Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
~ Matthew 13:24
For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
~ Matthew 25:14
For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
~ 2 Corinthians 11:2
And the LORD hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear.
~ Jeremiah 25:4
The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it.
~ Psalm 68:11
Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord GOD: for the day of the LORD is at hand: for the LORD hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests.
~ Zephaniah 1:7
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!
~ Luke 13:34
Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.
~ Matthew 22:8
For many are called, but few are chosen.
~ Matthew 22:14
On Matthew 22:2-4, by James Durham. The following contains an excerpt from his work, “The Unsearchable Riches of Christ, and of Grace and Glory In and Through Him”.
Diligently Searched into, Clearly Unfolded, and Comfortably holden forth, in Fourteen Rich Gospel SERMONS Preached on several texts, at Communions, in Glasgow.
By the late pious and Powerful Gospel Preacher in that City, Mr James Durham.”
A Sermon Preached immediately before the Communion.
On Matth. 22 2.—4. — All things are ready, come to the Marriage.
There are many great and glorious things spoken of the Gospel; and our Blessed Lord Jesus hath made use of many good Similitudes wonderfully opposite, to set it out: Sometimes it’s called the Kingdom of Heaven, for reasons that we will no• now insist upon; sometimes it’s called a Marriage, as here and else-where; some of those Similitudes shew what great and singular satisfaction is to be had in it, therefore its compared to a Feast, Supper, and Dinner, some of them shew the way how we are made Partakers of it: So opening and receiving holds forth believing; and some of those similitudes hold forth both, as this of a Marriage, which points at the strait union betwixt Christ and Believers, and at the manner or way of our entring into this blessed union, on which follows Communion.
We need not insist in opening the Words, which are plain; we shall only say these two Words, to make way for Observations; The first whereof shal be, to shew that the scope of the Parable is not to hold forth Peoples coming to the Ordinances, or the Sacraments only or mainly; but their coming to Christ Jesus himself and to the fat things in the Ordinances: Many come to the Ordinances who come not to Christ and to the feast: that which is called for here, is a real closing with Christ, and an accepting of him for our Husband, on his own terms: The second word is, to shew that though the Ordinances be neither the Marriage nor the Feast, Yet it’s by the Ordinances that the marriage is furthered and the Feast prepared and made ready? for Faith takes Christ in the word, and strikes hands with him in the Sacrament, when he sayeth in the Word, be thou for me and I will be for thee, Faith saith, content Lord, and when he saith in the Sacrament, Take, Faith sayeth welcome with all my heart, He being there as well as he is in the Word.
These two things being premised, we shall first, at once and together Propose some Observations from the words. Secondly we shall clear and confirm them: and and then Thirdly we shall insist in the application of all joyntly. The Observations are these. First that in the Gospel there is a clear and manifest making up of a Marriage betwixt Christ and Souls; The preaching of the Gospel is like a mans making of a marriage for his Son. The second is, that this marriage is one of the most excellent marriages that ever was: therefore its called the Marriage of the Kings Son. The Third is, that before this marriage can be brought about and accomplished, there are many things to be made ready. The Fourth is, that where the Gospel comes, all things are made ready for Souls closing with Christ in this marriage. The Fifth is, that the Master of the Feast the KING God the Father, and the Kings Son the Bridegroom are not only content and willing, but very desirous to have sinners coming to the Marriage, they would fain (to speak so with reverence) have poor Souls espoused to Christ. The Sixth is, that when the Master sends out his servants in his name, their great work is to invite to the wedding and to close the marriage. The Seventh is, that when People are invited to this Marriage, it is their duty and greatly of their concern to come. The Eighth is, that all they that come may expect a very hearty welcome: therefore they are invited once and again: and if we compare this Text with Luke 14. We will find there, that the Master orders his Servants to Compel them that are invited to come in.
All these Observations are very obvious in the Words; and if the Lord would Graciously please to help us to speak and you to hear: as they are no unpertinent to our Present Purpose, So they might be made very edifying, strengthening, refreshing and comfortable to us.
We shall in the second Place, a little more particularly clear and confirme every one of them. The First was, that, There is a Marriage betwixt Christ and souls held forth and made offer of in this Gospel. We take this for granted: for here is the Kings Son, and some bidden to his marriage, and those that are bidden are not worthy: they are all Professors & members of the visible Church, the scope of the Parable being to shew, that the offer of this Marriage was first made to the Jews, and again renewed to them, and then from them it came to the Gentiles, I shall in passing give you a litle hint of the nature of this Marriage in these four: 1. There is by this Gospel a real union made up betwixt Christ and the souls of Believers; Which union is not with the Ordinances, nor with sense, nor with the Benefits which flow from Christ; but with Christ himself Primarily and Principally, and it is so near a •ye and very close, that it is preferred unto and goeth beyond the union that is betwixt the Husband and Wife: Ephes. 5.30. We are (says the Apostle) Members of his Body, of his Flesh, and of his bones, Where alluding to that union betwixt Husband and Wife, he not only makes the union reall, but makes the one much straiter then the other. Secondly the nature of this union is such, that it is Mutual; the Bridegroom hath in a manne (to speak so, with reverence of his Majesty) no Power over himself, when he is Married un•o the Bride; and the Bride hath no Power over her self, but the Bridegroom: So that here there is a sort of mutuall upgiving of the Bridegroom to the Bride, and of the Bride to the Bridegroom; according to those wonderfully condescending words, Hosea 3.3. Thou shalt not be for another man, So will I also be for thee: The Lord hath Believers under a peculiar tye to him, and he hath tyed himself Peculiarly to them, so that (if we may speak thus) neither of them is Master of themselves; The Lord Jesus doth some way account himself not to be master of himself, he is so engaged to them to be theirs and for them; and cannot but be answerable to his engagement; and they are oblidged to be no more Masters of themselves, but to be absolutlie and altogether at his disposing. Thirdly this union is made up by mutuall consent of Parties, and the consent must be willing; His consent comes in his Word; He says from thence, Behold I stand at the door and knock, if any man will hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me; I come, (as if he had said) in my Go•pel to woo, and if any will consent to take me on the terms on which I offer my self, I will be theirs: The souls consent is given by Faith in his word, which is called John 1.12. receiving of him, and is relative to the offer: The offer is indeed backed and quickned by the Spirit, without which it would never be received; yet notwithstanding, that which our faith lays hold on, is not the Spirit, but the word quickened by the spirit. Fourthly consider here the effects that follow immediatly and instantly on this Marriage union, Christ with all that is his becomes ours, and we with all that is ours become his; our debt is imputed to him, he is lyable to it and must pay it, and provide for us and be our head and Husband; and his righteousness, the Purchase of his Death and sufferings, viz. Justification, Sanctification, his Spirit, Grace and Glory, and every good thing that he hath, become ours, and at length the Bride is taken into the Kings ivory Palaces.
