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things are laid up, or kept in store. In this adorable person, and most wonderful offices and transactions, Jesus exhausts every one of those significations. He is, 1. The everlasting Son of the Father, as God; and the Son of Mary, as man.-2. He is the effectual, the only, and the certain Saviour, i. e. deliverer and preserver, of his elect body, the church. ---3. He is the alone peace-maker between God and men, by the infinitely precious blood of his cross.
4. He prospered and prevailed, to the uttermost, in the whole and in every branch of his mediatorial undertaking. No part of his success, as a Saviour, is uncertain, or suspended on a peradventure. The reward of his humiliation lies in the absolute and infallible salvation of every individual sinner for whom he died. And, as his work was perfect, his reward is sure.-5. For him, all things are reserved. He is the appointed heir of all things; the Omega, or central end, no less than the Alpha, or author, of the worlds. All beings are by him, and for him. The elect, both angels and men, stoop to the sceptre of his grace; and the reprobate, both diabolic and human, must submit to the rod of his power.
To him shall the gathering of the people be. It is plain, from this clause of the text before us, that redemption by Christ is not that random and precarious thing, which the Arminian scheme pretends. The salvation he wrought, does not lie at sixes and sevens. It is, by no means, unsettled, uncertain, or undetermined. The dignity of his divine person, the infinite value of his obedience and sacrifice, together with the justice of his Almighty Father to whom the inestimable price was paid, render it impossible that any single soul should perish, for whom such a Redeemer died. It is neither at the option, nor in the power, of thy corrupt free-will, to render his mediation effectual or ineffectual. All is firmly fixed by the unalterable will, the immoveable de
cree, and the everlasting covenant, of the uncreated Three. Christ did not come into the world at haphazard, nor live and die for a may be. He was born, and shed his blood, for a peculiar people, whom his own sanctifying grace was to make zealous of good works; Titus ii. 14. and that he might gather together into one glorified company, all the children of God that were scattered abroad, John xi. 52.
The elect world are the great all, for whom he lived and bled: even the whole world of his predestinated people. And every one of these his people, shall be gathered to him: to him shall the gathering of the people be. As surely as they were created by his power; so surely shall they, in conversion, be gathered to him, by the efficacious grace of his holy Spirit. As surely as Christ was born for them, at Bethlehem; so surely shall he be formed in them, their hope of glory, by the washing of regeneration and the renewal of the Holy Ghost.
And indeed were not this the case, the whole of Jacob's prophecy would not be true. The text positively avers, that the people (i. e. the elect people of God) shall be gathered to Christ. And, if free grace say, ay; it is in vain for free-will to say, no. God hath said, The people shall be gathered: and faith echoes back the promise, with "Then gathered the people shall be; for thy counsel must stand, and thou wilt do all thy pleasure." Happy it is for us, that God hath taken upon himself, to gather and convert us to his Son. Unless he was the gatherer, not one of us would ever be gathered. Free-will never yet led a sinner to Christ; and never will, while the world remains. We are free enough, to depart from God and holiness; but we are not free and desirous to return to him, and forsake our sins, and be conformed to him in righteousness, until his
grace make us free in the day of his power upon our hearts. Free-will has led millions and millions of souls to the place of torment, but it never lifted a single soul to heaven. All the sins that ever were committed, were committed by free-will: but it is only the transforming grace of God, that inspires and
adorns us with the mind that was in Christ.
You, therefore, who profess to believe in Jesus, as the Shiloh that was conceived of the Holy Ghost, and born of the virgin Mary, beg of God, that he may not permit you to rest satisfied with a mere speculative assent to the gospel history. If we are saved in the next life, we must be gathered to Christ in this. Nothing short of the inward, effectual call, can stamp us Christians in deed and in truth. Nothing will make us lead holy lives on earth, but an experience of the life and power of grace in our souls. Nor will any thing short of Jacob's faith, make us face death with Jacob's comfort.
And what is death to those that are born of God? It is but another gathering of them unto Christ. The soul of a saint is gathered from the body, as a flower from the stalk; to adorn the court of heaven, and to bloom for ever in the bosom of God. They who are gathered to him by grace, are, at death, only gathered into glory.
Their bodies, too, shall be gathered from the grave, and rescued from the dominion of death; when Shiloh comes, the second time, to renew the face of the earth, and to begin his millennial reign. He, whose voice is as the sound of many waters, will say to his angels, when he appears in the clouds of heaven, Gather my saints together unto me, who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice: who died, trusting in my righteousness, and depending on the merit of my blood, which I shed for the remission of their sins, when I offered myself up in sacrifice on the cross.
To him, in some sense, shall all flesh come. Before him shall be gathered all nations, and at his tribunal shall every knee bow. Thus, in every signification of the term, to him shall the gathering of the people be and he will sever them, one from another, as a shepherd divideth the sheep from the goats; and set the sheep on his right hand, and the goats on his left.
Eternal Spirit of grace, gather us here to him, by the energy of thy renewing power! so, at death, shall our souls be gathered into heaven: and our mortal bodies shall be sown in the grave, only to be ripened and refined, until the resurrection of the just.
As the opening of the present year has recalled a train of reflections, which have not been wholly useless to myself, I transmit the substance of them to the press (a); at the same time, breathing up my earnest wishes to the great Sovereign of eternity and Author of time, in behalf of my readers, and of myself, that, together with a new year, he would be graciously pleased to give us new hearts, and enable us to lead new lives; renew and brighten our experiences and our evidences; give us new hold on the everlasting covenant; and write the law of faith and obedience, by the finger of his Spirit, on our inmost souls, more deeply, more feelingly, more comfortably, and more visibly than ever. So shall we rise into an increasing meetness for that state of glory, where the distributions of duration are not measured and regulated by a created sun; but Jesus, the uncreated and eternal sun of righteousness, shines, and will for ever shine, on the whole choir of his glorifying and glorified people.-Phosphore, redde diem!
A considerable part of the following meditation refers to the doctrine of the millennium: a doctrine which many excellent persons are inclined to disapprove. It may be proper to assure these, that as much as relates to that article, is inserted, not with a view to offend, or to perplex the mind of any man; much less, with an intention to obtrude my own private opinion upon other people, or even to proselyte a single reader to the
(a) Originally inserted in a periodical publication-EDITOR.