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« will be like a branch, cut off and separated SERM. « from the root."
XIV. Without me : is the same as feparated from
In the margin of fome of our Bibles the phrase is rendred fevered from me. Which is the meaning of the expression: though the literal rendring may be, without me, or out of me.
Ver. 6. If a man abide not in me, he is caft out as a branch, and is withered : and men
gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
“ If you cast off your regard " for me, and for the truth and fimplicity of
my doctrine; you will resemble a branch,
separated from the root : which soon wi“thers, and becomes fit for nothing, but to be vi burned. So
you, not bringing forth fruits “ of true holinesse, or bearing nothing to
perfection, will be worthless and contemptible.”
Which is agreeable to what is said in another Gospel, under a different fimilitude. Ye are the salt of the earth. But if the salt Matt.
V. 139 have lost it's favour, wherewith shall it be falted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be čast out, and to be troden under foot of men.
He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth fruit. For without me ye can do nothing.
The general meaning is : " Whereas by a is close adherence to me, and my words,
you may excell in virtue, and persevere " therein : if you should forsake me, or “ abate in your respect for me and my
doc“ trine ; you will do nothing considerable, “ and may become destitute of all true 166 worth.”
I shall now endeavor, farther to illustrate this text in some propofitions: and then add two or three remarks by way of application.
1. The propositions for illustrating the
text are these.
Prop. 1. Our Lord does not here intend to say, that without the knowledge of him and his religion, no man can ever do any thing that is good, or right, or virtuous, and acceptable in the light of God.
Indeed it is hard to think, that rational and intelligent beings (hould be deftitute of all
power to do that which is good. It is
not reasonable to suppose, that God should SEŘM. form any intelligent beings destitute of such XIV. a power :
or that he should suffer them to fall into such incapacity, whilst they are in a state of trial, and their everlasting interests are depending. And there are many things in Scripture, either said occasionally, or on set purpose, from which we can conclude men to have this power. Says St. Paul to the Romans : For when Rom. ii.
14. 15. the Gentils, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law; these baving not the law, are a law unto themselves. Which shew the work of the law writen in their hearts: their conscience also bearing witnesse,
either accusing, or else excusing them. They discerned some things to be good and right, others wrong and evil. When they did the one, they were well satisfied with themselves : When the other, their conscience accused them of evil. That text seems manifestly to teach, that Heathens had knowledge of things praise-worthie, and otherwise: and that they had power to choose the one, and decline the other,
It is true, the Apostle says in the fame epif- ii. 19. tle, that all the world was become guilty before
Serm. God. The meaning of which appears to be,
world, both amongst Jews and Gențils :
There are in the Gospels instances of persons, not within the pales of the Jewish church, who gave proofs of a good disposition, and were commended, and accepted by the Lord Jesus. In like manner, it is not impossible, but that still fome, not acquainted with the Christian religion, may do what is good and virtuous.
A Roman Centurion, quartered in one of
the citics of Galilee, fent to Jesus, saying: Matt, viü. Lord, my. fervant lieth at home fuck of the palJoe, grievously
, tormented. But when Jesus was
coming toward him, recollecting that it had SerM.
The woman of Canaan is another remark- Matt. xy.
Cornelius, after our Lord's ascension, is another Gentil, without the limits of the Jewish church, who performed commendably. There was, says St. Luke, à certain Acts x. man in Cefarea, called Cornelius, a Centurion of the band, called the Italian band: a devout man, and one that feared God, with all bis boufe ; " wbö gave much-alms to the people, and U