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all be thereby disposed to receive them, when the goods of this world fail, into the eternal habitations.
But the interpretation which makes the rich man to be Mammon, The rich man gives a special point and force to several noticeable stood as Mam remarks of Jesus, maintains a self-consistency within
itself, and also enforces the same great central thought as truly as the other exposition. It contemplates the disciples as about to be put out of the stewardship of Mammon, and admonishes them to consider how the world loves its own, and knows how to calculate and plan wisely (ppovípws) for personal and selfish ends. Such shrewdness as that displayed by the unjust steward calls forth the applause of even Mammon himself, who is defrauded by the act. But, Jesus says, “ Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.” Ye must, in the nature of things, be unfaithful to the one or the other. If ye are true and faithful to the unrighteous lord Mammon, ye cannot be sons of the light and friends of God. If, on the other hand, ye are unfaithful to Mammon, he and all his adherents will accuse you, and ye will be put out of his service. What will ye do? If ye would secure a place in the kingdom of God, if ye would make friends now, while the goods of unrighteous Mammon are at your control-friends to receive and welcome you to the eternal dwellings of light-ye must imitate the prudent foresight of the unjust steward, and be unfaithful to Mammon in order to be faithful servants of God.' The scope and purport of the parable, as evidenced by the com
ments of Jesus (in verses 9–13), is thus set forth by
Geikie: “By becoming my disciples you have identified yourselves with the interest of another master than Mammon, the god of this world—whom you have hitherto served—and have before you another course and aim in life. You will be represented to your former master as no longer faithful to him, for my service is so utterly opposed to that of Mammon, that, if faithful to me, you cannot be faithful to him, and he will, in consequence, assuredly take your stewardship of this world's goods away from youthat is, sink you in poverty, as I have often said. I counsel you, therefore, so to use the goods of Mammon—the wordly means still at your command—that by a truly worthy distribution of them to
1 Meyer remarks: “This circumstance, that Jesus sets before his disciples the prudence of a dishonest proceeding as an example, would not have been the occasion of such unspeakable misrepresentations and such unrighteous judgments if the princi ple, Ye cannot serve God and Mammon, (verse 13), had been kept in view, and it had been considered accordingly that even the disciples, in fact, by beneficent application of their property, must have acted unfaithfully toward Mammon in order to be faith ful toward their contrasted master, toward God.”—Commentary, in loco.
THE UNJUST STEWARD.
your needy brethren-and my disciples are mostly poor-you may make friends for yourselves, who, if they die before you, will welcome you to everlasting habitations in heaven, when you pass thither, at death. Fit yourselves, by labours of love and deeds of true charity, as my followers, to become fellow citizens of the heavenly mansions with those whose wants you have relieved while they were still in life. If
be faithful thus, in the use of your possessions on earth, you will be deemed worthy by God to be entrusted with infinitely greater riches hereafter. . . . Be assured that if you do not use your earthly riches faithfully for God, by dispensing them as I have told you, you will never enter my heavenly kingdom at all. You will have shown that you are servants of Mammon, and not the servants of God; for it is impossible for any man to serve two masters.'
There is a deep inner connexion between the parable of the unjust steward and that of the rich man and Lazarus, narrated in the same chapter (Luke xvi, 19-31). A wise faithfulness toward God in the use of the mammon of unrighteousness will make friends to receive us into eternal mansions. But he who allows himself, like the rich man, to become the pampered, luxury-loving man of the world—so true and faithful to the interests of Mammon that he himself becomes an impersonation and representative of the god of riches—will in the world to come lift
eyes in torments, and learn there, too late, how he might have made the angels and Abraham and Lazarus friends to receive him to the banquets of the paradise of God.
It is interesting and profitable to study the relation of the parables to each other, where there is a manifest logical connexion. This we noticed in the seven parables recorded in Matt. xiii. It is more conspicuous in Luke xv, where the joy over the recovery of that which was lost is enhanced by the climax: (1) a lost sheep, and one of a hundred; (2) a lost drachma, and one out of ten; (3) a lost child, and one out of two. The parables of the ten virgins and the talents in Matt. xxv, enjoin, (1) the duty of watching for the coming of the Lord, and (2) the duty of working for him in his absence. But we have not space to trace the details. The principles and methods of interpreting parables, as illustrated in the foregoing pages, will be found sufficient guides to the interpretation of all the scriptural parables.
* Geikie, Life of Christ, chap. liii.
INTERPRETATION OF ALLEGORIES.
An allegory is usually defined as an extended metaphor. It bears
the same relation to the parable which the metaphor does Allegory to be distinguished to the simile. In a parable there is either some formal
comparison introduced, as “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed,” or else the imagery is so presented as to be kept distinct from the thing signified, and to require an explanation outside of itself, as in the case of the parable of the sower (Matt. xiii, 3, ff.). The allegory contains its interpretation within itself, and the thing signified is identified with the image; as “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman (John xv, 1); “Ye are the salt of the earth” (Matt. v, 13). The allegory is a figurative use and application of some supposable fact or history, whereas the parable is itself such a supposable fact or history. The parable uses words in their literal sense, and its narrative never transgresses the limits of what might have been actual fact. The allegory is continually using words in a metaphorical sense, and its narrative, however supposable in itself, is manifestly fictitious. Hence the meaning of the name, from the Greek anos, other, and åyopew, to speak, to proclaim; that is, to say another thing from that which is meant, or, so to speak, that another sense is expressed than that which the words convey. It is a discourse in which the main subject is represented by some other subject to which it has a resemblance." Some have objected to calling an allegory a continued metaphor.'
