Imatges de pàgina

insensibility and presumption, and to incur the most aggravated guilt. Unholy members of the church, they who name a divine and holy Master, and do not depart from iniquity, but give themselves up to the suggestions and sway of their corrupt passions, are guilty of renouncing the most solemn obligations, and of rejecting the most exalted privileges and hopes. They who, regenerated in baptism, admitted into a state of salvation marked with the blood of Christ, set apart by the seal of his Spirit, adopted as God's children, yet fail to acquire the renewing of the Holy Ghost, the renewing of the mind, shining forth in all holy affections, in all virtuous acts, are guilty of trampling under foot the blood of the Son of God; they are guilty of doing despite to his Spirit; they are guilty of casting from them the glories of their heavenly birthright. "Be ye holy, for I the Lord your God am holy," is the language which may be addressed with more awful and impressive force to Christians, now the "elect of God, than it was to the Israelites, God's chosen of old. Blessed with a purer and more spiritual dispensation, in which all those divine truths and promises which the types and shadows of the law faintly set forth, shine forth in the most splendid lustre; beholding in that precious blood which flowed from the divine victim on the cross, the most tremendous display of divine wrath, and the most splendid, and affecting, and endearing discovery of divine mercy; possessing, in the almighty energies of the Holy Ghost dwelling in them, the abundant, unfailing means of spiritual life, the celestial armour with which to defend and to conquer; and looking to heaven, their home, the great recompense of reward, Christians are

urged to holiness and virtue by the most solemn vows, the most powerful aids, the most impressive and persuasive motives. For that heavenly kingdom, where they are to be for ever kings and priests of God-for that church triumphant, where God, the Judge of all, and Jesus, the Mediator of the covenant, unvail their full glory, where the host of angels and glorified spirits unceasingly present their hallowed adorations,-holiness is an indispensable qualification. Into this holy place of the Most High nothing can enter that is unholy and unclean.

"Who then shall ascend into that hill of the Lord! or who shall rise up in that holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; and that hath not lift up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn to deceive his neighbour." He who is pure in the thoughts of his understanding, in the resolutions of his will, in the purposes, and wishes, and exercises of his affections, and in the acts of his life-he whose "heart" is thus the seat of purity, and whose "hands" never defile themselves with iniquity-he who hath not "lift up his soul" to those "vain" and deceitful enjoyments which too often occupy the place of God in the heart, as the idol of its affections; but who, under a habitual reverence of the Lord whom he serves, cherishes the sentiments and strictly observes the rules of piety and justice.

This is that happy man who shall "receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation." This is the man who, having, under the guidance and grace of God his Saviour, preserved his heart pure and his conduct upright, shall finally participate in the everlasting

"This is the

blessing and favour of the Lord. generation of them that seek him," this should be the character of all those who "seek the face," who aspire to view, in the heavenly sanctuary, the lustre and glory of the God of "Jacob." Oh, my soul, with what ardour of desire, with what supreme vigour of exertion shouldst thou seek those holy graces that alone will render thee meet for these eternal and glorious rewards!

As the animating truth which is to quicken our piety and virtue, our consolations and triumphs, . the last portion of the psalm displays,

3. The glorious ascension of our victorious Redeemer to that eternal kingdom, to the glories and bliss of which he will finally advance his obedient people.

The assembled congregation of the children of Israel with the voice of joy and shouting bore the ark of the Lord to its destined habitation. Ascending, in long and magnificent procession, the hill of Zion, and arrived at the gates of the tabernacle, the bands of priests and Levites demand admission for the ark of Jehovah. An inquiry is made by the priests who guard the sacred sanctuary, concerning the character and office of him who claims admittance; and in return, the priests and Levites who bear the ark declare the sovereign dominion and glorious majesty of that Lord, the symbol of whose presence is now to be placed in the sanctuary of Mount Zion.

This sublime scene is symbolical of an event infinitely more splendid and glorious, and which claims our rapturous contemplation and elevated faith.

The Lord of life and glory, Jesus, the Son of God, Jesus, our Saviour, our Lord, having trod the wine-press of divine wrath, having triumphed over the powers of death and hell, prepares to take possession of a heavenly temple in the Zion above. Rising from that tomb whose barriers he burst, and shaking off the habiliments of corruption, he ascends, attended by the church of the redeemed, in splendour and majesty to the heavenly courts. Inspired with sublime confidence in the power and glory of their incarnate God, his redeemed people demand that the everlasting doors should be thrown open to their victorious Saviour. They shout forth the animating cry-" Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in." Be ye open, 0 ye gates of the sanctuary; stand wide open, ye durable doors; and the King of glory, the Conqueror of death and hell, shall enter, and commence his glorious and eternal reign. “Who is this King of glory?" exclaim the astonished host of heaven, the ministering spirits of the celestial Zion. "The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle," triumphantly respond the attendants of the Saviour. The Lord, of almighty power and resistless dominion, the Lord, whose victorious arm hath dispersed his adversaries, and wrought everlasting salvation. Therefore, "lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in." Speedily 0 open, ye gates of Zion; be ye open, wide open, O ye doors which never shall decay; and the King, whose glory filleth the universe, shall take possession of his celestial courts. "Who is this King of glory?" again demand the guardians of the heavenly


sanctuary; and again respond the attendants of the Almighty Conqueror, "The Lord of hosts"— the Lord, who created the universe, who now by his resistless power hath redeemed it, hath rescued the fallen race of man from the thraldom of sin and death-" he is the King of glory." He is the Almighty King, who comes to claim his divine glory, who comes to advance his church and people to immortal felicity, who comes to awaken in your celestial courts the songs of praise to the Lamb that was slain, to the victorious Conqueror who bought his people with his blood. Triumphant ascension of the Lord of life! Immortal felicity of the church of the redeemed! Glorious and eternal throne on which the Saviour exercises the sceptre of power and of love! Thither, O Christians, in heart and mind continually ascend. To these blissful mansions the mercy of your Saviour invites you; to these immortal glories the victorious grace of your Redeemer is ready to conduct you.

This neat, impressive, and beautiful sanctuary, reared by pious enterprise and public-spirited zeal -this house, which bears the appropriate and interesting appellation that recalls the glorious event which the psalm we have been considering celebrates the "ascension," has now become the dwelling-place of the great King, of Jesus the Saviour, the Lord of life and glory. Its ministrations, its worship, and its ordinances will afford you the light that will guide to the heavenly Zion, the mercy that will refresh and console the contrite

This refers to the Church of the Ascension," in the city of New-York, at the consecration of which the sermon was preached. VOL. II. 8

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