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ment, behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart, so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches and honor, so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days.' 1 Kings iii. 11–13. Solomon's supreme desire was for true wisdom, and to this was added every other good. He might well say, then, as he did in after life, wisdom is the principal thing; therefore, get wisdom, and with all thy getting get understanding.' Prov. iv. 7. He that hath wisdom will enjoy all else that he possesses ; and hence the Saviour saith, Matt. vi. 33, Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.'
Reader, your chief aim should be to be wise. Seek a knowledge of God, and of your own duty. Do your duty faithfully, and you will have a com petent portion of this world's goods. Never let a desire of gain engross your whole heart. Make a prudent use of what God shall give you--be kind to the distressed--remember the uncertainty of life—and set not your heart so much on this world, as to be greatly surprised and disappointed when God shall say, this night thy soul shall be required of thee.'
Parable of the Barren Fig Tree.
LUKE XIII. 6-9.
.6.A certain man had a fig-tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig-tree, and find none : cut it down: why cumbereth it the ground? And he, answering, said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it. And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down."
We shall be led to the true application of this parable, by the preceding context. At the first verse of the chapter, we are informed, that some who were present with the Saviour, told him of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.' These Galileans had come up to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices; and when assembled for that purpose, Pilate, for their opposition to the Roman government as it is supposed, attacked them with an armed force, and put them to death. So singular a calamity might have induced the people to think they had been guilty of some enormous crime, which God had seen fit to punish in this signal manner; but Jesus cautions them against such a conclusion, by saying, “Suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, because they suffered such things ? I tell you, nay; but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish;' i, e. in a like way, in a similar manner. This cannot be applied to the future state, because it is evident that Jesus intended there would be a similarity between the destruction of the Jews and the 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;. under Florns there was a multifarious slaughter of them fighting in the temple, and one Manahem was slain
as he worshipped there ;s that many of the Zealots perished in the temple, and washed the holy ground with their blood,4 and that the 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 ;' 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-mány 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 Éleazer'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. We have been thus particular, in order to restore to its true sense an oft perverted passage of scripture. These 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 1 De Bell. Jud. l. xvi. C, 17. 2 De Bell. Jud. I. vi. c. 1. De Bell. Jud. I. vi. c. 4.
1 Antiq. I. xviii. c. 1. 1. XX. C. 5. De Bell. Jud. 1. ii. c. 1, 12, 13. 2 Antiq. I. IX. C. 4. 8 De Bell. Jud. I. ii. c. 31. 4 De Bell. Jud. l. iv. c. 14.
way, or manner; and we have 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,
manner. »1. 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.' 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
1 Lex. sub voc., 2 Com. on passage. 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.