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r the Roman*, who were the Executioners of God's Vertgeiince upofi them, for they destroy'd the Murderers that -£ewihi*5ervants, (aek'd Jerufulem, and laid both the Temple an<k City in a(hes. Behold (laith our Saviour) your House is left unto you desolate, and ' all things a*e fallen to iUtter fuin. Which made him} when he drew near the City, weep over it, faying, 0 that thou hadft known in this thy day the things, that belong to thy Peace, but now they are hid from thine eyer. ' . . • '.'.....' 1 * r
. This, is the First Part of this Parable, which contains the many gracious Offers of Mercy and Pardon made to God's -own- People the Jews, together with . thei* wilful Refufal us them all, and God's utter Rejection of them'for their obstinate Infidelity and Unbelief.' ,b.' , // ri.-j t; ; . . f '. j _ '-, .x"-..'J'
The Second'Pact of it refers to God's calling in of the Gentiles, andtaking them within the Pale of his Church, who were before Aliens and Strangers. And that begins in the neat Verse: Then saith he tshis Servants, iheWeddingis ready, but they who were bidden were not worthy ; go ye therefare into the High-ways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the Marriage: meanings that tho all things are prepar'd for this Wedding or Gospel-Feast, yet the principal Guests that were invited, are not prepar'd for it; and having by their wilful Contempt shew'd themselves unworthy of it, they-shall be waited for no longer. Go ye therefore into the Highways, where the Heathens and Gentiles walk, and how vile soever they may seem in yortr eyes, bring them in to .the Feast. St. Luke expresses it thus ., Go ye quickly into the Streets and Lanes of the City, arid bring inhither the Poor and the Maim'd, the Halt and the Blind. AH that you meet with, whether Poor or Rich, Gentle or Simple, preach the Gospel to them, and invite them to the Feast. Here is God Almighty's free and general Invitation to all People and Nations, to come in and accept of the Grace and Favour of the Gospel: Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the Waters, come buy and eat; yea, come buy Wint and Milk without Mony and without Price. The Apostles Gommistion was, Go and preach to all Nations, make Disciples of them, and bring them to me. Which Commission they executed, as the next words tell us: So those Servants went out into the Highways, and gather'd together all as many as they found, both bad and good ; and the Wedding was furnish'd with Guests.- This was the calling in answer or excuse for his Rudeness. And therefore' his doom was pronounc'd in the next words, T%en said the King it the Servants, Bind him Hand' and Foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer Darkness; there sha.il be weeping and gnashing of Teeth. This will be the fad Doom of all unworthy Receivers of God's Holy Word and Sacraments, they will be for ever depriv'd of Me Light and Comfort of both, and be fentent'd to outer'and eternal Darkness: so that ,tis. not all who come to this Feast,' that will find a Welcome, for as the Jews were rejected and punish'd with utter Exrision, for not coming to it at all, so the intruding Gentile was rebuk'd and punish'd with Damnation for coming to it unworthily.
To all which ,tis added in the Close, that many are calFd, but few are chosen: that is, many are call'd to the external Privileges'of the Gospel, that are not inwardly and effectually call'd or converted by them ., which makes the number of those small, who are the chosen Vessels fitted for Glory, ahdseal'd by the Holy Spirit to eternal Life.
Thus we see the Sense and Scope of this Parable, appointed to be read as the Gospel for this Day, from which we may infer many useful and profitable Lessons. As, : '.' - 1. From the free general Invitation to thjs Gospel Feast, we learn the transcendent Love of God to Mankind, in making such ample and excellent Provision for them, and then Courting them to accept it. He gave us his Son to espouse our Cause, and to be in a manner contracted and married to us-, who furnish'd a Table, to keep a Fellbwship and Correspondence with us, loving us to the very Death, and instituting a Feast in remembrance of it: to which- he is plea's'dso invite all Men without exception, sending his Servants or Ministers to call and compel them to come in to taste and see that the Lord is gracious. And what unparalkl'd Instances of Love are these? God sir lovedthe'Worldf (laith St. John)that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him (hould not perish, but have everlasting Life., And elsewhere, Behold I what manner of Love is this, wherewith the Father hath loved us? St.Paul like one in a Rapture at the Thoughts of it, cries out, Oh the Height and Depth, and Breadth and Length of the Love of God, that paffeth Knowledg! Which should teach us not only to admire, but readily to accept, and answer the Delign of it.
