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growth, becometh great, fo that the birds of the air come and lodge in the boughs thereof.-It is the leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, until the whole was leavened.-It is a treasure hid in a field, the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and, for joy thereof, goeth and felleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.
It is the pearl of great price, which the wife merchant-man, when he had found it, efteeming it better than the merchandize of filver, and the gain of it more to be defired than fine gold, went and fold all that he had, and bought it. It is a net that was caft into the fea, and gathered of every kind; which, when it was full, they drew to fhore, and fat down, and gathered the good into veffels, but caft the bad away.-It is the good vineyard, yielding a thousand fold, which is let out to husbandmen, who must render to the owner the fruits thereof in their seasons,-Such are the goods of the great Householder, committed to the care and improvement of his ftewards, who must give to their Lord a ftrict account of their stewardship, in which it is required that a man be found faithful.—And of this nature alfo are the talents which the nobleman, travelling into a far country, gave to his own servants to occupy in his absence; and for the wife and faithful improvement of which they will be reckoned with, when, having received for himself a kingdom, he fhall return to destroy his citizens that hated him, and said, we will not have this man to reign oyer us; together with the wicked fervant, N n
who mifimproves his money; and to fhare out cities to them who love him, and have been faithful in a few things.
This is the living bread which came down from heaven, of which if any man eat, he fhall live for ever. And because it is brought forth and given to the world in the death and refurrection of the Lord Jefus Christ, he faid to the Jews, Whofo eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.-As the living Father hath fent me, and I live by the Father: fo he that eateth me, even he fhall live by me. This is the bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall livè for ever. It is the living water which Chrift giveth to them who afketh of him; of which whofoever drinketh fhall never thirst; but it fhall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. And this is that immortal principle in the children of God, which, in their darkest and heaviest hours, holds their hearts waking, and forbids them to fleep as do others. On account of this never-failing principle, they cannot fin as do others. Whofoever is born of God doth not commit fin; for his feed remaineth in him: and he cannot fin becaufe he is born of God. John iii. 9. that is, according to the view here taken of fin, he that is born of God cannot ceafe to love Chrift, neither can he hate his brother.-Peter, though toffed by the power of fatan as
in a fieve, and his own righteousness flew away like chaff, was yet faved as a grain of wheat; for his faith failed not; his watchfulness failed-his good conduct failed-his morality failed-his virtue failed; but, under the gloom of fo heavy a night, and the panic of fuch a furprifing temptation; his drowfiness, his rafhnefs, and his timidity; his denying that he was with Jefus of Galilee, with his curfing and fwearing that he knew not the man; though they concealed, they did not extinguish the yearning of his bowels for his fuffering Lord.-A fentiment that moment existed in his heart, which bound up his foul with the life of Christ. Peter never ceafed to love Jefus; yea, this feed of God in the heart of a believer, howfoever for a moment it may be depreffed; in the strength of its incorruptible nature, and in its certain ef fects, is infinitely an over-match for all the enticements of life, or the terrors of death, or any other poffible temptation of earth or hell.
The fowls of the air may pluck away the feed that falleth, and lieth uncovered by the way-fide; the fun, when it is high, will fcorch its tender blades, when it springeth up in ftony ground, and has no deepnefs of earth for a root; and the thorns will choke and render unfruitful that which is fown among them in ground not broken up; but, when it is received into an humble, a broken and contrite heart, it will not fail to ftrike a root too deep for fatan to find, and his cropping the blade, will only cause it to grow with more ftrength. The heat of tribulation or perfecution, so far
from deftroying, will improve its growth, and quicken and force forward its blessed harvest; and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lufts of other things, instead of overgrowing, will themselves be overgrown and ftifled by it. In an humble and regenerate heart, the word of the kingdom is fovereign, and will as certainly live and reign, as that the Lord Jefus will live and hold the empire of the world to come.-The regenerate heart is a part of that new world.
Being born of the word of God implies, that the heart is changed and affimilated to the divine nature; and, therefore, he that believeth on the Son of God, hath the witness, or the evidence of things not feen in himself; he has a knowledge of the reality and glory of eternal things, not merely from their external évidences, but in tafting and experi encing their divine nature. The truth, as it is fhewn in the death and refurrection of Chrift is in the fecret of his foul; for his dying love is fhed abroad in his heart, and he is allo quickened by the power that raised him up from the dead. And, as in nature, things attract to themselves; and, in the moral world, we obferve, according to the proverb, that like loves like; fo the new-born foul will thirst for God, for the living God, and afpire to rife to the full enjoyment of its better por
"Rivers to the ocean run,
66 Nor stay in all their course; "Fires ascending seek the sun;
Both speed them to their source.
"So a soul that's born of God,
"Upward tends to his abode,
This evidence, irresistible in the minds of all who are effectually called, will neceffarily feparate them from this world; for having feen the promises afar off, and being perfuaded of them, and embracing them, they will confefs that they are ftrangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that fay fuch things declare plainly that they feek a country. And truly, with these things in view, this world muft appear an, object undefirable and unworthy of their purfuit. For the fame evidence that proves to them, that the unfeen world is pure and immortal, proves that this is corruptible and perifhing-the fame that proves that another world is approaching, proves that this is paffing away. And being thus kept, by the mighty power of God, through faith, they are effectually fecured and faved from the lufts and pollutions of this prefent evil world; and are prepared for a free admiffion into that holy and beloved city, where no unclean thing fhall enter. Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift!
Section 3. Faith the Anticipation of future
As the evidence of future and eternal things is faith, that action of the heart and