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because they out-shine them, by holiness of life, or because they are not of their opinion or way. This, wherefoever it reigns, is a fearful symptom of an unregenerate sate. But, I do not lo much mean cbis, as that which is common to all the branches of the ald stock; namely, the leaven of hypocrisy, Luke xii. 1. which sowers and embitters every duty they perform. The wisdom that is full of good fruits, is without hypocrisy, James ill. 17. (2.) Their ill savour. Their works are abominable, for themselves are corrupt, Psal. xiv.J. They all favour of the old Itock, not of the new; it is the peculiar priviledge of the saints, that they are unto God a Sweet favour of Christ, 2 Cor. ii. 15. The unregenerate man's fruits favour not of Love to Chrift, nor of the blood of Christ, nor of the incense of his interceffion; and therefore will never be accepted of in heaven. (3.) Their unripeness. Their grape is an unripe grape, Job xv. 33. There is no jofluence on them from the Sun of Righteoulness, to bring them to perfection. They have the shape of fruit, but no more. The matter of duty is in them; but they want right principles and ends: their works are not wrought in God, John iii. 21. Their prayers drop from their lips, before their hearts be impregnate with the vital sap of the Spirit of supplication: their tears fall from their eyes, ere their hearts be truly foftened: their feet turn to new paths, and their way is altered; while yet their nature is not changed. (4.) Their lightness. Being weighed in the balances, they are found wanting, Dan. v. 27. For evidence whereof, you may observe, they do not bumble the soul, but lift it upin pride. The good fruits of holiness bear down the branches they grow upon, making them to falute the ground. 1 Cor. xv. 10. I laboured more abundanily than they all: yet not l, but the grace of God which was with me. But the blasted fruits of unrenewed men's performance, bang lightly on branches towering up to heaven, Judges xvii. 13. Now know I, that the Lord will do me good, feeing I have a Levite to my priest. They look indeed so high, thac God cannot behold chem: Wherefore have we fafted, say they, and thou seest not? Isa. Iviii. 3. The more duties they do, and the better they seem to perform them; the less are they humbled, the more they are lifted up. This disposition of the finner, is the exact reverse of what is co be found in the saint. To men, who neither are in Christ, nor are solicitous to be found in him, their duties are like windy bladders, where with they think to swim ashore to Immanuel's land: but there must needs break, and they consequently fink; because they take not Chrift for the lifter-up of their head, Pfal. iii. 3. Laftly, They are not all manner of pleasant fruits, Cant. vi. 13. Christ, as a King, must be served with variety. Where God makes the heart his garden, he plants it as Solomon did his, with trees of all kinds of fruits, Ecclel. ii. 5. And accordingly it brings forth the fruit of the Spirit in all goodiefs,
But the ungodly are not so: their obedience is never universal; there is always fome one thing ar other excepted. la
one word, their fruits, are fruits of an ill tree, that cannot be accepted in heaven.
2dly, Our natural fock is a dead stock, according to the threat. Bing, Gen. ii. 17. in the day thou eateft thereof, thou shalt surely die. Our root now is rottenness, no marvel t'he blossom go up as dust. The stroke is gone to the heart; the sap is let out, and the tree is withered. The curse of the first covenant, like a hot thunderbolt from heaven has lighted on it, and ruined it. It is cursed now as the fig-tree, Matth. xxi. 19. Let no fruit grow on thee, henceforth for ever. Now it is good for nothing, but to cumber the ground, and furnish fuel for Tophet.
Let me eplarge a little here also. Every unrenewed man is a branch of a dead stock. When thou seelt, О finnet, a dead stock of a tree, exhausted of all its fap, having branches on it in the fame condition ; look on it as a lively representation of thy soul's fate. (1.) Where the stock is dead, the branches mult needs be barren. Alas! the barrenness of many profeffors plainly discovers on what stock they are growing. Ii is eafy to pretend to faith, but shew me thy faith without thy works, if thou cans, James ii. 17. (2) A dead stock can convey no sap to the branches, to make them bring forch fruit. The covenant of works was ibe bond of our union with the natural stock; but now it is become weak through the flesh; that is, through the degeneracy and depravity of human nature, Rom. vii. 3. It is strong enough to command, and to bied heavy burdens on the shoulders of those who are not in Chrift; but it affords no strength to bear them. The fap that was once in the roof, is now gone: and the law, like a merciless creditor, apprehends Adam's heirs, saying, Pay what thou oweft; when, alas! his effects are riotously spent (3.) All pains and coft are loft on the cree, whose life is gone. In vain do men labour to get fruit on the branches, when there is no sap in the root. First, The gardiner's pains are loft; minifters lose their labour on the branches of the old Itock, while they continue in it. Many fermons are preached to no purpose; because there is no life to give sensation. Sleeping men may be awakened; but the dead cannot be railed without a miracle: even so, the dead sinner must remain so, if he be not restored to life, by a miracle of grace.
