Imatges de pàgina

mate their hearts, and alternately burst forth in the sublime strains which the church has provided -when, engaged in these sacred exercises, their souls are filled with the humble but lively joys of devotion, they experience the inanifestation of God's presence in his holy temple.

3. But particularly does God manifest his presence in the sanctuary, by the ordinances which are there administered.

These are the means and pledges of his mercy and grace. In the sanctuary, the subjects of sin, the children of wrath, the heirs of mortality, coming with true repentance and faith, are translated, by the sacrament of baptism, into that fold of the Redeemer, his mystical body the church, where his mercy encircles them, his grace guides and sanctifies them, and makes them heirs of glory. They are confirmed in their title to these celestial privileges, and advanced to still higher degrees of grace, in the laying on of hands, that ordinance of confirmation in which they personally seal their baptismal Vows. In the sanctuary is spread that holy table, in which, under lively symbols, Christian believers commemorate the stupendous sacrifice of the cross, and spiritually participate of that life-giving body and blood which preserve their bodies and souls unto everlasting life. Thus, in the divine grace and mercy dispensed in the ordinances of the sanctuary, is Jehovah present in his holy temple.

By the power which accompanies his sacred word, by the evangelical blessings of his worship, and by the renovating efficacy of his ordinances, does God manifest his presence in his holy temple, and fulfils the gracious assurance-" In all places VOL. II.


where I record my name, I will come unto thee, and will bless thee."

III. With what dispositions should his worshippers appear before him?

1. With deep reverence for his glorious majesty. "God is to be feared in the assembly of his saints; he is to be had in reverence of those that are round about him." My brethren, the God in whose presence we are here placed, before whose throne we here worship, is almighty in power; he is infinite in holiness; he is inflexible in justice; he is terrible in his wrath. Angels regard him with awe, cherubim and seraphim hide their faces, they cast down their crowns before him; and shall we rush unawed into his presence? Jehovah, whom we worship, exercises that power which at a word brought the universe into existence, and at a word can reduce it to nothing: he possesses a holiness before which the heavens appear unclean; he exercises that justice which no art can elude, that justice which will execute the threats of eternal vengeance. Jehovah, thus powerful, thus holy, thus just, now fills this house with his presence: he searches every heart, he records every action. Great God, thy fear should fall upon us; thy excellency should make us afraid.

2. We should worship God in his holy temple with a deep sense of our unworthiness.

An inspired prophet beheld in the temple the glories of God; he saw Jehovah on a throne high and lifted up; the sense of his unworthiness rushed upon his soul, and prostrate, he exclaimed-" Wo is me, for I am an unclean man!" Brethren, the same Jehovah has in the Christian sanctuary erected

his invisible throne. We can no where, indeed, go from his presence, or hide ourselves from his Spirit; but in this sacred temple we are more immediately exposed to his holy scrutiny. Our souls, marked by so many sins and follies, are brought into the searching light of divine glory. Jehovah is here invisibly seated on a throne high and lifted up: he holds that sword of justice which will by no means spare the guilty, and he denounces the eternal wo that will be the portion of the ungodly. Prostrate before him, who can refrain from the exclamation of the prophet-"Wo is me, for I am an unclean man!"

3. But with a sense of our unworthiness we should also unite, in the worship of the sanctuary, an humble trust in the Divine mercy.

Did not mercy soften by its radiance the terrors of God's holiness and justice, ah! where is the sinful creature that could approach him? But he is good, and ready to forgive, and plenteous in mercy to all such as call upon him; and in the sanctuary he has erected his mercy-seat; here, through the intercession of Jesus Christ, our divine Mediator, we may approach the God whom we have offended, and find pardon and peace.

4. And, lastly, we should worship God in his sanctuary with lively desires for his favour and grace.

It is the object, and it is the inestimable tendency of the services of the Christian sanctuary, to enlighten and purify our affections, to exalt us to a holy resemblance of the God whom we worship, and to lead us from strength to strength, until we attain the grace and glory of the celestial courts. In the services of the sanctuary God is

displayed to us in all his glorious attributes the greatest and the best of Beings, infinitely holy, infinitely good, the only source of felicity and glory. Thus contemplating him, every desire of our souls should be awakened for the attainment of his grace and favour. "As the hart desireth the water brooks, so should our souls pant for the living God." But, alas! error, imperfection, siņ cloud the lustre and alloy the joys of the earthly sanctuary. After the unclouded lustre, the unalloyed bliss of the sanctuary eternal in the heavens, we should aspire. "O send out thy light and truth; let them lead me, let them bring me to thy holy hill, to the presence of God, my exceeding joy."

These are the dispositions which should animate you, my brethren, when in this holy temple you draw near to worship God, your Maker, your Benefactor, your Redeemer, your Sanctifier, your Judge. The form of public prayer which is celebrated in this temple, is calculated to excite these holy dispositions, and provides the best means of indulging them. Let not the holy tendency of this service be defeated by your negligence or coldness: join in it with your voices as well as with your hearts. Always carry with you the recollection"The Lord is in this holy temple." Before you enter this sacred place, solemnize your thoughts and affections by the recollection-" The Lord is in his holy temple." Bring with you into this holy edifice the recollection-"The Lord is in his holy temple." Every moment of your stay in it, bear on your minds the recollection-" The Lord is in his holy temple." Let this recollection check every worldly and unholy thought, every irreverent look

and action; and let profound reverence, unfeigned penitence, humble faith, and ardent affection-let holy solemnity and order characterize the worship which you here offer to the Lord of hosts. Though you can no where go from his presence, nor hide yourselves from his Spirit, you are here more immediately exposed to his view; and when engaged in his worship, he more particularly notes your conduct; and remember, he will bring every thing into judgment at the last day. My brethren, it is a solemn consideration, which cannot too frequently occupy our minds; for soon we must leave this world, and shall be called from the courts of this earthly temple. Let us, therefore, constantly avail ourselves of the privilege of worshipping God in this his house of prayer, and seeking his favour and grace in the ordinances of his sanctuary. Thus we shall be prepared for an admission into that temple whose services are clouded by no imperfection or sin, whose joys are alloyed by no sorrow— that temple to which the "Lord is an everlasting light, and God himself an eternal glory."

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