find in God's church barren fig-trees, fruitless pro- he finds nothing in them but the fruits of unrightfessors; even as here you see is a tree, a fruitless eousness. Mat. vii. 22, 23. They were altogether barren tree, a fruitless fig-tree in the vineyard. Fruit is and fruitless professors. not so easily brought forth as a profession is got

Had a fig-tree PLANTED. into; it is easy for a man to clothe himself with a fair show in the flesh, to word it, and say, Be thou This word PLANTED doth also reach far; it supwarmed and filled with the best. It is no hard poseth one taken out of its naturai soil, or removed thing to do these with other things; but to be fruit- from the place it grew in once; one that seemed to ful, to bring forth fruit to God, this doth not every be called, awakened; and not only so, but by strong tree, no not every fig-tree that stands in the vine- hand carried from the world to the church; from yard of God. Those words also, ‘Every branch in nature to grace; from sin to godliness. Thou me that beareth not fruit, he taketh away,' assert hast brought a vine out of Egypt; thou hast cast the same thing. Jn. xv. 2. There are branches in out the heathen, and planted it.' Ps. lxxx. 8. Of some Christ, in Christ's body mystical, which is his of the branches of this vine were there unfruitful church, his vineyard, that bear not fruit, wherefore professors. the hand of God is to take them away: I looked It must be concluded, therefore, that this

profor grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes, that fessor, that remaineth notwithstanding fruitless, is,

, is, no fruit at all that was acceptable with God. as to the view and judgment of the church, rightly Is. 5. 4. Again, · Israel is an empty vine, he bring- brought in thither, to wit, by confession of faith, eth forth fruit unto himself,'none to God; he is of sin, and a show of repentance and regeneration; without fruit to God. Ilo. x. 1. All these, with many thus false brethren creep in unawares!? All these more, show us the truth of the observation, and things this word planted intimateth; yea, further, that God's church may be cumbered with fruitless that the church is satisfied with them, consents they fig-trees, with barren professors.

should abide in the garden, and counteth them

sound as the rest. But before God, in the sight Had a FIG-TREE.

of God, they are graceless professors, barren and Although there be in God's church that be barren fruitless fig-trees. and fruitless; yet, as I said, to see to, they are like Therefore it is one thing to be in the church, or the rest of the trees, even a fig-tree. It was not an in a profession; and another to be of the church, oak, nor a willow, nor a thorn, nor a bramble; but and to belong to that kingdom that is prepared for

• They come unto thee as the people the saint, that is so indeed. Otherwise, Being cometh.' Eze. xxxiii. 31. • They delight to know my planted, shall it prosper? shall it not utterly wither, ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and for when the east-wind toucheth it? It shall wither in sook not the ordinance of their God. They ask of the furrows where it grew.' Eze, xvii. 10. me the ordinances of justice, they take delight in

Had a fig-tree planted in his vineyard. approaching to God,' and yet but barren, fruitless, and unprofitable professors. Is. Iviii. 244. Judas also In His vineyard. Hypocrites, with rotten hearts, was one of the twelve, a disciple, an apostle, a are not afraid to come before God in Sion. These preacher, an officer, yea, and such a one as none words therefore suggest unto us a prodigious kind of the eleven mistrusted, but preferred before them- of boldness and hardened fearlessness. For what selves, cach one crying out, “Is it I? Is it I?' presumption higher, and what attempt more des

None of them, as we read of, Jn. vi. 70, perate, than for a man that wanteth grace, and the mistrusting Judas; yet he in Christ's eye was the true knowledge of God, to crowd himself, in that barren fig.tree, a devil, a fruitless professor. The condition, into the house or church of God; or to foolish virgins also went forth of the world with the make profession of, and desire that the name of other, had lamps, and light, and were awakened God should be called