The Second Observation was, that this is a most honourable Noble and excellent Marriage; the like where never was, nor never sh ll be from Adam to he end of the Wo ld, it’s with the Kings Son with the Prince of the Kings of the earth, the Heir of all things, the brightness of the Fathers glory, the express Image of his person, who was before all things, and by whom all things consist. O! is there any match like this? Is there any so great and so Noble as He? Is there an• in this world whom ye can marry, that is so rich as He? They that Marry Him shall inherit all things Rev. 21.7. We may clear it a litle further from five or Six Particulars in the Text. 1. It’s an excellent and honourable Marriage in respect of the Bridegroom who is, (as hath seen hinted) The Kings Son, who hath not another natural Son, He is he only begotten of the Father? there is not another Mediator, He is the Fathers equall and fellow; So that if (if we may put an if to it) the Father be great and glorious, so is He, for He is God, the same God equal with the Father in Power and Glory; the wonderful Counseller, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Secondly this Marriage is excellent and honourable in respect of the Brides Father in Law, (so to speak) He is the King; God the Father, Son and holy Ghost have all a hand in it; and the Believer married to Christ is Daughter in law to the great God, ingrafted some way into the same stock, allayed with the same family. 2 Cor. 6.18. I will be a Father to you, and ye shall be my Sons and Daughters sayeth the Lord Almighty. Thirdly it’s excellent and honourable in respect of the Preparation made for it. There was never such a wedding Feast; the dinner is prepared, the oxen and Fatlings killed: but you will say what is all that? Even Jesus Christ himself, He is that Bread indeed, that drink indeed; the feast of fat things and of wines on the lees well refined; the Bridegroom is (to say so) the chief dish that the Believer feeds and lives upon for ever; and the Spirituall blessings and benefits that are gotten in him and from him, are as so many dishes of this feast; such as righteousness, Pardon of sin, Peace, and friendship with God, the Spirit, Adoption, Sanctification, joy in the holy Ghost, grace and Glory, the hope of a Croum in those mansions that are in his Fathers House, of a seat with him at his Table and on his Throne; even a share in his whole Purchase; and is not that a feast? Fourthly its Honourable and excellent in respect of its most noble rise, viz. From all eternity, in the bosome of the Father, it bred (to say so) in the Kings breast before the foundation of the World was laid; the Covenant of Redemption was then concluded, and the contract of marriage there drawn, and the blessed Project of it then laid down; Sacrifices and Offerings thou didst not desire, (saith the Mediator, Psal. 40.) Mine ears host thou opened, burnt offerings nor sin offerings thou hast not required; Then said I, lo I come, in the Volume of thy Book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: The Father gives so many to the Son to be redeemed of whom he willingly readily, and cheerfully accepts, and offers to satisfie for them, which in due time he doth.
Fifthly, its excellent and honourable in this respect, That there was never such a concurrence of so many and so great things to commend and further a marriage as there is in this; Such as the making of the World, men and Angels, the incarnation of Christ or his coming into the World, his Preaching and working of Miracles for confirmation of his doctrine, his suffering and dying, rising and ascending, his giving Ministers and their gifts: and to make up the Marriage union, the Spirit from Heaven coming along with the word, and working faith in the Soul, by which bonds Christ & the Believer are joined together; Christ by his Spirit apprehending the Believer & the beliver apprehending Christ by Faith: was there ever a marriage contract or union bound up betwixt two such vastly and infinitly distant Parties? was there ever such honour and riches attending and following a match? such righteousness, remission of sin, Adoption, Peace with God, joy of the Holy Ghost, the Spirit, holiness in the beginning and gradual advances of it, fellowship and walking with God, the White stone, the new Name, the Throne, the Crown, Grace, and Glory, every thing that is good, for the Bride here, and Glory in Heaven; In a word Jesus Christ and all the benefits of his Purchase; were there ever such easie termes and conditions? It’s only, come to the Wedding; when the King comes a wooing, let him be welcomed with your hearts consent; when he sayes, I am content to marrie you, let your hearts say, Amen, Lord Jesus, I am content to marrie thee, and to be for thee and for none other: and may not I add, was there ever such security and confirmation given of any marriage? it’s confirmed by the death of the Bridegroom, he hath sealed his Testament with his Blood, and there is no annulling nor altering of a mans Testament when he is dead; and our Lord Jesus who was once dead is now alive and lives for evermore, he will never die again, nor make another Testament: O! beloved hearers, all this is to let you see that our Lord is in earnest and very willing to espouse you: and indeed it shall not be his Fault, is it be not a bargain, and if it be indeed a bargain betwixt your souls and him, it’s a very rare and rich one: O! the many rare, excellent, noble, notable and non-such Priviledges and advantages that attend this marriage, and are to be enjoyed by the soul espoused to Christ; even God and Christ, Grace and Glory and all that is comprehended under these belongs to that soul: We must here be silent, lest in speaking of them we darken them by our words; here is an abyss and bottomless depth ready as it were, to swallow up words; we confess we can tell you our very litle what they are, nay if all the ablest and holiest Ministers on earth, all the Angels in Heaven were joyned together they could not to the full by very far, tell what an excellent match and marriage this is, even to be matched with the Son of God; and yet this priviledge and honour have all the saints, all Believers, to whom he is wonderful and Precious, though alace! not as he ought to be; there is a day coming, when we shall know to satisfaction, that the Father is in the son, and the son in the Father; and that believers are in Christ and he in them; We shall then know the now in expressible and inconceivable advantages of this marriage, When He shall come to be glorified in His Saints, and wond’red at in all them that believe: and till that day the one half will never be told us.
