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ment, when the Son of Man will come in the clouds of heaven, and all mankind shall be called upon to give an account of themselves in the general assembly of men and of angels.
But, besides his object of instructing his hearers, our Saviour had other reasons which induced him to speak to the people in parables. He came to a prejudiced and biassed race of men, wrapt up in the fancied consequence of their own nation, and full of the persuasion that they were entitled, exclusively, to all the benefits which were to arise from the coming of the promised Messiah. It was our Lord's object to remove these selfish prepossessions, but at the same time, he was desirous of doing so in the most courteous and least offensive manner possible. He therefore made use of the parable, in the same way as Nathan had done in the case of David, for the purpose of conveying unwelcome truths in the mildest way. We find among his parables more than one in which it is intimated that the Gentiles are, in common with the Jews, to partake of the blessings of Messiah's kingdom. We may refer to the parables of “the marriage feast,” of “the labourers in the vineyard,” and particularly to that of “the prodigal son 3.” In this latter, by the father, is meant the great Creator and Governor of the universe; the elder brother represents the Jewish nation, and the younger, the Gentiles, who had forsaken the worship of God. And as the elder son was offended with his father for receiving his repentant son, with joy, into his house, so did Jesus foresee that the Jews would be offended when they found that the Gentiles were to be admitted, equally with them, into the kingdom of the promised Messiah. Our Saviour also, in the same way, intimated to the Jews a still more unwelcome truth ; for by the parable of "the good Samaritan 1,” he shewed, that even they, whom they looked on as apostates, and considered as their natural enemies, the Samaritans themselves were to be received into the same flock, and become “one fold under one shepherd ";" and he inculcates the Christian doctrine, that he who is in need and necessity, of whatever sect, religion, or nation he may be, becomes thereby our neighbour, and is entitled to all the offices and attentions of friendship.
Our blessed Lord also, who, wherever occasion served, shewed the most capacious intellect, and truly his own recommendation, “ of the wisdom of the serpent joined to the innocence of the dove?, made use of the parable for another important purpose. By means of it he reproved the Pharisees, and his other enemies, for their pride, hypocrisy, and malice, and intimated his knowledge of their designs on his person, at the same time that his language was so figurative that it was not in their power to take hold of his words, or to turn his expressions to their purpose of destroying him. For this end he related the story of “ the husbandmen in the vineyard "," who first put to death the servants, and lastly the son of their lord, when he sent them to demand his possessions, which they unjustly detained. This parable is peculiarly applicable, nor is it possible for us to conceive a more just comparison than that, which the least attention on our part will enable us to draw, between the husbandmen, as our Saviour has represented them, and the turbulent and unjust Jews.
1 John X. 16.
2 Matt. x. 16.
Lastly, our Saviour made use of the parable as a vehicle for prophecy; for by this means he was enabled, in a figurative way, to foretell the gradual progress and future greatness of his religion. kingdom of heaven," says he, “is like a grain of mustard seed, which, small as it is, becomes in time a tree of great size?;" and again," the kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till
1 Matt. xxi. 33.
2 Matt. xiii. 31, 32, 33.
the whole was leavened.” To the truth and completion of these prophecies we are all witnesses. In human eyes, what could be more humble than the origin of the Christian religion? The Founder of it, as it was supposed, lowly born, and meanly brought up, and his companions, a few illiterate fishermen of Galilee; and these were to contend with the pride and prejudices of the Jews, the power and jealousy of the Romans, and the idolatry and infatuation of the Gentiles.' And yet how wonderfully did they succeed! Supported by the inscrutable wisdom of Divine Providence, in spite of human opposition, they persevered in the midst of superstition, ignorance, and fanaticism, gathering fresh strength from every persecution, and rising with new vigour from every attempt to overthrow them.
Such were the parables of our blessed Lord, all of them spoken from a benevolence which wished for the good of man ; all of them containing admonitions tending to the best of purposes, either of leading us to virtue, dissuading us from