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Chapter Verfe ny; and the next morning returning from thence, xxi. 18 " He hungered : and when he saw a fig tree in
the way, he came to it and found nothing 19. thereon but leaves only, and said unto it, Let
"no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. · "And presently the fig-tree withered away, and
! when his disciples saw it they marvelled, say. 20 ing, How soon is the fig-tree withered away?'
Neither Luke or John give any account of this fig-tree business. Mark records it in a more ex, plicit manner, but with some variation, ch. xi. V. 12, 13. And on the morrow when they ' were come from Bethany, he was hungry. And • seeing a fig-tree afar off, having leaves, he ' came, if haply he might find any thing there.
on: and when he came to it, he found nothing • but leaves : and adds--for the time of the figs
was not yet. And Jesus said unto it, No man • eat fruit of thee' hereafter for ever; and his • disciples heard it. After this, Mark says, Jesus went to Jerusalem, cleansed the temple, and ' when even was come he went out of the city.
And in the morning when they passed by, they 'faw the fig-tree dried up from the roots. And
Perer calling to remembrance, faith unto him, ! Master, behold the fig-tree which thou cur fedt, ' is withered away. And Jesus answering faith .. unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I
say unto you that whosoever shall say unto this ' mountain, be thou removed, and be thou caft
« into into the sea, and shall not doubt in his heart, I but shall believe that those things which he ' faith shall come to pass, he shall have whatso
ever he faith. In Matthew's account, the disciples saw the fig-tree wither immediately, or prefently as it is called. In Mark's account, it was the next day. This difference as to time, and the words spoken by Jesus on the occasion, may not indeed be very material; but the manner, motive, and end, of this miracle (if it may be so called) are, to me, unsatisfactory. First, as to the manner Jesus seeing at a distance, a fig-tree with leaves, went to it, hoping to find fruit thereon to satisfy his hunger. Being disappointed, he said to it, according to St. Matthew, * Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for sever.' Or, according to St. Mark, no man seat fruit of thee hereafter for ever :' which St. Peter, upon seeing the withered state of the tree, called cursing it. And what motive can we affign for this malediction ? Could it be resentment because it did not, at an unusual time, furnish fruit to assuage his hunger? How happened he to be ignorant--that the time of figs was not yet? And why in future should not another hungry man eat fruit thereof, who resorted to it in proper seafon? We find in his history few instances of refentment, even in cases of real injury : and all · his other miracles save one, were beneficial to individuals. As to the end of this miracle; the
Clapter Verse only one adduced, is, to fhew what power may be
derived from faith, The power, or utility of kil. ling a fig-tree, is indeed but little. To remove a mountain, and cast it into the sea, is great indeed : greater still are the advantages or benefit obtainable by faith ; ' and all things whatsoever
ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall re
ceive.' But this pure and undoubting faith, I am of opinion was never possessed by any of the disciples ; St. Peter certainly wanted it, when he attempted to walk upon the sea ; as did the nine who could not cast out a devil in his abfence*. The day after cleansing the temple, ac
cording to Matthew (John says, and with more xxi. 23 probability, upon the same day) · The chief
priests and elders of the people came unto him
as he was teaching (in the temple) and said ? unto him, By what authority dast thou do these
things ? And who gave thee this authority?" 24 Jesus replied “I also will ask you one thing,
which if ye tell me, I in likewise will tell you by 25 what authority I do these things. The baptifm
of John, whence was it? From Heaven, or of nien ? They, knowing the people revered John as a prophet, feared to say of men. And if they should say from Heaven: the reply would be,
Why then did ye not believe him? In this di27 lemma, they answered-We cannot tell. Upon
Which Jesus said to them--Neither tell I you by Chapter Verse what authority I do these things. He then addressed to them several parables, all tending to their condemnation. The first, is certainly fine, plain, and pointed; the second, a simile, not so easily understood by them in its whole extent ; but sufficient to obtain, as in the first, their suffrage to the juftness of their own condemnation. As soon as they perceived this, they fought to lay hands on him, but feared the people, (the multitude, I apprehend, collected by his entry) who took him for a prophet, and in course would have protected him. To this protection, it is more than probable, he owed his personal safety in the violent expulsion of persons and property from the temple. Neither Mark, Luke, or John, notice the first parable. The second is not mentioned by John, and the conclusion of it is differently related by Mark, and Luke; they do riot say the condemnation was assented to by the priests and elders : on the contrary, according to Luke, they said-God forbid. The next parable, is recorded by Matthew only. A king pre- xxii. 9 pares a feast for the marriage of his son: the people first invited, refusing to come; he lent his servants into the highways saying As many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. They exocuted these orders, bringing in all they found both bad and good. Among them was a man without a wedding garment, the king asking him
Chapter Verse, in 13 how he came there without one, and receiving to
13 answer, the man being dumb; ordered his fer
vants to bind him hand and foot, and cast him
into outer darkness : where shall be weeping and 14 gnashing of teeth. The comment added-For
many are called, but few are chosen, is a repetion of what we find in the 16th verse of the 20th chapter, and justifies the conclusion I have drawn from thence in that place*. St. Luke, ch. xiv. records a parable something like this, which he calls a supper. The intended guests who had received invitations, instead of attending sent exçuses ; the master enraged thereat, sends his fervants into the streets and lanes of the city, to bring from thence the poor, the maimed, the halt, and the blind. This they executed, and telling the master there was yet room, he said to them--Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. It is not improbable, that the Popes and their adherents thought themselves sufficiently authorized, by these two parables, to use violence for the conversion of finners ; add to this what is faid by Jesus to the mulțitude, v. 26, ' If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and
mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, ' and sisters ; yea and his own life also he cannot 'be my disciple.' We will now return to St.
* Vide Page 77, 78, 89.