« PreviousContinue »
the Gentiles were the uncircumcision; they were abominable outcasts, whose very entering into the temple was enough to pollute it. They were strangers and alienis; but now God declares in the gospel, that he will justify the uncircumcision through faith, Rom. iii. 30. “ And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen thro' faith, preached the gospel before to Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed,” Gal. iii. 18. The Gentiles here meant were called dogs, and the Jews were called the children; hence said Christ to the wo. man of Canaan, when trying her, “ It is not meet to take the children's bread, and cast it to dogs. Without are dogs," Rev. xxii. 15.; but such dogs have been gathered, 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10, II. “ Such were some of you, but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are juf. tified.”—Thus the people that may, and shall be gathered are defined, they are Gentiles, uncircumcised, heathens, dogs; and if that be a description of you, man, woman, then the promise concerns you, and you are called to embrace it with application.
2. It is a gathering of graceless and ungodly people that is here designed. Though he makes them gracious and godly when once he hath gathered them; yet, before they be gathered, and while he is seeking to gather them to himself, they are graceless and ungodly; “I come not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance," Mark ii. 17. And indeed, if he would except finners, he would except all mankind, and call none at all; for, • All have sinned:” therefore fay not, you are a finner, and therefore cannot be of that number, to whom this word of grace belongs; for if you be a sinful creature of Adam's family, we are charged to hold out the word of salvation to you ; “ Go, preach the gospel to every creature,” Mark xvi. 15.
3. It is a gathering of the most sinful people that ever were, that is here intended. ----Christ, say you, may gather finners, but none fo grofs as me: therefore I tell you, that even the grosseft of finners are included in this gathering: hence the stout-hearted people are encouraged to come to him; “ Hearken, ye stout-hearted, and far
from righteousness, I bring near my righteousness; and my salvation shall not tarry,” Ifa. xlvi. 12, 13. Hear. ken to his reasoning, Isa. i. 18. “ Though your fins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as fnow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” –Why says he thus, but that the greatest and most guilty finner may not be discouraged, from gathering about the throne of infinite grace? Hence neither the cruel massacres and cursed forcery of Manaffeh, nor the blafphemy and persecution of Paul, did exclude them from obtaining mercy and being gathered to Shiloh : yea, the Jews, who murdered the Lord of glory, see them both called and converted, Acts ii. 14.
4. It is a gathering of diseased people that is here meant, Mark ii. 17. When Shiloh comes, it is to ga. ther the sick and diseased about him to heal them; Tbey that be whole need not the physician, but they that are fick: multitudes gathered about him to touch hini; and, As many as touched bim, were made whole. All that are fick are called to come to him, and all that want the physic cian. We need nit understand it of these that are fenfibly fick, and see their need, such only will indeed come: but it is true without a figure, That all that are really sick, and stand in need of a physician, ought to come. Now, what is your disease, man, woman? For the physician is come here to gather all diseased persons about his hand, that he may get the glory of healing them. Is darkness and ignorance your disease? Behold; Shiloh is come to be a light to lighten the Gentiles. Is deadness your disease ? Behold, " He is come to give life, and to give it more abundantly.” Is blindness your disease? He is come to open the eyes of the blind. Is hardness of heart your disease? He is come to take away the beart of stone, and give the heart of flesh.-Whatever be the disease, let the gathering of diseased people be to him. If your disease be unbelief, fo as you cannot for your life elicit one act of faith; he hath the Spirit of faith to give for curing of that. If your disease be im. penitency, so as you cannot repent of one fin; he hath the Spirit of repentance to give for curing of that. If your disease be enmity and hatred against God and
. Christ; he hath the Spirit of love to give for curing that. If your disease be carnality, so as your thoughts and affections are carnal and fethly; he hath the Spirit of holiness to give for curing that. If your disease be weaknefs, that you cannot think, you cannot act, you cannot pray; he hath the Spirit of power to give for curing that. If your disease be error and delusion, as well as dimness and confusion : he hath the Spirit of truth to give, to lead you into all truth. If your disease be security, fearing nothing, but sleeping in the arms of the devil, destitute of all grace, filled with all atheism and blafphemy, and such unconcernedness and indifference, that no arguments in the world can awaken you; Behold, Shiloh is comie, who is the resurrection and the life, having the Spirit of all grace to give, Isa. xlii. I.“ Behold my Servant, whom I uphold; mine Elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my Spirit upon him, he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.” There is one disease called the unpardonable fin, which the man that is under would never so much as wish to be cured of; abstracting from tivat, I know no difcafe excluded out of the Mediator's commission. What. ever be the disease then, of which you would wish and need to be cured, if you be among the number of difeased people, that is the people of which the gathering must be to Shiloh.
