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aggravating circumstances which will attend the fatal and dismal destruction which will befal the unbelieving, secure generation, which will be on the earth when the Son of God shall come to judgment, that it will come upon them suddenly, and unlooked for: "For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction shall come upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape,” i Thess. v. 3.
O reader! think and consider with thyself, as I have often done, ' And is it so, that I, even I, must die? and is it certain that my dying hour is uncertain? O my soul! what is the matter that I am so unconcerned to inquire what the true state of my soul is, not knowing but that death
seize me while I am reading this book! How suddenly may I be death’s prisoner! And, in case I be snatched
away from off the stage before I have got under the shadow of the apple tree, I am an undone man; my time is ended; my wit and parts, wherein I prided, will take wing; and the choice I have made in the bewitching world I lived in will convincingly prove me a fool!.
Some men, who want faith to believe the word of God, cannot believe that there are any such things as witches in the world; but, when death comes, if it find them from under the shadow of the apple tree, they will find by sad and woeful experience, that the world itself, whose vanities and painted nothings they have courted, and pre
ferred before the apple tree, is the greatest and worst witch of all.
“As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool," Jer. xvii. 11. “ For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul ?" Mark viii. 36. “ Thou fool! this night thy soul shall be required of thee; and then whose shall all those things be which thou hast provided ?” Luke xii. 20.
Motive the Fifth. Consider how long the patience and forbearance of God hath waited upon thee, calling on thee, and inviting thee to come under the shadow of this apple tree; and yet, perhaps, thou hast never had a serious thought about it. Thou art, it may be, twenty; it may be, thirty; perhaps forty; yea, fifty, or sixty years old; and canst not tell whether thou shall be damned or saved. Oh! wonder at God's matchless forbearance and patience towards thee, that thou art not in hell among the damned despisers and wilful rejecters of the Son of God, of whose recovery and salvation there is now no hope or possibility! “ And besides all this, betwixt us and you there is a great gulph fixed, so that they that would
from hence to you, cannot; neither can they pass to us that would come from thence," Luke xvi. 26.
Motive the Sixth. Let the last motive be the consideration that, for aught men and angels can. tell, God may never give thee another call, in case thou slightest this: he may forbear thee not a day, not an hour, nay, not a moment longer! His sword is drawn, and his bow ready bent, to execute his vengeance upon thee, for the abuse thou hast put on all his goodness towards thee, but especially for the slight and contempt thou continuest to put upon his Son Jesus Christ, Psalm vii. 11, 12, 13. Therefore, sinner, whoever thou art, who readest or hearest the present call and caution, look narrowly to thy hits : one denial more to God's call and invitation may perhaps do thy business; and if God strikes thee, or lets fly his arrow at thee, the next word thou utterest, or thought thou thinkest, may be in hell torments; where thou shalt neither behold nor hear tidings of the apple tree, to shade or hide thy forsaken soul from the worst of storms that ever thou wert in. Oh! pity, pity thy immortal, never-dying soul, while thou art out of hell: if thou once get into that bottomless pit, no pity will ever be shewn thee, either by God, angels, or saints!
SE R M O N II.
CANT. ii. S.
And his fruit was sweet to my taste.
A third thing in the apple tree, which allegorically sets forth the excellency of Christ, is its fruitfulness. From which I observe the following doctrine; namely, That as the shadow of Christ's protection secures the real believer from all kind of storms wherewith he meets, so the fruit of Christ is
sweet, and most delightful to his taste, while he is in a militant condition this side glory,
By the fruit of Christ, in the text, is to be understood the unspeakable and soul-saving benefits which flow to all true believers from his mediatorial undertaking; and are all briefly couched in that one passage of the apostle, “Who of God is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption,” i Cor. i. 30.
Under this general, four things are comprehended; of each of which, notice shall be taken, and due improvement made, for the comfort and encouragement of poor tempted believers.
First, By the fruits of Christ are intended the personal graces of the Lord Jesus Christ: these