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withered away.

The barren fig-tree cursed.

St. MATTHEW.

The chief priests cavil at him. 4. M.4033. he came to it, and found nothing 23 | And when he was come into A. 11. 1033. An. Olymp. thereon, but leaves only, and said un- the temple, the chief priests and the An. Olymp.

to it, Let no fruit grow on thee hence- elders of the people came unto him forward for ever. And presently the fig tree as he was teaching, and said, By what autho

rity doest thou these things ? and who gave 20 · And when the disciples saw it, they mar- thee this authority ? velled, saying, How soon is the fig tree wither. 24 And Jesus answered and said unto them, ed away!

I also will ask you one thing, which if ye

tell 21 Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily me, I, in like wise, will tell you by what authoI say unto you,

If
ye

have faith, and doubt rity I do these things. not, ye shall not only do this which is done to 25 The baptism of John, whence was it? from the fig tree, “but also if ye shall say unto this heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast themselves, saying, If we shall say,

From hea. into the sea ; it shall be done.

ven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then 22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in believe him ? prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

26 But if we shall say, Of men ; we fear

• Mark 11. 20.-_ch. 17. 20. Luke 17.6.- James 1. 6. 1 Cor.

13. 2.

• Ch. 7. 7. Mark 11. 24. Luke 11. 9. Jam. 5. 16. 1 John 3. 94. & 5. 1.4.

f Mark 11. 27. Luke 20. 1.- Exod. 2. 14. Acts 4.7. & 7. 27.

traveller, had a right to take of its fruit. For a full explana- want of it: this begets 2. prayer, or warm desires, in the tion of this difficult passage, relative to this emblematic fig heart: then 3. the person asks, i.e. makes use of words extree, see on Mark xi. 13, &c.

pressive of his wants and wishes : 4. believes the word of

proLet no fruit grow on thee] Can a professor who affords mise, relative to the fulfilment of bis wants: and 5. receives, Christ nothing but barren words and wishes, expect any thing according to the merciful promise of God, the salvation which but bis malediction? When the soul continues in unfruitful his soul requires. ness, the influences of grace are remo

moved, and then the tree Verse 23. By what authority doest thou these things ?] The speedily withers from the very root.

things which the chief priests allude to, were his receiving Verse 20. How soon is the fig tree withered away!] We the acclamations of the people as the promised Messiah, his often say to our neighbours, “ How suddenly this man died ! casting the traders out of the temple, and his teaching the Who could have expected it so soon?” But who takes warn- people publicly in it. ing by these examples ? What we say to-day of others,

Who

gare thee this authority?] Not them : for, like many may be said to-morrow of OURSELVES. Be ye also ready! of their successors, they were neither teachers nor cleansers; Lord, increase our faith!

though they had the name and the profits of the place. Verse 21. If ye have faith, and doubt not] See on chap. Verse 24. I ulso will ask you one thing] Our Lord was xvii. 20. Removing mountains, and rooting up of mountains, certainly under no obligation to answer their question : he are phrases very generally used to signify the removing or con had already given them such proofs of his divine mission, as quering great difficulties ; getting through perplerities. So, could not possibly be exceeded, in the miracles which he many of the Rabbins are termed rooters up of mountains, be wrought before their eyes, and before all Judea : and as they cause they were dextrous in removing difficulties, solving would not credit him on this evidence, it would have been in cases of conscience, &c. In this sense our Lord's words are vain to have expected their acknowledgment of him, on any to be understood. He that has faith, will get through every profession he would make.

. difficulty and perplexity, mountains shall become mole-hills Verse 25. The baptism of John] Had John a divine comor plains before him. The saying is neither to be taken in mission or not, for his baptism and preaching? Our Lore! its literal sense, nor is it hyperbolical: it is a proverbial form here takes the wise in their own cunning. He knew the esof speech, which no Jew could misunderstand, and with timation Jolin was in among the people ; and he plainly saw, which no Christian ought to be puzzled.

that if they gave any answer at all, they must convict themVerse 22. All things-ye shall ask in prayer, believing] In selves: and so they saw, when they came to examine the order to get salvation, there must be 1. a conviction of the ll question. See ver. 25, 26.

