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deadness, deafness, dumbness. It makes the lips | The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by
Wherefore, let me continue my exhortation to you. Be more free in making use of this water; it is the wholesomest water in the world; you may take it at the third, sixth, ninth, or eleventh hour, but to take it in the morning of your age is best. Mat. xx. 3-6. For then diseases have not got so great a head as when they are of long continuance, consequently they will be removed with far more ease; besides, those that thus do will receive endless life, and the comfort of it betimes; and that, you know, is a double life to one. Ec. xi. 1-4.
This water gently purges, and yet more effectually than any others. True, where bad humours are more tough and churlish, it will show itself stronger of operation, for there is no disease can be too hard for it. It will, as we say, throw the house out of the windows; but it will rid us of the plague of those most deadly infections that otherwise will be sure to make us sleep in death, and bring us, with the multitude, down to hell. But it will do no hurt; it only breaks our sleep in security, and brings us to a more quick apprehension of the plague of our heart and flesh. It will, as I said before, provoke to appetite, but make us only long after that which is wholesome. If any ask why I thus allegorize, I answer, the text doth lead me to it.
SECOND. I advise, therefore, in the next place, that thou get thee a dwelling-place by these waters.
1 A Protestant can have but little idea of the insane superstition of the Papists in respect to holy water. The following lines, from Barnaby Googe's Popish Kingdome, will shed a little light upon it :
'Besides, they do beleeue their sinnes to be forgiven quight,
In old times, the ancients had their habitations by the rivers; yea, we read of Aroer that stood upon the brink of the river Arnon. Jos. xiii. 9. Balaam also had his dwelling in his city Pethor, by the river of the land of the children of his people.' Nu. xxii. 5. O! by a river side is the pleasantest dwelling in the world; and of all rivers, the river of the water of life is the best. They that dwell there shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them.' Is. xlix. 10. Trees planted by the rivers, and that spread out their roots by the rivers, they are the flourishing trees, they bring forth their fruit in their season. Ps. i. 3. Je. xvii. 8. And the promise is that men that take up their dwellings by this river of water of life, shall be fruitful as such trees.
If thou art a Christian, thou hast more than an ordinary call and occasion to abide by these waters; thy things will not grow but by these waters. Weeds and the excellencies of most men we may find in the barren wilderness, they grow under every hedge; but thine are garden, and so choice things, and will not thrive without much water, no, without the water of God's river. Dwell, therefore, here; that thy soul may be as a watered garden. Je.xxxi. 12. Is. xii. 1-3. And when thou seest how those that are loath to die,2 make provision at Tunbridge, Epsom, the Bath, and other places, and what houses they get that they may have their dwellings by those waters, then do thou consider of thy spiritual disease, and how nothing can cure thee but this blessed water of life; be also much of desires to have a dwelling-place in Jerusalem, that thou mayest always be nigh to these waters. Be often also in watering thy plants with these waters. mean the blessed graces of God in thy soul; then shalt thou grow, and retain thy greenness, and prove thyself to be a disciple indeed. And herein
2 The infatuation, nay, madness of human nature, in its fallen state, is shown by living to hasten the inroads of death; and when he appears, terror-stricken they fly from it to any remedy that is within their reach. How vast the number of suicides by intemperance -ED.
is God, and thy Father, glorified, that thou bear much fruit. Jn. xv. 8.
THIRD. My third word is, bless God for providing for man such waters. These only can make us live; all others come out of the Dead Sea, and do kill; there is no living water but this. I say, show thy acceptation of it with thanksgiving; if we are not to receive our bread and cheese but with thanksgiving, how should we bless God for this unspeakable gift! 2 Co. ix. 15. This is soul life, life against sin, life from sin, life against the curse, life from the curse, life beyond hell, beyond desert, beyond thought, beyond desires. is pleasing, life that is profitable, life everlasting. Life that O my brethren, bless God! who doth good and gives us such rain, filling our hearts with food and gladness. When Moses would take the heart of Israel, and took in hand to raise up their spirits to thankfulness, he used to tell them that the land that they were to go to was a land that God cared for, and that was watered with the dew of heaven. Yea, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; a land that flowed with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands.' De. viii. 7. Ex. iii. 8; xiii. 5. Le. xx. 24. Nu. xiv. 8. But yet in his description he makes no mention of a river of water of life; a river the streams whereof make glad the city of God.
