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same day by the parable * of the sower, and many others spoken on that occasion. Matthew concludes his relation of them with this remark : «. All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables, and without a parable spake he not unto them: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.” What Asaph asserted of himself the evangelist applies to our Lord ; and observes that it was eminently verified in him when he explained by parables the nature of his kingdom. St. Matthew seems to point out the resemblance between our Lord and the ancient prophets in the manner of their instructions; and to suggest this as one reason for the use of parables. And as parables are occasionally found in the old · prophets, this way of speaking might lead the Jews to consider our Lord as vested with that high character.

* Matt. xii.

y Ps. Isxviii. 2. The literal translation of the Hebrew is ;

I will open my mouth in a parable :

I will pour forth acute sayings of old. The latter hemistic is otherwise rendered by Aquila and Symmachus, and by 6. ομβρόσω αινίγματα εξ αρχήθεν αναβλύσω προβλήματα αρχαία 09175.uat ngebahpalle år' dgxãse and only signifies, I will pour forth lessons of old time. niin here, and Ps. xlix. 4. is used as equivalent to hop. Some derive it from in acutum esse, because it requires acute. ness both to utter and to explain it : and others from the Arabic han declinavit, deflexit: whence 70 similitudo, comparatio, quasi oratio Aexa. . See Tayl. Conc. Cast. lex. and the note on sop above referred to. However, in though originally signifying a dark saying, is used for important truths in general.

z 2 Sam. xii. 1-4. xiv. 6, 7. Isai. v. 1, 2. Ezek. xvii. 3—10, &c.

When Jesus had dismissed the multitude whom he taught on the sea shore, and had entered into a house in Capernaum,“ a his disciples came and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables ?” shewing by their question that he had newly adopted this manner of teaching in a series of regular parables. “He answered and said unto them, Because unto you [my disciples] it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven ; [the secret doctrines relating to the gospel kingdom ; such as, my sowing the word, and the causes of the failure or growth of the seed; the reason why the tares grow up with the wheat, the wicked with the good, in the field of my kingdom, and why I do not command them to be immediately rooted out; and the gradual increase, and wonderful extension, of my kingdom :) bụt to them (to the multitude who are not my disciples] it is not given.” “ Unto them that are b without all these things are done in parables.” To those who are not members of my kingdom I shadow cut the truths relating to the gospel dispensation under similitudes. For whosoever hath good dispositions, means of instruction shall be given to him, and he shall have religious knowledge abundantly : but whosoever hath not a due degree of such qualifications as a religious teacher, attesting his commission by miracles, may justly require, even that which he d seemeth to have shall be taken from him : his means of improvement shall be lessened, or withdrawn, according to his degree of guilt. · With what measure of attention ye mete, knowledge shall be measured to you ; and unto you that hear profitably, shall more be given. f For this reason I speak to the multitude in parables, because, seeing my miracles, they see without conviction ; and hearing my doctrine, they hear without considering and understanding it. I use parables, that the people may go on as they have begun. The event of my instructing them covertly will be their ignorance in the midst of knowledge: the words of the prophet will be verified in them: their spiritual blindness and deafness will continue: they hardening themselves, lest at any time, as Isaiah says, they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them. And in them is verified the prophecy of i Isaiah, which saith,

* Matt. xiii. 10, 11. 1 Cor.r. 12, 13. Col. iv. 5. d See Luke viii. 18.

• Mark ir. 11. Grotius on ei itu refers to 1 Thess, iv. 12.

• Matt. xiii. 12.

* Hear indeed, but understand not :
And see indeed, but know not :

e Mark iv. 24.
fMatt. xiii. 13.

