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II. The second general head proposed was, To speak of the end and design of this compulsion, namely, To come in: Compel them to come in. I fhall here only shew, what I take to be the import of this coming in, in a few particulars. The general import of coming in, is believe ing in Christ, who, so many times in fcripture, calls finners to come to him, “ Come to me all ye that are weary; whosoever will, let him come; him that cometh, I will in no wife cast out." But more particularly, this çoining in imports,
1. That finners are without, otherwise they needed not be called to come in. Now, minisiers being called to compel them to come in, is a warranting them to Thew, and to cause them know, they are without doors. And this is the first mean to be used for bringing in fouls, to convince them of their estrangement from God; their cursed state while without God, without his image, without his favour, without his fellowship; and that, being without a covering from his wrath, they are exposed to eternal death and damnation: that fo they may be compelled to cry out, “What shall we do to be saved?” What shall we do to be housed, and theltered from the wrath of God.
2. To come in, imports, That the door is open; and to compel them to come in, is to cause them to know, that there is an open door of access to God, that the door of faith is open to the Gentiles; the door of faith is opened by the gospel; the door of mercy is open; the door of life and salvation, “ Life and immortality being brought to light by the gospel ;” and that Christ is the door, John x. 9. The door of the old covenant of works is a ihut door; the door of personal righteousness of ours, the door of Pagan morality, the door of natural endeavours, these are all shut doors; “There is no name under heaven, whereby any can be saved, but the name of Jesus:” but this door is open ; “ I am the door ; by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture:” ANY MAN, any person whatsoever. Hence,
3. Compel them to come in; it imports, a full warrant to come; and a hearty welcome ; and that minifters VOL. VII.
must both warrant and welcome them. They are to war. rant finners to come in, by the command of their Lord and Master; “ This is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ,” i John iii. 23. They are to welcome them by his promise; “ Him that cometh to me, I wilt in no wife caltout,” John vi.37.
4. Compel them to come in; it imports, That notwithStanding of the warrant and welcome they have to come in, yet finners will have a strong averfion and unwillingnefs to come in; and that therefore the utmost pains must be taken with them to conquer their prejudices, and gain their affections. There must be line upon line, and precept upon precept; call upon call, and one offer upon the back of another, one motive and argument upon the back of another; and all is insufficient to over. come the enmity of finners against a Saviour, till power come along with the means; yet these are still to be used in dependence upon his bleffing, not knowing when, or in what mean, a prosperous gale '
may blow. 5. Compel them to come in ; it imports fomething they are to come in to, which ministers are to inculcate upon them; namely, that they are to come in to himself, who is the door by which, and the house to which they are to come in. Christ is called, " An house of defence," Psal. xxxi. 2. Sinners are to be taught, that they must come in to his arms, which are stretched out, even to a disobedient and gainfaying people, Rom. x. 31.
That they must come in to his heart and bowels, which yearn toward thenr, as they did toward Ephraim; “My bow. els are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord,” Jer. xxxi. 20. That they muit come in to his blood and righteousness, and come in to his grace and fulness.
6. Compel them to come in, imports something they are to come in for, as well as what they are to come in to: and so they are to be taught the errand, as well as the object of faith. Christ is the object, and falvation is the first errand of faith. It is a receiving and resting upon Christ alone for salvation : they are to come in for a feast at his table; and surely falvation is a good feast for a loft foul. They that are aliens, and without, are
to come in for acquaintance with God in Chrift; fors “ This is life eternal, to know God and Jesus Christ whom he hath fent.” They that are poor are to come in for riches, even durable riches and righteousness. They that are maimed are to come in for the supply of all their de. fects, that, Out of bis fulness, ibey may receive grace for grace. They that are halt are to come in for healing and itrength, that his grace may be sufficient for them, and his strength may be made perfe&t in their weakness:Then shall the lame man leap as an hart. They that are blind are to come in for light and light; for, Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened. They that are ftraggling in the high ways and hedges are to come in for rest and fatisfaction in him, whicli they are in vain seeking among their lufts, and in the broad ways that lead to death and hell.
In a word, finners are to be compelled to come in for life and happiness; for pardon of sin, for peace and reconciliation with God, and for all the privileges of the fons of God; to come and hear, that their fouls may live; to come and fee the salvation of God; to come and handle the word of life; to come and taste that the Lord is gracious; to come and smell the sweet savour of the Role of Sharon, that perfumes heaven and earth, and puts away the stinking favour of fin and corruption. And, in short, they must be taught, that they may come in, and that they must come in, and share with him in his grace'here, and glory hereafter. Compel tbein to come in.
