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The disciples observe that the fig.tree is withered away. 183 desire therefore to escape an abode in eternal darkness, and to see sect. light everlasting, let us faithfully follow bim: otherwise we are condemned already, and that word which he spake will become to us Ver. a savour of death unto death (2 Cor. ii. 16), and will judge us in 48 the last solemn and dreadful day, when it shall sentence those who would not be saved by it.

Let us now make that word the rule of our life which shall then be the rule of our judgment. We may most comfortably venture our eternal all on the exact veracity of it. Christ has per- 49, 50 fectly fulfilled the commission he received from his Father, as one that was faithful to him that appointed him ; and stands so completely approved in his sight, that our only hope is that we also may be accepted in him, and find mercy and grace for his sake.

Jesus returning to the city in the morning, his disciples obserie

that the fig tree was withered away: being come into the temple,
he confounds the members of the sunhedrim, who questioned his
authority, and reproves them by the parable of the complaisant
but disobedient son. Mat. XXI. 20—32. Mark XI. 20, to the
end; XII. 1.- Luke XX. 1-9.-



MARK XI. 20.

MARK XI. 20.
as they passed by; NOW Jesus, having spent the night with his sect.
(when the disciples] disciples in a retired place without the city,
saw the fig-tree dried returned again to Jerusalem on the third day of
up from the roots, [they the week in which he suffered : and in the morn- XI. 20.
marvelled, saying,
How soon is the fig. ing, as they were passing by the spot of ground
tree withered away !) where he had cursed the barren fig-tree on the
IMAI. XXI. 20.)

dav before, when the disciples saw the fig-tree a
dried up from the very roots, and so entirely
stripped of its leaves that, though it stood at
some distance from the road, they easily discern-
ed the change, they were greatly struck at the
sight, and wondered, saying, Ilow soon is the fig-

tree that stands yonder withered away, thongh 21
21. And Peter, call. yesterday it seemed so fourishing! And Peter
ing to remembrance, recollecting what had passed, took notice of it
ter, behold, the fig. to Jesus, and said unto him, Rabbi, behold, the
tree, which thou curs- fig-tree which thou cursedst but yesterday, is
edst, is withered away. now quite withered away.


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a When the disciples saw the fig-tree.) nert morning, and so particularly mentions Matthew relates this story of the fig-tree, as Peter's recollecting what had passed before, if the notice that the disciples took of it, that it is plain his order must be followed and the account that Jesus gave them of here, which Matthew has neglected, that the power of faith, followed immediately he might give us the whole of the story upon his cursing it. But Mark has so ex- together. pressly relerted the circumstances to the

b Have

SECT. cli.


Stith unto




shall come to


Jesus exhorts them to have faith in God. And Jesus answering, says unto them, See that 22 And Jesus anyou have a stedfast faith in God, and a full

them, Have faith in Mark

fidence in his power and fidelity, when you feel God! [M A T. XXI. XI. 22. bim secretly moving on your spirits, to stir you

21.-) 23 up to any miraculous operation b. For I as.

25 For verily I say suredly say unto you, That if you have such a firm unto you, That if

have faith, and doubt and steufast faith, and do not doubt of God's be- not, ye shall not only ing ready to stand by you, you shall not only do do this which is done

the fig-isee ; but such miracles as this of the fig-tree, but also shall

also] whosoever shall perform far greater things; vea, whosoever, un- say unto this mountain, der such an impulse, and with such a believing Be thou removed, and

be thou cast into the temper, shall attempt any thing as difficult and

sea; and shall not extraordinary, as if he were to say to this moun- doubt in his beart, tain which we are now crossing, Be thou removed but shall believe that

those things which he from hence, and thrown into the distant sea ; and shall not at all doubt in his mind, but sted- pass : [it shall be done, fastly believe that what he says shall come to pass, and he shall have

it shall accordingly be done, {and, shall be to 24 him just as he says.

(MAT. XXI.--21.) And for this reason, to 24 [and] therefore encourage you boldly to act as God shall direct I say unto you, and instigate you, I say unto you, That what things soever ye desire socver things you shall desire, (and) ask of God believe that ye receive in prayer, to make it manifest that you are sent them, and ye shall have of him, and to confirm your doctrine; if


them, [MAT. XXI.22.) believe that you shall actually receive them, however difficult the things may be that you request, yet in such circumstances they shall certainly

be done, and you shall have them. 25 But still I would subjoin one caution ; that

25 And when ye if you expect your prayers should prevail with stand praying, forgive, God, you must take care to offer them in love as well as in faith; and when you stand prayingo,


whatsoever he saith.


