« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
God can pull down ; which he must do, when he gathers the people to Shiloh: and hence, in gathering finners, he not only preaches peace to them that are afar off, but in Christ Jesus, they that were afar off, are made nigh by the blood of Christ: they that were separate from Gud, and without a head, since the first Adam fell, are gathered together to God, under a new head, the second Adan, and unite to him: it is called, “ A gathering together into one, all things in Christ,” Eph. i. 10. They are thus unite to God, and one among themselves in Christ. This union is by the bond of the Holy Spirit, and inftrumentally of saving faith : and the gathered foul becomes one building with Christ, whereof Christ is the foundation; one temple, one body, one Spirit ; “ He that is joined to the Lord, is one Spirit.”
(5.) It supposes REBELLION, and imports SUBJECTION, RECONCILIATION, and OBEDIENCE.—The natural state is a state of rebellion, alienation, and enmity. Before people are gathered to Shiloh, they are gathered under the standard of the devil, and carrying on a rebellion against heaven; every man and woman is a rebel : “ The carnal mind is enmity against God:” every thought of every man is a rebel against God; “Every imagination of the thoughts of the heart is evil, and only evil continually.” Now, when God gathers people, he brings. them into fubjection to his Son, as they are unite to him. as their Head, fo they are subject to him as their King. This fubjection and obedience is imported in the original word, as I told in the explication. The gathered people are brought to say, “ Other lords beside thee have had dominion over us; but now, by thee only will we make mention of thy name.” As the Jews said, “ We have no king but Cæfar:” so they are brought to say, We have no king but Shiloh ; no lord but the Lord Jesus. Rebellion is turned to subjection and obedience; and their alienation, to amity and love.
(6.) In a word, it supposes an AMISSIon, or LOSING, and imports RESTORATION and RECOVERY. The natural state is a lost state ; we are lost in the rubbish of the fall of Adam. We are lost privately, in that we are not what we were, in a state of innocence and upriglitness,
nor in a state of friendship and fellowship with God, nor in a state of power, strength and ability to do God's will; we have forfeit all this by our sin and fall; “ All have finned and come ihort of the glory of God,” Rom. iii. 25. We are positively, in regard we are that which we should not be, even filthy finners, and guilty criminals ; filthy, and so are children of disobedience, Eph. ii. 3.; guilty, and so are called, children of wrath, Eph. ii. 3. Our bodies and all their members are corrupted, which is called, the filthiness of the flesh; our fouls, and all their faculties are corrupted, this is the filthiness of the spirit: being filthy and guilty sinners, we are positively loft.We are lost judicially, as being under a sentence of death, and under the curse of the law, Gal. iii. 10. The law faith, “ The fuul that sinneth shall die.”_We are lost meritoriously, in that our sins deserve death, which is the wages of sin, Rom. vi. 23. And no wonder, for it is a violation of God's holy, just, and good law, Rom. vii. 12. It is a contrariety and contradiction to God's holy, just, and good nature, Hab. i. 13. In a word, we are loft in point of power and ability to save and recover ourselves: Jost as to all capacity in the creature to help us : " We are by nature without strength,” Rom. v. 6. We are not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be, Rom. viii. 7. We cannot know or discern the things of God: yea, they are foolishness to the natural man, I Cor. ii. 14. ; far less can we by any atonement satisfy God for our offences; therefore, " The redemption of the soul is precious, and ceaseth for ever.” –Thus we are every way loft.
Now, as this is the lost state supposed, so this gathering of lost souls, imports the Son of man his coming to feek and save that which was lost, Luke xix. 10. While yet the finner is stout-hearted, and far from righteoufness, unwilling to be saved and gathered, like these, Mat. xxiii. 37. O Jerusalem, ferusalem, how often would I have gathered you, but ye would not! He makes inquiry after them by his word, by his rod, by his Spirit, saying, as to Adam, when he made inquiry after him, Adam, where art thou? Man, woman, where art thou hiding thyself? I am come to seek, to save, and gather
you. And as he seeks them out by his word, so he finds them out by his Spirit, and restores them to a ilate of salvation. Thus he gathers them preparatively by the law, formally and immediately by the gospel, meritoriously by his blood, procuratively by his interceflion, occasionally by his providence, and effectual. ly by his Spirit ; drawing them with grace, covering them with his righteoulriefs, quickening, fancti. fying and fealing them to the day of redemption. But how he gathers, may come tú be more particularly shown upon the fourth head. Only so much for the remarks I promised, concerning the nature and import of his gathering
II. The Second general head proposed, was, To shew who are the people of whom it is said, the gathering of the people shall be to him. Why, in general, by the people you are to understand the Gentiles, Rom. xv. II. and therefore here is a door of faith open to us, to ga. ther in by it unto Shiloh: for the promise is to us, whose forefathers were as black and blinded pagans as any in the world ; « To us is the word of this salvation fent,” that the gathering of the people should be to Shiloh. And here is encouragement to us to gather in to him by faith ; here is a foundation of faith for all the people that hear this gospel; God says, “ The gathering of the people shall be to Christ, the Messias,” insomuch that whc. ever of all the people, shall be persuaded to gather in under his wings, they shall be welcomed to him, and saved by him. Why, says one, it may be I am none of the people here intended, none of the elect that shall be effectually gathered ; and therefore my attempting to come to him may be vain. In answer hereunto, you would consider, that there are two distinct questions here, namely, 1. Whom he designs in this decree? 2. Whom he defines in his word to be the persons that shall gather? And we would consider which of these especially is proposed in the gospel for our encouragement in gathering unto Shiloh.