The third Observation was, that there are many things to be removed out of the way, and to be done: many things to be made ready before this marriage can be made up. 1. There is a naturall distance between the Parties, that must be removed: God cannot be one flesh with us: and betwixt Parties to be married, there must be some Suitableness of nature: therefore to remove this distance, and to bring about the marriage, the Son of God becomes Man, that he may be Immanual God with us, God is our nature and so in capacity to be closed with. Secondly, there is a sinfull distance, wjich also must be removed before this marriage can be made up: For God is a consuming fire to sinners; He and they neither will nor can unite in •hat posture: Therefore before an offer or marriage can be made to any Purpose, he must give himself for his Church, that he may Sanctifie and cleanse it with the Washing of water by the word…that he presents her to Himself a glorious Church without spot and wrinkle, or any such thing: He could not have access to marry his Bride, she was so uncomly, filthy and lothsom, lying in a most pityful condition, in her blood as Ezekiel sets it forth to the life and at great length, Chap. 16. Therefore to cleanse her, he gave himself for her. Thirdly, ere all this could be done, there behaved a ground to be laid for peace with God the offended party, who was to be father in law: and here comes in the Covenant of Redemption, Psal. 40 6, 7. Sacrifice and Offering thou didst not desire, then said I, lo I come &c. For taking away the curse and reconciling the elect to G d, the Father sayes (as it were) I must needs be once in friendship with them, ere I can admit them to my house; and Son if thou wilt Satisfie my Justice, and Pay their debt, I shal give them to thee for a seed, and to be thy Bride and wife: well says Christ the mediator, Father I accept of the bargain, Lo I come to do thy will, O my God: Whereupon it comes to pass (as the Apostle hath it, 2 Cor. 5. last,) That he is made sin for us who knew no sin, and we are made the righteousness of God in him: For it was as really agreed in the Covenant of Redemption that he should be made sin for us, as it came to pass in the actual execution of it: and thus way is made for the marriage. Fourthly when this is done, the marriage must be proclaimed through the world by the Preached Gospel, the contract must be opened up and read, and sinners consent called for; We are told therein, that the Word is made flesh and dwelt amongst us, and because No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, he declares him: as it is John 1.14, 15. He comes and reveals more clearly the contract, first in his own Person and by his own Ministerie, and then by sending his servants, and telling that all things are ready. Fifthly, the last thing to be removed is the uncircumcision and stupidness of our hearts, naturally we are given to slight him in his offers, to refuse to open to him, and to let him in, when he knocks, to make excuse, to delay, shift and put him off, nay to refuse to entertain his proposal of Marriage, and to give him a repulse: therefore he comes by his Spirit, and puts in his finger by the hole of the door, and lets some Myrrhe drop on the handles of the lock, and powerfully but sweetly inclines the heart to cast it self open to him; and then he performs the promises of Sanctification, Circumcising the heart to love him with all the heart, and with all the Soul, as it is Deut. 30.6. And all these promises are contrived, framed and provided to meet with difficulties in us; we are told, John 6 44. That no man can come to Christ except the Father that sent him draw him, and Psal. 110.3. It is Promised, that in the day of his Power His people shal be willing: and whoever (being made willing) cometh shall in no wise be cast out, John 6.37.
The Fourth Observation is, That by the Preaching of the Gospel, whither so ever it cometh, and by the great things made offer of therein, all things are made ready; Obstructions and what ever might hinder the closing of the Marriage are removed; the Father is ready, having declared his willingness to give his consent; This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him, Matth. 3. I am well satisfied with him, take him to you for your head and husband: the Son is ready to take all by the hand that will embrace him: Pardon of Sin, Peace, with God, Sanctification, the mansion &c: are ready to be bestowed: the feast is ready, the fatlings are prepared; the Promises are filled with every necessary good thing, there is bread enough in the Prodigals fathers house and to spare: the contract is ready, and an offer of it made on the Bridegrooms side: the terms are drawn up and put in Form, and all things agreed upon and ready, even to the Subscription: and there is no more required, but that the hearers of this Gospel heartilly consent to take him, and submit to his righteousness and dominion: which if they do, all things shall be theirs, even life eternal, and all things that may fit them for it, Promises for this life and that which is to come, and Christ engaged to keep the bargain: and this is it that is preached every day to you, though, alace! unsuitably: so that it’s not now, Who shall go up to Heaven and bring down Christ from above? or Who shall descend unto the deep, and bring him up from the dead? That we may get him to Marry: but the righteousness of faith, saith the word, is near thee even in thy mouth, &c. Christs consent is not to be asked or brought from afar, for he hath declared it in his word, and the terms of the contract are, if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe with thy heart, that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved: Rom. 10.8, 9. Engage therefore honestly with Christ, and keep to him: deny your selves and close wi•h him, give up your selves to him, and ye shall be saved: and that is all one with this, to be married to him: yea the day of the Marriage is set; and that i• the day of the Gospel, the Bridegroom is come to the Church, the Table is covered, and the Ministers the Bridegrooms friends are waiting on, to espouse you to him and to make up the Marriage, so that all thin•s meet and requisit for making peace betwixt God and sinners are ready.
The Fifth Observation was, that Christ the Bridegroom & his Father are very willing to have the match made up and the marriage compleated: therefore doth he send forth his servants with a strict commission, not only to tell sinners that all things ready, but to bid them come to the Marriage: yea he not only wills them to tell that all things are ready, and to invite, but to Compel them (as Luke hath it Chap. 14.23.) to come in: to stirr them up and press them to it: to threaten them if they come not, and to accept no refusal or na•-say: the evidences of his willingness are many, which I will not now insist upon: as that he hath made the feast, and such a feast, and prepared so for it, and given himself to bring it about, and keeps up the offer and Proclamation of the Marriage, even after it is slighted: all these and many moe tell plainly that the Father and Son are most heartily willing: therefore they expostulat when this Marriage is refused, O! Jerusalem, Jerusalem how often would I have gathered you, but you would not: Matth. 23. O! Jerusalem, Jerusalem, if thou even thou, hadst known in this thy day the things that belong to thy peace; Luk 19. All these sad complaints, that Israel would not hearken to his voice, and his people would have none of him. Psal. 81 7. That he came to his own and his own received him not Joh. 1.11. And that they will not come to him that they might have life. Joh. 5.40. make out his willingness abundantly and undenyably.
The Sixth Observation was, That the great work of the Ministers of the Gospel, to invite unto, and to endeavour to bring this Marriage betwixt Christ a•d Souls to a close: the Servants are sent out for this very end, to conclude the bargain: Though he be Lord of all, yet he would not imploy in this work, Angels, neither would he speak immediatly by his own voice from Heaven: for by rea••n of his greatness we could not have endured that way of wooing: but sayeth on the matter to men, subject to the like passions and infirmities go tell that the King hath such a Son, and that ye are sent out to w•o in his Name, and make not only offer of Marriage, but request, intreat, perswade, pray and obtest, yea command and compell them to come to the Marriage, by holding forth the curse which comes on them that will not come: and hence are those denounced woes and shaking of the dust off •heir feet, for a Testimony against them that will not come.
