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lities to us : diffuses these qualities from us. He who has received pardon, bestows pardon ; he who has in reality received it, not who has not merely heard it, but who has submitted to its power. The mirror that receives the light reflects that light. The vessel that receives the water flowing from the fountain, pours out the overflowing of that water. And the soul that receives the light of God's truth, will reflect the light of that truth around. He that receives the power of God's spirit will diffuse the gracious influences of that spirit upon those around, so that the pardoned soul is a pardoning soul; and the unpardoning soul is one that has not received real pardon. That manner in which we act to those around us is proof of the manner in which we have submitted to the corresponding relationship of God towards us. It is this that Christ meant, not that there is any merit in our pardoning to procure pardon from God. He that has rested upon God's pardoning love will exercise man's pardoning love to those around; and he who does not exercise that pardoning love, has not himself received, that is, not believed in the pardoning love of God to him.
Let us think what it is we expect from God with respect to our own pardon. Let us think what God does towards us with respect to that pardon. Let us think of the fulness and freeness of his offered mercy; of the riches of his bestowed gifts to the unfaithful and the heathen ; and then pray that we may have grace to go and do likewise, and that which he is towards us we may be in our measure to others, and that we being ourselves forgiven, much we may readily more than willingly forgive much, to the praise and glory of God. Oh, brethren, are there any here who have not sub
mitted to, who do not believe in, that real, true, full, final pardon, through God in Christ? Remember his own words, I live saith the Lord I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth but rather that the wicked should return and repent, wherefore turn yourselves and live ye.
Let it be our watchfulness to see that our conduct towards those around, is the result, as it may be the image, of our submission to the corresponding relationship of God ; that we may be seen and known of all men as being ourselves pardoned and cleansed spirits, because we are seen and known of all men as forgiving and forbearing towards all those around us.
THE MYSTERIES OF THE KING])OM.
LABOURER IN THE VINEYARD.
Sr. MATTHEW, XX., V. 1.- · For the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which weut out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard."
Many a man was engaged in building Noah's Ark who never entered into that ark, but was drowned. Many a Prophet from Balaam to Judas spoke with evangelical truth of the person and works of Christ, who spoke by the power of the Spirit, and yet never submitted his heart to the grace of that Spirit, and so was damned. Many a preacher of the Gospel from Judas to the present hour has been a heaven-sent messenger and Apostle of Christ, has proclaimed that Gospel by divine commission to others, and yet never himself submitted to the power of that Holy Gospel. And this is one of the great truths intended by our blessed Saviour to be taught to us in this parable: an awful truth in many aspects, with which many have greatly puzzled themselves; some denying th men can be ministers of Christ who are not themselves converted men : some thinking that men must necessarily be converted men because they are doing
the work of Christ's vineyard in the world. But both of these classes are rebuked by the parable which our blessed Saviour gives us here of the labourer in the vineyard. Some have applied it to the Jews and the Gentiles; as if our Lord meant to show that the Gentile that was called but at the eleventh hour was accepted, while the Jew who had been previously called was rejected. But the parable in no degree suits that interpretation ; for no fault is found with the work of the men who were engaged in that vineyard. The steward assembles them all, and gives them all their wages, and so tacitly approves of the work of them all. Now that would not apply to the Jew as being rejected, and the Gentile as being received; neither would it apply to the various times at which they were here called ; for if it were merely Jew and Gentile, it would mention the calling of some labourers and the rejection of their work; and then the calling of others, and the acceptance of theirs. Others apply the parable to the conversion of the soul, and the eleventh hour has passed almost into a proverb, intimating that he who trusts to God even at the last hour of his life with repentance and faith will be saved. It is indeed a blessed truth that he who turns even his dying eyes with repentance and faith to that Saviour who hung upon the cross, will be received. But this is not the truth that is taught here, for the circumstances of the parable do not suit this application. If this application be true, it would follow that the man who was converted to God in the last hour of his life would be in a holier and better state than the man who early in life entered by conversion of heart into the spiritual service of the Saviour; and that a man although spending his whole life as a converted man, might have lived and learned in vain, and to him might be applicable the dark side of that declaration, “Many be called but few chosen.” The application therefore of the parable to conversion, or to the Jew and Gentile is a false application. We have the real application of it in our Saviour's own words, that it is intended to set before us this fearful truth: that a person may be employed by Christ himself in his vineyard in this world, and may labour in that vineyard without any fault being found with his work, and yet have his heart entirely unfit for the heavenly dwelling place, and be at last amongst those who are rejected instead of received.
The circumstance under which the parable was delivered gives a two-fold aspect to the lesson intended to be taught us by our Saviour ; he had been speaking of the impossibility of rich men entering into the Kingdom of Heaven; that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye
of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God. Peter naturally concluded from this that the Apostles at least were very safe from that danger; well, we have left all and followed thee; if it be so very dangerous to be rich, we are not in that danger, for we are become poor for thy sake; well, we have left all and followed thee, what shall we have therefore ? There were twelve men who had thus literally left all to follow Jesus; they had left house and home, and trade, and walked about the world with him. They were for his sake dependant upon the alms of others; they for his sake had given up the comforts of a settled dwelling place; they had literally followed, that is, they had walked about with Jesus, keeping company with him in his poverty and in his suffering. Amongst these twelve was that one who followed him with an unconvert