As to the first, Whom he designs in his DECREE to be gathered? These are indeed the elect, who are said to
be chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, Ephef. i. 4. They are said to be predestinate ; and, Whom be did predefiinate, them he also called, Romans viii. 30. They are said to be given to Christ; and, of All that the Father hath given me, shall come to me,” Tohn vi. 37.; and, “ All thiat are ordained to eternal life Thall believe, Acts xiii. 48. The election shall obtain,” Rom. xi, 7.-And indeed, if God had not, in his eternal purpose, designed to gather fome, none at all would be gathered. Now, I think it is obfervable, that in all these places, where God's design of gathering the elect to him is mentioned, it is readily brought in ei. ther as an encouragement to them that are gathered, that they may have the comfort of their election from eternity: or as an encouragement to ministers that are gatherers, that they may know their labour shall not be without success ; . or elle as a check and blow to these that are final rejecters of Christ, and refuse to be gathered to him : but never is it brought in for a dila couragement to any people in the world to gather unto Shiloh ; hence, to the Jews, that obstinately and finally rejected Christ, he says, John vi. 36, 37. Ye will not come; but know to your confusion, that all that the l'atber bath given ine, fhall come. But, that none may be hereupon discouraged, he says, Whosoever comes, be will in no wise cast out. Where, as he shuts the door tipon final rejecters; fo he opens the door to all comers, that they may flock into him; and the rather because it is impoflible they can know their election of God, till once they come and gather to Christ. It is devilish reasoning therefore to say, I know not if I be an elect, and therefore I need not come to Christ; for it is divine reasoning rather to say, I know not my election, therefore I will come unto him that I may know it, fince it cannot poflibly be known otherwise. Election is in Christ, Ephef. i. 4. We are chofen in him; and therefore out of Christ it cannot be seen. But, if I be not elected, say you, I will not get grace to come. Indeed if you have no will to come, you have no grace to come; and if you have no will to come, whom can you blame for your enmity but yourselves, that will not
to Christ? Will you complain you have not grace to come, and yet reject the gospel of grace, that only can make you willing! O then, “ Why will you die, O house of Israel?” But, Sir, is it not true, that all will not be gathered: and therefore perhaps not me? Well, but is it not as true, that many ihall be gathered; and therefore why not you? Is there any irritant clause in the gospel, excluding you from gathering to Shiloh among the rest ? Non-election can be no hinderance to you, if a lying deyil and deceitful heart do not make it so ; for it is a secret you are not concerned with : it is a secret thing that belongs to God, Deut. xxix. 29. Your business is to notice what belongs to you, namely, what warrant you have from the word for your gathering unto Shiloh. When the gospel-call is among your hands, it belongs not to you to demur upon that question, Whom he designs in lis decree?
But it belongs to you to answer to your name in the second question, namely, Whom he designs in his word to be the persons that should gather, and shall be gathered to Shiloh? And that all may press themselves in upon him, without fear of presuming when they are gathering to him, they are defined by the most general terms, namely, THE PEOPLE; To bim Mall the gathering of THE PEOPLE be. And that none may have any reason to think that they are cast out, but that all and every one may be encouraged to venture their perishing fouls upon Christ, I shall fhew what fort of people are here intended.
1. It is a gathering of pagan people and heathens that is here meant; Shilob shall come, and the gathering of the people to bim : accordingly Christ came, that the Gentiles might be gathered, and might glorify God for his mercy; he came to the Jews for the good of the Gentiles: fee Rom. xv. 8,--12. And now, for accomplishing of these promises, he allows us to preach among you Gentiles, the unfearchable riches of Christ. This is a part of the mystery of goxdliness, Christ preached among the Gentiles, i Tin.iii. 16. It was a mystery to the Jews and primitive Christians, when Christ was first preached among the Gentiles, Rom. xi. 17, 18. Why,