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of that review might be to discover who had, and who had not provided himself with the necessary dress, in quality of guest invited, before any sat down in quality of guest admitted. It must take place, then, after the assemblage of the guests was complete ; and it might take place in the guestchamber itself; but it must take place before the celebration of the feast, and if it was transacted in the guest-chamber, it must be immediately before the guests sat down to table e
Now an inspection and examination like this, which had for its object the preliminary discovery of the fitness or unfitness of certain personal subjects to partake in the enjoyment of a certain valuable privilege-and was followed by a dispensation of admittance to it, or of exclusion from it, according to the results of the scrutiny—may so far properly represent the economy and final end of a judicial
e It may contribute somewhat to illustrate this part of the parable, which relates to the review or inspection of the guests, preliminary to their sitting down to meat ; that there were magistrates at Athens, called yuvaykovópot, whose business it was to count or review the guests at parties, to discover whether their numbers exceeded the limits prescribed by law, viz. 30. Hence this allusion of the comedian Timocles, in his Philodicastes, Athenæus, vi. 45, 46.
'Ανοίγετ' ήδη τας θύρας, ένα προς το φως
βούληθή ο γυναικονόμος λαβείν αριθμών
κατά τον νόμον τον καινόν, όπερ είωθε δράν,
τας των αδείπνων εξετάζειν οικίας. To the same effect, Menander év Kerpudálo, and Philochorus, év ésdówn 'Ardidos: both of whom are quoted.
process; the principal party in which, under the circumstances of the case, would be the king, in his capacity of the author of the feast; the subordinate parties, the company assembled, in their capacity of guests invited ; and the question at issue in it would be, which out of that number was worthy, and which was not, to be received to the actual enjoyment of the feast, in the capacity of guests admitted: the test or criterion of this worthiness or unworthiness, in each instance, being the same, and equally personal to the individual—the possession or non-possession of a vesture proper for the occasion. And whatever be the consequences of the presence or the absence of the test in question, in each particular instance, the presence or the absence of the criterion itself is something dependent as much on the subordinate parties, who are so affected by it, as on the principal, who conducts the inquiry, and decides according to its results; for though the garment proper for the wedding, must be furnished from the wardrobes of the king, and so far be provided independent of the guests, it must be accepted and worn by them; which would require their cooperation.
To produce this conviction that the acceptance of the wedding-garment depended upon the guests, as much as its provision did on the king, and that it was their proper duty to receive it when tendered to them, and to wear it, as it was his to furnish it for them, and to offer it to their use—may justly be supposed the final end of what is described to take place in consequence of the review ; when one of the company assembled was discovered to be des
titute of the proper dress. “Comrade, how hast thou “ come in hither, not having a wedding-clothing ?" is the question of the king to the person in fault : a question which plainly implies, that without the possession of such a garment, he knew, or should have known, there was no admission for him, even within the precincts of the guest-chamber, much less any chance of being actually allowed to partake of the feast. We read of no reply to this demand ; but on the contrary, that the party, taxed with the want of the qualification in question, became speechless; which is a clear proof that he had been guilty of a voluntary omission, and had purposely neglected to provide himself with what he knew to be necessary, in order to his admission among the rest of the guests, and to be equally capable of being obtained for him, as for any of the rest, if he had wished to have it. He became silent, because he had nothing to say in his own defence. He stood convicted, therefore, by his conscience of having no right to be there, before he was treated as a stranger and intruder, by command of the king; and the punishment inflicted upon him, was but the natural consequence of the discovery of an attempt to gain admission by stealth, and in the hope of concealment, to the enjoyment of a privilege, which might have been openly obtained indeed, but only after a prescribed and definite way.
It is no objection to the truth of this inference, that one instance only of such an offender is mentioned, though we have supposed the object of the scrutiny to be the discovery of the worthiness or unworthiness of all. The moral proposed by the mention of this fact in general, was not to let us
daving no richected, there way in know who was the particular offender who committed the offence, but what was the offence committed; what was the unworthiness which would disqualify any from partaking in the common festivity of the banquet, not how many might be excluded from the number of guests, on that account. This one individual, then, whose case is particularly specified, must be considered the representative of a class. The offence of which he had been guilty, was capable of being committed by more; and out of so large a number as we must suppose to have been assembled, would probably be committed by more. The detection to which it was exposed in his instance, is an argument that the same discovery awaited it, in every other; and the fact of the punishment which overtook it, in his person, is a presumptive proof that it would not escape with impunity in any other instance.
It might naturally indeed be supposed, that a promiscuous collection of guests, both good and bad, in great numbers previously, would necessarily require some review and separation of them afterwards. But the indiscriminate assemblage of persons of every shade and variety of character, must have been contemplated from the first, as the unavoidable result of the directions specially given to the servants, for the execution of their third commission. The only criterion of personal worthiness or personal unworthiness, to discriminate asunder the individuals assembled for a common purpose, which the parable can be supposed to recognise, is the presence or the absence of the same weddingvesture; the efficacy of which is such that, with it, no previous personal defect of character could oper
ate as a let or obstacle in the case of a particular invited guest, to disqualify him from actual admission to the feast; and without it, no personal excellence, no moral goodness of character beforehand, would avail to secure him the safe enjoyment of his privilege to the end. Yet it is not impossible, nor can we undertake to deny the probability of such a supposition that in particular instances, the two kinds of worthiness or unworthiness, both the personal, or that which preexisted, and the imputed, or that which was acquired for the occasion, by accepting and wearing the vesture provided from the wardrobes of the king_might coincide together; in other words, that in repeated instances, they who would be found deficient in the qualification of the garment proper for the occasion, would be the same whom the history described as the mounpoi, or bad ones, brought in by the servants in the indiscriminate discharge of their commission; and they who were found to possess it, would be the dyaboi, or good ones, opposed to them. For good manners are part of good morals. It seems inconceivable, at least, that any of those who are described as good, in the first instance of all, even in the ordinary acceptation of the term, would be shewn by the event wanting in a proper sense of respect to their host, and of what was due to the solemnity of the occasion, by declining the habit provided for them by him, and necessary to be worn, if they would do honour to the ceremony of the nuptials of his son.
In executing the sentence upon the unworthy guest, a reference is made to the agency of certain persons, supposed to be present at the time, and de