Sermon 55

Sermon 55.

THE GOSPEL INVITATION.

A SACRAMENTAL DISCOURSE.

Luke xir. 21—24. Then the master of the house being angry, said to his servant, 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. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the Lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, that none of those men that were bidden, shall taste of my supper.

. SO vast and various are the blessings proposed to our acceptance in the gospel, that they can never be fully represented, though the utmost force of language be exhausted for that purpose in the sacred writings. Among other lively images, this is one in my context, where the gospel is compared to a feast, a marriage-feast of royal magnificence. The propriety and significancy of this representation are obvious at first sight; for what is more rich and elegant, and what more agreeable to mankind, than such an entertainment!

Though it is my principal design to consider this parable in its general secondary sense, as applicable to the evangelized world, yet I shall hint a few words upon its particular primary sense, as immediately applicable to the Jews at the time it was spoken.

Jesus was ready to improve every occurrence for profitable conversation ; and when one of the guests made this remark, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God, or in the reign of the Messiah; he takes occasion to let him and the rest of the company know, that the kingdom of God under the Messiah would not be so acceptable to the world, particularly to the Jews, as might be expected; but that they would generally reject it, though they pretended so eagerly to expect and desire it.

He said unto him, A certain man made a great su/ifier; that is, the great God has made rich provisions through Jesus Christ »f all blessings necessary for the complete salvation and happiness of a guilty world: and he bade many ; that is, he invited the whole nation of the Jews to a participation of these blessings, when they should be revealed ; invited them beforehand, by Moses and the prophets, and by John the Baptist. And he sent hia servant at aufi/tcr time; that is, he sent Christ and his apostles, when the gospel dispensation was introduced, and those blessings fully revealed, to say to them that were bidden, that is, to the Jews, who had been invited by his former messengers; alluding to the custom of those times, when, besides the general invitation to nuptial entertainments given some time before, it was usual lo send a particular invitation when the feast was ready, and the attendance of the quests was immediately expected; Come, for all things are now ready. Embrace the long expected Messiah, who has now made his appearance among you, and accept the blessings he offers you now, when they are roily revealed.—But they all, with one consent, began to make excuse; that is, the Jews in general rejected the Messiah, and the blessings he proposed to their acceptance. The true reason Was, their natural aversion to one who taught so holy a religion, and proposed only a spiritual deliverance. But they cover over their conduct with plausible excuses; -as if the guests, invited to a banquet, should say, I have bought a ■ftiece of ground, and I must needs go and see it : or, / have bought Jive yoke of oxen, and go toftrove them: or, / have married a wife, and cannot come; therefore firay excuse me. These excuses, you sec, are all drawn from the affairs of life; which perhaps was intended to intimate, that the pleasures and cares of this world are the reason why the Jews and sinners in all ages reject the invitations of the gospel. It is also observable, that the excuses here made are very trifling and not plausible. What necessity for viewing a piece of ground, or proving oxen, after the purchase? That ought to have been done before the purchase. Could a man's being newly married be a reason against his going with his bride to a place of feasting and pleasure? No; these excuses are silly and impertinent; and Christ may have represented them in .this light, on purpose to intimate, that all the objections and excuses which sinners plead for their non-compliance with the gospel, are trifling, and not so much as plausible.

Then the master of the house being angry; that is, " the great God resenting the obstinate infidelity of the Jews, and determining to reject them for it, said to his servant ;" that is, gave the vol. n. 56