him? with the other; yea, had boldness to go forth, when For the man that maketh a profession of the the midnight cry was made, with the other; and religion of Jesus Christ, that man hath, as it were, thought that they could have looked Christ in the put the name of God upon himself, and is called face, when he sat upon the throne of judgment, with and reckoned now, how fruitless soever before God the other; and yet but foolish, but barren fig-trees, but fruitless professors. Many,' saith Christ, 'will % The mode of adınitting a member to church-fellowship, say unto me in that day,' this and that, and will among the Baptists, was and now is by introducing the tremalso talk of many wonderful works; yet, behold, they may hear why the union is sought, how the soul became


bling convert to a private meeting of the whole church, that

alarmed, and fled for refuge to Christ, with the grounds of Reader, do not imagine that this was peculiar to Bunyan's hope; inquiries having been previously made into Christian days; look not upon your neighbours to find an example, but character and godliness. If, with all these precautions, a barren search your own heart-Lord, is it I ?' and strive and pray professor gaius admittance, the punishment is not upon the that you may bring forth more fiuit.-(ED.)

garden, but upon the barren tree.—(Ed.)


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Mar. xiv, 19.




or men, the man that hath to do with God, the man and a robber.' Ja. x. 1. This text also is full and that God owneth, and will stand for. This man, I plain to our purpose; for this man came not in by say, by his profession, suggesteth this to all that the door, yet got into the church; he got in by know him to be such a professor. Men merely climbing; he broke in at the windows; he got natural, I mean men that have not got the devilish something of the light and glory of the gospel of art of hypocrisy, are afraid to think of doing thus. our Lord Jesus Christ in his head; and so, hardy • And of the rest durst no man join himself to wretch that he was, he presumed to crowd himself them; but the people magnified them.' Ac. v. 18. among the children. But how is this resented ? And, indeed, it displeaseth God. “Ye have brought,' What saith the King of him? Why, this is his saith he, “men uncircumcised into my sanctuary.' sign, the same is a thief and a robber.' See ye Eze. xliv. 7. And again, When ye come to appear here also, if all they be owned as the planting of before me, who hath required this at your hand, to God that get into his church or profession of his tread my courts?' saith God. Is. I. 12. They have namo. therefore learned this boldness of none in the visible • Had a fig-tree.

fig-tree.' Had one without a weddingworld, they only took it of the devil, for he, and he garment, had a thief in his garden, at his wedding, only, with these his disciples, attempt to present in his house. These climbed up some other way. themselves in the church before God. The tares There are many ways to get into the church of are the children of the wicked one.' The tares, God, and profession of his name, besides, and withthat is, the hypocrites, that are Satan's brood, the out an entering by the door. generation of vipers, that cannot escape the damna- 1. There is the way of lying and dissembling, tion of hell.

and at this gap the Gibeonites got in. Jos. ix. &c.

2. There is sometimes falseness among some Had a fig-tree planted in his vineyard.

pastors, either for the sake of carnal relations, or He doth not say, He planted a fig-tree, but there the like; at this hole Tobiah, the enemy of God, was a fig-tree there; he had, or found a fig-tree got in. Ne. xiii. 4–9. planted in his vineyard.

3. There is sometimes negligence, and too much The great God will not acknowledge the barren uncircumspectness in the whole church ; thus the fig-tree, or barren professor, to be his workmanship, uncircumcised got in. Eze. xliv. 7, 8. or a tree of his bringing in s only the text saith, he 4. Sometimes, again, let the church be never had one there. This is much like that in Mat. xv. 13 so circumspect, yet these have so much help — Every plant which my heavenly Father hath from the devil that they beguile them all, and not planted, shall be rooted up.' Here again are so get in. These are of that sort of thieves that plants in his vineyard which God will not acknow- Paul complains of, 'False brethren, that are brought ledge to be of his planting; and he seems to suggest in unawares.' Ga. ii. 4.

Jude also cries out of these, that in his vineyard are many such. Every plant, Certain men crept in unawares.' Jude 4.

