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i Tim. i. 15.
The branches ingrafted in Chrift, growing aright, do grow in all tbe several ways of growth at once. They grow inward, growing ioro Chrift, Eph. iv. 15. uniting more closely with him, and cleaving more firmly to him, as the head of influences, which is the spring of all other true Chriftian growth. They grow outward, in good works, in their life and converfation ; They not only, with Naphtali, "give goodly words ;' but, like Joseph, they are fruitful boughs.' They grow upwards in heavenly mindedness, and contempt of the world; for their
conversation is in heaven,' Philip. iii. 20. And finally, they grow downward in humility and self-lothing. The branches of the largest growth in Chrift, are in their own eyes, ' less than the least of all saints,' Eph. i. 8. • The chief of all finners,'
• More brutish than any man,' Prov. XXX. 2. They see they can do nothing, no not fo much as to think any thing, as of themselves, 2 Cor. iii. 5. that they deserve nothing, being 'not worthy of the least of all the mercies shewed unto them, Gen. xxxii. 10. and that they are nothing,' 2 Cor. xii. 2.
A Sixth benefit is Fruitfulness. The branch ingrafted into Chrift, is not barren, but brings forth fruit, John xv. 5.
< He that abidesh in me, and I in bim; the fame bringeth forth much fruit. For that very end, are fouls married to Christ, that they may bring forth fruit' unto God,' Ront. vii. 4. They may be branches in Christ, by profession, but not by real implantation, that are barren branches. Whosoever are united to Christ, bring forth the fruits of gospel obedience and true holiness Faith is always followed with good works. The believer is not only come out of the grave of his natural state'; but he has put off his grave clothes, namely, reigning lusts, in the which he walked sometime, like a ghoft; being dead, while he lived in them, Col. iiia 7, 8. For Christ has said of him, as of Lazarus, • Loose him, and let him go.' And now that he has put on Chrift; he personates him, (fo to speak) as a beggar, in borrow. ed robes, represenrs a king on the stage, walking as he also walked. Now the fruit of the Spirit, in hin, is in all goodness.'
The fruits of holiness will be found in the hearts, lips, and lives of thole who are united to Christ. The hidden man of the heart, is not only a temple built för God, and consecrated to him ; but uled and employed for him ; where lave, fear, trust, and all the other parts of unfeen religion cised, Phil. iii. 3. • For we are of the circumcifion, which worship God in the Spirit.' The heart is no more the devil's comnion, where thoughts go free ; for there even vain thoughts
Eph. v. 9:
are hated, Psal. cxix. 123. But it is God's inclosure, hedged about as a garden, for him, Cant. iv, 16. It is true, there are weeds of corruption there, because the ground is not yet perfeetly healed: but the man, in the day of his new creation, is fer to dress it, keep it. A live-coal from the altar has touched
ed his lips and they are purified, Psal. xv. 1, 2, 3. Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle ? Who shall dwell in thy holy bill? He that speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.' There may be indeed a smooth congue, where there is a false heart. The voice may be Jacob's, while the hands are Efau's But, If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, that man's religion is vain,? James i. 26. The power of godliness will rule over the tongue, though a world of iniquity. If one be a Galilean, his ipeech will bewray him ; he'll not fpeak the lang.
$ Jud uage of Ashdod, but the language of Canaan. He will neither be dumb in religion : nor will his tongue walk at random, seeing to the double guard nature hath given the tongue, grace hath add a third : The fruits of holiness will be found in his out. ward converfation, for he hath clean hands, as well. -as a pure
Ch heart. Pfal. xxiv. 4. He is a godly man, and religiously discharges the duties of the first table of the law : He is a righteous
ye man, and honestly performs the duties of the second table. In his conversatiou he is a good Christian and a good neighbour
He carries it towards God, as if men's eyes were upon him ; and towards men, as believing God's
him. These things which God hath joined, in his law, he dare not in his practice put asunder.
Thus the branches of Christ are full of good fruits. And those fruits are a cluster of vital actions, whereof Jesus Christ is the principle and end : the principle ; for he lives in them : and
the life they live, is by tlie faith of the Son of God,' Gal. i. 20. T'he end; for they live to him: and to them to live, is Chrift,' Philip. i 21. The duties of religion are in the world, like fatherless children in rags : some will not take them in, because theģ never loved them nor their Father: fome take them in, because they may be serviceable to them but the faints take them in for their Father's fake ; that is, for Christ's fake : and they are lovely in their eyes, because they are like him! O whence is the new life of the saints ! surely it could never have been hammered out of the natural powers of their fouls, by the united force of all created power. La eternal barrenness should their womb have
to be upon
been shut up; but that being married to Chrift, they bring forth fruit unto God.? Rom. vii. 4.
If you ask me, How your nourishment, groweth and fruitfulness
may be forwarded ? I offer these few advices. (1.) Make sure work, as to your koitting with the stock by faith unfeigned; and beware of hypocrisy: a branch that is not found at the heart, will certainly wither. The trees of the Lord's planting are trees of righteoufuess, Ifa. Ixi. 3. So when others fade, they bring forth fruit. Hypocrisy is a disease in the vitals of religion, which will consume all at length. It is a leak in the ship, that will certainly fiok it. Sincerity of grace will make it lafting, be it never so weak: as the smallest twig, that is found at the heart, will draw nourifhment from the stock, and grow, while the greatest bough that is rotten, can never recover, be. caule it receives no nourishment. (2.) Labour to be stedfast in the truths and way of God. An unsettled and wavering judgment is a great enemy to Christiaa growth and fruitfulnels, as the apostle teaches, Eph. iv. 14, 15. That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with
every wind of doctrine. But speaking the truth in love,
grow up unto him in all things, which is the head, even Chrift? A rolling stone gathers no fog, and a wavering judgment makes a fruitless life. Though a tree be never fo souod, yet how can it grow, or be fruitful, if ye be still removing it out of one soil into another ? (3.) Endeavour to cut off the suckers, as gardeners do, that their trees may thrive. These are unmortified lusts. Therefore, i* mortify your members that are upon the earth, Col. ii. 5. When the Israelites got meat tó their lufts, they got leanness to their souls. She that has many hungry children about her hand, and must be still putting into their mouths, will have much ado to get a bit put into ber own.