commission to his apostles, Go out quickly into the streets and taxes of the city, where beggars sit to ask charity, and bring in hither the floor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. Perhaps this may refer to the sending of the gospel to the Jews that were dispersed in heathen countries and their proselytes, when their countrymen in the Holy Land had rejected it. They were not in the highways and hedges, like the poor Gentiles, nor yet settled in the houses in Jerusalem, but are very properly represented as beggars in the streets and alleys of the city; not in such abandoned circumstances as the Gentiles, nor yet so advantageously situated as the Jews in their own land, under the immediate ministry of the apostles. The first invitation is represented as given to persons of fashion, to intimate the superior advantages of the Jews resident in Judea, to whom the gospel was first preached. And those dispersed among the Gentiles are represented as lying in the streetsand lanes, as poor, maimed, halt, and bhnd beggars, to signify their miserable condition in common with all mankind, without the blessings of the gospel; and their disadvantageous situation, compared with the Jews in and about Jerusalem. Or perhaps sending the invitation to those poor creatures, when they first had rejected it, may signify the first preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles, upon the Jews rejecting it. . And then the servant be. ing ordered to go out again, not into the streets and lanes of the city, as before, but into the highways and hedges, may signify the farther preaching of the gospel among the Gentiles, who were far off from the church, the city of God, and like poor countrybeggars, lying as outcasts upon the public roads. But if we understand the former passage in the first sense, as signifying the publication of the gospel to the Jews dispersed among the Gentiles, and to their proselytes, then this second mission of the.servant must signify the sending of the gospel for the first time to the Gentiles, after both the Jews resident in their own country, and those scattered in other nations had rejected it. The parable concludes with a terrible denunciation against those who had refused the invitation: None of those men that were bidden shail taste of my sufifier: That is, "The infidel Jews, though first invited, shall never enjoy the blessing■s of the gospel; but my church shall be furnished with members from among the poor outcast heathens, rather than such should continue in it.''

These things must suffice to shew you the primary meaning of this parable, as applicable to the Jews of that age ; and the reception of the Gentiles into the church in their stead. But I intend to consider it in a more extensive sense, as applicable to us in these latter times.

Before I enter upon the consideration of this passage, it is necessary I should clear up an inquiry or two, which may reflect light upon the whole.

'What are those blessings of the gospel which are here represented by a marriage-feast? And, What is meant by the duty here represented by a compliance with an invitation to such a feast?

These blessings, here represented by a marriage-feast, are infinitely rich and numerous. Pardon of sin ; a free and full pardon For thousands, millions of the most aggravated sins: the influences of the Holy Spirit to sanctify our depraved natures, to subdue our sins, and implant and cherish in our hearts every grace and virtue ; freedom from the tyranny of sin and Satan, and favourable access to the blessed God, and sweet communion with him, through Jesus Christ, even in this world : the reviving communications of divine love, to sweeten the affections of life ; and the constant assistance of divine grace to bear us up under every burden, and to enable us to persevere in the midst of many temptations to apostasy ; deliverance from hell, and all the consequences of sin; and a title to heaven, and all its inconceivable joys: in short, complete salvation in due time, and everlasting happiness, equal to the largest capacities of our nature.—This is a short view of the blessings of the gospel. But the riches of Christ ire unsearchable ; and human language can never represent them fully to view. But from the little that we know of them, do they not appear perfectly suited to our necessities; and such as we would ask of God. should he give us leave to ask what we please?

These blessings are represented to us in a striking and sensible manner in the Lord's Supper; and hence you see with what propriety it is called a feast. It is a rich entertainment for hungry souls; and the blessings which it signifies, and the conveyance of which it seals to believers, satisfy the most eaijrr desires, and fully support and cherish the spiritual life. This, indeed, is not the feast primarily intended in this parable ; lor the Lord's Supper was not instituted when this parable was spoken ; yet roost of the things contained in it may very properly be accommodated to this ordinance.

You see the feast to which we are invited, namely, the rich blessings of the gospel. And now let us inquire, What is meant by the duly here represented by a compliance with an invitation to a marriage-feast?

It supposes a deep affecting sense of our want of these blessings, and of our perishing condition without them: It supposes eager desires after them, and vigorous endeavours to obtain them: It supposes a willingness to abandon every thing inconsistent with them; and it implies a cordial willingness to accept of them as they were offered; for to pretend to be willing to receive them. and yet refuse the terms upon which they are offered, is the greatest absurdity. And how are they offered? They are offered freely ; and therefore freely we must receive them, if we receive them at all—We must not offer our own imaginary merit to purchase them ; but take them as free gifts to us, purchased entirely by the righteousness of Jesus Christ. They are offered conjunctly ; that is, in an inseparable conjunction with one another. Pardon .mcl sanctifying grace, holiness and happiness, deliverance from the power, the pleasures, and the profits of sin, as well as■ from hell and the punishments of sin, the cross and the crown, self-denial and the most noble self-possession, are proposed to our choice in conjunction, and they cannot be separated; and, therefore, in conjunction we must receive them, or not at all : we must receive them all or none. To accept the pardon, and reject sanctifying grace ; to accept the rewards, and refuse the work of holiness; to accept deliverance from the punishment of sin, and yet refuse deliverance from sin itself, as though it were a painful confinement, or bereavement; to accept of Christ as our Saviour, and reject him as our Ruler; this is the wildest absurdity, and an absolute impossibility. To pretend to accept God's offer, and in the mean time to make our own terms, is to insult and mock him. What God and the nature of things have joined, let not man put asunder.

