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content to be found weak, and he is content to grow in knowledge, and to wait, as other prophets, the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. Hence he says,
" The Son can do nothing but what he seeth the Father do.” So can he make known nothing, but as the Father maketh it known: and hence a subsequent revelation is entitled “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass.”
That this unrevealed secret, for power to manifest which the Son himself was waiting, did not relate to the destruction of Jerusalem, or to any thing else but to the day when the Son of Man shall be revealed in his glory, is plain from the conversation which took place between our Lord and his disciples after his resurrection. * “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times and the seasons, which the Father has put in his own power.” Observe, it is not the destruction of Jerusalem; it is not the preaching of the Gospel among the heathen; it is the restoring again the kingdom to Israel, that is the object uppermost in the thoughts of the disciples! This is ever represented in prophecy as a consequence of Messiah’s coming. This, therefore, the greatest of all events, is that, “ the times and seasons of which the Father hath put in his own power.”
Our Lord proceeds, on the occasion before us, in his reply to the four disciples on the Mount of Olives, to hold the same language which he had previously held, when
Acts, i. 6.
he was demanded of the Pharisees when the kingdom of God should come, Matt. xxiv. 37:
“ But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days that were before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark; and knew not until the flood came and took them all away: so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. Then shall two be in the field, the one shall be taken and the other left : two women shall be grinding at the mill, the one taken and the other left."
An exhortation also to watchfulness, very similar to what had been given before, immediately follows, and none can doubt that it refers not to the sudden affliction that should overwhelm Jerusalem, but to the great day of the Lord :
Matt. xxiv. 42. “ Watch, therefore, for you know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore, be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh.”— Mark, xiii. 33. “ Take ye heed, watch and pray, for ye know not when the time is. For the Son of Man is as a man taking a long journey, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye, therefore, for ye know not when the Master of the house cometn, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock-crowing, or in the morning; lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping: and what I say unto you I say unto all, watch."
The words in St. Luke are equally emphatic :
Chap. xxi. 34. “ And take heed to yourselves, Jest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunken
ness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you
For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye, therefore, and pray always, that ye may be counted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man."
It appears, too, from St. Matthew's report, that the parable instructing the steward to watch, was repeated by our Lord on this occasion :
Chap. xxiv. 45. “ Who, then, is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord has made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his Lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing. Verily, I say unto you, that he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But if that evil servant shall say in his heart, my Lord delayeth his coming, and shall begin to smite his fellow-servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken, the Lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
In the former conversation, it was “ appoint him his portion with the unbelievers” — adjudge him to be an unbeliever. “ A steward of the mysteries of God," a
minister of the word,” who is an unbeliever, while he ministers in his office, cannot but be a hypocrite in the discharge of all his sacred functions !
The twenty-fifth chapter of St. Matthew, containing the parables of the ten virgins, of the talents, and of the shepherd dividing his sheep from his goats, comes next to be considered.
This chapter, be it remembered, is a continuation of the same discourse of our Lord which he delivered sitting on the Mount of Olives, to the four disciples who had
come unto him privately to demand what would be the signs of his coming and of the end of the world, that is, the end of the present order and dispensation of grace and providence, which, it was known, was one day to give place to the times of the Messiah, when a new order of things would take place, which, in the language of the Jews, and of the Scriptures themselves, was called “ the world to come."
The meaning of these three parables has been much misconceived for want of attending to this circumstance
- that they are parts of the prophecy respecting the signs of Christ's coming and of the end of the world.
Matt. xxv. 1. “ Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom."
At the time referred to in the prophecy — “ in the day when the Son of Man is revealed”- the coming of his kingdom, in regard to his waiting family upon earth, may be thus compared. It may be compared to a party of the relations of a new married couple, who are gone forth in the evening with their lamps, to meet the bridegroom bringing home his bride in the accustomed manner. To the careless world — to the apostates, who “ will not
have this man to reign over them” - the kingdom of God may be likened to the coming of a thief in the night; but these virgins represent the professed people of God, the household of waiting servants. They are apprized that their Lord is coming; they know not the hour, but they have a sufficient intimation to cause them to prepare for the occasion.
Of these virgins, however, that represent the professing church, and affect to be waiting for their Lord, nay, trim their lamps and go out to meet him, prepared,
as it should seem, to receive him with due congratulations, as about to appear to their joy and salvation; of these ten virgins, a moiety is inconsiderate, and know not what they mean.
“ And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.”
The wisdom or the folly was seen in this :
They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them; but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps."
The lamp clearly indicates a disposition to honour the bridegroom at his coming, as one of his friends, as one “ that loves his appearing.” This, in the circumstances supposed, when the church had received intimation that the coming of the Lord was near at hand, would be the profession of all. Every professor, at the time referred to, will take his lamp; but not all upon a real, and true, and fixed principle of faith in the approaching Saviour. This appears illustrated in the sequel of the parable :
“ And while the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.”
The representation is, he does not come quite so soon as expected; the whole party had been roused, and went forth animated with the expectation of soon seeing the bridegroom : but there occurs a delay, which tries their patience. The expectation is not kept up by repeated renewals of the indication of his approach ; 80 that, as might happen through the infirmity of nature in servants waiting for their master, “ all slumbered and slept.” This, there is little doubt, is intended for a true historic picture of the church in the last days. The