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shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.

Very graphic is the picture in the parable. We can almost see the scene described. Almost we can hear Him ask in awful tones the unanswerable question. This wedding guest is the man who fancies he has no need of a righteousness other than his own, no need of the righteousness of Christ. He is a self-righteous person. Or he is a careless person and unconcerned, who makes no account of the white robe of his Baptism. “For," says the Apostle, "as many of

· , “ you as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ.” But he has rather put Him off, and presumes to come into that awful presence with all the stains of sin, as if he had no need of that which alone can cover them, This is the state in which too many are content to live, and in which some will even dare to die. Those do not always fear most who have most reason to fear. But the King marks him in a moment. He sees him, though the servants passed him. Nothing can escape his eye. Not even one in a crowd. Not even this Laodicean who thinks he has need of nothing, and knows not that he is naked. When the guests are seated, the King comes; comes in to see the guests; comes to see if they have complied with his commands; if they have cared to put on what he has been at the pains to provide. At once he sees this careless one. He calls him Friend. So He said to the traitor Judas when that faithless one drew near to betray Him with a kiss. Friend! This is what he ought to have been, what he professed to be. Friend! There is an awful irony in it, for he was in truth a foe. “Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I command

And if we will not do what Christ commands, we cannot be His friends. And if not His friends, then His foes; for " he that is not with me is against me." “How," he asks, “camest thou in hither?” By what indulgence of the servants ? By what daring of thine own ?? camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment ?"

you."

“ How

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| Rev. iii. 17, 18.

Bengel. The servants of y. 10 VOL. II.

are different from the servants of v. 13, See the original words. The former

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For he might have had it. There it was.

It had been provided for him with the rest. It was offered to him. It was rejected by him. So he was rejected. And he, the careless or self-righteous one, what did he say? He said nothing. He had nothing to say. What indeed could he say? He was convicted by his own conscience. For however a man may now presume to dispute the justice of the Divine judgment, his at length awakened conscience shall own it just. A criminal before conviction sometimes thinks to brazen it out; but when confronted with his accuser, brought face to face with the judge, his countenance falls. He has nothing to say why sentence should not be pronounced against him. And so there follows the casting out of this careless one; banished from the light and joy within ; driven into the deserved darkness and disappointment without; which shadows forth that banishment “from the presence of the Lord and the glory of his power” which is the portion of the disobedient. From the former portion of this parable we may learn that when God bids us to His banquet of Bread and Wine, it is at our peril if we make light of it. From this which follows we see that we must come in a proper spirit. It must not be a careless spirit. It must not be a selfrighteous spirit. If, conscious of our own unworthiness, we desire to be clothed wlth the righteousness of Christ, we may come and welcome. Such He not only calls, but commands to come. They shall not be sent empty away.

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had to go out and bring in all “both here appear as lictors—that name, from
bad and good.” It was no part of ligare, having allusion to this very
their duty to undertake what was function of binding the hands and
reserved for the latter, and for which feet of condemned criminals."-Abp.
they had neither capacity nor com- Trench.
mission. These are the. Angels of a See the remarkable prediction in
former parable. St. Matt. xiii. 41, 49. Zeph. i. 7, 8, which seems to antici-
This is one of the finer shades. “They pate this parable.

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CCCCXLVI.

TRIBUTE TO WHOM TRIBUTE IS DUE.

St. Matthew xxii. 15-17.

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Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. 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. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Cæsar, or not?

The Herodians were adherents of Herod, who himself was at Jerusalem at that time. Herod held his authority directly from Cæsar, the Roman emperor. Though professing to be a Jew, he behaved very much like a pagan. That party among the people which favoured him was opposed to, and was opposed by, the Pharisees, who regarded this subjection to Roman rule with abhorrence. The two parties in fact cordially hated one another, and yet we find them here combining and conspiring together against a common object of aversion. So even now we see political parties, hostile to one another, rival religious sects, yet uniting against Christ and His Church. The plot here seems to have been laid by the Pharisees. They it appears were the prime movers in this conspiracy. The heads of the faction do not appear themselves, but send their scholars; associating themselves on this occasion with the Herodians to take off suspicion; as though there had been a friendly debate, which they had agreed to refer to Him as arbiter. Their conduct and motive are thus described by another of the Evangelists, “They watched Him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of His words, that so they might deliver Him to the power and authority of the

Thus they agreed together to tempt the i St. Luke xxiii, 7.

