Изображения страниц

mises are made. And here we cannot always discern among them. We can indeed perceive the open disobedience of too many, who walk not "after the Spirit, but after the flesh" and the world. But we fear that there are hypocrites, and we trust that there are faithful believers in Christ, who are only known to him who knows what is in man. They will be distinguished hereafter.

11. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment;

12. And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.

No one can read this passage without an earnest inquiry, what is the wedding garment? And happy should we be, if to acquire it were as easy as to explain it. To clothe ourselves with that garment, the labour of all the head, and the resolution of all the heart, and the pains of all the life, are necessary: for it is the Christian character. Yet the Christian character, with all its parts, and features, and graces, may be comprised in two short words, FAITH and HOLINESS. Faith in Christ, as the author of eternal life, to those who trust in him; and holiness of conduct resulting from that faith in obedience to his commands. This is the wedding garment. This is the character which we must put on here on earth, that we may be ready and appear clothed in it when our summons comes. Not that there are two garments; or that "Christ is divided;" or that salvation is partly by faith, and partly by holiness; but the faith which God expects to see in every Christian, is that faith which leads to sanctification and

"works by love." An idle, barren trust in Christ, as having done all for us, is only a part of the wedding garment. And, on the other hand, a self-righteous confidence in a sober, moral life, is a different robe from that which God has commanded us to wear. Scripture teaches us, that "we are justified freely by grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." "No man cometh unto the Father but by him." And Scripture no less clearly shows, that true faith in Christ "puts off the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and puts on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." 3 So that "not every one that saith unto him, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of his Father which is in heaven."

In reply, therefore, to the great question, what is the wedding garment,-holiness must be combined with faith, to weave the perfect robe. To the kingdom of God here on earth, faith is the title of admission. The sinner who repents and turns to God, has need but to plead the blood shed for the remission of sin, and is "accepted in the Beloved." But the faith which is admitted into the kingdom of God in heaven, must have been "made perfect by works;” 5 must have" brought forth fruit unto holiness." man will sit down at the heavenly feast, except as a disciple of Christ Jesus. No one will be allowed as a disciple of Christ Jesus, who has not "purified himself, even as he is pure." To the self-righteous, and to the unrighteous, the question will equally apply,

[ocr errors]

2 Rom. iii. 24; John xiv. 6.
4 Matt. vii. 21.

3 Eph. iv. 22-24.

5 James ii. 22.


Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having a wedding garment? The one has not "washed his robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." The other has forgotten, that "without holiness no man shall see the Lord."

13. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

14. For many are called, but few are chosen.

The silence of the rejected guest is no less worthy of remark, than the rest of this important parable. It is entirely different from the conduct which we find in this world. Here, men have always something to say in their defence. The Antinomian pleads, that "he that hath the Son hath life." The self-righteous plead, that "every man shall be rewarded according to his works." The poor plead their ignorance, their temptations, their evil companions, their difficult circumstances. Others plead their worldly concerns, their business, their families. And others defend themselves, on the ground of their passions and their natural corruption. In some of these ways, all extenuate their own case, and put off repentance; yet hope to be accepted at the last.

But we learn here, that no such excuse will avail before God. The man without the wedding garment had not a word to allege. He was speechless. The only plea which could possibly have been urged, that he could not procure the wedding garment, is precluded by the merciful freeness of the gospel offer, "Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out." My grace is sufficient for thee." "Believe

[ocr errors]

in the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sin, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." Provision is made for the renewal of the heart, as well as for the pardon of sin. The royal master of the feast of ancient times was wont to prepare apparel in which he clothed his guests according to the occasion. And so Christ offers to purify as well as to pardon whom he justifies, them he also sanctifies, and prepares for the kingdom which he has purchased for them.

Let us then endeavour to realize to our minds the time, when this, which is described in the parable, shall happen to ourselves. Distance obscures the prospect: present things interfere to hide it. Let faith remove these barriers; for "faith is the evidence of things not seen:" let faith anticipate the day when "the king shall come in to see the guests assembled," among whom we ourselves shall have a place; and he will at once perceive who bear, and who do not bear, the wedding garment. There are none who will be admitted without it; and there are none, who may not acquire it. "If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children; how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" 7

Blessed are they, whom the Lord, when he cometh, shall find clothed in " that righteousness which is by faith of Jesus Christ, unto all, and upon all them that believe." They shall sit down with him in that presence, where is "fulness of joy, and pleasures for evermore."


A custom similar to that which is practised by us at funerals. 8 Rom. iii. 22.

7 Luke xi. 13.



MATT. xxii. 15-22.

15. Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.

16. And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. 17. Tell us, therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Cæsar, or not? 1

18. But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?

19. Shew me the tribute-money.

unto him a penny.

And they brought

20. And he said unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?

Then saith he unto

21. They say unto him, Cæsar's. them, Render therefore unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar's; and unto God the things that are God's.

22. When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.

As the coin of the country is always issued by those who have the government of the country, the currency of coin bearing the image and super

This was a disputed question among the Jews at that day. The Herodians were the party who maintained that it was lawful.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »