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, it is just as easy to dress up an in- " But having delivered these cautions,
not to the " laying aside every weight, , by this test. You are to ask yourselves and the sin which doth so easily beset whether you desire heaven because us?" Nevertheless, let us see to it that God is there, because Christ is there; we do not conclude ourselves on the whether, in short, God and Christ would high road to the celestial city, just be- be to you heaven, if there were none cause we have some tastes and feelings but these to be beheld, none but these to which we expect to find there the to be enjoyed. Unless you can answer counterpart objects. We must warni such questions in the affirmative, you you against mistaking an intellectual may be longing for heaven, because it for a spiritual longing, the wish to en- is a place of repose, because departed ter heaven because there "we shall kinsfolk are there, or because man shall know even as we are known,” for the there be loftily endowed; but
have wish to enter it because God himself none of that desire which proves a tiwill there be "all in all.” I am sure tle to possession. We do not say that that many a man, in whose heart is such reasons are to have no weight : no love of the Creator and Redeemer, our discourse has been mainly occumight pant for a state in which he shall pied on the setting them forth. But no longer see darkly throvgh a glass, they are to be only secondary and subbut have full sway over universal truth. ordinate: they are not to be upperThe mind may struggle for emancipa- most : our prime idea of heaven should tion, and crave a broader field, whilst be, that it is the place where God the soul is the bondslave of Satan, and dwells, and of its happiness, that God
to . is " tellectual paradise as a carnal, and to we may again exclaim, Glorious emdesire the one, as well as the other, pire, which is promised us by God! without acquiring any meetness " for We said, in the commencement of our the inheritance of the saints in light.” discourse, that we would utter no reThe heaven of the mohammedan is full proaches, no threatenings, but would of all that can gratify the senses, and dwell exclusively on the hopes and pamper the appetites. The heaven of privileges of christians. And we are the philosopher may be a scene in which not now about to break this resolution : mind is to reach all its vigor, and sci- unless indeed it be to break it, to exence all its majesty. But neither is the press great wonder, and bitter regret, heaven of the christian. The heaven that, when men might be heirs of a for which the christian longs, is the world in which there is no night, of place in which God himself shall be which the Lord God himself is the sun, his "strength, and his portion for ever." and where there are to be glorious The knowledge, whose increase he ar- thrones for those faithful unto death, dently wishes, is knowledge of him who they give their time and thought to the made him, and of him who redeemed acquiring some perishable good, and him: for already hath he felt that "this live, for the most part, as though they is life eternal, to know thee, the only had never heard of judgment and etertrue God, and Jesus Christ whom thou nity. On other occasions, we often hast sent.” He may indeed exult in strive to move the careless amongst the thought that hard things are to be you by " the terrors of the Lord;" we explained, and dark illuminated; but warn them, by falling stars, and a moon only that he may find fresh cause for "turned into blood,” and a sun" black praising, admiring, and adoring God. as sackcloth of hair,” that they persist He may rejoice in the assurance that a not in unrighteousness. And even now flood of splendid light will be poured we gather our incentives from a stripalike over creation and redemption : ped firmament and extinguished lumibut his great motive to exultation is, naries. We still preach to the worldlythat he can say with David to his God, minded through planets which have "in thy light shall we see light,” so started from their courses, and a sun that the irradiation will be from Deity, which has ceased to give light. And, and that which makes visible be that nevertheless, it is not by a darkened, upon which all his affections are fast. it is by a brilliantly irradiated sky, that ened. And you are to try yourselves we summon them to repentance. The bright world of which we have spoken, , what account will have to be given at it may
be yours. It hath been thrown the judgment, if any of us be doomed open to you by that " High Priest of to outer darkness, in place of passing our profession,” who entered "by his into a world where there shall be no own blood," and took possession for night? What but that we wilfully closed himself and his followers. There is not our eyes against "the light of the gloone of us who may not, if he will, secure rious Gospel," not wishing to be made himself a throne in this everlasting aware of our danger and corruption ? kingdom. "Yet there is room.” Myri- what but that " men loved darkness ads have pressed in, myriads are press- rather than light, because their deeds ing in, but " yet there is room.” Alas, were evil ?”
