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Christ is the true Vine, and his Disciples the Branches.

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SE C T. CLXXV.
Christ represents himself under the Emblem of a Vine,

and exhorts bis Disciples to Faith and persevering Obedi-
ence. John XV. 1,------I1.
JOHN XV. 1.

JOHN XV. 1. Sect. 175. COME Accident occasioning a little Delay, I AM the true Vine, and before they left the Guest-Chamber, in which has

I my Father is the HusJohn XV.

they had eaten the Passover, our Lord improved
the precious Moments, in addressing his Disciples
to the following Purpose (a): I am, said he, the
true and most excellent Vine (b), by its Union
with whom my Church is nourilhed ; and my
Father is the Husbandman, who has planted this

Vine, and by whom it is cultivated, that it may
2 produce delightful Clusters for his Service. And 2 Every Branch in me

every Branch that is in me by an external Profession, that beareth not Fruit, he which yet is found to be a barren Branch, and bears Branch

taketh away : and every

ranch, and bears Branch that beareth Fruit, no Fruit, he taketh quite away; that is, he cuts it off in his righteous Judgment, and entirely separates it from me : But every [ Branch] which brings forth Fruit, be purgeth; that is, he prunes and dresses it, and on the whole,

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(a) Some Accident occasioning a little Delay, &c.] This may be gathered from the Conclusion of the foregoing Chapter, where our Lord had said, Arise, let us go hence : For it seems very unreasonable to imagine, that our Lord would address so important a Discourte as this, to Eleven Persons, as they were walking, especially in the Streets of Jerusalem, at this publick Time ; much less would he pour out so solemn a Prayer, as that in Chap. XVIl. in such a Circumstance: Yet Yohn xviii. 1. (Sect. 181.) strongly implies, that all that follows between this and that, happened before he went forth from Jerusalem. I conclude therefore, that all this passed, before they quitted the House where the Passover was eaten, tho' they pro. bably rose from the Table, as soon as those Words, Arise, let us go bence, were spoken. A hort Delay might leave Room for this; for any one who will make the Trial will find, that there Three Chapters may be deliberately read over in a Quarter of an Hour, and therefore might be spoken in that small Interval of Time.

16) The true and most excellent Vine.] So the true Light, (Fohn i. 9.) and the true Bread, (chap. vi. 32.) evidently signifies. (See Raphel. Annot. ex Xen. pag. 141.), His having lately drank with his Disciples of the Fruit of the Vine, and having afterwards declared, that he would drink no more of it, till he drank it new in the Kingdom of GOD, (Mark xiv. 25. pag. 446.) might possibly occasion Christ's alluding to it : (See Grotius; in loc.) Or perhaps they might now be standing near a Window, or in some Court by the Side of the House, where the sight of a Vine might suggest this beautiful Simile. (Compare Psal. cxxviii. 3.) That Circumstance was, no doubt, common in Judea, which aboundeu with the finest Grapes. See Gen. xlix. 11, 12. Numb. xiii. 23. and Deut. viii. 8.

(c) That

2.

He that abides in him, will bear much Fruit: . 463 he purgeth it, that it may exercises such wise and kind Discipline towards Sect. 175. bring forth more Fruit. it, (tho' that Discipline may sometimes seem fe- i

vere,) as may best answer the great End of its John XV.
Production, that it may bring forth yet more
Fruit, than which there can be nothing more

desirable (c).
3. Now ye are clean, And thus it is with you ; for now the Traitorg
thro' the Word which I is gone out, I may affirm without the Exception
have spoken unto you.

that I made before, (compare John xiii. 10, 11.
pag. 426.) that you are all thus purged, in such
a Manner as to be clean, by Means of the Word

which I have spoken to you, whose fanctifying In-
4 Abide in me, and I influence has operated on your Hearts. Continue 4.
you. As the Branch cannot therefore in me, by the renewed Exercise of hum-
bear Fruit of itself, except
it abide in the Vine ; no

ble Faith and Love: and let it be your constant more can ye, except ye Care fo to conduct yourselves, that I may be abide in me.

