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314 As Jesus returns in the Morning from Bethany, Sect. 149. considerable Distance, which had a fine Spread of ing Leaves, he came [to it,] w Leaves upon it, and therefore appeared to be one if haply he might find any Mark XI. of the earlier Kind, he went up to it, [to see] if he came to it, he found no

thing thereon : and when 13.

be could find any thing upon it to satisfy his Hun- thing (thereon] but Leaves ger : And when he came to it,

[only 3] for the Time of

Figs was not yet. [MAT. upon it but Leaves only ; for there was not so XXI. 10.-1 much as any Fruit in the Bud; by which it plainly appeared, that tho' it looked fo beautiful, it was a barren Tree. Now it is to be observed, that our Lord turned out of the Way, because, as it was yet but early in the Summer, the Time of gathering Figs was not (yet) come (f); so that

had

(f) The Time of Figs was not (yet) come.) I shall not trouble the Reader with an Account of all the strange Solutions, which have been given to the Difficulty, which immediately arises in the Mind on reading this Clause ; nor with the particular Reasons which may be offered against each. The best View of them all, that I can recollect, may be had by consulting Witfius, in his Meletemata ; and I think the best Solution may be seen in Mr. Hallet's Notes and Discourses, Vol. ii. pag, 114,-124. It is certain, as he has there proved from incontestable Authority, and we have observed elsewhere, (Note (b) on Luke vi. 1. Vol. i. pag. 304.) that the Climate of Judea being abundantly warmer than ours, the Pasover, tho' never later than April, commonly fell at the Beginning of their Harvest, i. e. of their Summer, which is there vehemently hot, not only in May, but in March and April; (in which last this Passover probably fell :) Compare Jof. iii. 15. iv. 19. V. 10, II. and i Chron. xii. 15. (See allo Lev. xxiii. 15,-17. compared with Exod. ix. 31, 32. and Ruth ii. 23.) Now it is equally certain, that one, and that the most delicate Kind of Figs, was ripe in Judea at the Beginning of Summer ; (as we have a fine Sort in England which are ripe before our Harvest, having put out the Autumn before, and stood the whole Winter :) See Hof. ix. 10. Mic. vii. 1. Neh. iii. 12. Yer. xxiv. 2. Cant. ii, 11,–13. and Ija. xxviii, 4. And the Fig-tree's opening its Leaves, which every Body knows do not appear till after the Fruit, is spoken of as a Sign of approaching Summer, Mat. xxiv. 32. Our Lord therefore at this Time might well expect to find Fruit on this Tree, since the Time of gathering even these early Figs was not yet come, which if it had, there would have been noRoom for the Expectation, or the Curse which followed it. That napos ouxw does not fignify, as some have fancied, a kindly Season for Figs, but the Time of gatbering them in, I think the learned Bishop Kidder has abundantly proved. See his Demonstration of the Melfiah, $. ii. pag. 38, 39. Compare Mat. xxi. 34. Mark xii. 2. and Numb. xiii. 23. It is true, this Interpretation of the Story, tho’ incomparably easier than any other I know, will require a Transposition of the Clause before us, as if it had been said, He came, if baply he might find any thing thereon ; for the Time of Figs was not yet ; and when he came to it, be found nothing but Leaves. But no Interpretation whatever can make the last Clause, as we read it, a Reason for what stands immediately before it, that he found nothing but Leaves; for it is well known, that if our common Fig-trees have no young Figs on them in March or April, they can produce none that Year. None can deny another Transposition of the like Kind, in the same Evangelift, Mark xvi. 3, 4. both of them probably being occafioned by an accidental Interlineation in the Original, and a Miftake of some early Traitfcriber, who did not bring in the interlined Claule exactly in its due Place. See Instances of the like Kind, Gen. xiii. 10. and 7016. xxii. 22.-And if with Heinsius, Knatchbyll, and Gataker, we should here read & instead of d, and render it, where he was it was the Season of Figs; we must admit of the same Transposition, and consequently should gain no Advantage at all, by a Version, which (as all learned Men know,) is very harsh, and attended with an Inelegancy and Impropriety, which this would be no proper Place to examine.

(8) And

4

he fees à Fig-tree that had only Leaves, and curses it. 315

had this Tree produced any, they would pro- Sect. 149. 14 And Jesus answered bably have been growing still upon it. And and said unto it, No Man

Mark XI. n Jesús finding it to be a barren Tree, that only Mar eat Fruit of thee hereafter for ever : T Let no Fruit made a promising Appearance, but had produced grow on thee henceforward no Fruit, said to it upon this Occafon (g), As for ever. ] And his Disciples thou art fruitless now, continue always so ; let no heard it; (and presently the Fio. tree withered away, i Man from henceforwards, ever eat Fruit of thee, (MAT. XXI. -19.) nor any Fruit hereafter ever grow upon thee. And

bis Disciples beard [it,] and took Notice of the
Words; and as soon as he had spoken them,
(tho' his Disciples, as they were passing on, did
not observe it at that Time,) the Fig-tree imme-
diately withered away ; Christ intending by that
significant Action to intimate, that the Curse of
God should thus wither and destroy the Jewish
Nation, which he had before compared to an un-
fruitful Fig-tree. (See Luke xiii. 6,-9. Sect. 116.
pag. 131.)

