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Rom. ix. 4,5. Tho' they were the people of his firft love, the feed of Abraham, Ifaac, and Jacob, to whom fo many precious promifes were made in behalf of their feed: behold their Shiloh comes to them, and they will not have him; "He came to his own, and his own received him not." They owned the fceptre was departed from Judah, when they faid, We have no king but Cefar; and fo by their own confeflion, Shiloh is come, fince the fceptre was departed from Judah. And, becaufe they would not fubmit to the fpiritual fceptre of the promised Meflias, they have been without a king, without a prince, without a fceptre, or law-giver, without a governor and government, for 1700 years and more, even fince Shiloh came, to whom there is a gathering of other people in their room. Oh! fhall we not lament their long continued rejection? Their feventy years captivity in Babylon was nothing to this; yea, their four hundred and thirty years bondage in Egypt was nothing to this! Alas! how long, how long fhall his anger last against that people! How long fhall they be under the guilt of the blood of Chrift, which they imprecated upon themselves and their posterity, faying, His blood be upon us, and our children! Oh! pray, pray for that antient people of God, and that the blood of Shiloh may cleanfe them from that blood-guiltinefs! When they were in favour with God, the believers among them had mind of us poor Gentiles, when we were the little fifter that had not breafts, Song viii. 8. ; and now, when we are fucking at the breafts of gofpel ordinances and facramental folemnities, Oh! fhall we not mind them when their breafts are cut off, when they that were the natural branches are broken off, and we that were the wild olive-tree, are grafted in to partake of the root and fatness of the good olive-tree? Rom. xi. 17. 24. Oh! let us not boast against the branches; "For if thou boafteft, thou beareft not the root, but the root thee." See ver. 18, 19, 20, 21. Let us not boast, but let us beg, that they may be again grafted in; "For if the cafting away of them be the reconciliation of the world, what fhall the receiving of them be but
life from the dead?" ver. 15. The day of the return and converfion of the Jews will be a day of greater gathering to Shiloh, even among the Gentiles, than we have yet seen; and it would fare better with us, if we were more employed in praying for them. Mean time, this dark and doleful difpenfation, that as yet they are under, was not darkly foretold in the words of our text, that, upon the fceptre's departing from Judah, Shiloh the Meffiah fhould come, And to him fhould the gathering. of the people be: that is, the Gentiles; plainly intimating a wonderful mystery of providence, that the King of the Jews fhould come to the Gentiles, and be crowned king among them, that fo the Jews might have it to fay at length, That the King of the Gentiles is become the King of the Jews; as well as the Gentiles have it to fay, That the King of the Jews is become the King of the Gentiles:
2. Hence fee the fovereign mercy of God in Christ towards the poor Gentile nations, and the ifles of the Gentiles not forgotten; for he particularly promifes, That the ifles fhall wait for his law, Ifa. xlii. 4. And, O wonder, that we, in this remote ifland, were in his view, when he promised, That to him fhould the gathering of the people be. Jacob, by infpiration of the Spirit of God, faid it on his death-bed, and it is now more than three thousand years ago; that is indeed to him not fo much as three days; for, to him a thoufand years are as one day. Thousands of years interveening cannot make him forget his promife; and, fo far as there is, or fhall be a gathering of the people to Shiloh, so far does this promife take effect. There was a promife of this, more ancient yet, Gen. ix. 27. "God fhall inlarge [or perfuade] Japhet, and he fhall dwell in the tents of Shem" there is a promife that the Gentiles fhould be gathered in to partake of the privileges of the Jews; for of Japhet came the Gentiles, and among his pofterity were the ifles of the Gentiles divided: fee Gen. x. 1, 2. 5.; and probably this ifland among the reft. For confirming whereof, I fhall not be pofitive in averring what fome alledge, that as Gomer was the eldeft fon of Japhet, and of him came the people called Gomeri or Cymbri; f the firft inhabitants of this ifland
of Britain came of the pofterity of Japhet, one of the fons of Noah, namely, of the faid Japhet's eldest fɔn Gomer; and hence, from Gomeri came Cambria, which is the Latin name of Wales in this ifland to this day, to which place the ancient Britons retired at the coming in of the Saxons: hence they fuppofe, that the ifle of Britain is particularly intended here. But I fhall not found any certain conclufion upon a doubtful fuppofition, though it be generally agreed to by fome good hiftorians. We may fee it plain from the event, that God had a particular defign that there fhould be a gathering of people to Shiloh in thefe lands, and even in Scotland. I have fhewed formerly, how early the Lord vifited us with the gofpel; and that we were among the first of the Gentile nations, that ever were enlightened therewith, after Chrift's afcenfion, by which we were delivered from grofs Paganism.And when I fpoke of the remarkable gathering feafons, I took notice of our reformation-days from Popery, and afterwards from Prelacy, our covenanting-days, and the like; and therefore I am not here to infift thereupon only, as there have been remarkable gathering times in Scotland, and as the Lord countenances yet the gathering means and ordinances among us: fo we ought to blefs him that ever gospel light fhined upɔn us, and wait on him for more of that gathering power of his Spirit, that Scotland's barrenness now, and unfruitfulness under the means of grace, may not provoke him wholly to leave us, and make our name Lo-AMMI: i. e. Not my people.
