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§ 256. Parable of the Wicked Husbandman. (Matt., xxi., 33-44; Mark, xii., 1-12; Luke, xx., 9-18.)

The gradations of guilt in the conduct of the Jews towards the Divine messengers, and, finally, towards the Son himself, are set forth more prominently in the parable of the vineyard and the wicked vine-dressers (Matt., xxi., 33). The enjoyment of the kingdom of God is the point contemplated in the parable of the marriage of the king’s son; the labour done for it is that of the parable now before us. The former represents the kingdom in its consummation in the fellowship of the redeemed; the latter, in its gradual developement on earth, demanding the activity of men for its advancement. The lord of the vineyard had done every thing necessary for its cultivation; so had God ordained all things wisely for the prosperity of his kingdom among the Jews; all that was wanting was that they should rightly use the means instituted by him. The lord of the vineyard had a right to demand of his tenants a due proportion of fruit at the vintage; so God required of the Jews to whom he had intrusted the Theocracy to be cultivated, the fruits of a corresponding life. When the earlier messengers sent to call them to repentance had been evilly entreated and slain, he sends his Son, the destined heir of the vineyard, the King of the Theocracy. But as they show like dishonour to him, and kill him to secure themselves entire independence—to turn the kingdom of God into anarchy—his judgments break forth; the Theocratic relation is broken, and 372the kingdom is transferred to other nations that shall bring forth fruits corresponding to it.689689   It is to be observed that the judgment of the Jewish nation is here represented as a “coming of the Lord;” intimating that we are to see in that judgment a “coming” of his in a spiritual sense.


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