GOD'S WAY IN THE SANCTUARY.
O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God ?"-Psalm 77 : 13.
It may be doubtful whether, in speak- / was undoubtedly longing for those reing of God's way as "in the sanctua- ligious privileges from which he was ry,” the Psalmist designed to express debarred, privileges only to be enjoy, more than that God's way is "in holi- ed in the temple, or tabernacle, at Jeness. We mean that it does not seem rusalem, and of which he had there of. certain from the original, that he in- ten and thankfully partaken. But the tended to make any such reference to original is the same as in our text: we the Jewish temple, to the holy place, may suppose, therefore, that our transor the holy of holies, as you observe lators were not without warrant when in our translation. Bishop Horsley's they represented the psalmist as sayversion is, "O God, in holiness is thy ing, "Thy way is in the sanctuary,' way: what God is great like our God ?" and not " Thy way is in holiness.” There does not however appear to be We own that we should be sorry to any positive objection against the com- have to give up the common translamon rendering. In the 63d Psalm, com- tion, and adopt the other which we posed whilst David was in the wilder. have mentioned. There are, we think, ness, and therefore excluded from the trains of very interesting and instrucpublic ordinances of religion, you find tive thought opened by the statement the words, "my soul thirsteth for thee, that God's way is " in the sanctuary,' to see thy power and thy glory, so as along which we should not be led by I have seen thee in the sanctuary." considering only that God's way is "in Here it seems almost required, by the holiness.” At the same time it should circumstances under which the psalm be observed that whatever truth is preappears to have been written, that we sented by the latter version is included should adopt the translation, "in the in the former, so that we can run no sanctuary.". At least, there is an appo- risk of missing the meaning of the passiteness in this translation which there sage by adopting the more ample renis not in any other; for the Psalmist dering. We wish you further to re
mark, that the triumphant question with abhorrence a thought so dishonoring which our text concludes, is undoubt to God, and ascribes his entertaining edly suggested, or warranted, by the it to spiritual weakness and disease. previous statement in regard of God's "And I said, This is my infirmity: but way. The fact that God's way is "in I will remember the years of the right the sanctuary," or "in holiness,” forms hand of the Most High.” He calls to evidently the argument for that great- mind what deliverances God had ness of God, that superiority of Jeho- wrought for his people, and concludes vah to every false deity, which the con- that they were pledges of future assissequent challenge so boldly asserts. tance. "I will remember the works of And without at all questioning that the the Lord; surely I will remember thy fact of God's way being "in holiness” wonders of old.” And hence he is enwould well bear out the challenge, we couraged: he feels that God's ways shall perhaps see, in the sequel, that may be mysterious, but that they must yet stronger proofs of greatness are be good ; and that it was therefore as furnished by the fact of his way being much his privilege as his duty to " wait "in the sanctuary :" if so, these rea- patiently” upon him. This appears to sons will themselves go to the vindi- be the feeling which he expresses in cating the verşion which we are anx- our text: he has taken the retrospect ious to retain.
