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" appoint thee; enter into the joy of thy lord. 24 And he also, “ who had received the one talent, came to him, and said, Lord, “ I know thee to be an hard man, reaping where thou hast not “sown, and gathering whence thou hast not scattered. 25 And “ being afraid I went my way and hid thy talent in the earth : “ see, thou hast that is thine. 26 And his lord answered and “ said to him, Evil and slothful servant, thou knowest that I “ reap where I have not sown, and gather whence I have not “ scattered. 27 It behoved thee, therefore, to have put my “ money to the bankers; and when I came, I should have got “me mine own with interest. 28 Take away, therefore, the “ talent from him, and give it to him who hath the ten talents. “ 29 For to every one who hath shall it be given, and be made “ to abound; but from him who hath not, even that he hath shall « be taken away from him. 30 And cast ye forth the unprofit“able servant into the darkness which is without; there shall “ be weeping and the gnashing of the teeth.”
THE resemblance between the parable of the talents, and the parable of the pounds, in every thing which did not belong to the æconomy of the kingdom, or to the personal history of the nobleman, in that parable, but not of that of his servants, is so close and particular, that it is obviously superfluous to explain the material circumstances in the present instance, after having given a minute account of them in the former. The preliminary explanation, then, which might have been necessary to ascertain the Moral, or to prepare the way for the Interpretation, in this parable, has been so far anticipated, that nothing is requisite at present, except to point out in what respects the two parables agree—which will be found to be in the greatest part of their structure and if any distinction is perceptible between them, to mention in what they differ.
For instance, the distinction of agents concerned in the parabolic transaction, into principal and subordinate, is the same in each ; and being referred to the constitution of a family of antiquity, the proper relation of the principal personage to the subordinate, on the one hand, is that of the master, the proper relation of the subordinate to the principal, on the other, is that of the servants, in each.
Again; the subject of the parabolic narrative, takes its origin alike in each. The principal personage is called away from home by some necessity, affecting himself, but not the subordinate parties, For a certain length of time, therefore, the master of the household is obliged to be absent from home; and for the same length of time, the members of his household are required to be left without their head. The first cause of the material æconomy, described in the parable, is to be traced up to this distinction. The necessity under which he is placed of departing from home for a time, inay be supposed to suggest to the master the idea of a certain æconomy for the trial of his servants; the interval of his absence from home, affords the opportunity of carrying it into effect. The æconomy of probation, then, which ensues, is strictly coextensive with the duration of his absence; beginning as soon as he is gone, continuing while he is away, and terminated only by his return.
Again, the subject-matter of the trust, supposed
to be committed to the servants in this instance also, is such as a master, preparing to go abroad for a certain length of time, might naturally be expected to commit to his servants for the term of his absence; viz. his property in general ; with this difference between the two representations, that a part of his property was committed to his servants in the former parable, all of it is so in this; every thing, at least, which can be supposed denoted by his únápxorta, or possessions, absolutely mentioned, in general. The description of property in question, is minæ or pounds in the one instance, talents in the other ; between which, however, (though a mina of ancient money was but the sixtieth part of a talent,) both being considered as sums of money, and both as the proper subject-matter of a proper responsible trustthere is no difference.
The persons to whom the minæ were committed in the former instance, were a certain number of the servants of the master—as opposed to the rest; and those to whom the talents are entrusted in the present instance, are his id101, that is, his proper and peculiar servants—which also may mean a certain number among the members of his household, as opposed to the remainder. The servants in the foriner parable, possessed one character, in relation to their master, before his departure—nothing distinct from that of the rest of his family—and another after it, peculiar to themselves; and so they do in the present parable likewise : and as that peculiar character was the same in all the servants before, so it is in them all now. They are all alike stewards of their master's property during his
absence; they are all alike servants left in trust for a special purpose, while their master is away from home.
The declared or ostensible motive to the commission of the trust to each of the servants, in the present instance, is the same as before ; and equally natural under the circumstances of the case, both with respect to the author of it, and to the receivers; viz. the safe-keeping, improvement, and augmentation of the property of the master, by the care and management of his servants, while he is away; which so far was more for his benefit, than for theirs. The concealed or final end of the dispensation, too, to judge from the sequel, must have been the same in this instance as in the former: viz, the rewarding, advancing, or promoting the servants at last, as the subjects of the trial or probation entailed by the trust beforehand, in some manner or other, according to the results of the trial ; which was so far an end and effect personally concerning themselves, as much as the former their master.
In the former instance, the same sum of money, denoted by a mina, was committed to each of the servants; in the present instance, different sums, each consisting of so many talents, are committed to different servants. But in the former instance no regard was supposed to be paid to the different competency of the receivers ; in the present instance the proportion of the sums committed to each, is determined by the ratio of the respective abilities of those who receive them in trust. It follows, therefore, that the receivers in the former instance, in
point of competency beforehand, were treated as equals; and the receivers in this instance are treated in the same respect, as unequals—and the ratio of the sums committed to their care, is the ratio of the abilities of those who receive them, to use and apply them accordingly. The whole of the master's property was not divided out among the servants in the former instance, but only a pound apiece to ten of their number; the whole of his possessions must be supposed to have been distributed among them in the present instance—to some in the ratio of five talents, to others of two, and to others of one, according to their respective abilities. In point of presumed ability for the use of their trust, then, there was but one class of the servants collectively, before; but there are three, now. What actual differences there might be, among the servants, in this respect, must have been left in the former instance to be determined by the trial about to be made of their capacity itself; but is intimated in the present instance by the act of the master, when imposing his trial upon each: estimated by which criterion, too, the presumed ability of the third was nearer to that of the second, than this was to that of the first. It follows, also, that the object of the trial, in the former instance, as far as the servants were concerned, was to discover their personal genius and capacity, as well as their personal principle, their personal diligence, and disposition towards their master in general ; but the experiment, in the present instance, could not have been directed to the first of those purposes, though it might be, and in fact it must have been, to the second.