Matthew 21:28-32 . But what think ye As if he had said, You have evaded a direct answer to my question concerning the baptism of John, and have acknowledged your ignorance whence it was; but what think you of your own conduct in these circumstances? and of all the high professions you make of an extraordinary reverence for God, and zeal in his service? I will plainly tell you my judgment of it, which is very naturally connected with the present subject. This our Lord does in two parables, in the former of which, by a question which he puts to them, he makes them condemn themselves. A certain man had two sons Signifying two sorts of persons: some that prove better than they promise, represented by the former of these sons; others that promise better than they prove, represented by the latter. And he came to the first Exhibiting the disobedient, profligate, and wicked Jews, and open sinners of all descriptions, who, though they neither professed nor promised to do the will of God, nor gave any reason to hope well concerning them, yet afterward being convinced of sin, and brought to repentance by the preaching of John the Baptist and Christ, turned from their sins, and sincerely embraced the gospel. The spirit and conduct of the second son was an exact picture of the temper and behaviour of the Pharisees; for in their prayers and praises they gave God the most honourable titles, and professed the greatest readiness and zeal in his service: but it was a bare profession, contradicted by all their actions. They said, I go, sir, to work in thy vineyard, but went not. Jesus having finished his parable, asked, Whether of them twain did the will of his Father? Without hesitation, they replied, The first Not perceiving that by this answer they condemned themselves, till Jesus, making a direct application of the parable, gave them that sharp but just rebuke; Verily I say unto you Even the most abandoned sinners of the age, such as the publicans and harlots, go into the kingdom of God before you Are much more open to conviction, and more readily obey the gospel than you. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness Walking in it as well as teaching it, and gave evident proofs of his mission from God; and ye believed him not Gave no credit to the testimony which he bare to me, nor received his doctrine, and consequently would not enter the vineyard: but the publicans and harlots The most notorious sinners; believed him Were reformed, and obeyed the gospel, though at first they said, I will not. And ye, when ye had seen it And could not deny that an amazing change had been wrought in them, and that persons of the most abandoned characters had been reformed by his sermons, which doubtless was a strong proof of his mission from God; yet repented not afterward Of your opposition to that holy man, nor of your disobedience to his instructions; That ye might believe him And therefore I solemnly warn you, (for so his words imply,) that your condition will hereafter be worse than theirs; and that you shall see those whom you now despise and abhor, entering into the glory from which you shall be excluded.
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