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ray the attendants in a manner suitable to the occasion; water to wash their hands and feet; food to regale the appetite and please the taste; wine to exhilarate the spirits; musick to charm the ear; and subjects of discourse to amuse or instruct the mind. Hence the Jews were accustomed to contemplate the felicities of good men in a future state, under the notion of a sumptuous entertainment. In conformity to their usages and language, our Saviour illustrates his heavenly dispensation by the allegory of a feast, which a king made on occasion of his son's marriage. The great supper in the parable represents the blessings of the gospel; such as the forgiveness of sins, the influences of the holy Spirit, communion with God, and the joys and glories of heaven.

Under the Jewish dispensation, there were several annual festivities divinely instituted for moral and religious purposes. The gospel dispensation, which is more plain and simple, conveys religious sentiments less by emblems and figures, and more by direct instructions. It contains only one festivity, and this, like the gospel itself, simple in its form, obvious in its design, and easy in its application In this we eat bread and drink wine in remembrance of Christ: Thus we shew forth his death, and recognize his resurrection, with the glorious benefits resulting from them. It is not our coming to, and partaking of this ordinance; but it is the faith, repentance, love and obedience professed in the outward action, which entitle us to the spiritual blessings.

The supper mentioned in the parable is not the ordinance now called the Lord's supper; for this was not then instituted. The metaphorical supper, however, has much the same intention as the literal supper. Both denote the blessings of divine grace, and the manner in which we may become interested in them. We are to come to the literal supper with the same views and tempers, with

which the guests in the parable were to come to the obemarriage feast. We are to come with prompt dience and cordial affection to the king, and with friendly and charitable dispositions to our fellow guests.

The king says to his servant in the text, "None of those men, who were bidden, shall taste of my supper." To understand this denunciation, we must recur to the parable. The king had already sent his invitation to a number of wealthy people to come and sup with him; and at supper time, he ordered a servant to go and tell them who were bidden, that the supper was prepared, and they must come immediately. But they all with one consent made excuse, alledging, that their worldy engagements and domestic connexions were such, that they could not attend on the feast without great inconvenience. On one pretext and another, they rejected the invitation. The king, being informed, how his liberality had been treated, sent his servant among a different class of people; among the poor, maimed and blind in the streets and lanes of the city, in the hedges of the fields, and in the highways of the country, with positive instructions to call as many as he could find, and compel them to come in, that his house might be filled; "for," said he, "None of those men, who have been bid. den," who have heard and refused the former invi. tation, "shall taste of my supper." This declara. tion respects not the poor and maimed, who were next to be bidden, but the rich worldlings who had before been bidden, once and again, and bidden in


They who symbolize with the characters described in the former part of the parable, are the men, who will be excluded from the blessings of the gospel, represented in the great supper. It is important, then, that we attend to our own characters,

and examine our claim to these inestimable bless. ings.

One said to the messenger, who called him, " I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it; I pray thee have me excused." A. nother said, "I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them; I pray thee have me excused." A third said, "I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come." Is it a fault, then, to buy a farm, and to see it after it is bought? Or to purchase oxen for one's husbandry, and to prove whether they will answer the design? Or to form family relations, and attend to the duties of those relations? By no means. But the fault of these men lay in placing their affections so entirely on earthly objects, as to neglect their future and eternal interest, and despise the means of securing it. The interests of the present and the future world are so diverse, that without a heart weaned from the former, we are not capable of possessing and enjoying the latter. "We cannot serve God and mammon; if we hold to the one, we shall despise the other."

Weanedness from this world consists not in total indifference, but in rational moderation. While we dwell in the body, we ought to regard the things needful for the body, and to seek them with prudent and honest industry. But to the blessings, with which our future and eternal felicity is connected, we must give a preference in some measure proportionable to their superior importance. In order to our giving them this decided preference, our minds must be assimilated to them. We must not only appreciate them in our judgment and commend them in our language, but also love and relish them in our hearts. If we have this holy and heavenly temper formed in us, we shall not neglect our spiritual in order to advance our secu. lar interest; but we shall seek first the kingdom of

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God and his righteousness, and trust our heavenly Father for the addition of such other things, as he sees to be needful. To know what is our character, we must examine where our affections concentrate. "They who are after the flesh, mind the things of the flesh; and they who are after the spirit, the things of the spirit. And to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace."

True religion is seated in the heart. That sincerity or purity, on which the gospel lays such immense weight, consists in a conformity to its 'doctrines and precepts, to the moral character of God and the pattern of Jesus Christ. Hence it is expressed by our being cast into the form or mould of the gospel, sealed by the holy spirit of promise, renewed after the image of God, and having the same mind as is in Christ.

There may be an external conformity to the gospel, when the mind is opposite to it. It is observable, that Christ usually takes the characters, which are to be excluded from his kingdom, not from the openly vicious and profligate, but from men of decent and civil manners.

They in the parable, who were not to taste of the king's supper, were not accused of having obtained their lands or their oxen by fraud or oppression : They bought them and paid for them. But their guilt lay in the attachment of their hearts to these objects. The rich fool, who, having laid up goods for many years, promised himself a long course of mirth and pleasure, is not charged with injustice in acquiring his property, nor with inhumanity in using it; but his guilt lay in that predominant worldly affection, which prompted him to lay up treasure for himself, when he was not rich toward God. In the description of the last judgment, the sentence against those who are found guilty, is grounded,

not on open vice, but on the want of piety and vir tuc. The Judge does not say, I was hungry be cause ye stole from me my bread; or naked because ye robbed me of my clothes, or sick because ye wounded or poisoned me; or in prison because ye oppressed and persecuted me; but I was in these calamitous circumstances, and ye did not minister to me. The same instruction and warning we find in almost all those parables and discourses, in which Christ discriminates men's different characters, and illustrates the qualifications necessary for admission into his presence.

This is a matter, my brethren, which deserves our impartial attention, and should lead us to serious enquiry.

We are, perhaps, industrious in our occupations, frugal in our expences, temperate in our enjoyments, honorable in our intercourse, civil in our language, and decent in our manners. So far is well. We never shall be condemned for these traits in our character. We compare ourselves with men of open and notorious wickedness, and conclude, we shall not be condemned at all.

But there is a further enquiry to be made. What is the temper of our minds? Have we respect to all God's commands? Do we love them because they are holy, and because by them we are warned? Do we hate every false way, our own sins, our secret sins? Do we relish the things which make heaven happy, such as communion with God and the exercises of devotion and piety? Do we forego our worldly interest, when it interferes with our duty, and suspend our secular occupations in obedience to the calls of religion?

By such enquiries we are to decide the question, whether we shall be found among the guests who are to taste of the marriage supper, or among those who shall be excluded.

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