7. It imports, That he is before them, ready to help them in, and to take them in. It is not, compel them to go in, but to come in. We are not to require them to go where he is not, but to come in where he is, and where they shall have his presence, aid, and assistance. Christ's invitations to sinners by the gospel are not go, but come; come to me, and come with me; " Come to me all ye that labour, and are heavy laden; Come with me from Lebanon;" importing the strongest encouragement, and anticipating all objections drawn from weakness and inability, saying, I cannot come : why? there is no fear if you come. If I were commanding you to go without me, you might be afraid ; but when I desire you to
come to me, and come with me, and come in,
you may be sure I am at the door of the house, ready to take your hand, and help you in: Hence it is said, Heb. vii. 35. 6. He is able to save to the uttermost, all that come to God by him:" by bim; that is, not only by him as the way, but also by him as the leader, to take your hand, Lompel ben to come in.
8. It imports, That he would be joined to them, and would have them joined to him; and that it is the most ia. timate union to him, and communion with him, he would have them brought into. Compel them to come in; it is not only to him by an out-fide profeffion, but to come into him by faith. Though the people of the old world had come to the ark, and taken hold of the outside of it, they would have been waflied away with the waters of the deluge; none were safe but these that came in. Qur safety lies in coming in: and ministers muft not rest till they get finners brought in, so as to be joined to the Lord Jesus, and married to him. We are to compel them, saying, “ All things are ready, come to the marriage,” Mat. xxiv.4. and thereupon to the marriage. supper; “ Blessed are they that are called to the marriage. fupper of the Lamb,” Rev. xix. 9. Minifters are war. ranted to court a bride for their Master, and to compel finners, by all means, to come in to him, and join hands witin him, and join hearts with him.--So much for the import of this phrafe, Compel them to come in.
III. The third general head proposed was, To speak of the reason here given for this work, viz. That my koufe may be filled. This metaphorical expression, in a suitableness to the parable, fupposes that Chrif hath a house, and that his house muft be filled. I might here consider, 1. What is his house? 2. What is the import of filling his house? 3. How full his house should be. 4. Why his house must be filled.
1st, What is his house? By his house we may understand his church and people, whether the church visible or invisible. In feveral respects they are called his house where he dwells and resides; symbolically, by the extera nal symbols of his presence in the church visible, Pfal.
cxxxii. 13, 14.; and graciously and spiritually in the church invisible on earth; therefore called the habitation of God through the Spirit, Eph. ii. 22. and a spiritual house, 1 Pet. ii. 5. This house, in scripture, comes under feveral names and designations. It is his pleasure-house; fur, “ The Lord takes pleasure in his people;"! there he delights to dwell. It is his treasure-house: his people are his treasure and his portion; he gives out of his treasure there. It is his magazine house; being built for an armoury, where hang a thousand bucklers, all fhields of mighty men: and there he lays up his magazines for mi. litary provifion, the whole arinour of God, which we are called to put on.-It is his banquetting-house, where he feeds and feasts his people; “ He brought me to the banquetting house, and his banner over me was love."--It is his hospital-house, where he hath cures for all maladies, and all sorts of diseased persons, the poor, the maimed, the halt, and the blind. --It is his washing-house, where he hath a laver for cleaning of polluted fouls, and a fountain opened for fin and for uncleanness. It is his houfe of prayer, and his house of praise, where he is worthipped. and adored. It is his own house, and his Fa. ther's house; “Shall my Father's house become a den of thieves?” The church of Christ is God's house, he founded it; “ The Lord hath founded Zion." It is Christ's house, for he is the foundation of it; and, “Other foun. dations can no man lay, than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” He is the builder, and the bearer of all the charges of the building, and of all the honour of it; “ He thall build the temple of the Lord, and shall bear the glory.”—Thus much for a hint at what the house is *.
2dly, What is imported in filling his house? That my bouse may be filled; that is,
1. That the elect may be gathered in; Compel them to come in, that the election may obtain, as indeed it shall obtain; for, “ All that the Father hath given me, shall come to me; and him that cometh, I will in no wife cast out."
* The church considered as a house, and what kind of a heuse it is, and most of the above designations assigned to it, may be seen more copiously viewed, by consulting Vol. IV. p. 176, 177, 178.