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are of the greatest importance to the eternal happiness of their souls, buried in ignorance, and, O wretched condition, deprived of the means of discovering truth, the scourge of temporal power, tyrannically lording it over the judgment and consciences of men and others, in the depths of divine wisdom, are visited with a famine of the word, have " the glad tidings of the gospel" administered to them with a sparing hand, who wish and long for one of the “ days of the Son of “ Man," and cannot obtain it; who would with gladness, with transport, enjoy the blessing of a gospel sabbath, or communion solemnity, but it is far from them and while a great proportion of the human race is still lost in pagan idolatry, upon whom the glorious light that hath visited us never yet dawned; we enjoy the gospel dis, pensation in its purity, in its simplicity, and in abundance, in the greatest abundance. If we could suppose the divine favour under the gospel capable of being confined to any one particular nation or people, we are that happy people so, highly favoured of the Lord, who have“ line upon “ line, precept upon precept, here a little and " there a little;" among whom, for a long course of years, the kingdom of the Redeemer has been supported and maintained with that energy, that plainness and power which has often made us the envy of our neighbours. “ Have we not “ heard, and have not our fathers told us, nay, “ have we not seen with our own eyes, the great “ things which God hath wrought for us; how he “ hath watered us with the dew of heaven, and “ all his paths have dropped fatness upon us?”— But, alas, has our fruitfulness been answerable to this distinguishing goodness--as “ God has been “ rich in mercy towards us,” have we abounded in all the fruits of righteousness towards him? has this grace of God, which has appeared in so remarkable a manner, led us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, and righteously and godly in the present world? It is too evident that it has not. And here let every one, instead of looking around him, to observe where he may fix his charge, come home to himself, cast his eyes upon his own heart, and there give the challenge, addressing himself in the words of Nathan to David, “ Thou art the man." Thou standest convicted at the bar of a just and holy God. Thou hast offended against much light, and against much love. Thou hast wearied out the patience and long-suffering of a merciful God, and what hast thou to plead why sentence should not speedily be executed against thee? “ Knowing, therefore, the terrors of the Lord," be persuaded to awaken to a sense of your duty, that being no longer “ unprofitable hearers of the “ word, but doers of the will of God, you may be “ blessed in your deed:” and if you would“ bring “ forth fruit unto God," and to eternal life, close, by a sincere and lively faith, with the Redeemer, as he is freely offered to us in the gospel; for out of him “ God is a consuming fire;" out of him, all our fruit, however specious, however outwardly fair, is but like the vine of Sodom, and as the clusters of Gomorrah. There are two stocks into which men are ingrafted; the stock of nature, " the old man, which is corrupt according to the “ lusts of the flesh,” and the stock Christ, the second Adam, “the new man, which after God “ is created in righteousness and true holiness;" and according as we are built upon the one or other of these foundations, will be the fruit we produce. “Do men gather grapes of thorns, or “ figs of thistles ? Christ is the true vine, and his “ father is the husbandman." As we,
As we, therefore, have the name of Christ marked upon us, as we profess to be his disciples and followers, let us live as becomes the gospel of Christ. God forbid that any of us should satisfy himself with an empty lifeless profession, with a mere external form of christianity, while our hearts still remain insensible to the life, the spirit, and the power of it: God forbid that we should remain care
less and indifferent under such an abundance of the means of grace, under such signal advantages as we enjoy above the rest of mankind. What can be done for us that God has not already done? What expression, what demonstration of the most affectionate regard can be exhibited, that is not contained in the bestowing of his own eternal Son, his unspeakable gift? He has not only given us all the advantages of being and reason he not only bestows upon us, day by day, all the blessings of providence he has not only provided a Saviour for us, and with him offered to us all the blessings of his purchase, but has, in the depth of his mercy, extended his
patience and long-suffering toward us, while we have continued to despise the means of grace, while we have thrown contempt upon the Saviour. He has again and again returned seeking fruit, and has as often spared, as often delayed the execution of his vengeance upon the careless, formal, lifeless sinner. But let us not presume upon his goodness; the next visit
the next visit may be to pronounce the awful sentence, “ Cut it down, why cumbereth it “ the ground ?” That this may never be our unhappy case, may God of his infinite mercy grant, for Christ's sake. Amen.
LUKE xiii. 6-9. He spake also this parable: a certain man had a fig tree planted
in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and
found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, behold these three
years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none : cut it
down; why cumbereth it the ground ? And he answering, said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also,
till I shall dig about it, and dung it : And if it bear fruit, well; and if not, then after that thou shalt
cut it down,
ON THE PARABLE OF THE FIG TREE.
IT is undoubtedly the indispensible duty of all who profess to preach the gospel, to declare the whole counsel of God, without concealing or disguising any part of it: to “say unto the righte“ous, that it shall be well with them, for they shall
eat the fruit of their doings, and unto the wick« ed, it shall be ill with them; for the reward of “ their hands shall be given thein;" and in this manner, as “ faithful stewards over the house« hold of God, to distribute unto every one his