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tuous than that with which the poor, the halt, and the blind, if stationed as guests at the ta-r ble, would have been viewed by the proudest of those originally invited to the feast. Still however the guest-chamber was not full, "Theservant said; Lord, it is done as thou bq/i commanded: and yet there is room. And the Lord said unto the servant; Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to cotxe in, by urgent importunity and persuasion constrain them to enter, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, that none of those men which -were bidden shall taste of my supper' Though the apostles preached the Christian religion with great success among many nations of the Gentiles, both in Asia and Europe, and also in some of the coasts of Africa; yet the kingdom of heaven was not replenished with inhabitants, nor was the mercy of God exhausted. He has therefore continued during more than seventeen hundred years to provide a constant supply pf ministers of his gospel; and to send them forth even to the most distant corners of the earth, and to persons funk in the lowest state of ignorance and wretchedness, with the kindest offers to every man of salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus, and with the most urgent invitations to accept it. And we know frpm the certain declarations clarations of prophecy, that he will graciously 'persevere, until the close of all things, to invite by his messengers all mankind to repent and believe; and that all the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ. We know that at last even the Jews themselves shall look on Him whom their forefathers pierced; that they shall mourn with the deepest humiliation and anguish for the crucifixion of the great Redeemer; and with contrite hearts and faith unfeigned (hall embrace the gospel, and shall again be received as the people of God. But those who ideriy the Lord of glory, those who flight Ms offers of salvation, shall neither be, admitted into his church on earth, nor into the glorious inheritance which'he has' prepared beyond the grave for his servants.
Such is the general import of this parable. Let us study through the blessing of God to apply it to ourselves.
I. We learn in the first place the guilt and the dreadful consequences of rejecting Christ j of refusing to believe his religion, or of believing without obeying it. Not one of those who were bidden Jhall tafle of my supper. When we had ho claim to be delivered from O 4 the the punishment, which by our sins we deserved; much less to extend our views to an eternity of happiness: the God of mercy was pleased of his own infinite goodness freely to offer to us both these blessings. He offered them to us through the blood of his own Son Jesus Christ. His own Son undertook for our fakes to come down upon earth; to assume the nature of man; and to die upon the cross, that he might make atonement for our sins, and purchase immortal glory for all who would accept him as their Saviour and faithfully obey his commandments. This is that lo.ve of Christ towards sinful man, which astonishes, as,th<? scriptures teach us, theveryangels. This is the appointed method of salvation,- by., which alone we may be saved. It is in vain for presumptuous men to seek to sind fault and raise objections as to the plan, which the wisdom and the inconceivable kindness of, God have chosen for the recovery of the children of fallen Adam. It is in vain for any man to hope that he may be justified in any other method, or be rendered meet for glory through the attainment of any other qualifications, than those which are plainly stated in the gospel. If you will not accept salvation in that method; if you will not labour to acquire those qualifications: you will assuredly perish, you
will perish by your own choke. If you- reject the Son of God 5 he will be no Redeemer to you. If you profess to believe in him, but will not make it your constant aim through the influence of divine grace to obey him; you will as certainty perish as if yout openly denied him. You do in fact deny him in the most decisive manner. You deny him by your actions. Whatever your lips may affirm, your actions proclaim; " I do not acknowledge Christ to be my Master: Fwill not be "subject to his laws." He was ready to receive you: but you would not listen to his call. The guilt is your own : anbY the consequences are your own. You. refuse- , pardon and eternal happiness: and the arm of divine justice plunges you into hell.
Do you complain of hard measure in these dealings of God? Turn to the parable. Suppose a person of wealth and eminence to have sustained reiterated injuries from an inferior. Suppose the offender overtaken by misery, and on the brink of ruin. Suppose the man whom he had injured generously to interpose in his behalf; to invite the criminal to his mansion, and spontaneously to offer to make important sacrifices for the sole purpose of restoring him to safety and happiness. 'Suppose this benignity to be met with a disdainful refusal. Is the victim of his own obstinacy and pride to murmur because he is abandoned to the consequences of his choice? Or to raise the illustration, if it be possible, to a resemblance somewhat less faint and imperfect of the transaction which it purposes to pourtray: suppose a subject indebted to the bounty of his sovereign for every earthly blessing to renounce his allegiance, and to crown his ingratitude by the most daring treasons. Suppose him arrested by the arm of justice, and even now standing on the scaffold. Suppose his royal master to dispatch without solicitation an offer of pardon; to fling open for his admission the doors of the palace; to hold forth to him unqualified forgiveness; to propose to him not merely the renovation of favour, and re-establilhment in all his antecedent honours and possessions, but additional wealth and privileges and digrnity and power in a measure far surpassing the utmost stretch of his imagination. Suppose that the extension of this compassion, the exercise of this ineffable goodness, could not be rendered consistent with the attributes of sovereignty, and the general welfare of nations, by any methods except such as would necessarily require the only son of the monarch previously to become the representa3 . tive