Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

with observation; and so though the building of this great Temple is God's one great concern, and that for which he suffers the earth to stand, and keeps the wheels of providence in motion; it makes little noise in the world; very few of mankind ever hear there is such a building going on. But he that hath built his stones in the heaven worketh in it hitherto, and will work to the end of time, and in future ages, out of thousands yet unborn, will increase the greatness of the structure. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this, though its progress is slow at present. He, the Lord, will hasten it in its time. Swiftly shall it rise and rear its majestic height to the praise of the glory of his grace, while the happy workmen shall gladly pursue their labor, till at last they shall bring forth the head stone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, Grace, unto it! And now the temple is finished, who shall declare its glory? But before we attempt it, let us stop to remind one another, that we are also builded in it, that we also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house.

In order then to describe our privileges still further, according to the design of the Holy Spirit in the text, let us as we said anticipate the finishing of the temple. Suppose then the period arrived when the scaffolding is struck down, and the rubbish moved away: that is, suppose this earth which was the stage for its erection is now removed from beneath it, and the wicked the refuse of mankind, are cast far

and from terror, for it shall not come near thee.*

And now let us close our subject, in which we have set before you the privileges which belong to true believers; while we considered the materials of the edifice, the foundation, and the building itself.

The persons whom we have been immediately addressing are the people of God: but as it is hardly to be believed you are all of this number, let us in the first part of our applica tion make an inquiry. And here the question should not be, Have you ceased to associate with the world, and written down your name among those who profess to be living for another world, but are you really a fellow-citizen with the saints? not merely connected with them in their passage through this world, but owned by the king of the country whither they are travelling? Do you shew that you are not mindful of the country from whence you say you are come out? that you are not seeking it again, nor entangling yourself with its affairs? that you are looking for a city which hath foundations, a better country; that is, a heavenly one? There is much greater reason for supposing yourselves fellow-citizens with sinners, if you are like them in your spirit, than there is for supposing yourselves fellow-citizens with the saints because at other times you are like them. It is further to be asked, are you of the household of God? are you the sons of God? If it be

Is. liv, 14.

[ocr errors]

asked how can this, be known, we reply in the words of St. Paul, As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.* Are you changed from glory to glory as by that Spirit? Do you, conscious of your high birth and inheritance of glory, disdain to be conformed to the children of darkness? and shewing no desire after this world, nor inordinate concern about it, are you spiritually minded, and influenced by spiritual motives? Again, have ye not only received Christ Jesus the Lord as the foundation of your hopes, but do ye so walk in him, rooted and grounded in him, established in the faith? Is your life a life of faith in him? Do you look to him for grace and strength to perform every duty? do you seek real communion with him in secret, and are you grieved if he is absent? do you strive to set the Lord always before you, and to frame and fashion your lives after his example? Are your souls emblems of the great temple of the Church; a holy temple in the Lord, habitations of God through the Spirit? If these evidences of your being built up in Christ be in the general wanting, you must be considered as belonging to those strangers and foreigners with whom we are about, in the second place, to remonstrate. 2. The edifice you have heard described is not a castle in the air; it hath an existence more real far than any you see: and what is more, every man that is saved must come and be built upon it. All others will be swept away

+

* Rom. viii, 14.

as rubbish with the besom of destruction, and be burnt up with the earth in which they lie. Brethren, do not the glories of the edifice kindle some little desire to belong to it? Then come and prepare for it! You are not, like the rock in the quarry, free from blame if you are never separated from the earth: for nothing is wanting but your own consent. Be willing then to leave your natural state; put yourselves into the hands of the workman, that he may in any wise fit you for some place in the building. If it be not done here, it cannot be hereafter: for when the temple is finished, another stone cannot be inserted without destroying its beauty and strength, or building it all anew.

Lastly, let us congratulate those whom we can address in the Apostle's own words-those who, however weak and fearful, are making it the business of their lives to be edified in the church of Christ.

Though you are afflicted with fightings without and fears within, and in heaviness through manifold temptations-these things are only preparing you for your place in the building.

The more the stone suffers the strokes of the chisel and the hammer, the finer will be its polish. The more you are afflicted, the more conspicuous your place in the building; and far more exceeding will be your glory. Happy, thrice happy are ye sons of God! Loved with an everlasting love-brought into being precisely at the time when the building had reached your destined place-separated from the world

by sovereign choice, with a strong hand and stretched-out arm, and fixed immoveably in your place where you are to shine for ever and ever. Who! O who is like unto thee, people beloved of the Lord? The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath you are the everlasting arms. Israel shall dwell in safety alone: his heavens shall drop down dew. Happy art thou O Israel; who is like unto thee? a people saved by the Lord! Admire the displayed perfections-the fulfilled promises-the endearing relations of the Most High! Awake! and utter the song of Moses and of the Lamb. Since the Lord hath brought us through fire and water to a goodly heritage-since he hath brought us out of a fearful pit, and out of the miry clay, and with tender care and unceasing love builds us up in his holy temple: let us believe his mighty works and sing his praise. Let there be a new song in our hearts and in our mouth, even praises to our God! Let our meditation of these things be sweet; and let our souls, which he hath redeemed, rejoice in God our only Lord! Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things; and blessed be his glorious name forever; and let the whole earth be filled with his glory! Amen, and Amen.

[ocr errors]
« ПредишнаНапред »