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is, being washed and justified, and fanctified in the name of the Lord Jefus Chrift, and by the Spirit of our God, is having on the wedding garment, in which we are to come to the feaft pared, and fo as to be approved.
IV. God will affuredly find out, and discover every one that comes without it.
It is faid, when the king came in to see the guests, he faw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: which does not fignify, that there was but one unfound; but plainly intimates, that if there is but one among multitudes of others, God will furely discover him, and fooner or later fingle him out, by saying, Friend, how cameft thou in hither, not having on a wedding garment?
Though many are to be called into the church, it is required that they come as Christians indeed, and fo attend upon the ordinances of the gospel, denoted by the feast prepared. When any think to cover a carnal heart and life under a formal fpecious profeffion, God will fooner or later find
This may be concluded,
1. From his all-difcerning eye, as the fearcher of hearts, and trier of the reins, and one well knowing who they are that fay, They are Jews or Chriftians, when they are not, but do lie. As it is God with whom carnal profeffors have to do, there is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity can hide themselves, Job xxxiv. 22.
(2.) It may be concluded, as hypocrify is most hateful to God, and what he feems concerned,
in vindication of his unfpotted purity, to detect Thefe things thou hast done, and I kept filence : thou thoughtest that I was altogether fuch an one as thyself; but I will reprove thee, and fet them in order before thee, Pfalm 1. 21. The delufion fhall be expofed, and the wickedness shewn.
This God has various ways of doing: for example, by trying judgments, which are reprefented as the fan in Christ's hand, by which he will thoroughly purge his floor, Matth. iii. 12. and with reference to his making use of these, he threatens to fearch Jerufalem, with candles, Zeph. i. 12.
By fuffering errors and divisions to rife up and prevail in the church; or by permitting perfecution for righteousness fake, Matth. xviii. 7. 1 Cor. xi. 19.
Often by death, when men ufually awake out of their delufion: but, at fartheft, at judgment. Then it will be in vain for fuch as have no oil in their veffels, to come and cry, Lord, Lord, open unto us: we have eaten and drunk in thy prefence; for he will profefs, I never knew you, depart from me ye workers of iniquity.
V. Sinners fhall be ftruck dumb when God comes to deal with them. The king faid, Friend, bow cameft thou in hither, not having on a wedding garment? And he was speechless.
The finners in Sion will be confounded at last. 1. They fhall not be able to object, That under the gospel they were not acquainted, that a wedding garment was neceffary.
2. They fhall not be able to object against the patience of God, as not long enough bearing with them. 3. They
3. They fhall have nothing to object against the goodness of God, as not ftriving with them by his Spirit.
4. They shall have nothing to plead to cover their perfidiousness, that under the name of friends they should nourish enmity in their hearts.
5. They fhall have nothing to plead to extenuate the guilt of endeavouring to mock God, by intruding into his house under a disguise.
6. They fhall have nothing to fay in excufe for their folly and madness in all this.
Laftly, They fhall have nothing to plead against the juftice of God, and in bar to their being fentenced by it to the wrath deserved.
VI. Their cafe is fad who shall be found without the wedding garment, they being liable to the forest punishment; for concerning each of them the judge will fay, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and caft him into outer darkness: there fhall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
1. How awful are fuch words as thefe: Bind him hand and foot, noting the feizure of justice, and the finner deprived of all power to refift it, or of finding means of escaping it?
2. Take him away, i, e. from the company of the friends of God, and all the privileges he without ground laid claim to in this world, and from the delufive hope he had of happiness in another.
3. Caft him into outer darkness, the place of horror and despair, where there fhall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
1. Be not fatisfied in putting yourselves among the friends of God, and going as guests to the feaft prepared for fuch, without fome comfortable hope of having a wedding garment on.
Examine yourselves if you have the wedding garment; and if you think you have it, how you came by it.
(1.) Have you been made to fee your own vileness as clothed in filthy garments, and made willing to change them, and put them off?
(2.) Have you applied to the Lord Jefus Christ, as poor and miferable, blind and naked, to buy of him the white raiment, the righteoufnefs of the faints? Have you been waiting upon him in the way of his appointments, to be made partakers of what you need? If you have on the wedding garment, you can fay fomething to this, it being the way in which it was obtained.
If not, this is the courfe you are to take: and as ever you would fhew yourselves the friends indeed of the bridegroom; as you would not be Chriftians only in name, and make a profeffion only to your greater condemnation; as you would be welcome to the great Lord of the feast, and have a holy confidence before him, speedily do this.
2. Doth the king take notice of every one that comes (to the ordinance of the Lord's fupper particularly) without the wedding garment? So he alfo obferves who they are, that having a wedding garment ftay away. And as the prefump
tion of the one is inexcufable; fo alfo is the dejection and absence of the other.
Let no fincere but weak Chriftian be dismayed by the king's narrow obfervance of the guests, from coming, and through fear leave his place vacant. The fame doctrine that fpeaks terror to the hypocrite, may, and ought to be improved as a ground of comfort to you. As the one will be asked, why he came in hither, and be speechlefs; fo you will have no excufe for staying away.
Chriftians, God, even your own God will come to view the guests; and he can difcern the grace you that you may not be able to difcern yourselves.
He will meet you at his table, who is witness to all your preparations, to what requests you have put up, to what defires have been at work to get the wedding garment, and have it on. He will also take notice of your wants and weaknefíes, burdens and complaints, and bid you ask what you will, and it fhall be granted; to the end that your fouls may be fatisfied, and you all fay, It is good to draw nigh unto God.