He loves not to destroy there where He can any way spare. Of a clap of thunder they made a Jupiter, of a tempest at sea they made a Neptune, of an earthquake they made a Pluto, &c. And to these their created gods they erected temples, altars, and consecrated the goodliest and fairest trees that they met withal; which ancient practice of dedicating this and that kind of tree to several gods as proper and peculiar to them was always observed (saith Pliny), and yet remaineth to this day. Shall mercy be preached to you for ever in vain? The manure contains the food which the plant must receive, and assimilate, and convert into fruit; but if the hardened earth were not made loose by digging, the needed aliment would never reach its destination. And in this chapter, Luke 13:34; Luke 19:41, 42. (a) Out of His nobleness, and royalty, and generosity of mind, as we may so express it. Neither does it imply any withholding of any single gracious or Divine element necessary to the result. I tell you that true righteousness creates heaven in men's houses; and where the fear of God is there is righteousness in every department, and it is the glory of the family circle. All are not of the same rank and quality, some are of high degree, others low (Psalm 61:9). It is an abuse of his patience; the longer he bears with such barrenness the more it is abused. If happiness consisted in doing nothing, God, that meant Adam so happy, would never have set him about business; but as paradise was his storehouse, so also his workhouse: his pleasure was his task. Skilfulness and ability to do this work that he is called unto. If not a tenth, yet let there be some "gleanings" (Micah 7:1); and that is a woeful scarcity. A better improvement might be made of the ground; it is a loss to the owner of the vineyard, when such a plant is suffered, καταργεῖ; which may signify the spending the heart of the ground to no purpose (ver. The covetous worldling prefers the ash to all other trees; he loves to bear the keys, and delights in being the jailer of his wealth. How many are there who know not this the day of their merciful visitation!IV. It is well for every particular person, when of barren, he comes to be fruitful in every good work (Psalm 128:2). In respect of shape, a tree hath its root, trunk, or body, boughs, branches, and smaller twigs issuing from thence. His jealousy will not endure that sin should ever go unpunished (Psalm 50:21; Malachi 3:15). © Copyrights 2021. Unprofitableness under the means of grace is exceedingly provoking to the Most High. ward profession, crying out, "The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord," drawing near with their lips when their hearts were far off. The one is taken from himself "Till I shall dig about it, and dung it." Corn comes up and grows alone of itself, without the husbandman's care (Mark 4:17). But how absurd, as well as dangerous, is such perverse reasoning! And so, first, take notice that it is a compounded sin; it hath many poisonous ingredients in it which makes it extremely evil, and amongst others these —1. He is the vinedresser, and His ministry of grace and truth is the means whereby it is faintly hoped Israel may yet, at the eleventh hour, be made spiritually fruitful. B. Bruce, D. D.However legal or usual the presence of a fig-tree in a vineyard may be, it is not, as in the case of a vine, a matter of course, and Christ must have had a reason for introducing it, and the reason can only be found in the didactic significance of the emblem. Rogers.That the Church is a spiritual vineyard is a truth that hath strong confirmation from Scripture. Their convictions are stifled, their affection to the things of God is gone, and the gospel is become tasteless to them.4. Incentives for Faithful Stewardship, Part 1. "Let it alone, till I shall dig about it, and dung it." This parable calls on you to examine yourselves, whether you be barren or fruitful; and to follow out the result aright, whatever it may be.3. He loves not to destroy there where He can any way spare. Those who have most tenderness for such, can have no ground to seek a long forbearance of this barrenness. And here, again, this expression — "Thou shalt cut it down," it hath a double emphasis with it. They must not only abound in some kind of fruit, but must bring forth fruits of all kinds.III. So we might show of His other attributes.