2. From 2* From God's renewing his Invitation to the Jews, upon their first Refufal, and sending other Servants,to call and woo them to the Wedding ^ we learn not only the great Love, but the great Patience and Long-suffering of God towards them. Like an importunate Lover, he gave not out upon the first Denial, but renew'd his Suit, and sent other Ambassadors to beseech them to be reconcil'd and come. He did not punish the Contempt of his Grace and his Word presently, but expected to see whether they would repent and comply; which shews his infinite Tenderness and Forbearance.
3. From their standing out and refusing all these Calls and Obligations j we learn their prodigious Obstinacy and Ingratitude, that nothing could prevail or work upon them: Neither the tenderest Bowels, nor the most importunate Entreaties, nor the largest Offers of Mercy or Kindneft could win them to any Compliance. And .there are but too many such Monsters still, who can resist all these Charms, and turn a deaf Ear to all the Calls and Invitations of the Gospel.
4. We learn hence, the Justice of God in punistiing these Jews with utter Rejection, for their incorrigible Obstinacy and Disobedience. When Men have fill'd up the Measure of their Iniquities, and become so obdurate and harden'd in them, that nothing can reclaim or amend them j then do they become ripe for Destruction^ and leave themselves without Excuse or Remedy. This was the Case of the jews, and will be the fad Fate of all stubborn and impenitent Sinners. , .
5. From the Excuses made in the Parable for not coming to the Marriage-feast, we learn that Earthly-mindedness and an inordinate Love of this World, ii the main Hindrance from the Pursuit of better and more heavenly Matters j for all their Excuses were taken from thence: one went to his Farm, and another to his Merchandize 9 one had a Piece of Ground to see, another a Yoke of Oxen to try, and another was kept from coming by his Wife: and all these made light of Christ, by hearkening to Mammon; and so prefer'd the perishing Trifles of Earth, before the everlasting Treasures of Heaven. But such Pretences cannot but appear vain and frivolous at present, and will-ra^ ther aggravate than avail any thing at the last Day.
6. From the severe Punishment inflicted on the Jews, for not coming to this Wedding-supper, we learn the great
Vol.IV* Parti, Ff Danjer
Danger of absenting our selves from God's holy Word and Sacraments. They who refus'd to come to the Feast of the Passover, were to be cut off from among the People, Exod. 12. and they who here rejected the Dainties of the Gospel, were rejected themselves, and utterly cast off for ever. Which should make us afraid of wilfully abstaining from the Lord's Table, or refusing the Bread of Life, that is there tender'd to us.
7. From the dreadful Sentence pronounc'd against him, who came to this Feast without a Wedding-Garment, we may learn the extreme Danger, as of not coming at all, so of coming to it unworthily. The Danger is exceeding great on both fides: for he that cometh not at all, starves his Soul, by withholding from it its proper Food ; and he that cometh unworthily, poisons his Soul, by corrupting this facred Nourishment: Death and Damnation will be the certain End and Issue of both. To prevent which lad Events, let us take care to prepare our selves beforehand, by Faith and Repentance 3 and then reverently approach this Holy Table with a lacred Hunger and Thirst after Righteousness, and then we may be lure to be fill'd. Let us put on our Wedding-Garment, which consists not in the Finery of outward Attire, of which many are careful enough, but in the inward Ornaments of a meek, humble, and quiet Spirit, which are in the sight of God of great Price.
Lastly, From the concluding Words of the Parable, Marty are caisd, but few are chosen^ let us learn not to depend wholly upon the outward Call to the Privileges of the Gospel, but labour to be inwardly call'd by the renewing of our Minds, that we may be found in the number of those that are chosen to eternal Life.