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25. More Parables

1Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, who took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. 2And five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3For the foolish, when they took their lamps, took no oil with them: 4but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5Now while the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. 6But at midnight there is a cry, Behold, the bridegroom! Come ye forth to meet him. 7Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. 8And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are going out. 9But the wise answered, saying, Peradventure there will not be enough for us and you: go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. 10And while they went away to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage feast: and the door was shut. 11Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 12But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. 13Watch therefore, for ye know not the day nor the hour.

14For it is as when a man, going into another country, called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. 15And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one; to each according to his several ability; and he went on his journey. 16Straightway he that received the five talents went and traded with them, and made other five talents. 17In like manner he also that received the two gained other two. 18But he that received the one went away and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money. 19Now after a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and maketh a reckoning with them. 20And he that received the five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: lo, I have gained other five talents. 21His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will set thee over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 22And he also that received the two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: lo, I have gained other two talents. 23His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will set thee over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 24And he also that had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art a hard man, reaping where thou didst not sow, and gathering where thou didst not scatter; 25and I was afraid, and went away and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, thou hast thine own. 26But his lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I did not scatter; 27thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the bankers, and at my coming I should have received back mine own with interest. 28Take ye away therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him that hath the ten talents. 29For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not, even that which he hath shall be taken away. 30And cast ye out the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness: there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth.

31But when the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory: 32and before him shall be gathered all the nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats; 33and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35for I was hungry, and ye gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; 36naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, and fed thee? or athirst, and gave thee drink? 38And when saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39And when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me. 41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels: 42for I was hungry, and ye did not give me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink; 43I was a stranger, and ye took me not in; naked, and ye clothed me not; sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44Then shall they also answer, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not unto one of these least, ye did it not unto me. 46And these shall go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous into eternal life.

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Matthew 25:15. To every one according to his own ability. By this term Christ does not distinguish between natural gifts and the gifts of the Spirit; for we have neither power nor skill 688688     “Il n’y a ne puissance, ne industrie, ou dexterit;” — “there is neither power, nor industry, nor skill.” which ought not to be acknowledged as having been received from God; and, therefore, whoever shall determine to give God his share will leave nothing for himself. What then is meant by saying, that the master of the house gives to each person more or less, according to his own ability? It is because God, as he has assigned to every one his place, and has bestowed on him natural gifts, gives him also this or the other injunction, employs him in the management of affairs, raises him to various offices, furnishes him with abundant means of eminent usefulness, and presents to him the opportunity.

It is absurd, however, in the Papists to infer from this, that the gifts of God are conferred on every man according to the measure which he deserves. For, though the old translator, 689689     “Le translateur Latin ancien;” — “the old Latin translator.” employed the word virtus, 690690     An interpreter who was willing to twist a passage, so as to bring out of it any meaning that he chose, would find the vagueness of the Latin word virtus to be well suited to his purpose. Its derivation from vir, a man, shows that it originally signified manliness, from which it easily passed to denote courage, and, from the high estimation in which courage was held among warlike nations, became the general expression for moral excellence, out of which arose the application of it to other kinds of excellence, as in the phrase, virtutes orationis, the ornaments of style. Again, from denoting manly vigor it came naturally to denote ability; and it is undoubtedly in this sense, with which our English version accords, that rirtus is employed by the Vulgate in this passage. — Ed. he did not mean that God bestows his gifts, according as men have acquitted themselves well, and obtained the praise of virtue, but only so far as the master of the house has judged them to be suitable. Now we know that no man is found by God to be suitable till He has made him so; and the Greek word δύναμις, (power, ability,) which Christ employed, is free from all ambiguity.




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