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when Mofes called it down upon the land, if such be his tender feelings toward the productions of the earth, as this single figtree : Till he can convince us that the deliverance of the Jews from their Egyptian bondage was a more important object than the redemption of the world, he will find it hard to make a reasoning man allow, that this single fig-tree, even though it had no right to bear fruit, hath a stronger appeal to justice against the miracle of Christ, than every herb of the field that was smitten, every guiltless and innocent tree of the field that was broken by the stretching forth of the rod of Moses.
Thus then stands the account between Christ and his accuser ; the Jewish nation loft a tree, and mankind gained-a Savior !
IF f it were necessary to enter into a more
literal defence of the miracle of the blasted fig-tree, I fee no absolute reason to conclude with the caviller, that Christ required
the tree to produce fruit out of season and act against it's nature; for if the time of figs be the gathering or harvest of figs, it was more reasonable to expect fruit from this tree before the time of plucking, than after it; and as this fruit was no small article in the produce and traffick of Judæa, we may well conclude the time of figs, mentioned by Saint Mark, was like the vintage in the wine countries; and I apprehend it would not be an unreasonable expectation to find a cluster of grapes on a vine, before the time of vintage was come. This construction of the words will seen the more reasonable, when we remark that Saint Matthew, who records the miracle, takes no account of this circumstance, and that Saint Mark, who states it, ftates also that Christ in his hunger applied to the tree, if haply he might find any thing thereon, which implies expectation.
But our Jew hath suggested a better method of performing the miracle, by commanding fruit from a withered tree instead of blasting a living one; which, says he, if Jesus had done, it would have been such air instance of his power, as to have rendered the proof of the miracle indisputable.
Here let him stand to his confession, and I take him at his word: I agree with him in owing that the miracle, as he states it, would have been indisputable, had Christ given life and fruit to a withered tree; and I demand of him to agree with me, that the miracle was indisputable, when the same Christ gave breath and life to dead La
But alas ! I can hardly expect that the raising a dead tree to life would have been thus successful, though even infidelity afserts it, when the miracle of restoring a dead man to life hath not filenced his cavils, but left him to quibble about hogs and figs, and even in the face of his own confession to arraign the Savior of the world as unjust and irrational through the channel of a Christian press: Neither am I bound to admit, that his correction of the miracle would in any respect have amended it; for, as an instance of Christ's miraculous power, I I can see no greater energy in the act of enlivening a dead tree, than in destroying a living one by the single word of his comniand. I must yet afk patience of the reader,
whilft I attend upon this objector to another cavil started against this miracle of the figtree, in the account of which he says there is a contradiction of dates between Saint Matthew and Saint Mark, for that in the former it appears Christ first ist the buyers and fellers out of the temple, and on the morrow cursed the fig-tree; whereas according to Saint Mark it was transacted before the driving them out of the temple, and such a manifest contradiction must greatly affeet the credibility of the history.
Whether it not a day's disagreement in the dates would so greatly affect the credibility of the history we are not called upon to argue, because it will be found that no such contradiction exifts.
Saint Mark agrees with Saint Matthew in saying, that Jesus entered into Jerusalem and into the temple, and on the morrow cursed the fig-tree; he then adds that he returned to Jerusalem, and drove the buyers and sellers out of the temple : Again, the next morning he and his disciples paised by the fig-tree and saw it dried up from the roots : This is told in detail. Saint Matthew agrees with Saint Mark in
saying saying Jesus went into the temple the day before he destroyed the fig-tree, but he does not break the narrative into detail, as Saint Mark does; for as he relates the whole miracle of the fig-tree at once, comprising the events of two drys in one account, fo doth he give the whole of what pafled, in the temple at once also.
Both Evangelists agree in making Christ's entrance into the temple antecedent to his miracle; but Saint Matthew with more brevity puts the whole of each incident into one account, Saint Mark more circumstantially details every particular : And this is the mighty contradiction, which David Levi hath discovered in the facred historians, upon which he exultingly pronounces, that he is confident there are a number of others as glaring as this; but which he has not at present either time or inclination to point out.
These menaces I shall expect he will make good, for when his time serves to point them out, I dare believe his inclination will not ftand in the way.
In the meantime let it be remembered, that David Levi stands pledged as the author of an unsupported charge against the