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1 proclaim to all in this assembly this day, all things are now ready; come unto the marriage. And why should you not all comply? why should any of you exclude yourselves ? Let every one resolve for himself, “ for my part, I will not make myself that shocking exception." How do you now but this resolution is now forming in the person that sits or stands next to you? And shall you be left behind ? Will you, as it were, shut the door of heaven against yourselves with your own hand ? I once more assure you, there is yel room, room for you all. There are Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the patriarchs, and yet there is room.
There are many from the east, and from the west, from the north, and froin the south, and yet there is room, There are persecuting Manasseh and Paul ; there are Mary Magdalene, the demoniac, and Zaccheus, the publican, and yet there is room. There is the once incestuous and excommunicated, but afterwards penitent Corinthian ; nay, there are several of the Corinthians, who, as St. Paul tells us, were once fornicators, idolaters, effeminate, Sodomites, covelous, thieves, drunkards, revilers, and extortioners, yet there they now are, washed, sanctified, justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God; and there may you also be, though vile as they, if, with them; you come in at the call of the gospel : for yet there is room. There is, says St. John, Rev. vii. 9. a great multitude, which no man can number, out of every kindred, and tongue, and nation ; muhitudes from Europe, Asia, Africa and America ; and yet there is room. There is room for you, poor negroes ! and for you, I hope, some vacant seats in heaven are reserved. Therefore, I turn to the Gentiles ; for to you also is the word of This salvation sent. You may, with peculiar propriety, be represented by the poor, the blind, the halt, and maimed, in the highways and hedges. To you therefore I am sent with the offer of all the rich blessings of the gospel : and let me tell you, you are in extreme need of them, whether you feel your want or not: you need them more than liberty, than food, than health, than life itself; and without them you must perish forever. Come then, let this feast be adorned with your sable countenances, and furnished with guests from the savage wilds of Africa. Do not mistake me, as if I was just now inviting you to sit down at the Lord's table : alas! many have sat there, who are now banished forever from that Saviour, whom they professed to commemorate ; and shut up in the prison of hell. But I am inviting you VOL, II.
to accept of the blessings of the gospel, which I have briefly explained to you. A hearty consent to this, and nothing short of it, will save you.
Come then, ye poor Africans, come add yourselves to the guests at this divine entertainment ; for yet there is room for you, and you are as welcome as kings and princes.
There being so much room lest unoccupied in the spacious apartment, is represented as an excitement to the master of the feast to send out his servant to invite more guests : for when the servant had made this report, the master immediately orders him to go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that his house might be filled. He could not bear it, that the seats about his table should be empty, or his provisions be lost for want of guests. So the blessed God will not suffer the death of his Son to be in vain, nor the mansions he has prepared to be empty. That Jesus may see his spiritual seed, and the travail of his soul, and be satisfied; and that the heavenly mansions he has prepar
be furnished with guests, God has appointed the ministry of the gospel, and the means of grace, to be continued from age to age ; for this end he exercises a providential government over the world, and manages all its affairs in subserviency to the grand scheme of redemption, for peopling the heavenly world with colonies transplanted from our guilty globe. For this he has continued our sinful world, so ripe for destruction, through the space of near 6000 years'; and he will not be defeated in his purpose. "If you and thousands more should resuse, yet his feast shall be fur. nished with guests. He will send his gospel where it will not pass for such a trifle as it does among many of us. He will send it, where thousands of perishing sinners will eagerly embrace it, and obtain eternal salvation by it. But 0 ! how deplorable will be your loss ! Since his house shall and must be filled, O! why should it not be filled from Virginia, and particularly from among you, my dear people? Will you not make trial, whether there be not seats prepared in heaven for you? whether there be not room in the arms of divine mercy for you? whether the blood of Christ has not efficacy to procure pardon and life even for you, great sinners as you are ? How can I forbear to urge this proposal upon my dear congregation? We meet together in the house of God on earth ; and many of us sit down together at his table. And O! why should we not all meet together at the great supper of ihe Lamb in heaven? Why should we not, as it were, make an appointment, and engage to meet one another there, after the dispersion which death will soon make among us? While transported with so agreeable a thought, I feel myself zealous to execute the commission in my text.
Compel them to come in. Overcome them with arguments, subdue them with persuasions and entreaties, take no denial ; never give over till you prevail. This is the commission of gospelministers : and O! that one of the meanest of them may be enabled to act according to it!