Crept in! or all those plants or professors, that are got into What, were they so lowly? A voluntary humility, the assembly of the saints, or into the profession of a neglecting of the body, not in any humour.i their religion, without God and his grace, shall | Col. ii. 23. 0! how seemingly self-denying are some be rooted up.'

of these creeping things,' that yet are to be held, • And when the King came in to see the guests, (as we shall know them) an abomination to Israel. he saw there a man which had not on the wedding- Le. xi. 43, 44. garment. And he saith unto him, Friend, how But in a great house there are not only vessels camest thou in hither, not having a wedding-gar- of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; ment?' Mat. xxii. 11, 12. Here is one so cunning and and some to honour, and some to dishonour. 2 Ti. crafty that he beguiled all the guests; he got and ii

. 20. By these words the apostle seems to take it kept in the church even until the King himself came for granted, that as there hath been, so there still in to see the guests; but his subtilty got him will be these kind of fig-trees, these barren pronothing; it did not blind the eyes of the King; it fessors in the house, when all men have done what did not pervert the judgment of the righteous. they can; even as in a great house there are always • Friend, how camest thou in hither?' did overtake vessels to dishonour, as well as those to honour him at last; even a public rejection; the King dis- and glory; vessels of wood and of earth, as well covered him in the face of all present. «Ilow as of silver and gold. So, then, there must be camest thou in hither?' My Father did not bring wooden professors in the garden of God, there must thee hither; I did not bring thee hither; my Spirit be earthy, earthen professors in his vineyard; but did not bring thee hither; thou art not of the that methinks is the biting word, and some to heavenly Father's planting. How camest thou in hither?' He that • entereth not by the door, but of love to humility, but these creeping things pretend to be

1 'Humour,' the temper or disposition of mind. Not out climbeth up some other way, the game is a thief | humble, to gain some sinister end. –(ED.)

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Lu. XX. 47.

He will reap


dishonour.' Ro. ix. 21, 22. That to the Romans is science of bringing forth fruit to him, he saith to dreadful, but this seems to go beyond it; that such, Away! •As for you, - Go ye, serve ye every speaks but of the reprobate in general, but this of one his idols, and hereafter also, if ye will not such and such in particular; that speaks of their hearken unto me,' &c. Eze. XX. 89. Barren fig-tree, hardening but in the common way, but this that dost thou hear? God expecteth fruit, God calls they must be suffered to creep into the church, for fruit, yea, God will shortly come seeking fruit there to fit themselves for their place, their own on this barren fig-tree. Barren fig-tree, either place, the place prepared for them of this sort bear fruit, or go out of the vineyard; and yet then, only. Ac. i. 25. As the Lord Jesus said once of the thy case will be unspeakably damnable. Yea, let Pharisees, These “shall receive greater damnation.' me add, if thou shalt neither bear fruit nor depart,

God will take his name out of thy mouth. Je xliv. 26. Barren fig-tree, fruitless professor, hast thou He will have fruit. And I say further, if thou heard all these things? Hast thou considered that wilt do neither, yet God in justice and righteousthis fig-tree is not acknowledged of God to be his, ness will still come for fruit. And it will be in but is denied to be of his planting, and of his vain for thee to count this austerity. bringing unto his wedding? Dost not thou see where he hath not sowed, and gather where he that thou art called a thief and a robber, that hast hath not strewed. Mat. XXV. 24–26. Barren fig-tree, either climbed up to, or crept in at another place dost thou hear? than the door? Dost thou not hear that there Quest. What if a man have no grace? will be in God's house wooden and earthly profes- Answ. Yes, seeing he hath a profession. sors, and that no place will serve to fit those for hell but the house, the church, the vineyard of

And he came and sought fruit THEREON. God? Barren fig-tree, fruitless Christian, do not A church, then, and a profession, are not places thine ears tingle?

where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves

and sins from God. Some of old thought that beAnd he came and sought fruit thereon.