This river is the running out of God's heart; the letting out of his very bowels, for God is the living God. This is his heart and soul. Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly, with my whole heart, and with my whole soul.' Je. xxxíi. 41. God's heart and soul appeared, it showed itself in I say, if ever giving this water of life, and the throne from whence it proceeds. Wherefore [there is] all the reason of the world, that in the reception of it thy heart and soul should run out and flow after him in thanksgivings. See how David words it in Ps.ciii. 1--5, and do likewise.
FOURTH. By the characters that are given of this water of life, thou art capacitated to judge when a notion, a doctrine, an opinion, comes to thine ears, whether it is right, good, and wholesome, or how. This river is pure, is clear, is pure and clear as crystal. Is the doctrine offered unto thee so? or is it muddy, and mixed with the doctrines of men? Look, man, and see if the foot of the worshippers
1 The real Christian, and such only, are in this blessed case; they have the promise of the life that now is, as well as of that which is to come. Their Father, the Almighty, supplies all their wants; giving joy and peace, when heart and flesh tremble.-ED.
of Bel be not there, and if the waters be not fouled of life, or at least not the water of life in its clearthereby. What water is fouled is not the water up higher to the spring-head, for always the nearer ness. Wherefore, if thou findest it not right, go to the spring, the more pure and clear is the water. Fetch, then, thy doctrine from afar, if thou canst not have it good nearer hand. Job xxxvi. 3. Thy life lies at stake; the counterfeit of things is dangerous; everybody that is aware, is afraid thereof. Now a counterfeit here is most dangerous, is most destructive. Wherefore take heed how you hear, what colour it will be seen what waters you swim in; you hear; for, as I said before of the fish, by your wherefore look you well to yourselves."
like a broad, full, and deep river; then let no man, FIFTH. Doth this water of life run like a river, be his transgressions never so many, fear at all, but there is enough to save his soul, and to spare. Nothing has been more common to many than to doubt of the grace of God; a thing most unbecoming a sinner of any thing in the world. the law is a fact foul enough; but to question the To break sufficiency of the grace of God to save therefrom, is worse than sin, if worse can be. Wherefore, despairing soul, for it is to thee I speak, forbear thy mistrusts, cast off thy slavish fears, hang thy mishast an invitation sufficient thereto, a river is begivings as to this upon the hedge; and believe thou fore thy face. And as for thy want of goodness and works, let that by no means daunt thee; this is a river of water of life, streams of grace and mercy. There is, as I said, enough therein to help soul. Thou, therefore, hast nothing to do, I mean thee, for grace brings all that is wanting to the as to the curing of thy soul of its doubts, and fears, and despairing thoughts, but to drink and live for ever.
them that love to be dead? They toss their vanities SIXTI. But what is all this to the DEAD world-to till their foot slips, and themselves descend into about as the boys toss their shuttlecocks in the air, the pit.
Let this suffice for this time.
thus obey the gospel by judging for themselves, so will be the 2 In proportion to the number of professed Christians who happiness of the church, and the hastening on of the kingdoin of Christ. No one is a Christian that receives his doctrine paring it with the written Word. O man, take not the water from a prelate, priest, or minister, without prayerfully comof life as doled out by a fellow-man; go to the river for yourself-survey yourself as reflected in those crystal streams. to the church; but, Come unto me, and find rest. Blessed is Christ does not say to the heavy-laden, sin-burdened soul, Go he who loves the river of water unpolluted by human devices, forms, or ceremonies; who flies to the open bosom of his Christ, and finds refuge from every storm.-ED.
SHOWING, THAT THE DAY OF GRACE MAY BE PAST WITH HIM LONG BEFORE HIS LIFE IS ENDED;
THE SIGNS ALSO BY WHICH SUCH MISERABLE MORTALS MAY BE KNOWN.
BY JOHN BUNYAN,
'Who being dead, yet speaketh.'-Heb. xi. 4.
London: Printed for J. Robinson, at the Golden Lion, in St. Paul's Churchyard, 1688.
This Title has a broad Black Border.
ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR.
heart in prayer, when our Lord in spirit witnessed, unseen, these devotional exercises, and soon afterwards rewarded him with open approbation. Jn. i. 48. In these secluded pleasant spots the Easterns spend much of their time, under their own vines or figtrees, sheltered from the world and from the op
of Christ. In this vineyard stood a fig-tree-by nature remarkable for fruitfulness-but it is barren. No inquiry is made as to how it came there, but the order is given, Cut it down.' The dresser of the garden intercedes, and means are tried to make it fruitful, but in vain. At last it is cut down as a cumber-ground and burnt. This vineyard or garden represents a gospel church; the fig-tree a member-a barren, fruitless professor. It matters not how he got there,' if he bears no fruit he must be cut down and away to the fire.