The Seventh Observation was that is is the duty of all to whom the good news of this marriage come to come to it, and when they are invited to it, Presently without all delay to yeeld. Needs there any proof of this? do not the Masters sending and the se•van•s coming call for it? do not his preparing of all things, his inviting to the Marriage, and his expostulating w••h them that come not, and our own great necessitie urgently require it?
The Eighth and last Observation was, that all they that come may expect a very good and heartsome welcome, none need to fear, that they shal not be made welcome, seeing they are come not uncalled, they shall not sit unserved: The Lord will not look down on such as come: nay he is waiting on to welcome them, and to meet them, as it were Mid-way: as we see in the Parable of the Prodigal, Luke 15. His father stayes not till his son come to him, but seeing him afar-off coming, he runs with speed to meet him, and then most affectionatly embraced him and falls on his neck and kisses him; and if the poor child should say, I am not worthy to be called a Son. He answers that, not suffering him to speak out all that he had resolved to say; Even when the debaucht runagate had spent all by riotous living and would fain have told out the sad and shameful story of his grosse miscarriages and great unworthiness he interrupts him and says, in a manner, Son hold thy peace as to that, I know well it is grievous to thee, go quickly and put on the robe, the Ring and the shoes that are provided for thee.
I come now in the Third place to make application of all; and is it possible to speak or hear of this Subject, as becomes? who is sufficient for these things; to speak suitably in the name of the Lord, and to lay before you this contract of marriage with such a Bridegroom? Beloved hearers, are ye in a suitable Posture to tryst with him? Do ye think that ye are for this Marriage? is it your serious purpose to close the bargain with him? If so, Pray the Lord to give us to speak and you to hear the word in such manner as it may be a marriage-day indeed: there are very good news here, and blessed eternally be God, that ever we heard them, or had them to speak of, and that ye have them yet to hear; they should make your very souls, in a manner, flighter within you, and make you to rouze up your selves, to welcome them with gladness of heart.
And therefore First, we would exhort you all to believe this report; there are alace! but few who doe indeed believe, that the Eternal God hath this design of a marriage betwixt him and sinners? Therefore let not your hearts be straitned, only believe that this is the good word of God, that these are the faithful & true sayings of him that cannot lie, and that he is waiting on to ratifie them to all who give them Credit: It’s somewhat hard to deliver or receive a word of threatning in faith, but in some respect, more hard to believe a word of Promise and of consolation; It is Proportionably hard to look upon this as Gods own offering of a marriage with his Son, as if he himself were by vive voice speaking it out of Heaven, and to believe that this offer is really his: and therefore as I desire (as his Servant) to speak to you, so I would, again and again, Obtest you to be rouzed up, and to rouze up your selves to believe it. Secondly, Rouze, stretch and enlarge your understandings, and your hearts and affections, for beholding, conceiving and embracing this rich bargain of Grace: O! consider seriously, from whom it is, For what end it is, how it is brought about, and doth come to you: the height and Depth, the Length and breadth whereof is inconceivable; be Holily amazed and wonder, that the offer of this marriage comes to you, and that he is content to marry you. Thirdly, In a word, would you know what we have to do with you, or what is our commission to you this day? This is even it, to tell you that the King hath made a marriage for his Son, and hath prepared and made all things ready for reuniting you to himself; yea this same King that hath made this wedding ready, and hath carved out this way of throughing his designe, by speaking to you in his Word by his servants, speaks to you by us, and we speak to you in his name and tell you, that our blessed Lord Jesus is wooing you; we declare, publish and proclaim it: O! take notice of it, our Lord Jesus is not far to seek, he is here waiting on to close the bargain with you: This is our errand to proclaim these glad t•dings to you; and what glader tydings could you wish, then to have it told you, marrie may be happy and easily happy, and that if ye be content to be so, there is nothing that might…his happiness, but it is remove and taken out of the way: Is not the Father ready? He hath given his consent; is not the Bridegroom ready, when he hath done so much and is waiting on your consent? the Feast is ready, and the Garments are ready, and there is n• more to do, but t take and put them on; and faith exercised on him will both; the Contract is ready, and there is nothing changed or altered in it; and He is ready to accept of you, if ye will accept of him; our blessed Lord Jesus says, he is can…marry you; and there is no more to do, but to subscribe your name to the contract if you want clothes he will give them to you; if ye want a house, if ye want meat or drink, he will provide for you, what ever it be that you really stand in need of for Soul or body, in time of eternity, ye shall have from him; The promises are filled with all things that pertain to life and godliness, to his life and to that which is to come; there is in effect n thing wanting but your consent, and let not tha be wantng, I beseech you.
If prosecuting this purpose, I shall speak a litle.
1. To those to whom the offer is made, or to those what are called
2. To what they are called to
3. To the terms on which they are called. 4. To the manner how ye should come. 5. To the Peremptoriness of the call, and to the necessitie of coming, And 6. (If it be Possible to win at it) a word to some motives, whereby ye may be Pressed to come, and not to neglect the opportunity of such a Precious Season of Grace.
