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cisive, wavering persons. They bring no fruit to perfection.
It is to this latter description of professing Christians, that our subject seems to have especial reference. It is to such professors that God cometh, year after year, seeking fruit and findeth none. It is to such he says, Cut it down, why cumbereth it the ground. Open reprobates, who finally abandon all ideas and intentions of becoming holy with these the Lord of the vineyard knows how to act. They make no profession of religion. They look for no mercy. Such persons there are, I fear, (few I would willingly hope and believe) who thus, with a desperate consistency of character, (a consistency worthy of a better cause) are resolved to bráve the tremendous realities of another world; to leap, with their eyes open, the fearful gulph which separates this world and the next, time and eter. nity. With such Christ's intercession for fur. ther space and time for repentance, has nothing to do ; they wilfully exclude themselves from all benefit therein. No: the fig-tree in the parable was not dead, it had yet leaves thereon : just so it is those persons who, not absolutely dead to religion, make a profession, and a plausible profession thereof, who thus deceive the hopes of the Lord of the Vineyard. They lead him to
expect, year after year, that they will yet bear fruit. With such God appears, as it were, at a loss what to do : his mercy and justice stand equally poised; till Christ comes, as he does now, and by an act of grace, altogether and entirely unmerited on their part, turns the scale in their favour; and procures for them one other year of grace; one more opportunity of repentance. Let it alone this last year also; this last year of trial.
Such being the case, permit me to conclude what has been said by a brief but solemn exhortation. Ask yourselves, ye aged trees in God's vineyard : · Have I yet in good earnest, begun to live to God, and to prepare for eternity ? With the outward badge and symbols of the Christian profession, have I the inward and spiritual grace, evidenced by “a death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness.” Am I yet vitally united to Christ, the true vine, by faith ? Do my aged and withered arms yet bear fruit? Have I any works to show in plea of arrest of Judgment ? Any marks of godly sincerity upon me ? Consequently, am I likely to escape the curse, “Cut it down ;" or to be welcomed with à “ Come ye blessed of my Father,” “Well done, good and faithful servant !” Remember your time of bearing will soon be over. Lose this
year, this week, this day, this hour, and another may never be afforded you. Time has shaken you by the hand, and Death is but a little behind. The King of terrors, it may be, has already reaped one by one the friends and acquaintance of your youth, the husband or wife of your bosom, your olive-branches ; and you, “ the last withered shock," await to be gleaned, and gathered to your fathers. Look well to it my aged friends. See that thou come to thy grave in a good old age, and in peacepeace with God, through Jesus Christ.
Ye young and vigorous,—to you I would say, remember this is your peculiar season of growth. As yet you bid fair to shoot your branches tall and straight. Beware that they take no unna. tural and crooked turns: contract no wrong and ensnaring entanglements to hinder and distort their growth. Beware of men. Beware of yourselves. Know the treachery and vanity of your own hearts; the weakness and danger of selfdependence.-" Trust, therefore, in the Lord with all thy might, and lean not to your own understandings. In all your ways acknowledge Iim, and he shall direct your steps." Ever remembering that, young as you are, your root is lits grave; that you inherit, and inhabit, buses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust;
dedicate your first-fruits to God. Death may in. tercept the harvest.
TO ALL, I would say, be wise in time. Be serious. With “solemn adjuration to your souls,” our friend and intercessor implores each and all of us “ by his agony and bloody sweat, by his cross and passion, by his precious death and burial,” to bring forth fruits meet for repentance. Renew your resolutions for the following year. Renew them—not in your own strength, but in His, “ who giveth to all men liberally, and up. braideth not." Cut off your former sinful habits one by one, and see them all buried before you. Weep over them with tears of repentance, not of fondness and regret. Pray over them, that they may never rise up in judgment against you.
What thou doest do quickly. Time is on the wing-days and years steal on apace-death brings up the rear. As the tree falls, so shall it lie. “ Behold,” therefore, “ now is the accepted time, behold now is the day of salvation. !"
LOVE THE DISTINGUISHING ATTRI
1 JOHN 4, 8.
God is love.
THE God of Scripture, the God of the Christian, is emphatically and pre-eminently a God of love. As He shines forth “ in the face of Jesus Christ," in that greatest and last display of his love to mankind made known in the Gospel, although planned and devised from ternity--there we as Christians, must look, proerly speaking, for that love of God which passth knowledge. We see, indeed, the great uthor of our being every where manifested ound us in works of love. To whatever