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A. D. 29.

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The parable of the husband-man
CHAP. XXI.

and his two sons. 4. M. 4988. the people ; for all hold John as a 30 And he came to the second, and A. M. 4055. An. Olymp. prophet.

said likewise. And he answered and An. Olymp. 27 And they answered Jesus, and said, I go, sir : and went not. said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, 31 Whether of them twain did the will of Neither tell I you by what authority I do these his father? They say unto him, The first. Jethings.

sus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, 28 | But what think ye? A certain man had That the publicans and the harlots go into the two sons; and he came to the first, and said, kingdom of God before you. Son, go work to day in my vineyard.

32 For 4 John came unto you in the way of 29 He answered and said, I will not: but righteousness, and ye believed him not : but afterward he repented, and went.

the publicans and the harlots believed him :

* Ch. 14. 5. Mark 6. 20. Luke 20. 6.

Ecclus, 19. 91.

• Luke 7. 29, 50,ch. 3. 1, &c.-- Luke 3. 12, 13.

Verse 27. We cannot tell.] Simplicity gives a wonderful treated without ceremony or respect. They only are safe, confidence and peace of mind; but double dealing causes a who persist not in the denial. thousand inquietudes and trouble. Let a man do his utmost Verse 30. I go, sir] This is all respect, complaisance, and to conceal in his own heart, the evidence he has of truth and professed obedience; but he went not : he promised well, but innocence, to countenance his not yielding to it; God, who did not perform. What a multitude of such are in the world ! sees the heart, will, in the light of the last day, produce it professing to know God, but denying him in their works. as a witness against him, and make it his judge.

Alas! what will such professions avail, when God comes to We cannot tell, said they ; which, in the words of truth, take away the soul ? should have been, We will not tell, for we will not have this Verse 31. The publicans and the harlots] In all their former man for the Messiah : because, if we acknowledge John as his conduct they had said no. Now they yield to the voice of forerunner, we must, of necessity, receive Jesus as the Christ. truth when they hear it, and enter into the kingdom, em

They who are engaged against the truth, are abandoned to bracing the salvation brought to them in the gospel. The the spirit of falsity, and scruple not at a lie. Pharisaical | others, who had been always professing the most ready and pride, according to its different interests, either pretends to willing obedience, and who pretended to be waiting for the know every thing, or affects to know nothing. Among such, | kingdom of God, did not receive it when it came, but rather we may meet with numerous instances of arrogance and chose, while making the best professions, to continue memaffected humility. God often hides from the wise and pru-bers of the synagogue of Satan. dent, what he reveals unto babes : for when they use their Verse 32. John came unto you in the way of righteousness) wisdom only to invent the most plausible excuses for reject- | Proclaiming the truth, and living agreeably to it. Or, John ing the truth when it comes to them, it is but just that they came unto you who are in the way of righteousness. This seems should be punished with that ignorance, to which, in their rather to be the true meaning and construction of this pasown defence, they are obliged to have recourse.

sage. The Jews are here distinguished from the Gentiles, Verse 28. A certain man had two sons] Under the emblem The former were in the way of righteousness, bad the revelation of these two sons, one of whom was a libertine, disobedient, of God, and the ordinances of justice established among them : and insolent, but who afterwards thought on his ways, and the latter were in the way of unrighteousness, without the direturned to his duty; and the second, a hypocrite, who pro- | vine revelation, and iniquitous in all their conduct: John mised all, and did nothing : our Lord points out on the one came to both, preaching the doctrine of repentance, and prohand, the tar-gatherers and sinners of all descriptions, who, claiming Jesus the Christ. To say that it was John who came convicted by the preaching of John and that of Christ, turn- | in the way of righteousness, and that to him the words refer,

away from their iniquities and embraced the Gospel; and is, in my opinion, saying nothing; for this was necessarily on the other hand, the Scribes, Pharisees, and self-righteous implied: as he professed to come from God, he must not people, who, pretending a zeal for the law, would not re-only preach righteousness, but walk in it. ceive the salvation of the gospel.

