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The Destruction of others should be a Warning to us. 129 prevented, and that Sentence of his Wrath avertod, which would other-Sect. 115. wise plunge us into endless Ruin and Misery; for when could we pretend m to have paid the last Farthing of the Debt of Ten Thousand Talents, which we have been daily contracting, and which is charged to our Account in the Book of his Remembrance !

SECT. cxvi.
Christ on the Mention of some Calamities which had be-

fallen others, warns his Hearers of the Danger they were
in, if they did not repent; and illustrates it by the Parable
of the barren Fig-tree. Luke XIII. 1,---9.

LUKE XIII. 1.

LUKE XIII. 1. THERE were present at NOW while our Lord was thus discoursing of Sect. 116.

that Season, some that the Necessity of being at Peace with God. told him of the Galileans, whose Blood Pilate had minJome who were present at that Time, told him of Luke Allo gled with their Sacrifices. those unhappy Galileans, the Followers of Judas“

Gaulonites (á); who had rendered themselves ob-
noxious to the Roman Power by some Acts or
Principles of Refistance to it ; and whose Blood
Pilate the Governor had in effect mingled with
their Sacrifices, having circumvented and Nain
them, while they were worshipping in the Temple

at a publick Feast.
2 And Jesus answering, And Yesus, without making any Remarks on 2
Laid unto them, Suppose ye the Cause in which they were engaged, endea-

that

voured with his usual Wisdom and Piety, to lead
the Minds of his Hearers into some profitable Re-

flections

6) Told him of those Galileans, the Followers of Judas Gaulonites.] Josephus has given us the Story of this Judas Gaulonites at large, Antiq. lib. xviii. cap. 1. $. 1. (See also Bell. Jud. lib. ii. cap. 8. (al. 7.) $. 1. cap. 17. $. 8. & lib. vii. cap. 8. (al. 28.) Havercamp.) It appears, he was the Head of a Sext, who asserted God to be thoir only Sovereign, and were so utterly averse to a Submission to the Roman Power, that they accounted it unlawful to pay Tribute unto Cæfar, and rather would endure the greatest Torments than give any Man the Title of Lord. This Judas is probably the Person, whom Gamaliel refers to, Aets v. 37. - Fosephus does not mention the Slaughter of these Galileans ; (which, by the Way, makes Zegerus's Interpretation very improbable, that they were actually slain at the Altar, in Contempt of the Temple ;) but he records an Action of Pilate that much resembles it, of the Manner of his treating the Samaritans. Antiq. lib. xviii, cap. 4. (al. 5.) §. 1.Perhaps this Story of the Galileans might now be mentioned to Cbrift, with a Design of leading him into a Snare, whether he should justify, or condemn, the Persons that were lain. Vol. II.

(6) You

Except we repent,' we shall all perish.

130 Sect. 116. flections upon the Event ; and in Reply said to that these Galileans were w them. Do you think that these Galileans were noto- Şinners above all the GaliLuke XIII. rious Sinners above all the rest of the Galileans, such things?.

leans, because they suffered
that they suffered such fad Things as these, and were
3 cut off in so miserable a Manner? If you do, 3 I tell you, Nay: but
you are much mistaken, and very unfit to judge except ye repent, ye lhall all

likewise perilh.
of the Conduct of Providence : For howsoever
you may censure them, I tell you, No, you are
not to conclude this was the Case ; but except you
repent, you shall all perish thus (6); Vengeance
will overtake you in your evil Ways, and in the
desolating Judgments that will shortly come on
your whole Nation, the Blood of many of you

shall be mingled with your Sacrifices.
4 Or to instance in another unhappy Case that 4 Or those Eighteen, up-

has lately occurred, I mean, that of those Eighteen on whom the Tower in Sie Men, on whom the Tower in Siloam fell, and flew

loam fell, and flew them,

think ye that they were sin them (c), do you think, they were greater Offenders ners above all Men that than all the other Inhabitants of Yerusalem. that dwelt in Jerusalem ?

they were thus singled out for Destruction ? 5 I tell you, No; and you would judge very rathly, 5 I tell you, Nay : but

if you were in general to draw such Conclusions : except ye repent, ye ihales
for the best of Men may be involved with others

all likewise perish.
in Temporal Calamities : But remember what I
told you before, that except you repent, you mall
all perish thus; you shall be pressed under the in-
supportable Load of the Divine Vengeance, and

be

(b) You shall all perish thus : waules atoreide.) Some content themselves with rendering it, You shall all perish, as well as they ; and possibly no more may be intended : Yet the Rendering I prefer appears to be more literal; and 'I the rather chuse it, because (as Gretius, Tillotson, Whitby, and many others have observed, there was a remarkable Refemblance between the Fate of these Galileans, and that of the whole Jewish Nation ; the Flower of which was slain at Jerusalem by the Roman Sword, while they were assembled at one of their great Festivals ; (see Jofeph. Bell. Jud. lib. vi. cap. 9. (al. vii, 17.) S. 304.) and many Thousands of them perished in the Temple itself, and were (as their own Historian represents it at large,) literally buried under its Ruins. Joseph. Bell. Jud. lib. vi. cap. 4. (al. vii. 10.) S. 6. & cap. 5. (al. vii, 11.) $. 1, 2.

