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which the root stands, no fruit will be brought to perfection,-i kaina dibisi low el

157 *DB1 9.





Similar to this is the conclusion which our Saviour has led us to draw upon this subject, where he represents himself under the emblem of the vine, and his Father under that of the husbandman. Every branch in me," says Christ, that beareth not fruit, the husbandman taketh away." By which we understand, that being in Christ, i...e. having faith in Christ as a Saviour, and bearing Christian fruit, do not always mean the same thing. Care, consequently, should be taken, that these two different meanings be not confounded." Faith in Christ is allowed to be, if we may so say, the grand germinating principle of the whole spiritual creation. The branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine." But though the branch does abide in the vine, should no sap from the root be conveyed into it, it will still be unfruitful.


In this particular address, therefore, to his Apostles, our Saviour may be understood as telling his disciples at large, that they must not only abide in him, but that his spirit must also abide in them, if they would become what Christianity was designed to make them, purified persons, " zealous of good works."+ Without the spirit of Christ, it is certain, we are none of his. The shadow, in this case, will not be taken for the substance. As members of his

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1, we may, in some sense, be said to be in
Christ; but being dead, not living members of it,
we are those unfruitful branches of the vine, which
the husbandman taketh away.‡

John xv. 1, 2, 4. + Titus ii. 14. Vindiciæ, c. iii. p. 222.

It is readily allowed, that many of those spiritual persons who occasionally separate from the Church, see the subject in the light in which it is here placed; although the gratitude which they feel towards that Saviour, who has wrought the great work of salvation, accompanied with a desire to guard against any self-sufficient claims on the part of man, upon the ground of his own performances, induces them at times to give that partial account of the Gospel plan of salvation, which experience has proved to be unfavourable to the promotion of its general purpose. I say partial account of the Gospel plan of salvation, because the whole truth, as it is in Jesus Christ, is not fairly brought forward.

*11 013

When speaking, for instance, of the fundamentals of Christianity, they often neglect to pay due regard to those other parts which are necessary to the perfection of the Christian scheme. They describe Christianity as "a scheme for justifying the ungodly;" ""for reconciling us to God when enemies;"" and the fruits of holiness as the


Provided Christians are disposed to understand one another, this subject, it is presumed, need not to furnish occasion for dispute; because it will probably be found that the same thing is meant, although the mode of expression may be different. The "fruits of holiness" are both the of justification, though in different senses. of our justification in baptism; by which of the Holy Spirit, "from whom all counsels, and all just works, do proceed," was originally conferred on the party; whilst, in another sense, the fruits of holiness are not, in the strict sense of the word, the cause, but the condition, or, as Bishop Bull's term is, the " causa seie qua

effects and the cause They are the effects sacrament the grace holy desires, all good

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effects, not the cause of our justification;" as "a
scheme which opens the door of mercy to the
greatest and vilest of penitent sinners."
In one
sense, all this is certainly true; and God forbid
that the clergy of the Church should preach other
doctrine; that they should not bear their most
decided testimony against all pretensions to salva-
tion, upon the ground of human merit; for fallen
man can have no claim upon his Creator but by
virtue of an act of grace that has been passed in
his favour. But this act, it is to be observed, con-
tains in it certain conditions; the performance of
which, though not to be considered as man's title
to the benefits of the act in question, is nevertheless
necessary, according to the revelation of the Divine
will, to secure to him their possession.t

When, therefore, the Gospel covenant, of which this act of free grace on the part of Christ constitutes the basis, is kept out of sight; when performances and conditions on man's part are decried; hen upon the laudable, though mistaken, idea of preventing all encroachment upon the benefits of Christ's satisfaction, as extended to us freely 'without money and without price;"‡ when the observance of the moral precepts of the Gospel,

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non," that, without which our final justification at the day of judgment will not take place; for "without holiness no man shall see the Lord."


* Wilberforce's Practical View, p. 121, 122.

The reader will find this subject handled at large in "Vindiciae Ecclesiæ Anglicanæ," cap. vi.

Isaiah lv. 1.

enforced by the awful consideration, that God will judge "every man according to his works,"* is described as "vain wisdom, and false philosophy;"+ and when the work and commandment brought forward to the attention of the Christian disciple, as it were in opposition to this revealed account of a future judgment, are comprehended in this one act of faith, that he "should believe in the name of Jesus Christ; "t we cannot be surprised that persons who have formed no adequate conception of the Christian scheme of salvation, considered not only as providing a redemption from the immediate consequences of the fall, but also means for the restoration of the fallen creature to that spiritual state which can alone qualify him for a spiritual inheritance, should, by taking part of the Gospel for the whole of it, fall short of the perfection to which it was designed to lead.{}

Rev. xx. 13.

Wilberforce's Practical View, p. 131.

Acts xvi. 31, and 1 John iii. 23.

The following is a specimen of the doctrine propagated by one of those self-constituted itinerant teachers, who, to the misfortune of this country, the abuse of toleration," that glory and disgrace of Protestantism," as it was called by a late learned Bishop, is now pouring forth upon us; the channel from whence I received it leaving me no room to doubt of its authenticity. "The regular Clergy know nothing of Christianity; their whole preaching is, work, work. They do not know, you cannot work. You must wait your call-and for your comfort I tell you, it is never too late. If on your sick-bed you can call out on the name of Jesus, or groan Jesus, or even whisper Jesus with your last breath, you are safe." How far such a Bishop Lowth's Sermon before the Society for promoting the Gospel. 1771.

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Faith in the all-sufficient merits of a crucified Redeemer, must, by all who receive the Gospel, be admitted as the Christian's only hope; it being his only tide to salvation." Through the door of faith the Christian disciple is admitted into the Church; as a member of the Church, he is entitled to all the benefits of the Christian dispensation. These benefits are, redemption from a state of certain condemnation, and a restoration to a state of possible or conditional salvation; together with a gracious provision of assistance to make that salvation sure. But whether this state of possible or conditional salvation through Christ may become a state of actual salvation to the believing party, must depend upon the use made of the means vouchsafed for that purpose. For although faith is the leading condition of salvation, and the foundation of all Christian graces and virtues, upon the Gospel axiom, that without Christ we can do nothing,† yet to represent faith as constituting the completion of the Christian character, upon the idea that it necessarily comprehends under it the performance of all Christian duties, is what the scripture, I conceive, no where warrants, and what experience continually contradicts. A writer, who has lately



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mode of preaching (and I have reason to think to be by no means an uncommon one) is calculated to promote the two great ends of religion, the honour of God, and the welfare of mankind, the reader will judge. Grieved am I to think, that the lower order of people in this country, who, generally speaking, are well disposed to religion, should be liable to be thus deluded. Vide Vindiciae, c. 1, p. 18.

+ John xv. 5.

Vindicia, c. 6, p. 284.


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