It is very difficult to get a worldly minded and self-right; Verse 29. I will not] This is the general reply of every eous man brought to, Christ. Examples signify little to þim. sinner to the invitations of God: and in it, the Most High is || Urge the example of an eminent saint, he is discouraged at

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The parable of the vineyard
St. MATTHEW.

let out to husbandmen.
and
ye,
when

ye had seen it, repented 34 And when the time of the fruit A.N 4085, An. Olymp. not afterward, that ye might believe drew near, he sent his servants to the An. Olymp. ССІЇ. 1. him.

husbandmen, that they might receive 33 | Hear another parable: There was a cer- | the fruits of it. tain housholder, 'which planted a vineyard, and 35 · And the husbandmen took his servants, and hedged it round about, and digged a wine-press beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. in it, and built a tower, and let it out to hus- 36 Again, he sent other servants more than the bandmen, and went into a far country. first: and they did unto them likewise.

• Ps. 80. 9. Cant. 8. 11. Isai. 5. 1. Jer. 2. 21. Mark 12. 1. Luke 20.9.

b ch. 25. 14, 15.

• Cant. 8. 11, 12.2 Chron. 24. 21. & 36. 16. Neh. 9. 26. ch. 5. 12.

& 23. 34, 37. Acts 7. 52. 1 Thess. 2. 15. Heb. 11. 36, S7.

it. Shew him a profligate sinner converted to God, him he || and then he will miserably destroy those wicked men : indeed he is ashamed to own and follow : and as to the conduct of the has done so already to several, and let out his vineyard to generality of the followers of Christ, it is not striking enough more faithful husbandmen. to impress him. John, and Christ, and the Apostles preach; Digged a wine-press] Squže amyor. St. Mark has utoanos, but to multitudes, all is in vain.

the pit under the press, into which the liquor ran, when Verse 33. There was a certain housholder] Let us endea- squeezed out of the fruit by the press. vour to find out a general and practical meaning for this Verse 34. He sent his servants) Prophets, which, from time parable. A housholder—the Supreme Being. The family to time, he sent to the Jewish nation to call both priests and the Jewish nation. The vineyard—the city of Jerusalem. The people back to the purity of his holy religion. fence—the divine protection. The wine-press—the law and Receive the fruits of it.] Alluding to the ancient custom sacrificial rites. The tower—the temple, in which the divine of paying the rent of a farm in kind; that is, by a part of presence was manifested. The husbandmen—the priests and the produce of the farm. This custom anciently prevailed in doctors of the law. Went from homeentrusted the cultiva- | most nations; and still prevails in the highlands of Scotland, tion of the vineyard to the priests, &c. with the utmost confi- || and in some other places. The Boldon book, a survey made dence ; as a man would do, who had the most trusty servants, of the state of the bishoprick of Durham in 1183, shews how and was obliged to absent himself from home for a certain much of the rents was paid in cows, sheep, pigs, fowls, eggs, time. Our Lord takes this parable from Isai. v. 1, &c. but || &c. the remaining part being made up, chiefly by manual labour. whether our blessed Redeemer quote from the law, the pro- Verse 35. Beat one] Edengar, took his skin off, flayed him : phets, or the Rabbins, he reserves the liberty to himself, to probably alluding to some who had been excessively scourged. beautify the whole, and render it more pertinent.