b Have faith in God, &c.] It is certain miraculous interposition the apostles in that the attempt of performing miracles such cases felt on their minds, it is imposin public was a remarkable instance of sible for any, without having experienced faith in the Divine power and fidelity; is, to know. It is therciore an instance for they were gencrally introduced by of their wisdom, that they never pretend some solemn decuration of what was in to describe it, since no words could have tended, which was in effect a prediction convered the idea. of immediate success: (so Peter says, c When you stand praying.) There is no Acts iii. 6. In the name of Jesus Christ, room to doubt that standing n as their usual Rise up and walk; ix. 34. Eneas, Jesus posture when they prayed; as Dr. Lighi. Christ maketh thee whole ; and again, ver. foot observes with respect to the Jews 40, Tabitha, crise.!. And in pronouncing (Hor. Lieb. on Mat. vi. 5.) and the learnth is the person speaking pawned all his ed author of the Inquiry into the Worship credit as a messenger from God, and con of the Primitier Church (chap. ii. § 1.) has sequently all the honour and usefulness of shewn it to be the practice of the fist ages his future lise, on the immed ate miraculous of the Christian church. (Compare Mat. energy to attend his words, and to be vi. vi. 5. and Luke xviii. U.) But as the sibly exerted on bis uttering them. And word [stand) has no particular significancy heure it is that such a firm courageous here, I might have omitted it in the transa faith is so ofteo urged on those to whom lation as the Prussian editors have fresuch miraculous pouvers were given.-But quently done, but that I do not choose to what kind of intimation of God's intended multiply expletives in the sacred writings.



The priests come to him, and question his authority. 185 if ye have ought against in the presence of that Majesty of heaven whom sect. also which is in heaven you have offended by so many provocations, you may forgive you your should forgive, if you have any matter of com- Mark tiespasses.

plaint against any; that your Fa'her in heaven XI. 25. 26 But if ye do not may also forgive you your trespasses,

But if 26 forgive, neither will

do not forgive even your most cruel enemies, your Father which is

you in heaven forgive your

and much more your offending brethren, neither trespasses.

will your Father in heaven forgive you your tres-
passes : (compare Mat. vi. 14, 15. xviii. 35.)
And if your trespasses be not forgiven, vou have
little reason to hope for such extraordinary in-
terpositions in answer to your prayers; or if
those interpositions were to be granted, you
would receive no manner of advantage from
them, while amidst all the glory of working the
most amazing miracles you lay under the load

of guilt and condemnation. 27 And they come And after Jesus bad been thus discoursing with 27 again:0 Jerusalem: bis disciples by the way, they come again to Jecome into the temple), rusalem : and when he was come into the temple, (LUKE, it came to it came to pass, that as he was walking there a pass, that) as he was while he taught the people who flocked around tanght the people, and him, and zealously preached the gospel of the preached the gospel,] kingdom to all that were desirous to be instructed there (Luke; came in it, the chief priests, and the scribes, and the priests, and the scribes, elders of the people e, vrho were contriving bis and the e'ders (of the destruction, came upon him in a body, with a people); [MAT. XXI. strong desire to confound and overbear him: Luke XX. 2. 'And and they spake to him in such a manner, as to Luke spake unto him, saying, express their high displeasure at what had lately XX. 2 Tell


It came to pass, that as he was walking.] lin and Memunnim, who (if their testiLuke, who tells this, as he does several mony may be credited) were appointed to other stories, in a less circumstantial preside over the other priests and Lecites, manner, says it was on one of those days: and to regulate the walch, the singers, &c. but the insertion of that clause bere would A summary account of thein may be seen have been improper, considering how in Retand. Antig. Heb. part ii. cap. iii. $ 4, particularly the date of this fact is fixed 5.-By the elders of the people, some would by Mark. If the reader should happen understand those representatives who were elsewhere to meet with the omission of called Viri Stationarii, that were appointed a word or two in any of the evangelists to attend in their courses at the hours of (which he very seldom will), I hope hewill morning and evenint sacrifice in the name not condemn it till he reflect whether of the whole Israelitish nation; but I ra. it may not be accounted for in the same ther suppose

may signily the members of

the grand sanhedrim, to whom that title - The chief priestsand the elders of the most eminently and properly belonged; people. These are titles that frequently which is the more probable, as they were occur, but it is not easy to fix a deternic the persons under whose cognizance the nate idea to them.-By the chief priests, I late action of Christ in purging the temple think we may understand any peculiar would most naturally fall. These, with distinction in the Aaronic family: so that the persons above-nen:ioned, prubably it may include the high priest, his deputy appeared in a considerable company on or sagan, any of the heads of the twenty-four purpose to daunt him, and to bear an courses of priests who might happen to be unted testimony against him, if any thing in waiting, and likewise any of those whom exceptionable should fall from him on this the Talmudists called Catholicin, Amarca. occasion.




186 He confounds them by asking what they thought of John. SECT. passed, saying, Thou hast here taken upon thee Tell us by what authoto reform the temple, which is our province rity dost thou these

things? or who is he alone, and hast in a tumultuous manner driven that

gave thee this XX. 2. out those who had our permission to traffic in authority (Mark, to

the outer court ; we insist upon it, therefore, do these things?)-
that thou tell us roundly and plainly by what MARK X1. 28.]
authority thou dost all these extraordinary things?
and who he is that gave thee this authority on

which thou presunest to do them?
3 And Jesus, that he might at once reprove the 3 And [Jesus] an-

impropriety of the question in those circum- swered and said unto stances, and in effect return an unexceptionable, you (Maik, one questhough oblique, answer to it, said to them in re- tion), and answer me; ply, I will also ask you one plain question on this [even one ling, which

if ye tell me, I in like. occasion; and pray answer me this one thing,

wise will tell you by which if you tell me, I will likewise give you all what authority i do the satisfaction you can desire, and directly tell these things.} [NAT.

