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that Barabbas was probably the ringleader of the sedition; and that the slaughter of some of the subjects of Herod, tetrarch of Galilee, by the soldiers of Pilate, in quelling this disturbance, occasioned the recorded enmity between them. This parable he considers the first of a “ series of predictions, relating to a “common subject, the punishment of the infidel Jews, and the “ destruction of Jerusalem.” In his views, he is decidedly right: yet there are passages in the Jewish writers, and one in the Antiquities of Josephus, which may as forcibly be applied to the transaction.

In the parable of the great supper, there is no critical matter to detain us: the chief part of it seems to have been pirated in Tanchum, (f. 84. 1Sanhedrin, (f. 37. 1,) and one very similar may be found in Yoma, (f. 36. 1.) Much less is there in that of the prodigal son, although it contains practical observations of great moment: but in that of the unjust steward, Mr. Greswell has followed the idea of Grossmann in one of his academical dissertations, or at least has viewed the subject in the same light. It is shown, that the oikovóuoc (in our version rendered steward,) was the general manager, superintendent and governor of a family under the master, to whom the property was committed in trust, and all the household was subject: such was Eliezer of Damascus, in the family of Abraham. It is equally shown, that this office did not precisely answer to that of the Roman dispensator, nor to that of the villicus, but was more analogous to that of the initpotos of the Greeks: and that he was not a servant in the same sense as the others, seems to be deducible from the Evangelist. In such an office abuses might long exist without being discovered or even suspected; consequently, the expedient adopted by the unjust steward is in every way consistent with probability. And the very idea of dismissal, unaccompanied by the mention of punishment, goes far to prove, that he was not a slave, but probably one engaged at a salary. Nor was his power over his lord's pecuniary resources contrary to ancient custom : for Ezra (vii. 22,) was invested with a corresponding power for a particular object; and in Eastern histories we read of officers, to whom an equal trust was committed. Therefore, the debtors will appear to be those who had entered into contracts with the steward, either for the supply of the articles of subsistence, or for the purchase of the produce; which contracts being in his custody, a falsification of accounts was easy; and as his deprivation of office would take from him the power of making new contracts, we may readily suppose a dishonest man to have acted according to the representation of the narrative. But, when our Saviour advised friends to be made of the mammon of unrighteousness, that the defaulter might be received into the everlasting tents or tabernacles, (ràc aiwvlovc ornvas) we imagine more to be implied

than a mere reception into their houses, as the commentators suppose: we conceive the allusion to be, that they might vindicate his character; because in Siphra, and other Jewish books, these everlasting tabernacles are said to be the places in which God will preserve the just.

Our author is of opinion, that the parable of Dives and Lazarus, (indeed, that all the parables) related to real characters. Theophylact in loco has preserved a tradition to this effect, in which case we may safely argue from the names, that Dives was a Roman, and Lazarus a Jew. The object of the parable was “ to inculcate—the right’use and application of “ the gift of the temporal mammon; whereby the hearers of our “ Lord, his own disciples, and consequently Christians in general,

might be taught to look upon it in the light of a responsible “ trust, delegated to its possessors by the providence of God, “ and intended to be administered, so long as it was retained, “ like every other trust, in some manner or other, to the honour “ and service, the good and advantage of its author."* Hence, the history of Dives stands prominent, whilst that of Lazarus is more left to implication. The abuse of riches is forcibly contrasted with the struggles of poverty; and the punishment of the rich man in Hades was clearly among other things occasioned by his conduct to Lazarus. The allusion here to Jewish opinions, and the continual use of Jewish terms,t must have given to the parable an effect, at the time of its delivery, far beyond that which the ordinary reading of it would produce, and must have

(אדא בר אהבה ישבה היום יושב בחיקו של ,in the bosom of Abraham

* St. Cyprian seems to have understood this of almsgiving. “ Nam cum Dominus in evangelio de eleemosynis disputaret, et ut novis amicos de terrestribus lucris providâ operatione faceremus, qui nos postmodum in tabernacula æterna susciperent, fideliter ac salubriter præmoneret," &c. &c.De Opere et Eleemosynis, 202.