Killed another, &c.] Rid themselves of the true witnesses Some apply this parable also to Christianity, thus: The of God by a variety of persecutions. master or father-our blessed Lord. The family-professing Verse 36. Other servants) There is not a moment in which Christians in general. The vineyardthe true Church, or as- God does not shower down his gifts upon men, and require sembly of the faithful. The hedge—the true faith, which the fruit of them : various instruments are used to bring sinkeeps the sacred assembly enclosed and defended from the ners to God. There are prophets, apostles, pastors, teachers : errors of heathenism and false Christianity. The wine-press some with his gift after this manner, and some after that. the atonement made by the sacrifice of Christ, typified by the The true disciples of Christ bave been persecuted in all ages, sacrifices under the Law. The tower—the promises of the and the greatest share of the persecution has fallen upon the divine presence and protection. The husbandmen--the apostles ministers of his religion ; for there bave always been good and all their successors in the ministry. The going from home and bad husbandmen, and the latter have persecuted the -the ascension to heaven. But this parable cannot go on all || former. fours in the Christian cause, as any one may see.

In the More than the first] Or, more honourable, so I think case of the husbandmen especially, it is inapplicable; unless desoyas should be translated; for as the fulness of the we suppose our Lord intended such as those inquisitorial Bon-time approached, each prophet more clearly and fully pointed ners, who always persecuted the true ministers of Christ, and out the coming Christ. consequently Christ himself in his members; and to these may Our translation, which says, more than the first, conveys no be added the whole train of St. Bartholomew Ejectors, and meaning at all. Ia Esor has the meaning I have given it abore, all the fire and faggot men of a certain Church, who think in chap. vi. 25. Tuoy Tns toons, of MORE VALUE than food, and they do God service by murdering his saints. But let the in Num. xxii. 15. Atvous xou trtopot acous, persons higher in persecuted take courage, Jesus Christ will come back shortly, dignity and office.

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The wicked and unjust husbandmen. CHAP. XXI.

The Jews shall be cast off. 37 But last of all he sent unto them his vineyard unto other husbandmen, A. N. 153. Ar. Olymp. his son, saying, They will reverence which shall render him the fruits in An. Olymp. my son.

their seasons. 38 But when the husbandmen saw the son, 42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never they said among themselves, * This is the heir ; read in the scriptures, The stone which the

come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his builders rejected, the same is become the head inheritance.

of the corner : this is the Lord's doing, and it is 39 ‘And they caught him, and cast him out of marvellous in our eyes? the vineyard, and slew him.

43 Therefore
say

"The kingdom 40 When the lord therefore of the vineyard of God shall be taken from you, and given to a cometh, what will he do unto those husband nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. men?

44 And whosoever ishall fall on this stone They say unto him, "He will miserably shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, destroy those wicked men, and will let out "it will grind him to powder.

I unto you,

d

41

1 P's. 2.8. Hebr 1. 2. Lb Ps. 2. 2. ch. 26. 3. & 27. 1. John 11. 53 Acts 4. 27. ch. 26. 50, &c. Mark 14. 46, &c. Luke 92. 54, &c. John 18. 12. &c, Acts 2. 23. - See Luke 20. 16.- e Luke 21. 24. Hebr. 2. 3. - Acts 13. 16. & 15. 7. & 18. 6. & 28. 28. Rom. 9, & 10, < 11.

& Ps. 118. 22. Isai. 98. 16. Mark 12. 10. Luke 20. 17. Acts 4. 11. Eph 2. 20. 1 Pet. 2. 6, 7, boch. 8. 12.-i Isai. 8. 14, 15. Zech. 12. 3. Luke 20. 13. Rom. 9. 33. 1 Pet. 2. 8. * Isai, 60, 19. Dan. 2. 44.

Verse 37. Last of all he sent-his son] This requires no of his people Israel. The quotation is taken from Psal. comment. Our Lord plainly means himself.

cxviii. 22. They will reverence) Erapan ATONTA,, they will reflect upon As the church is represented in Scripture under the name their conduct, and blush for shane, because of it, when they of the temple and house of God, in allusion to the temple of see my son. So the Syriac and Persic.

