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ing Jews. (See Deut. xxxii. 5, 20.) It has not passed away, but still exists. Though scattered all over the world, God knows where to find them when they are wanted.
Verses 36-41. These verses shew that though there will be signs for the eyes of the remnant, there will be none to the poor world. They will go on with their usual avocations, careless of the signs of the times-eating, drinking, marrying, &c. as in the days of Noah- until destruction overtakes them.
The judgment will be discriminating. Two will be in the field: the one will be taken off by judgment, and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left.
Verses 42-44. The hearers were to be on the watch, for they knew not when their Lord would return. They were not to be like the unwatchful who, unconscious of the approach of the thief, had their houses broken into. They were to be watchful and ready.
Verses 45-51, detail the moral condition of all while their Lord is away. Whatever He has given us to do, we are to be faithful and wise servants, to be doing it until He shall come. Blessed shall such a servant be, he shall be set over His master's goods when He is in power. But if any say in their heart, without making a creed of it, that the Lord delayeth His coming, and begin to lord it over his fellow-servants, or to eat and drink with the drunken, the coming of the Lord shall take such a one by surprise, and cut him in sunder and send him to perdition.
The persons here are taken up on their profession. They profess to be servants of God, and will be
Idealt with as such. It is a servant" who does this, and who calls Christ "my Lord." He must be dealt with as such.
Verses 1-13. This is the well-known parable of the Ten Virgins. The very first word "then" creates a difficulty as to when it refers. Its moral aspect agrees well with the present time. A cry has gone forth respecting the coming of the Lord; but there appears to be a slumbering again among Christians generally. We cannot help thinking that there will yet be a louder call, "Behold the Bridegroom cometh;" from which awaking they will not again sleep before our Lord comes.
All professed to go forth to meet the Bridegroom, but while He tarried all fell asleep. The unwise had their lamps of profession, but not the oil-life by the Holy Spirit-which cannot be separated from Christ Himself. The parable represents that while these went to get the oil, the Bridegroom arrived, which seems to imply that the day of grace was past for such. Verse 8 should read
going out" as in the margin.
Verses 14-30. This is the parable of the Talents. It is a question of servants, and gifts entrusted to them; some had more, and some less, "to every man according to his several ability." After a long while the master of those servants returns. His long stay had tested their continuance in well doing. Some had done well, and are rewarded. But one had hid his talent, and had not used it for his master, rendering as an excuse that his master was too hard. But notice that he addressed Him as Lord; he owned His lordship, and
must be dealt with accordingly. He is consigned to outer darkness.
Verses 1 to 13 give state of soul: verses 14-30 give service.
Verses 31-46. The verses take up the Gentiles and again refer to the Son of man's coming to the earth. Verse 32 says "all nations." It is a judgment of the living, in contrast to the judgment of the dead in Revelation xx. Here their general sins are not named. All hangs upon how they had treated the representatives of Christ, whom He calls "my brethren"-the Jewish remnant by-andby, or a part of them-inasmuch as they had done good to these, they had done it to Christ.
Some are declared to be blessed, and are called to inherit the kingdom. Those on the left are, for the neglect of those that were Christ's, consigned to everlasting punishment.
Notice that the kingdom of heaven had been prepared for the righteous; but the everlasting fire had not been prepared for man, but for the devil and his angels, though man, alas! has to share it. It is also worthy of note that the word for "everlasting" in verses 41 and 46 is precisely the same as "eternal," when applied to life in verse 46. There is no eternal life for the righteous if there is not eternal punishment for the wicked.
Comparing the judgment of the living in this chapter, with the judgment of the dead in Revelation-different in almost every particular-together with the declaration that the Christian shall not come into judgment (John v. 24), though he shall be manifested before the judgment-seat of Christ (2 Cor. v. 10)-must convince every one, one would think, that the doctrine of a general judgment is not to be found in scripture.
STUDY OF THE WORDS
THE word commonly translated "sin," in the New Testament, is amartia from amartano, which signifies, "to miss the mark"-" to deviate." Not necessarily deviation from the law, because we read of sinning without the law, as well as sinning in the law (Rom. ii. 12), and " until the law, sin was in the world" (Rom. v. 13); and we read that death reigned from Adam to Moses, over those who had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, for he had a positive command.
It is important to see that "sin" is not necessarily an offence against the law, because of the definition of sin in 1 John iii. 4. It should be "sin is lawlessness," and not "sin is the transgression of the law;" for, as we have seen, scripture speaks of those that sin without law.
In connection with this is an important passage in Romans ii. 14, 15, which speaks of those not having the law, being "a law unto themselves, which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another." This has often been taken to mean that the heathen have the law written in their hearts, and sin is the transgression of the law-either written law, or the law in the heart.
But the passage does not say that the law is written in the hearts of the heathen: it says the work of the law is written in their hearts. And that this is not the same thing is clear. The apostle declared
that " as many as have sinned without law shall' perish without law;" which has no meaning if there be no such thing as a man sinning "without law." There were, and are, some under the law, and some without law. And if the latter do, by nature, the things contained in the law (such as giving honour to parents), they are thus far a law unto themselves, and the work of the law is written in their hearts; but this is a different thing from having a code of laws as given by Moses.
Sin, then, is lawlessness-a running wild, and doing my own will, irrespective of God and His
This will explain another word-transgression"where no law is, there is no transgression;" but you could not say, "where no law is, there is no sin," for, as we have seen, there is sinning without law; but transgression is breaking a definite law. It may be illustrated thus: Suppose I go out in the morning, leaving my son at home. In my absence he leaves the house, and associates with bad companions. This would be lawlessness-sin. He knew it would be displeasing me. But sup
pose, on my leaving home, I told my son not to leave the house until I returned, then his going out would be transgression, and not simply sin. Transgression is from parabasis, "a passing over or aside" some definite boundary.
The law will illustrate another word-offence"The law entered that the offence might abound." (Romans v. 20.) This is paraptoma, properly, a fall," but used in the New Testament in a moral sense-a fall from rectitude. The same word is translated "fall" in Romans xi. 11, 12, where it refers to the falling of the Jewish nation. It is translated "fault" in Galatians vi. 1, and James