ is widely different ruin, unless upheld by the power of God. However, the from secular governments. It is founded in humility and man whom God has appointed to the work he will preserve brotherly love; it is derived from Christ, the great Head of in it.

the Church, and is ever conducted by his maxims and spirit. Verse 23. Is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them. When political matters are brought into the Church of Christ, for whom it is prepared of my Father.] The common trans- both are ruined. The Church has more than once ruined the lation, in which the words, it shall be given to them, are inter- State; the State has often corrupted the Church : it is cerpolated by our translators, utterly changes and destroys the tainly for the interests of both to be kept separate. This meaning of the passage. It represents Christ (in opposition has already been abundantly exemplified in both cases, and to the whole Scriptures) as having nothing to do in the dis- will continue so to be, over the whole world, wherever the pensing of rewards and punishments; whereas, our Lord only church and state are united in secular matters. intimates, that, however partial he may be to these two Verse 26. It shall not be so among you] Every kind of brethren, yet seats in glory can only be given to those who' lordship and spiritual domination over the Church of Christ, are fitted for them. No favour can prevail here; the elevated like that exercised by the Church of Rome, is destructive and seat is for him who is filled with the fulness of God. The anti-christian. true construction of the words is this to sit on my right hand Your minister] Or, deacon, diaxovos : I know no other word und on my left, is not mine to give, except to them for whom it is which could at once convey the meaning of the original, prepared of my Father. According to the prediction of and make a proper distinction between it and douros, or servant, Christ, these brethren did partake of his afflictions : James in ver. 27. The office of a deacon, in the primitive Church, was martyred by Herod, Acts xii. 2. and John was banished was to serve in the agapæ, or love feasts, to distribute the to Patmos, for the testimony of Christ, Rev. i. 9.

bread and wine to the communicants; to proclaim different

« PreviousContinue »