Matthew 3:10. And now, also, the axe, &c. To enforce his exhortation, he informs them that they had no time to delay their repentance, because the patience of God was very near exhausted, and come to an end with respect to them. His judgments were at hand and ready to be inflicted, so that, if they continued unfruitful, notwithstanding the extraordinary means that were now to be tried with them, destruction would speedily overtake them; as if he had said, God now once more offers you his grace in and through his Son, which, if you refuse, he will no longer bear with you. You think of national deliverances, but I am sent to warn you of national judgments; judgments, which even now hang over your heads, and are ready to fall upon you if you still continue barren, or do not bring forth good fruit: for I assure you, the hand of God is lifted up to strike the fatal blow. There is an allusion in the words to a woodman, who, having marked a tree for excision, lays his axe at the root of it, till he puts off his upper garment, and then immediately goes to work to cut it down. Therefore, every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit Every one that, while he professes to be one of God’s people, contradicts that profession by a wicked life, or by the neglect of vital and practical religion, is cut down, &c. Instantly, without further delay; and cast into the fire Of hell: a prediction this, 1st, of that dreadful destruction which, within the short period of forty-four years, came, by the Romans, upon the whole Jewish nation; as if he had said, The Babylonians formerly lopped off your branches, but now the tree shall be cut down; your commonwealth shall be destroyed, and your temple, city, and nation totally ruined: and, 2dly, it is a prediction of that particular destruction which shall soon overtake all that reject the counsel of God against themselves, or, as the apostle expresses it, that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
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