THAT, at the time of his coming, Christ found some of his professed servants, to whom talents, according to the view we have taken of them, were committed, answering the description of the evil servants, foolish virgins, and the servant with the one talent, we have not the smallest doubt. The consequence to them of their being thus found, may with certainty be calculated from the declarations of Christ. They were cut assunder, that is, from those who were mindful of his admonitions, and had their portion literally with the hypocrites, and those unbelieving Jews in the temporal calamities which befel them at that time. We are inclined to the opinion that some of the disciples or servants answering to the character of the servant with one talent, like very many disciples at this day, so construed the Lord's words as to lead them to say in their hearts, "My Lord delayeth his coming," by supposing that all he had said on that subject had reference to the end of this material world, and the general resurrection of the dead; and under the infatuation of this delusion began to beat the men-servants and maid-servants, instead of giving them meat in due season, and to eat and drink with the drunken (those who were intoxicated with the strong delusions which prevailed among the carnal Jews.) But how were they surprised when, in an hour unthought of, they found themselves cut asunder from the faithful saints, and without the possibility of escaping the dreadful sufferings of the Jews. But how different the case of the faithful and wise servant, (xxiv. 45), those wise virgins, (xxv. 4); and those good and faithful servants in our parable! In the first example it is said – "He shall make him ruler over all his. Goods;"* in the second, they were admitted into the marriage; and the door was shut; and in the parable before us, those good and faithful servants were found faithful in a few things; and were made rulers over many things, and entered into the joys of their Lord. The very talent of the slothful servant who perished, Is taken from him and given to him that had the ten. By which we understand that although such of the disciples as had made an unprofitable use of these solemn admonitions, (their Lord's money,) now had to share the temporal judgment of hypocrites, and thus be filled with their own ways; yet, those very admonitions which they had neglected, are added to the instruction of those who profit by the record of the Lord's dealings with his own unfaithful servants; and for the profit of all the saints, in all subsequent ages, these things are left on record. We will, therefore, endeavor to draw from the whole subject such wholesome instruction and admonition, as it is calculated to furnish.
Improvement. As the talent was taken from the slothful servant and given to the other, we infer that the manner of God's dealings with those who in that instance, having been often reproved, hardened their necks and were destroyed with those in whose company and revellings they had connected themselves - the giving this talent to the others, shows that the very example of their chastisements adds one talent W him who had ten.
As in the case above treated on, in regard to the destruction of Jerusalem, and the admonitions, chastisements, &c., of those who were found disobedient to the Savior's special charge, the words of Christ stood more permanently than did the pillars of that heaven and earth mentioned verse 35, chap. xxiv; so we should learn that all the admonitions given to the people of God, in regard to the developement of the man of sin, the son of perdition, are also faithful and true, and none of the righteous judgments of God provided in his word for the chastisement of his disobedient children shall in any wise fail. The same disobedient and uneasy disposition which marked the character of the evil and unfaithful servants in the foregoing subject, is also to be found among those of the present day, and the same propensity to treat with indifference the most solemn admonitions of our blessed Lord. Now the spirit speaketh expressly that in the last days shall come perilous times; many shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing Spirits and doctrines of devils, &c.; and many shall follow their pernicious ways. Again, even of your ownselves shall many rise up drawing away disciples after them. Indeed, nearly all the things which were aforetime predicted concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, and saying to God's children, "Save yourselves from this untoward generation," &c.; are now said of the approaching destruction of Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots, and the Abominations of the Earth and very similar admonitions are given to the Lord's people, "Come out of her, my people" - (But why? Certainly not to secure the eternal salvation of their souls; for this was secure in Christ from everlasting) – "That ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." As the veracity of him that speaketh from heaven was given in regard to the certain destruction of Jerusalem, so is the truth of Jehovah now pledged that Babylon shall sink like a millstone, and be found no more at all; and as many signs were given to the saints, by which they could as easily understand the near approach of that divine visitation; so are equally prominent signs given to teach us of the near approach of the downfall of the anti-christian beast. How stands the case now? Who are improving the talents or warnings Christ has given us, and who are now answering to the description given of evil servants, of foolish virgins, and of wicked and slothful servants? There are at this day some who are watching the signs of the times, and marking with the utmost attention the progress of the man of sin; such are improving the talents given them, by