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he Divine Spirit, there is a sanctifying and fructifying power. The good ground is the converted heart, hrough the fresh supplies of the Spirit, rightly receivng and profiting by the word. It is called honest and good, not only to distinguish it from the unconverted heart, but as these terms well describe the simplicity and sincerity, the love and humility with which such a one receives truth coming from God himself. Where the heart is good and honest, there will be no vain cavils 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 statutes.

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

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

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man's power.


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 mau 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 aid religious institutions, and be the


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ved foremost in every plan devised for the real benefit of

mankind. The fruitful Christian in poverty, however, shews the same mind by patience, industry, integrity, and personal kindness to all around, ever being ready to afford such help to others, as his own many wants will allow. But there are different degrees of personal religion. If we are careless of prayer, and negligent of the Scriptures, and other means, we do not obtain that large gift of the Holy Ghost which is the only efficient and energetic principle of this fruitfulness. As the Holy Spirit works within us, so shall we be fruitful in every good word and work. Let us then seek that Spirit diligently, so shall the seed grow, and the blade spring up, and the stalk be richly laden with the precious fruit, not merely having a scanty ear, here and there, but bringing forth plenteously. Thus let every part of our life be filled with fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ to the praise and glory of God.

This fruit is said to be brought forth with patience, that is, with constancy and perseverance day by day. There may be a shew of fruit in others for a season: the Christian only, endures and perseveres. With him there is first the blade, then the ear, and after that, the full corn in the ear. The progress of his religion is thus evident. There is not the full ripe fruit, as soon as the shoot appears. No; there is a gradual growth of the plant.

Many a storm must beat around it, many a shower descend over it, many a beam of the sun shine upon it, before it is ripened, and brought to full maturity. Those beginning the Christian life, may be encouraged by this to persevere, amid every difficulty. Perhaps some of my readers may be disheartened by their unfruitfulness, and ready to give up every hope; but only persevere; you may at times seem retrogading

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thing infinitely better, worthy of our whole desire and tager pursuit, even durable riches and righteousness, the favour of God, and the inberitance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away.

3. The lust of other things entering in, is the last hinderance which our Lord mentions. He does not on the one hand design to forbid the grateful enjoyment of the blessings which he has bestowed, but the irregular and inordinate desire and abuse of them ; nor does he, on the other hand, merely guard us against pleasures absolutely sinful in themselves, as gluttony, drunkenness, and the like, which are totally at variance with any reception of the sacred word ; but he especially guards against those pleasures that are in themselves innocent, but which become sipful when we make them the chief object of our anxiety and pursuit. Thus ease, comfort, and pleasure, are the great desire of many; and to obtain these, all other things are sacrificed. The term entering in, describes the way in which the temptation comes ; not by breaking through, nor by assailing and forcing the way; but by insinuating, and familiar, and unsuspected means, gaining access to, and possession of the heart. Such persons are lorers of pleasure, more than lovers of God. They cannot bear those self-denying duties which interfere with, or thwart their spirit of self-indulgence and self-gratification. O reader, a single, momentary sinful pleasure may cost your soul more than you can regain all your life. The expression, the lust of other things, apart from the desire of the sincere milk of the word, shews how the minds of men are led astray. They see some worldly object, they fancy that there is a real and superior good in it, a desire after it is indulged, it enters their mind, it fills their hearts, and so the word is

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choked. Dr. Owen says,

“ Men feed their lusts high until they loath the word. Quails often make a lean soul. A prosperous outward state has ruined many a conviction from the word ; yes, and weakened faith and obedience in many of the saints themselves. Love of this world made Demas a leaking vessel. Many might have been rich in grace, had they not made it their end and business to be rich in this world."

These three hiuderances prevent our profiting by the word, as they deprive us of all our leisure, leaving no time for spiritual things, even as thorns leave no room for the wheat. They are perpetually in our thoughts. They mingle with our private and our public devotions, and how can the word grow? They fill our religious hours with distractions that prevent all comfort, and tempt us to abridge and cease from all religious duties. Christians, if you will have the world, it must be at the expence of

your immortal souls! Though the form of religion may not be laid aside, that very form will ouly tend to harden and deceive your heart. Watch against such enemies with more vigilance than yon guard your house against expected thieves.

The whole of this hinderance is well pourtrayed by Dr. Stennett, in his account of this parable. He says, “ Wealth becoming a man's object, and its deceitful charms getting hold on his heart, the prize will continually be in his eye, and the means of acquiring it engross all his thoughts. His speculations, reasonings, deliberations, and efforts, will all be direeted to this point. Now be is laying his plan, adjusting each circumstance, considering their various and united effect, and provided for all contingencies that may arise and thwart his views; and then you see him carrying his plans into execution with unremitting ardour, setting

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