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gather to him for falvation! Hath he a commission to fave finners, and shall he return with his commiflion in his hand, saying, Father, thou gaveft me a commission to feek and to save that which was lost, and yet wretched lost finners will not have me, nor my falvation either? They love their lusts better than me; they love their own proud fancy better than my righteousness; and they will not believe that I have so much good will to theni as to save them : they will not be persuaded but I am cheating them with fome goodly words : I would gather them, but they will not be gathered; and save them, but they will not come to me that they might have life, though I have a commission from the Father to give life to dead finners. Why, may one think or say, if Chriit hath such a commission to save finners, then let him execute his commission, I shall not hinder him. What is that you are saying, man? Let me hear that again : if he hath a commiffion to fave finners, let him come and save me, I shall not hinder him. Is it jest or earnest that you are saying ? If your heart be jelting while you are speaking thus in your heart, and defpifing a Saviour notwithstanding; then it is a dreadful jelt : “ Behold, ye defpisers, and wonder, and periih: How shall
ye escape, if ye neglect fo great a salvation ?” But are you in earneit, О finner, saying, Since it is his office to save finners, O let him do it for God's sake! let him execute his saving office on me, the chief of finners ; for, the Lord knows, I would not defire to hinder him? Why, poor soul, I will tell you good news, he seeks no more at your hand than what you are saying, namely,
do not resist nor refuse his grace by unbelief; but that your heart say, Content, Lord; content to have salvation from all my sins and lusts, content to have all the salvation that Christ came to give : why, he came to give life, and to give it more abundantly and when he is content to give, and you content to receive, there is little more ado, than to bless him that it is a bargain ; for he is profering himself, and all his salvation upon you this day.' To him does the falvation of the people belong; therefore let the gathering of: the people be to him.
5, To him must the gathering of the people be, becaufe to him is the gift of the people made. God the Father hath made a gift of the people to him ; therefore the people must be gathered to him. The Father desires him to ask the people and he should have them ;
Alk of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermoft ends of the carth for thy poffeflion,” Pfal. ii. 8. There is indeed a select number that were given to him from eternity, John vi. 37. “ All tliat the l'ather hath given me, shall come to me;"' that is, all that were given to him ihall be gathered to him: and, that none of all the people that hear the gospel may exclude themselves, as if they were not given; therefore it follows, “ Him that comes I will in no wise cast out;" all comers are welcome. It is as if Christ had faid to these final rejecters of him, “ I would have gathered you, but ye would not;" you never had so much as a will to be gathered; you would not : but be it known, to your contufion, that though you reject and despise me, yet I will have a gathering of the people to me; “ All that the Father hath given me fliall be gathered to nie:” and tho? none will be gathered, but these that were given, yet this giving is not put in as a bar to your coming, but rather as an encouragement thereto; therefore it is remarkable, he does not add, Him that was given I will in no wife cast out; but, “ Him that comes I will in no wise cast out;" intimating, That as this giving is not the primary object of faith, so it cannot be seen or known, but in the way of coming: and they may have this encouragement to come, that in coming they may know they were given to me. They that have no will to be gathered, cannot know they were given; but all that would be gathered, may be sure they were given : therefore let this be a ground for the gathering of people to him, that as the people to be gathered were given to him from eternity, so they that would be gathered may know and be assured, that they were given to him; “ Thine they were, and thou gavest them me,” John xvii. 6. They were thine by election, and thou gavest them me, to be redeemed by me. O happy people, whom a day of power hath inade fo willing, that indeed they would be gathered to Shiloh! They may know that they were in God's hand from eternity, and out of God's hand they were put as a compliment into Christ's hand, if I may so express it ; and indeed he is infinitely well-pleased with the compliment; he takes an armsful of them, as it were, out of God's everlasting arms; and he hugs them in his bosom ; for his delighits were with the fons of men; and whenever he fees the travail of his soul, he is fatisfied : and when he hath hugged them in his redeeming arms, till he hath justified, sanctified, and completely saved them, then he will give them back to the Father's hand again, -presenting them blameless to him, faying, “ Behold I, and the children which thou hast given me.” There must then be a gathering of the people to him, because there was a giving of the people to him. A poor compl'ment, you may