cause they could cry, 'The temple of the Lord, the When & man hath got a profession, and is temple of the Lord !' that therefore they were decrowded into the church and house of God, the livered, or had a dispensation to do the abominaquestion is not now, Hath he life, hath he right tions which they committed, as some in our days; principles ? but, Hath he fruit? He came seeking for who, say they, have a right to the creatures, fruit thereon. It mattereth not who brought thee if not Christians, if not professors, if not church in hither, whether God or the devil, or thine own members? And, from this conclusion, let go

the vain-glorious heart; but hast thou fruit? Dost reins of their inordinate affections after pride, amthou bring forth fruit unto God? And, 'Let every bition, gluttony; pampering themselves without one that nameth the name of' the Lord Jesus fear, Jude 12, daubing themselves with the lust-pro• Christ depart from iniquity.' 2 Ti. ii. 19. He doth voking fashions of the times; to walk with stretched not say, And let every one that hath grace, or let out necks, naked breasts, frizzled fore-tops, wanton those that have the Spirit of God; but, “Let every gestures, in gorgeous apparel, mixed with gold and one that nameth the name of' the Lord Jesus pearl, and costly array. I will not here make • Christ depart from iniquity.'

inspection into their lives, their carriages at home, What do men meddle with religion for? Why in their corners and secret holes; but certainly, do they call themselves by the name of the Lord persons thus spirited, thus principled, and thus inJesus, if they have not the grace of God, if they clined, have but empty boughs, boughs that want have not the Spirit of Christ? God, therefore, the fruit that God expects, and that God will come expecteth fruit. What do they do in the vineyard? down to seek. Let them work, or get them out; the vineyard Barren fig-tree, thou art not licensed by thy must have labourers in it. "Son, go WORK to-day profession, nor by the Lord of the vineyard, to in my vineyard.' Mat. xxi. 28. Wherefore, want of bear these clusters of Gomorrah; neither shall the grace and want of Spirit will not keep God from vineyard, nor thy being crowded among the trees seeking fruit. * And he came and sought fruit there, shelter thee from the siglıt of the eye of thereon.' Lu. xiii. 6; viii. 8.

He requireth that which he seemeth to have. Every man in the vineyard · However strange it may appear, it is true that the and house of God promiseth himself, professeth to Ranters, in Bunyan's time, used these arguments, and those others, and would have all men take it for granted, to justify their nonconformity to Christ

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so graphically put into the mouth of Bye-ends, in the Pilgrim, that a heavenly principle is in him, why then should and extravagancies of dress introduced by Charles II., are pot God seek fruit?

here justly and contemptuously described. The ladies' head

dresses, called 'frizzled fore tops,' became so extravagant, that As for them, therefore, that will retain the name

a barber uscd high steps to enable him to dress a larly's hcad ! of Christians, fearing God, and yet make no con- -(ED.)


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God. Many make religion their cloak, and Christ | blossoms; that make many fair offers of repenttheir stalking-horse, and by that means ance and amendment; that begin to pray, to rethemselves and hide their own wickedness from solve, and to break off their sins by righteousness, men; but God seeth their hearts, hath his print but stop at those beginnings, and bring no fruit upon the heels of their feet, and pondereth all their forth to perfection. This man's fruit is withered, goings; and at last, when their iniquity is found wrinkled, smitten fruit, and is in effect no fruit at to be hateful, he will either smite them with hard. all. ness of heart, and so leave them, or awaken them Second. There is a hasty fruit, such as is the to bring forth fruit. Fruit he looks for, seeks, 'corn upon the house-top,' Ps exxix. 6; or that which and expects, barren fig tree!

springs up on the dung-hill, that runs up suddenly,

, But what! come into the presence of God to violently, with great stalks and big show, and yet sin! What! come into the presence of God to at last proves empty of kernel. This fruit is to be hide thy sin! Alas, man! the church is God's found in those professors that on a sudden are so garden, and Christ Jesus is the great Apostle and awakened, so convinced, and so affected with their High-priest of our profession. What! come into condition that they shake the whole family, the the house that is called by my name! into the place endship, the whole town. For a while they cry wbere mine honour dwelleth! l's. xxvi. 8. Where bastily, vehemently, dolefully, mournfully, and yet mine eyes and heart are continually! 1 Ki. ix. 3. all is but a pang, an agony, a fit, they bring not What! come there to sin, to hide thy sin, to cloak forth fruit with patience. These are called those thy sin! Ilis plants are an orchard with pleasant hasty fruits that shall be a fading flower.' fruits. Ca. iv. 13. And every time he goeth into his Is. xxviii. 4. garden, it is to see the fruits of the valley, and to Third. There is a fruit that is vile and ill-tasted,

see if the vine flourished, and the pomegranates how long soever it be in growing; the root is budded.'