Jerusalem, which was a type of it, 1 Cor. iii. 16. Heb. iii. Verse 38. Said among themseltes] Alluding to the conspi- | 6. 1 Pet. ii. 5. so Jesus Christ is represented as the fourfacies which were then forming against the life of our blessed dation on which this edifice is laid, 1 Cor. iii. 11. Eph. ii. Lord, in the councils of the Jewish elders and chief priests. 20, 21. See chap. xxvii. 1.

The builders) The chief priests and elders of the people, Verse 39. Cast him out of the vineyard] Utterly rejected with the doctors of the law. the counsel of God against theinselves; and would neither Rejected] An expression borrowed from masons, who, findacknowledge the authority of Christ, nor submit to his ing a stone, which being tried in a particular place, and aptenching. What a strange and unaccountable case is this ; || pearing improper for it, is thrown aside, and another taken; a sinner, to enjoy a little longer his false peace, and the however, at last, it may happen that the very stone which gratification of his sinful appetites, rejects Jesus, and perse had been before rejected, may be found the most suitable as cutes that gospel which troubles his sinful repose.

the head stone of the corner. Verse 41. He will miserably destroy those wicked men] So, This passage, as applied by our Lord to himself, contains according to this Evangelist, our Lord caused them to pass an abridgment of the whole doctrine of the gospel. that sentence of destruction upon themselves, which was

1. The Lord's peculiar work is astonishingly manifested in literally executed about forty years after. But Luke relates the mission of Jesus Christ. it differently : according to him, they said, un peronto, God 2. He, being rejected and crucified by the Jews, became au forbid. The Codex Leicestrensis omits or asyovory, they say ;

atonement for the sin of the world. 80 that the following words appear to be spoken by our Lord. 3. He was raised again from the dead, a proof of his conMichaelis supposes, that in the Hebrew original the word quest over death and sin, and a pledge of immortality to his Was 28" waioner, he said; for which the Greek translator followers. might have read 1978' wciomeru, they said.

4. He was constituted the foundation on which the salvaVerse 42. The stone) R. Solom. Jarchi, on Micah v. says tion of mankind rests, and the corner stone which unites. Jews this stone means the Messiah, n'un y38: Aburbanel is of the and Gentiles, beautifies, strengthens, and completes the whole fame opinion. This seems to have been originally spoken of building, as the head stone, or, uppermost stone in the corner, Darid, who was at first rejected by the Jewish rulers, but does the whole edifice. Fas afterwards chosen by the Lord to be the great ruler 5. He is hereby rendered the object of the joy and admiru.

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The chief priests and Pharisees

Sr. MATTHEW.

are incensed at his doctrine.

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45 And when the chief priests and 46 But when they sought to lay hands A. M. 413). An. Olymp. Pharisees had heard his parables, they on him, they feared the multitude, be- An. Olyuap.

perceived that he spake of them. cause they took him for a prophet.

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* Luke 20, 19. John 7. 26. Rom. 2. 15.

b Ver. 11. Mark 11. 18. & 12. 12. Luke 7.16. John 7. 40.

tion of all his followers, and the glory of man. This was done Verse 46. They sought to lay hands on him, they feared the by the Lord, and is murvellous in our eyes.