+ We may compare with it the Jewish belief, that the souls of the just are carried to Paradise by the ministration ( 79 by) of angels, whilst Dumah (77019), the angel of Death or Silence, bears away those of the wicked. Thus, when Ada Bar Ahaba died, he is stated to have been

) 0.772x-Kiddushin 72. 21.) with which we may collate Oewy év γούνασι κείται. With now he is comfortedcf. Targ. Hier. in Gen. Xxxviï. 26 ;-in Aboth the Messiah is thus said to comfort the dead. The book of Enoch also separates the just from the unjust by a chasm -water—and supernal light, and we every where read in the Talmud

a XJ1997. In Aboth and Chagiga, Achar is said to have been liberated from Gihinnom ; and Lescarbot tells us, that the Virginians believed certain persons to have been released by God from Popogusso, (Hell,) that they might revisit the earth, and certify their friends of its nature and the neeessity of escaping it.

אתרא and of a place of joy אתרא דעונשא of a place of punishment

been fraught with a moral energy, which the existence of similar characters, more especially under the Roman sway, must have rendered singularly instructive and convincing.

Passing by many valuable remarks in the parable of the importunate widow, of the Pharisee and the publican, we must consider that of the labourers in the vineyard. He supposes the situation of this parable to have been Peræa, which abounded in vineyards, and the time to have been the morning :-and that our Saviour, after crossing into Judea from Peræa over the Jordan, and passing through Jericho, on his way to Jerusalem, concluded his excursion by staying for the night in the house of Zacchæus. The principal personage is represented as the owner of a vineyard, and the master of a family: the inferior persons those who earned their livelihood by their labour, in the culture of the ground—the épyárai of the classical writers. These are engaged for money by the master of the vineyard on certain terms; they are hired in one locality, and render their services in another: they receive their wages in one, but perform their engagements in the vineyard. The master begins to engage them in the morning, from the dyopa, or bazaar, where labourers generally assemble in the East, and the covenanted hire was a denarius, or sevenpence three farthings, according to Arbuthnot's tables of ancient coins; but the labourers then hired being perhaps insufficient for his purpose, at two subsequent visits he engages more, When at the close of the day, in accordance to the law of Moses, the wages were paid, those who had been first hired murmured that the last should receive a sum equal to that for which they had borne the heat and toil of the day. But in the payment of the wages, a new character is introduced, -the éiTpotros, or procurator, whom we must not identify with the áute ovpyös. This equalization of payment seems, however, to have been customary; since Josephus (Ant. Jud. xx. ix. 7, records, that whoever had worked but one hour in the day on the building of the second temple, received the wages of a whole day. Morier, in his second Travels in Persia, also witnessed at a certain Maidan, near Mesjed Jumah, in Hamadàn, many particulars, which brought this parable to his recollection, and proved the custom, which prevailed in the time of Christ, to continue equally strong in the present day. In Avoda Sara (f. 10. 2.) Rabbi Yehudah Hakkodesh is likewise stated to have wept and declared, as if he were practically applying the words of the Evangelist, that some in one hour obtained future happiness, whilst others laboured whole years to ensure it; from which we may presume, that there were points, no longer discoverable in this parable, which cogently appealed to the peculiarities of Jewish opinions and practice.

That of the ten pieces of money, or the pounds, we omit to

notice; but that of the wicked husbandman is so fraught with allusions to Jewish customs, that we may not pass it by. The fence here introduced to define the limits of the vineyard, and preserve it from predatory animals and trespassers, compared with Isaiah v. 1, 2, brings before us the living habits of the oriental world, and recalls to our minds several of the most beautiful passages of the ancient Scriptures; and, as the author has observed, has a striking counterpart in Theocritus, Id. i. 45. Every vineyard had its Invòs, or torcular, and its únolyviov, or lacus, which received the must, which St. Mark states to have been dug beneath the press; and in each narrative of the Sun or parable, the circumstances are so distinctly marked, that if we had space for a critical excursus, we might illustrate every particular from the extant authorities of classical and oriental writers. In every vineyard was one or more towers, partly intended as a receptacle for the produce, partly as the station of watchmen, from whence at certain seasons of the year the security of the flocks and herds might be consulted. Such both Úzziah and Jotham erected. Towers of this description, however, were not confined to vineyards, but were built in cities, on plains, on hills and on mountains : of this nature were Hannibal's speculæ in Spain, and many recorded in the Old Testament.

