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READER.-Suppose ye that I am 5 I tell you, Nay: but, excome, 8c. See Matthew X. 34, in § 1 cept ve repent, ye shall all likeXXXVI.
wise perish. The father shall be divided against 6 T He spake also this parathe son, &c. See Matthew X. 21, in
" | ble; A certain man had a fig $ XXXV.
tree planted in his vineyard; When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, 8c. See Matthew XVI. 1-3,
and he came and sought fruit in & LIII.
thereon, and found none. When thou goest with thine adver
7 Then said he unto the sary, &c. See Matthew V. 25, in & dresser of his vineyard, BeXVI.
hold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree,
and find none: cut it down ; CXCIX.
why cumbereth it the ground? CHAP. XIII. 1–9.
8 And he answering said un
to him, Lord, let it alone this Christ preacheth repentance upon the year also, till I shall dig about punishment of the Galilæans, and others. lit an
8. it, and dung it: The fruitless fig tree may not stand.
9 And if it bear fruit, well : There were present at that and if not, then after that thou season some that told him of shalt cut it down. the Galilæans, whose blood
10r, dehtors. Mat. xviii. 24. ch. xi. 4.- 18. v. 3.
Mat. xxi. 19. Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
READER.-Suppose ye that these 2 And Jesus answering said
Galilæans were sinners above all the unto them, Suppose ye that
Galilæans because they suffered such these Galilæans were sinners
things.—Though it were an error to
think that all temporal evils are in. above all the Galilæans, be
tended of God as punishments of cause they suffered such things?
some particular guiltiness, and so to 3 I tell you, Nay : but ex be taken as infallibly concluding cept ye repent, ye shall all like against either persons or causes as wise perish.
evil ; yet certainly the hand of God 4 Or those eighteen, upon
upon ourselves or others is wisely to whom the tower in Siloam
be considered, and it will very often fell, and slew them, think
be found a punishment pointing to
the sin; and it is certainly an arguye that they were sinners
ment of very great stiffness and pride above all men that dwelt in
of heart, not to observe and acknowJerusalem ?
| ledge it, and a sure presage either of
the nations of the world seek Christians should look upon as beafter : and your Father know- low their concern, carrying themeth that ye have need of these selves as becometh those who expect, things.
ere long, to solace themselves in the
enjoyment of God himself. While 31 - But rather seek ye
David looked to his father's sheep, kingdom of God; and all these he carried himself as a shepherd; things shall be added unto you. but when he had mounted the throne,
32 Fear not, little flock; for majesty presently sat in his brows, • it is your Father's good plea- and he behaved himself like a king. sure to give you the kingdom. So you, although whilst you lived in 33 'Sell that ye have, and your sins, and so were strangers
unto God, you then lived like earthly give alms ; " provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a trea- but dust and clay; yet, now that
creatures, conversing with nothing sure in the heavens that faileth
you profess to have repented, and to not, where no thief approacbeth believe in Christ, and so to be enneither moth corrupteth. titled to the kingdom of heaven, you
34 For where your treasure should live like yourselves, and scor is, there will your heart be also. to stoop so low as to lick up the ser
pent's food; deporting yourselves as Ecclus. xi. 19.., 1 Cor. xv. 32. James v. 5.-! Or do they those who every moment look to be Jam. iv. 14an Ps. Ixxix 6. Jer. xvii
. 11.- Matviz
. 20 sent for, to go and take possession
celestial crown. The very
thought whereof should make you READER.—He said unto them, Take disdain the highest enjoyments that heed and beware of covetousness ; for this world is able to afford you, as a man's life consisteth not in the abund- things not worthy to be compared ance of the things which he possesseth. with the glory that Christ hath pro-Are you Christians ? Then let cured for you. So that, let me tell me tell you, you are sons and you, so long as your thoughts and afdaughters of the eternal God, the fections are taken up with any thing only monarch of the whole world, upon earth, you act below yourselves. and so are heirs apparent to the You who expect ere long to bathe crown of glory. Tell me then, what yourselves in those rivers of pleasure an unseemly sight would it be to see which are at God's right hand for a prince doting upon a beggar, and evermore, can it become you to robes enamoured with rags! How drown yourselves in a deluge of carmuch more is it unseemly for you, nal pleasures and sensual delights? who have nothing less than heaven You that have such a plenty of bread entailed upon you, to be doting and heavenly manna in your father's upon the beggarly vanities of this house; is it not below you to feed lower world ! which certainly all true like the prodigal upon the husks, with
i John xviii. 36.-k 1 Tim. vi. 7, &c.-1 Eccles. xi. 9. ver. 33. I Tim. vi. 18, 19. James 11.5.-p Mat. vi. 25.9 Job xxxviii, 41. Ps. clxvii.9.- Or, live not in careful suspense:-r Mat. vi. 33—8 Mat. xi. 25, 26 - Mat. xix. 21. Acts ii. 45; & iv. 34.-u Mat. vi. 20. ch. xvi. 9. I Tim. vi. 19.
