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independently of him. O then, cast yourself always into his almighty gathering arms, crying, O power, power, of the eternal Spirit of God, come ! -Cry for à powerful conviction of the Spirit, whereby you may fee how far off you are from God and Clirist : they that are gathered to him, are made to see how far they are separate from him, and to say, “Lord, I am lying " in the arms of the devil, and I know not how foon " I may be in hell: O pity, pity, of thy sovereign mer"cy!” —Cry also for the powerful illumination of the Spirit, that you may fee a God in Christ; not an abfolute God, fitting in the throne of flaming justice, but on the mercy-seat, sprinkled over with the justice-fatisfying blood of the Lamb, from whence mercy dves vent itfelf, to the highest hoitour, and greatest glory of infi. nite justice. Cry, in a word, for the powerful operation of the Spirit, the irresistible efficacious pull of his om. nipotent arm : O long for a day of power, a gathering day ? Many a black powerful hinderance and drawback you have : every lust says, upon the matter, If I can get my will, he shall never be gathered to Shiloh ; the devil says, If I can get my will, he thall never win to Christ; the world, and the cares of it, say the same; your graceless neighbours, and wicked companions, fay the fanie; there is a strong hellish combination to hinder your coming to Shiloh. Yet nevertheless, tho' all the intanglements of the world, all the corruptions of the heart, and all the devils in hell, should join counsel together, to keep your soul back from Chrift, one divine draught of the cord of love will make them all yield.
These are potent enemies, but here is an onnipotent God; they are mighty, but he is almighty.
O Sirs, cry, and continue to cry for his gathering power! and though you have been long seeking an omnipotent pull of divine grace, and, to your sense, have not got it; yet, if you wait for it, cry for it, and be earnestly solicitous to obtain it, it is a thousand to one, if you miss it; nay, it cannot be ; for, He is a God of judgment, and blessed are all they that wait for him, Isa. XXX. 18. Judgment here, is not judgment in oppofiti. on to mercy, but judgment in opposition to folly : that
is, he is an infinitely wise God, who knows the best time of coming and paying his visit; and because he is a God of judgment, blessed are all they that wait for him. He hath long waited for you; o wait for him in his own way! And when he is stretching forth his arms towards you in this gospel, offering to gather you; let your heart cry to him, saying, “ Lord, thou who gaco thers the lambs with thine arm, 0 do thou not only 66 stretch forth thine arms towards me, but clasp thine " arms about me; gather me, and I shall be gathered.” If you be brought to this, I would hope the good work were begun.
3dly, The third fort, to whom I proposed to direct my exhortation, was to believers, who are gathered to Shiloh. My exhortation to you is, that, thro' grace, you would gather more closely to Shiloh, than ever you have done, so as to be rooted in him, and abide in him, Col. ii. 7. John xv. 5. O cry for more and more of his gathering power and grace, to bring you nearer and nearer unto him. More particularly,
1. Hath Shiloh come and gathered you to himself? Then, O live upon him; for that is the end, for which you are gathered to him, Gal. ii. 20. that the life you live may be a life of faith upon the Son of God, who not only loved you, and gave himself for you, but gathered you also out of the stinking grave of fin and misery, wherein you was. You have need to live a life of dependence upon him ; for all other things may foon fail you, and nothing in all the world may be left you, but himself. But when the spider's web is swept down, yet you may see the house standing sure : even fo, when the cob-webs of creature-confidences fail, faith will see a fure foundation to rely upon; “ Tho' the figtree should not blossom, nor fruit be found in the vine,” &c. yet faith in exercise will induce a person to rejoice in the Lord, and be glad in the God of salvation. You will every day need to be living on him; for, as I noticed upon another occasion, the vessel that is full today, needs a new filling to-morrow; and the stomach 'that seemed to be satisfied just now, within a few hours will be empty and craving again ; fo here, your vessel
may may soon be empty ; but though the vessel be empty, . the fountain is full; and his power to help is creating power, whereby he can command nothing into a being.
2. Not only live on him, but live with him; let it appear, that you are gathered out of the world, by your living above the world, in the place where Shiloh is; “ If you be risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ fits at the right hand of God,” Col. iii. 1. Oh! how unsuitable is it for them who are gathered to Shiloh in heaven, not to have their conversation in hea. ven ? What a pity is it, that they should so much refenible a bird they call the lapwing, that hath a crown upon her head, and yet lives upon excrements ? Mail the Lord crowned you with his loving-kindness, and yet you live upon the dung of this world ? Hath he made you an heir to a kingdom, and yet you ly tumbling in the ashes ? Surely the believer that does not live above the the world, he lives below himself.
