Page images
PDF
EPUB

THE

FAMILY EXPOSITOR.

THE LATTER PART OF THE HISTORY OF CHRIST AS RECORDED

BY THE EVANGELISTS,

SECT. CXVI.

Christ, on the mention of some calamities which had befallen others,

warns his hearers of the danger they were in, if they did not repent, and illustrates it by the parable of the barren fig-tree. Luke XIII. 1-9.

of

LUKE XIII. 1.

LUKE XIII. I. THERE sense presene Now, while our Lord was thus discoursing SECT: that told him of the

of the necessity of being at peace with God, cxvi. Galileans, whose blood some who were present at that time, told hiin Pilate bad mingled with those unhappy Galileuns, the followers of Judas XIII. 1.

Luke their sacrifices.

Gaulonites, who had rendered themselves ob-
noxious to the Roman power by some acts or
principles of resistance to it; and whose blood
Pilate the governor had in effect mingled with
their sacrifices, having circumvented and slain
them when they were come to worship in the
temple at a public feast.

And

à Told him of those Galileans, the followers name of Judas of Galilee, Acts v. 37.of Judas Gaulonites.] Josephus has given Josephus does not mention the slaughter of us the story of this Judas Gaulonites at these Galileans (which, by the way, makes large, Antiq. lib. xvili. cap. 1, 8 1. (Sce Zegerus's interpretation very improbable, also Bell, Jud. lib. ii. cap. 8 (al. 7), 1; that they were actually slain at the altar, cap. 17. $ 8; & lib. vii. cap. 8. (al. 28), in contempt of the temple); but he reHavercamp. ) It appears he was at the cords an action of Pilate that inuch resemhead of a sect who asserted God to be their bles it, of the manner of his treating the only Sovereign, and were so utterly averse Samaritans; Antiq. lib. xviii. cap. 4 (al. to a submission to the Roman power, that 5), § 1.-Perhaps this story of the Galithey accounted it unlawful to pay tribute leans might now be mentioned to Christ unto Cæsar, and rather would endure the with a design of leading him into a spare, greatest torments than give any man the whether he should justify or condemn the title of lord. This Judas is probably the persons that were slain. person whom Gamaliel refers to by the

b You

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 thusb, 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 theme, 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 cxvi.

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

none.

Christ delivers the parable of the barren fig-tree.

9 ve shall all likewise except you repent, you shall all perish thus; you sEcT. perish.

shall be pressed under the insupportable load of
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 his vineyard; and this parable 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 Then said he unto for fruit upon it, ut he found none.

And at 7 the dre-ser of his vinc- length, despairing of any better success, he said yard, Behold, these to the keeper of the vineyard, 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
ing, 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 lay dung to the root of it : 9 And if it bear And then perhaps it may bear fruite, and if so, 3 fruit

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

down, and I will say nothing farther to prevent
it. By which parable our Lord did plainly re-
present to the Jewsthe 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

it :

Then after that thou

& These three years.] Many have sup- if it had disappointed the expectation of the prosed 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 yieldeu fruit, which have computed the chronology of the Neto was yet worse. Testament, had now lasted three

years :

but e Perhaps it may bear fruit: x'ay pity it is certain the patience of God bore with WOMON XOpov.] It is in the original some. them much longer than another yeur Gro- thing of an abrupt way of speaking, of tius therefore thinks it more probable, it which Raphelius has produced many exmay refer to the nature of a fig-iree, whichi, amples, ( Annol. er. Hen. p. 102, 103); if it bear at all, generally begins to do it but I think, the way of rendering the idiom within three years after it is planted; but I have here used, would suit it in most of mizht to be sure be looked upou as barren, those instances.

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,

irresistible and irrecoverable ruin.

Luke XIII. 9.

IMPROVEMENT.

Ver. Which of us may not learn a lessen for himself 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 ordinances, 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 ax 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. 21); 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 salutarv,

though awful admonition to their own souls, repeating it again and again, till they are pricked to the heart by it, Ercept ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. ) 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 surrounded his altars with the hypocritical forms of devotion, shall themselves be made the victims of his justice, and be crushed by the resistless weight of his almighty vengeance.

2

SECT.

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

a Had

« PreviousContinue »