(c) On whom the Tower in Siloam fell, and new them.] From the Fountain of Siloam, which was without the Walls of Yerusalem, a little Stream flowed into the City, (ija. viii. 6.) which was received in a Kind of Bafon, which fome have thought to be the same with the Pool of Bethesda. (See 2 Kings xx, 20. Neh. iii. 16. Ifa. viii. 6. and John v. 2. ix. 7.) Being near the Temple, it is no Wonder that many frequented it for Purification ; but the Calamity occasioned by the Fall of the neighbouring Tower, is not; that I can find, mentioned any where, but here. Probably it had happened at some late Feast ; and some of Christ's Hearers might then have been at Yerusalem. Erasmus indeed takes this Siloam to have been Shiloh, the place where the Tabernacle was first settled, 070h. xviii, 1. PJalo Ixxviii, 60.) but without sufficient Reason. See Drufius, in loc,

(d) These

CHRIST delivers the Parable of the barren Fig-tree. 131

be destroyed under the Ruins of that Holy City, Sect. 116.

in which you trust. 6 He spake also this Pa- And in order to awaken them more effectually Luke XIII. rable : A certain Man had to such deep and serious Repentance, he spake 0. a Fig tree planted in his

le came and this Parable to them, There was a certain Man · fought Fruit thereon, and who had a Fig-tree planted in bis Vineyard, and found none.

came for several successive Seasons, searching for 7 Then said he unto the Fruit upon it, but he found none. And at length, 7 Dresser of his Vineyard,

do despairing of any better Success, he said to the Behold, these three Years I come seeking Fruit on this Keeper of the Vineyard, Behold, these Three Years Fig-tree, and find none: cut together (d), I have come to look for Fruit upon it down, why cumbereth it

this Fig-tree, and still I find none: Cut it down the Ground

therefore immediately; for why does it thus cumber
the Ground, filling up the Place of more profitable
Plants with its useless Bulk, and drawing away

Nourishment from those that grow around it ?
8 And he answering, said But such was the Concern of the Vine-dreffer for 8
unto him, Lord, let it alone its Preservation, that he said to him in Reply. S.
this Year also, till I shall dig

I defire thou wouldst let it alone this Year a about it, and dung it:

till I shall dig up the Ground about it, and lay 9 And if it bear Fruit, Dung to the Root of it: And then perhaps it well: and if not, then after may bear Fruit (e), and if so, it is well, and thou that, thou shalt cut it down.

préservest thy Tree ; but if not, after this thou
Malt, if thou pleasest, cut it down, and I will
say nothing farther to prevent it. By which Pa-
rable our Lord did plainly represent to the Jews
the Divine Displeasure against them, for having
neglected the many Opportunities they had en-
joyed, as planted in the Vineyard of God's
Church ; (compare Isa. v. 1, 2. xxvii. 2, 3.) and
in an awful Manner intimated, that tho they
had hitherto, at his Intercession, been spared, yet
if they continued unfruitful under the additional

Culti

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(d) These Three Years.] Many have supposed, that these Words allude to the Time of Christ's personal Ministry, which, as most have computed the Chronology of the New Testament, had now lasted Three Years : But it is certain, the Patience of God bore with them much longer than another Year. Grotius therefore thinks it more probable, it may refer to the Nature of a Fig-tree, which, if it bear at all, generally begins to do it within Three Years after it is planted ; but might, to be sure, be looked upon as barren, if it had disappointed the Expectation of the Planter Three Years together, after the Time in which it Thould have yielded Fruit, which was yet worse.

(e) Perhaps it may bear Fruit : xav ver womon xdprov.] It is in the Original something of an abrupt Way of speaking, of which Raphelius has produced many Examples : ( Annot. ex Xen. pag. 102, 103.) But I think the Way of rendering the Idiom, I have here used, would suit it in most of those Instances.

R 2

() Under

132 Reflections on the Guilt and Danger of Unfruitfulness. Sect. 116. Cultivation they were thortly to receive, on the w a Descent of the Spirit, and the Proposal of the Luke XIII.

11. Gospel in its full Extent and Evidence (f), they

must expect nothing but speedy, irresistible, and
irrecoverable Ruin.

IMPROV EM E N T.

Ver. 9.

