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cxlix.

Mark

178

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
let no man from henceforwards ever eat fruit of forward for ever.) And
thee, nor any fruit hereafter ever grow upon thee. his disciples heard it;
And his disciples heard [it], and took notice of (and presently the fig-
the words; and as soon as he had spoken them tree withered away.)

[MAZ. XXI.-19.)
(though bis disciples, as they were passing on,
did not observe it at tbat time), the fig-tree im-
mediately withered away ; Christ intending by
that significant action to intimate that the curse
of God should thus wither and destroy the Jew-
ish nation, which he had before compared to an
unfruitful fig-tree. (See Luke xiii, 6–9. sect.
cxvi. p. 9.]

IMPROVEMENT,

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
righteous judgment seal them up under final blindness and impe-
nitence! Then will they never be converted and healed; but die
with that poison in all the faculties of their souls, which will make

them for ever restless and miserable.
42 Can we find words sufficient to express the madness of these

Pharisees, who, while they were in their consciences convinced
that Jesus was the Christ, would not confess that conviction, and

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
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
man; and all the honours and rewards of his heavenly presence
lost, to secure a little regard from those who are perishing in their

crimes,

i

And Jesus said to it upon this occasion.] said. Compare notes, on Mat. xi. 25. Vola
It is plain that in this place this must be the VI. p. 317.
seose of that phrase, Jesus answered and

*T

SECT. cxlix.

Mark

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!

xxi. 10.

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 farther exasperates the priests ; and in the evening goes out of the city. Mark XI. 15—19; John XII. 44. to the end.

to

cl.

Mark

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-
mony against them, and began to drive out them
that sold and bought in the limits of the temple",

and

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

the

cl

made

it

180 He asserts his mission and authority from the Father.
SECT. and overthrew the tables of the money changers,
and also the srats of them that sold doves : and he

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.
but strictly insisted on a due reverence to i', as

a place that was entirely set apart to God's im.
17 mediate service And he taught them at large the 17 And he taught,

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

stranger

that

thieves.
join themselves to the Lord, or for those pious
proselytes who from all the neighbouring na-
tions 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 suffering 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 gam.
(Compare Mat. xxi. 12, 13, and Luke xix. 45,

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

me.

45

come 2

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.

b That

one

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.
ed, John iii. 17, sect. xxvi.) I am not come at
present to condemn the world, or to perform any
work of wrath and terror, whatever ili usage I
may meet with in it; but the design of my ap-
pearance 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 as to bearken to the proposals I offer.
48 He that rejecteth Nevertheless, though I do not immediately judge 48
me, and receiveth bot

any, yet he that rejects me, and does not receive
my words, hath
that judyeth bim : the my words, will not escape final condemnation,
word that I have spo- but will find, to his surprise and confusion, that
ken, the same shall he has one that judges him : for the word that
judge bin in the last
day.

I have spoken, though heard with inditierence
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 review-
ed, [even that very word shall judge him in the
last awful day", as the tenor of it is so excellent,
that to have rejected it will prove a man igno-

rant of God, and alienated from true religion
49 För I have not and goodness. For I have not spoken of my- 49
spoken, of myself; but

self, either on my own motion, or on any preca-
the Father which sent
me, he gave me a com- rious conclusions drawn from principles divine-
mandment, what I ly taught; but the Father who sent me, he gave me
should say, and wbat I
should speak.

ample instructions, and a particular command-
ment, what I should say, and what I shall yet

speak in that part of my work which is still be-
50 And I know that fore me. And I will faithfully conform myself 50
his commandment is

to his instructions, whether men be pleased or
Jife everlasting : what-
soever I speak there. offended with me ; for I know that his command-
fore, even as the Fa. ment is of the greatest consequence, and that
ther said unto me, so eternal life depends upon the knowledge and
I speak.

observance of it; and therefore I would by no
means vary in a matter of so much importance;
but whatever I say unto you, I speak it just as
the Father has given it me in charge, and alter

nothing

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,

SECT cl.

John

182 Reflections on the regard due to Christ and his word.

nothing in the message he has sent me to deliver.
So that the doctrine which I preach should be

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
chief priests were much offended when they the people was asto-
heard (of it), and diligently sought how they might nished at his doctrine.
find out some expedient to destroy him. for they
not only envied, but dreaded him, because all the
people were visibly struck into attention and won-
der at his doctrine, and seemed disposed to re-
ceive it with a respect proportionable to its im-

portance and solemnity.
19 And, that he might give them no unseason-
able advantages against him, when the evening

was come, he went

out of the city.
was come, he went out of the city, and spent the
night as he had done before, in a retired place
with his disciples.

19 And when evci

IMPROVEMENT.

Mark

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

Jobn

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