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SECT. cxvi.

into

Luke

Do

8

Except we repent, we shall all perish.
And Jesus, without making any remarks on

2 And Jesus, an-
the
cause on which they were engaged, endea- swering, said,

them, Suppose ye that voured, with his usual wisdom and piety, to lead these Galileans were XIII. 2. the minds of his hearers into some profitable re- singers above all the flections upon the event; and, in reply, said to Galileans,because they

suffered such things? them,

you think that these Galileuns were notorious sinners above all the rest of the Galileans,

that they suffered such sad things as these, and 3 were cut off in su miserable a manner ? If 3 I tell you, Nay; you do, you are very unfit to judge of the con

but, except ye repent, duct of Providence: for, howsoever you may perish.

ye shall all likewise
censure them, as shewn hereby to be the most
enormous sinners, I tell you, No; you are not
to conclude from bence, this was the case; but,
except you repent, you shall all perish thus"; ven-
geance 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 has lately occurred, I mean that of those eigh, in Siloam fell, and slew

upon whom the tower teen men on whoin the tower in Siloam fell, and them, think ye that they slew them, do you think they were greater of

were sinners above all fenders than all the other inhabitants of Jerusa- men

Jerusalem?
lem, that they were thus providentially singled
5 out for destruction ? I tell you, No; you

5 I tell you, Nay; would judge very rashly if you were in general but, except ye repent,

yo to draw such conclusions ; for the best of men may be involved with others in temporal calamitics: but remember what I told you before, that,

except

that dwelt in

b You shall all perish thus, woeulws etno a little stream flowcd into the city (Isa. as10fs.] Some content themselves with vili. 6), which was received in a kind of rendering it, you shall all perish as well as bason, which some have thought to be the they ; and possibly no more may be in same with the pool of Bethesda (see 2 Kings tended: yet the rendering I prefer appears xx. 20. Neh. ii. 16. Isa. viji. 6. and to be more literal; and I the rather choose John v. 2. ix. 7). Being near the icmit, because (as Grotius, Tillotsou, Whitby, ple, it is no wonder that many frequented it and many others have observed) there was for purification ; but the calamity occaa remarkable resemblance between the fate sioned by the fall of the neighbouring of these Galileans and that of the whole tower is not, that I can find, mentioned Jewish nation; the flower of which was any where but here ; probably it hadi hapslain at Jerusalem by the Roman sword pened at some late feast; and some of while they were assembled at one of their Christ's bearers might then have been at great festivals (see Joseph. Bello Jud. lib. Jerusalem.-- Erasmus indeed takes this Sia vi. cap. 9 (al. vii. 17), § 3, 4); and many loam to have been Shiloh, the place where thousands of them perished in the temple the tabernacle was first settled (Josh. xviii. itself, and were (as their own historian re 1. Psal. xxviii. 60), but without sufficient presents it at large) literally buried under reason; see Drusius, in loc. This last inits ruins. Joseph. Bell, Jud. lib. vi. cap. 4 stance might seem in some respects more (al. vii. 10), 6, & cap. 5 (al. vii, 11), s to the purpose than the former, as there 1, 2.

was no human interposition atiending the c On whom the tower in Siloam fell, and death of these men; so that it seemed more slew them.] From the fountain of Siloam, immediately providential, than that of the which was without the walls of Jerusalem, Galileans whom Pilate bad massacred.

d These

bone.

Christ delivers the parable of the barren fig-tree. se shall all likewise except you repent, you shall all perish thus; you SECT. petish.

shall be pressed under the insupportable load of cxvi. the Divine vengeance, and be destroyed un- Luke der the ruins of that holy city in which you XIII. 5.

trust. 6 He spake also this And, in order to awaken them more effectually 6 parable: A certain man to such deep and serious repentance, he spake in bis vineyard; and this purable to them; There was a certain man he came and sought who had a fig-tree planted in his vineyard; and fruit thereon, and found he came, for several successive seasons, searching 7 Then said he unto for fruit upon it, but he found none.

And at7 the dre-ser of his vinc- length, despairing of any better success, he said yard, Behold, these to the keeper of the vineyjard, Behold, these three seeking fruit on this years together" I have come to look for fruit upon fig-tree, and find none: this fig-tree, and still I find none; cut it down cut it down, why cum- therefore immediately, as a barren tree: for why bereth it the ground? does it thus cumber the ground, filling up the

place of more profitable plants with its useless

bulk, and drawing away nourishment from those 8 And he, answer- that grow round it? But such was the concern 8 inz, said unto him, of the vine-dresser for its preservation, that he year also, till I shall said to him in reply, Sir, I'desire thou wouldst dig about it, and dung let it alone this year also, till I shall dig up the

ground about it, and luy dung to the root of it : 9. And if it bear And then perhaps it may bear fruito, and if so, I fruit