engaged to remain in you : For as, in the natural
World, the Branch cannot bear Fruit of itself, but
must presently wither, unless it continue in a State
of Union with the Vine, and be nourished by Sap
from thence ; fo neither can you be able to pro-
duce the Fruits of genuine and acceptable Obe-
dience, unless you continue in me, and have the
Life of Grace maintained within you by a vital

Union with me.
5 I am the Vine, ye are I repeat it again, as a Matter of the utmost 5
the Branches : He that abid- Moment, that I am the Vine, and ye sare] the
eth in me, and I in him, the
fame bringeth forth much branches, in the Senie 1 nave already explainea,
Fruit: for without me ye He therefore that abides in me by such an intimate
can do nothing

and vital Union, and in whom also l abide by
the Operations of my Holy Spirit in him, be, and
he only, bringeth forth much Fruit, to the Honour
of his Profession, and the Comfort of his own
Soul: But the Glory of it is still to be referred
to me; for separate from me you can do nothing,
tho” you stand in the foremost Rank of my Fol-

lowers, and have already made some considerable
6 If a Man abide not in Attainments. And if any one, that calls him- 6
me, self my Disciple, does not maintain such a Re-

gard

(c) That it may bring forth more Fruit.] This strongly suggests a very sublime and important Thought, viz. that one of the noblest Rewards God can bestow on former Acts of Obedience, is to make the Soul yet more holy, and fit for farther and more eminent Service, tho' it (hould be by such painful Afictions, as resemble the pruning of a Vine.

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But the fruitless Branch Hall be burnt in the Fire. Sect. 175. gard to to me, as that he may be said to abide in me, he is cast forth as a o me (d), he is rejected and cast out with Disdain

Branch, and is withered; John XV.

and Men gather them, and and Abhorrence, as a fruitless Branch lopped off cast them into the Fire'; and from the Vine, and by Consequence is presently they are burned, withered ; and as [Menj gather up such dry Stické, and throw them into the Fire, and there they are burnt, as a worthless Kind of Wood, fit for nothing but Fewel ; (see Ezek, xv, 2, -4.) so in like Manner such will be the End of those unhappy Creatures ; they shall be gathered as fit Fewel for Divine Wrath, and their external Relation to me will not preserve them from Everlafting Burnings.

But as for you, my faithful Servants, I assure 7 If ye abide in me, and you for your Encouragement, that if you Ited- my. Words abide in you, ye

shall ask what ye will, and fastly abide in me, and take Care that in Conse- it laall be done unto you, quence of it my Words abide in you, so that you maintain a suitable Regard to all my Instructions, Promises, and Commands, this blessed Union will entitle you to such signal Degrees of the Divine Favour, that you shall apk in Prayer what foever you will, and if it be, upon the whole, subfervient

to your own Happiness, and that of the Publick, 8 it mall be done for you. And let it there 8 Herein is my Father

fore be your Care, to make the suitable Returns glorified, that ye bear much of Gratitude and Obedience; for in this is my Disciples

Fruit, so Iall ye be my Father most eminently glorified, that you, my Apostles, bring forth much Fruit, by exerting yourselves to the utmost for the Propagation of my Gospel in the World, and endeavouring to inforce your Instructions by the Holiness of your Lives : And in this likewise you mall appear to all, to be my true Disciples, and to act worthy of your Character and Relation to me.

And it is surely with the highest Reason 1 9 As the Father hath would engage you to make this your Aim; because loved me, so have loved

you : continue ye in my as the Father has loved me, so have I also loved you, Love. with the most constant and invariable Affection : Continue therefore in my Love, and always be Solicitous to behave in such a Manner, as may,

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(d) If any one does not abide in me.] It is strange, that any should think this Text a conclutive Argument against the Doctrine of Perseverance ; when to be in Chrifl, (ver. 2.) lo plainly signifies making an external Profession of Christianity, whether vain, or fincere.

