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Jews, if it be not some of the despicable fort, the Publicans and finners, the halt and the blind, but none ot the Scribes and Pharisees will come in; " Go out into the high ways and hedges, (i. e. to the open country; pick up the vagrant, the poor fraggling Gentiles,) and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.” Where we may observe the three following particulars.
· 1. A commission given to ministers, shewing what they are to do towards finners, to whom they minister in sacred things, or to whom they preach the gospel, Compe! ibem.
2. The design of this commission, what end they are to have in view and aim at by this compulsion, Compel them to come in.
- 3. The reason affigned for all this work, of compelJing them to come in, namely, that my ?cuse may led. As if the Malier should fay, These whom to deal win?. will be very shy and backward, and will hardly believe that they shall be welcome : therefore, there is a certain kind of compulsion must be used towards them ; you must be in earnest, and very importunate with them to come in to me, and share of the provision I have made for them, that by this means the number". of my ranfomed ones may be completed, the outcalis of Israel may be gathered, my table may be furnithed, my church and house may be filled. But I refer the further explication of the words to the prosecution of the fol. lowing doctrine.
Observ. "The ministers of Christ have a power and
“ warrant to compel finners to come in to him, that “ his house may be filled.”
The doctrine being much the same with the text, I need not stand upon the proof of it. You have this matter very elegantly represented, Prov. ix. 1,-5. " Wisdom laih builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pil. . lars. . She hath killed her beasts, the hath mingled her wine; the hath also furnished her table. She hath sent forth Her maidens, she crieth upon the highest places of the city, Whofo is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that
wanteth understanding, she faith to him, Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled.” Ministers have authority from their Master, to rebuke, exhort, command, and compel.
We shall endeavour the prosecution of this subject, through divine aid, in the following method. I. We shall speak of the ministerial commission and
authority, imported in this word, Compel them. II. Of the end and design of it, namely, that they
come in ; Compel them to come in. III. We fhail Ipeak of the reason, viz. That bis house
may be filled. IV. Make fome application of the whole.
I. We are to speak of this ministerial power and authority, imported in this expreslion, Compel tbem. And here we are to touch at three things; 1. Who are they that have this anthority to compel. 2. Whom they have warrant to compel. 3. What is the nature and import of this compulsion.
ist, Who are they that have this authority to compel. The context shews, that they are the servants of Chrill; “ The Lord said unto the fervants, Go." Here is the office of the gospel-minister; he is the servant of Chrilt and of his church; "We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake,” 2 Cor. iv. 5. Their station in the church is not as lords of God's beritage, but servants.
This does not at all detract from their minifterial office, while we consider that Christ came not to be minifred unto, but to minister and serve. If he was the Father's servant, and our servant in his Father's bufinesș, furely it is no small honour to be his servant, and a férvant to immortal fouls for his fake; only here we see, that the apostles themselves did not pretend to be lordly Prelates, nor affume to themselves a domination in the church, as having dominion over their faith, but as helpers of their joy, 2 Cor. i. 24.
Nor can it be constructed a flavery, where it is for Jesus' lake, to promote the honour and interest of Christ in the church, and to act, not as an inferior, menial fer
vant, but as one clothed with authority, in the Master's nane, to compel.
This office of the minister, as a servant, imports botlı suitable abilities, and a call to improve thene for the Master's use in his house.
1. It fupposes and imports qualifications and abilities, fitting them for the discharge of this work in fome meafure: “Every scribe that is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven, is like a man that is an houfholder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old,” Mat. xiii. 52. And there is a threefold stock of ability that he should have: 1. A stock of graces; for, if one be not a good Christian, he will never make a good minister. 2. A stock of gifts and learning, that he may be able to convince gainsayers, and may be apt to teach. stock of experiences, that he may teach what he knows himself, that knowing both the terrors and comforts of the Lord, he may persuade men: that also he may be able to fay, “I believe, and therefore speak; and what I have heard and feen, and felt, declare I unto you;” otherwise his preaching will be, at best, but like cold milk in a vessel, and not like warnı milk from the breast.
