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we may be allowed to ask, what legal Right he had to it, and how could he in Conscience, without asking leave of the Proprietors,, have pulled and eaten it? And much more then may we ask, what Right and Authority he had to curse it, and where his Wisdom, or Justice, or Honesty lay, in "destroying, by this Act of Execration, "another Man's harmless and inoffensive Tree? There is some Reason, however, to suppose, that this Act of "Execration did not do the Work a"lone, but that, being minded to put a Trick upon his Disciples and Followers he might take an Opportunity to flip from them, and give it luch a private and imperceptible cut, as would make it wither away. But be ic that as it will, the Miracle is certain"ly repugnant to what our Divines "would have us believe of Jesus, and "the beneficent Nature of his Perform<{ ances. Instead of cursing this Tree, u had he. made a dead and withered "one immediately bud, and flourish, and revive, this had been such an Instance of his Power, as must have pass'd for an indisputable Miracle; such an Instance, as (like his Miracles of healing Diseases) carried Goodness along with itj and from

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tt the one with the other, we might "have justly inferred, that both were a the Operations of a good God: but "this one Instance of his cursing the "Fig-Tree, in iiich a rash extrava"gant Manner, spoils the Credit, and "sullies the Glory of all his other "Works.

It cannot be denied indeed, but that ThcStata 1 our Lord Je/us Christ, who, tho' he was *?d. Con: rich (as the Apostle expresses it) by Na- Qm/v* ture, as being Lord and Heir of all Lisc. Things, yet for our Jakes, became poor, that we through his Poverty might become rich, was frequently destitute of the Conveniencies of Life, and subject, at all times, to the innocent Infirmities of human Nature j yet we do not find that they gave any Perturbation to his Mind. b Foxes have holes, and the Birds of the Air have nests, but the Son of Man hath not, of his own, where to lay his Head, is the Description, he makes of his own Circumstances j c but what he wanted of this kind was occastonally supplied by several of his more wealthy Followers, who are recorded, as making Provision for him, out of their own Substance, and entertaining him from time to time at their Houles. And tho', upon any eS 1 mergenC

"1 Cor. viii. 9. l Mattb. viiL V3* cBp<Smith hreke's Vind, p< 4,10.

mergent Necessity, it was in his Power to supply himself in the lame miraculous manner, as he oft provided for others j yet where human Means could be us'd, it was more consistent with his Wisdom, to reserve his Miracles for a more important Occasion. Tho' therefore (as d the Apostle speaks) God hath put in Subjection to him the Towers of the World to come, and, on some extraordinary Conjunctures (such as his long Temptation in the Wilderness, and bitter Agony in the Garden,) did, even, in this Life, send down these minis ring Spirits to minijler unto him; yet, that it was neither necessary in itself, or compatible with the Scheme of his Humiliation, for them to do the fame upon the common returns of Appetite, no one, I think, can imagine. His going A Tree there was in the way, which up to the might have fupply'd his Wants upon the no Tht Prefent Occasion, had it not been barren; upon his and, (besides the Acquiescence of his DiOmnisti- vifjity^ which may very well be admitted in the common Actions of his Life) it is but supposing, that this Tree stood in the Road-fide, and that our Saviour, going that Way, (whether he found Fruit on it, or no) intended all along to work a Miracle upon it, and, by its

speedy speedy withering away, emblematically to shew his Disciples the near approaching Ruin and Desolation of the Jews; and then all the supposed trouble of going up to it, and disappointment afterwards, which seem to cast an Imputation upon his Omniscience, vanish into pothing.

f Heb. ii. J.

There seems to be mere Difficulty in* OtWsdeed in clearing our Saviour from the dorr" Other Imputation, that of the breach of common Prudence, in Case he had Thoughts of finding Fruit upon the FigTree, before the proper Season was come. But, to set this Matter in a true Light; we shall endeavour to shew, First, cThat, at the Time, when our Saviour went up to this Fig-Tree,, it was a Season proper to expect to find Figs in Judea-, and, Secondly, that the Words of St. Mark may be so understood, as to comport very well with this Circumstance,

Whoever considers the Series pf Hi- That story, and the strict Connexion of the ^heerrecFiK$ subsequent Actions and Discourses of j^^wL* Jefos, as they are recorded both by ** *»> St. Matthew and St. Mark, will soon be Tr^?d> •convinc*d, that this Miracle on the FigTree happen'd about the eleventh Day of the Jewish Month, Nisan, on Tuesday, very probably, before the Pa/fiverj for

S 3 the

• Dr. Peane, Part 3. p. 6.

the Passover, we know, was kept by the Jews on the fourteenth Day of Nisan, which answers to the latter end of our March: So that our Business is to shew, that at this Time of the Tear there were Figs in "Judea ripe, and fit for eat-? ing. from /*■ f When Moses sent away the Spies to ind search the Land of Canaan, it was, we are told, e in the T'ipie of the first rip* Grapes, and, that h they returned from searching the Land after forty Days, and brought from thence » Pomegranates, and Figs, as well as Clusters of Grapes.. Now the LXX Version fays, That it was in the Spring when the Spies let forward, and tyhilo, in his Life ofMo/es% seems to be of the fame .Opinion; for he introduces him, as dismissing the Spies, and telling them, that the Season was then the fittest for discovering the goodness of the Country, because it was Springs and, as charging them not to return, till Summer was come, that they might bring (f the Fruits of the Land for a Sample^ Supposing then, that it was about the middle of the Spring k (which began in Judea about the middle of January} that the Spies set out, and that they were gone forty Days; it will follow, that they retum'd some few Days before

f Dr. Prune, part 3. p. 8. g Numb. xiii. 20. S Ver. a j. j Ver. sj. * Vid. Pearce, Part 3. p. 7.

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