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both by integrity and faith; and, to silence the murmurings of the Pharisees, our LORD declared, that the great design of his appearing upon earth was, to recover those who, like Zaccheus in his unconverted state, were wandering in doubt and uncertainty, desirous of knowing the truth.
It is related of Zaccheus that he was rich; his conversion, therefore, proves, that it is not the possession of wealth, but the inordinate love of it, which makes it harder for a rich man to enter into heaven, than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.
Though our LORD was a perfect stranger to Zaccheus, this upright publican was not so to him; for the good Shepherd knows all his sheep (by which are meant, those who will obey his voice), and is able to call them by their names; and declared, that He would lay down his life for them, which he actually has done.
THE PARABLE OF TEN POUNDS.
From Luke, Chap. xix. AND as they heard these things, Jesus added, and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.
He said therefore, A certain noblemau went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.
But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after hin, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.
And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.
Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.
And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.
And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities.
And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin,
For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layest not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow.
And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knowest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow.
Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury ?
And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds..
(And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.) For I
say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken
from him. But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.
And when he had thus spoken, he went before, ascending up to Jerusalem.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
Our Lord knowing that the declaring himself to be the Messiah, had raised an expectation in the minds of his followers, that he would shortly resume the kingdom of Israel, deliver his people from the Roman yoke, and bring the heathen nations into subjection, spake a parable to correct their mistakes and warn them of the danger they would incur by rejecting him, when they should find their views disappointed. In this parable our LORD compares himself to a Nobleman-Heaven to a distant country-and the Church, or government of the MESSIAH upon earth, to a kingdom of which he was at his return to take possession. The citizens of this kingdom were the Jews who rejected him, and the ten pounds were different endowments, bestowed upon those who professed themselves his followers; such as wisdom, riches, power, &c. The design of this parable was to shew, that though CHRIST would not come agreeably to their expectations as a temporal Prince, he would appear as an heavenly king, and that all persons would be finally called to give an account to him how they had employed the gifts intrusted to them; that they should be rewarded in proportion to their respective improvements; that those who were slothful should be severely punished, and such as rejected his authority, destroyed.
The instruction contained in this Section concerns all Christians; let us, therefore, apply it to our own hearts, and seriously consider what abilities we have, and resolve to employ them to the best advantage, for the honour of God, and the real good of ourselves and fellow-creatures. The more diligent we are, the greater degree of happiness we shall certainly attain, for we have a kind and liberal Master. It is not enough to be able to say we have done no harm in the world, for, every one must strive to do some good : and there are few, indeed, who can plead want of opportunity. If God were austere, as the slothful servant represented his lord, even then he might justly expect us to use our best endeavours, that he might reap where he has
But God, so far from requiring of us harder services than we can perform, has promised to assist us in the discharge of our duty by his heavenly grace.
Even at the present time, there are numbers who reject our Saviour and his doctrine; these, if they do not repent, will be included in punishment with the unbelieving Jews: for he is a Saviour to those only who believe in his name, and obey his precepts.
What is to be understood by Unto every one that hath shall be given, &c. has been explained in a former Section.
JESUS ENTERTAINED AT BETHANY, AND ANOINTED
From John, Chap. xii.-Matt. Chap. xxvi.-Mark,
Then JESUS, six days before the passover, came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead.
Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper,
There they made him a supper, and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him.
Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard very costly, and she brake the box, and poured it on his head,
And anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair : and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.
Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him,
Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?
This he said, not that he cared for the poor ; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein. And Jesus said, Let her alone, why trouble ye
her? she hath wrought a good work on me.
For ye have the poor with you always, and whenso- . ever ye will, ye may do them good: but me ye have. not always. .
She hath done what she could : she is come afore. hand to anoint my body to the burial.
Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this Gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of, for a memorial of her.
Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there : and they came, not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead.
But the chief priests consulted, that they might put Lazarus also to death,
Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus,