Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

Mediator Jesus Christ sealing our pardon, and the divine Sanctifier, even the Holy Ghost, dispensing his all-powerful grace, the feelings of dread and of terror subside into the holy emotions of peace and of hope-we delight to visit this temple, to behold here the fair beauty of the Lord; and if our pardon be indeed secured by lively faith, and our souls be indeed renewed in righteousness, this "house of God" will prove to us the "gate of heaven"-the vestibule that opens to that celestial Zion, to which the Lord is an everlasting light, and God himself an eternal glory; and where, receiving continual accessions of truth, of holiness, of felicity from the infinite source of perfection and good, we shall exclaim, in the transports of grateful love and adoration-" Surely the Lord is in this place." God grant, my brethren, that, by the services of this earthly sanctuary, purified from sin and adorned with all the graces of the Spirit, we may meet and abide in that blest place, in the fruition of the divine glory, for ever and ever.

SERMON IV.

CONSECRATION OF A CHURCH.

PSALM XXIV.

The earth is the Lord's, and all that therein is; the compass of the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and prepared it upon the floods. Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall rise up in his holy place? Even he that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; and that hath not lift up his mind unto vanity, nor sworn to deceive his neighbour. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is the generation of them that seek him; even of them that seek thy face, O Jacob. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is the King of glory? it is the Lord strong and mighty, even the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is the King of glory? even the Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory.-Prayer Book Trans.

THIS psalm, sublime in its sentiments, magnificent in its structure, and beautiful in its imagery, was composed by David, and sung by the priests and Levites, on the joyful event of carrying the ark of the Lord, which had hitherto wandered from place to place, to its settled habitation on Mount Zion. The whole nation of Israel, headed by their king, and by the priests and Levites, bore in splendid procession the ark of the Lord,-while this psalm, chanted in alternate strains by the sacred choirs, and accompanied by the triumphant and

exhilarating sound of psalteries, of harps, and cymbals, welcomed the entrance of the hallowed symbol of the presence of Jehovah into the tabernacle prepared for it.

But the analogy of Scripture, which uniformly considers all the leading events and institutions of the Jewish, as typical of corresponding events and institutions in the Christian dispensation-and the superior force and meaning which this sublime psalm derives, when, beyond a dispensation which was soon to pass away, it is applied to one which was the consummation of all others, and to last for ever-and the uniform testimony of the church in every age, justify us in considering this psalm as presenting to us the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, ascending with the host of the redeemed, and with attending angels, to the gates of the celestial Zion.

It is with this view of the evangelical import of this psalm that our church directs the ministering servants of the sanctuary to employ it when they come to announce that the Saviour, the Lord Christ, hath taken possession of the place set apart to his honour and worship-here recording his name, raising his mercy-seat, erecting his throne of grace, and promising to dwell and to have his delight there.

To explain this psalm, and to urge its evangelical meaning, cannot be unsuitable to the present solemnity, which has now made this house the temple of the Lord of hosts, the King of glory.

The following truths it successively presents to our grateful and triumphant faith:

1. The infinite condescension and goodness of the Sovereign Lord of the universe, in blessing

with his peculiar presence and favour the church of the redeemed.

2. The necessity of vital universal holiness to qualify his people, the members of this church, for the enjoyment of the blessings of his favour, and the everlasting glories of his presence.

3. Lastly. It quickens the virtue and zeal, and heightens the consolations and triumphs of the faithful, by the exhibition of the glorious ascension of their victorious Redeemer, the Lord of hosts, the King of glory, to that celestial and eternal kingdom to which he will finally advance his obedient people.

1. The first truth which we infer from this psalm is, the infinite condescension and goodness of the Lord of the universe, in blessing with his peculiar presence and favour the church of his redeemed.

"The earth is the Lord's, and all that therein is; the compass of the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and prepared it upon the floods."

These words declare the sovereign dominion of Jehovah over the world; for he hath made it; and by setting to the seas and "floods a decree which they cannot pass," hath seated the earth ath seated the earth upon stable and unchanging foundations.

But these verses are to be considered as an appropriate and emphatic introduction to a psalın which is designed to celebrate the presence of God with his chosen people. We lose sight, then, of the distinguishing character and meaning of these words, unless we contrast them with the pervading sentiment of the psalm. And the interesting and impressive inference which results from this com

[ocr errors]

parison is, that if God is the Almighty Lord and Ruler of the universe, supporting it by that sovereign power which at first created it, extending his supreme dominion over all the creatures he has made, his condescension and mercy must be most exalted and distinguished in marking by his peculiar presence and favour a portion only of the human race-the nation of the Israelites, and finally, the church of his redeemed.

The forefathers of the Jewish nation he had selected as his peculiar favourites, guiding them by his counsel, consoling them by his favour, protecting them by his power, and animating them by the most splendid promises. When the arm of oppression bowed their necks to the yoke, and the "iron entered into their soul," when the land of Egypt was moistened by the tears which a cruel bondage forced from them, the Most High made bare his arm, and by the most signal exertions of power effected their redemption. Through the horrors of a trackless wilderness he led them, their everpresent Protector and Guide: and though loud and frequent murmurs repaid the displays of his power and favour, though discontent raised against him. the impious standard of rebellion, ingratitude could not extinguish the love of Jehovah for Israel whom he had redeemed, and provocations reiterated and aggravated could not excite him to pour upon them the flood of merited wrath: the promised land of which he spake to their fathers, beheld them in the possession of every blessing, temporal and spiritual, which a bountiful God could shower down on his chosen servants and people. While the Gentile nations, in the inscrutable dispensation of him who worketh all things according to the counsel of his

« AnteriorContinua »