Hence you may see, that the duty represented by complying with an invitation to a marriage feast, in this parable, implies our embracing the gospel as true, which is opposed to the unbelief of the Jews ; our accepting the blessings of the gospel freely, as the gracious gift of God for the sake of Christ, renouncing all our own imaginary merit; and our voluntary dedication of ourselves to the service of God, or consenting to be holy in heart and in all manner of conversation. Whoever complies with the vitations to the gospel in this manner, shall be admitted to the arriage-supper of the Lamb at the consummation of all things, -d be happy forever.

Now, I hope you will know what I mean, when, in the pro'ess of this discourse, I shall exhort you, in the language of y text, to come to this feast, or to comply with the invitation; mean, that you should freely and heartily accept of the blessings the gospel, as they are offered to you by the blessed God, who >ne has a right to appoint the terms.

After these preliminaries, I proceed to the immediate coosidation of my text.

The first thing that occurs, is a lively representation of the -etched state of mankind, previous to their being enriched with e blessings of the gospel. They are poor, and maimed, and halt, d blind, lying as Jjeggars and outcasts in the streets and lanes of e city, and by the highways and hedges in the country. What n represent a more pitiable condition, with regard to this >rld i To be poor, maimed, halt and blind, in a palace, in the (1st of all the necessaries and comforts of life, is a most melanoly situation ; but to be poor, maimed, halt and blind, in the eets and lanes, or scattered about in the highways and hedges, forlorn outcasts, without any covering but the inclement sky> thout any bed but the cold ground, without any sustenance but : charity of passengers; this is the most melancholy situation it can be imagined: and this is the situation in which all manid are represented, with regard to the eternal world, by one tt perfectly knew their case, and who could not but give the ost impartial account of it. This is your condition, my brethn, till you accept the rich blessings of the gospel. You are or, poor as the most helpless beggar on the highway; destitute pardon; destitute of all real goodness in the sight of God, latever splendid appearance of virtue you may have in the sight men; destitute of all qualifications for heaven, as well as of a ie to it; destitute of all happiness suited to the spiritual nature, mortal duration, and large capacities of your souls: destitute the favour of God, which is better than life, and without which i itself will be a curse; destitute of an interest in the rightnsness and intercession of Christ the only Saviour of sinners; ititute of the sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit, who ne can make you truly holy And what a poor destitute condiu is this! You are maimed and defective, in a moral sense 5

defective in those graces and virtues which are essential members of the new man. Your souls are incomplete, unfinished things. Your understandings without divine knowledge; your wilts without a divine bias towards God and holiness; your affections without a proper tendency towards suitable objects ; and these are as monstrous defects in a moral sense, as a body without limbs. or a head without eyes in a natural sense. You are halt or lame; without power of spiritual motion, or tendency towards it ; without strength or inclination to walk in the ways of God's commandments. You are blind as to spiritual and eternal things that is, ignorant of the glory of God, and the excellency of Jesns Christ, and the way of salvation through him; ignorant of the evil and deformity of sin ; and blind to the beauties of holiness. You may indeed have fine speculative notions about these things; but your notions are faint and unaffecting, and have no proper influence upon your heart and practice, and therefore as to all the useful and practical purposes of knowledge, you are stupidly blind and ignorant. O ! what an affecting, miserable situation is this ! and what renders it still the worse, is, that you are not sensible of it- The poor, blind, impotent beggar in the streets, or on the high road, is sensible of his condition, longs for deliverance, and begs and cries for relief from day to day. But alas! you are rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing, in your own imagination; when you are wretched and miserable, and fwor, and blind, and naked. And hence you are so far from crying importunately for relief, like blind Bartimeus by the wayside, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me! that you will not accept relief when it is freely offered to you.