They must refuse the craving of inordinate affections, who would have their foals to prosper. Lastly, Improve, for these ends, the ordinances of God. The courts of our God are the place, where the trees of righteousness flourish, Pfal. xcii. 13. The waters of the sanctuary are the means appointed of God, to cause his people grow as willows by ihe water courses. Therefore drink in, with desire, the fincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby, 1 Pet. ii. 2. Come to these wells of salvation, not to look at them only, but to draw water out of them. The facramı ne of the Lord's supper is, in a special manner, appointed for these ends. It is not only a folemn, public profession, and a feal of our union and communion with
Christ; but it is a means of most intimate communion with hiva ; and strengthens our union with him, our faith, love, repentance, and other graces, 1 Cor. x. 26. The cup of hlelling which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? And chap. xn. 13. We have been all made to drink into one Spirit.' 'Give yourselves unto prayer : open your mouths wide, and he will fill them. By Thele means the branches in Christ may be further nourished, grow up, and bring forth much fruir.
A feveoth benefit is, The Acceptance of their fruits of holi. ness before the Lord. Though they be very imperfect, they are accepted, because they favour of Chrift the blessed ftock, which the branches grow upon; while the fruits of others are rejected of God, Gen. ii. 4, 5.' And the Lord had respect unto Abel, and to his offering : But unto Cain and his offering he had not respect." Compare Heb. xi. 3. By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent facrifice than Cain. O bow defective are the faints duties in the eye of the law! The believer' himself espies many faults in his best performances; yet the Lord graciously receives them. There is no grace planted in the heart, but there is a weed of corruption hard by its side, while the saints are in this lower world. Their very fincerity is tot without mixture of diffimulation or hypocrisy, Gal, ii. 1 3. Hence there are defects in the exercise of every grace; in the performance of every duty: depraved nature always drops something to staja their best works. There is fill a mixture of darkness with their cleareit light. Yet this does nor mar their acceptance, Cant. vi. 10. · Who is the that looketh forth as the morning? the dawning? Behold how Christ's spouse is esteemed and accepted of her Lord, cven when she looks forth as the morning, whose beauty is mixed with the bladels of the night!..When the morning was looking out,' as word is, Judges xix. 26. i. e. in the dawning of the day,' as we read it. So the very dawning of grace, and good will to Chrift, grace peeping out from under a mass of darkness in believers, is pleasant and acceptable to him, as the break of day is to the weary travelles. Though the remains of unbelief make their hand of faith to shake and treible : yet the Lord is so well pleased with it, that he employs it' to carry away pardons and supplies of grace, from the throne of grace, and the fountain of grace. His faith was effc&tual, who cried out, and said with tears, • Lord, I believe, help thou nine unbelief, Mark ix. 24. Tho' the remains of fenfual affections make the flame of their love weak and
fmoaky; he turns his eyes from the smoak, and beholds the flame, how fair it is, Canr, iv. 10. How fair is my love, my filter, my spouse! The smell of their under garments of interent holiness, as imperfect as it is, like the smell of Lebanon, ver. Il. and that because they are covered with their elder brother's clothes, which make the sons of God to : linell as a field which the Lord hath blessed.' Their good works are ac. cepted: their
cups of cold water given to a difciple, in the name of a disciple, shall not want a reward. Tho' they cannot offer for the tabernacle, gold, filver, and brass, and onyx-stone, let them come forward with what they have: if it were but goats hair, it shall not be rejected ; if it were but ram skins, they Thall be kindly accepted for they are dyed red, dipt by faith in the Mediator's blood, and so presented unto God. A very ordinary work done in faith, and from faith, if it were but the building of a wall about the holy city, is a great work, Neh. vi. 3. If it were but the bestowing of a box of ointment on Chrift , it shall never be forgotten, Matth. xxvi.
Even cup of cold water only, given to one of Christ's little ones, in the name of a disciple, thall be rewarded,' Matth. x. 42. Nay, pot a good word for Chrift, Mall drop from their mouths, bút it shall be registred in God's book of remenibrance, Mal. jii. 16. Nor shall a tear drop from their eyes for him, but he will put it in his borile, Pral, lvi. 8. Their will is accepted for the deed: their forrow for the want of will, for the will itself, 2 Cor. viii. 12. 6. For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.' Their groanings, when they cannot well word their desires, are heard in heaven; the meaning of these groans is well known there, and they will be returned like the dove with an olive branch of peace in her mouth. See Rom. viii. 26, 27: Their mites are better than other men's talents. Their lisping and broken sentences are more pleasent to their Father in heaven, than the most fluent and fourishing speeches of those that are not in Christ. Their voice is sweet, even when they are alhamed it flould be heard ; their countenance is comely even when they blush, aod draw a vail over it, Cant.
The Mediator takes their petitiòns, blots out some parts, rectifies others, and then presents them to the Father, ia consequence whereof they pass in the court of heaven.
Every true Christian is a temple to God. If ye look for facrifices, they are not wanting there : they offer the facrifice of praise, and they do good, with such facrifices God is well