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death is in the pot; and all that taste of the pulse or pottage are killed. Know then, that every natural man is a branch of a killing stock. Our natural root not only gives us not life, but it has a killing power, reaching all the branches thereof. There are four things which the first Adam conveys to all his branches; and they are abiding in, and lying on, such of them as are not ingrafted to Christ. First, A corrupt nature. He sinned, and his nature was thereby corrupted or depraved ; and this corruption is conveyed to all his posterity. He was infected, and the contagion spread itself over all his seed. Secondly, Guilt ; that is an obligation to punishment, Rom. v. 21. “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for all that have sinned.” The threatenings of the law, as cords of death, are twisted about the branches of the old stock, to draw them over the hedge into the fire. And till they be cut off from this stock by the pruning knife, the sword of vengeance hangs over their heads, to cut them down. Thirdly, This killing stock transmits the curse into the branches. The stock as the stock (for I speak not of Adam in his personal and private capacity) being cursed, so are the branches, Gal. iii. 10. “ For as many as are of the works of the law, are under the curse.” This curse affects the whole man, and all that belongs to him, every thing he possesses; and worketh three ways. (1.) As poison, infecting; thus their blessings are cursed, Mal. ii. 2. Whatever the man enjoys, it can do him no good, but evil, being thus impoisoned by the curse. His prosperity in the world destroys him, Prov. i. 32. The ministry of the gospel is a savour of death unto death to him, 2 Cor. ii. 16. His seeming attainments in religion are cursed to him; his knowledge serves but to puff him up, and his duties to keep him back from Christ. (2.) It worketh as a moth, consuming and wasting by little and little, Hos. v. 12. “Therefore will I be unto Ephraim as a moth.” There is a worm at the root, consuming them by degrees. The curse pursued Saul, till it wormed him out of all his enjoyments, and out of the very shew he had of religion. Sometimes they decay as the fat of lambs, and melt away as the snow in a sun-shine. (3.Y It acteth as a lion rampant, Hos. v. 14. “I will be unto Ephraim as a lion.” The Lord rains on them snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest, in such a manner, that they are hurried away with the stream. He teareth their enjoyments from them in his wrath, pursueth them with terrors, rents their souls from their bodies, and throws the deadened branch into the fire. Thus the curse devours like fire, which none can quench. Lastly, This killing stock transmits death to the branches upon it. Adam took the poisonous cup and drank it off; this occasioned death to himself and us. We came into the world spiritually dead, thereby obnoxious to eternal death, and absolutely liable to temporal death. This roqt is to us like the Scythian river, which, they say, brings forth little bladders every day, out of which come certain small flies, which are bred in the morning, winged at noon, and dead at night; a very lively emblem of our mortal state. Now, Sirs, is it not absolutely necessary to be broken off from this our natural stock : What will our fair leaves of a profession, or our fruits of duties avail, if we be still branches of the degenerate, dead, and killing stock : But, alas! among the many questions tossed among us, few are taken up about these : Whether am I broken off from the old stock or not Whether am I ingrafted in Christ or not : Ah! wherefore all this waste : Why is there so much noise about religion amongst many, who can give no good account of their having laid a good foundation, being mere strongers to experimental religion ? I fear, if God do not, in mercy, timeously undermine the religion of many of us, and let us see we have none at all ; our root will be found rottenness, and our blossom go up as dust, in a dying hour. Therefore let us look to our state, that we be not found fools in our latter end. II. Let us now view the supernatural stock, in which the branches, cut off from the natural stock, are ingrafted. Jesus Christ is sometimes called the Branch, Zech. ii. 8. So he is, in respect of his human nature ; being a branch, and the top-branch of the house of David. Sometimes he is called a Root, Isa. xi. 10. we have both together, Rev. xxii. 16. “I am the Root, and the Offspring of David :” David's root, as God; and his Offspring, as man. The
text tells, that he is the Wine; that is, He, as a Mediator, is the vine-stock, whereof believers are the branches. As the sap comes from the earth into the root and stock, and from thence is diffused into the branches; so by Christ, as Mediator, divine life is conveyed from the fountain, unto those who are united to him by faith, John vi. 57. “ As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.” Now Christ is Mediator, not as God only, as some have asserted; nor yet as man only, as the Papists generally hold : But he is Mediator, as God-man, Acts xx. 28.-4: The church of God, which he hath purchased with his blood.” Heb. ix. 14.