dried, and cannot convey a sufficiency of sap to the Yea, saith he, he came seeking fruit on this fig-branches, to ripen the fruit. Je. xxiv. These are the tree. The church is the place of God's delight, fruits of such professors whose hearts are estranged where he ever desires to be: there he is night and from communion with the Holy Ghost, whose fruit day. He is there to seek for fruit, to seek for groweth from themselves, from their parts, gifts, fruit of all and every tree in the garden. Where- strength of wit, natural or moral principles. fore, assure thyself, O fruitless one, that thy ways These, notwithstanding they bring forth fruit, are must needs be open before the eyes of the Lord. called empty vines, such as bring not forth fruit One black sheep is soon espied, although in com- to God. • Their root is dried up, they shall bear pany with many; that is taken with the first cast no fruit; yea, though they bring forth, yet will of the eye; its different colour still betrays it. II slay even the beloved fruit of their womb.' say, therefore, a church and a profession are not Ho. ix. 16. places where the workers of iniquity may hide Fourth. There is a fruit that is wild. • I looked themselves from God that seeks for fruit. •My for grapes and it brought forth wild grapes.' Is. V. t. vineyard,' saith Gud, which is mine, is before I observe, that as there are trees and herbs that

are wholly right and noble, fit indeed for the vine

yard; so there are also their semblance, but wild; And he came and sought fruit thereon, AND FOUND

not right, but ignoble. There is the grape, and the wild

grape; the vine, and the wild vine; the rose, Barren fig-tree, hearken; the continual non- and canker rose; flowers and wild flowers; the bearing of fruit is a dreadful sign that thou art to apple, and the wild apple, which we call the crab. come to a dreadful end, as the winding up of this Now, fruit from these wild things, however they parable concludeth.

may please the children to play with, yet the pruAND FOUND NONE.' None at all, or none to dent and grave count them of little or no value. God's liking; for when he saith, “He came seeking There are also in the world a generation of profruit thereon,' he means fruit meet for God,' plea- fessors that, notwithstanding their profession, are sant fruit, fruit good and sweet. He. vi. Alas! it is wild by nature; yea, such as were never cut out, not any fruit will serve; bad fruit is counted none. or off, from the wild olive-tree, nor never yet • Every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is planted into the good olive-tree. Now, these can hewn down, and cast into the fire.' Mat. iii. 10. bring nothing forth but wild olive berries, they

First. There is a fruit among professors that cannot bring forth fruit unto God. Such are all withers, and so never comes to be ripe; a fruit that those that have lightly taken up a profession, and is smitten in the growth, and comes not to maturity; and this is reckoned no fruit. This fruit those and almost obsolete. It means a division, eud, or border of a

1 A word not to be found in our dictionaries, being local professors bear that have many fair beginnings, or town or village.-(Ev.)

me. Ca. viii. 12.


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crept into the vineyard without a new birth, and growth, that withereth, and that comes not to the blessing of regeneration.

maturity, is no fruit. 2. That hasty fruit, such Fifth. There is also untimely fruit: 'Even as a as the grass upon the house-top,' withereth also fig-tree casteth her untimely figs.' Re. vi. xiii. Fruit before it groweth up, and is no fruit. Ps. cxxix. 6. out of season, and so no fruit to God's liking. 3. That the fruit that is vile, and ill-tasted, is no There are two sorts of professors subject to bring fruit. That wild fruit, wild grapes, are no fruit. forth untimely fruit: 1. They that bring forth Re. vi. That untimely fruit, such as comes too soon, fruit too soon; 2. They that bring forth fruit too or that comes too late, such as come not in their late.

season, are no fruit. 1. They that bring forth too soon. They are such as at present receive the Word with joy; and And he came and sought fruit thereon, and fourul anon, before they have root downwards, they thrust forth upwards; but having not root, when the sun Nothing will do but fruit; he looked for grapes.

