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when deathi, judgment, and eternity appear; therefore I exhort you folenniy to reflect upon this matter whe. ther you be gathered, or not. If all that you are worth in a world, as I noticed on a former occasion, lay in one precious stone, and that stone were to be tried by a skilful jeweller, whether it were true or false, whether it would Ay, or endure under the smart stroak of liis hammer ; furely, your thoughts would not be unconcerned about the issue of such a trial. Why, man, woman, all that you are worth in this world, and the world to come, depends upon this matter, whether you be of the people that are gathered to Shiloh, or not. Try whether your faith in the promised Shiloh, will fly, or endure the stroak of the hammer of God's word; have you no concern in this matter? You would be loath to put to sea, tho' it were but to cross a narrow ferry, in a rotten leaky vessel ; and will you dare to venture on the ocean of eternity, in a false, rotten bark? Whatever profession you have, whatever blaze you make, whatever esteem others may have of you, whatever opinion you may have of yourself, and of your faith, you will be drowned for ever in the deluge of God's wrath, if you be not gathered into the ark, Jesus Christ: I would therefore offer you fome helps to make this trial. And here all that I said upon the fourth general head, concerning the means and manner of this gather, ing; how God acts in gathering, and how he makes the foul to act, might be brought in ; but, passing all these, I offer these few following marks, by which you may try whether or not, you have ever been gathered to Shiloh.
1. If ever you was gathered to Shiloh, then Shiloh hath come to you, before ever you was gathered to him. The text makes the coming of Shiloh to be the very cause of the gathering of the people to him: as his coming in the flesh did usher in the gathering of the Gentiles; so it is his coming in the Spirit that makes the spiritual gathering to him. Try then, if ever he hath come to you. Surely, if you be gathered to him, you can say, I would never have come to him, unless he had come to me : now, if Christ never came to you by luis Spirit,
as a Spirit of conviction, convincing you of fin and mifery, and discovering your need of Christ, and that you was lost for ever without him, furely you have not yet been gathered to him.-You have never yet had a forrowful hour for want of Christ, and was never brought to a Wo's me, for I want Christ and fal. vation! nor to a “ What shall I do to be saved ?” you have reason to conclude that you was never yer gathered to him : for, when he comes by his Spirit, he convinces the world of fin; when he gathers the people to him, he comes and convinces them of fin, because they believe not in him, John svi. 8. Some never wanted faith, which declares they never had it; they never misfed Christ, which says they never matched with him. As he that was never'a real wanter, was never a real and true suiter; so it is the needy wanter that is the steady suiter. Thus here, man, woman, if you had never a want of Christ, you was never in suit of him, ne
the gospel-offer may be a thousand times, yet you being pleased with your old match, your fins, lufts, idols, felfrighteousness, or the world: his fuit was never regarded, because you was never a wanter; and being never a true wanter, you was never a true seeker or receiver of him; and to never gathered to him; for you was never convinced of your want of Christ, fand want of faith in him. Deceive not yourself, O finner; you was never a believer, if you was never a wanter; if the Spirit of conviction never came, and made you say, Oh! I want grace, I want holiness, I want faith, love, repentance; and all good; yea, I want God, I want Christ, I want the Spirit! Hence it is the property of a believer, notwithstanding all he gets, yet he is still a wanter; always poor and needy, and nothing in himself: and it is the property of an unbeliever, notwithstanding all that he wants, yet he is always rich, and increased with goods, and wants nothing; hence we find fome ignorant people expresling what others that pretend to more knowledge do conceal; ask thein, Do you want faith? Oh! no; we always trusted in God. Do you want hope ? No; we hope in his mercy. Do
you want love ? No; I had ever a love to God and his people all my days. Do you want grace ? Nay, God forbid, that I should be altogether graceless. Do you want Chrift? Oh! 110 ; my fweet Saviour, what would come of me if I wanted Christ? Why, man, woman, I know nothing that you want ; you are not a wanter : the Lord pity you; for, what you dream you never wanted, you never had to this day. The Spirit of conviction hath never eome; and, instead of being gathered to Shiloh, you was never yet gathered to the porchdoor of true Christianity; for the Spirit's coming to convince of the want of Christ, and of faith in him, is the very beginning of true religion. But if Shiloh