The patrons of persecution, those common enemies of liberty, religion, and human nature, have tortured this text to speak in their favour : and it has been their misfortune to be confirmed in their savage sentiment by the opinion of good St. Augustine, who understood it as authorizing and even requiring the propagation of Christianity, and the suppression of erroneous opinions, by the terrors of the secular power. In answer to this, I might observe, that we often find the word here rendered compel,* used in such a mild sense, as to signify only a compulsion by argument and entreaty. But it is sufficient to observe, that it is evident Christ never commissioned his apostles, nor did they ever pretend to propagate his religion, like Mahomet, with a sword in their hand, but by dint of evidence, and the power of the Holy Spirit :-and indeed, no other arms were fit to propagate a rational religion. The terrors of the secular arm may scare men into the profession of a religion, but they have no tendency to enlighten the understanding, or produce a real faith ; and therefore they are fitted only to make hypocrites, but can never make one genuine, ration: al christian. The weapons of the apostolic warfare, which were so mighty through God, were miracles, reasoning, entreaty, and the love of a crucified Saviour ; and these were adapted to the nature of the human mind, to subdue it without violence, and sweetly captivate every thought into obedience to Christ.
These weapons, as far as they may be used in our age, I would try upon you. I would compel you to come in, by considerations
So Matt. xiv. 22. and Mark vi. 45 nvd[mart • 'Incês tes perlas árs Gue@mvær, Jesus compelled or constrained his disciples to go into a ship. St. Paul, in his reproof to St. Peter, Gal. ii. 14. tells him, “Why dost thou compel or constrain [únce[
xlas) the Gentiles to act as do the Jews !" In which places, the word signifies to compel, not by violence, but by command, persuasion, or example. And in this sense men are, and ought to be, compelled to embrace the gospel.--Thus Tertullian, Qui studuerit in. telligere, cogetur et credere,
50 weighty and affecting, that they must prevail, unless reason, gratitude, and every generous principle, be entirely lost within you. By the consideration of your own extreme, perishing ne. cessity; by the consideration of the freeness, the fulness, and sufficiency of the blessings offered ; by the dread authority, by the mercy and love of the God that made you, and who is your constant Benefactor : by the meekness and gentleness of Christ : by the labours and toils of his life : by the agonies of his death : by his repeated injunctions, and by his melting invitations : by the operation of the Holy Spirit upon your hearts, and by the warnings of your own consciences : by the eternal joys of heas, en, and the eternal pains of hell : by these considerations, and by every thing sacred, important, and dear to you ; I exhort, I en. treat, I charge, I adjure you, I would compel you to come in, You have refused, you have loitered, you have hesitated long enough : therefore now at length come in ; come in immediate, ly, without delay. Come in, that these rich provisions may not be lost for want of partakers, and that God's house may be.com. pletely furnished with guests. As yet there is room; as yet the guests are invited ; as yet the door is not shut. The number of those who shall enjoy this great salvation is not yet made up Therefore you may press in among them, and be added to their happy company. But, ere long, the ministry of the gospel will be withdrawn, the servants be recalled, and no longer be sent to search for you. The door of heaven will be shut against all the workers of iniquity. Therefore, now is the time to come in.
I shall only urge, as another persuasive, the awful denunciation that concludes my text : I say unto you, none of those men who were bidden, and refused the invitation, shall so much as taste of, my supper ; that is, none who now, refuse to receive the blessings of the gospel, as they are offered, shall ever enjoy any of them; but must consume away a miserable eternity in the want of all that is good and happy.
PRE NATURE OF JUSTIFICATION, AND THE NATURE AND CON
Row. I. 16, 17. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God into salvation to every one that believeth ; to the Jew first and also to the Greek : for therein the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith-Or, therein is the righteousness of God by faith revealed to faith.*
HOWEVER little the gospel of Christ is esteemed in the world, it is certainly the most gracious and important dispensation of God towards the sons of men, or else our Bible is mere. extravagance and fable ; for the Bible speaks of it with the highest encomiums, and the sacred writers are often in transports when they mention it. It is called the gospel of the grace of God, Acts XX. 24. the gospel of salvation, Eph. i. 13. the glorious gospel, or, the gospel of the glory of Christ, 2 Cor. iv. 4. the gospel of peace, Eph. vi. 15. nay, its very name has something endearing in the sound, [Evier rincov,] good tidings, joyful news. It is the wisdom of God in a mystery, 1 Cor. ii. 7. the mystery which had been hid from ages and from generations, Col. i. 26. the ministration of the Spirit, and of righteousne88, which far exceeds all former dispensations in glory. 2 Cor. iii. 8, 9. And it is represented as the only scheme for the salvation of sinners. When the wisdom of the world had used its utmost efforts in vain, it pleased God, by the despised preaching of this humble gospel, to save them that believe. 1 Cor. i. 21. In my text it is called the power of God rinto salvation to every one that believeth, whether Jew or Gensile. St. Paul, though the humblest man that ever lived, declares he would not be ashamed of professing and preaching the gospel of Christ, even in Rome, the metropolis of the world, the seat of learning, politeness and grandeur. He represents it as a catholicon, an universal remedy, equally adapted to Jews and Greeks, to the posterity of Abraham, and to the numerous Gentile nations, and equally needed by them all.