Secondly, The influences of heaven are left on such a tree: in vain doth the rain fall upon it: in vain is it laid open to the winter-cold and frosts. The Lord of the vineyard digs about many a dead foul, but it is not bettered. Bruise the fool in a mortar, his folly will not depart. Tho' he meets with many crofles, yet he retains his lufts; let him be laid on a lick-bed, he will there ly like a lick bealt, groaning under his pain; but not mourning for, nor furning from
his lin. Let death itself ftáre him in the facc; He will prelumptuously mainta s his hope, as if he would look the grim messenger out of countenance. Sometimes there are common operations of the divine Spirit performed on bim: he is sent home
with a trembling heart ; and with arrows of conviction sticking in his soul; but at length he prevails againit these things, and turns as secure as ever. Thirdly, Summer and winter are alike to the branches of the dead lock. When others about them are budding, bloffoming, and bringing forth fruit; there is no change on chem; the dead ftock has no growing time at all. Perhaps it may be difficult to know, in the winter, what trees are dead, and what are alive; but the spring plainly discovers it. There are fome seafons, wherein there is little life to be perceived, even among laints; yet times of reviving come at length. But even when the vine flourisheth, and the pomegranates bud forth (when faving grace is discovering itself, by its lively actings, wheresoever it is) the branches on the old stock are still withered: when the dry bones are coming together, bone to bone, amongst saints; the finners bones are ftill lying about the grave's mouth. They are trees that cumber the ground, are near to be cut down: and will be cut down for the fire, if God in mercy prevent it not by cutting them off from that stock, and ingrafting them into another.
Lastly, Our natural stock is a killing tock. If the stock dle, how can the branches live? If the sap be gone from the root and heart, the branches must needs wither. In Adam all die, 1 Cor. xv. 22. The root died in Paradise; and all the branches in it, and with it. The rooi is iinpoisoned, thence the branches come to be infected: death is in the pot; and all that taste of the pulse, or pottage are killed.
Know then, that every natural man is a branch of a killing stock. Our natural root not only gives us pot life, but it has a killing power reaching all the branches thereof. There are four things, which the first Adam conveys 'to all his branches; and they are abiding in, and lying on, such of them as are pot ingrafted to Christ. Fall, A corrupt nature. He ligned, and his nature was thereby corrupted or depraved; and this corruption is conveyed to all his polierity. He was infected, and the contagion spread itself over all bis iced. Secondly, Guilt, that is an obligation to punishment, R! V 21. Brone man sin entered into the world, and death by fin: ani po death puffed upon all men, for that all have finned. The threatnings of the law, as cords of death, are twisted about the branches of the old itock; to draw them over the hedge into the fire. And till they be cut off from this stock by the pruning knife; the word of vengeance hangs over their heads, to cut them down. Thirdly, This killing stock tranfmits the curse into the branches. The Stock, as the stock. (for I speak not of Adam in his personal and privaie capacity) being cursed; fo are the branches, Gal.iii. 10. For as many as are of the works of the law, are under the curse. This curse atfects the whole man, and all that belongs to him, every thing he poffesfes; and worketh shree ways. (1.) As poison, infeding: thus their bleffings are cursed, Mal ii. 2. Whatever the sau enjoys, it can do him no good, but evil; being thus impoisoned
by by the curse. His propos ity in the world destroys him, Prov.i. 32. The ministry of the gofpel is a frivour nf death unto death, to him, 2 Cor.1.16. His feening attainments in religion are cursed to him: bis knowledge serves but to puff him up, and his duties to keep him back from Christ. (2.) It workeih as a moth, consuming and wasting by little and little, Hof. v. 12. Therefore will I be unto Ephraim as a moth. There is a worm at the root, confumiug them by degrees. Thus the curse pursued Saul, till it wormed him out of all his enjoyments, and out of the very shew he had of religion. Sometimes they decay like the fat of lambs, and melt away as the snow in a fun-fhine (2.) It actesh as a lion rampant, Hos. v. 1410 I will be unto Ephraim as a lion. The Lord rains on them fraresx fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest, in fuch a manner, thac they are hurried away with the streain. He teareth their enjoya ments from them in his wrath, pursuech them with rerrors, rents their souls from their bodies, and throws the deadned branch into the fire. Thus the curle devours like fire, which none can quench. Lastly, This killing stock tranfmits death to the branches upon it. Adam took the poisonous cup, and drunk it off: this occafioned death to himself and us. We came into the world spiritually dead, thereby obnoxious co eternal death, and absolutely liable to temporal deach. This root is to us like the Scythian river, which, They say, brings forth little bladders every day, out of which come certain imall Aies, which are bred in the morning, winged at noon, and dead at night: a very lively emblem of our mortal state.
