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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 Chrift: they that were separate from Gud, and without a head, since the first Adam fell, are gathered tugether to God, under a new head, the second Adam, 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 infirumentally 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 Cæsar:” 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 BECOVERY. The natural state is a loft 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 upriglıtness,
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 fin and fall; “ All have finned and come ihørt 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 fpirit: being filthy and guilty finners, we are positively loft.We are lost judicially, as being under a fentence of death, and under the curse of the law, Gal. iii. 10. The law saith, 6. The foul that sinneth shall die.”-We are lost meritoriously, in that our fins deserve death, which is the wages of fin, 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: lost 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 loft state supposed, so this gathering of lost fouls, imports the Son of man his coming to feek and save that which was loft, Luke xix. 10. While yet the finner is stout-hearted, and far from righteousness, unwilling to be saved and gathered, like these, Mat. xxiii. 37.0 Jerusalem, ferusalem, how oftere would I bave gathered you, but ye would not! He makes in quiry after them by his word, by his rod, by his Spirit, saying, as to Adam, when he made inquiry after him, Adam, wbere 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 itate of salvation. Thus he gathers them preparatively by the law, formally and immediately by the gospel, meritorioully by his blood, procuratively by his intercession, occasionally by his providence, and effectually by his Spirit ; drawing them with grace, covering them with his righteousness, quickening, fancti. fying and sealing them to the day of redemption. But how he gathers, may come tú be more particularly fhown 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 fhould 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,” infomuch 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 chofen in Christ before the foundation of the world, Ephef. i. 4. They are said to be predeltinate ; and, Wbom be did predestinate, them be also called, Romans viii. 30. They are said to be given to Christ; and, “ All that the Father hath given me, shall come to me,” John vi. 37.; and, “ All that are ordained to eternal life Ihall believe, Acts xiii. 48. The election shall obtain," Rom. xi. 7.-And indeed, if God had not, in his eternal purpuse, designed to gather fome, none at all would be gathered. Now, I think it is observable, that in all these places, where God's design of gathering the elect to him is mentioned, it is readily brought in either 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 Thall not be without fuccefs; 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 dit. 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. 35, 37. Ye will not come; but know to your confusion, that all thet the Farber bath given me, fball come. But, that none may be hereupon discouraged, he says, Whosoever comes, be ewill in no wise case out. Where, as he fhuts the door tipon final rejecters; f, he opens the door to all comers, that they may flock into him; and the rather because it is impoílible 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 possibly be known otherwise. Election is in Christ, Ephef. i. 4. We are chosen in bim; and therefore out of Clarist 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
tö Chrift? 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 shall be gathered; and therefore why not you? Is there any irritant clause in the gospel, excluding you from gathering to Shiloh among the reit? Non-election can be no hinderance to you, if a lying deyil and deceitful heart do not make it fo; 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 ltis 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, naniely, THE PEOPLE; To him all 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 shew what fort of people are here intended.
1. It is a gathering of pagan people and heathens that is here meant; Shiloh shall come, and the gathering of the people to bim : accordingly Christ came, that the Centiles 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 ac. conplishing of these promises, he allows us to preach among you Gentiles, the unfearchable riches of Christ. This is a part of the mystery of godliness, Christ preached among the Gentiles, i Tim. ii. 16. It was a mystery to the Jews and primitive Christians, when Christ was first preached among the Gentiles, Rom. xi. 17, 18. Why,