And are not you very unlikely guests to furnish out a nuptial feast? May not the great God justly leave you out in the invitation of the gospel, and refuse you the offer of its invaluable blessings i But O ! the astonishing condescension and grace! to you is the word of salvation sent. Hear the commission first given to the apostles, and still continued to ministers of the gospel of a lower rank, Go outgo out quickly, the case is too dangerous to admit of delay. Without immediate provision the poor outcasts will perish, therefore make haste to find them oot wherever they lie, and think it no hardship or indignity to you to go to the meanest places in quest of them. Go through the streets and alleys of the city, and search the hedges and highways in the country; and bring them in; urge them to come ; insist upon their compliance; take no denial. Bring them in hither— hither, into the arms of my favour ;—hither, into my church, the grand apartment appointed for the celebration of this magnificent entertainment ;—hither, into the society of the most honourable guests, and into a participation of the richest blessings. Bring them in hither, poor, and blind, and lame, and halt, and maimed, as they are. They are all welcome. Him that cometh unto me, though clothed in rags, and destitute of all things, I will in no wise cast out.

To discharge this benevolent commission, I appear among you this day ; and shall I find none among you that will comply .with the invitation? Where are the poor, the maimed, the halt, and the blind? In quest of you I am sent; and I am ordered to bring you in. And will ye refuse? Come, ye poor! accept the unsearchable riches of Christ. Come, ye blind! admit the healing light of the Sun of Righteousness. Ye halt and maimed! submit yourselves to him, who, as a Physician, can heal what is disordered, and as a Creator, can add what is wanting, Come, ye hungry, starving souls! come to this feast of fat things: that is, {to speak without a metaphor) accept the blessings of the gospel now freely offered to you. Ho ! every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and him that hath no money, come, buy wine and milk, without money, and without firice. Will ye rather sit still in the streets and hedges, than be guests at this divine feast? Will ye refuse the invitation, when without these blessings you must famish forever?

However, if ye refuse, I hope I shall be able to make my report to my Master, like the servant in my text; Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded. "Lord, I have published thy gracious invitations, and persuaded them, in the best manner 1 could, to come in ; and if they still refuse, themselves must be accountable for it, and bear the consequence."

But I must indulge the pleasing hope, that some of you will this day accept this gracious invitation ; and such of you may be sure you shall be admitted. Nay, if all this assembly should unanimously consent, they would find the blessings of the gosptl more than sufficient to supply all their wants. For after the servant had brought in a numerous company of guests from the streets and lanes, he tells his Lord, yet there is room; there is room for many more guests. There are many seats still vacant; the room is large, and will contain many more ; and the pro▼wion is sufficient, more than sirfncient, for thousands-, for millions more. Yes, my dear brethren, be not discouraged from coming, as if there was no room left for you. The virtue of that blood which streamed upon mount Calvary about 170O year* ago, which lias washed away many millions of sins, fntm the fall of Adam to this day, through the space of near 0000 years } I say the virtue of that blood is still as powerful and sufficient as ever; as powerful and sufficient as when it first flowed warm from the wounded veins of the blessed Jesus.

The mercy of God endureth forever. It is an inexhaustible ocean, sufficient to overwhelm and drown a world of the most mountainous sins, and supply the most numerous and desperate necessities. The church of Christ is sufficiently large (or the reception of all the inhabitants of the earth, and it is a growing structure, which never will be complete, till all nations arc incorporated in it as living stones. In heaven are many mansions, prepared for the reception of many guests to the marriage-supper of the Lamb: and many of them are as yet empiy ; and may they be filled up by multitudes from this place! There, I hope, are seats provided for some of you, who are now stra»gera from the contmotvwealth of Israel, and from the covenant of promise. \ do not mean that you can be admitted there in your present condition: neither you nor I have any reason to hope tor this; but .1 hope that divine grace may yet prepare you for those mansions 'of purity and glory. This hope gives a new spring to my endeavours, and therefore I invite the worst of you, the most impenitent and audacious, the most profligate and debauched among you, to come in. Come, O my guilty brethren ! Come, publicans and sinners, drunkards, harlots, and thieves; come, sinners of the vilest characters, refient and believe the gosfteL, you shall be admitted to this celestial feast. O ! must it not break the heart of the hardiest sinner among you, to hear, that, after all your aggravated and long-continued provocations, and notwithstanding your enormous guilt, that great God whom you have offended, though he stands in no need of you, and might easily glorify himself by inflicting righteous punishment upon you, yet is ready to wash away all your sins in the blood of his own Son, and to bestow upon you all the immortal blessings of his favour? O ! is there a heart among you proof against such a melting consideration as this? Then all the principles of generosity and gratitude are tost and extinct within you!