, well: and if not, it is well, and thou preservest tiny tree; but if shalt cut it down. not, after this thou shalt, if thou pleasest, cut it

down, and I will say nothing farther to prevent
it. By which parable onr Lord did plainly re-
present to the Jews the Divine displeasure against
them for having neglected the many opportuni-
ties they had enjoyed as planted in the vineyard
of God's church (compare Isa. v. 1, 2. xxvii.
2, 3.) and in an awful manner intimated, that
though they had hitherto, at his intercession,
been spared, yet, if they continued unfruitful
under the additional cultivation they were short.
ly to receive, on the descent of the Spirit, and

the

then after that thou

years:

d These three years.] Many have sup- if it had disappointed the expectation of the pused that these words allude to the time planter three years together after the time, of Christ's personal ministry, which, is most in which it should have yielded fruit, which have computed the chronology of the Nerv was yet worse. Testament, had now lasted three but e Perhaps it may bear fruit: x'ay usy it is certain the patience of God bore with womon xceptov.] It is in the original some. them much longer than another year Gro- thing of an abrupt way of speaking, of lius therefore thinks it more probable, it which Raphelius has produced many exmay refer to the nature of a fig-tree, whichi, amples, (Annot. er. Sen. p. 102, 103); it it bcar at all, generally begins to do it but I think, the way of rendering the idion within three years after it is planted; but I have here used, would suit it in most of Dulght to be sure be looked upou as barren, those instances.

f Under

10 Reflections on the guilt and danger of unfruitfulness,
SECT: the proposal of the gospel in its full extent and
cxvi.

evidence', they must expect nothing but speedy, Luke irresistible and irrecoverable ruin.

XIII. 9.

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Ver. Which of us may not learn a lessen for bimself from this in

6 structive parable of the fig-tree? Have we not long been planted

in God's vineyard, and favoured with the cultivation of his ordi-
nances, yea, with the dews of his grace too; and yet how little
7 fruit have we borne in proportion to those advantages ? How
long has he come seeking it in vain, while we have frustrated the
most reasonable expectations, perhaps 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
8 them down, why cumber they the ground ? We owe it to the inter-
cession 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
high minded, but fear! (Rom. xi. 20.) Let barren sinners reflect,
9 that this may be the last year, perhaps indeed the last month, or
last day of their trial; for even now also is the ar laid to the root
of the tree ! (Mat. iii. 10.) And let them remember, that though
there be hope of a tree, when it is cut down, that it may sprout
again, (Job xiv. 7), vet, when the doom is executed on them,
their root will be as rottenness, and their blossom will go up like dust
(Isa. v. 24); and every tree which brings not forth good fruit, will
be hewn down, and cast into the fire.

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 3,5 greater sinners than any others; but let them apply that salutary,

though 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.
1 Terrible indeed was the case of those, whose blood Pilate mingled

with their sacrifices, and of those who were dashed to pieces in a 4 moment by the fall of Siloam's tower : but infinitely more dreadful

will be the condition of them, thai fall into the hands of the living
God (Heb. x. 31), especially of those deceivers, who, baving sur-
rounded his altars with the hypocritical forms of devotion, shall
themselves be made the victims of bis justice, and be crushed by
the resistless weight of his almighty vengeance.

SECT.

2

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f Under the additional cultivation, &c.] ing of the apostles, might, with great proThe extraordinary means used to bring them priety, be expressed by digging round the to repentance after the resurrection of Christ, barren tree, and applying warm compost, of by the effusion of his Spirit, and the preach- dung, to its roots.

a Had

Christ cures a crooked woman in the synagogue.

11

SECT. CXVII.

Christ cures a crooked woman in the synagogue, and vindicates his

doing it on the sabbath-day; and afterwards repeats the parables of the grain of mustard-seed, and of the leaven, Luke XIII. 10–22.

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LUKE XIII. 10.

Luke XIII, 10. ing hin was triche THUS our Lord went on in his journey Sect. through Galilee for a considerable time;

cxvii, synagogues on the sabbath.

and as he was teaching in one of the synagogues on Luke 11 And, behuld, the sabbath-day, Behold there was present a X111.11. which had a spirit of in- poor disabled woman, who (as the Jews used firmity eighteen years, commonly to express it, and was now actually and was bowed toge the case) had been afflicted by a spirit of weakther, and could in no

ness

no less than eighteen years, and was bowed Wise lift up herself,

together in so sad a manner that, from the time
it first seized her, she was utterly unabletoraise

herself uprightb, or to stand straight.
12 And when Je And Jesus seeing her, and intimately knowing 12
sus saw her, he called all the sad circumstances of her affliction, and
her to him, and said
unto her, Woman, thou the difficulty with which she was then come to
art loosed from thine attend the solemnities of Divine worship there,
infirmity,

called her to him, and said to her, Woman, thou
art loosed from that affliction, which thou hast

long been under by reason of thy weakness and
13 And he laid his maladv. And, as he was speaking these words, 13
hands on

