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God, through faith unto falvation,' 1 Pet. i. 5. Hypocrites may so fall, so as to fall off, and fall into the pit, as a bucket falls into a well when the chilin breaks. But though the child of God

may fall, and that so low as the water goes over his head; yet there is still a bond of union betwixt Christ and him : the chain is not broken : he will not go to the ground: he will be drawn up again, Luke xxii. 31.82.' And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, Satan hath desired to have you, that he might lift you as wheat'; but, I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not." (2.) The falls of the saints flow from their pot improving their union with Christ; their not making use of him by faith, for staying or bearing them up, Pfal xxvi. 13. • I had fainted, unless I had believed.' While the ourfe holds the chilet in her arms, it cannot fall to the ground: yet if the unwary child hold not by her, it may fall backwards in her arms, to its great hurt. Thus David's fall broke his bones. Plal. li. 8. but did it not. break the bond of union betwixt Christ and him : The holy Spirit, the bond of that union, was not taken from him, ver. 11.

The last benefit I hall game, is, The special care of the husbandman, Juhn Xv. 1, 2. . I am the true vine, and my

Fa. ther is the husbanaman.Every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit,' Believers, by virtue of their union with Christ, are the objects of God's special care and providence. Myftical Christ is God's vine, other focieties in the world are but wild olive-trees. The men of the world are but God's out-field ; the saints are his vineyard, which he has a special property in, and a special concern for, Canta viii, 12. My vineyard, which is mine, is before me," He that Numbers not nor feeps, is the keeper of it, he does keep it left any hurt it, he will keep it night and day ;' he io whose hand is the dew of heaven,' will water in every moment, lla. xxvii

. 3. He drefscth and purgesh it, in order to further fruitfulness,

John X. 2. He cuts off the luxuriant twigs that mar the fruitfulness of the branch. This is done, especially by the word, and by the cross of afflictions. . The faints need the ministry of the word, as much as the vineyard needeth one to dress and pruue the vines, 1 Cor. iii. 9. "We are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.' . And they need the cross too, i Per. i. 6.

And therefore, if we thould reckon the cross amongst the benefits flowing to believers from their union with Chrift, I judge, we should nos reckon it amiss. Sure I am, in their fuf. farings they saffer with him, Rom. viii, 17 And the affurances

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they have of the cross, have rather the nature of a promise, as of a threatning, Pfal. lxxxix. 30, 31, 32, 33.

* If his children forsake my law, then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Neverthelels, my loving kindness will I Got utterly take from him: por faffer my faith. fumess to fail.' This looks like a tu:or's engaging to a'dying:

father, to take care of his children left upon him ; and to give - them both nurture and admouition, for their good. The cove

nant of grace does truly beat the spears of afli&tion into pruning: hooks, to them that are in Chrift, Ila. xxvii. 9. * By this there fore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged; and this is all the fruit to take away his fin .' Why then should we be angry with our cross? Why should we be frighted at it? The believer must take up is cross, and follow his leader, the Lord Jesus Christ. He must take up his ilk-day's cross, Luke ix. 23. If any man will come afuer me, let him deny himlelf, and take up

his-cross: daily.' Yea, he must take up his holy. day's cross too, Lam. ii. 22. “Thou hast called, as in a folemo day, my terrors round: about." The church of the Jews had, of a long time, many a. plealing meeting at the temple, on folemn days, for the worshipof God: but they got a folemnity of another nature, when God: called together, about the remple and city, the Chaldean army; that burnt the temple, andi laid Jerusalem on heaps. And now. that the church of God is yet militant in this lower région, how can it be but ihe clouds will return after the rain ? Bør the cross of Christ (which name the saints troubles do bear) is a kindly. name to the believer. It is a cross indeed : but not to tht be... liever's graces, but to his corruptions. The hypocrite's feem. . ing graces may indeed breathe out their lait-on a cross, as these : of the stony ground hearers.did, Mat. xiii. 6.. "And when the fon (of. persecution, ver. 26.). was up, they were scorched : And because they had not root, they wiiheredaway." But never did one of the real graces in a believer die upon the cross. yet. Nay, the candle hines brightest in the night, and the fire buros fiercelt-in intense frost : So the believer's-graces-arej, ordinarily, most vigorous in a time of trouble.

There is a certain pleasure and sweetness in the cross, to them: who have their senses exercised to discerns, and to find it out: There is a certain sweetness in one's seeing himself upon his trials , for heaven, aod standing candidate for glory. There is a pleafure in travelling over these mountains, where the Christian can fee the prints of Chrift's owo feet, and the footsteps of the flock, cho have been there before them. How.pleasant is it to a Saint

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in the exercise of grace, to see how a good God crosseth his corrupt inclinations, and prevents his folly! How sweet is it to behold these thieves upon the cross ! How refined a pleasure is there in observing how God draws away provision from anruly lufts, and so pincheth them, that the Christian may get them governed ! Of a truth there is a paradise within this thorn hedge. Many, a time the people of God are in-bonds, which are never lcosed, till they be bound with cords of affliction. God takes them, and throws them into a fiery furnace, that burns off their bonds; and then, like the three children, Dan. jii. 25. they are - loose, walking in the midst of the fire. God gives his children

à potion, with one bitter ingredient: If that will not work upon then, he will put in a second, a third, and so on, as there is need, that they may work together, for their good, Rom. viii. 28. With cross-winds he haltens them to the harbour.

