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Galileans here spoken of. The Saviour then refered to the case of eighteen men on whom the tower of Siloam fell, and slew them, and inquired, 'think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwell at Jerusalem? This question he answered in the negative, and added, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.' It is a fact which should not be forgotten, that there was a peculiar resemblance between the destruction of the Galileans, and those on whom the tower of Siloam fell, when compared with the destruction of the Jews. The first mentioned, it is thought, were slain for their opposition to the Roman government, for the Galileans had a strong antipathy to the Romans. Now the Jews, at the destruction of their city, perished not only by the assaults of the Roman armies, but they fell in the temple many of them, their blood was mingled with their sacrifices, and they were buried in the ruins of the temple. Josephus declares, that the Jews were first incited to rebellion by those who persuaded them, that paying tribute was a sign of slavery, and this became the seed of their future calamities. When the war broke out, they were attacked not only by the Romans, but they fought one against another, both in the city and temple. That many of the Jews perished as did the Galileans, Josephus also testifies. Under the president Cumanus, twenty five thousand perished about the temple at the feast of passover;2 under Florus there was a multifarious slaughter of them fighting in the temple, and one Manahem was slain as he worshipped there; that many of the Zealots perished in the temple, and washed the holy ground with their blood, and that the

1 Antiq. I. xviii. c. 1. 1. xx. c. 5. De Bell. Jud. 1. ii. c. 1, 12, 13. 2 Antiq. I. xx. c. 4. 8 De Bell. Jud. 1. ii. c. 31. 4 De Bell. Jud. 1. iv. c. 14.

Idumeans coming in to their help, eight thousand five hundred of the party of Ananus the high priest were slain, so that the whole outward temple was washed over with blood;1 that in that three fold sedition which arose in Jerusalem, betwixt Eleazer keeping the inward temple, John with his associates seizing the outward temple, and Simon the upper city, the temple was every where polluted with slaughters, the weapons flew every where and fell upon the priests, and those who officiated at the altar-many who came from far to worship fell before their sacrifices, and sprinkled the altar with their blood, insomuch that the blood of the dead carcasses made a pool in the holy court. At the feast of unleavened bread, Eleazer and his companions, opening a gate for the people that came to worship, and to offer sacrifice, John, taking advantage of that opportunity, sent in with them many of his party, having short swords under their garments, who invaded Eleazer's party, and filled that temple with the blood of the zealots, and of the people; and when Titus fought against the temple, a multitude of dead bodies lay round the altar, and the blood ran down the steps of the temple, and many perished by the ruins of the towers or porches.s We have been thus particular, in order to restore to its true sense an oft perverted passage of scripThese words-except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish,' have been cited frequently, to establish the doctrine of endless terment. It is evident, that Jesus had reference to the destruction of the Galileans, and those on whom the tower of Siloam fell; and says to the Jews, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish,' i. e in the same

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2 De Bell. Jud. 1. vi. c. 1.

De Bell. Jud. I. xvi. c, 17.
De Bell. Jud. 1. vi. c. 4.

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way, or manner; and we haye shown, by the quotations from Josephus, that the Jewish nation did perish in that manner. The words did not refer, and should not be applied, to mankind generally, but to the Jews in particular. The word rendered likewise is hosautos, and signifies, says Parkhurst, "in the same way, or like manner." Bishop Pearce paraphrases the passage, except ye, the nation of the Jews, repent, your state shall be destroyed.” Hammond is to the same purport- If you continue your present wicked practices, raising sedition under pretence of piety as frequently you are apt to do, then as they perished at the day of Pascha at their sacrifice, so shall a multitude of you on that very day, in the temple be slaughtered like sheep, and that for the same cause, a sedition raised in the city.'s Adam Clarke says, on the words, 'ye shall all likewise perish'-'ye shall perish in a like way, in the same manner. This prediction of our Lord was literally fulfilled. When the city was taken by the Romans, multitudes of the priests, &c. who were going on with their sacrifices, were slain, and their blood was mingled with the blood of their victims; and multitudes were buried under the ruins of the walls, houses and temples.'4

Thus we have traced the preceding context. The cases of the Galileans, and those on whom the tower of Siloam fell, had been refered to, and Jesus had told the Jews, that unless they repented, i. e. broke off their sins, and turned to righteousness, they would perish in a like manner with the others; and as they did not repent, the prediction was 2 Com. on passage.

1 Lex. sub voc.

3 Par. and Annot. on the passage.

4 Com. on the passage. See also a very valuable note in Whitby's Commentary on this passage, who adduces the authority of Grotius to the same point.

literally fulfilled. Here Jesus introduced the parable of the barren fig tree. The owner came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. He said to the keeper of his vineyard, these three years I have sought fruit on this tree, and find none-cut it down, why cumbereth it the grouud? He is persuaded to let it alone one year, till it shall be dug about, and nurtured; after which, if it bore fruit, well; if not, it was to be destroyed.

By the fig tree our Lord intended the house of Israel. Isaiah described them under the figure of a vine that brought forth wild grapes, which, in consequence, was to be destroyed. v. 1-7.

The fig tree brought forth no fruit. The Jews were barren in works of righteousness; they were 'a seed of evil doers.'

The fig tree was preserved after it was worthy only of destruction, and was nourished, but to no effect, it continued barren. Thus the house of Israel had been dealt with. They had long been unfruitful, and were fit for the fate which awaited them. God sent them his Son to preach to them, and to them alone; the apostles were sent to this nation only; and the gospel was faithfully proclaimed to them. No other tree was nurtured, until this fig tree, after all the care bestowed on it, had failed to bear fruit, and had been cut down.

This fig tree was cut down. The axe was laid at the root. See the notes on the parable of the axe. The observations of Adam Ciarke on Matt. iii. 10 are worthy of insertion here. "It was customary, with the Jewish prophets, to represent the kingdoms, nations and individuals whose ruin they predicted, under the figure of forests and trees, doomed to be cut down. See Jer. xlvi. 22, 23. Ezk. xxxi. 3, 11, 12. The Jewish nation is the

tree, and the Romans the axe, which, by the just judgment of God, was speedily to cut it down. It has been well observed, that there is an allusion here to a woodman, who, having marked a tree for excision, lays his axe at its root, and strips off his outer garment, that he may wield his blows more powerfully, and that his work may be quickly performed. For about sixty years before the coming of Christ, this axe had been lying at the root of the Jewish tree, Judea having been a province to the Roman Empire, from the time that Pompey took the city of Jerusalem, during the contentions of the two brothers Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, which was about sixty-three years before the coming of Christ. See Josephus Antiq. 1. xiv. c. 1—5. But as the country might be still considered as in the hands of the Jews, though subject to the Romans, and God had waited on them now nearly ninety years from the above time, expecting them to bring forth fruit, and none was yet produced, he kept the Romans, as an axe, lying at the root of this tree, who were ready to cut it down the moment God gave them the permission.1

1 Com. on Matt. iii. 10.

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