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But the parable brings in no types directly or in its immediate sense, and no determined persons.
Metaphor ( Latin translatio ) is a vague term, which might be applied to any short parabolic saying but does not fit the narrative of an action, such as we mean by a parable in the New Testament .
Thus we find two lines of interpretation, the first dealing with Our Lord's parables as and when they were spoken -- let this be termed critical exegesis ; and the second bringing out their significance in the history of the Church , or ecclesiastical exegesis.
Both are connected and may be traced to the same root in Revelation: yet they are distinct, somewhat after the fashion of the literal and mystical sense in Scripture generally. The parables of the New Testament refuse to be handled like Aesop's fables; they were intended from the first to shadow forth the "mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven ", and their double purpose may be read in Matthew -18, where it is attributed to Christ Himself.
If, however, system be not made the vehicle of teaching, what shall a prophet employ as its equivalent? It is primitive, interesting, and easily remembered ; and its various applications give it a continual freshness.
The story came into use long before the system, and will survive when systems are forgotten.
Moreover parables thus detached from a Christological significance would hang in the air and could claim no place in the teaching of the Son of God. Of the proverb not an ill definition might be that it is a closed or contracted parable: and of the parable, that it is an expanded proverb.Examples or "histories with a moral " have at least a core of reality-the instances occurring in Scripture and allowed by critics are such as Esther, Susanna, Tobias ; but a parable need not quote individual persons, and except in the doubtful case of Lazarus, we shall not light upon instances of this kind among the stories told in the Gospels.A type consists in the significance given by prophecy to a person or his acts, e.g., to Isaac as the lamb of sacrifice, and the symbolical deeds of Ezechiel or Jeremias.When we consider what Oriental fancy has made of the universe, and how it is depicted in cosmogonies like that of Hesiod, the contrast becomes indescribably great.It is in the world which all men know that Christ finds exemplified the laws of human ethics, and the correspondences on which His kingdom shall be carried to its Divine consummation.