They are often found in such ways, as that the cross, is the happiest foot they can meet with : and well may they falute it, as David did Abigail, saying, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, which fent thee this day to meet me,' 1 Sam. xxv. 32. Wordly things are often such a load to the Christian, that he moves but. very Nowly heaven;ward. God sends a wind of trouble that blows the burden off the man's back : and then he walks more {peedily on his way; after God hath drawn some gilded earth from him, that was drawing his heart away from God, Zeph. iii. 12. I will also leave in the midst of thee, an afflicted and poor people, and they hall trust in the name of the Lord." It was an observe of an heathen moralist, That no history makes mention of any man, who hath been made better by riches. I doubt if our modern histories can supply the defect of ancient histories in this point. But sure I am, many have been the worse of riches; thousands have been hugged io death, in the embraces of a smiling worid; and many good men have got wounds from outward prosperity, that behoved to be cured by op the cross. I remember to bave read of one, who baving an im

posthume in his breaft, had in vain used the help of physicians: but being wounded with a sword, the impofthume broke ; and his life was saved by that accident, which threatned immediate death. Often have spiritual impofthumes gathered in the breasts of God's people, in time of outward prosperity, and been thus broken aod difcuffed by the cross. It is kindly for believers to be healed by stripts ; although they are usually fo weak as to cry out for fear, at the fight of the pruning-hook, as if it were the deftroying ax: and to thiok the Lord is coming to kill them, when he is indeed coming to cure them.

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I shall now conclude, addresling myself in a few words, first to saints, and next to finners. I. Το

you that are faints, I say, First, Strive to obtain and keep up actual communion and felionship with Jesus, Cirist; that is, to be ftill deriving fresh Supplies of grace, from the fountain thereof in him by faith and making suitable returns of them in the exercise of grace and holy obedience. Beware of eltrangement betwixt Christ and your fools. If it has got in already, (which seems to be the cale of many in this day,) endeavour to get it removed. There are multitudes in the world, that night-Christ, though ye Mould not fight him : many have turned their backs on him, that sometimes looked fair for heaven. T're warm fun of outward peace, and prosperity, has caused some cast their cloak of religion from them, who held it falt when the wind of trouble was blowing upon them: and will ye also go away?" John vi. 67.

The greatest ingratitude is ftamped on your lighting of coinmunion with Christ, Jer. ii. 31,- Have I been a wilderness unto Israel; a land of darkness? Wherefore say, my people, We are lords, we will come no more unto thee Oh! beloved, Is this your kindoess to your friend? It is unbecom ng any wife, to flight converse with her husband, but her especially who was taken from a prison or a dunghill, as ye wire, by our Lord?. But remember, I pray you, this is a very

ill-chosen time to live at a distance from God :-it is a time in which divine previdence frowns upon the land we live iin; the clouds of wrath are gath. ering, and are thick above our heads? It is not a time for you to be out of your chambers,, Ifa. Xxvi. 20. They that now are walking most closely with God, may have enough ado to ftand when the trial comes; how hard will it be for others ther, who are like to be furprised with troubles, when guilt is lying on their consciences unremoved. To be awaked out of a found sleep, and cast into a raging fea, as Jogah was, wili be a fearful trial. To feel trouble before we see it coming, to be past hope before we have any fear, is a very fad case. Wherefore, break down your idols of jealousy, mortify thefe lufts, these irregular appetites and desires, that have stolen away your hearts, and left

you, like Samson, without his hair, and say, I will go and return to my first husband; for th:n it was better with me,

; than now,' Hof. ii. 7.

Secondiy, Walk as becomes those that are united to Cirist. Evidence your union with him, by walking as he also walked;' 1 John ii. 6. If ye be brought from under the power of dark.

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ness, let your light thine before meo. • Shine as lights in the world, holding forth the word of life,' as the lanthorn holds the candle, which being in it, fines through it, Philip. ii. 15. 16. Now that ye profefs Christ to be in you, let his image shine forth in your conversation, and remember the business of your lives is to prove by practical arguments whai ye profess.

i. Ye know the character of a wife, She that is married, careth how she may please her husband.' Go you and do like. wise : " Walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing,' Col. i. 10. This is the grear business of life ; you must please him, though it should displease all the world. What he hates, must be hateful to you, because he hates it. Whaterer lufts come in fuit of your hearts, deny them, seeing the grace of God has appeared teaching fo to da ? and you are joined to the Lord. Let him be a covering 10 your eyes : for you have not your cboice to make, it is made already; and you must not dishonour your Head. A man takes care of his feet, for that, if he catch cold there, it fies up to his head.

• Shall I lhen take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid,' says the apostle, 1 Cor. vi. 15. Wilt thou take that heart of thine, which is Christ's dwelling place, and lodge his enemies there? Wilt thou take that body which is his temple, and defile it by using the members thereof, as the instruments of lin?

2. Be careful to bring forth fruit, and much fruit. The branch well laden with fruit, is the glory of the vine, and of the hus. bandman too, John xv. 8. • Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit, so shall ye be my disciples.". A barren tree stands safer in a wood, than an orchard: And branches in Christ that bring not forth fruit, will be taken away and cast into the fire.

2. Be heavenly minded, and maintain a holy contempt of the world. Ye are united to Christ, he is your

Head and Husband, and is in heaven; therefore your hearts should be there also, Col. iii. 1. If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those chings which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God.' Let the serpeni's seed go on their belly, and eat the dust of this earth: but let the members of Christ be ashamed to bow down and feed with them.

4. Live and act dependently; depending by faith on Jesus Christ. That which grows on its own root, is a tree, not a branch: It is of the nature of a branch, to depend on the stock for all, and to derive all-its fap from thence. Depend on him

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