For the First; it is not one or two or some few that are called, not the great only, nor the Smal only, not the holy only, nor the Profane only, but ye are all bidden, the call comes to all and every one of you in Particular, Poor and rich, high and low, holy and prophane; Ho (Proclaimeth the Lord, as it were, with an Oyas Isa. 55.1.) Every one that thirsts, come, and he that hath no money, Let him come: whosoever will let him come and take of the water of life freely, Rev. 22.17. Our blessed Lord Jesus is not straitned in his call; and we may humbly say in some measure, that we are not straitened in our bowels; in his name we invite all of you, and make offer of Jesus Christ to be your Husband; that ye may have a room among them that stand by, and be with him for ever: I say we make this offer to all of you, to you that are Atheists, to you that are Graceless, to you that are Ignorant, to you that are Hypocrits, to you that are Lazie and Luk-warm, to the Civil and to the Prophane; We pray, We beseech, We obtest you all to come to the wedding; Call (sayeth the Lord) the blind, the maimed, the halt, &c. Bid them all come, Yea compel them to come in: Grace can do moe & greater wonders then to call such, it cannot only make the offer of the Marriage to them; but it can make up the Match effectually betwixt Christ and them: We will not, we dare not say, that all of you will get Christ for a Husband, but we do most really offer him to you all, and it shall be your own fault if ye want him and go without him. And therefore before we proceed any further, we do Solemnly Protest, and before God & his Son Jesus Christ, take instruments this day, that this offer is made to you; and that it is told to you in his name, that the Lord Jesus is willing to match with you, even the profanest and most graceless of you, if ye be willing to match with him; and he earnestly invites you to come to the wedding: if you can touch at any thing on his side, that is not ready, or at any thing on your side, but it may through grace be made ready if ye will come, you may: but its impossible: for the Covenant is well o•dered and sure, and that in all things, and these words are not the words of men, but the Words of the true and faithful witness, which ye must count and reckon for, when we are dead and gone: He hath killed his Oxen and Fatlings, and prepared his dinner and bid his guests: all things are ready, in the due order and manner, whether on your side or on his, if ye be willing to step to and make the bargain, he hath drawn up the contract, and sent us out with it to you, to crave your subscription, and if ye be ready for that, he craves no more of you: Now, I put you all to it, whether will ye subscribe it or not? and I would not put one of you without the reach of this invitation; however we be, Alace! much carnal in speaking his mind, yet we desire not to obscure nor limit our Lords grace, he calls all of you to the wedding, he hath sent us out as his Servants (though of all the most unworthy) to close and conclude the contract of Marriage with you this day, if you be willing. Come then, O come and subscribe, and it shall be in very deed a bargain, if ye can through Grace say from your hearts, We will take him, then I say to you, take him and have him with the Fathers blessing; our commission is not only to offer him, and to invite you to take him, but to close a bargain betwixt him and you who are content to take him: we would (as the Apostle speaks, 2 Cor. 11.2) Espouse you to one husband, that we m ght present you a chast Virgin to Christ, and have you hand-fasted to him, as the word is: and this is very well becoming one of the dayes of the Son of man, and one of such seasons of his grace, to make this offer to great and small, rich and Poor, learned and unlearned, Gracious and Graceless, Hypocrites and prophane; there is here no exception of persons with him; the blessed God is content to match with the most graceless and Godless of you, as well as with those who are gracious and Godly; There is joy in heaven at the conversion of a sinner, and the price was payed for the Elect, that are yet Graceless, as well as for these of them who are now gracious; for all were once in the same condition; Therefore look not with narrow and straitned hearts on the Rich and liberal allowance of our Blessed Lord Jesus.
But Secondly, what is it that we call you to, when we bid you come to the Marriage; It’s not to the Communion only, It’s not to any of Christs benefits only, it’s not to say at first hand confidently that all is yours, or to have a sure knowledge (as ye call it) and perswasion at the very first that it is so; though I heartily wish that ye may find this Perswasion on solid and good grounds; but it is first and mainly to marry the Bridegroom, and then to come to the Feast: We call you to believe, and we declare in his Name, that if ye will betake your selves to him in good earnest, ye shall be saved: If ye will as it were, put your hand to the Pen, and Subscribe your selves heartily content to take him, ye shall most certainly have him and all his benefits: ye that are Prophane take him, but not to live still in your Profanity, but to study Holiness in all manner of conversation in his strength; Ye that are self-righteous take him, but not to live still in the good conceit of your self-righteousness, but to renounce it, and to take him for your righteousness; ye that are blind take him, but not to live still in your blindness, but to grow in grace and in the knowledge of him: whatever ye be, and whatever ill aileth you, take him, but not to continue in the ill, but to get it amended: This sure is no less then to call you to the communion, yea it is more, whether therefore ye come to the Communion or not, we call and invite you all to come to Christ, and to marry Him; which if ye do, we dare Promise you in his name, begun Communion with him here, & full communion with him in Heaven hereafter.
Thirdly what are the termes on which ye are called and may warrantably come to this marriage? I need not stand on the terms on his side, nor to tell you what he promiseth, It’s this in a word, I will be for thee: He is content to make over all that is his to you; Pardon of Sin, Justification, Sanctification, his Spirit to quicken you, even his whole Purchase to enrich you: in Sum (as it is, 1 Cor. 1.31.) He is made of God unto you Wisdome, Righteousness, Sanctification and Redemption; He hath made all things yours (as it is 1 Cor. 3.21.) And in him ye are compleat, (as the Apostle hath it, Col. 2.10.) Ye need never go out of him, to seek for any thing truly good that ye stand in need of. And on the other hand, what seeks be of you but to be for him and not for another: (as it is Hos. 3.) He seeks no hard condition: In Sum it may be comprehended in that word 1 Cor. 1.31. That he that glorieth may glory in the Lord: not to glory or boast in any thing or in our selves, but of him, and in him. But for clearness cause I shall draw the termes on your side to these there. 1 You must deny your self, Your lusts, and Idols and your own righteousness: Where is boasting then? (sayeth the Apostle Rom. 3.27.) It is excluded; by what law, of works? nay, but the law of Faith: Ye then that would Marry Christ and share indeed in the feast; ye must have a sight of that which ye want; and of your own inability to make it up: and that ye are undone in your selves without him, to him that worketh not, but Believeth on him that Justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness: That is, to him that expects nothing by his works, but betakes himself to Christ and his righteousness for his Justification before God: and that is no unreasonable condition. Secondly as ye would not glory in your selves, so ye would glory in him: what ever ye deny in your selves ye would put him in the room of it: If ye dare not lippen or trust your souls to your own righteousness, lippen or trust them to his: He sayes I am content to pay your debt, and since ye cannot pay your own debt your selves, say humbly to him, blessed Lord Jesus pay our debt for us; He is the end of the Law for Righteousness to every one that believeth Rom. 10.3. When he offers himself, take him thus, and let Faith say, sobeit Lord, I accept of the bargain, Q! hold to it and quit it not. Thirdly, It is required that ye shall be his and have no Power over your selves: and this takes in Sanctification, dying to sin and living to Righteousness, adorning the Gospel, living answerably to the severall relations ye stand in: for though Mortification and holiness be not the cause, for which he marries, yet it is a condition of the contract; and it well becomes his Bride to be dutifull: Thou shalt be for me, and I will be for thee, If he will graciously please to be for us, it’s all the reason in the World that we should be for him: Now we know somewhat of the terms, which may all come in under these three, there are many conditions on his side and but few on ours.
