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signated by the name of the ministers or attendants (Eláncvoi). There can be no question, that, under the circumstances of the case, these persons must be considered to stand in the same relation of servants to the king, as the parties before employed on the errands preparatory to the collection of guests; but the difference of the name which is given to them, and the difference of the service allotted to them, do as naturally lead to the inference that though servants of the same master in general, they are not the same class of his servants in particular: and while there may be other distinctions between them, not specified, this in particular is to be collected from what is related in the history itself; that the servants before employed, on the several errands, were the emissaries of the king for assembling and collecting his guests—the servants now employed, are his instruments or ministers for separating one part of his guests from another, and for carrying into effect the celebration of the feast.
Lastly, in the terms of the command to inflict his proper punishment on the undeserving guest, mention is made of the darkness which was without: the primary sense of which allusion is obviously to be explained by a reference to the time and circumstances under which the celebration of a festivity, like that of a wedding, especially in the East, would necessarily take place : for that time would of course be the evening, and when the night was somewhat advanced; and the festivity being celebrated, by the light of lamps or torches, in the guest-chamber appropriated to the occasion while there was the brightness of day within, for the benefit of the inmates of that chamber, there would be the darkness of night without, to all such as were excluded from it.
THE MORAL. The connection of the material circumstances, in the preceding account, according to which the whole may be shewn to converge deterininately on one result, may be briefly stated as follows:
The design of a king to celebrate the nuptials of his son, by an appropriate wedding festivity, having been duly formed, and every preparation, depending on himself, necessary to give effect to such an intention, having been duly made; at the very time when the celebrity should have begun, a sudden delay is interposed in the further prosecution of the design, by the unlooked for defect of the presence of the guests, before invited, and until then expected to attend.
The absence of guests, previously invited, at the very time when the festivity ought to have begun--if the ceremony was still to proceed—could be repaired only by the speedy assemblage of guests, not before invited, nor before expected to attend.
The speedy assemblage of guests not before invited, as required by the urgency of the occasion, is provided for by rendering the invitation indiscriminate, and open to all, which had before been select, and confined to a few.
The effect of an indiscriminate promulgation of the invitation is an assemblage of guests, sufficiently numerous to replenish the wants of the feast, and to allow the celebrity to begin; but like the invitation, indiscriminate.
In the interval between the collection of a sufficient number of guests and the commencement of the celebrity itself, a review or inspection of the guests takes place in the presence of the master of the feast, and in the guest-chamber itself.
The object of this review is to discover whether each of the assembled guests was provided with a certain requisite to his being permitted to partake in the celebrity; such as was naturally to be expected from the customs of the times, and from the character of the occasion which they were met to commemorate.
The nature of this provision is such, that though it might be supplied by the master of the feast, it must be accepted by his guests; and therefore though it must be offered by him, it might be rejected by them.
The result of this inspection is the discovery that some of the assembly are provided with this requisite, and others are not: and the personal consequences of this distinction to the subjects thereof respectively, are that the former are suffered to remain in the guest-chamber, the latter are excluded from it—the former, therefore, retain their privilege of guests, and the latter lose it, each at the point of time, when the feast was about to begin, and the privilege of guest invited, was ready to be consummated in the privilege of guest admitted, to the enjoyment of the festivity.
With this state of things the parabolic narrative is brought to a close, manifestly at the moment when the original design of celebrating the nuptials of the king's son, by an appropriate festivity, as at first conceived, but hitherto of necessity delayed, is on the eve of being carried into effect.
The moral of such a representation, then, in ge
neral must be to shew, first that a certain valuable privilege, adumbrated by the invitation of guests to partake in a sumptuous and magnificent entertainment, given by no less a personage than a king, and upon an occasion of no less joy and interest to himself, and all his dependents, than the marriage of his son—for reasons which rendered such a dispensation inevitable, was taken from those for whom it had been originally designed, and transferred to others for whom it had not at first been intended; secondly, that the privilege so taken away from the first order of guests, though irrecoverably lost to them, was not inalienably transferred to the second, but that both as originally meant for some, or as afterwards transferred to others, it depended as much on the guests to retain and secure it to the end, as on the master of the feast to offer it to their acceptance at first; and consequently as it had been lost to all of the first order, for reasons affecting them all, so it might be lost to all, or to part of the second, for reasons affecting all or part of them ?.
The above account of the moral of the narrative, seems to be confirmed by the words of verse 14. with which it closes; “ For “ many are called, but few are chosen.” This declaration occurred before, Matt. xx. 16, at the end of the parable of the labourers; but there, as made by our Saviour himself in a distinct capacity from that of the narrator of the parable; here, as a part of the parabolic narrative, and as the last words of the speech of the king, relating to the ejection of the guest, destitute of the wedding-garment, which began to be recorded at verse 13.
The declaration, then, being understood in reference to the time and the occasion, when, and upon which, it must be supposed to have been spoken ; the distinction which it draws between those who are called Kantoì, and those who are termed ÉKREKTOI, must have been intended to apply to the assemblage of
Between the parabolic narrative, which we have just considered, and the material circumstances of
persons present: and from the opposition necessarily implied in such a distinction of one part or division of a certain complex from another-if klytoi applies to them in one sense, érdekto must apply to them in a contrary sense. Hence if kantoi must denote bidden, érdekto` must denote admitted ; and the point of the contrast between the different parts of the same assembly, all understood in the quality of guests—will turn upon this circumstance, that though many might have been bidden, few were found to be admitted. The offer of the privilege of becoming guests had been indiscriminate; the actual enjoyment of the privilege, as guests, under the circumstances of the case, was limited. The whole assemblage had partaken of the one; a part only partook of the other.
The distinction, then, of those who had been bidden in common, and of those who were admitted, individually, is evidently drawn by the words in question, between one part of the company present, and the rest. But the reasons of the distinction are not stated ; and therefore must be left to be inferred from the circumstances of the case: and from these it appears that the grounds of the distinction in favour of some, to the exception of others, among the same complex, all present ostensibly in the same capacity, and for the same purpose, is nothing arbitrary, or precarious; but as much dependent upon the parties themselves, in the principle, as liable to produce such and such personal consequences upon them, in the operation ; viz. the possession of a garment, proper for the occasion, the acceptance of which was as necessary to its possession, as its possession to give effect to the invitation to become a guest.
Supposing it then to have been always designed that the assemblage of the guests should be followed by their personal inspection, before the celebration of the feast began ; and the object of that inspection to be the discovery which of them had provided himself with the proper garment, and which had not; the consequences of that discovery could not fail to affect each of the company individually-nor to determine to each the continued enjoyment, or the final abrogation of the privilege of guest accordingly; and so to draw a general line of distinction