THE REV. THOMAS CONNELLAN, - The Gospel Magazine

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THE REV. THOMAS CONNELLAN, - The Gospel Magazine

The GOipel Magazine. 555

Thus, in.the visible Ohurch, the evil is ever mingled with the good.

"The tares grow together with the wheat, until the harvest;" but

the "Church of the First-born" consists of the living branches of

the true Vine. In them the divine life, flowing from their Lord and

King, freely circulates; and in proportion as they abide in Christ,

and Christ abides in them, they receive life more abundantly and

yield fruit correspondingly, to the praise of the heavenly Husbandman.

Often, alas! the life flows feebly, even in the living branch. It

appears as though something hindered the rising of the sap. There

is no deficiency of life in the parent stem; and if only we lived moment

by moment in communion with the Saviour, we should understand

experimentally the meaning of the apostle's words-" It is not I

that live, but Christ that liveth in me." Yet the living branches

often need the Pruner's knife. "Every branch," says Jesus, that

beareth fruit, He purgeth (or pruneth) it that it may bring forth more

fruit." It is fruitfulness that honours the Husbandman. "Herein

is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit, so shall ye be My

disciples" (so shall ye prove yourselves to be My disciples). It is because

our heavenly Father loves us that He chastens us. Perhaps in looking

at the vine-dresser cutting off the fresh shoots and tendrils, we wonder

that the vine is subjected to such a process; but let us wait a while,

and we shall see, in the rich clusters of autumn, the result of the pruningknife.

"Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous

but grievous; nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit

of righteousness unto them that are exercised thereby." God, in

all His dealings with His people, has their etenial happiness, and His

own glory in view; a.nd the afflictions of this present life are measured

out by His unerring wisdom, with reference to the position which

His children shall ultimll.tely occupy in the heavenly Jerusalem.

When the Church of Christ in the paradise above is yielding fruit to

the glory of her Lord and Saviour,it will thenbe seen whyshe was stripped

of her leaves, and deprived of her young shoots in the wilderness.

Reader! are you under the chastening hand of God ~ Has the sharp

pruning-knife of sorrow cut off some of your fair foliage ~ and has

the question arisen in your mind, "Why is the Lord thus dealing

with me ~" In infinite tenderness and wisdom is the Divine Husbandman

watching over you. Does not the sunshine pour in its rays

upon the young fruit, when the too luxuriant leaves are plucked off ~

And will not a rich and abundant vintage prove the skill of Him whose

watchful care is never withdrawn from the "vineyard which His

right hand hath planted, and the branch which He made strong for

Himself ~" Has He not said, "I the Lord do keep it, I will water

it every moment; lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day" ~

Now the dealings of God with each individual member of His Church

are samples of those which He adopts with reference to the body

collectively. He is leading His whole Church" by the right way to

a city of habitation." That way may seem circuitous and rugged;

but it is, nevertheless, "the right way;" and when the Church has

reached the heavenly Canaan, she will "remember all the way that

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