—“Christ, who, through the eternal Spirit, offered himself, without spot, to God.” The divine and human natures have their distinct actings; yet a joint operation in this, discharging the office of a Mediator. This is illustrated by the similitude of a fiery sword, which at once cuts and burns; cutting it burneth, and burning it cutteth ; the steel cuts, and the fire burns. Wherefore Christ, God-man, is the stock, whereof believers are the branches; and they are united to whole Christ. They are united to him in his human nature, as being members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones, Eph. v. 30. And they are united to him in his divine nature ; for so the Apostle speaks of this union, Col. i. 27. “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” And by him they are united to the Father, and to the Holy Ghost, 1 John iv. 15. “Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth- in him, and he in God.” Faith, the bond of this union, receives whole Christ, God-man ; and so unitcs us to him as such. * Behold here, O believers, your high privilege | Ye were once branches of a degenerate stock, even as others; but ye are, by grace, become branches of the true Vine, John xv. 1. Ye are cut out of a dead and killing stock, and ingrafted in the last Adam, who was made a quickening Spirit, 1 Cor. xv. 45. Your loss by the first Adam is made up, with great advantage, by your union with the second. Adam, at his best estate, was but a shrub, in comparison with Christ, the tree of life. He was but a servant; Christ is the Son, the Heir, and Lord of all things; the Lord from heaven. It cannot be denied, that grace was shown
in the first covenant; but it is as far exceeded, by the grace of the second covenant, as the twilight is by the light of the mid-day. III. What branches are taken out of the natural stock, and grafted into this Vine — Ans. These are the elect, and none other. They, and they only, are grafted into Christ; and, consequently, none but they are cut off from the killing stock. For them alone he intercedes, that they may be one in him and his Father, John xvii. 9, 23. Faith, the bond of this union, is given to none else; it is , the faith of God’s elect, Tit. i. 1. The Lord passeth by many branches growing on the natural stock, and cuts off only here one, and there one, and grafts them into the true Wine, according as free love hath determined. Oft does he pitch upon the most unlikely branch, leaving the topboughs; passing by the mighty, and the noble, and calling the weak, base, and despised, 1 Cor. i. 26, 27. Yea, he often leaves the fair and smooth, and takes the rugged and knotty. “And such were some of you ; but ye are washed,” &c. 1 Cor. vi. 11. If ye inquire why so 2 We find no other reason but because they were chosen in him, Eph. i. 4. “Predestinated to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ,” ver, 5. Thus are they gathered together in Christ, while the rest are left growing on their natural stock, to be afterwards bound up in bundles for the fire. Wherefore, to whomsoever the gospel may come in vain, it will have a blessed effect on God’s elect, Acts xiii. 48. “As many as were ordained to eternal life, believed.” Where the Lord has much people, the gospel will have. much success, sooner or later. Such as are to be saved will be added to the mystical body of Christ.
How the Branches are taken out of the Watural Stock, and ingrafted into the Susiernatural Stock.
IV. I am to shew how the branches are cut off from the natural stock, the first Adam, and grafted into the true Vine, the Lord Jesus Christ. Thanks to the Husbandman, not to the branch, that it is cut off from its natural stock, and ingrafted into a new one. The sinner, in his coming off from the first stock, is passive ; and neither can nor , will come off from it of its own accord, but clings to it, till Almighty power make him to fall off, John vi. 44, “No
man can come unto me, except the Father, which hath sent me, draw him.” And, chap. v. 40. “Ye will not come unto me, that ye might have life.” The ingrafted branches are God’s husbandry, 1 Cor. iii. 9. “ The planting of the Lord,” Isa. lxi. 3. The ordinary means he makes use of in this work is the ministry of the word, 1 Cor. iii. 9. “We are labourers together with God.” But the efficacy thereof is wholly from him, whatever the minister's part or piety be, ver, 7. “Neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.” The apostle preached to the Jews, yet the body of that people remained in infidelity, Rom. x. 16. “Who hath believed our report?” Yea, Christ himself, who spoke as never man spoke, saith concerning the success of his own ministry, “I have laboured in vain;. I have spent my strength for nought,” Isa. xlix. The branches may be hacked by the preaching of the word; but the stroke will never go through, till it be carried home on them, by an omnipotent arm. However, God’s ordinary way is, “By the foolishness of preaching, to save them that believe,” 1 Cor, i. 21. The cutting off of the branch from the natural stock is performed by the pruning knife of the law, in the hand of the Spirit of God, Gal. ii. 19. “For I, through the law, am dead to the law.” It is by the bond of the covenant of works, as I said before, that we are knit to our natural stock; and, therefore, as a wife, unwilling to be put away, pleads and hangs by the marriage tie ; so do men by the covenant of works. They hold by it, like the man who held the ship with his hands; and when one hand was cut off, held it with the other; and when both were cut off, held it with his teeth. This will appear from a distinct view of the Lord’s work on men, in bringing them off from the old stock; which I now offer in these following particulars: First, When the Spirit of the Lord comes to deal with a person, to bring him to Christ, he finds him in Laodicea’s case, in a sound sleep of security, dreaming of heaven, and the favour of God, though full of sin against the Holy One of Israel, Rev. iii. 17. “Thou knowest not that. thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” And, therefore, he darts in some beams of light