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of the present life to all the joys of heaven, but they pursued, with unceasing rancour the first preachers of the Gospel, and persecuted them even unto death.

"But, when the king heard thereof, he was wroth; and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed these murderers, and burnt up their city." This points out, in the plainest terms, the Roman armies under Vespasian and Titus, which, not many years after this was spoken, besieged Jerusalem, and destroyed the city, and slaugh tered an immense number of the inhabitants. This terrible devastation our Lord here predicts in general terms, as he does more particularly and minutely in the twenty-fourth chapter; and he here represents it as the judgment of God on this perverse and obstinate people for their rejection of the Christian religion, their savage treatment of the apostles and their associates, and their many other atrocious crimes. This punishment however is here, by anticipation, represented as having been inflicted during the marriage feast; L 3 though

though it did not in fact take place till afterwards, till after the Gospel had been for some time promulgated.

"Then said he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good; and the wed ding was furnished with guests."

It may be thought, perhaps, at the first view, that our Lord has here introduced a circumstance not very natural or probable. It may be imagined that at a magnificent royal entertainment, if any of the guests happened to fail in their attendance, a great king would never think of supplying their places by sending his servants into the highways to collect together all the travellers and strangers they could meet with, and make them sit down at the marriage feast. But strange as this may seem, there is something that approaches


proaches very near to it in the customs of the eastern nations, even in modern times. For a traveller of great credit and repu tation, Dr. Pococke, informs us, that an Arab prince will often dine in the street before his door, and call to all that pass, even to beggars, in the name of God, and they come and sit down to table; and when they have done, retire with the usual form of returning thanks *.

This adds one more proof to the many others I have already pointed out in the course of these Lectures, of the exact correspondence of the various facts and circumstances recorded in the Sacred Writings to the truth of history, and to ancient oriental customs and manners.

This part of the parable alludes to the calling in of the Gentiles or Heathens to the privileges of the Gospel, after they had been haughtily rejected by the Jews. This was first done by St. Peter, in the instance of Cornelius, and afterwards extended to the *Pococke, vol. i. pp. 57 and 182. See also Diod. Sic. 1. xiii. pp. 375, 376.

the Gentiles at large by him and the other apostles, conformably to what our Lord declares in another place: "Many Many shall come from the east and from the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of God; but the children of the kingdom (that is, the Jews) shall be shut out*." And in this gracious invitation, no exceptions, no distinctions, were to be made. The ser vants gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good; men of all characters and descriptions were to have the offers of mercy and salvation made to them, even the very worst of sinners; for it was these chiefly that our Saviour came to call to repentance; " for they that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick" and of these, great numbers did actually embrace the gracious offers made to them; for our Lord told the Jews, "the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you."

In this manner was the wedding furnished


* Matt. viii. 11. Ib, ix. 12. Ib. xxi. 31.

with guests." And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment; and he said unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having a wedding garment? and he was speechless. 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: for many are called, but few are chosen.”

In order to understand this part of the parable, it must be observed, that among the ancients, especially in the East, every, one that came to a marriage feast was expected to appear in a handsome and elegant dress, which was called the WEDDING, GARMENT. This was frequently a white robe; and where the guest was a stranger, or was not able to provide such a robe, it was usual for the master of the feast to furnish him with one; and if he who gave the entertainment was of high rank and great opulence, he sometimes provided marriage robes for the whole assembly,


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