the swine of this world ? You that / at the shadow, you lose the substance, hope ere long to trample upon the and exchange your future happiness moon, and to be advanced above the for present misery.—BEVERIDGE. stars themselves, is it fitting for you But God said unto him, Thou fool, to lie under a clod of earth? In a this night thy soul shall be required of word : : you that expect ere long to be thee.—There is a foolish disposition invested with all the bliss and happi- in the hearts of men to think that ness that a creature is capable of, is they shall ever continue in that state it a comely thing for you, in the mean which they are once in. The proud while, to spend your time in running and wicked man hath said in his heart, after shadows, and in playing with “I shall never be moved, I shall childish gewgaws; in raking in the never be in adversity. God hath fordirt, or treading in the mire ? Is this gotten; he hideth his face; he will proper work for the heirs of heaven to never see it.” Psalm x. 6-11. And be employed in? Or is this to "walk David was overtaken with this gross worthy of the vocation wherewith you error, “I said in my prosperity, I are called ?" No, surely; and there- shall never be moved.” This was the fore so long as you suffer your affec- vain conceit of the fool in the gospel. tions to be bent upon the things be- “ Thou hast much goods laid up for low, you act below yourselves as men, many years, take thine ease, eat, drink, much more as Christians. The things and be merry.” Luke xii. 19. This upon earth can never satisfy your
hath been the language of sires ; for nothing can do that but secure and wicked
« None evil what is better than yourselves; al can come upon us.” Micah iii. 11. though you may have too much of “I shall have peace, though I walk in them, you can never have enough of the imagination of mine heart,” Deut.
so much as to satisfy xxix. 19. “To morrow shall be as your souls, and make you happy. this day, and much more abundant,"
Give me leave to mind you of the Isa. Ivi. 12. If men would but conApostle's sayings, that “covetousness sider how easily God can break down is idolatry,” Col. iii. 5; and that all their cobwebs, and sweep away whosoever minds earthly things is a their refuge of lies; how easily he shame to the gospel, and an enemy to can spoil them of all the provisions of the cross of Christ, Phil. iii. 18—19; their lusts, they would be more fearand then, of consequence, in setting ful of him, and less dote upon things your affections upon them, you thwart that will not profit; they would take God's intentions in giving of them; heed how they abuse their youth, who gave them not but that you strength, time, and abilities, as if they should improve them for his glory. had a spring of them all within themAnd, therefore, have a care lest yourselves, and consider that their good is
not in their own hand ; that the wealth an occasion of your eternal scythe can get as well through the ruin. Have a care lest in catching green grass as the dry stubble; that
them ; never
table become a snare,
o ourder at ce, in
utter ruin, or at least, of a heavier but forsake thee, and let them alone stroke. Any that is set against the with thee, and leave thee to their Lord, and will not be humbled, whether will: how quickly would they deal by what he sees on others, or what he with thee in another manner! and feels on himself, Isa. xxvi. 11, shall thou canst not be delivered from find he hath an overmatch to deal them but by turning unto God. with, that will either bow or break Thou art fallen under his wrath by him. Tremble before the Lord, and thy sin already: and thou knowest search your own hearts, and let us not how long his patience will yet think, though we may not be guilty wait. Perhaps this is the last year, of such public scandalous evils, as perhaps the last day. His sword is others fall into, and are punished for, even at thy heart, while the word is yet how full are we of secret malice, in thine ear; and if thou turn not, pride and lust, and wonder at the thou art a dead and undone man. patience of God to ourselves, while Were thine eyes but open to see multitudes have been swept away where thou standest, even upon the round about us. Think you that they brink of hell, and to see how many who have died by "sword or pestilence" thousands are there already who did of late “were greater sinners" than not turn, thou wouldst see that it is we that are behind ? Oh no! “but time to look about thee. except we repent, we shall all likewise Well, sirs, look inwards now and perish.” Enough of these arrows are tell me, how are your hearts affected still in God's arsenal; and though with these offers of the Lord? You he use not these to us, yet remember hear what is his mind; he delighteth death, and judgment, and eternity not in your death: he calls to you, are before us, and they call for wise Turn, turn : it is a fearful sign, if and speedy consideration and repent- all this move thee not, or if it do but ance.--LEIGHTON.
