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the precept can never be gratified by any obedience of mine, for I am a sinful beast! O the infinite justice of God in the threatening, can never be satisfied by any fuffering of wine, for I am a finite worin ; if there be not another shift for me, I am loft and gone for ever! Thus Rom. vii. 9. the foul that was alive without ihe law once, now when the commandment coines, fin re. vives, and it dies.
3. As the gathering inclosure of providence is the oc. casional mean, and the gathering storm and tempest of law-conviction is the preparative mean, fo the gathering trumpet of the gospel is the more iminediate mean. The gospel is the great gathering engine of infinite wisdom; fur faith comes by hearing of the joyful found of this trumpet, which is like the trumpet of the jubilee of cld, Lev. xxv. 9. There is the joyful found of gospel-revelations, and good news, that Christ came to save finners. O! when this found of the filver trumpet reaches not only the ear, but the heart of the finner, that by the law • hath got the knowledge and conviction of fin and misery, what a joyful found is it, that now he hears of the re. medy for hinı ; that justice is satisfied, life is purchased, death is destroyed, wrath is appeared, and the law is magnified, and God reconciled in Christ? Many a gathering sound comes thro' this gospel-trumpet. There is a sound of gathering calls, saying, “ Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved: This is his commandment, that ye believe." -A found of gathering invitations, saying, “ Come to me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden.”-A found of gathering proclamations, saying, “ Ho, ho, every one that thirsteth, come; and he that hath no money, let him come; buy wine and milk without money and without price.”—A found of gathering expoftulations, saying, “Why will ye die?" joined with complaints, “ Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.”-A found of gathering counsels, saying, “ I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not ap. pear; and anoint thine eyes with eye-falve, that thou mayest fee."-A found of gathering intreaties and obtef
tations, saying, “ We beseech you in God's name, and pray you in Christ's stead, he ye reconciled to God.”_ And finally, A found of gathering music, and charming melody: and as children gather to the found of the pipe, to the Lord Jesus complains, Matthew xi. 7. when people do not joyfully gather at the found thereof, “ We have piped unto you, and you have not danced ;'' yea, such are compared to deaf adders, that stop their ears at the voice of the charmer, though charming never so cunningly, Psalm lviii. 5.-- what mielodious music in the world, to sweet as to hear the found of gospel. proinises, of pardon to the guilty, purity to the filthy, and pity to the miferable f»ul! This trumpet hath a fuund of peace, a found of grace, a found of mercy, a found of glory to God in the highest, and of good will towards men: a certain found, in opposition to all the legal trumpeters, funding forth life and salvation, depending upon uncertain conditions and qualifications on our part: but, as says the apostie, i Cor. xiv. 8. “If the trumpet give an uncertain found, who goeth forth to battle ?” There is no heart to go forth to the battle of the Lord, upon such an uncertain found : but when the trumpet gives a certain found of victory, peace, life, salvation, and all, to be had, only, and wholly, and freely for nothing, in and through Jesus Christ, then who would not go forth, under the standard of this Captain of falvation, at the found of this golden trumpet!
4. There is the gathering wind of the Spirit. Befides the gathering inclosure of providence as the occafional mean, the gathering tenipest of the law as the preparatory mean, and the gathering trumpet of the gospel as the immediate mean; there must be a gathering wind of the Spirit, which is the eificacious mean : the former means cannot be effe&tual without this, though the gathering trumpet of the gospel, and the gathering wind of the Spirit are most nearly related to each other; for it is the gospel only, that is the ministration of the Spirit, 2 Cor. iii. 8. It is this wind of which the Lord Jesus fpeaks, John iii. 8. which blows
where where it lifieth, and is the great efficient of regeneration, and aggregation unto Christ. it is this wind that gathers dead finners out of their grave of spiritual death ; " Come from the four winds, ( breath, and breathe upon the fain that they may live,” Ezek. xxxvii. 9. It is this mighty wind that blows down the strong holds of Satan, and calls down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God; gather
is this wind that niakes the spices of the believer's garden to flow cut: for this gathering wind brings a gathering rain with it; “ He shall come down like rain upon the mown grafs; as showers that water the earth,” &c. Psalm lxxii. 6. 8. “ Awake, O north wind; come, thou fouih; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may Now out,” Song iv. 16. O it is a happy wind, that can drive a finking vessel to a safe harbour, and gather perising finners in to a Saviour! But, where is this wind to be had, say you? Why, it is in God's hand : it is said with respect to his kingdom of providence, that he hath gathered the winds in his fift, Prov. XXX. 4.; and it is true with respect to his kingdom of grace: this blessed wind is, as it were, gathered in his fist; and what a man hath gathered in his fift, he can easily distribute of it, by opening his hand; fo our God can easily distribute of the Spirit: this wind is in his fist, and he hath no more ado, but to open his fift. O look to him, and cry to him, to cast a gale of this wind out of his fist, a handful of the gathering motions of his Spirit, a handful of the gathering influences of this heaven. ly wind, a gale of his gathering operations.