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Reflections on abiding in Christ as the true Vine... 465

on your Part, maintain the Friendship inviolate. Sect. 175. 10 If ye keep my Com- And if you diligently and constantly keep my mandments, ye ball abide . Commandments, then you will assuredly continue in in my Love: even as I have my Love ; even as I have always kept my Father's kept' my Father's Com. " mandments, and abide in Commandments, and to continue in his Love ; for his Love.

this is the most folid Evidence of it, which I

. :give to my Father, and require from you.
u These Things have I These Things I have spoken to you, not to II
spoken unto you, that my grieve you by any Intimation that I suspect the
Joy might remain in you, Sincerity of your Regards to me; but that you
and that your Joy might be
full.

may be so fortified and animated against the
Temptations of Life, that my Joy and Compla.
cency in you, as my faithful Friends, might Itill
continue ; and [that] your Yoy in me may be main-
tained in its full Height, and may greatly in-
crease; as it certainly will, in Proportion to the
Adyancement of your Resolution and Zeal in
my Service,

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I M P R O V E M E N T.
I Tow desirable is it, that we may learn from this Discourse to regard John xv. I.

0 Cbrist, at all Times, as the Spiritual Head, from whom Life and
Vigour are to be derived to all his People! Let us by the Exercise of an
unfeigned Faith abide in him, as the true Vine ; as being always sensible, Ver. 4, 5.
that without him we can do nothing ; and that, if we are in him only
by an external Profession, we are not only in Danger of being cut off, Ver. 6.
and taken away, but thall in the End be cast into the Fire. May we

e purged and pruned, tho' it thould be with the most painful Dif- Ver. 2. pensations of Providence ; if by this Means our Fruitfulness may be pro- Ver. 8. moted, to the Glory of GOD, and to the Benefit of the World! May his Word operate daily upon us, to cleanse us from remaining Pollutions! Ver. 3. and if we thus desire to be clean, let us take beed to our Way, according to the Tenour of that Word. (Psal. cxix. 9.). • We see our Encouragement to pray ; let us take it from Christ, and Ver. 7. not be dismayed, nor yield to unbelieving Sufpicions. As the Father bas Ver. 9. loved Christ, so does he also love his people. Let us preserve and cultivate this sacred Friendship; and, whatever it may coft us, let us endeavour to continue in his Love, and to avoid whatever would forfeit it; making it above all Things our Care to keep bis Commandments. Christ always ob- Ver. 10 serving those of his Heavenly Father, cannot but always and invariably continue the Object of his Love and Delight: May our Condụct be such, Ver. 11. as that he may see Reason to rejoice in us ; and then, we shall also have the surest Foundation for a sublime and solid Joy! Vol. II.

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SE CT.

TO

HRIST again commands bis Disciples to love one another.

SECT. CLXXVI.
CHRIST renews bis Exhortation to mutual Love, and de-

clares the Jews inexcusable in their Unbelief. John XV.
12, to the End.

12.

John XV. 12.

JOHN XV. 12, Sect. 1.6. O U R Lord, in order to impress the Principles THIS is my Commandof mutual Friendship and Benevolence on

ment, that ye love one John XV. the Minds of his Disciples in the most powerful

another, as I have loved you Manner, recommended it to them at large on this tender Occasion, and proceeded in his Discourfe to the following Purpose: This is in a peculiar Manner my Command to you, which by all the Obligations you are under to me, I charge and conjure you to observe, that ye all do most cordially and constantly love one another ; even if it be possible, with as great an Ardor, as that with which I have loved you ; so as to be ready to facrifice your Lives for each other, as I expose and

resign mine for you. (Compare John xiii. 34. . 13 and 1 John iii. 16.) And surely I can give 12 Greater Love hath no ·, no more "solid and important Evidence of my Man than this, that a Man

Affection to you ; forno Man has ever mani- lay down his life for his
fested, or can imagine greater and more disinte-

d more difinte Friends.
rested Love than this, that a Man should be will..'
ing, not only on some sudden Alarm to hazard, -
but on the coolest Deliberation to submit to lay

down his Life for the Preservation and Happi-
14 ness of his Friends. Now as I am about to 14 Ye are my Friends,

give you this grand Demonstration of my Love, if ye do, whatsoever I som.'. er fo I assure you, that you are, and shall be acknow

mand you.
Tedged as, my Friends, and shall Thare in the Bles-
sings of my Death and Life, if you practically ac- .
knowledge my. Authority, and are so influenced
'by my Love, as to do whatsoever I command you.

I do not any longer call you Servants, tho' I '' 15 Henceforth I call you
have sometimes used the Phrase, and formerly not Servants; for the set:
have seen it necessary in some points to treat you,

15

i :10 . . . with 1 ст.

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