on her: and he laid his hands upon her, and immediately she
immediately she was
made straight, and was strengthened, and mude straight; so that she
glorified God. stood before them all in an erect posture, and

moved with as much ease and freedom as if
she had never been disabled : and, as was most
reasonable, she in a very affectionate manner
glorified God before the whole assembly ; prais-
ing him for so signal and unexpected a favour,

and

a Had been afflicted by a spirit of weak. The topic is very judiciously handled by ness.] It is very evident the Jews appre, that illustrious writer Mr. Howe (see his hended that all remarkable disorders of body works, Vol. II. p. 360, 361); and there proceeded from the operation of some ma are some curious and entertaining remarks lignant demon. Perhaps they might draw in Wolfius on this text. an argument from what is said of Satan's b Utterly unable to raise herself upright.] agency in the affliction of Job (chap. i. and This verson of Men Suveurm avexufassis ii.) and from Psal. xci. 6. (compare Sep- To wavlinis seems preferable to that other tuag.) and 1 Sam. xvi. 14. They also which the words to weyledes inight considered Satau as having the power of bear ; " She could not lift herself up, so as Death. Heb. ii. 14.--And that, in some to stand perfectly straight." (Compare maladies, this was indeed the case, is inti. Heb. vii. 25. Gr.) For on the rendering mated by our Lord's reply here, ver. 16. I have given, which is equally literul, the and by St. Paul's words, I Cor. v. 5. miracle appears much more important than where he speaks of delivering an offender on the other, to Sutan for the destruction of the flesh. VOL. VII.

B

13

Offence is taken at his healing on the sabbath. SECT. and declaring how long her illness had continu.

ed, and how desperate and incurable it was

cxvii.

Luke thought.

X111.14. But a ruler of the synagogue, instead of join 14 And the ruler ing in acknowledgments of the Divine power swered with indigna

of the syoagogue anand goodness displayed in that gracious action cion, because that Jcof our Lord, was moved with indignation, which sus had healed on the he endeavoured to disguise under the form of sabbath-day, and said

unto the people, There piety and zeal; and, as if he only had been angry are six days in which because Jesus had healed her on the sabbuth-day, men ought to work ; he answered and said unto the people, There are

in them therefore come

and be healed, and not sir days on which the common work of human

on the sabbath-day. life must be done, on some of these therefore you may surely find time to come and be healed, and should not make these applications on the sabbath day, which you know is appropriated to the

sacred purposes of religious rest and worship. 15 Then the Lord answered him with a just seve 15 The Lord then

ritv, und said, Thou hypocrite, who thus makest answered him, and
thv pretended zeal for the honour of Divine in- said, Thou hypocrite,
stitutions a specious cloak for thy malice against you
me, art thou not self-condemned? Does not every loose his ox or his ass
one of you, even the Pharisees and rulers of sy- him away to watering ?
nago, nes among the rest, without any scruple
oriolame, loose his or or his ass from the manger,
and lead him away to drink on the sabbath-day, as
well as on any other : though the work be more

servile than what I have done, and the occasion 16 far less important ? Now, if you have such a 16 And ought not

regard to the thirst of one of your cattle, was this woman, being a it not much more apparently fit, that this good whom

daughter of Abraham, woman, who is a believing daughter of Abraham,

bound, whom

doth not each one of

op the sabbath

Satan

hath

c A ruler of the synagogue.] It is plain nagogues among the rest.) Had not this that there were several rulers of the same been generally the case, the answer would synayorue. (Compare Mark v. 22, Acts not have been sufficient for conviction in xvi. 15. xviii 8 17.) And Dr. Light- the present circumstance. Perhaps this foot and Vitrinza have observed that, in ruler might that very day have been perevery town where there was a synagogue, forming such an office for one of his cattle there were at least ten men who were ob- with his own hands: I say, with his own liged constantly to attend on the public hands ; for it was by no means essential to worship in it. Of these, three were called his being a ruler of the synagogue that he rulers, who presided iu directing the wor. should be a person of wealth or dignity in ship, and judged of such little disputes and common life ; though probably, in large litigations as might be determined in the and splendid cities (such, for instance, as synagogue ; but not without a reserve of Capernaum was,) such persons might ge. appeal to the seve al superior courts. If of nerally be chosen.-Crilics have collected these three there was any one who had a dis. passages from rabbinical writers, in which tinguised authority, and might by way of they allow it to be law ful to feed or router eminence be caller ine ruler of the syna. a beast on the sabbath-day. See Lightfoot's gogue, it is strange the Jewish writers omit Hor. Heb. on this text; where he shews to inention ii, ubich, w far as I can recol- they were expressly allowed even to drato lect, they never do, see Wolfius on this water for their beasts; a much more latext, and Vitrinra, Synuz. Fel. p. 535. borious work than leading them to it. Sec

d Even the Pharisees and rulers of syö also Wollon's Miscell. Vol. II. p.41–46.

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