- 1 proclaim to all in this assembly this day, all things are now ready; come unto the marriage. And why should you not all comply? why should any of you exclude yourselves? Let every one resolve for himself, " for my part, I will not make myself that shocking exception." How do you know but this resolution Is now forming in the person that sits or stands next to you? And shall you be left behind? Will yon, as it were, shut the door of heaven against yourselves with your own hand? I once More assure you, there is yel room, room for you all. There arc Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the patriarchs, and yet there i* room. There are many from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south, and yet there is room. There are persecuting Manasseh and Paul ; there are Mary Magdalene, the demoniac, and Zaccheus, the publican, and yet there U room. There is the once incestuous and excommunicated, but afterwards penitent Corinthian ; nay, there are several of the Corinthians, who, as St. Paul tells us, were once fornicators, idolaters, effeminate, Sodomites, covetous, thieves, drunkards, reTilers, and extortioners, yet there they now arc, washed, sanctified, justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the S/iirzt of our God; and there may you also be, though vile as they, if, with them, you come in at the call of the gospel: for yet there room. There is, says St. John, Rev. vii. 9. a great multitude", which no man can number, out of every kindred, and tongue, and nation; multitudes from Europe, Asia, Africa and America; and yet there is room. There is room for you, poor negroes! and for you, I hope, some vacant seats in heaven are reserved. Therefore, / turn to the Gentiles; for to you also is the word 6f this salvation sent. You may, with peculiar propriety, be represented by the poor, the blind, the halt, and maimed, in the highWays and hedges. To you therefore I am sent with the offer of all the rich blessings of the gospel: and let me tell you, yon ■re in extreme need of them, whether you feel your want or not: you need them more than liberty, than food, than health, than life itself; and without them you must perish forever. Come then, let this feast be adorned with your sable countenances, and furnished with guests from the savage wilds of Africa. Do not mistake me, as if I was just now inviting you to sit down at the Lord's table: alas! many have sat there, who are now banished forever from that Saviour, whom they professed to commemorate; and shut up in the prison of hell. But I am inviting yocr Vol. ii. 57 ,

to accept of the blessings of the gospel, which I have briefly txplained to you. A hearty consent to this, and nothing short of it, will save you. Come then, ye poor Africans, come add yourselves to the guests at this divine entertainment; for yet there is room for you, and you are as welcome as kings and princes.

There being so much room left unoccupied in the spacious apartment, is represented as an excitement to the master of the feast to send out his servant 10 invite more guests: for when the servant had made this report, the master immediately orders, him to go out into the h ghviays and hedges, and comfiet them to come in, that his house might be filted. He could not bear it, that the seats about his table should be empty, or his provisions be lost for want of guests. So the blessed God will not suffer the death of his Son to be in vain, nor the mansions he has prepared to be empty. That Jesus may see his spiritual seed, and the travail of his soul, and be satisfied; and that the heavenly mansions he has prepared may be furnished with guests, God has appointed the ministry of the gospel, and the means of grace, to be continued from age to age ; for this end he exercises a providential government over the world, and manages all its affairs in subserviency to the grand scheme of redemption, for peopling the heavenly world with colonies transplanted from our guilty globe. For this he has continued our sinful world, so ripe for destruction, through the space of near 6000 years■; and he will not be defeated in his purpose If you and thousands more should refuse, yet his feast shall be furnished with guests. He will send his gospel where it will not pass for such a trifle as it does among many of us. He will send it, where thousands of perishing sinners will eagerly embrace it, and obtain eternal salvation by it. But O! how deplorable will be your loss! Since his house shall and must be filled, U! why should it not be filled from Virginia, and particularly from among you, my dear people? Will you not make trial, whether there be not seats prepared in heaven for you? whether there be not room in the arms of divine mercy for you ? whether the blood of Christ has not efficacy to procure pardon and life even for you, great sinners as you are I How can I iorbear to urge this proposal upon my dear congregation? We meet together in the house of God on earth; and many of us sit down together at his table. And O! why should we not all meet together at the great supper of the Lamb in heaven? Why should we not, as it were, make an appointment, and engage to meet one another there, after the dispersion which death will soon -make among us? While transported with so agreeable a thought, I feel myself zealous to execute the commission in my text.