IMPROVE M E N T.

T IOW evidently neceffary is the Operation of Divine Grace, to con- John xii. 37.

quer the Prejudices of a finful Heart; since even the Preaching of Christ himself, inforced by all his ftupendous Miracles, could not overcome those Prejudices without it! And how cautious should Sinners be, that they do not stop their Ears to the joyful Sound of the Gospel, and shut their Eyes against its glorious Light ; left God should leave them to Ver. 38,-40. their own Delusions, and in his righteous Judgment seal them up under final Blindness and Impenitence! Then will they never be converted and bealed; but die with that Poison in all the Faculties of their Souls, which will make them for ever restless and miserable.

Can we find Words sufficient to express the Madness of these Pharisees, Ver. 42. who, while they were in their Consciences convinced that Jesus was the Christ, would not confess that Conviction, and publickly pay their Homage to him, because they loved the Praise of Men more than the Praise of GOD? Ver. 43. Strange Infatuation of the Human Mind! that it should be capable of believing there is a GOD, and yet of preferring the Creatures before him; and should sometimes imagine the vain Breath of popular Applause, or popular Censure, so considerable, as that God should be offended, to

please

(8) And yesus said to it upon this Occasion. It is plain, that in this Place this must be the Sense of that Phrase, 1 ejus answered and said. "Compare Note (f) on Mat. xi. 25. Vol. i. pag. 359.

316

Refle&tions on the Danger of an empty Profeffion. Sect. 149. please Man; and all the Honours and Rewards of his Heavenly Presence m loft, to secure a little Regard from those, who are perishing in their

Crimes, and will e'er long be themselves the Objects of everlasting Shame

and Contempt. Mark xi. May none of us ever indulge such a Temper, or ever rest in an empty 13, 14. Profession ; left, being like the Fig-tree before us, which had Leaves, but

no Fruit, the Curse of Christ should be pronounced upon us, which would Mat. xxi.

immediately wither us amidst all our Verdure! Let us remember, that this 19. was intended, as one of those significant Actions, by which the holy

Messengers of God frequently intimated approaching Judgments. Happy would it have been, if fome, instead of searching out Objections against it, had seriously considered its Design, and the sad Aspect with which it looks. on those, who, like them, receive the Grace of GOD in vain!

SECT. CL.
Christ arriving at Jerusalem, visits the Temple again ;

and after a repeated Effort to reform the continued Abuses
there, discourses with the People in a Manner which far-
ther exasperates the Priests; and in the Evening goes out of
the City. Mark XI. 15,---19. John XII. 44, 20 the End.

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15.

and

MARK XI. 15.

MARK XI. 15. Sect. 150. AND soon after the Fig-tree had been cursed, AND they come to Jerua l they come to Jerusalem ; and Jesus entering, ;

a falein : and Jesus went Mark XI.

po into the Temple, and began as he had done the Day before, into the Temple, to cast out them that told observed as he was passing thro' the Court of the and bought in the Temple, Gentiles, that the People who had polluted it by their Traffick were seated there again ; and being displeased to see that sacred Place so shamefully profaned, he presently renewed his Testimony against them, and began to drive out them that jold and bought in the Limits of the Temple (a),

and

(a) To drive out them that fold and bought in the Temple.], The Time when this was done is fixed by Mark to the Day after Jefus made his publick Entry into Jerusalem, and so (as was observed before, Note () on Mat. xxi. 12. pag. 299.) this must have been a different Faet from that related by Matthew, which he has introduced on the preceding Day, before the Shoutings of the Children. We have supposed it therefore to be ripeated by our Lord; for as it is improbable, that he would not purge the Temple on the Day of his triumphant Entry, when Mark expressly says, that he looked round about upon all Things; so it is plainly

intimated

Jesus comes to Jerusalem, and again purges the Temple. 317 and overthrew the Tables of and overthrew the Tables of the Money-changers, Sect. 150. the Money-changers, and and also the Seats of them that fold Doves : w the Seats of them that sold

" And he permitted not that any one, for the Sake van Doves ;

16 And would not fuffer of shortening his Way, should carry any Burthen, that any Man should carry or any Kind of Veljel, thro' the Courts of the any Vessel through the Tem

Temple ; but strictly insisted on a due Reverence ple.

to it, as a Place that was entirely set apart to
17 And he taught, fay- God's immediate Service. And he taught 17
ing unto them, Is it not them at large the Evil of such Practices laving
written, My House shall be
called of Nations the to them, Is it not written, (as I observed but Yef-
House of Prayer ? but ye terday,) “ My House hall be called an House of
bave made it a Den of « Prayer, and thať not only for the Jews them-
Thieves.