all things, but fin, it is a good beginning; for thus he gathers you out of your false hopes and lying refuges.But next, if Shiloh hath come to you for gathering you to himself, then he hath come not only as a Spirit of conviction, but alfo as a Spirit of powerful illumina. tion, discovering the glory of Shiloh to you, even the glory of his person, offices, righteousness, fulness, and other things of Christ, so as to glorify Christ in your view, John xvi. 14. “He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shew it unto you.” Now, if Shiloh ever came, by his Spirit, in the gospel, to fhew fomething of tlie glory of Christ to you, and the glory of God's perfections in him, so as to make him appear more glorious to you than all the world, it seems you have not yet been gathered; “ For if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are loft ; in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not, Jest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them,” 2 Cor. iv. 3, 4., But if ever you was gathered, then, “ The God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath fhined into your hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ,” verfe 6. For as, when the Lord builds up Zion, he appears in his glory; fo, when he gathers fouls, he appears in his glory, and brings them from darkness to
his marvellous light. I do not speak of the highest degree of fpiritual light, nor yet of any extraordinary manifestations ; all that I mean is, the Spirit's coming to enlighten your minds in the knowledge of Christ, whereby you have seen his glory, as the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth ; and have seen a fulness of all grace in him. These are not enthusiastic delusions, but fpiritual expreflions : fur, perhaps, fome perfon may think or say, What is that the man is speaking, of beholding such a glory ? I never faw any greater glory in all the world than that of the sun, moon, and stars in the firmament. What say you, man? Saw you never any greater glory than, that which your bodily eyes have seen betwixt earth and heaven? Then I may say to you, that you was never yet gathered to Shiloh; for he never came in his Spirit to shew you liis glory.-I speak not of weak, powerless fancies and imaginations that some may have of Christ's glory, but I call it a powerful illumination, conquering the will, and captivating the heart, and carrying in all the affections to the embracing of Chrift; for, when the Sun of righteousness arises, it is with healing under his wings; healing the resistance of the will, and the hardness of the heart, and melting down the whole foul in the warm arms of his gathering grace and love, while he draws with loving-kindness. And indeed, “ No man can come to me," says Christ, « except the Father which hath sent me draw him :" and saving discoveries are of a drawing nature. The true Sun hath not only light, but heat, whereby the heart is warmed; and the true Light is the light of life, whereby the foul is quickened. If ever you was gathered to Shiloh, then know it, that Shiloh hath 'come to you, before ever there could be a gathering to him.
2. If ever you was gathered to Shiloh, then as Shi. loh hath come to you, fo you have been made particularly to come to him, under the drawing power and influence of that Spirit I have been speaking of. And indeed, as none can come unless he draw them, fo none can stay away when he is drawing them : and hence every believer finds, that as it is impossible to
believe till power come, so it is impossible not to be lieve when divine power comes : it is as easy then, as it was difficult before. If ever you was gathered to Shiloh, then as the coming of Shiloh to you hath prevented your coming to him, so your coming to him hath been effectuate by his coming to you, and making the general call of the gospel effectual, in enabling you to a particular application, so as to give a particular answer to the general call. If you have been but hearers of the word all your days, without ever applying it to your own use; and hearers of the general offer and promise of Christ, without ever seeing yourselves involved, inclosed, and included in the general promise and offer, and without ever making a particular, personal application thereof, you are not yet gathered to Shiloh; for, when fouls are gathered, the general call gets a particular answer; “ When thou saidft, Seek ye my face; my heart faid, Thy face, Lord, will I seek,” Psal. xxvii. 8. The gospel-call is general, “ Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ;” but the answer must be particular, “ Lord, I believe: help thou my unbelief.” When people suffer gospel-truths to hover in the brain, without application, or learn things, as children do their Cate. chism, by rote, never reflecting, What am I doing? Where am I going? What will become of me? And, What effect hath this word upon me? Unbelief remains undisturbed ; the word comes and goes; and there is no good done, no gathering to Shiloh, because no particular application. It is the very design of the Spirit's convincing and enlightening work, to bring the soul to this particular application of Christ; and therefore this mark may clear the former. If you think, How shall I know if I have such a measure of conviction and illumination as is sufficient to evidence that I am gathered to Shiloh? Why, any measure that God pleases to give, is enough, if it, illue in the foul's particular reception and application of Christ.-When is it that the metal is melted enough in the fire.? Why, it is melted enough, when it runs easily into the mould. Now, there may be natural meltings, under the common influences of the Spirit: but, when is the soul melted enough with