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the parable of the great supper, which has been already explained in its place, there is prima facie so
between the whole of the complex of guests, and a part of their body, before and after the same point of time ; as kintoi or bid. den in common, before the review, but not ékdektoì or admitted in common, after it. If, then, the case of the ejected guest was not to be considered an isolated one, but a specimen of the same kind of exclusion from the feast, which awaited the same kind of disqualification to become a guest at it, in every other instance—the words of the king, though delivered in reference to this case, may express the result of the review, which had led to similar consequences in every other like case ; and without professing to assign any reason for the fact, or why the event should have turned out to be so, may simply assert the fact or event itself; that whereas many had been bidden, or invited to the feast, beforehand, few it appeared were chosen, or admitted to the feast, at last.
Both those many, and these few, however, even in this case, must be understood of the complex of guests previously assembled, not of the complex of guests who might be wanted for the feast. It was possible, that brought together as they were, by an indiscriminate invitation, and from all quarters, many more might be assembled, before the review, than were wanted for the occasion : and though out of this number, the part suffered to remain, in consequence of the review, might be small in comparison of the part excluded; still it might be fully adequate to the necessities of the feast.
On a former occasion, when the question was put to our Lord, ei óliyoi oi owjóuevo—he declined to answer it (at least openly): and though he may be said to have virtually answered it, on the subsequent occasion, Matt. xx. 16, when he made the declaration, toldo yap cio. kAntoi, ólíyou dè éKAEKTOì, (if by the
KdeKTOì, in this instance, we are to understand the same as by the owcóuevoi, in the former)-still, the distinction just suggested, with reference to the application of these terms to the two divisions of the guests in the parable, before and after the time of their review, may teach us, that albeit the éklektoà may be few in comparison of the kantoi, and in that sense, the owcóμενοι in comparison of the απολλύμενοι-yet it is only as opposed
obvious a resemblance, that it can scarcely be necessary to draw the reader's attention to it. This coincidence as far as it extends, is so complete, that even those circumstances in which one of these parables stands apparently most distinguished from the other,
to each other, and not in reference to that purpose whatever it be, for which and unto which, the many are bidden, but the few are chosen. The numbers of the kertoi may be few in comparison of the numbers of the kintoi, and yet they may be amply sufficient in themselves for the purpose designed by that offer, the simple acceptance of which makes kantoi of many, but the ultimate enjoyment of it, ékleKTOì of few.
It is manifest, also, from the above account of the parable, that the same remark may be made upon it, with reference to the denomination by which it ought to be called, as upon the parable of the Great Supper. It is equally incorrect to call it " the parable of the marriage of the king's son,” or “ the “ parable of the wedding-garment:" and the only just and adequate title, which could be premised to it, to declare beforehand the purpose and effect of the narrative ensuing, would be some such an one, as “ the parable of the provision of guests “ for the marriage of the king's son.” To this title it could not be objected that it implied beforehand, what would be found to be inconsistent with the account subsequently given in the history, viz. the celebration of the marriage feast within the compass of the action embraced by it; while, with respect to every other circumstance which makes a part of the parabolic detail, arising out of the conception, but necessarily prior to the consummation of the marriage-feast in question—the provision of one order of guests, in the first instance—the substitution of another, from the necessity of the case, in the next—the separation of one part even of these, from the rest, before the festivity could begin, and be celebrated with any-as alike comprehended under the general description of one and the same series of preparations for one and the same consummation, which nevertheless does not take place within the scope of the details, however near it may approach to the point of so doing; it would be perfectly just and unexceptionable.
may possibly be the same, or differ from each other only as a generic differs from a specific idea of the same thing. The personal description of the principal personage in the one, is that of the master of an house, and in the other, is that of a king; and every king must be the master of an house, though every master of an house may not be a king. The parabolic description of the principal party in each, is the same--that of the author, provider, or maker of some entertainment. This entertainment is a supper in the one, and a wedding-feast in the other; and though every supper may not be a weddingfeast, yet every wedding-feast, in conformity to the customs of the East, must be a supper : and as the supper in the former parable was described as a great one, and as celebrated on a large scale; so is a wedding-feast of necessity a great supper, celebrated on a scale of grandeur and magnificence, above every thing of the same kind.
In other respects the circumstantial agreement between these two parables is so close, that though it might be drawn out in a variety of minute particulars, no one who remembers any thing of the preceding, can think it necessary that I should do this expressly, to shew its resemblance to the succeeding. Under these circumstances, it would seem to be a natural presumption, that the moral of the prior parable is either totally, or to a certain extent, the same with that of the later; and consequently that whatsoever has been established of the one, may justly be assumed of the other 8. Nor indeed can
& The general agreement in the respective moral import of the two parables, was in all probability the reason why St. Luke who recorded the parable of the great supper, in its proper there be any reasonable ground for questioning the truth of this assumption, so far as the two parables really coincide ; and the moral import of the latter may so far be considered anticipated by that of the former. It was observed however, on a former occasion , that no two of the parables, not even those which were least consecutive, that is, were delivered at the greatest distance of time asunder, were strictly tautological, or directed to a result precisely the same in each instance. Nor is the coincidence in the inaterial structure and the circumstantial details of
place, omits this parable of the wedding-garment; though up to the time of its occurrence, in the historical order of eventshis account goes along with St. Matthew's, in which we find it recorded. It is not usual with St. Luke to record any thing again, which might be considered anticipated by what he had recorded before ; and except on this principle, his omission of the present parable would be the more remarkable, that it followed immediately on a parable, which, as we have seen, he does record, as well as St. Matthew, the parable of the vineyardlast explained.
As to St. Mark's omission of the parable, though he too has recorded the preceding one, I think it was sufficient to produce it, that the omission had already been supplied by St. Matthew. St. Mark's Gospel is supplementary to St. Matthew's not in the account of our Saviour's discourses, but in the narrative of the general facts of his history. There is a remarkable instance of the peculiar relation of the two Gospels to each other, as consisting more particularly in the omission of a parable by the one, which is recorded in the other—at Mark x. 31. compared with Matt. xix. 31. Harm. iv. 53. where St. Mark's narrative stops short of St. Matthew's, just on the verge of the parable of the labourers; though that was produced in part by the very last sentence which St. Mark does record, before he pauses; as appears from comparing Mark x. 31. and Matt. xix. 30. with Matt. xx. 16.
h Vol. i. ch. 11. 136, 137.
these two parables themselves, so absolute and complete, but that with much appearance of agreement, there is distinct evidence of disagreement between them—sufficient to raise the expectation, that with a very considerable general resemblance, there should still be discovered an equally definite, particular difference, between the inorals of each respectively.
For example, the present parable contains an account of two missions to the guests of the first order; the former of only one. The present parable is less circumstantial than the former, in specifying the causes which operated with the different classes of the guests of the first order, to produce the failure of their engagement in common; but more so, in describing the treatment, which over and above the rejection of the invitation of the master of the feast, his servants, who were the bearers of it, experienced at the hands of the guests : that is, the latter parable is more concise, where the former had been more particular, and is supplementary where that had been defective. The former specified no penal consequence, in the way of retribution, as falling on the guests who had been guilty of the breach of their own faith, and of the refusal of the invitation of the master of the feast, except the simple alienation of the privilege, of which they had proved themselves unworthy, irrecoverably from them; the latter, not only specifies this, but over and above itthe fact of a particular retribution in kind, as due to and falling upon a particular offence in kind, committed by such of these guests, as besides rejecting the invitation of the master, had abused and murdered his messengers. In this respect also, the latter parable is more circumstantial than the former,