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each engine at work, and looking forward with eager expectation to the event. If he succeed, his passion for wealth collects fresh strength, and without allowing bim to pause a while to enjoy the fruit of his labour, pushes him on to some further exertion. If he fail, the failure stimulates him to some bolder enterprize. And thus be is employed from day to day, his thoughts incessanty wandering from one object of sense to another, bis invention perpetually on the rack, and his passions like the raging sea iu a coutinual agitation.”

“ Now amid this tumult of the mind, how can a man think soberly of the great truths and duties of religion, of the state of his soul, and the concern of another world! If we could suppose him in the least degree well affected to religion, (which indeed is scarce imaginable) it were yet almost impossible for him to pay proper attention to it. Perhaps the form is not wholly kaid aside; but what is it more than the form ? He draws nigh to God with his mouth, and honours him with his lips, but his heart is far from him. Mal. xv, 8. When on his knees, he is still in the world. When he is worshipping God in his family, he is still pursuing his gain; his closet is a counting house, and his church an exchange."

The affecting result of these hinderances is, that the word is choked. Such a person, though he goes much farther in outward religion than the temporary or worldly hearer, does as really ruin his soul and as assuredly perish as if he neglected it altogether. How affecting ! how deeply miserable! to come near heaven, and after all to fall short-to do much, and yet just too little-to have some of the pains and sacrifices here, and none of the real and eternal reward. Mr. Scott remarks, that " such professed Christians often draw

on their hopes of heaven from the Gospel, but their present

comfort is derived from the world. The kingdom of God and his righteousness are placed last; and the getting, keeping, and spending of deceitful riches, or anxiety about secular affairs, rob them of their time, and at last of their souls ; for unless the Gospel render us fruitful, it will never bring us to glory.”

O let us not have more to do with the world than duty clearly requires. Whosoever will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Heaven, with all its pure and holy joys, is the Christian's object of desire, the prize of his high calling, and should be the main pursuit of every human being. Entaugle not yourselves then with the affairs of this world. In large cities, in a commercial country, and in a period of much prosperity, the danger of the cares of this world is but little regarded, and it leads to a fatal issue with multitudes. Do not attempt to gain, as many do, a little more of the world, at the extreme peril of your immortal soul. Root ont those thorns and briars that would choke the word. Receive the good seed in a prepared heart. The Saviour's cross viewed by faith, as your foundation of every hope, will shew you the evil and danger of all sin, and will enable you to overcome the world. Nothing else will do this. 1 John v, 5. The grace of the Holy Spirit will bring his death home to your heart, and so enable you

with Moses to choose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.

SECT. IV.-The Good Ground. Under this comparison our Lord describes the heart of the sincere hearer. It is important in considering this character to observe, first, that as the ground, before

it is good and fit for the sower, must be ploughed, an prepared for the seed ; so it is with regard to the hear of man.

Each heart is by nature very, very bad deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, or diseased.* This is the description, not of any particularly wicked individuals, but of the heart in general, as therefore of the heart of every man. Out of the hear proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefis, false witness, blasphemies. This is the state of the ground, naturally, every where. There is none good. no, not one, Let us submit to the plain word of God: and remember that this description is confirmed by the experience of the most holy men. There is need theo of an entire change. The ground of the heart is made good only by the work of the Holy Spirit, regeneratina a man, convincing him of sin, and producing in bin true faith and repentance. God has promised this to those who ask it-A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.

The first great change in the soul, this renewal in the spirit of our minds, (Eph. iv, 23.) is indeed effected through the word of truth. James i, 18. Many a one coming to the house of God, or hearing the word in other ways, with a heart very unprepared, has by his mercy been awakened, quickened, and regenerated by the power of the Holy Ghost in and through the word thus heard. And many who have been among the way-side, stony, or thorny-ground hearers, finally are made like the good ground, through that word which they long neglected.

But besides this regenerating efficacy of the word by

*

vx: Jer. xvii, 9. dicitur de corde, malitia ve'uti morbo gravi et aegre corabili affecto. Simon Heb. Lex.

e Divine Spirit, there is a sanctifying and fructifying ower. The good ground is the converted heart, irough the fresh supplies of the Spirit, rightly receivng and profiting by the word. It is called honest and. ood, not only to distinguish it from the unconverted eart, but as these ternis well describe the simplicity .nd sincerity, the love and humility with which such a ne receives truth coming from God himself. Where he heart is good and honest, there will be no vain avils and objections against the truth. Inattention, and careless and worldly thoughts, will be resisted and overcome; the word is received, and has a correspond ing influence.

Such are described as understanding the word. They see its excellence, they feel its value, they comprehend its truth, and discover its glory. They know it in its practical use. Their understanding of it is experimental and influential. They also keep the word. They retain it in their memory, they think upon it, revolve its truths over and over in their minds, and long to embrace it so fully with their affections, that it may influence their whole lives. They unite with David in his prayer, O that my ways were directed to keep thy statules.

They bring forth fruit. This is that which most especially distinguishes them from others, and proves the reality of their religion. Real fruit comes not from man's power. The language of the Saviour to his Church is, from me is thy fruit found. The outward appearance of it may be in others, but the genuine fruit of the Spirit is only produced by the power of that Spirit in the hearts of the children of God. What this fruit; is, the inspired writer fully declares, (Gal. v, 22.) The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. The

man.

fruit is of the same nature with the seed that is sown. As the Gospel is all grace, and love, and kindness, so it produces those tempers and dispositions where it is received. As it discovers to us the glories of Jehovah, so it produces reverence, humility, and contrition before him. As it shews the Son of God crucified for sin, so it produces every sort of good fruit, hatred of sin, fear of offending ; faith in Christ, love to God, and love to

Wherever the Gospel of the grace of God is truly received, it teaches a man to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. Not that any individual Christian is perfect--alas! as many a promising ear is blighted, so often in the very graces for which he is eminent, at times he fails most, as we see in Moses and Job. But in every case fruit is produced to God's glory.

This fruit is brought forth with great variety - some thirty, some sixty, and some an hundred-fold. It is manifest that there are very different degrees of fruitfulness among real Christians, according to the grace bestowed upon them. Look, for instance, at Abraham, the father of the faithful, simply and entirely devoted to God; and Lot, only just escaping from Sodom. Look at Paul, abounding in every good work, and then at Mark, shrinking from and declining danger, though at a distance. There are different degrees of talent, opportunity, and ability given to man. The fruitful Christian to whom affluence is granted, will bountifully spread around the blessings which God has bestowed on him. He will provide for a fatherless family, will sustuin a sinking household, will assist or maintain an impoverished ininister, will support a pious youth at school or college, will largely distribute useful publications, materially and religious institutions, and be the

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