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husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit, he taketh away : and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it that it may bring forth more fruit. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine : no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withered ; and men gather them and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit:


be my disciples.” In this most emphatic declaration of our Lord, the whole body of Christians, comprised in his visible church throughout the world, are styled “ branches;” of which himself is the centre of union and support, the principle of spiritual life and fructification. As on the same tree there are both living and dead branches, barren and fruitful ones ; so, in the visible Church, there are both true and false members ; those who by a vital union with Christ, and by deriving health and support from him, bear fruit; and those who, having no such union with him, bear none. Now, according to this so just and natural de. scription, the application speaks for itself. You

will enquire — Am I a true branch? Do I bear fruit, and thereby evidence the sincerity of my religious profession; or do I bear none ?' If your conscience determine the answer in the negative, I must tell you,—you may tell yourself, you are but a mere cumberer of the ground, whose end is to be cut down. “Examine yourselves, therefore, whether ye be in the faith : prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye

be reprobates ?” “He that keepeth his commandments, dwelleth in Him, and He in him. And hereby we know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit which He hath given us.”

If, on the other hand, we find, that “our neart," on such an enquiry as I have recommendd, “ condemn us not, then have we confidence oward God.” We have a good hope through race, that we shall not be condemned with the ricked world: that we shall in due time, by Christ's prevailing intercession, be transplanted to the Paradise above. “ And he answering, lid unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, 1 I shall dig about it, and dung it: and if it ar fruit well: and if not, then after that, thou alt cut it down." We have here, my brethren, in this last branch the parable, a most moving and lively picture

of our blessed Lord, set forth in another of his most important offices, that of an Intercessor. That we are saved at all (and it is our own faults if we are not), is owing to Christ's “atoning sacrifice of himself, once offered. That we are spared throughout the course of our natural lives, and from year to year, is owing to his intercession,—to his often appearing for us in the presence of God. He is the channel through which descends from the Father of lights every good and perfect gift. Sin had obstructed all communication. He opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. Through Him all our wants, and all our prayers, find access to the mercy-seat of the Majesty on high. “If ye abide in me, ye shall ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you. “Hitherto ye have asked nothing in my name," said he to his disciples, “ ask and ye shall have, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you.”

Thanks be unto God that we have such an advocate with the Father, as Jesus Christ the righteous. He ever liveth to make intercession for us.

He stands between the dead and the living. He stays the uplifted arm of divine justice. He interposes his precious blood; and through his all prevailing merits, he takes upon him to speak to the sovereign Majesty of heaven

angry, and

and earth_! Olet not my Lord be
I will speak but this once. Let it alone this
year also, till I shall have tried other means,
other expedients to mollify and subdue this stub-
born soil. If it bear fruit well: and if not, then
thou shalt cut it down.'

Once more then, my brethren, by the mercy of God, and the intercession of his Son, we are put upon our trial. We stand upon the threshold of another year. Christ and his holy angels await with anxiety the result of our resolutions, -the result of our conduct. He has placed before us life and death, blessing and cursing. “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of a sinner: but that he should return from his ways and live.” • Behold,” says our adorable Redeemer," I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open

the door, I will come in to him, and will


with him, and he with me.”

Not these “ three years,” but these thirty: with some, perhaps, these fifty and sixty years— yea longer still, from the first dawning of

your reasoning faculties, since the first moment you became capable of knowing the God who made you; Christ has been soliciting an entrance at he door of your hearts. With some, may we not fear, he has ceased to knock; has discontinued his visits; consigning the unhappy persons over to a reprobate mind, to a judicial curse of permanent barrenness. With such the day of grace is ended. The calls of conscience shall never more arouse them from their fatal sleep. The stillness of death has settled upon them. Their next call shall be to judgment.— For “ the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”

With some few, who are not yet “past feeling,” and who would otherwise, perhaps, finally give themselves up to be swayed by the life and power of religion did not the world possess such seemingly superior attractions; with such Christ still continues his knocks. Every year they become louder and more intelligible. They feel half inclined to admit the gracious visitor into their hearts: but they must first bid them farewell that are at home. So sudden and total a separation is too painful. Thus they trim, as it were, between God and their souls, between this world and the next. Nothing gets done. No real advance is made heavenwards. Year after year only finds them the same irresolute, inde

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