Now, Sirs, is it not absolutely neceffary to be broken off from this our natural stock? What wilt our fair leaves of a profession, or our fruits of duties avail, if we be still branches of the degenerate, dead and killing (tock? But, alas! among the many questions toffed anong us, few are taken up about these, “ Whether am I broken * off from the old stock, or not? Whether am I ingrafted in " Chrift, or not?" Ah! wherefore all this waste! Why is there so much-noise about religion amongst many, who can give no good account of their having laid a good foundation, being mere stran. gers to experimental religion I fear, if'God do not, in mercy, timeously undermine the religion of many of us, and let us fee we have none at all; our root will be found rorrenness, and our blossom go up as dust, in a dying hour. Therefore, let us look co our ftate, that we be not found fools in our latter end.
II. Let us now view the fupernatural stock in which the branches, cut off from the natural stock, are ingrafted: Jesus Christ is some. times called the branch; Zechii 8. So he is, in respect of his human nature; being a branch, and the top-branch of the house of David. Sometimes he is called a root, Ifa. xi. 10. we have both together, Rev.xxii, 16. I am the root, and the of-spring of David: 'David's Tost, as God; and his off-spring, as man. The text tells, that he is the Vins: i. e. he, as Mediator, is the vine-stock, whereof believers
are the branches. As the sap comes from the earth into the root and stock, and from thence is diffufed into the branches; fo by Christ, as Mediator, divinc life is conveyed froin the fountain unto these who are united to him by faith, John vi '57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: fo he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. Now Christ is Mediatur, not as God only, as fone have aflerted : nor yet as man only, as the Papifts gène. sally hold: but he is Mediator as God-man, Acts xx. 28 - The church of God, which he bath purchased with his blood. Heb ix 14. Christ, who, through the eternal Spirit, offered himjelf without spot to Cod. The divine and human natures have'their distinct actings, yet a joint operation in this, discharging the office of a Mediator. This is illustrated by the similitude of a fiery sword, which at once cuts and burns: cutting it burneth, and burniug it cutteth; the Reel cuts, and the fire burns. Wherefore Chrif, God-man, is the stock, whereof believers are the branches: and they are united to whole Christ. They are united to him in his human nature, as being members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones, Eph.v.30. and they are united to him in his divine nature; for so the Apostle fpeaks of this union, Col.i. 27. Cbrift, in you, the hope of glory. And by him they are united to the Father, and to the Holy Ghoft, 1 John iv. 15. Whofoever sball confess that Jesus is the Son of God,
God dwelleth in him, and he in God. Faith, the bond of this union, i receives whole Christ, God-man: and fo upites us to him as such.
Behold here, I believers, your bigla privilege. Ye were once branches of a degenerate stock, even as others: but years, by grace, become branches of the true Vine, John XV. I. Ye are cut out of a dead and killing Stoek; and ingrafted in the last Adam, who was made a quickning Spirit, 1 Cor. xv. 45. Your loss by the first Adam is made up, with great advantage, by your union with the second. Adam, at his belt cstate, was but a shrub, in comparison with Christ the tree of life. He was but a fervant, Christ is the Son, the Heir, and Lord of all things, the Lord from heaven. It cannot be denied, that grace was shown in the first covenant: but it is as far exceeded by the grace of the second covenant, as the twilight is, by the light of the mid-day.
III. What branches are taken out of the natural stock, and grafced into this Vine? - Ans These are the elect, and none other. They, and they only, are grafted into Christ; and consequently none but they are cut off from the killing stock. For them alone he interceeds, that they may be one in him, and his Father, John xvii: 9, 23. Faith, the bond of this union, is given to none else: it is the faith of God's elect, Tit. i. 1. The Lord passed by many branches growing on the natural stock, and cuts off only here one, and there one, and grafts them into tbe true Vine, according as free love hath determined. Oft does he pitch upon the most unlikely branch, leaving the top-boughs ; *paling by the mighty, and the