XXI. 24. MARK XI. you, if you do vet indeed need to be told, by 29.] 4 what authority I do these things.

You all re 4 The baptism of member the baptism of John, which was attended John, (whence was by such multitudes of people, and even by of men ? (Mark, an

it?] from heaven, or many of your leading men : (compare Mat. iii

. swer me.] [M A T. 7, sect. xvi.) Now I would gladly know what XXI. 25.-MARK XI.

vou think of its original; From whence was it
that he had his commission? was it from heaven,
as he openly professed? or was it merely a con-
trivance of men? Answer me this, and then I

will immediately resolve your question.
5 And they were perfectly confounded at so un 5 And they reasoned
expected a demand, and reasoned among them with themselves, say-
selves, as it was natural to do, after this manner, From heaven; he will
saying, If we shall say, That John's baptism was say unto us), Why
from heaven, he will say to us, Why therefore did then believed ye him
ye not believe him, and yield to his well-known not? [MAT.XX1.-25.

MARK XI.31.) 6 and repeated testimony of me? But if we shall 6 But and if we say, That his baptism had no Divine warrant, (shall] say, of men; but was merely the device of some wicked and (we fear] all the people designing men, who by that grave solemnity be (all) persuaded that endeavoured to introduce their own ambitious John was a prophet schemes, we have reason to fear that all the


(MARK, indeed.]

[MAT.XXI.26. MARK pulace who are here assembled will rise up and XI. 32.] stone us; for they are all firmly persuaded that John was really a prophet sent of God; and as vast numbers of them were baptised by him, they

will never bear to hear him vilified, either as an 7 enthusiast or impostor.

And therefore they 7 And they answered declined to tell him what were their real senti- Jesus, we cannot tell]

[MARK, and said unto ments, and answered Jesus by saying, IVe cannot whence it was. (Mat. yet certainly tell whence it was] ; for it is a XXI. 27.—MARK XI. question which still lies before the sanhe- 33.-]



proper to de

He confounds them by asking what they thought of John. 187

drim, and which they have not yet expressly SECT.

determined. 8 And Jesus (MARK, And Jesus immediately replied and said unto Luke answering,] said unto them, Neither do I think it at all necessary to tell xx. 8. them, Neither tell I you hy what autho- you by what authority I do these things; for the IMA T. XXI: — 27. mined first", rity I do these things. other question naturally requires to be deter

and when MARK XI. 33.]


cide that, you may easily perceive that the same

answer will serve for both g.
MARK XII. 1. And having thus silenced the members of the

Mark And he began to speak unto them (and to the great council, who had taken upon them to xli. T. people] by parábles.- examine him for his late proceedings, he began (LUKE XX. 9.-] to speak unto them, [and] to the people who were

now assembled, by several parables, of which we

shall give a more particular account. MAT. XXI. 28. And first, he said to the scribes and Pharisees, Mat. But what think ye?

A with whom he had been discoursing, You have XXI. 28. certain inan had two sons, and he came to

evaded a direct answer to my question, but what the first, and said, Son, think you, of rour own conduct in these circumgo work to-day in my stances, and of all the high professions you make vineyard.

of an extraordinary reverence for God, and zeal
in his service? I will plainly tell you my thoughts
of it, which are very naturally connected with
the present subject.

There was a man who had two sons ; and com-
ing to the first he said, Son, go directly away
and work to day in my vineyard, where thou

knowest there is business to do that requires 29 He answered and thine attendance. And he answered in a very 29 said, I will not : but rude and undutiful manner, and said, I will not: aterwards he repented, but afterwards considering better of it, he repentand went.

ed that he had used his father so ill; and, to

make the best amends he could, he went into the 30 And he came to vineyard, and laboured diligently there. And 30 the second, and said

when the first had given so undutiful an answer
likewise. And he an-
swered and said, I go to his father, he came to the second and said to
Sir, and went not. him in the same manner as he had done to bis

brother : and he, being a smooth plausible lad,
answered, with great submission and readiness,
and said, Sir, I ain going] this moment to


E The other question naturally requires one hand, the express testimony which to he determined first. ] That singular turn John bore to Christ must be a sufficient which the reader will observe to be given proof of his Divine mission, if that of John to this ans.cer ofour Lord in the puraphrase was allowed (since, according to a Jewish by which I think the propriety of it to be maxim, The testimony of one prophet was much illustrated, I owe to that very arcu. sufficient to confirm the authority of another;) sa:e and learned friend who suggested the so Christ had spoken in such an honour. substance of noleg on John vii. 22. Vol. VI. able manner of John, that to condemn p. 515.

John as an impostor, would imply a like
The same answer will serve for both.) censure ou the character of Jesus.
This was plainly the case; for as, on the


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