. ariseth, they are smitten, and miserably die with. When the time of the fruit drew near, he sent out fruit. These professors are those light and his servants to the husbandmen, that they might inconsiderate ones that think nothing but peace receive the fruits of it.' Mat. xxi. 34. will attend the gospel; and so anon rejoice at the Quest. But what fruit doth God expect? tidings, without foreseeing the evil. Wherefore, Answ. Good fruit. • Every tree that bringeth when the evil comes, being unarmed, and so not not forth good fruit, is hewn down.' Mat. vii. 19. able to stand any longer, they die, and are withered, Now, before the fruit can be good, the tree must and bring forth no fruit. • He that received the be good; for good fruit makes not a good trec, seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth but a good tree bringeth forth good fruit. Do the Word, and anon with joy receiveth it; yet men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles ?' hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while; A man must be good, else he can bring forth 110 for when tribulation or persecution ariseth becnuse good fruit; he must have righteousness imputed, of the Word, by and by he is offended.' Mat. xiii. that he may stand good in God's sight from the 20, 21. There is, in Is. xxviii. 4, mention made of some curse of his law; he must have a principle of

whose glorious beauty shall be a fading flower,' righteousness in his soul, else how should he bring because it is 'fruit before the summer.' Both forth good fruits ? and hence it is, that a Christthese are untimely fruit.

ian's fruits are called the fruits of the Spirit, 2. They also bring forth untimely fruit that stay the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus till the season is over. God will have his fruit in Christ.' Ga V. 22, 23. Phi. 1. 11. The fruits of the Spirit, his season; I say, he will receive them of such therefore the Spirit must be there; the fruits of men as shall render them to him in their seasons. righteousness, therefore righteousness must first

The missing of the season is danger be there. But to particularize in a few things ous; staying till the door is shut is dangerous. briefly:Mat. XIV. 10, 11. Many there be that come not till the First. God expecteth fruit that will answer, and flood of God's anger is raised, and too deep for them be worthy of the repentance which thou feignest to wade through; .Surely in the floods of great thyself to have. Every one in a profession, and waters they shall not come nigh unto him.' Ps. that hath crowded into the vineyard, pretendeth to xxxii

. 6. Esau AFTERWARDS is fearful: • For ye know repentance; now of every such soul, God expecteth how that afterward, when he would have inherited that the fruits of repentance be found to attend the blessiny, he was rejected; for he found no them. Bring forth, therefore, fruits meet for place of repentance, though he sought it carefully repentance,' or answerable to thy profession of the with tears.' He. xii. 17.

doctrine of repentance. Mat. iii. 8. Barren fig-tree, So the children of Israel, they brought to God seeing thou art a professor, and art got into the the fruits of obedience too late ; their • Lo, we be vineyard, thou standest before the Lord of the here' came too late ; Nu. xiv. 40–42. their • We will vineyard as one of the trees of the garden ; wherego up' came too late. Nu xiv. 40–44. The Lord had fore he looketh for fruit from thee, as from the sworn before, that they should not possess the rest of the trees in the vineyard ; fruits, I say, and land.' Mat. xxv. 10; xxvii. 5. All these are such as such as may declare thee in heart and life one that bring forth untimely fruit. He. xii. 17. La. xiii. 25–27. hath made sound profession of repentance. By It is the hard hap of the reprobate to do all things thy profession thou hast said, I am sensible of the too late; to be sensible of his want of grace too evil of sin. Now then, live such a life as declares late; to be sorry for sin too late; to seek repent- that thou art sensible of the evil of sin. By thy ance too late; to ask for mercy, and to desire to profession thou hast said, I am sorry for


sin. go to glory too late.

Why, then, live such a life as may declare this Thus you see, 1. That fruit smitten in the sorrow. By thy profession thou hast said, I am

Mat. xxi. 41.



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