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Reflections on the danger of empty profession. SECT. been expected they would be growing still upon it. And Jesus, finding it to be a barren tree,
14 And Jesus an. that only made a promising appearance, but had swered and said unto XI. 14. produced no fruit, said to it upon this occasion", of thee hereafter for
As thou art fruitless now, continue always so; ever: (Let no fruit
John xii. 37
How evidently necessary is the operation of Divine grace to conquer the prejudices of a sinful heart; since even the preaching of Christ himself, enforced by all his stupendous miracles, could not overcome those prejudices without it! And how cautious
should sinners be that they do not stop their ears to the joyful 38--40 sound of the gospel, and shut their eyes against its glorious light;
lest God should leave them to their own delusions, and in his
them for ever restless and miserable.
Pharisees, who, while they were in their consciences convinced
publicly pay their homage to him, because they loved the praise of 43 men more than the praise of God? Strange infatuation of the
human mind! that it should be capable of believing there is a
And Jesus said to it upon this occasion.] said. Compare notes, on Mat. xi. 25. Vola
Jesus comes to Jerusalem, and again purges the temple. 179 crimes, and will ere long be themselves the objects of everlasting shame and contempt.
May none of us ever indulge such a temper, or ever rest in an empty profession ; lest, being like the fig-tree before us, which had si. 13,14 leaves, but no fruit, the curse of Christ should be pronounced upon us, which would immediately wither us amidst all our verdure ! Let us remember that this was intended as one of those significant Mat. actions by which the holy messengers of God frequently intimated approaching judgments. Happy would it have been if some, instead of searching out objections against it, bad seriously considered its design, and the sad aspect with which it looks on those who, like them, receive the grace of God in vain!
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 farther exasperates the priests ; and in the evening goes out of the city. Mark XI. 15—19; John XII. 44. to the end.
MARK XI. 15.
MARK XI. 15. AND they come
Jerusalem : and AND soon after the fig-tree had been cursed, sect. Jesus went into the
they come to Jerusalem; and Jesus entering, temple, and began to as he had done the day before, into the temple, cast out then that sold observed, as he was passing through the court of XI, 15. pic, and overthrew the the Gentiles, that the people who had polluted tables of the money, it by their traffic were seated there again ; and changers, and the seats being displeased to see that sacred place so shame
fully profaned, he presently renewed his testi-
a To drive out them that sold and bought after Jesus was departed out of the city, there in the temple.] The time when this was would be people enough, if it were only done is fixed by Mark to the day after Jesus out of opposition to him, who would be made his public entry into Jerusalem, and ready to encourage the traders (some of so (as was observed before, note c, on Mat. whom might, perhaps, be new comers) to xxi. 12, p. 163) this must have been a dif- return again to their places. And Jesus ferent fact from that related by Matthew, therefore seems (as Mr. Whiston has ob. which he has introduced on the preceding served) to have asserted the regard that day, before the shoutings of the children. We was due to the temple now with more se. have supposed it, therefore, to be repeated verity and exactness than he bad done the hy our Lord; for as it is improbable that he day before, not sutiering any one so much as would not purge the temple on the day of to carry a vessel through the temple ; which his triumphant entry, when Mark express. is a circumstance not inentioned either by ly says that he looked round about upon all Matthew or Luke in their account of the things ; so it is plainly intimated here that transactions of the preceding day. (See he did it after bis return from Bethany on sect. cxlvii.)- But I see no foundation at the next day. Nor is it at all unlikely that, all for Mr. Whiston's conjecture, that on VOL. VII. Z
180 He asserts his mission and authority from the Father.
16 And would not Mark permitted not that any one, for the sake of sbor. suffer that any man
should carry any vese X1.16. tening his war. should curry any burden or any set through the tem
kind of tessel through the courts of the temple'; ple.
a place that was entirely set apart to God's im.
evil of such practices ; saying to them, Is it not saying unto them, is written (as I observed but yesterday), “ My Hue shall be called house shall be called an house of prayer, and that of all nations the house not only for the Jews themselves, but (as the of prayer. but ye have
a den of prophet says) for the sons of the
46, p. 193, 164.) John And then, as considerable numbers of people John XII. 44. JeXI. 44.