of God's dealings, and now announces Now it would not have been right in one sentence their general characthat we should have proceeded at once ter, a character which displays the to discourse to you on the common surpassing greatness of their author. translation, without premising these There is no reason, then, why we few critical remarks. It is very easy should make a confined application of to lay a stress on passages of Scrip our text: we learn, from examining ture, or to assign them a meaning, the context, that the works and wonwhich, at first sight, may seem just, ders of the Lord suggest to the Psalmbut which, on closer examination, they ist his description of God's way, and will be found not to bear. And he who we may therefore regard that descripmay endeavor to interpret the Bible is tion as applying in general to all the required to be very honest, frankly dealings of our Maker. avowing the objections which may lie We have now, then, a clear subject against his statements; and whereso- of discourse, a general description of ever there may be doubt as to the pre- the ways or dealings of God, and that cise sense of the author, not presum- description furnishing evidence of ing to speak with any thing like cer- God's unequalled greatness. Let it be tainty. We have therefore candidly our endeavor to establish and illustrate shown you that there is variety of opin- both the description and the evidence; ion as to whether there be any refer- in other words, let us strive to show ence in our text to the sanctuary or you, in successive instances, how true temple. But we have also shown you it is that God's way "is in the sanctugrounds on which we seein warranted ary,” and what cause there is in each in assuming that there is such a refer- for exclaiming, "Who is so great a ence: and we may now proceed to dis- God as our God ?" course on this assumption, without fear Now we would first observe that of being charged with attaching undue there was a peculiar force to a Jew in weight to a doubtful expression. this reference to the sanctuary, and in
Now the psalm, in which our text the consequent challenge as to the occurs, describes great alternations of greatness of God. Under the legal dismind, the author appearing at one time pensation, every divine dealing was almost in despair, and then again ga- closely connected with the temple : in thering confidence from the attributes the temple were the manifestations of of God. Beset with difficulties and dan- Deity, the signs and notices of mercies gers, he was tempted to think himself with which future days were charged. abandoned by God, so that he patheti. There, and there only, could God be cally exclaims, " Will the Lord cast off solemnly worshipped; there, and there for ever, and will he be favorable no only, might expiatory sacrifices be ofmore ?" He soon however rejects with fered; there, and there only, were in.
timations of the Divine will to be sought for Israel, to prophets throwing open or obtained. In the holy of holies, on the future, and to apostles as they pubthe mercy-seat, overshadowed by the lish the mysteries of a new dispensawings of cherubim, dwelt the perpetual tion, we find the discourse always beartoken of the presence of the invisible ing, with more or less distinctness, on Creator; and the breast-plate of the one and the same subject: the latter high priest, glowing with mystic and speakers, if we may use such illustraoracular jewelry, gave forth, in the so- tion, turn towards us a larger portion litudes of the tabernacle, the messages than the former of the illuminated heof Jehovah. Wonderful dispensation! misphere; but, as the mighty globe rebeneath which, in spite of all its dark. volves on its axis, we feel that the ness, there were burning traces of the oceans and lands, which come succes. goings forth" of God, and in spite of its sively into view, are but constituent shadowy and imperfect character, there parts of the same glorious world. were direct and open communications There is the discovery of new territowith Him "that inhabiteth eternity." ries; but, as fast as discovered, the
But of all its wonders the temple territories combine to make up one might be declared the centre or seat; planet. There is the announcement of for seeing that God designed, in the new truths; but, as fast as announced, fulness of time, to gather all things in- they take their places as parts of one to his Son, and to set him forth as the immutable system. Indeed there is vast alone source or channel of blessing, difference between the Epistles of St. therefore did he make the temple, Paul, and the Psalms of David, or the which typified that Son, the home of prophecies of Isaiah. But it is the difall his operations, the focus into which ference, as we liave just said, between were condensed, and from which di- the landscape whilst the morning mist verged, the various rays of his attri- yet rests on half its villages and lakes, butes and dealings. And this suggests and that' same range of scenery, when to us the speaking for a few moments the noontide irradiates every spire and on a point of great importance, the every rivulet. It is the difference beconsistency of the several parts of re- tween the moon, as she turns towards velation. We take the Bible into our us only a thin crescent of her illumina. hands, and examine diligently its dif- ted disk, and when, in the fulness of ferent sections, delivered in different her beauty, she walks our firmament, ages to mankind. There is a mighty and scatters our night. It is no new growth in the discoveries of God's na- landscape which opens on our gaze, as ture and will, as time rolls on from cre- the town and forest emerge from the ation to redemption ; but as knowledge shadow, and fill up the blanks in the is increased, and brighter light thrown noble panorama. It is no new planet on the divine purposes and dealings, which comes travelling in its majesty, there is never the point at which we as the crescent swells into the circle, are brought to a pause by the manisest and the faint thread of light gives place contradiction of one part to another. to the rich globe of silver. And, it is It is the wonderful property of the Bi. no fresh system of religion which is ble, though its authorship is spread made known to the dwellers in this over a long line of centuries, that it ne creation, as the brief notices given to ver withdraws any truth once advan- patriarchs expand in the institutions of ced, and never adds new without giv- the law, and under the breathings of ing fresh force to the old. In reading prophecy, till at length, in the days of the Bible, we always look, as it were, Christ and his apostles, they burst into on the same landscape: the only dif- magnificence, and fill a world with re. ference being, as we take in more and demption. It is throughout the same more of its statements, that more and system, a system for the rescue of humore of the mist is rolled away from mankind by the interference of a surethe horizon, so that the eye includes a ty. And revelation has been nothing broader sweep of beauty. If we hold else but the gradual developement of converse with patriarchs occupying this system, the drawing up another the earth whilst yet in its infancy, and fold of the vail from the landscape, the then listen to Moses as he legislates I adding another stripe of light to the crescent, so that the early fathers of something so sublime in the whole sysour race, and ourselves on whom "the tem of a theocracy; the interferences ends of the world are come,” look on of an invisible King were so awful, bethe same arrangement for human deli- cause, whilst the sceptre was swayed, verance, though to them there was there was apparently no hand to hold nothing but a clouded expanse, with it; the sanctities of the ark, with its here and there a prominent landmark; symbolical riches, were so consuming whilst to us, though the horizon loses and so conquering, thousands perishitself in the far-off eternity, every ob- ing through a rash glance, and idols ject of personal interest is exhibited in falling prostrate; that never perhaps beauty and distinctness.
