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Lul vi. 44.

For every Tree is known by his own Fruit: For of Thorns men do not gather Figs, nor of a Bramble-bujh gather they Grapes.

HERE are some Figures O/serm. Speech founded upon Simi- VI. litudes so obvious, so natu-'^/VN^ ral, so expressive, that whilst they convey into the minds even of Those who have the meanest capacities, a Notion or Doctrine altogether


S E R M. thcr as distinct and as easy to be underV*, stood, as any Literal expression whatsoever . they at the fame time illustrate it moreover with the clearest Light, and conJirm the Truth of it with the strongest Reason or Argument. Of This kind, there is great Variety of Instances of Scripture.

Thus when St Paul exhorts Christians to present their Bodies a Living Sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God; and elsewhere tells them, that they themselves are the Temple of God; and threatens, that if any man defile the Temple of God, Him {hall God destroy: Under the strong image of the Unfitness and Abominableness, the Detestableness and Profaneness, of any Uncleanness or Impurity appearing in the Temple of God; the odiousnefe of all moral impurity, of all debauched Practices whatsoever in Any person who profesies himself a Worshipper of God, is set forth after a more lively and affecting manner, than it could be by any literal description whatsoever: And, under the civicus and sensible idea, that a Sacrifice offered to God, even of a Beast stain, could not, with any just sense of the Greatness of the

Divine Divine Majesty,; but be without Blemish r M.. is represented the Acceptableness of a Living Rational Person, dedicating himself to the Service of God by a sober and virtuous course of life, in opposition to every kind of Debauchery, more strongly and pathetically , than it could any way have been done in plain and direct Terms., without such a figurative expression.

In like manner, in the words of the Text, the neceflary Connexion between the nature of mens Actions, and the Principles from which they flow; and the Absurdity of supposing, that good Actions can ever flow from ill Principles, or ill Actions, from good Principles; is expressed with greater Clearness and Strength, under the similitude of the regular Productions of nature, than it could have been by the most literal and direct Asiertion. Every Tree is known by its own Fruit: For of Thorns men do not gather Figs, nor of a Bramble-bufi gather they Grapes.

Our Saviour, in his Parable of the Sower, St Matt. xiii. under the similitude of different forts of ground, wherein good Seed being sown, brought forth fruit according to the nature of the Soil, in some


Serm.places plentifully, in others thinly, in VI. others none at all; gives a very empha-t tical and accurate defcription of the different Effects, which the Doctrines of True Religion, or the Teaching and Exhortations of Virtue, haVc upon the Lives and Actions of different Sorts of men. As the fame Seed, fown in a good Soil or a bad, brings forth much Fruit or little, or perijjhes entirely and never grows at all; fo the Knowledge of Truth, and the Inftructions of Righteoufnefs, according to the different difpofitions of the minds of Thofe, to whom the Arguments of Realon and the Motives of Religion are propofed; are either entirely fupprefled by them, and extinguished, or elfe, iibmetimes in a greater, fometimes in a lefs degree, they produce the Fruit of Virtuous ABs and Habits, in the courfe of a righteous and religious Life. And from hence, throughout the whole Scripture, by a figure of Speech grounded upon the analogy of This Parable, the A&s and Habits of every Moral Virtue, founded . upon the Motives of the Gofpel, and fpringing from the Principles of True Religion, from the Belief of God and of a


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