2 St. Luke xx. 20.

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governor.”2

Spirit of the Lord. They think to throw Him further off His guard by flattery. Possibly this tribute was then due and about to be collected,' which would make their approach still more plausible. Observe now the dilemma, the double snare, these hypocrites prepared for the Lord. If He had bade them directly, in so many words, without demur to pay the tribute,—the Pharisees would have represented Him as a traitor to His nation; and it is easy to see how such a charge might have prevailed against Him with the people. If, on the other hand, He had bidden them resist this exaction and refuse to pay the tribute,--the Herodians would speedily have accused Him as a seditious person, as one who was stirring up the people to rebellion against the supreme authority. Thus He must have come into collision with the Jews or with the Romans.? One or other of these difficulties He could not, they thought, escape.

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CCCCXLVII.

THE SAME SUBJECT-continued.

St. Matthew xxii, 18-22.

But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites ? Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Cæsar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar's; and unto God the things that are i See St. Mark xii. 15.

There were two special charges, one ? Either party wished Him to give

for either court. Wben they brought such an answer as would seem to Him before the Sanhedrim, they acfavour the other; for then they would cused Him of blasphemy. When they be in a position to accuse Him. led Him from thence to Pilate, the

3 Their conduct here is precisely same people accused Him of treason, analogous to what it was a few days In the former case the charge was relater, when they finally rose up against bellion against the Jewish religion ; Him, and brought Him first before in the latter, forbidding to give tribute the Council of their own nation, and to Cæsar : cach being an equal falsethen before the Roman Governor. hood.

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money current

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God's. When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.

He makes their own tongue to fall upon themselves. But first He unmasked their hypocrisy. He shows them that He sees through them. It is in vain for them to think of imposing upon Him. He discovers the adder's poison that was under their lips. Under pretence of seeking instruction for themselves, they had spread a net for Him. Then He bids them produce the common coin of the country required for the purpose,' and mark whose stamp it bears. The tribute concerning which they had craftily questioned Him was a poll-tax which had been levied by the Roman government ever since Judæa had become a province of Rome. The Roman government required to be paid in its own coin. That was the

among

the Jews at that time. It bore the image of the Roman emperor, and the legend or inscription round it contained his name; “ the mark of his sovereignty, and their subjection.”? Such a coin the Lord bids them now produce, and they cannot but acknowledge that it bears the stamp of Cæsar. Now it was a received saying among the Rulers of the Jews, “Where any King's money is current, there that King is held for lord.” 3 Thus by the teaching of their own doctors He proves to them the lawfulness of paying tribute. If this, as you admit, is Cæsar’s money, then need you make no scruple to return it to him. So He answered their crafty question, or rather made them answer it for themselves. And in so doing, He taught either party, and all generally in all ages, a wholesome lesson. He allowed neither party a triumph over the other. He also herein inculcates on all the duty of submission to established governments and lawful authority; and that for the Lord's sake. A godly man cannot but be a good subject. He cannot indeed be a godly man if he is

I The denarius, a Roman coin, about fixing a preposition ... Tribute is 8}d. in value.

not a gift, but a due . . . Render 2 Dr. Mill, quoted in A Plain Com. therefore tribute of your coin to Cæsar, mentary.

and tribute of yourselves to ... God.” 3 Maimonides, cited by Lightfoot. -Bp. Wordsworth.

• They had talked of giving tri- 5 Rom. xiii. 1-7. bute ... He corrects them by pre

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