In this parable, according to a common practice in Judæa, it is presumed, that the owner did not himself cultivate his vineyard, but entrusted its cultivation to others. Accordingly, the owner expected, by covenant, to receive the fruits, i. e. the rent of his vineyard, for so kúproc and fructus are continually used.

or

منبر Such was the * .נדר or משובה were frequently surrounded with thorn-hedges, called

*

i bio of the Arabs. The Jewish vineyards

-, , . The torcular or 1x5 or 17710, had two receptacles : in the upper one, or ma, the grapes were thrown, and generally trodden by five men, till the must flowed into the lower, or ap.

may not be amiss to quote the old traveller Belon on this subject :-“Quand nous fumes à demy chemin entres le Puiz et le Suez, nous trouvames des guerreurs dessus des eschaffaux faits en la maniere de ceux, qui gardent les raisins et vignes, desquelz y en avoit plusieurs endroicts par la campagne, et sur chacun eschaffaut y avoit deux ou trois hommes, afin que voyant de loing, s'il y avoit aucune embusche, ils peussent advertir les habitans de la ville à se donner de garde, qui est chose totalement conforme à ce que Pline racompte des regards ou eschauguerres de Carthaginois, nommez en Latin Specula, dont ilz se servoyent lorsque les Romains leur faisoyent la guerre. Car ilz en avoyent de telles par les plaines de leur pays, qui est uni, comme une mer et desert, comme est celuy de Suez,"-Obss. ii. 7.

+ The yewpyo are the renters, as we might prove by many examples. The kápos is here equivalent to the Latin fructus agri.

on

By his absence, his husbandmen or tenants are placed in a state of probation, and it is on this that the moral begins to turn. The nature of such contracts we may partly guess from Solomon receiving a thousand pieces of silver from his vineyard at BaalHamon, whilst its yeupyoù received two hundred. From these parabolic circumstances, in which the ill usage of the messengers sent to collect the rent and the murder of the owner's son are described, our Lord animadverts on its practical meaning—the ill usage and murder of some of the prophets--his own approaching crucifixion-and the punishment on these accounts impending over the nation.

That of the wedding-garment is not illustrated with novelty, nor with half the matter of which the subject is capable. But the preliminary remarks “the ten virgins” and “ the talents,” contain an immense body of learning, which compensates us for this defect, and which, to the investigator of history and expositor of prophecy, is a thesaurus of no ordinary value. The materials are so varied and elaborate, that they cannot be condensed without injury: we must therefore be contented with referring our readers to the work itself.

To understand the parable of the virgins, it is necessary to remark, that, as we see from Psalm xlv., it was usual among

the Jews for a procession of females to grace the nuptial ceremony; which custom Chrysostom has noticed respecting those in his day. In like manner the bridegroom had his “friends” or paranymphs, on whom certain duties devolved, after the junction of the bridal parties. But we must not suppose, that these virgins actually went at first to meet the bridegroom; for they went to the house of the bride to await his coming, according to the immemorial custom of the east, and afterwards conducted her and her attendants to the bridegroom's house, where alone the nuptial feast could be celebrated. Now, as night was the time of this ceremony, they would naturally be provided with lamps, and that such was the case we know from innumerable authorities. In the Zendavesta is an account of the ceremony among the Parsis, which closely answers to that under discussion :-there the time is midnight; and it is affirmed, that the lamps are lighted on the bridegroom's approach, whom those in the house proceed to meet; and that, when he has entered the house, the doors are closed and watchmen stationed at them. What then can be more apposite in a didactic point of view than the sequel ? That the five, whose lamps were trimmed, should be admitted; that the five, who had neglected to trim them, and unreasonably demanded the oil of the others, should be refused, is so graphic and so accordant with the common features of the ceremony, that we can scarcely conceive a better vehicle for the application of religious truth, than that, which our Lord here selected. The moral requires no explanation.

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