Fourthly ye would consider the Peremptoriness of this call, to accept of and to Marrie our Lord Jesus Christ on these terms, it’s not an ordinary complement, but purposed by the King the Father, and by the Kings Son the Bridgroom: He sends out his Servants, who are come to call you Peremptorily: and there are three Peremptories, that this offer and call hath with it: all which three we carry in our commission, and crave of you to Subscribe to them. The 1. Whereof is; that ye take no other husband but this Bridegroom, there is no latitude left to you in this; ye must by no means engage with any other; It’s only for Jesus Christ that we woo, and we seek of you that ye would give him your souls, your hearts, and affections, that ye may be devoted to him and to no other; and therefore we intimat to you that are Married and Joyned to Idols, that ye must be divorced from those and betake you to him alone The Second Is, the Peremptoriness of the terms we speak of; we cannot and ye must not alter one jote or title, Ye must deny your selves, ye must be content to be divorced from your lusts and Idols, ye must renounce your own righteousness, and give up with the law your first husband, considered as a Covenant of works, and run out from the curses thereof to him, which ye will never do; till ye see your own righteousness to be as filthy rags, and reject it, as Part of your enditement, that ever ye trusted to it. Ye must forget your fathers house. 2. As you must deny your selves, so you must close with Christ, and embrace him for your husband and Lord: do not think that ye will or can dwel beside him, that ye can sit and hear him: if ye Marrie him not. 3. Ye must be devoted to him in your conversation, he must needs be your King as well as your Priest; Ye must forsake Father and Mother and all your kindred and betake you to him, and ye must take up and keep house with him, you must dwel with him, and study to be answerable to the Marriage tye and obligation put upon you, we dare dispense with none of the Three. The Third Peremptory is this, as ye must engage with no other, and as ye must not alter the terms, so ye must not delay to come and close the bargain, ye must not put off till to morrow, nay not an hour; All things are ready, Just now, Now is the accepted time; Here stands the blested Bridgroom, here are the conditions and terms on which he will marry you, and we as the Bridegrooms friends stand ready to espouse you to him: We dare not be answerable to our Master, nor can we be answerable to our trust and commission, if we shuffle by, or thrust out any of you, if ye do not thrust out your selves, nor may we admite of an excuse from any of you: and therefore let me again say to you, that here is not only a marriage, and of all marriages the most excellent; but let me beseech and obtest you to come to the wedding; either come or give a reason why ye will not, or cannot: as you can assigne no relevant reason for your not coming, we dare not accept of any Irrelevant reason, nor admit of any answer but this, that ye will take him: we dare admit of no excuse: ye must not shift nor delay: ye would think that those who were bidden Luke 14. might have come, when they had seen their Farme and proved their Oxen: but that would not be with them: So I say it will not be with you, to shift this offer: He is here waiting on to see who will consent and say even so I take him: Say it, O say it seriously and abide by it.
O! Are there any here now looking up to him? Are there any here that would fain have it a closed bargain? Are there any here that believe these things as the truths of God? Then we pray you let them sink down into your hearts, and come. And to press this a little further, let me ask, what can hinder the making of this bargain? is it the want of notice or timeous intimation of it? That cannot he, ye are clearly convinced of the contrary: Is it because ye will or can be happy without him? Wo to that happiness: is it any difficulty standing in the way? That shall be removed, yea as to him it is removed already, and shall be as to you on your closing with him: Pose and put your own hearts to it then, Is there any of you that dare or can find in your hearts to refuse? the Lord is waiting on; his faithfulness is engaged to make out what he offereth; He stretcheth out his hand, and sayeth, Even so I take you, if ye will take me; are ye content to stretch forth your hand and to say, Even so I take thee blessed Lord Jesus: or if this be not win at to Satisfaction, are there any rouzing and stretching themselves to essay how it will go with them? what are ye doing? Is it a bargain or not? ye must say, yea or nay, and that even now; We suppose ye will not say down right, nay: though more then probably many will delay: but this must not be, the Table may be drawn, other guests may be called in and ye removed: we cannot allow you an hours time to advise, especially from indifferency, yea if ye begin to take advisement for shifting a present closure, Christs call and invitation, and your consenting will readily cool upon your hand: Paul sayes that he consulted not with flesh and blood: So must not ye consult with flesh and blood in this matter, ye must cast away the beggars cloak, be content to deny your self, quite your lusts, and close with him presently, or ye may never have the like opportunity, There is a necessity imposed on you from the command to come, from the curse and prejudice that abides you, and will certainly overtake you if you come not: ye will be eternalie miserable without him, there is no happiness but in him: The King is on his Throne, the Table is set and covered, the day is fixed, his Servants invite in his name: come therefore, come without further lingering, dallying, shifting or delay: alace! there are too many dayes put by already, ye must put by no moe.
Now let me speak a word further to this purpose, what can marr the matter, what can obstruct its being a bargain? certainly it must be one of three: Either first: because ye are not content with the Bridegroom, Or Secondly because ye are not content with the terms. Or Thirdly because ye are not content with your selves or with some thing in your selves: As for the First: I suppose ye can say nothing against the Bridegroom: is there any other like to him or that can compare with him; I appeal even to you Atheists, and Profane Wretches, that live and ly in your Lusts, Is there a beloved like this Beloved? hath He a match in Heaven or Earth? Is He not the Kings Son? and if ye ask who that is, ye may hear and know from Psal. 24. The King of Glory, the Lord of Hosts, strong and mighty in Battel, and from Heb 1.3. The brightness of the Fathers Glory, the express Image of his Person, upholding all things by the word of his Power: There is none like him, but the Father, and the Holy Spirit, and as God he is one with them, ye have both the Question and answer, Cant. 5.9. What is thy beloved more then another Beloved? What is yonder Christ of whom we hear so much? The answer is given (which we cannot stay now to Paraphase upon) He is white and ruddi•, the chiefest, or Standard bearer among ten thousands, Fairer then the Sons of men; and if ye would know him more Particularly, His head is as the most fine gold, He is God: His locks (or his hair) are bushie and black as a Raven: there is not the least unseemliness, even in those things that would, to our thinking, seem less necessary, as his hair; Yea his very Garments smel of Myrrhe, Aloes, and Cassia, (as it is Psal. 45.) His eyes are as the eyes of Doves by the Rivers of waters washed with milk and fitly set, O! so lovely as his Properties are, his Cheeks as beds of Spices, as sweet flowers: His lips like Lilies dropping sweet smelling Myrrhe: his hands, as Gold rings set with Berill: His belly (or bowels of love and affection) Like the bright Ivory overlaid with Saphires: His legs like pillars of Marble set upon Sockets of fine Gold: His Countenance like Lebanon, excellent as the Cedars: O! So excellent and stately: His mouth is most sweet, or (as the word is) sweetness, in the abstract: never soul kissed his mouth, but there was a bond thereby laid on it, that it could never again part with him: in a word, He is altogether lovely, or (as the word is) all desires: there is nothing that Souls can desire but it is in him: and there is nothing in him, but what has desireableness in it: This is my beloved and this is my Friend (says the Bride) O! ye Daughters of Jerusalem: this is He, he is sure no common or ordinary Beloved: see if among all the beloveds in Heaven or earth there be any like Him: O! Ye despisers and slighters of the Son of God, put your selves to it, Is there any like him to be found? has he not the preference of and the Preheminence above all beloveds? He is the only begotten of the Father full of Grace and truth; He is the mighty God, the wonderfull Counseller, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. It would well become us all to be wondering at him, and to be drawing near to him, to behold Him in his beauty; To go forth and Behold King Solomon with the Crown wherewith his Mother Crowned him in the day of his espousals: O! take a stayed view of him in his Personall excellencies and in the excellent qualifications of this Mediatory Office, and it cannot be that on this ground ye will cast at the Match, Will any of you dare to say it or to abide by it, that ye will not Marry Christ, because ye think nothing of him, or because he is not worthy to be thought of? We suppose none will do so.