Who shall say, they ask, where the one ends and the continued Met- other begins? But the very definition should answer aphor.
this question. When the metaphor is confined to a single word or sentence it is improper to call it an allegory; just as it is improper to call a proverb a parable, although many a proverb is a condensed parable, and is sometimes loosely called so in the Scriptures (Matt. xv, 14, 15). But when it is extended into a
Allegory is a
1 “The allegory," says Cremer, “is a mode of exposition which does not, like the parable, hide and clothe the sense in order to give a clear idea of it; on the contrary, it clothes the sense in order to hide it.”—Biblico-Theol. Lex. N. Test., p. 96.
2 See Davidson's Hermeneutics, p. 306, and Horne's Introduction, vol. ii, p. 338.
narrative, and its imagery is drawn out in many details and analogies, yet so as to accord with the one leading figure, it would be improper to call it a metaphor. It is also affirmed by Davidson that in a metaphor there is only one meaning, while the allegory has two meanings, a literal and a figurative.' It will be seen, however, on careful examination, that this statement is misleading. Except in the case of the mystic allegory of Gal. iv, 21–31, it will be found that the allegory, like the metaphor, has but one meaning. Take for example the following from Psalm lxxx, 8–15:
8 A vine from Egypt thou hast torn away;
Thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it; 9 Thou didst clear away before it,
And it rooted its roots,
And it filled the land.
And its branches are cedars of God.
And unto the river its tender shoots.
And have plucked it all that pass over the road ?
And creatures of the field are feeding on it. 14 O God of hosts, return now,
Look from heaven, and behold,
And visit this vine;
upon the son thou madest strong for thyself.
Surely no one would understand this allegory in a literal sense. No one supposes for a moment that God literally took a vine out of Egypt, or that it had an actual growth elsewhere as here described. The language throughout is metaphorical, but being thus continued under one leading figure of a vine, the whole passage becomes an allegory. The casting out of the heathen (verse 8) is a momentary departure from the figure, but it serves as a clue to the meaning of all the rest, and after verse 15 the writer leaves the figure entirely, but makes it clear that he identifies himself and Israel with the
Hermeneutics, p. 306. This writer also says: “The metaphor always asserts or imagines that one object is another. Thus, "Judab is a lion's whelp' (Gen. xlix, 9); 'I am the vine' (John xv, 1). On the contrary, allegory never affirms that one thing is another, which is in truth an absurdity.” But the very passage he quotes from John xv, 1, as a metaphor, is also part of an allegory, which is continued through six verses, showing that allegory as well as metaphor may affirm that one thing is another. The literal meaning of the word allegory, as shown above, is the affirming one thing for another.
vine. The same imagery is given in the form of a parable in Isa. V, 1-6, and the distinction between the two is seen in this, that the meaning of the parable is given separately at the close (verse 7), but the meaning of the allegory is implied in the metaphorical use of its words.
Having carefully distinguished between the parable and the alle. gory, and shown that the allegory is essentially an extended metaphor, we need no separate and special rules for the interpretation
of the allegorical portions of the Scriptures. The same neutical prin- general principles that apply to the interpretation of Allegory as to metaphors and parables will apply to allegories. The
great error to be guarded against is the effort to find minute analogies and hidden meanings in all the details of the imagery. Hence, as in the case of parables, we should first determine the main thought intended by the figure, and then interpret the minor points with constant reference to it. The context, the occasion, the circumstances, the application, and often the accompanying explanation, are, in each case, such as to leave little doubt of the import of any of the allegories of the Bible. The allegory of old age, in Eccles. xii, 3–7, under the figure of a
house about to fall in ruins, has been variously interAllegory of old age in Eccles. preted. Some of the fathers (Gregory Thaumaturgus,
Cyril of Jerusalem) understood the whole passage as referring to the day of judgment as connected with the end of the world. Accordingly, “the day” of verse 3 would be “the great and terrible day of the Lord” (Joel ii, 31 ; comp. Matt. xxiv, 29). Other expositors (Umbreit, Elster, Ginsburg) regard the passage as describing the approach of death under the figure of a fearful tempest which strikes the inmates of a noble mansion with consterna. tion and terror. Wright explains the imagery of verses 1-5 as derived from the closing days of a Palestinean winter, which occur at the end of February, and are always dangerous and quite often fatal to the old and infirm. They betake them to their sick chambers, feel all sorts of terrors, and when the almond tree blossoms without, and the locusts crawl out of their holes, they see no springtime for themselves, but an almost certain departure to their long home. According to all these explanations the passage must be understood metaphorically and not as an allegory. Wright's exegesis makes most of the allusions mere references to facts supposed to be common and well known during the seven days of evil.' But the great majority of expositors, ancient and modern, have understood the passage as an allegorical description of old age. And this
· The Book of Koheleth, pp. 270-275, London, 1883.