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L U K. vi. 44.
Fruit : For of Thorns men do
w a THERE are some Figures of SERM
e ll Speech founded upon Simi- VI. Le litudes so obvious, so natu-m
ral, so expressive, that whilst
they convey into the minds even of Those who have the meanest capacities, a Notion or Doctrine altoge
Ser M. ther as distinɛt and as easy to be underVI. stood, as any Literal expression whatso
e ver ; they at the same time illustrate it moreover with the clearest Light, and confirm 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 Thall 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 odioufness of all mo
ral impurity, of all debauched Practices whatsoever in Any person who professes 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 clvicus and fenfible idea, that a Sacrifice offered to God, even of a Beaft slain, could not, with any just sense of the Greatness of the
Divine Majesty, but be without Blemish;SE R M. is represented the Acceptableness of a V. Living Rational Person, dedicating him self to the Service of God by a sober and virtuous course of life, in opposition to every kind of Debauchery, more ftrongly and pathetically, than it could any way have been done in plain and direct Terms, without such a figurative expreffion. :
In like manner, in the words of the Text, the necessary 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 A&tions, from good Principles; is expressed with greater Clearness and Strength, under the fimilitude of the regular Productions of nature, than it could have been by the most literal and direct Assertion. Every Tree is known by its own Fruit : For of Thorns men do not gather Figs, nor of a Bramble-bush gather they Grapes.
OUR Saviour, in his Parable of the Sower, St Matt. xiji. under the fimilitude of different sorts of ground, wherein good Seed being sown, brought forth fruit according to the nature of the Soil, in some
SER M.places plentifully, in others thinly, in Vi others none' at all; gives a very empha
t ical and accurate defcription of the different Effects, which the Doctrines of True Religion, or the Teaching and Exhortations of Virtue, have upon the Lives and Actions of different Sorts of men. As the fame Seed, sown in a good Soil or a bad, brings forth much Fruit or little, or perishes entirely and never grows at all ; fo the Knowledge of Truth, and the Instructions of Righteousness, according to the different dispositions of the minds of Those, to whom the Arguments of Reason and the Motives of Religion are proposed ; are either entirely suppressed by them, and extinguished, or else, fometimes in a greater, sometimes in a less degree, they produce the Fruit of Virtu
ous Axts and Habits, in the course 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 Acts and Habits of every Moral Virtue, founded . upon the Motives of the Gospel, and
springing from the Principles of True · Religion, from the Belief of God and of a