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know him and kecpeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepcth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected : hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked." These are weighty and important words. They declare that if any say they abide in Christ, it is incumbent upon them to walk even as he walked ; and that those who do not thus walk prove themselves to be hypocrites. And indeed this is a most rational truth : For the tree must be known by its fruit, and we know that a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit. For our improvement therefore at this time, let us enquire in the

1. Place, what is to be understood by abiding in Christ?

II. What is it to say we abide in him ?

III. What is it to walk as he walked ? And

IV. Show the necessity and importance of walking even as Christ walked.

1. Then, the subject of enquiry is, what we are to understand by abiding in Christ. And here we may observe, in brief, that to abide in Christ is to be united to him, by that faith which is of the operation of the Holy Ghost. It is to believe him to be the Christ, the Son of the living God, and the only Saviour of the world; cordially to accept of him as offered in the gospel, and to trust in him, at all times, for salvation. The expression “abiding in Christ” has very evident reference to that expressive figure, so frequently used by Christ, to represent the important and close union, which takes place between him and believers, by their faith viz. the union of the branch to the vine, and the necessity of its abiding in the vine, in

order to bear fruit. “I am the true vine,” says the Saviour,“ and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit, he taketh away, and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit;" that is, as when a branch, from a wild vine, is grafted into the true vine, yet does not partake of the juice, and form no vital union, but is fruitless and withers, and is cast away by the husbandman ; so those who are ingrafted ipto Christ by a mere outward profession, but have no faith in him, receive no supplies of grace from the vine, and consequently bear no fruit, are cut off and cast away, as having no part nor lot in him.

Again, when a wild branch is really ingrafted into the true vine, though it receive but little nourishment-though it but just live, and bear but little fruit, yet the husbandman will purge, or prune it, that the union may be stronger and stronger, and the fruit be increased ; so when Christians, who bý nature are branches of a wild degenerate vine, are cut off and ingrafted into Christ the true vinethat is, when they are really united to him by faith, though the union be ever so weak, and they receive but small supplies of grace, and bear but little fruit ; yet their heavenly Father, who is the spiatual husbandman, will prune and cherish them will cause their faith to grow stronger and stronger, and their fruit also to increase. 66 Abide in me,continues the Saviour; " and I in you.

As the branch cannot bear fruit of itsella except it abide in the vine ; no more can ye, except abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that

abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringéth forth much fruit ; for without me ye can dɔ nothing. If a man abide not in me,he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered, and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”. By this beautiful comparison, which the Saviour condescended to make, we are greatly assisted in understanding the nature of a

spiritual union to Christ, or what it is to abide in him.

As the branch when grained in cannot be united to the vine, unless it receive some nourishment from it, so there can be no spiritual union between us and Christ, unless we receive the spirit of Christ. And as it is by means of the sap only that the branch receives nourishment from the vine ; so it is only through the medium or channel of faith; that Christians can receive from Christ the supplies of divine grace, whereby the union may be strengthened, and their fruitfulness increased. We see therefore, that to abide in Christ implies, that we are new creatures, that we are created anew in Christ Jesus, unto righteousness and true holiness. “ Ifany man be in Christ,” says the apostle," he is a newcreature : old things are done away, behold all things are become new.” It implies that we who were once afar off, being ali from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenant of promise, without hope, without Christ; and without God in the world, are now brought nigh by the blood of Christ-brought cordially to submit to him in all. his offices of prophet, priest, and king

to receive and observe his words as divine truth-to trust alone in his atonement and perfect righteousness, for acceptance with God to acquiesce in his government, and rejoice that he reigns, and is sitting on God's holy hill of Zion. In a word ; really to abide in Christ is to be real Christians. It is probable therefore, that many who say they abide in Christ do not, but are, as the apostle stiies them, hypocrites and liars, having no truth in them. Let us enquire, therefore in the

II. Place, what it is to say, we abide in Christ. And I would observe, that, from what has been said, it appears, that to say, we abide in Christ, is to say, we are his obedient faithful subjects—that we believe in him as the Son of God; and submit to him in

all his offices of prophet, priest and king. Now we may say this either implicitly or expressly, and that in

many ways.

1. We implicitly say we abide in Christ, or that we believe in, and submit to him, when we externally pray to God the Father in his name, obserye the Lord's day, and attend public worship. By such conduct, we plainly declare that we consider him as a divine mediator, and that we submit to him, and rejoice in him as such. Yea, I conclude, that those who pray in the name of Christ, do commonly plainly declare in their prayers, that they believe him to be the Son of God, and that they choose himn for their portion, and desire to be conformed to him. Now by those who know not our hearts, and are ignorant of our walk, it will be concluded, that we are sincere in such requests, that they proceed from love to God--that we do believe in his Son, and desire to be conformed to him. It is true they may afterwards be convinced by our walk, that our hearts were not in our prayers, that they were mere mockeries of God, and that we had no hearty desire for the things we petitioned. This however, will not alter the language of our prayers, and external public worship. The implicit language of them to the world, whether it be true or whether it be false, whether we walk according!y or not, is that we abide in Christ, or that we receive him and submnit to him as our prophet, priest and king. Again,

2. We expressly say we abide in Christ when, in addition to external worship, we declare, though it be only to single individuals, that we have hope in Christ ; meaning thereby that we trust we have been the subjects of special grace, which has removed our hard heart, and given us a heart of fleshheart to love God. There are undoubtedly many, who say that they abide in Christ, and that

very openly, though not in the congregation of God's people. But

3. We say very especially, and most expressly, that we abide in Christ, when we make a public profession of religion in the congregation of God's people, and join ourselves in communion with the visible church of Christ. This is to say or profess, in the most public and explicit manner, that we abide in Christthat we receive him as our Saviour, trust in him, and submit to him, as our prophet, priest, and king. And this I conclude is that saying, or professsing, to which the apostle had principal reference, when he said, “ He that saith, he abideth in Christ, ought himself also to walk, even as he walked." We shall therefore enquire

III. What it is to walk as Christ walked. And I observe, in general, that it is to set the Lord always. before our faces, to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God. Micah vi. 8. It implies that we take Christ for our pattern, imitate him in all his imitable examples, and, having the hope of Christians, that we purify ourselves éven as he is pure. More particularly,

1. To walk as Christ also walked, is to live in such a manner that our path, or course of life, may be like that of the just, which, like the morning light, shineth brighter and brightet. Walking implies motion. Christ. was always" moving forward, and constantly executing the great work for which he came into the world. His days were employed in instructing, exhorting, and warning sinners, and in performing the part of an earthly and heavenly phy: sician, and many of his nights were spent wholly in prayer to God. If, therefore, we walk as he also walked, we shall never be weary in well doing, we shall ever account it our greatest honor and happi

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