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who have been punished already, without any such previous indulgence, renders them justly liable to so much the severer treatment at last.

When, therefore, even the prediction of the final destruction of those who had not shared in the immediate consequences of the present calamity, is still made to depend on the supposition of their continuing impenitent to the last—the very disposition to suspend the fulfilment of his judgments upon any condition, and therefore to arrest them in their progress, and to stop their immediate execution, is a proof of the tender inercy, the patience and lenity of God, even towards the most guilty—as all but inexhaustible by the obstinacy of sinners themselves, and their stubborn perseverance in sin. There is no doubt that were the surviving Galilæans or the rest of their contemporaries, equally sinners with those who had perished, they also, on their own principles, might with equal justice have been cut off by the same, or by any similar calamity—as the others had been. That they were spared then still, while their countrymen had perished, did not add to the supposed demerits of the latter, or warrant any unreasonable presumption of superior personal worthiness in the former; but was simply a means and opportunity of further trial, which whether it should turn out an act of grace, or become an aggravation of guilt, in their instance, must depend on the use they made of it, to their own improvement. If they did not repent, sooner or later, they too must die in their sins; and though mercy for a time might glory over judgment, yet justice in the end must triumph over mercy.

The propriety of taking advantage of a past, but a partial instance of temporal calamity, affecting some of the members of a certain community—to build upon it the prophecy of a future and general destruction, to be apprehended by all—where the grounds of the visitation, whether on a smaller or a larger scale, were still the same—must be evident. That the present incident also was naturally adapted to give rise to such an enlarged application of it, is equally obvious. And as the whole of the unbelieving Jewish community was divisible only into the two comprehensive members of the native Jews and the Galilæans, respectively; so it is observable, we have two instances adduced of visitations distinctly affecting, in the first place, only a certain part of either of these divisions, each of which is made the foundation of a prophetical warning, by way of admonition to the rest, of what might be similarly expected for similar reasons, by all. The first of these is that which we have been hitherto considering; the second is the case of the eighteen, on whom the tower fell in Siloam; an example which considered as a warning, applied as directly to the survivors among the native Jews, or the existing inhabitants of Jerusalem, as the other did to those among the Galilæans c.

· The circumstances of this event are not specified, and therefore can only be conjectured. The occurrence was probably a well-known fact, though probably not so recent as the incident relating to the Galilæans. Who the sufferers by it were, viz. some of the inhabitants of Jerusalem ; how many perished, viz. eighteen persons; in what way and where, viz. by the falling of one of the towers of the walls of the city, near the pool of Siloam, which is known to have been outside the city-thus much is clearly stated, or may implicitly be inferred, about the event; but not more. Nor in fact is it of any importance

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It should also be observed, that this is the first of a series of predictions, relating to a common subject, the punishment of the infidel Jews, and the destruction of Jerusalem. Other prophecies may be met with in the course of the Gospel history, relating to this subject—which came after the present; but none, which occurred before it. Now the delivery of such predictions first was to be expected towards the close of our Saviour's ministry, rather than earlier in its progress: for it was but necessary that the trial or probation of the Jews by the personal ministry of the Messiah among them, should have been some time going on, and even be drawing to an end, before the denunciation of the penal consequences, to be apprehended from the fact of its failure, in their continued impenitence and infidelity, could properly begin to take place. Nor is this precedence in the order of time, and as ushering in the first of the disclosures, confined to this topic, an unimportant circumstance in the present instance. It is the established rule in the course of successive prophetical revelations upon the same subjects, that the least minute and circumstantial are the earliest of the series. We see this rule illustrated in the present prophecy, compared with others of the same kind which follow it hereafter. In predicting the general certainty of some definite retribution for the definite offence of unbelief and impenitence, it is as

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that we should know every thing concerning the particulars of the transaction, so long as the use and construction, in a moral point of view, of so much of it as is known, are not left doubtful. And these appear plainly from our Saviour's reasoning, founded

upon the fact.

d We

is not,

explicit as any; in specifying or detailing its particulars, it is the most incomplete of all. Subsequent communications supplied this desideratum; though with more or less of clearness, as they were addressed to the disciples of our Lord, or to the Jews at large: and to all these the present prophecy is so related, as to be equally adapted to stand at the head of each, and to derive light and explanation from each d.

may remark, too, on the additional solemnity which is communicated to the prediction, by the repetition in each instance, of the words, ovxl, Néyw suiv—the proper force of which

“ I tell you, nay,” but “ By no means, say I unto you”— for oủxi is never used, even in classical writers, except where a stronger form of the particle of negation, than où or oủk would have been, is required to do justice to the assurance conveyed.

There is a difference of phraseology also in the expressions, πάντες ώσαύτως, and πάντες ομοίως–the former in reference to the death of the Galilæans, the latter to that of the Jews who perished at Siloam. Now, if waútws and ópoiws be both literally understood, the latter will predict a similarity of destruction merely as to the fact of the destruction generally, but the former as to the mode and circumstances also. For woaútws means “ in “ the same way," and ouoiws similarly.Whether this distinction was intended or not, still it is in accommodation to the reality of the thing predicted, in each instance. The destruction of the unbelieving Jews at last, so far as concerned the fact itself, was sudden, indiscriminate, and complete, like that of the eighteen, who perished at Siloam ; and in the mode and circumstances of the event, bore no imperceptible relation to the fate of the Galilæans. As these had fallen by the sword of the Romans, so did those: and with a still more critical coincidence between the events, as the Galilæans had fallen in the temple itself, nay in the very act of offering sacrifice; so, as Josephus informs us, might numbers of the Jews, during the siege of Jerusalem, be seen perishing daily under the weapons of the Romans, within the courts of the sacred enclosures, close to the altar, and intent at the time on the same employment, as the Galilæans, their prototypes in such destruction, had been.

The particular providence under which we believe the nation of the Jews to have once been placed, and according to which every transgression received, even in the present life, an appropriate recompense of retribution-well-doing was encouraged by immediate reward, evil-doing was resented by immediate punishment—had ceased before that period in their history to which the Gospel ministry belongs. During the continuance of this providence, temporal calamity must of necessity have been considered a sign of the Divine displeasure, (at least when not expressly declared to be otherwise designed, and differently to be understood—as for the purpose of discipline and probation,) and therefore a judgment upon sin : especially such temporal calamities as while they involved consequences to the sufferer irremediable in the present life, and so far apparently final and absolute—such as the loss of life—were resolvable into accident, or were the effect of causes over which the sufferer himself had no control.

Whether it was the recollection of this former state of things, as the fixed rule and positive condition by which, and on which, the dispensation of temporal good and evil had once been regulated among them—or whether both reason and revelation might have taught the Jews anciently, as they may teach Christians still, to refer every thing which happened to them in the present life, whether for weal or for woe, either mediately or immediately to the good pleasure of the Divine appointments—certain it is that the tenor of our Lord's reasonings, above considered, presupposes such an impression on the minds of his audience in the present instance, as that the calamity which had recently befallen the

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