Luke xiii. 6. U H ICH of us may not learn a Lesson for himself, from this in

W structive Parable of the Fig-tree? Have we not long been planted in GOD's Vineyard, and favoured with the Cultivation of his Ordinances,

yea, with the Dews of his Grace too ; and yet how little Fruit have we Ver. 7. borne in Proportion to those Advantages ? How long has he come seeking it

in vain, while we have frustrated the most reafonable Expectations, per

aps not only for Three, but several of us for more than Thirty Years? Wonderful is it, that the dreadful Sentence has not long since gone forth

against us, Cut them down, why cumber they the Ground ? We owe it to Ver. 8. the Intercession of our Blessed Redeemer, the great Keeper of the Garden

of GOD, that this has not long since been our Case. Let us not be highminded, but fear. (Rom. xi. 20.) Let barren Sinners reflect, that this may be the last Year, perhaps indeed the last Month, or laft Day of their Trial; for even now also is the Ax laid to the Root of the Tree. (Mat. iii. 10.) And let them remember, that tho' there be Hope of a Tree, when it is cut down, that it may sprout again, (Job xiv. 7.) yet when the Doom is executed on them, their Root will be as Rottenness, and their Blossom will go up like Duft ; (Isa. v. 24.) and every Tree which brings not forth good Fruit,

will be hewn down, and cast into the Fire. Ver. 2. Let such therefore meditate Terror, when the Judgments of GOD are

abroad in the Earth; and when others are overwhelmed in Ruin, let them

not harshly censure the Sufferers, as if they were greater Sinners, than Ver. 3, 5. any others; but let them apply that falutary, tho' awful Admonition to

their own Souls, repeating it again and again, till they are pricked to the

Heart by it, Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Ver, 1. Terrible indeed was the Case of those, wholė Blood Pilate mingled with

their Sacrifices ; and of those, who were dashed to Pieces in a Moment Ver. 4. by the Fall of Siloam's Tower : But infinitely more dreadful will be the

Condition of them, that fall into the Hands of the Living GOD; (Heb. x. 31.) especially of those Deceivers, who having, surrounded his Altars CHRIST cures a Crooked Woman in the Synagogue. 133 with the hypocritical Forms of Devotion, shall themselves be made the Sect. 116. Victims of his Justice, and be crushed by the resistless Weight of his w Almighty Vengeance.

with

(f) Under the additional Cultivation, &c.] The extraordinary Means used to bring them to Repentance after the Refurrection of Christ, by the Effufion of his Spirit, and the preaching of the Apostles, might with great Propriety be expressed by digging round the barrea Tree, and applying warm Compof, or Dung, to its Roots.

SECT. CXVII.
CHRIST cures a Crooked Woman in the Synagogue, and

vindicates bis doing it on the Sabbath-Day ; and after-
wards repeats the Parables of the Grain of Mustard-Seed,
and of the Leaven. Luke XIII. 10,---22.

LUKE XIII. 10.

LUKE XIII. 10. AND he was teaching in T HUS our Lord went on in his Journey Sect. 117: A one of the Synagogues I thro' Galilee for a considerable Time; and on the Sabbath.

as he was teaching in one of the Synagogues on the le.
11 And behold, there was Sabbath - Day, Behold, there was present a u
a Woman which had a Spirit poor disabled Woman, who (as the Jews used com-
of Infirmity eighteen Years,
and was bowed together, and monly to express it,) had been afflicted by a Soi.
could in no wise lift up her- rit of Weakness (a) no less than Eighteen Years,

and was bowed together in so fad a Manner, that
from the Time it first seized her, she was utterly.
unable to raise berself upright (6), or to stand

ftreight. 12 And when Jesus saw And Yesus seeing her, and intimately knowing 12: .. her, he called her to him, all the fad Circumstances of her Affliction, and

and

the Difficulty with which she was then come to
attend the Solemnities of Divine Worship there,

called

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(a) Had been amicted by a Spirit of Weakness.] It is very evident, the Jews apprehended, that all remarkable Disorders of Body proceeded from the Operation of some malignant Demon. Perhaps they might draw an Argument from what is said of Satan's Agency in the Afdi&tion of Job, (chap. i. and ii.) and from Psal. xci. 6. (compare Septuag.) and 1 Sam. xvi. 14. They also considered Satan as having the Power of Death. Heba ii. 14:-->And that in some Maladies this was indeed the Case, is intimated by our Lord's Reply here, ver. 16. and by St. Paul's Words, i Cor. v. 5. where he speaks of delivering an Offender to Satan. for the Destruction of the Flem. The Topick is very judiciously handled by that illuftria ous Writer Mr. Howe ; (see his Works, Vol. ii. pag. 366, 361.) and there are some curious and entertaining Remarks in Wolfius on this Text.

(6) Utterly unable to raise herself upright.] This Version of us dirauern evo.ru fad ES TO Fuenss, seems preferable to that other, which the Words es. Ta oarlenes might bear; “ Sbe could not lift herself up, so as to stand perfectly streight.(Compare Heb. vii. 25. Gr.) For on the Rendering I have given, which is equally literal, the Miracle appears much more important, than on the other.

(c) A.

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