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are found, they have lost the Sceptre of Judah. They are without a King. For they have no civil government of their own. Neither have they a a Prince, to go in, and out, before them. They have no sacrifice; that is, no Altar, on which to offer sacrifice; none of the five signs of the temple. No Image, or pillar of commemoration. No Ephod, or Teraphim: neither Urim, nor Thummim, remaining. For though in many countries, they are tolerated with Synagogues, yet the real Temple service is over. They have no Prophets to instruct, and neither Altars to approach God by sacrifice: and neither ephod, or teraphim, as mediums, to receive communications from him. Nothing indeed remaining, but the fullest indications, that God hath accomplished his purposes concerning them, and scattered them, as he had said, amidst all the nations of the earth.
Who can read those scriptures, and behold their denunciations so awfully fulfilled, unmoved. Who but must feel for God's ancient People, when we call to mind, that to them pertained the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises : whose are the fathers, and of whom, as concerning the flesh Christ çame, who is over all. God blessed for ever. *
* Romans 9. 4. 3.
You, that have received the spirit of adoption, whereby you cry Abba Father: that can look back, and recollect, when you were enemies to God by wicked works aliens to the common wealth of Israel having no hope and without God in the world: Is it possible for you to reflect, on the happy state, into which you are now brought, in being gathered to your Almighty Shiloh, without admiring, the wonders of redeeming grace; and without feeling, the rising thankfulness in the heart, towards the Great Author of them? Can any man indeed stand convinced, of the truth of what the Apostle hath said ; that the fall of them is the riches of the world and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles: and remain insensible, to a mercy so distinguishing?
And will not the believer in the expectation of the accomplishment of this blessed promise implore the mercy seat for them, and say, Lord hasten the time for the latter-day glory, when
Tha thoi | Hosea 3. 5.
thou wilt call home thy banished ones from afar; when the Deliverer shall arise out of Zion to turn away ungodliness from Jacob! When the fulness of the Gentiles shall be completed and all Israel be saved! And when both Jew and Gentile shall be brought into one fold under one Shepherd Jesus Christ the righteous.
I proceed now to the second object proposed, namely, to explain, what is meant by the gathering of the people unto him, in the certainty of the effect and the Persons who are expressly said to be gathered.
In this branch of my discourse, I desire you to remark with me, the particular form of expression made 'use of, unto him shall the gathering of the people be. From whence you perceive, that the event is not left to hazard, or uncertainty, but it is spoken of, as a fixed and determined thing, it shall be. And when you .consider in what infinite resources the assurance is founded; that it is the result of an eternal counsel, formed in the divine mind, in which each of the Persons of the Godhead concur, to bring forward its establishment; the Father's sovereign grace; the Redeemer's inestimable purchase; and the Holy Ghost's effectual application: what shall possibly arise, to frustrate those united operations? If Jehovah saith, to Him shall the gathering of the People be, who shall say nay? His counsel must stand and he will do all his pleasure.
Of Of all subjects which can employ the mind of man, and call into exercise his intellectual faculties, the contemplation of this fundamental truth, in the certainty of his salvation, is without all doubt the highest, and the best.
That it must be the sole work of God, to gather his people to himself, is a doctrine, to which the humble soul, when once brought under divine teachings, will easily be led to acknowledge. But to trace the distinct, and peculiar acts, of each person in the Godhead, in order to form a clear conception, of the personal operations of each to confirm and make it sure ; to teach us also, how much we stand in need of the peculiar aids of each, so as to call up suitable waitings, and to awake suitable acknowledgments, to all ; these points forn, not only a subject to give firmness to the soul, but serve to open at the same time, a source of the greatest consolation, and holy joy, the mind is capable of feeling, in the present state of things.
The distinct act of choosing, and laying the foundation, for the salvation of sinners, and appointing the means for the accomplishment; in giving the Son to be the Saviour of the world ; and his people to the Son; these acts are peculiarly ascribed in Scripture, to God the Father. Blessed (says the Apostle) be the God and Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings, in heavenly places in Christ, according as he hath chosen us in him, before the foundation of the world. §
The actual work of redemption, is as expressly declared, to be the part of God the Son; and the purchase of his righteousness and blood. And hence all the privileges of the covenant are said to be the sure mercies of David. We have redemption through his blood even the forgiveness of sins. *
But the effectual application in every individual instance of it, to the soul is the Spirit's operation, from beginning to end. And hence called, a renewing of the Holy Ghost shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour. +
Thus all the persons of the Godhead, have their distinct, and peculiar operations, in the great work of redemption. And each graciously contributes, to the accomplishment of the blessed purpose. So that a channel of communication is opened, for the apprehension, and enjoyment of each, personally and individually: and yet at the same time, the soul never loseth sight, of that fundamental doctrine, that these three are one.
But § Ephes. 1. 3. 4. * Ephes. 1. 7. of Titus 3. 5.6.