(N. Shall God be always provoked? So must it be in a man. Other resemblances we might acquaint you with, but I must observe measure. "The whole earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof; the round world, and they that dwell therein," saith the Psalmist (Psalm 24:1), and yet in regard of the affection that He bears unto the Church, He doth in a manner count Himself owner of nothing but this. "Because the fruit was not good. This word, "well," it is not expressed in the original text, but it is necessarily supplied here in our English translation, to make the sense complete. Beddome, M. A.I. (2) Because He ever lives to make intercession with the Father. Sure I am, there is no tree subject to so many diseases as the body of man is.6. It is always true that the … Disappointments shall show him the vanity of the world. For it was not there by chance like a berry-bush in the woods, or a tree on the top of an old tower, the seed of which had been carried on the wings of the wind, or by a bird that, on the way to its nest, frightened by a hawk, had dropped its mouthful. It must have its own true, proper flavour. "For men do not gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles." He has laid down the plan of his recovery. All these, and each of them, make it evident, that those who are planted under the means of grace, are highly concerned to bring forth fruit. (a) That speech, love, and affection, which they bear unto them. And can he retain his ungodliness through such a year as this?3. Only here is the difference, man is arbor inversa, a tree turned upside down, saith the philosopher. It takes up that room which might be better employed; it sucks away that moisture which would make others fruitful; it overdrops the plants that are under it, hinders the spreading and fruitfulness of others. "Cut it down," being fruitless; burn it, being useless. Such will certainly be ruined. After three years' forbearance, he passes that severe sentence," cut it down."4. So Jeremiah 1:11, 12 — "I will hasten My word to perform it"; that is, to make good the judgments that I have denounced. many continue dead under quickening means, destitute of the Spirit and of faith. Such an earnest desire hath God to find fruit on us, whom He hath planted in His Church, as appears by those pathetical speeches which He uses, Deuteronomy 5:29; Deuteronomy 32:29; Psalm 81:13; Hosea 6:4. God will provide for all fruitful Christians in public calamities (Ezekiel 9:4). This Spirit is received by the hearing of faith. B. Bruce, D. D.However legal or usual the presence of a fig-tree in a vineyard may be, it is not, as in the case of a vine, a matter of course, and Christ must have had a reason for introducing it, and the reason can only be found in the didactic significance of the emblem. "The smell of it is like unto a field that the Lord hath blessed." "Well," all health, all joyous health for the soul, "well." Her beauty and glory is much blemished by the growth of such plants in it. In elections and choices fruitful trees are least of all regarded. How many are there who know not this the day of their merciful visitation!IV. As they do no good, and are cumbersome in that respect; so they do much harm, and so become unprofitable burdens, and that many ways. Do not go on living a useless life. Behold One interceding at God's right hand: "Let it alone this year Also, till I shall dig about it and dung it: and if it bear fruit, well." Adams.None? )This year alsoC. The gospel grace proves in many instances to have been all in vain. Let Rehoboam be rooted among the kings in the land of Judah, and the shields he finds of gold he will leave of brass. There is no answer given in the original. H. )Fruitfulness the gauge of valueC. Thus it is with man. R. Of each of these briefly, and in order.(N. Only a postponement. It is well for the minister when the people thrive in goodness, and are fruitful in every good work: namely, upon this account; because he sees some good success and effect of his labour amongst them. Adams. Thou hast borne with it long, I own, already; oh! The peaches were too small." )Mercy in sympathy with righteousnessA. He vindicates not the final continuance of the tree. — For the better accomplishing and perfecting whereof there are three principal virtues (as implements) which are necessarily requisite in these dressers of the Lord's vineyard.1. And so it is a word of permission, or submission, to the will and mind of the Lord of the vineyard. And as man grows thus in his youth, so he is drooping in his age. Wells, M. A.I. O that the Holy Spirit would make the blasphemer, the Sabbath.breaker, and the openly vicious to feel what a wonder it is that their lives are prolonged "this year also"! It is well for every particular person, when of barren, he comes to be fruitful in every good work (Psalm 128:2). (a) That speech, love, and affection, which they bear unto them. This is one thing which makes for this work to be performed by them; and then, which we may add hereunto, the affection which does belong unto them from this relation. Digging gives nothing to the tree; but it makes openings whereby gifts from another quarter may become practically available. There is no Christmas story in Mark's Gospel. It is possible, by a hard and impenitent heart, to let the day of grace go by. III. The Lord "hath chosen Zion, He hath desired it for His habitation" saith David (Psalm 132:13, 14). Let there be more "fruit" in our own closet, in more real communion with God in private. H. Spurgeon.I. Rogers. In the Old Testament we find it so styled (Psalm 80:8, 9, 15; Song of Solomon 8:11, 12; Isaiah 5:1, 7; Jeremiah 2:21). After three years' forbearance, he passes that severe sentence," cut it down."4. The privileges of the Jews were small in comparison with those which we enjoy. 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