5. I may add, though it be very fib to the former, yet it is what may give us another distinct view of the Lord's way of gathering people ; besides the gathering wind, there is a gathering fun: I allude to Psal. civ. 21. where it is said of the young lions, “ The sun rises, and they gather themselves together to their dens; and man goeth forth to his work and labour.” As the rising of the fun makes the beasts gather to their dens, and men gatlier to their work ; fo the rising of the
Sun of righteousness, in the manifestation of the favour of God in Christ, makes the lions of hell gather to their dens, in a inanner, and men to gather to their work; I mean, to gather to Christ by faith : for, “ This is the work of God, that ye believe in his Son, whom he hath fent." It is promised, that men shall go forth when the fun rises; “ The Sun of righteousness thall arise, and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves in the fall,” Mal. iv. 2. Indeed, they that ço forth to meet the rising Sun by faith, they will grow up in all the graces and fruits of the Spirit of holiness. However, I say, it is the rising of the Sun of righteousness, and thining in his glory, that makes funners gather to him by faith; “ He mani. feited forth his glory, and then his disciples believed on him,” Jolin ii. 11. The displays of his glory are his gathering arms; “ He shall feed his ilock like a shep. herd: he shall gather the lambs with his, arms,” Ila. xl. IỊ. He gathers with his arms, even the arnis of his grace and mercy ; yea, the displays of his glori. ous grace are his military arms, whereby he subdues them, and gathers them into his camp, Psalm xlv. 3, 4, 5.
6. In a subordination to all these gathering means, there is a gathering fan : Matth. iii. 12. Luke iii. 17. “ His fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into his garner.” The devil hath his fan, wherewith he seeks to winnow God's people as wheat, in order to separate them from Christ, and from one another ; but Christ hath his fan, wherewith he will winnow his church ard people, in order to gather them to himself, and to one another in him. By the fan of his word, and the fan of his rod, he purges the floor of liis church : it is his threshing foor; and fometimes he must take the flail of his doctrine and threih upon his people, to separate the chaff of error from the grains of truth ; and the found from the erroneous. Sometimes he must take the flail of discipline, and severe judgments, rods, and calamities, to purge his floor, and gather the wheat from the chaff. Though the great day of judgment will be the great day of separating the precious from the vile, and ga
thering of his faints, yet there are trying days in this world,' wherein considerable discoveries are made, and the Lord's scattered and divided sheep are gathered to. gether, to be more unite in the Lord. It is necellary fonetimes, that the Lord take his ían in his hand, for purging his floor; when it is foul, it needs to be swept 'with a befom. The floor of his house is sometimes very foul; and as when one sweeps a house, if there be dross and dirt in it, and also gold, and diamonds, and jewels, lying hid among the dust, all may be swept to the door together; but the jewels being foon misled, are gathered again from among the filth: fv, when the beson of public judgments and calamities come, the godly, as well as the wicked may be all swept to the door together, and Share of the same outward strokes ; but God, in due time, will gather the jewels to his cabinet : “ They thall be mine, in the day when I make up my jewels," Mal. iii. 17.--So much concerning the various means of gathering
Secondly, The second question upon this head, was, To focak of the qualities of this gathering of the people to Shiloh. And here the qualities of this gathering may be considered, either paffively, Niewing how his power is exerted; or actively, Niewing how their faith is exercised : or, 1. The qualities of God's gathering the people to Shiluh. 2. The qualities of the people's gathering to him, under his conduct, influence, and afiftance. Now, of both these particularly.
Ist, PASSIVELY ; the qualities of God's gathering the people to Chrilt: or, how his powerful grace is exerted, when, in a day of his power, he makes them willing, and gathers them.
I. His gathering power is exerted congruously, and agreeably to the rational nature; he draws with the bands of love, and the cords of a man, Hof.ix. 4. What is that? He even brings them over, by rational argyments upon the judgment, and powerful perfuafion upon the will. While the minds of men are blinded with ignorance, their affections are bent upon their lufts; laut now, the understanding being cleared, the affecti.