« selves, but (as the Prophet says,) for the Sons
o of the Stranger that join themselves to the
“ Lord, or for those pious Proselytes, who from
u all the neighbouring Nations shall resort to it?”
(Isa. Ivi. 6, 7.) But you have turned it to another
Use, and made it in effect a Den of Robbers, by
fuffering People here to carry on their Trades,
and to profane the Place, in which the Gentiles
are to worship God, by scandalous Extortion
and unlawful Gain. (Compare Mat. xxi. 12, 13.

and Luke xix. 45, 46. pag. 299.) JOHN XI. 44. Jesus And then, as considerable Numbers of People John XII.. cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not were now gathered about him, ejus cried, or 44. on me, but on him that sent proclaimed with a loud Voice, saying, Be it known

unto you all, that in these extraordinary Steps
which I take for the Reformation of Abuses, and
the Vindication of God's House, I act by his
own immediate Direction and Authority; and
be that cordially believes in me, believeth not in.
me alone, but in him that sent me ; and thereby

does

me..

intimated here, that he did it after his Return from Bethany on the next Day. Nor is it at all unlikely, that after Jesus was departed out of the City, there would be People enough, if it were only out of Opposition to him, who would be ready to encourage the Traders, (some of whom might, perhaps, be new Comers,) to return again to their Places. And yesus therefore seems, (as Mr. Whiston has observed,) to have aflerted the Regard that was due to the Temple now, with more Severity and Exactness than he had done the Day before, not suffering any one so much as to carry a Vellel thro' the Temple; which is a Circumstance not mentioned either by Matthew or Luke, in their Account of the Transactions of the preceding Day. (See Seet. 147.) But I see no Foundation at all for Mr. Whiston's Conjecture, that on the former Day Chrift drove them out of the Yews Court, and now out of that of the Gentiles ; for it is no way probable, that the Traders were ever allowed to introduce their Wares into the Inner Couri, for which the Yews had a peculiar Reverence. See. Mr. Whifton's. View of the Harmony, pag. 131. and Dr. Whitby's Note on Mark xi. 17:

06). Thar:

47

318 He tells them the Danger of not receiving his Word : Sect. 150. does an Honour to the Father himself. And 45 And he that seeth me, w he that sees me, and regards me with a livelylee

seeth him that sent me.
John Xll. Faith, does also in effect see him that fent me, as
45.

the Perfections of the Father are displayed in
me; whereas he that shuts his Eyes against me,

excludes the only Means of being brought to the
46 true Knowledge of him. For full of the In- 46 I am come a Light

spiration of his blessed Spirit, I am come a Light into the World, that wholointo the World, that every one who really believes not abide in Darkness.

ever believeth on me, fhould in me, might not any longer abide in Darkness, but might attain to the Knowledge of all necessary Truth, and the Enjoyment of the most solid and excellent Happiness. And if any one of you 47 And if any Man hear bear my Words, which I am so frequently and my Words, and believe not,

I judge him not : for I came freely speaking, and will not believe in me, I do not to judge the World, but not now condemn him, or immediately execute to save the World. Judgment upon him ; for (as I formerly declared, John iii. 17. Sect. 26.) I am not come at present to condemn the World, or to perform any Work of Wrath and Terror, whatever ill Usage I may meet with in it; but the Design of my Appearance is mild and gentle, and I am come to save the World, and to make its Inhabitants happy for

Time and for Eternity, if they will be so wise 48 as to hearken to the Proposals I offer. Never- 48 He that rejecteth me, theless, tho' I do not immediately judge any, yet bath one that judgeth him:

and receiveth not my Words, he that rejects me, and does not receive my Words, the Word that I have spoken, will not escape final condemnation, but will the same thall judge him in find, to his Surprize and Confusion, that he has the lalt Day. one that judges him : For the Word that I have Spoken, tho' heard with Indifference from Day to Day, is recorded in the Book of God's Remembrance ; and as the Time will come, when the Proposals I have made shall be reviewed, even that very Word Mall judge him in the last awful Day (6), as the Tenor of it is so excellent, that

to

(6) That very Word mall judge him &c. onggos ou srannou, ERHVOS Xpivel qulov.] Our Lord by this Manner of speaking represents his Word as a Perfon, that should sit in Judgment upon Unbelievers at the Last Day. (Compare Heb. iv. 12.) But I can see no Ground for Mr. Fleming's Interpretation, (Christology, Vol. i. pag. 136.) who would render it, The Legos, which I have spoken of, snall judge him; as if he had said, “ Tho'it is not my present Bu“ finess to do it, yet I have a Commission from my Father, which is hereafter to take place, when I fall appear worthy of that great Name." I do not recollect, that our Lord had given himself the Title of Logos in any of his Discourses with the Jews; and therefore can fee no Reason to suppose such a Reference to it.

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