think with wonder, of the like of me, to pass betu, the hands of the eternal Father, and his eternal Son, in concurrence with the eternal Spirit, one God in three Persons : but little matter how poor and mean the compliment seem to be, and really is in itself, if God be glorified, and Shiloh magnified, and you
saved. O! let the confideration of what a large dominion from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth, is given to Christ; yea, a numberless number, that no man can number, of all nations, and kindreds, and tongues, and people, that shall stand before the throne of the Lamb, with white robes, and palms in their hands, Rev. vii. 9. saying, “Salvation to our God, that fits upon the throne, and to the Lamb for ever and ever:" Let the view of that innumerable multitude of people that are given to him, stir up and provoke the gathering of the people to him ; he is come to demand what was given him. But then again,
6. To himn must the gathering of the people be, because as the people are given to him, so he is given to the people for this end, that the gathering of the people may be to him: and hence, to all the people of the visible church, it is said, “ To us a child is born, to us a fon is given, whose name is called. Wonderful,
Counseller, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of peace,” Isaiah vi. 9. I speak not here of his being given in actual poffeffion to believers; they that take the gift of God are possessed of it : but I speak even of a giving in the gospel-dispensation and offer ; for, no man can receive what is not given: receiving is not giving; and Christ is so far given to all the hearers of the gospel, that they are obliged to receive him, and believe in him, upon peril of damnation He that believes not Mall be damned. Thus he is given to many that reject him; hence says Christ to these that were rejecting him, John vi. 32. “My Father gives you the true bread from heaven.” That is, in order to be received by you: for, in rejecting of this bread, that my Father gives you, your souls will starve. This will aggravate the damnation of the damned, that Christ was given to them in the gospel-offer, and they rejected the gift of God. However, the good news of the gospel is, John iii. 16.“ God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on him (or gathers in to him], may not perish, but have everlasting life.” This reason for the giving of the people to Shiloh, is imported in the very bosom of the text; Shiloh is come to you, that you may come to him ; he is come in the flesh, he is come in the gospel, and may we hope he is come in the Spirit? He is come to the people, that the people may be gathered to him ; and he is come as a Shiloh; that is, the Messias, the Sent of God, that the people may welcome God's Send, saying, “ Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. To you is born a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord :" this is indeed “ good tidings to all people,” Luke ii. 10. “ To you is the word of this salvation fent,” Acts xiii. 26. Christ the Shiloh is the promised Seed, the leading promise ; and, “ The promise is to you, and to your children,” Acts ii. 39. that you may receive him in the promise. He is the Sent of God to you, that you may gather to him ; he is sent to be the Saviour of the people, the Helper of the people ; and sent by way of free gift and donation, Isaiah xli. 27. “ I will cive to Jerusalem One that brings good tidings ;” and
for what is he given to the people ? See Isa. Iv. 4. “He is given to be a Witness to the people, and a Leader and Commander to the people :” yea, Isa. xlii. 6. “ He is given for a Covenant of the people.” And why is he thus given to the people, but that the gathering of the people may be to him? The people then are promised to him, and he is promised to the people; and there must be a gathering of the people to him. Shiloh is come to seek the people that were promiled and given to him : let the people seek that Shiloh, that is promised and given to them. In a word, he is the true temple, to which the gathering must be ; he is the mercy.leat, at which God and the people may meet together; and you cannot meet with God but in him, for in him alone God is well pleased : and when you gather in to him, you get in to the heart of Ged; for he lies in the Father's bofom, being his Elect, in whom his foul delights.--So much for the reasons.
VII. The last thing proposed in the general niethod, was the Application of the subject.
I have endeavoured in the doctrinal part, all along, to deliver the matter in a practical and applicatory srain, and also enlarged it so much, that I need the less to infist upon many inferences, wherein I have already anticipated myself. . The main uses I design are for Infor. mation of some truths, and Exhortation to fome duties.
First, For Information. Is it fo, that the Counsel of Heaven hath determined concerning Christ the Mefsias, that to him fhall the gathering of the people be? Hence fee,
1. The doleful ftate of the Jews at present, and the lamentable circumstances they have been in, ever since the coming of Shiloh, their promised Meflias. While a multitude of Gentiles, that were but dogs, are gathered to God's house, and they, in the mean time, unchurched and cast out, though “ To them pertained the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises ; and though of them, as concerning the flesh, Shiloh came, who is over all God blessed for ever,”