If it be the Second, viz. The terms, That ye are not content with; ye would have Christ, Grace, and Glory, and every good thing; but here it sticketh, you look at it as an hard matter to be denyed to your self and to be wholly Gods, to renounce your own righteousness, and your lusts, & your Idols, to be absolutely devoted to him and wholly dependent on him in your walk, As the evil & the slothfull Servant called him a hard Master; So do many think of him, though they will not down right say so much in express words: But I would ask you, is there any unreasonable thing here? Or shall all those termes be sought after, in some respect, in the Marriage of a poor creature like your selves? And will ye deny them to Christ? 1. If you get his righteousness; should ye not deny your own? If ye come under the Covenant of Grace with him, is there any prejudice to lay by the Covenant of works? If ye get him for your second Husband, and infinitly best, is it any prejudice to quit your first husband the Law? And in that respect is it reasonable to cast at the bargain, because it is free? Secondly, Is it not reasonable that ye should give him the room of all things? If He be able to fill the room of all, let him have his room, as being well worthy of it; It is your advantage to quit your lusts and sinfull pleasures, your covetousness, Pride, vanity, self conceit, &c. To exchange all for him; and if ye be not content of this condition, ye say he is not worth the having. 3. Is it not reasonable that ye should be devoted to him in your Conversation? That ye should no longer Play the harlot, but be as a chast Virgin to him? Is it any advantage to you to follow your Idols, that wil go betwixt you and happiness? If Heaven be an advantage, it is your advantage to quit them and be for Christ; Or is it any Prejudice to be Holy? Or will ye quit Christ, because ye must be Holy? Or will ye refuse him because he will not suffer you, to your ruine, to take your own will as formerly? yea it is not only reasonable, but very good and Profitable; Nay there is a necessity you should be Holy, and may not love to him loose your heart from sin? There was another sort of consolation, and other bowels of love at the first making of the Bargain betwixt the Father and the Son; and it was calculated for more honourable designes, and levelled to more Noble ends then any thing the Devil, or the World, or the flesh can Promise to you: and any of you that will stand and stick at the termes that are so just equitable and every way reasonable and easie with all, we take your own consciences to be witnesses that they are so, and you dare not avouch the denyall of their being so: If ye be content to take him, to be reconciled, and made friends with God by his satisfaction; and to be made Holy by his Sanctifieing Spirit, to be for him as he shall be for you; It is a bargain: and what, I pray, ailes you at such a ba•gain; If this be not made, ye shall never be able to make such another: What should ye do then, but come to the wedding; It’s not time to dispute or debate, but to close: Say, O! say sincerely, as those do, Jeremie. 3.22. Behold we come unto thee, for thou art the Lord our God; When He sayes, as he did to them, returne ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings; turn it over to him, and say, Behold we come unto thee.
Thirdly, Are ye not content with your selves, or with something in your selves? Do ye indeed think and say, that it is a good bargain, and that the terms are very reasonable and easie; and we have nothing to say against them; but we have, alas! much to say of and against our selves; The bargain pleaseth us wondrous well, and so do the terms; but we are not at all pleased with our selves. I answer, 1. May ye not then the better quit and deny your selves, and take Christ in the room and place of self? 2. I Ans. Christ makes no such objection, He bids the most Prophane, the most Ignorant and Graceless wretch, the most Hypocriticall dissembler, that never knew what it was to be honest come, and assures them that they shall be welcome, if they will come indeed.
Object. But I can do nothing, I cannot keep a word word that I say to Christ; I Answer, Engage and consent to close with Christ on his own terms, and doing and keeping shall follow, to give thy consent is that which thou art now called to, and he engages to help thee to perform.
Object. But shall I take on an engagement, presently to break it again? I Answer, If indeed thou consent; thou mayest •ail and break, but the covenant will never be utterly broken nor dissolved; yea thou shalt have surety for thy keeping of it; Forasmuch as (saith the Apostle, Heb. 7.22.) Jesus was made Suretie of a better Testament.
If ye Object and say; that ye have much sin, that ye are Lothsome, and Abominable; Subscribe this Contract and bargain, and ye have a free and full discharge of all your debt; I will (sayeth the Lord Hosea. 2 19) Betroth thee unto me in loving kindness, and mercies; He will pardon your iniquities; There is no exact or severe seeking and searching out of the debt here, where it’s ingenuously taken with, but rather a covering of it; He will also cleanse you from all your filthiness, and from all your Idols.
But it may be thou wilt Object, And say, I will rather purpose then engage, because I fear I shall break it.
Answer, But is it likely that thou wilt make good such a purpose, who darest not engage? Or will purposes and resolutions do the business without performing? Purposes of Marriage make not the Marriage? It is actuall consent and engaging which doth that.
But thou wilt Object, And say, alace! I am not in a right frame; I am very confused; all things are wrong with me. Answer, What is this thou sayest? Will your frame be amended without Christ? will those swarms of Corruptions be beat out before thou take in the King of Glory, who is strong and mighty in Battel?
But thou wilt Object. I am not clear as to my interest. Ans. Wilt thou not consent till thou be clear, that is as much as to say, thou art doubting, but that thou wilt not put it out of doubt; if thou be unclear as to thy Subscription, rather Subscribe & write thy name over again: if ye have not at all Subscribed, take now the pen and do it; say, Lord Jesus, I come to thee and will be thine.
Object. Alace! fain would I come to the wedding, but I cannot come, it will not do with me; I would fain believe, but my Faith is not Prompt and ready. I Answer. Is not the Covenant provided with an answer to that also? It calls for nothing but for your Subscribing; and if ye say ye cannot; look well that it be not a shift; it comes to this, yea or nay, and if ye say, ye cannot say Yea in Faith, which yet thou wouldest fain be at; is there not a promise of Grace, that though your hand be as it were withered, if ye mint and essay, you shall be enabled to stretch it forth: Faith may come in the very essaying to grip him, only essay it and it shall go with you.