Comfiel them to come in. Overcome them with arguments, subdue them with persuasions and entreaties, take no denial; never give over till you prevail. This is the commission of gospelministers: and O ! that one of the meanest of them may be enabled to act according to it!

The patrons of persecution, those common enemies of liberty, religion, and human nature, have tortured this text to speak in their favour: and it has been their misfortune to be confirmed in their savage sentiment by the opinion of good St. Augustine, who Understood it as authorizing and even requiring the propagation of Christianity-, and the suppression of erroneous opinions, by the terrors of the secular power. In answer to this, I might observe, that we often find the word here rendered comfiel.,* used in such a mild sense, as to signify only a compulsion by argument and entreaty. But it is sufficient to observe, that it is evident Christ never commissioned his apostles, nor did they ever pretend to propagate his religion, like Mahomet, with a sword in their hand, but by dint of evidence, and the power ol the Holy Spirit :—and indeed, no other arms were fit to propagate a rational religion. The terrors of the secular arm may scare men into the profession of a religion, but they have no tendency to enlighten the understanding, or produce a real faith ; and therefore they are fitted only to make hypocrites, but can never make one genuine, rational christian. The weapons of the apostolic warfare, which were so mighty through God, were miracles, reasoning, entreaty, and the love of a crucified Saviour; and these were adapted to the nature of the human mind, to subdue it without violence, and sweetly captivate every thought into obedience to Christ.

These weapons, as far as they may be used in our age, I would try upon you. I would compel you to come in, by considerations

So Matt. xiv. 22. and Mark vi. 45 itafamt i 'Un< ri« (tM$n1*< irri tftSiwi, Jesus compelled or constrained his disciples to go into a ship. StPaul, in his reproof to St. Peter, Gal ii. 14. tells him, "Why dost thou compel or constrain [««[*«£««$] the Gentiles to act as do the Jews '." In which places, the word signifies to compel, not by violence, but by command, persuasion, or example. And in this sense men are, and ought to be, compelled to embrace the gospel.—Thus Tertulhan, Qui studuerit intdlijjerc, epgetur et credere.

so weighty and affecting, that they must prevail, unless reason, gratitude, and every generous principle, be entirely lost within you. By the consideration of your own extreme, perishing necessity; by the consideration of the freeneas, the fulness, and sufficiency of the blessings offered ; by the dread authority, by the mercy and love of the God that made you, and who is youv constant Benefactor: by the meekness and gentleness of Christ: by the labours and toils of his life: by the agonies of his death: by his repeated injunctions, and by his melting invitations: by the operation of the Holy Spirit upon your hearts, and by the warnings of your own consciences: by the eternal joys of heaven, and the eternal pains of hell : by these considerations, and by every thing sacred, important, and dear to you; I exhort, I entreat, I charge, I adjure you, I would compel you to come in. You have refused, you have loitered, you have hesitated long enough: therefore now at length come in ; come in immediately, without delay. Come in, that these rich provisions may not be lost for want of partakers, and that God's house may be completely furnished with guests. As yet there is room; as yet the guests are invited ; as yet the door is not ahut. The number of those who shall enjoy this great salvation is not yet made up. Therefore you may press in among them, and be added to their happy company. But, ere long, the ministry of the gospel will be withdrawn, the servants be recalled, and no longer be sent to search for you. The door of heaven will be shut against all the workers of iniquity. Therefore, now is the time to come in.

I shall only urge, as another persuasive, the awful denunciation, that concludes my text: I say unto you, none of those men who were bidden, and refused the invitation, shall so much as taste of my sufifier; that is, none who now refuse to receive the blessings of the gospel, as they are offered, shall ever enjoy any of them j but must consume away a miserable eternity in the want of all that is good and happy.