multitude] Restraining and preventing grace is an excellent Verse 44.--The 44th verse should certainly come before blessing, particularly where it leads to repentance and salvaver. 43, otherwise the narration is not consecutive. Verse 42. tion ; but he who abstains from certain evils only through The stone which the builders rejected, is become head of the fear of scandal or punishment, has already committed them corner, &c. Ver. 44. Whosoever shall fall on this stone, shall in his heart, and is guilty before God. The intrepidity of be broken, &c. This is an allusion to the punishment of our Lord is worthy of admiration and imitation ; in the very stoning among the Jews. The place of stoning was twice as face of his most inveterate enemies, he bears a noble testihigh as a man ; while standing on this, one of the witnesses mony to the truth, reproves their iniquities, denounces the struck the culprit on the loins, so that he fell over this scaf- divine judgments, and, in the very teeth of destruction, fold; if he died by the stroke and fall, well; if not, the other braves danger and death! A true minister of Christ fears witness threw a stone upon his heart, and dispatched him. The nothing but God, when his glory is concerned: a hireling stone thrown on the culprit was, in some cases, as much as two fears every thing, except Him, whom he ought to fear. men could lift up. Tract Sanhed. and Bab. Gemura, and Lightfoot. See also the note on John viii. 7.

This last journey of our Lord to Jerusalem, is a subject of He, whether Jew or Gentile, who shall not believe in the great importance; it is mentioned by all the four Evangelists, Son of God, shall suffer grievously in consequence; but on

and has been a subject of criticism and cavil to some unwhomsoever the stone (Jesus Christ) falls in the way of judg- sanctified minds. He has been accused of “attempting by ment, he shall be ground to powder, auxjente autorit shall this method, to feel how far the populace were disposed to make him so small, as to render him, capable of being dis- favour his pretensions in establishing himself as a king in the persed as chaff by the wind. This seems to allude, not only land, or at least, by his conduct in this business, he gave to the dreadful crushing of the Jewish state by the Romans, much cause for popular seditions.” Every circumstance in but also to that general dispersion of the Jews through all the case, refutes this calumny. 1. His whole conduct had the nations of the world, which continues to the present day. proved that his kingdom was not of this world, and that he This whole verse is wanting in the Codex Bezæ, one other, sought not the honour that cometh from man. 2. He had five copies of the Itala, and Origen ; but it is found in the in a very explicit manner foretold his own premature death, parallel place, Luke xx. 18. and seems to have been quoted | and particularly at this time. 3. It is evident from what he from Isai. viii. 14, 15. He shall be for a stone of STUMBLING, had said to his disciples, that he went up to Jerusalem at this and for a ROCK OF OFFENCE to both the houses of Israel and time, for the express purpose of being sacrificed, and not of many among them shall STUMBLE and Fall, and be BROKEN.

erecting a secular kingdom. 4. All the time he spent now Verse 43. Therefore say I] Thus shewing them, that to in Jerusalem, which was about five days, he spent in teaching, them alone the parable belonged— The kingdom of God shall | precisely in the same way he had done for three years past; be taken from you—the Gospel shall be taken from you, and nor do we find that he uttered one maxim dissimilar to what given to the Gentiles, who will receive it, and bring forth he formerly taught, or said a word calculated to produce any fruit to the glory of God.

sensation on the hearts of the populace, but that of piety toBringing forth the fruits] As in verse 34 an allusion is wards God: and in the parable of the man and his two sons, the made to paying the landlord in kind, so here the Gentiles are husbandmen and the vineyard, he spoke in such a way to the represented as paying God thus. The returns which He rulers of the people, as to shew that he knew they were plotexpects for his grace, are, the fruits of grace ; nothing canting his destruction ; and that far from fleeing from the fáce of ever be acceptable in the sight of God, that does not spring danger, or strengthening his party against his enemies, he was from himself.

come to wait at the foot of the altar till his blood should be Verse 45. The chief priests--perceived that he spake of poured out for the sin of the world! 5. Had he affected any them.] The most wholesome advice passes for an affront with thing of a secular kind, he had now the fuirest opportunity to those who have shut their hearts against the truth. When that accomplish bis designs. The people had already received him which should lead to repentance, only kindles the flame of as Jesus the prophet; now they acknowledge him as the Christ malice and revenge, there is but little hope of the salvation of or Messiah, and sing the hosannah to him, as immediately such persone.

appointed by beaven to be their deliverer. 6 Though with the

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