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“ branches : He that abideth in me, and I in “ him, the same bringeth forth much fruit : “ for without me ye can do nothing t." Indeed, it is evident, from the sentiments which he who believeth in Jesus doth embrace, the religious principles with which his mind is enriched, and from the ordinary operation of truth and principle upon the human heart, forming the temper and character to a resemblance of itself : it is evident, I say, to every impartial observer, and judge of human nature, that a true believer in Christ will be more powerfully urged to the love and practice of that holiness which the gofpel enjoins, than the man who admires the morality of the gospel, and is solicitous to obey the precepts of it, while he pays little or no regard to its peculiar and distinguishing do&rines. “A “ good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, nei“ther can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” In like manner, “ a good man, out of the good
treasure of the heart, bringeth forth good “ things; and an evil man, out of the evil trea" sure, bringeth forth evil things.” They who put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour, and who look for the mercy and acceptance of God by him alone, are convinced and
persuaded † Joho, xv. 5.
perfuaded in their own minds, that they can derive no benefit from the infinite merit of his atonement for sin as their great High Priest, unless they listen to his instructions as their unerring prophet, and submit without reserve to his divine care and government, as their, fupreme Lord and King. To them who thus believe, Christ will be precious; and the happy effects of their faith will be felt in their hearts, and will appear, and be made manifest in their lives. A profound admiration of the virtues of the Redeemer's character, and an unfeigned desire to imitate them; a sense of duty, and a regard to their own welfare ; the fear of his displeasure, and the hope of his approbation, as their great and final Judge__will concur with the nobler motives of gratitude and love, to render them “ fervent in spirit, serving the Lord,' and to make them zealous, active, and unwearied in the practice of every duty they owe to God, their neighbour and themselves. Thus a true and saving faith in the hearts of Christians, will communicate its falutary influence to all the springs and principles of their actions ; and the “ light of their daily conversation will
" so shine before men, that they may see their “ good works, and glorify their Father which 65 is in Heaven,"
As it is a wise and just appointment of the most high God, that all persons of this excellent character should be truly blessed; so it deserves our particular attention, that none but persons of this excellent character, are qualified to enjoy the life and happiness here promised by our Lord, to all those who believe in his name, What pleasure could the ignorant enjoy in a ftate of perfect light and knowledge? What des light could it give to one who is an enemy to God, in his mind, by wicked works, to be admitted into the company of the friends of God? Could the envious, the malicious, the revengeful, live in the serene mansions of charity and peace? Can folly dwell with wisdom? or falsehood with truth? 'or fin with holiness ? No. The wise, the holy, the just, and the good alone, are fit to be admitted into the immediate presence of the living God, and to abide there for evermorer “ Happy is that people that is in such a case ; “ yea, happy is that people whose God is the 66 Lord.”
IV. We come now to consider the full and effectual Security given to those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, as their Saviour, that the great happiness set before them in the text, shall be their final and everlasting portion. The heart of man cannot wish for greater and more effectual Security, than what the blessed Jesus hath here given to us; his Promise is surely the best foundation for our faith and hope to reft on; we may rely upon it with unsuspecting confidence, for the enjoyment of all the eternal life and happiness, which he hath folemnly declared shall be the final portion of his faithful and obedient people. “ Jesus said unto her, I " am the resurrection, and the life ; be that be“ lieveth in me, though he were dead, yet all 66 be live.." Our Lord is not a man, that he 6 should lie, neither the son of man, that he « should repent; hath he said, and shall he not “ do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not “ make it good ?” Is he not possessed of every possible and conceivable perfection ? Aná is he not thereby fully qualified to accomplish this ex• ceeding great and precious promise ? His infinite wisdom fhall devise the best and most proper means for this purpose, his almighry power
shall carry them into effect; and as he is faithfulness, and truth, and love itself, we may rest satisfied, that whatever he hath fpoken shall be fulfilled in its season. How many striking and endearing proofs did he give of his infinite wise dom, power, faithfulness, and love to his people, in the course of his personal ministry! And as if all these evidences of his friendship to them, had been of small account in his fight, he at last offered himself a sacrifice to the justice of God in their stead, and ratified the promise contained in the text, and every other promise of the new and everlasting covenant, with his own blood. « Greater love hath no man than this, that a “ man lay down his life for his friends." Great, however, and glorious as this proof is of the love of Jesus to his friends, yet, if his love had ceased here, in vain would be our faith and hope in him. Blessed be his name ; it did not terminate here, his gospel declares, and assures you, to your unspeakable comfort and joy, that as “ he was delivered for our offences, so he “ was raised again for our justification;" and 6 by his own blood hath entered in once into “ the holy place, having obtained eternal re