3. Hence fee the excellency of the gospel, and the reafon of the efficacy thereof. Behold the excellency of the gofpel, which brings the glad tidings of a Saviour to the people, and of a gathering place for the poor Gentiles, as well as the Jews; a God-man, in whom God and man might meet together, that fcattered finners, feparated from God, might be gathered to him. Behold the condefcenfion of our Lord Jefus Chrift proclaimed in this gofpel, that he ftoops fo low as to be the gathering room for poor finful people, to which they refort for fhelter and falvation. Shiloh is come;
he is come in our nature, and with human nature he puts on human bowels, that into his very bofom, the gathering of the people may be, that all the good they have loft, may be found in Chrift: yea, that the God, whom they have loft, may be found in him: for, "God is in Chrift reconciling the world to himself."-But as herein we fee the excellency, fo alfo behold the efficacy of the gofpel, and the power thereof.What was the reafon of the wonderful fpreading and influence of the gofpel of Chrift, especially in the first ages? It is a matter for which no human policy can account, that the gofpel, preached in fimplicity, by men of the meaneft character, fhould make its way through forces of devils and men, fhould gain fo many profelytes, fubdue fo many kingdoms. Had this doctrine been fuited to flesh and blood, and, like Mahomet's, indulged men in fenfual enjoyments, and promif ed afterwards the highest degrees of fenfual pleasures; had the gospel been defigned for encreafing the stock of earthly treasure, it were no wonder that it fhould have gained fo much ground; for all carnal men would readily receive this doctrine, and tenaciously retain it.. Nay, had it proceeded upon mere rational grounds and foundations, fome philofophers, at least, would have embraced it. But that a doctrine, that teaches to deny ungodlinefs, and worldly lufts; a doctrine, that teaches to crucify the old man, with his affections and lufts; the lufts of the eye, the lufts of the flesh, and the pride of life; a doctrine, that enjoins us to look to things that are not feen; a doctrine, that commands us to leave all things, deny ourselves, and count all but lofs and dung for the excellency of the knowledge of Chrift: that this doctrine, however highly rational, yet hath no foundation in reason, and admits confequences of no rational demonftration, many thereof being above the reach of reafon; that this doctrine, that owes nothing to the character of its preachers, and owes as little to human force; that this doctrine fhould have gained fo great a ground, obtained fo vaft fuccefs, in a time wherein the profeffion thereof did make the profeffors of it, to run the rifque of poverty, death, and disgrace; this, I fay, is a myftery,
that none fhall be able to unfold, but thefe who plow with this gospel-hiefer, that the gofpel is the very inftrument of divine power, whereby he gathers the people to Shiloh. The reafon of this marvellous difpenfation is, that the omnipotent God, who can give a being to his word, hath past his word, that to Chrift fhall the gathering of the people be and divine power, for effectuating this defign, is put forth in the gospel; which, therefore, is called the power of God to falvation, while therein is revealed the righteoufnefs of God, from faith to faith. And this treasure is put in earthen veffels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of man: And, O that this power were put forth on this occafion, for gathering the people to Shiloh !
4. Hence fee what ought to be the great defign of peoples gathering to gofpel-ordinances; the leading end is, what the prophet expreffes, Jer. 1. 5. "They fhall afk the way to Zion, with their faces thitherward, faying, Come and let us join ourselves to the Lord :" That is, Let us gather together unto Shiloh; let us lay ourselves under the influence of his gathering power, and caft ourfelves into his gathering arms, while he is ftretching forth the arms of his free grace, in a preached gofpel. O Sirs! What is the defign of these gatherings of people together, if there be no gathering to Shiloh? If we look to the views and defigns of the most part, we will find, that the gathering to Shiloh, is leaft of all in their view. As there were wife virgins and foolish; fo there are wife hearers and foolish: fome come to ordinances, only for a name, because they would not be thought any worse than their neighbours: fome come for diversion, to spend an hour or two in hearing, because they have little elfe to do; fome come for attendance fake, because they are waiting on their mafter or mistress; fome come for company's fake, their fellows faying, Let us go to fermon; Content, fays the other, and fo they go for company; fome come for curiofity's fake, they have heard people fpeak to the praife, or difpraife of fuch and fuch a man, and they will fee whether it be as they fay; fome come for carping and cavilling, not to be judged by the word, but to judge it, and cenfure