5. It is a gathering of distracted people and mad fools. This is set forth in the parable of the prodigal, who played the fool and madman, till he came to himself, and came home to his father, who, notwithstanding of his former madness and folly, kindly received and entertained him, Luke xv. 17. 24. What is all the people in the world but a company of mad fools, and besides themselves; feeding upon fwines husks, sensual pleasures, and lying vanities? yet of such people is the gathering to Shiloh. Therefore, 0 sinner, do not exclude yourself from the benefits of this promise, tho' you have been carrying like one that hath been out of his wits all your days. --Some in the world are called wits, and think themselves so, who yet are mad and out of their wits, so long as they do not think of
ever be the difear of the Mediatoria Mat, I know i
-.- gathering to Shiloh, 6 In whom are hid all the treasures
of wisdom and knowledge; and, who of God is made unto us wisdom.”
6. It is a gathering of imprisoned people that is here meant: for Shiloh is come to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound, Isa. lvi. 1. Now, what fort of a prison are you in, man? This word of salvation is to you; “ Turn ye to your strong holds, ye prisoners of hope,” Zech. ix. 12. The people that are gathered to Shiloh, are designed prisoners; and if a prisoner be your name and designa.
tion, be it ever such a deep, dark, and dreadful prison, · here is a door of hope for you. Is your prison-door barred and bolted, fo as no man or angel can open ? Behold, he proclaims the opening of the prison to them that are bound. When he in the gospel proclamation is fay. ing, Open prison-doors, open, open; O take hold of his strength, and invite his power to be pur forth, and you shall find all the bands shall be broken in pieces. To give him employment to open your prison, is one of the ways of gathering to him. Do you look upon yourself as a prisoner in the further corner, hidden in the deepest and darkest hole of the prison? Behold the gathering hand of him that can save to the uttermost, can reach to the furthest corner in the prison, and bring you forth, fo as your name shall be called, Sought out,
and found out, Isaiah lxii. 12. But, on this subject, 1. see my notes on Isa. xlii. 6:*-Now, if the people to
be gathered to Shiloh be of that fort, if it be a gather-ing of pagans, to make them Christians; a gathering 15of graceless people, to make them gracious; a gather
ing of great sinners, to make them great faints; a ga-
is your name and designation touched at here! What och hinders, but you put in for a share of this gathering até Vol. IV.
grace! * See Vol. !. Sermon IV, intitled, Christ the People's Covenant, page 162.
grace! By what clause are you excluded, if you be one of the people here mentioned, man, woman? And why will you exclude yourselves from coming to Christ?
The gospel excludes you not, for it names you in a manner; and you should answer to your name, saying, Lord, here I am; I find I am mentioned among these of whom the gathering shall be to Shiloh; therefore, behold I come to him ; let my soul, and all its faculties be centred cii him.
But, in case you think that I have missed yonr name, I must tell you, that all that are called by the gospel of Christ are allowed to gather under his wings; and it is by the free universal call given to all the people to whom the gospel comes; it is by this, that God gathers all his chosen into Christ ; and the promise, given forth indefinitely to all the people, is a ground of encouragement to them all, to come to Shiloh by faith; there. fore, says the apostle to them whom he was calling to come to Christ, whom they had crucified, Acts ii. 39. “ The premise is to you, and to your children ; and to all them that are afar off, even to as many as the Lord our God shall call.” And here, as all that are afar off are called, fo more particularly, there are two forts of people called, that some do not dream to be fo, namely, 1. They that exclude themselves. 2. They that are excluded by men, they are included in the call.
(1.) They that exclude themfelves; and you will find, they are most particularly called, who are most ready to exclude themselves. They that are weary and heavy laden, under a fense of fin and apprehension of God's wrath, are ready to exclude themfelves; therefore they are particularly called ; “ Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest," Mat. xi. 28. I do not confine the sense of these words indeed to the humbled and convinced; for I think that even these that are wearying themselves in pursuing vanities, and living contentedly under a heavy load of fin and guilt, or wearying themselves with a load of legal and unprofitable service, are called also by that text to come to Christ, in whom alone they can find that rest and satisfaction which they are vainly