This solemn, searching, awful treatise, was pub. | tired from the world, that Nathaniel poured out his lished by Bunyan in 1682; but does not appear to have been reprinted until a very few months after his decease, which so unexpectedly took place in 1688. Although we have sought with all possible diligence, no copy of the first edition has been discovered; we have made use of a fine copy of the second edition, in possession of that thorough Bun-pressive heat of the sun-a fit emblem of a church yanite, my kind friend, R. B. Sherring, of Bristol. The third edition, 1692, is in the British Museum. Added to these posthumous publications appeared, for the first time, An Exhortation to Peace and Unity,' which will be found at the end of our second volume. In the advertisement to that treatise are stated, at some length, my reasons for concluding that it was not written by Bunyan, although inserted in all the editions of his collected works. That opinion is now more fully confirmed, by the discovery of Bunyan's own list of his works, published just before his death, in 1688, and in which that exhortation is not inserted. I was also much pleased to find that the same conclusion was arrived at by that highly intelligent Baptist minister, Mr. Robert Robinson. His reasons are given at some length, concluding with, it is evident that Bunyan never wrote this piece."1 Why it was, after Bunyan's death, published with his Barren Fig-tree,' is one of those hidden mysteries of darkness and of wickedness that I cannot discover, The beautiful parable from which Bunyan selected his text, represents an enclosed ground, in which, among others, a fig-tree had been planted. It was not an enclosure similar to some of the vine yards of France or Germany, exclusively devoted to the growth of the vine, but a garden in which fruits were cultivated, such as grapes, figs, or pomegranates. It was in such a vineyard, thus re
1 General Doctrine of Toleration, 8vo, 1781.
To illustrate so awful a subject this treatise was written, and it is intensely solemn. God, whose omniscience penetrates through every disguise, himself examines every tree in the garden, yea, every bough. Wooden and earthy professor, your detection is sure; appearances that deceive the world and the church cannot deceive God. He will be with thee in thy bed fruits-thy midnight fruits-thy closet fruits-thy family fruits-thy conversation fruits.' Professor, solemnly examine yourself; in proportion to your fruitfulness will be your blessedness.' Naked and open are all things to his eye.' Can it be imagined that those that paint themselves did ever repent of their pride?' How seemingly self-denying are some of these creeping things.' Is there no place will serve to fit those for hell but the church, the vineyard of God?' It is not the place where the worker of iniquity can hide himself or his sins from God.' May such be detected before they go
hence to the fire. While there is a disposition to | seek grace all are invited to come; but when salvation by Christ is abandoned, there is no other refuge, although sought with tears. Reader, may the deeply impressive language of Bunyan sink profoundly into our hearts. We need no splendid
angel nor hideous demon to reveal to us the realities of the world to come. If we hear not Moses and the prophets,' as set forth by Bunyan in this treatise, neither should we be persuaded though one rose from the dead' to declare these solemn truths. Lu. xvi. 31. GEO. OFFOR.
TO THE READER.
I HAVE written to thee now about the Barren Figtree, or how it will fare with the fruitless professor that standeth in the vineyard of God. Of what complexion thou art I cannot certainly divine; but the parable tells thee that the cumber-ground must be cut down. A cumber-ground professor is not only a provocation to God, a stumbling-block to the world, and a blemish to religion, but a snare to his own soul also. Though his excellency mount up to the heavens, and his head reach unto the clouds, yet he shall perish for ever, like his own dung; they which have seen him shall say, Where is he?'
Job xx. 6, 7.
ening of his justice; he will command to cut it down shortly.
The church, and a profession, are the best of places for the upright, but the worst in the world for the cumber-ground. He must be cast, as profane, out of the mount of God: cast, I say, over the wall of the vineyard, there to wither; thence to be gathered and burned. It had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness.' 2 Pe. ii. 21. And yet if they had not, they had been damned; but it is better to go to hell without, than in, or from under a profession. These shall receive greater damnation.' Lu. xx. 47.
If thou be a professor, read and tremble: if thou be profane, do so likewise. For if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and sinners appear? Cumber-ground, take heed of the axe! Barren fig-tree, beware of the fire!