2. This office supposes and imports a divine call. It is not sufficient to warrant any man to meddle with the ministerial office, that he hath a competent stock of abiJities and qualifications, fitting him for the work; except he hath allo a ministerial power conveyed to him, either immediately by God, as it was in the apostles, which was such an extraordinary call, as we are not now to expect : or mediately, according to the order which God hath eltablished in his church. This ordinary, mediate call is twofold, either outward or inward.
(1.) The outward call by the church, (including both the judgment of the eldership or presbytery, and the eJection of the congregation, when the minister is to be fixed to any particular charge.) God hath given to his church, or to the lawful courts and judicatories thereof, a ininisterial power, whereby, upon trial and knowledge of a man's abilities for that work, they make manifest that God hath called him ; for it is not the church that makes the minister, but God himself, by conferring ministerial qualifications; the church only declares and authorifes for exercise, these whom God doth qualify for such purpose. It is God himself, who makes any to be able ministers of the new testament, 2 Cor. iii. 6.
(2.) There is the inward call of the Spirit of God, of which I apprehend, that, as it lies in the Lord's quali. fying a man with gifts and graces for that work; (for, without these qualifications, God calls none, whatever men do) fo it lies also in the Lord's quickening, inclining, and firring them up to improve these talents which he hath given, for his service in the gospel of Christ; and in their having the testimony of a good conscience, that the notive that presses them is God's glory, and the edification of the church.
This outward and inward call and commission is de. clared necessary; "How shall they preach, except they be sent ?” Ron. X. 15. Here then is the servant, but what the service is, will fall in afterwards. Having then shewed who they are that have this authority to compel, I come to Thew,
2 dly, Whom they are warranted to compel, or whom does their office oblige them to deal with, by calling and compelling them to come in? Why, upon the Jews their rejecting of Christ and the gospel, the commission here feems to respect the rustic Gentiles; or all these who are represented to be, as in verses 21. 23. in the streets and lanes, in the high-ways and hedges, as to their situation; and to be poor, maimed, halt, and blind, as to their condition. The first and leading part of the ministerial work relates to the bringing in these who are strangers to Christ; and afterwards the feeding and edi. fying of these that are brought in. · But first they are to compel ibem to come in: THEM; whom?
1. Aliens that are without doors: Witbout, it is faid, are dogs. But even fuch dogs as the Gentiles were, may come in when the door is opened to them. We are to open the door to these who are aliens to the common. wealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenant of promise, Eph. ii. 12. Even those that are without Christ, with. out hope, and without God in the world; if they were not without, they need not to be called to come in.
2. They .
2. They are warranted to call in the poor; for, “To, the poor the gospel is preached :" both these that are outwardly poor, and in mean outward circumstances in the world; the rich generally contemn the gospel-offer : and also these who are inwardly poor; that is, destitute of all fpiritual good and excellencies; deftitute of grace and righteousness ; let them be called in to share of the grace and righteousness that is in Christ.
3. They are warranted to call in the maimed; that is, these who want legs or arins, unable to walk and unable to work. The call of the gospel is to be extended to maimed souls, as all naturally are, being by nature with. out strength, and destitute of all ability to walk, or work spiritually, that they may come where they will be furnished with power.
4. They are warranted to bring in the halt; the poor cripple fouls, who, if they have received any strength to walk, yet cannot go without halting. They are, like their master, to take up in their arms the poor lame sheep, that cannot follow the rest of the flock; for, “ He feeds his flock like a shepherd, and gathers his lambs with his arms,” Isa. xl. 11.
5. They are warranted to bring in the blind; representing how blind fouls, that have no eyes to fee, but are ignorant of God and Christ, and the way of salvati. on, are called to come and receive their fight; for Christ is given for a covenant of the people, a light to the Gentiles, to open the blind eyes, Ila. xlii. 7. And the great design, upon which God sends out a gospel-miniltry among people, is to open their eyes, and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, Acts xxvi. 18.
6. They are warranted to bring in wanderers; these that are in the highways and hedges : as if he should lay, The ftraggling vagrants, yea, the highway-man, the thief, the robber, the debauchee, the wicked and graceless, who are walking in the broad way to hell : for, as God, by the gospel, brings near his righteousoess and salvation, even to the stout-hearted and far from righteousness, Isa. xlvi. 12,13. fo Wisdom and her maidens, Christ and his fervants that he sends forth, are warrant