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gather to him for salvation! Hath he a commission to
5. To him must the gathering of the people be, be. caute 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 thould have them ; " Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermott ends of the earth for thy poffeffion,” Pfal. ii. 8. There is indeed a select number that were given to him from eternity, John vi. 37. “ All tiiat the l'ather hath given ine, 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 ezclude 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 fo much as a will to be gathered; you would not : but be it known, to your contusion, that though you reject and defpife me, yet I will have a gathering of the people to me; “ All that the Father hath given me shall 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 wise cast out; but, “ Him that comes I will in no wile 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 liim; “ 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 made 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 fo 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 bofom ; for his delights 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 be hath justified, fanétified, 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 be. tu' 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. Oʻ! let the confideration of what á large dominion from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth, is given to Christ; yča, a numberless number, that no man can rumber, 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, ftir up and provoke the gathering of the people to him ; he is come to demand what was given him. But then again,
6. To hiin 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 possession 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 shall 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 for 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 sent," 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 rive to Jerusalem One that brings good tidings ;” and
for what is he given to the people ? See Isa. lv. 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 proinised 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-seat, 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 lirain, 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 Information of some truths, and Exhortation to fome duties.
First, For Information. Is it so, that the Counsel of Heaven hath determined concerning Christ the Meffias, that to him shall the gathering of the people be? Hence fee,
1. The doleful state of the Jews at present, and the lamentable circumstances they have been in, ever since the coming of Shiloh, their promised Messias. 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,"