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invite them to Christ, and so to heaven and eternal happiness; for this, many of them are angry with us, and incensed against us. They may forgive us this wrong, I can assure them we intend them no evil, but all the good we can do or desire to our own souls; that whatsoever the success be, it is still our duty to call upon them, to advise them of their duty, and if possible to reclaim them from their sins; and if they be angry with us for that, as many are, they cannot wonder at our Saviour's saying, that many are called, and few chosen.'
VI. The last reason which our Saviour gives in this parable, why many are called, but few chosen,' is because of those who are called, and come too at their call, many come not aright; which he signifies by the man that came without his wedding-garment,' where, where, although he mentions but one man, yet under that one is comprehended all of the same kind, even all such persons as have the gospel preached to them, and so are called and invited to all the graces and privileges proposed in it, all such as profess to believe in Christ, and to expect happiness and salvation from him, yet will not come up to the terms which he propounds in his gospel to them, even to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith they were called.' And indeed this is the great reason of all, why of so many which are called there are so few chosen, because there are so few which do all things which the gospel requires of them. Many like Herod will do many things, and are almost persuaded to be Christians, as Agrippa was. How zealous are
1 Matt. xxii. 11, 12, 13.
2 Eph. iv 1.
4 Acts, xxv. 28.
some for, how violently are others against, the little ceremonies and circumstances of religion, and in the meanwhile neglect and let slip the power and substance of it? How demure are some in their carriage towards men, but irreverent and slovenly in the worship of almighty God? How devout would others seem towards God, but are still careless and negligent of their duty towards men ? Some are all for the duties of the first table without the second, others for the second without the first. Some are altogether for obedience and good works, without faith in Christ; others are as much for faith in Christ, without obedience and good works. Some would do all themselves, as if Christ had done nothing for them; others fancy that Christ hath so done all things for them, that there is nothing left for themselves to do; and so betwixt both these sorts of people, which are the far greater part of those who are called, either the merits, or else the laws of Christ are slighted and contemned. But is this the way to be saved? No, surely if I know any thing of the gospel, it requires both repentance and faith in Christ, that we perform sincere obedience to all his laws, and yet trust in him, and him alone, for pardon, acceptance, and salvation. And whosoever comes short of this, though he be called, we may be sure he is not chosen, though he come to the marriage-feast with those that are invited, yet wanting this wedding-garment, he will be cast out again with shame and confusion of face. So that it is not our doing some, or many, or most of the things which the gospel requires, that will do our business, unless we do all to the utmost of our skill and power. But where shall we find the man that doth so? What ground
have we but to acknowledge that our Saviour had too much cause to say, 'Many are called, but few chosen ;' which I fear is but too true, not only of others, but ourselves too.
I say not this to discourage any one: no, it is my hearty desire and prayer to the eternal God, that every soul of us might be chosen and saved. But my great fear is, that many think it so easy a matter to go to heaven, that if they do but say their prayers, and hear sermons now and then, they cannot miss of it, and therefore need not trouble themselves any further about it. But they must give me leave to tell them, that this will not serve their turn; if it would, most of those which are called would be chosen too. Whereas our Saviour himself, tells us, in plain terms, the contrary. And yet this should be so far from discouraging of us, that it should rather excite us to greater diligence about it than heretofore we may have used, as our Saviour himself intimates in his answer to this question.' And verily, what greater encouragement can we have, than to consider, that though there be but few chosen, yet there are some? For why may not you and I be in the number of those
few as well as others? Are we not all called to Christ? Are not we all invited, yea, commanded to believe in his name, and obey his gospel, that so we may partake of everlasting glory? Let us then all set about that work in good earnest, which we are called to. Let us but fear God, and keep his commandments, and but believe in his Son for his acceptance of us; and then we need not fear, for though of the many others which are called,
Luke, xiii. 23, 24.
there are but few chosen; yet we few who are called shall be all chosen; chosen to live with God himself, and Jesus Christ, and to sing forth his praises for evermore.
THOUGHTS UPON THE APPEARANCE OF CHRIST THE SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS,
THE BEATIFIC VISION.
So long as we are in the body, we are apt to be governed wholly by its senses, seldom or never minding any thing but what comes to us through one or other of them. Though we are all able to abstract our thoughts when we please from matter, and fix them upon things that are purely spiritual, there are but few that ever do it. But few, even among those also who have such things revealed to them by God himself, and so have infinitely more and firmer ground to believe them, than any one, or all their senses put together can afford. Such are the great truths of the gospel, for which we have the infallible word and testimony of the supreme truth; yet seeing they are not the objects of sense, but only of our faith, though we profess to believe them, yet we take but little notice of them, and are usually no more affected with them, than as if there were no such thing in being. Hence it hath pleased God, in great compassion to our
infirmity, not only to reveal and make known such spiritual things to us, in plain and easy terms, but likewise to bring them as near as possible to our senses, by representing them to us under the names and characters of such sensible objects as bear the greatest resemblance to them; that we, who are led so much by our senses, may by them also be directed how to apprehend those spiritual objects which he hath told us of, on purpose that we may believe them upon his word.
Thus he often useth the words, hand, eye, and the like; to signify his own divine perfections to us. And thus it was that our Saviour preached the gospel to the people, by parables and similitudes of things commonly seen and done among themselves. The prophets also frequently took the same course, as might be shown by many instances; but one of the most remarkable is that in Mal. iv. 2, where the prophet in the name of God speaking of Christ's coming into the world, expresses it by the rising of the sun, saying, 'To you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise, with healing in his wings.'
For that Jesus Christ is that Sun of righteousness here spoken of, is so plain from the context, and the whole design of the prophet, that I need not insist upon the proving of it; but shall only observe that this being the last of all the prophets in the Old Testament, he shuts up his own and all the other prophecies with a clear prediction of Christ, and his forerunner John the Baptist, whom he calls Elijah, or Elias, and concludes his prophecy with these words concerning him, 'Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.