& Mark iv. 12. h ?"Iyx, omws, and the infinitive mood, are used to express what will actually happen, and not formał intention and design : öva, Matt. ii. 15. iv. 14. Luke ix. 45. xi. 50. Jolin xii. 38. Bishop Pearce adds 1 Cor 1. 15. John v. 20. 2 Cor. i. 17. vii. 9. Rev. viii. 12. See his note on 1 Cor. i. 15. órws, Matt. ii. 23. xiii. 35: the infinitive mond, Matt. x. 34, 35. So woh Isai. xxviii. 13. i c. vi. 9, 10.

k Or, Hearing indeed, understand not :

And seeing indeed, know not. Le Clerc on Mark iv. 12. quotes Æschylus,

Οι πρώτα μεν βλέποντες 'έβλεπον μαλην,

Kaboyles xx xxcxoy. . Prometheus, l. 446. is describing in how rude a state men were, when he instructed them. He also refers to Demosth. contra Aris. togitonem, latter part, rò tās nagarpalas, égünces per ogãv, xzi d'xscvides sein excesy. And Whitby in loc. quotes Philo ; who, speaking of those who were addicted to wine and sensual pleasures, says, ogãy785 8x cgãos, xxi åršov795 8x exótol. Alleg. I. 2. p. 72.

Make 'gross the heart of this people,
And make their ears 1 dull, and close up their eyes :
Lest they (see with their eyes, and hear with their ears,
And understand with their heart, and be converted, and I

should m heal them.” This is the message which Jehovah gives to Isaiah. It is a prophecy that Isaiah would be rejected by the Jews : it is a strong way of expressing the event, not the purpose, of his mission. To interpret it of God's end and design, is inconsistent with every precept, admonition and expostulation throughout Isaiah's prophecies.

St. Mark refers to and abridges Isaiah, who is quoted at large by St. Matthew. The reader may see, by what is included in brackets, the parts retained or omitted by St. Mark in the last verse of Isaiah. I

say then that our Lord diminished the light which he had before given to the people, because they closed their eyes against that greater degree of it which he had formerly vouchsafed : though at the same time this inferior light was sufficient to direct them. This is agreeable to the divine procedure on like occasions. Thus after the fall the immediate manifestations of the Deity, which seem to have been often made in the state of innocence, were in a great measure withdrawn; and man had no longer frequent intercourse with heaven. Thus our Lord withheld the evidence of great and repeated miracles from the inhabitants of Nazareth, on account of their unbelief: “ for her could not [consistently with his wisdom] do any mighty works there, save that he laid his hands on a few sick and healed them.” And the principal reason why he gave not the Jewish nation sensible evidence of his resurrection seems to have been, because they had before rejected such strong proofs of his divine mission.

1 The verbs poun, 1237, and you are imperatives in Hiphil, as in the English version; or the inird pers. sing. Præt. in Hophal, as wn is rendered in ó, and in St. Matthew ; or the third pers. sing. præt. in Hipbil, as 1230 and yen are rendered in St. Matthew and in ó. See also John xii. 40. m Literally, et medeatur quis ei, sc. populo Syr. and Chald. render by par to pardon, or remit: of which St. Mark's version is a paraphrase. Indeed three mss. and two versions omit de paginpesile in St. Mark : and then xxo 'peón autois would exactly answer to Chald. and to Syr. except that in this version the pronoun is singular.

Let us consider in what circumstances Jesus acted, when he spake nothing but parables to the people. He was near Capernaum, Chorasin and Bethsaida, cities sharply reproved by him because they repented not on account of his preaching and miracles : and, on the very day when his parables were uttered, the Scribes and Pharisees, who may have been part of his auditors, and whose judgment of him many present may have adopted, had been guilty of the greatest absurdity and impiety in ascribing his miracles to

» Mark vi. 5. It is said that a thing cannot be done, when it is not fit that it should. Matt. ix. 15. Luke xvi. 2. Acts iv. 20. Deut. xii. 17. Josh. ix. 19. See Bishop Kidder's Boyle's Lectures, fol. i. 134. See also 1 Cor. iii. 11. and the instances there collected by Bishop Pearce.

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