half move thee; and much more if I tell you, nay : but except ye repent, it make thee more careless in thy ye shall all likewise perish.—Poor hard misery, because thou hearest of the hearted sinner! dost thou ever consi- mercifulness of God. The working der upon what terms thou standest of the medicine will partly tell us all this while with him who calleth on whether there be any hope of the thee to turn ? Thou art his own, and cure. Oh, what glad tidings would owest him thyself and all thou hast; it be to those who are now in hell, if and may he not command his own? they had but such a message from Thou art his absolute servant, and God! What a joyful word would it shouldst serve no other master. Thou be to hear this, Turn and live: yea, standest at his mercy, and thy life is what a welcome word would it be to in his hand; and he is resolved to thyself, when thou hast felt that save thee upon no other terms. Thou wrath of God but an hour! or, if hast many malicious spiritual ene- after •a thousand, or ten thousand mies, that would be glad if God would / years' torment, thou couldst but
hear such a word from God, Turn | is himself the planter of the vineyard; and live. And yet wilt thou now his own hand sets each tree, and the neglect it, and suffer us to return soil is fruitful; there is sap and without our errand!
moisture. This is to be understood Behold, sinners, we are sent here of his visible church and ordinances, as the messengers of the Lord, to set for the planting here is that. Christbefore you life and death. What ians are much compared to things say you? Which of them will you living, growing, and fruitful, to the choose ? Christ standeth as it were vine and fig tree; there is such high by thee, with heaven in one hand, engagement to be so, Isaiah v, and and hell in the other, and offereth real Christians are truly so. (And thee thy choice: which wilt thou he sought fruit thereon.) Good reachoose? “ The voice of the Lord son had he so to do, having 80 maketh the rocks to tremble," Psal. planted it; those trees that are left xxix; and is it nothing, to hear him wild in the barren wilderness, no threaten thee, if thou wilt not turn? | fruit is to be expected on them, at Dost thou not understand and feel least no garden fruit, such as grows this voice, “ Turn ye, turn ye, why in the garden of God; some natures will ye die ?” Why, it is the voice have some kinds of fruits, and some of love, of infinite love, of thy sweeter than others, but they are but best and kindest friend, as thou | wild figs. God's delight is to “come mightest easily perceive by the mo- into his garden, and there eat his tion; and yet canst thou neglect it? pleasant fruits.” Natural men may, It is the voice of pity and compassion. after their fashion, be temperate, The Lord seeth whither thou art and patient, and charitable; but to going better than thou dost, which believe on God, and to love him makes him call after thee, Turn, turn. above themselves, and from such He seeth what will become of thee, principles to do all they do, this is if thou turn not. He thinketh with not to be expected. Now all that himself, “ Ah, this poor sinner will are planted in the Church of God, are, cast himself into endless torments, in name, such trees as should have if he do not turn; I must in justice their sap in them, that is faith and deal with him according to my right- love, and bear answerable fruits : eous law;" and therefore he calleth they are called “ trees of righteousafter thee, Turn, turn, O sinner! If ness, the planting of the Lord, that you did but know the thousandth he may be glorified ;" Isaiah xli. part, as well as God doth, the danger He himself knows who are indeed that is near you, and the misery that such, and knows that the rest can you are running into, we should have bear no such fruit; yet in regard of no more need to call after you to outward dispensations, and their own turn.-BAXTER.
profession, he speaks after the manA certain man had a fig tree planted ner of men : "he comes and seeks in his vineyard, 8c.—The great Lord | fruit." Men think that they may
e should have
utward dispensavaks after the me