But I will keep thee no longer out of the book. Christ Jesus, the dresser of the vineyard, take care of thee, dig about thee, and dung thee, that thou
O thou cumber-ground, God expects fruit, God mayest bear fruit; that when the Lord of the vinewill come seeking fruit shortly.
yard cometh with his axe to seek for fruit, or pro
My exhortation, therefore, is to professors that nounce the sentence of damnation on the barren they look to it, that they take heed.
The barren fig-tree in the vineyard, and the bramble in the wood, are both prepared for the fire.
Profession is not a covert to hide from the eye of God; nor will it palliate the revengeful threat
fig-tree, thou mayest escape that judgment. The cumber-ground must to the wood-pile, and thence to the fire. Farewell.
Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus in sincerity. Amen.
down as those that cumber the ground, that he may plant himself another vineyard? 'Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig-tree, and find none; cut it down, why cumbereth it the ground?' This therefore must be your end, although you are planted in the garden of God; for the barrenness and unfruitfulness of your hearts and lives you must be cut off, yea, rooted up, and cast out of the vineyard.
blood of the Galileans with their sacrifices. A
Now, to prevent their old and foolish salvo, which they always had in readiness against such prophecies and denunciations of judgment, the Lord Jesus presents them with this parable, in which he emphatically shows them that their cry of being the temple of the Lord, and of their being the children of Abraham, &c., and their being the church of God, would not stand them in any stead. As who should say, It may be you think to help yourselves against this my prophecy of your utter and unavoidable overthrow, by the interest which you have in your outward privileges. But all these will fail you; for what think you? 'A certain man had a fig-tree planted in his vineyard, and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.' This is your case! The Jewish land is God's vineyard; I know it; and I know also, that you are the fig-trees. But behold, there wanteth the main thing, fruit; for the sake, and in expectation of which, he set this vineyard with trees. Now, seeing the fruit is not found amongst you, the fruit, I say, for the sake of which he did at first plant this vineyard, what remains but that in justice he command to cut you
1 This awful destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans is narrated by Josephus in his sixth book of the Jewish Wars, in language that makes nature shudder. Multitudes had assembled to celebrate the passover when the invading army beleagured the city; a frightful famine soon filled it with desolation: this, with fire and sword, miserably destroyed one million, three hundred and thirty-seven thousand, four hundred and ninety Jews, while the Christians fled before the siege, and escaped to the mountains. Well might the sun vail his face at that atrocious deed, which was so quickly followed by such awful punishment.-ED.
In parables there are two things to be taken notice of, and to be inquired into of them that read. First, The metaphors made use of. Second, The doctrine or mysteries couched under such metaphors.
The metaphors in this parable are, 1. A certain man; 2. A vineyard; 3. A fig-tree, barren or fruitless; 4. A dresser; 5. Three years; 6. Dig
The doctrine, or mystery, couched under these words is to show us what is like to become of a fruitless or formal professor. For, 1. By the man in the parable is meant God the Father. Lu. xv. 11. 2. By the vineyard, his church. Is. v. 7. 3. By the fig-tree, a professor. 4. By the dresser, the Lord Jesus. 5. By the fig-tree's barrenness, the professor's fruitlessness. 6. By the three years, the patience of God that for a time he extendeth to barren professors. 7. This calling to the dresser of the vineyard to cut it down, is to show the outcries of justice against fruitless professors. 8. The dresser's interceding is to show how the Lord Jesus steps in, and takes hold of the head of his Father's axe, to stop, or at least to defer, the present execution of a barren fig-tree. 9. The dresser's desire to try to make the fig-tree fruitful, is to show you how unwilling he is that even a barren figtree should yet be barren, and perish. 10. His digging about it, and dunging of it, is to show his willingness, to apply gospel helps to this barren professor, if haply he may be fruitful. 11. The supposition that the fig-tree may yet continue fruitless, is to show, that when Christ Jesus hath done all, there are some professors will abide barren and fruitless. 12. The determination upon this supposition, at last to cut it down, is a certain prediction of such professor's unavoidable and eternal damnation.
But to take this parable into pieces, and to discourse more particularly, though with all brevity, upon all the parts thereof.
'A certain MAN had a fig-tree planted in his vineyard.'
The MAN, I told you, is to present us with God the Father; by which similitude he is often set out in the New Testament.
Observe then, that it is no new thing, if you