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17 And fent his
fervant at fupper
time, to fay to them that were bidden, Come, for all things are now ready.
And God indeed has gracioufly offered this Great and Glorious Priviledge to you his peculiar People in the firft Place: But ye wilfully defpife and reject your own Happiness, and therefore God will remove from you the Offers of his Grace, to other Nations that will accept and use them more worthily. This Reply Jefus made, not directly in plain and exprefs Terms, (which the Pharifees would not have born,) but more obfcurely by representing it under the following Comparifon. A certain Man, faid he, made a great Feaft, and invited many Guefts: Thus God, having prepared for Men the Means of Religion and Happiness, revealed them by his Son to his peculiar People the Jews in the first place; and invited them to accept the gracious Terms of the Gofpel-Covenant.
19 And another faid, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee
have me excufed.
17. And when the Feaft was ready, the Mafter fent to his Guests again, to tell them that all things were now prepared, and to haften their Coming. Thus Chrift, both during his Continuance here upon Earth, and alfo after his Refurrection, fent forth his Apoftles to repeat the Doctrine he himself had first preached, and to urge and prefs the Jews to receive the Salvation of the Gofpel.
18 And they all with one confent began to make excufe. The firft faid unto him, I have bought
and I must needs go and fee it: I pray thee have me ex
a piece of ground, it had been by confent, all refused to 18, 19 & 20. But the Guests, as if come, and made every one an excuse for himself; one pretending, that he had just bought a piece of Ground, and muft needs go to view it; another, that he had just agreed for a Parcel of Cattle, and must needs fee his Bargain; and another, that he was newly married, and therefore could not poffibly come. Thus the Jews continued to reVOL. II.
ject the repeated Offers of the Gofpel; ed a wife, and therepreferring the Pleasures of the World, fore I cannot come. and theAdvantages of the prefentTime, and the Satisfaction of their Pride and Paffions, before the Hope of Immortality and Eternal Life.
21 & 22. Now when the Servant
that was fent to call the Guests, brought this Melage back; his Mafter, Seeing the Unworthiness and Ungratefulness of bis Guefts, grew very angry, and bad his Servants go into the Streets and Lanes of the City, and invite all the poor and impotent People that he met with; Which he did, and yet there was Room: Thus God feeing the Unworthinefs and Ungratefulness of the Jews, in rejecting the gracious Offers of his Mercy; commanded the Gofpel to be Preached to the Publicans and penitent Sinners of the Gentiles, who accepted it with great Joy and Thankfulness: And yet the Mercy of God was not even then exhaufted, but He refolved to enlarge his Church ftill farther thro' the World.
23 & 24. Seeing therefore that there was yet Room, the Mafter commanded his Servant to go into the high Roads and By-paths without the City, and prefs and urge People to come in to his Supper; for he refolved that none of thofe ungrateful Men, who were at first invited, fhould by any Means tafte of his Entertainment: Thus God commanded the Gospel to be preached, not only to the penitent Profelytes of the Gentiles in Judæa; but fent forth the Apoftles alfo into all the darkest and moft ignorant Parts of the World, to perfwade, urge, and compel Men (as it were) to embrace the Gospel, and to adopt Men from all the Nations of the Earth into the Body of his Church;
21 So that fervant came and fhewed
his lord thofe things. Then the master of the house being angry, faid to his fervant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.
22 And the fervant faid, Lord, it is done as thou haft commanded, and yet there is room.
23 And the lord faid unto the fervant, Go out into the
high-ways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
24 For I fay unto you, that none of thofe men which were bidden, fhall taste of my supper.
25 went great multitudes with him and he turned, and faid unto them,
26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and fifters, yea and his own life alfo, he cannot be my disciple. 27 And whofoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my difciple.
28 For which of you intending to to build a tower, fitteth not down first, and counteth the coft, whether he have Sufficient to finish it?
29 Least haply after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it, begin to mock him, 30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.
For he refolved to reject the ungrateful Nation of the Jews.
25 After this, a great Multitude of People gathered together about Jefus; And he taught them, faying:
26 & 27. God does indeed fincerely defire your Conversion and Happiness, and earnestly invites you to embrace the Gospel and Eternal Life. But be not deceived; 'Tis indifpenfably neceffary in order to your attaining this Happinefs, that you prepare your felves with Refolution and Conftancy to perform the Conditions required of you, and to perfevere in the way of Life. It is not an easy and voluptuous thing, to be a true Difciple of Chrift; but a Work of Refolution, Courage, and Conftancy. No man can be a worthy Difciple of mine, who is not able to bear Affliction, Self-denial, and Perfecution; and has not Refolution enough to prefer his Duty before all temporal Confiderations and Advantages, before all the Ties of natural Relation or Affection, and before the en→ joyment even of Life itself. Wherefore whoever will undertake to be a true Christian, let him firft confider and refolve well with himself, Whether he be able and prepared to bear all the Difficulties that this Profeffion will expose him to; least, if he faint after he has begun his Course, he lose both his Labour and Reward.
28, 29 & 30. In other Cafes, before Men enter on any great Undertaking, they always confider with themfelves the Expence or the Danger of it, whether they be able to go through with it. For example; Who is there among you, that if he was to build himfelf a House, would not, before he beVOL. II. L 2 gan,
gan, fit down and cast up the whole Charge of it; leaft if, after the Foundation was laid, he were forced to defift for want of Money to carry it on, he fhould appear ridiculous to all the World.
31 32. In like manner; What Prince, that was likely to be engaged in a War with fome neighbouring Power, would not, before he ventured a Battle, confider well the Strength both of his own and his Enemies Forces, and alfo all the Dangers and Hazards of War; leaft if, ingaging rafhly, he was overcome by a Superior Power, he should afterward repent when it was too late, that he did not in time fue for Conditions of Peace?
33. If therefore wife Men in all other Cafes, before they enter on any great Undertaking, do naturally weigh and confider well with themselves all the Difficulties and Dangers they are like to meet with in the Enterprize:
How much more reasonable and neceffary is it for you that will be my Difciples, before you undertake the Thing of the very highest Concern and greatest Importance in the World, to confider throughly all the Difficulties and Dangers of it? Particularly, because no Man (as I faid) can be a worthy Chriftian, who has not Refolution enough to prefer his Religion and his Duty before all Temporal Enjoyments and Confiderations whatfoever; therefore whofoever will be my Difciple, muft confider and refolve before-hand, to part readily with all Temporal Enjoyments, whenever they come in Competition with his Duty.
34 35. The Religion it felf wherein I have inftructed you, is abundantly fufficient to fupport you in all these Cafes, to make you truly Wife and
fhall it be seasoned? 35 It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghil; but men caft it out. He that hath ears to hear,
let him hear.
Sinners may be converfed with, in order to reform them, ver. I. The Parable of the loft Sheep, ver. 4. Of the loft Money, ver. 8. Of the prodigal Son, ver. 11.
Good, to enable you to despise all finfulPoffeffions and Enjoyments whatfoever, and to teach others to do the like. Take heed therefore, that your Life and Doctrine be fuitable to the greatness of your Advantages. For otherwise, if ye, who ought to be Teachers and Examples of Holinefs to the World, fhall your felves degenerate into Softnefs and Vice; wherewithal fhall ye be corrected and amended? Ye will become the moft ufelefs, and incurable, and contemptible of Men. Whofoever is capable and defirous of Inftruction, let him attend to what I say; and remember and confider it.
2 And the Pharifees and scribes murmured, faying, This man receivethfinners, and eateth with them.