3. Are you gathered unto Shiloh ? Then, not only live on him, and live with him, but live to him. For this cause also, did he gather you to him, that you might live to him, and to his glory and honour; “ You are not to live to yourselves, but to him that died for you, and rose again,” 2 Cor. V. 15. In him there is a gathering of all gifts, and graces, and fulness, and all mediatorial offices, and divine qualifications for your use and behoof; and, to him, o believer, should be the gathering of all the powers and faculties of your soul, that you may glorify and honour him.--O let the gathering of your desires and delights be to him, who is the Desire of all nations, and the Delight of all the saints and angels in heaven !--Let the gathering of your thoughts and meditations be to him, and the medita. tion of his name will be sweet!--O let the gathering of your hearts and affections be to him; for, “ He is alto. gether lovely.”—Let the gathering of your prayers and praises be to him. Begging and blessing should go together; for you will have occasion to beg from him as long as you are out of heaven; and you will have reafon to bless him, as long as you are out of hell. Tho'
you that are gathered to him have no reason to fear hell, “ For there is no condemnation to them that are in Chrift;" yet you have always reason to bless, that you have escaped it. In a word, let the gathering of your words and actions be to him, so as you may put honour upon him, before the world, by the whole te. nor of your talk and walk, that your neighbours may take notice of it, that you have been with Jesus, and that you are gathered to him : and let the gathering of your services and facrifice be to him, saying, “ What Thall I render to the Lord, for all his benefits towards me?” O render your humble service to him, saying, “ Truly, I am thy servant, thou hast loosed my bands." Render him the love of your hearts, the calves of your lips, and the obedience of your life. Thus are you to live to him..
4. Are you gathered to Shiloh ? O then, endeavour to gather others to him! See if you can get all that are in your family to come to Shiloh with you ; saying with Joshua, “ As for me, and my house, we will serve the Lord, whatever others do," Joshua xxiv. 15. O have you been gathered to Christ? And will you be careless though your friends, your children, be gathered to the devil ? O hath Christ brought you to himself, and will he bring you to glory, and gather you to hea. ven? and will you be easy, though all about you be gathered unto hell ? No, no ; that cannot be your dispofition, if you be a believer indeed. If you be content in your lifetime to serve him, you will study to your power, that others may do the like. And, this is the way to make the love of Christ continue in the world; for, when you teach your neighbours, your fervants, your children, the wy of the Lord, they, following your example, may teach their children too ; and this will go from generation to generation, fo as generations to come may praise the Lord; or, at least, it will not fail on your part. Oh! how is it to be re. gretted, that few come to Christ! and of the few that come, how few do shew their love, in endeavouring to bring others to him? Therefore, 0 let this be a. mended, and endeavour, in the place where you dwell,
and the station your are in providence placed into, that, by your holy conversation, others may be gathered unto Shiloh too.
5. Are you gathered ? O let not believers, that are gathered to Shiloh, forget their gathering together for Christian-fellowship and prayer: Heb. x. 24, 25. “ Let us contider one-another, to provoke unto love, and to good works : not forsaking the assembling ourselves toge. ther, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more, as you see the day approaching." The wicked, that are to be gathered to the burning Tophet, are making speed in finful ways, and gathering in clubs and cabals, to hearten and harden oneanother : and, o inall not the godly gather together, to exhort and excite one-another in the way to heaven; as iron sharpens iron, fo does the holy gathering of faints use to sharpen the edge of their spirits in the Lord's way. But since fellowship-meetings have been deferted, many professors are blunted and rusted ; feveral Christian focieties are broken and evanished, even at a time, when they that fear the Lord, should speak often one to another in fpiritual conferences. O! if you be gathered unto Shiloh, let your zeal for him appear, in restoring and reviving these Christian gatherings, in a regular manner; and pray, that the devil's scattering wind that he hath raised in our day, for feparating and dividing ministers and Christians from oneanother, may be laid.
6. To add no more, and to encourage you in the whole of your Christian course, O you, that through grace have been gathered to Shiloh, take home the comfort that belongs to your gathered state.--As to these that are yet in a distant state, separate from the Lord Jesus, we have little comfort to offer, if you abide there; for, in the Lord's time, you will be gathered to the grave, and aster that, you will be gathered before the tribunal of God, to receive the dreadful sentence, “ Depart from me, ye cursed;" and, in all appearance, some here will be gathered before that awful tribunal, before they be gathered together hepe again: it is more than