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the Romans, who were the Executioners of God's Ven. geance upon them; for they destroy'd the Murderers that flew ihis Servants, fack'd Ferufalem, and laid both the Temple and City in alhes. Bebold (faith our Saviour) your House is left unto you defolate, and all things are fallen to zutter quina. Which made him when he drew near the City, weep over it, faying, Othat thou hadît known in this thy day the things that belong to thy Peace, but now they are hid from :: 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 their wilful Refusal of them all, and God's utter Rejection of them for their obstinate Infidelity and Unbelief,
The Second Part of it refers to God's calling in of the Gentiles, and taking them within the Pale iof his Church, who were before Aliens and Strangers, And that begins in the next Verse: Then saith the to his Servants, the Wedding is ready, but they who were bidden were not worthy s go ye therefore into the High-ways, and as many as ye Mall find, bid to the Marriages meaning, 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 fhew'd themselves unworthy of it, they fhall 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 your eyes, bring thena in to the Feaft. St. Luke expresses it thus, Go ye quickly into the Streets and Lanes of the City, and bring in hither the poor and the Maim'd, the Halt and the Blind. All that you meet with, whether Poor or Rich, Gentle or Simple, preach the Gospel to then, 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 thirfteth, come ye to the Waters, come buy and ear ; yea, come buy Wine and Milk without Many and without Price. The Apostles Gommiflion was, Go and preach to all Nations, make Disciples of them, and bring them to me. Which Commiflion they executed, as the next words tell us : So those Servants went out into the Highways, and gather'd toge sher all as many as they found, both bad and good ; and the Wedding was furnish'd with Guests. This was the calling in
of the Gentiles to be Fellow-Heirs and Partakers of the manifold Grace of God. Before, In Jewry only was Ged knamn, and his Name was great in Ifrael. At Salen was his Tabernacle, and his Dwelling in Zion : he bad not dealt ja with other Nations, neither had the Heathens the knowledg of his Law. The Gentiles were excluded by a Partition-Wall from the Privileges of the Temple, and were - so many : Qytcasts and Strangers from the Covenant of Promise ; but here this Enclosure was broken down,; and both Jew and Gentile became, ali one in Christ Jefus avel
The Church now receives all both bad and good, base and honourable, Hypocrites, as well as fincere Christians, But yet Christ knows the one froni the other, and will make a distinction between them. For it follows in the next Verse, that when the King came in to see the Gueftis, bet Sap, there a Man, which had not 09, Wedding Garment : that is, he found there one, that came not formell dressid and prepar'd ası he hould be to the facredo Soleminity of such a Feaft. Here by a Wedding Sarment we are not to understand any outward Attire, Vestment, or Habit of the Body; for Christ looks noti nuch to that, tho too many elle do: but the Wedding Garment here refers to the in ward Dress and Ornaments of the Soul. The Person here spoken of, had not his Mind familh d with Knowledg, ito discern the Lord's Body.. nor his Heart with Grace, spiri. tually to feed upon it: his Soul was not so cloth'd with Humility, as, to be sensible of his Sips, of sorry for them; he had not on the Robes of any real Righteousness, either ing herent, or imputed; he camne not to this holy Table as he ought, with the Garments of Praise and Thanksgiving for the Mercies promis'd and convey'd by it. This undress’d or upprepard Person fell under the sharp Rebuke of the Mafter of the Feast, who faid unto him, Friend, hoto camelt thou in bither, not having a Wedding-Garments and he masSpeechless.
The Entertainer found one of the newly-receiv'd Gentiles crouding into the Feast in his heathenish Vices and Practices, without putting off the old Man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful Lufts, or putting on the new Man, which is renew'd in Righteousness and true Holiness, and having found him, he expoftulates the matter with hin, how he durft venture upon so holy a Feast in so unworthy and unholy a manner : and being press'd home with it, he was struck dumb, and had nothing to say in
answer or excuse for his Rudeness. And therefore his doom was pronounc'd in the next words, Then said the King' to the Servants, Bind him Hand and Foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer Darkness; there mall be weeping and gnashing of Teeth. This will be the sad Doom of all unworthy Receivers of God's Holy Word and Sacraments, they will be for ever depriv'd of the Light and Comfort of both, and be fentenc'd to outer and eternal Darkness : fo that 'tis not all who come to this Feaft, that will find a Welcome; for as the Jews were rejected and punish'd with utter Excision, for not coming to it at all, fo the intruding Gentile was rebuk'd and punish'd with Damnation for coming to it unworthily.
To all which 'tis added in the Clofe, that many are calld, but few are chosen that is, many are call’d to the external Privilèges of the Gospel, that are not inwardly and effe&tually callid or converted by them, which makes the number of those small, who are the chosen Vessels fitted for Glory, and seal’d by the Holy Spirit to eternal Life.
Thus we see the Senfe and Scope of this Parable, appointed to be read as the Gospel for this Day, from which we may infer many ofeful and profitable Lessons, As,
1. From the free general Invitation to this 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 Fellowship and Correspondence with us, loving us to the very Death, and instituting a Feaft in' remembrance of it : to which he is pleas’d to invite all Men without exception, fending his Servants or Ministers to call and compel them to come in 'to taste and see that the Lord is gracious. And what unparalleld Instances of Love are thefe ? God so loved the World (hith St. John) that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him mould not perish, but have everlasting Life. And elsewhere, Behold! 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 passeth Knowledg! Which fhould teach us not only to adnire, but readily to accept, and answer the Design of it,''
2. From God's renewing his Invitation to the Jews, upon their first Refusal, 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 fent 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 Ten. derness and Forbearance.
3. From their standing out and refusing all these Calls and Obligations; 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 Kindness 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 punishing these Jews with utter Rejection, for their incorrigible Obstinacy and Disobedience. When Men have filld up the Measure of their Iniquities, and become so obdurate and harden'd in them, that nothing can reclaim or amend them; 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, is the main Hindrance from the Pursuit of better and more heavenly Matters; for all their Excuses were taken from thence: one went to his Farn, and another to his Merchandize ; 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 williramu 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. IY: Part 20
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 sides: 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 fad Events, let us take care to prepare our felves beforehand, by Faith and Repentance; and then reverently approach this Holy Table with a facred Hunger and Thirst after Righteousness, and then we may be sure to be fillid. 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 neek, humble, and quiet Spirit, which are in the fight of God of
Lastly, From the concluding Words of the Parable, Ma. ny are calld, but few are chofen, let us learn not to depend wholly upon the outward Call to the Privileges of the Gofpel, 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