sus cried and said, He were now gathered about him, Jesus cried, or
that believeth on me proclaimed with a loud voice, saying, Be it believeth not on me, known unto you all, that in these extraordinary but on him that sent 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 he that cordially believes in me, believeth not in
me alone, but in him that sent me, and thereby 45 does an honour to the Father bimself. And
And he that
seeth me, seeth him he that sees me, and regards me with a lively that sent me. faith, does also in effect see him that sent me, as the perfections of the Father are displayed in me; whereas, he that shuts his eyes against me, ex
cludes the only means of being brought to the 46 true knowledge of him. For, full of the in
46 1 am
light into the world, spiration of his blessed Spirit, I am come a light that whosoever believe into the world, that every one who really believes eth on me, should not in me, might not any longer abide in darkness, abide in darkness. but might attain to the knowledge of all necessa
ry truth, and the enjoyment of the most solid 47 and excellent bappiness. And if any one of ou
47 And if any man hear
the former day Christ drove them out of wares into the inner-court, for which the the Jew's courl, and now out of that of the Jews had a peculiar reverence. See Mr. Gentiles ; for it is no way probable that the Whiston's View of ine Harmony, p. 131, and traders were ever allowed to introduce their Dr. Whitby's note on Mark xi. 17.
He that rejects his word shall be condemned.
181 hear my words, and hear my words, which I am so frequently and sect. believe not, ljudge him not: for I caine not to
freely speaking, and will not believe in me, I do judge the world, but to not now condemn him, or immediately execute
John save the world.
judgment upon him ; for (as I formerly declar- XÚ. 47.
so wise as to bearken to the proposals I offer.
any, yet he that rejects me, and does not receive
I have spoken, though heard with inditierence
rant of God, and alienated from true religion
self, either on my own motion, or on any preca-
ample instructions, and a particular command-
speak in that part of my work which is still be-
to his instructions, whether men be pleased or
observance of it; and therefore I would by no
b. That very word shall judge him, &c. “ Though it is not my present business to • λογο ον ελιλησα, EX2073 xpiv! avlox.) do it, yet I have a commission from my Our Lord, by this manner of speaking, re- Father, which is hereafter to take place, presents his word as a person that should sit when I shall appear worthy of that great in judgment upon unbelievers at the last name." I do not recollect that our Lord da. (Compare Heb. iv. 12. But I can see had given bimself the title of Logos in any no ground for Mr. Fleming's interpretation of his discourses with the Jews; and (Christology, Vol. I. p. 136), who would therefore can see no reason to suppose such render it, The Loyos, rohich I have spoken a reference to it. of, shall judge him; as if he bad said,
182 Reflections on the regard due to Christ and his word.
nothing in the message he has sent me to deliver.
received as coming from the Father, and by XII.50. rejecting it you will be guilty of despising his
authority: Mark Thus did our Lord continue to reform abuses, the scribes and chief
MARK XI. 18. And XI. 18.
and to teach the people with the utmost serious- priests heard it and ness and earnestness, on the second day of that sought how they might week in which he suffered. And the scribes and destroy him, for they
seared him, because all
portance and solemnity.
was come, he went
out of the city.
19 And when evci
How hard is it to purge a carnal heart, and disentangle it from XI. 15-17.
the snares of a deceitful world! No sooner were these traders driven from the temple, but they return to it again ; and are as busy the next day in the pursuit of their unlawful gain as they had been before. And thus how often are convictions stifted by the love of this world! And if the voice of conscience, or the word of God, may interrupt us for a while in our unlawful courses, yet where it may affect our worldly interest, how ready are we to return to them again! and with what difficulty are we brought so far to lay aside our earthly projects, as not to take them with us into the house of God! Purge us, O Lord, from every irregular desire ; pursue and perfect thine own work; and incline our hearts unto thy testimonies, and not unto covetousness ! (Psal. cxix. 36.)
Most important is that proclamation which our Lord made in X11; the temple, and is still making to us in his word: believing in him, 44, 45.
we believe in the Father; and seeing him, we see the Father. Let' us be ready therefore to receive him out of regard to his Divine authority, as well as with a view to our own happiness; for without him we can have no access unto the Father, nor can we ever see him as a reconciled God.-The sacred light which he diffuses around him is not intended merely to amuse our eyes with pleas. ing speculations, but to animate our hearts with holy affections, and to guide our feet into the way of peace. (Luke i. 79.) If we