Object. I have essayed it often, and it hath not gone with me; Ans. Essay it again and cast a new knot; If your evidence be not clear, Subscribe over again.
Object. But it goes not with me, when all is done, I cannot believe, I would Subscribe, but I cannot writ (as it were) I cannot distinctly act Faith. Ans. What is that? Our Lord stands not on that, though you cannot write well, do as ye can: It’s strange to see, how somes Subscription is almost like a scratching with Crow-toes, yet it’s a valid Subscription; some again will write down their mark in place of their name, and that also where it is well known, is admitted as valid; if you cannot (as it were) write your name in fair and legible Letters, set down some Mark, if it were but two scores or lines in any form or figure, If ye cannot act Faith so distinctly, come on as you may; if ye cannot to your satisfaction say, Yea, with the heart, say it with the mouth, striving and longing to have thy heart brought up; force thy self (If I may speak so) to believing; If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe with thy heart, that God raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved, Rom. 10.9. Endeavour to make thy Mouth engage thine heart; bind thy self fast to Christ, even in a manner whether thou wilt or not: act Faith with the understanding, labouring honestly to bring up thy Will and affections and though ye win not now to a Faith that is distinct, it shall come in a due time: essay to set open the door, and it shall go with you.
Object. But my heart says, all these are but fair words? Ans. Away with that blasphemy, They are the truths of God: essay then, O! essay Seriously this way of Believing, and ye shall find power meeting you, The Pen is, as it were, lying by you, and albeit ye cannot write well and be distinct, take the Pen, and Christ shall (as it were) lead your hand and guide it, to write so, as it shall Pass in Heaven for a Subscribed consent: set your selves to give him a welcome, and he shall account it to be a welcome. Say now, what more ye have to say; lay out your scruples; this word, all things are ready, will answer them all: the garment is ready to be put on, yea Jesus Christ is your Wedding Garment, take and put him on: He is the cure for all your diseases, apply him for the cure of them all; ye cannot certainly be clothed, before you put on the garment: neither can ye be Healed, before ye apply the cure: ye cannot by any means be rich, till ye marry him. But beside all these, there are several other needlesly disquieting scruples, there are many other shifts (and alace! that there should be such triffling, if I may call it so, such whining, as it were, and standing on Ceremonies (to speak so) with our Lord,) among which this is one, I wot not If I be in the Covenant and Contract of Redemption, I know not if I be one of Gods elect: Ans. What is this? ye know not well what ye say: have ye any thing to do with that secret by a leap and at First hand? are ye not called to Marry Christ? Is not that his revealed will to you? I protest in his name, this is the thing that ye are called to: and will ye make an exception, where he has made none? Or will ye shift obedience to a clear command, upon a supposed decree, which you cannot know but by the effects? Will ye reason so in the matter of your eating and drinking? upon a supposition that God hath decreed, that ye shall die to Morrow or within a few dayes, will ye this day not take your dinner, nor make use of any refreshment, till that supposed day come? Or because ye know not, if God hath appointed you to live so and so long? Will ye forbear therefore your callings? Or will any of you, in seeking after a match in the World, reason so? Will ye not seek after nor Marry such a Woman, till ye be clear that God hath decreed her to be your Wife? When or whom would ye Marry at this rate of reasoning? But 2. Because there is a sort of facultie and facilitie here to dispute against God, I answer by way of question, were there ever any that had that doubt cleared to them before they came to Christ? whoever would have come to him, if they had stayed till that had been taken out of the way? Or hath the Lord told that to any before they came? Hath he said to them, believe for ye are Elected: but his method is thus, believe, and ye shall know in due time that ye are Elected. 3 Is there any that can say, that the offer or the refusall of the match depended on this? If any of you will say, because I was not elected, he refused me: He will answer, How often would I have gathered you? And there will need no more ground for sentencing Professors of the Gospel to destruction, then this, Man, woman, thou hadst the offer of the Gospel and refusedst it, therefore go to thy place: he will not Judge you according to the decree of reprobation, but according to his call and your disobedience to it: And further ye may take Christs Answer to this Objection, from John 6.39. Where there are two wills, or rather two things willed, of equal extent betwixt the Father and Christ in the Covenant of Redemption, under which all the elect come: The First is vers. 39. This is the Fathers will which hath sent me, that of all that he hath given me, I should lose nothing; But, as if he had said, this is not it that ye have to do with at first hand: Therefore vers. 40. He sayes. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one that seeth the Son and Believeth on Him may have everlasting life: Not that all the elect should know that they are elected, before they Believe; but that he that Believes in Him, may know that he is Elected: He gives the same promise to them that Believe, that is given to them that are Elected: and they are distinguished, because He would have them to come under distinct considerations.
And now to conclude, Is there not need, great need to come? and have ye not good warrand to come? Lay by, therefore, seeking satisfaction to sense and carnal reason: and •hile the Lord sayes, All things are ready, come to the Marriage: It will be greatly to your prejudice, to sit or shift the invitation: ye have the Contract laid before you, alter not the Terms, dispute not, delay not: This is our Commission to you to day, We tell you that the King hath made ready for the Feast, yea all things are ready come then and let there be no more debate about the matter: if ye will but say it and say it in earnest, Here Lord Jesus I give up my self to thee, and though my consent be now but confused, I shall endeavour, through Grace to give it more clearly and distinctly another time: It shall go well with you: only deliver up your selves to him: and in the Lords Name I tell you, that ye shall be dearly welcome: as many as come humbly lothing themselves, wond’ring at the free Grace of God, and Highly esteeming of Precious and lovely Jesus, and adventuring to hazard their souls on him on his own terms, and to take him for their Husband and Lord: It shall not be accounted Presumption in them so to do: nay (as it is Cant. 3.) The bottom of his Chariot is Paved with love, and it’s for the daughters of Jerusalem: It is made for carrying and keeping Believers: leap hither (if I may speak so) and ye will fall soft, into a sweetly Perfumed and soft bed, even in the arms of Christ: There was never a Carpet, never a feather or doun-bed so soft as that is: only come and cast your selves over on it: Though ye think that ye cannot apprehend and take hold of him, He can and will apprehend and take hold of you; and He is so very tender hearted, that he will kisse you and even weep over you for joy, (as it were) on your neck: and if ye have no Garments, Rings or Jewels (to speake so) to adorne you, He will give these to you: Come forward then, come, O! come, and let it be a day of Covenanting with him: and in signe and token thereof give up your names to him: and for confirmation, take the Seal of His Covenant the Sacrament with your hand, and bless Him with your heart, that so heartily welcomes you; and the blessing of God shall come upon you that come on these terms.