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fore the Fajpver: and if the Ftgs, which they brought, as well as the Grapes, were ripe, and full grown, then were the ripe Figs' in Judea at the very fame Time, that our Saviour is here laid to look for them. But this is not

all.

Solomon, in his Book of Canticles, gives us a lively Description of the Spring, and, among other Signs of its being come, makes mention of this, that ' the Fig-free futteth forth her green Figs, and the Vines, with the tender Grape, give a good smelly ot (as it may more literally be render'd) the Tig-free hath begpn to give a flavour to her young Figs, and the Vines a good smell to the tender Grape. Now, if, in the middle of our January, the Figs were so forward, as then to give a Flavour, it is reasonable to think, that, in so warm and fruitful a Climate, there might be ripe ones, about the latter end of March, which is the precise Time when our Saviour sought for them upon this Fig-free.

Our Saviour indeed instances in the m Tenderness of the Branch of the FigTree, and in its putting forth Leaves, as the natural sign of the near approach of the Summer j but 'tjs of the ordinary S 4 or

'Ch.ii. 13. * Mark xiii.iS.

or Garden Fig-Tree, that he makes this Observation, which, (according to the ualmudifls, cited by our learned Lightfoot J brought not its Fruit to maturity, till about five Months after the eleventh Day of Nisan, i. e. much about the latter end of our August. and po- The Truth is, n there were in Judea {wfU" Fig-Trees of different Kinds; and, besides the ordinary fort, which our Saviour here speaks of, the Jewish Writers make particular mention of one early Kind, called Banoth Shuach, which never wanted Leaves, and very seldom. Fruit. Nay, Pliny tells us of ibme sort of Fig-Trees in Syria, (under which Name he frequently comprehends Judea J ° that had always Leaves, and when the Fruit of the preceding Tear was gathered, the new fruit began immediately, and was growing all the Winter long. And therefore we need left wonder at what the Emperor Julian asserts, P 'That in Damascus, in Syria, there is a Sort of Fig-Tree, whose Fruit, both old and young, grows together, and lajls beyond the Tear; or at what a very eminent Traveller, and great Naturalist assures us, i '* That some sort of Figs grow in

"the

"Bp. SmaUbrcke's Vind. p. 405. * Nat. Hist. t, 13. c. S. 'Jul. Ep. 24. * Tournesort's

Voyages to the Lewtnti

'* the Archipelago in Winter, Spring, *t and Summer, but that the Garden ** Fig is not ripe there, till the End *f of August', or the beginning of Sep"tember." From all which, we may be allow'd to conclude, that there might be Figs in Judea fit to eat, at the Time when our Saviour went to look for some on this Tree; and therefore,

Seconds To accommodate the Words Thedifof St. Mark (« $ w xxipos avuaiv) to ^rent' this Circumstance, l some have thought cxpiainfit to read them by way of Interrogati- i»g Mark Od, for was it not the Time of Figs ? X1"l3' Which finall Variation, and including Part of the Sentence in a Parenthesis, will make the whole Verle run thus; And, feeing a Fig-Tree afar off] having Leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon {and when he came ta it he found nothing but Leaves) for was it not the Time of Figs? The Interrogation, lay they, has here the full Force of an Affirmation, and, by the help of the Parenthesis, is a very good Reason for what went immediately before it, viz. our Saviour's Expectance of finding Fruit on the Tree, for wejl might he do so, when it was the proper Season for Figs,

Others

I Dr. Peane, p. 12.

Others imagine, s that by the Words, for the Time of Figs was not jet, may not improperly be mean:, that the * Figtime, or time, when Figs were wont to be gather'd, was not yet come; and ib, keeping the Parenthesis, as before, in the middle of the Sentence, the Words will account for our Saviour's going to the Fig-Tree, if haply he might find any Thing thereon. The only Difficulty is to prove, that the Time of Figs may signify the Time of gathering them; but for this they produce several Authorities, and, among others, one in St. Matthew, who, in the Parable, tells us, that when the Lord of the Vinyardsent his Servants to the Husband-men, that they might receive the Fruits of it, it was when the Time of the Fruit drew mar, i. e. when the Time of gathering it was at hand. For, if it is not fuppofeable, that the Servants were lent more early, than there was occasion, the Time of ripe Grapes might then be come, tho' the Time of gathering them drew but near.

Taking the Time of Figs then for the

Time of gathering them, we must ob

• serve serve farther, that, on the second Day of unleavened Bread,/. e. about five or fix Days aster our Saviour's thus coming to this Tree, the first Fruits of all that was then ripe were solemnly presented in the Temple, nor were the Owners of any Trees permitted toga-* ther in their Fruit, but oblig'd to let it hang- (how ripe soever it was) until that Day was come; and, consequently, if no Fruit Trees were as yet gather'd, our Saviour was far from acting a ridiculous part, in expecting to find something upon a Fig-Tree, that look'd so promising at a Distance.

'Ibid. p. I ?. * Vid. Kidder's Demonfl. Pars J, P«3&> 39. where, by several parallel Instances he shews both that this may be the Sense of the Word • xiLifbi, and that a Ptrenthrjts, in the Place, is necessary.

But the clearest Solution seems to be that, which arises from what has been observ'd concerning the different kinds of Fig-Trees, which grew in Judea, and the different Times of their Fruit's coming to Maturity. * For, if there were two Sorts of Fig-Trees in Judea, the one much earlier than the other, and thence two Seasons of ripe Figs, the one much later than the other, and (as 'tis natural to suppose) the later much more common and plentiful than the former; the later was properly called the T'ime osBigs, and the Evangelist might very truly fay, that, at the Time of the faflover, it was not yet come, i. e. the

commoq

J Dr, Pearce, p. 14.

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