giving seasonable warning to the household of Christ, and such of them as shall endure the scorn, ridicule and reproach of gainsayers unto the end of those things, shall be saved from the calamities or plagues which are written against Babylon. But, Alas! how many are they who among the nominal people of God, are saying, Since the fathers have fallen asleep, all things remain as they were, and where is the promise of his coming? or, My Lord delayeth his coming; we must usher in the latter day glory ourselves, and we must hasten the coming of the Lord by our efforts or he will never come - for he delayeth his coming: henceforth they begin to eat and drink with the drunken. That very class of Baptists to whom these expressions apply, are now mingling with the infatuated, drunken Babylonians, or anti-christian denominations around about them, uniting in all their modern systems of what they call effort, &c. And they are at this very moment smiting the men-servants - (ministers and other servants who are improving their Lord's money by warning the saints), and the maid-servants, gospel churches which adhere to the Old School principles in faith and practice. They also, like the foolish virgins, have their lamps, but nothing in them which can enlighten the people of God, or give seasonable warning to the saints; no oil: they are only Baptists now by name; having submitted to the external ordinance of baptism; but the sound doctrine once held in these professions is now gone out; nothing of it now remains. They think and talk of purchasing some light of those Theological institutions which profess to keep it for sale; but they will be too late, for they are and ever will be, "ever learning, and. never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." Again, they answer the description given of the slothful servant. They say in substance, Lord, we knew thee, thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strewed; and we were afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth; or in other words, We knew thee, that thou didst require of thy servants to go out and preach, and warn the people, and that thou didst not allow them to take their purse or scrip, nor even to make previous arrangements with a Missionary Board, to pay them for their labor; that thou didst require of them to blow the trumpet, and sound the alarm, and give the trumpet a certain sound; and didst not make provision for them to get a classical education, by providing colleges and schools where they might qualify themselves for usefulness; and hence to require usefulness of them and not allow them the means to make themselves useful, is to reap where thou hast not sown. And furthermore, for us to go and preach and beg money to live upon, and for thee to claim the glory of the salvation of all that are saved by our efforts, is to gather where thou has not strewed. We have, on the whole, thought it best to bury thy talent (doctrine, admonitions and instructions) in the earth, (that is, cover up and conceal it under our own earthly, humanly invented schemes, &c.) and go upon our own footing. We have fallen on plans which in our judgment will make us a better living, entitle us to greater respect and less persecution, and will also, we think, secure the salvation of many more precious souls than such an hard man as thou art, had made provisions for saving. We have therefore set thee and thy Old School followers down as a set of anti-benevolent people, and modestly claim for ourselves the right to monopolize all the benevolence in the world. Here is thy talent, the doctrine which we have suppressed, because we found it unprofitable to preach it, take that is thine! But how will the insolence of these characters be surprised when they shall find the Lord has kept a different reckoning from their own, and that out of their own mouths they shall be judged. According to their own showing, they should have put this talent to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. If they had no disposition to profit by the solemn warning of Christ themselves as honest men, they should have confessed the truth - acknowledged that such warnings were given, that others might have profited by it. Or perhaps this part of the subject may more appropriately describe the men who have stood as thousands do now stand in the relation of pastors to the flock. If they were not satisfied to preach the doctrine of Christ, and trust in him to sustain it and them, they should. have withdrawn from the place they have occupied and made room for others who, like Paul, would not shun to declare the whole counsel of God. The punishment of such wretches is, that they shall be stripped of the livery of the ministers of Christ, and as they have been partakers of the sins of Babylon, so they shall receive of her plagues. Such, by the decision of Christ the Righteous Judge, shall be cast into outer darknes: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
*We understand the terms, all his goods, and many things, to have reference to the gospel with all its fullness of doctrine, ordinances and consolations with those who endured unto the end of those days of tribulation, and entered with their Lord into his joys; in the New Jerusalem, which then came down, adorned as a bride for her husband, enjoyed. That is, after the tribulation of those days, when Jewish rites were fully abolished, and the middle wall of partition between Jews and Gentiles was thrown down, and the Gentile saints brought in; these faithful servants had an enlarged sphere of action, were rulers of all the goods, were to teach with all, or with full authority to both Jew and Greek, the unsearchable riches of the gospel of Christ.
Alexandria, D. C.,
December 16, 1839.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 1
Pages 561 - 566