did the Almighty give such tokens of But if we may affirm this thorough his supremacy, as whilst, without the consistency of the several parts of Re- intervention of any chief magistrate, velation, we may speak of the Jewish he guided and ruled the twelve tribes. . temple, with all its solemnities and ce- And even when the affairs of the Isremonies, as a focus for the rays of the raelites were administered in a more ordivine attributes and dealings; seeing dinary way-as was the case when our that into its services must have been text was composed, there being then a mystically gathered the grand truths king in Jerusalem- - we may well speak and facts which have been successive of the greatness of God as singularly ly developed, or which have yet to be exhibited through all the ordinances disclosed. And who shall tell us the of religion. It is here that we have emotions with which a devout Jew need of what has been advanced on must have regarded the temple, that the consistency of revelation. How temple towards which, if he chanced great was God in all those types and to be a wanderer in a foreign land, he emblems which figured prophetically was bidden to turn, whensoever he the mysteries of redemption. How sought in prayer the God of his fathers, great in arranging a complicated sysas though he must imagine himself ca- tem, whose august ceremonies, and nopied by its lofty architecture, before pompous rites, might serve the purhe could gain audience of his Maker? pose of keeping a fickle people from If he had sinned, he must go up to the being seduced by the splendid supertemple, that there his guilt might be stitions of the heathen; and nevertheexpiated by the blood of slain beasts. less foreshow, in their minutest parti. If he had become ceremonially defiled, culars, the simple, beautiful facts of a he must go up to the temple, that there, religion, whose temple was to be the through certain figurative rites, he whole world, and whose shrine every might be restored into fellowship with human heart. How great in preserving God's people. If he had mercies to a knowledge of himself, whilst darkacknowledge, he must go up to the ness, gross darkness, covered the natemple, that he might there express his tions; and in carrying on the promise gratitude in eucharistical offerings. If and hope of a Messiah, through age he needed, in some extraordinary cri- after age of almost universal apostasis, direction from above, he must go cy. How great in ordaining sacrifices up to the temple, that there the priest which, in all their varieties, representmight divine for him, by the urim and ed one and the same victim; in comthummim, the course which it was manding observances so numerous and God's will that he should take. With multiform that they can hardly be rewhat deep feeling, therefore, must he counted, but which, in every tittle, had have confessed, "Thy way, O God, is respect to the same deliverer; in gain the sanctuary. And would he not, thering all that was distant into each moreover, as he mused on this fact, be day, and each hour, of an introductory led to the acknowledging and admiring dispensation, crowding the scene with the greatness of the Lord? We do not a thousand different shadows, but all know, that, at any time, or under any cir- formed by light thrown on one and the cumstances, God has vouchsafed more same substance. And all these demonstriking proofs of his greatness, than strations, or exhibitions, of greatness, whilst he governed Israel from the ta- were furnished from the sanctuary: bernacle as his throne. There was the temple was God's palace, if you