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regret the days which are past, when the light of the Lord shone upon you, but which are now exchanged for days of darkness and gloom, that divine sun is eternally the same ;your sins of presumption, or of carelessness, or of speculative security, have gathered the clouds which intervene, and cause the darkness of which you complain. The sanctuary, the house of prayer, is not to you an object of desire as it once was; peradventure ye have become wise in your own conceits, and undervalue the truths which have to you become common-place, and which have lost the charm of novelty. Or it may be a fulness of bread, a luxurious, and elegant, and over-abundant exhibition of spiritual delicacies, has made you loathe simple food; or feuds of a secular and personal nature, although connected with religion, have imbittered your spirit; and the agitation of bad passions, or other causes have dimmed the spiritual eye, and caused the Lord to hide his face from you. Sure we may be, that the cause of our obscurity is not in yonder sun, but the cause of obscurity, and gloom, and eclipses, and the darkness of night, is, the changes which take place on our earth, or something that interposes between his beams and us.
This sun has shone and illumined the saints of the Most High in every age, since the beginning of the world; it lighted up the road that led them to Messiah, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world; it shines upon the souls of the faithful in afflictions and distresses, in sickness and in death; and in yonder brighter world, this sun shall no more go down, but shall beam forth an unspotted, unobscured orb of light and love for ever and ever.
The Lord God is a sun and a shield. Not only does he supply his people with the light of life; but he is also exhibited in the sanctuary as a defence. No weapon that is formed against his church's peace shall prosper. How manifold have been the machinations, and how varied and desperate the forms of assault intended to overthrow and annihilate the Church of God upon earth. Learning, and talent, philosophy, and science, falsely so called, enlisted with zeal on the side of the enemy; and persecu
tion, and fire, and sword, wielded by the rulers of the earth, leagued together to oppose Messiah's reign, and to crush his rising kingdom, have all proved inefficient to the end proposed. For he must reign till he hath put all his enemies under his feet. And they that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion, which cannot be moved. As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people, from henceforth, even for ever. He is a defence against all enemies. Our help, my Christian friends, is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth. Oh what a shield is God to his people; it is a shield wielded by an Almighty arm, and guided by infinite wisdom and skill. Divine foreknowledge secures the church against any sudden or unexpected assault, and the omnipotent power of Jehovah renders that shield, which he throws around his church, impregnable to every foe, either from earth or from hell. Happy the people who resign themselves to his care, who flee to him for refuge, and who renounce all, the least trust in any inferior power.
Oh, what a consolation are these sublime truths to the humble Christian, however poor, or afflicted, or distressed, or neglected, by man. Oh blessed Gospel, blessed Bible, which givest to the disconsolate such cheering revelations of divine benignity! Truly, O Jehovah, thou givest grace, and thou givest glory. Thou hast laid the foundation in the atoning sacrifice of Emmanuel, and thou hast led us to hope that the Spiritual Temple shall be finished with shouts of grace, grace unto it. The Lord will give grace and glory. All must be resolved into the free gift of God. The gift of God is eternal life. He spared not his own Son, but gave him up to the death for us all, and how shall he not with him also freely give us all things. These are the words of an Apostle, and how striking the similarity of language used by him and by Israel's King-"No good thing," said the pious monarch, "will he withhold from those that walk uprightly. O Jehovah, God of Hosts, happy is the man who trusteth in thee! Here, Christians, every thing is promised that Heaven considers good for upright persons; it is not what we consider good, but what
Infinite Wisdom considers good, and that is not always prosperity. Inspired and Holy Writ has recorded, that sometimes, (perhaps oftener than we imagine,) it is good to be afflicted. Chastisement indicates parental care and an ardent affection, and therefore we should not consider afflictions as positive and unmixed evil-if heavenly glory be at the end of all these graciously afflictive dispensations, how happy the result! Oh, what an exhilirating view of the matter did Paul take, when oppressed and afflicted, persecuted, and scorned, imprisoned and scourged, and hungry and thirsty; and in cold and nakedness, ill-fed and illclothed in the midst of all these, he said, "Our light afflictions, which are but for a moment, work out for us a far more and exceeding and eternal weight of glory;" these afflictions are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Truly so! A moment and eternity! earthly suffering and heavenly bliss! Man's wrath and God's love!-Who would ever think of drawing a comparison? Oh thou afflicted, discomforted, poor, and friendless; or aged and destitute Christian, lift up thy head and rejoice in God thy Saviour. And thou, man of God, who art rich and increased in goods, but whose mind is elevated above these things, in themselves perishable and fleeting, bless God who has taught thee not to trust in uncertain riches, but in himself; and who has led thee to adopt the ejaculation of the royal Psalmist, in the closing lines of that ode, which has been the subject of our dis
"O Jehovah, God of Hosts,
Happy is the man who trusteth in thee."
He is indeed happy, and happiness is no where else to be found.
Now, my hearers, these views of life and of death, of time and of eternity, and of the gracious character of God, our Creator, Preserver, and Redeemer, are those that are exhibited in the courts of God's house; and do they not justify the exclamation of king David-"How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of Hosts?" There are some young persons in this country, exposed to the attacks of a
pretended science and philosophism, which set themselves in opposition to the religion of Jesus; but where in the tents of infidel philosophy, or in the temples of paganism, or in the mosques of mahomedanism, are to be found such sublime truths concerning God, such accurate statements concerning what man is; such gracious revelations of divine mercy; and such glorious hopes to them that walk uprightly, as are exhibited in thy lovely tabernacles, O Jehovah, God of Hosts!
But it is not privilege alone that is to be learned in Christian churches; the Lord said to Moses concerning the first tabernacle, "There will I meet with thee, and commune with thee of all things which I have given thee in commandment to the children of Israel." Christians, who should not forsake the assembling of themselves together, are to come together not only for prayer and praise, but also to hear what God the Lord will speak from his word in matters of duty, as well as in matters of privilege, and to exhort one another to love and to good works. Our attachment to the Saviour must be manifested by obedience to all his commandments. The Christian life, like that of our blessed Lord, should be a life of active benevolence, going about doing good. Not a life of monastic, selfish, and unsocial seclusion, which the folly of the human mind has every where suggested, as well in Pagan as in Christian lands. Oh no!-Apostolic, (which is the true primitive) Christianity, knows nothing of inactive, antisocial, selfish contemplation. Of the Holy Bible, nine tenths are made up of precepts and exhortations concerning man's duty to God, and to his fellow creatures. I trust, that on this occasion, whatever is right and expedient will be done: and to goad a willing mind, is not the practice that a generous. nature approves.*
Remarks on another occasion.
And there is one duty of which it becomes me to put you in mind, viz. that of assisting, as God shall give ability, to
* A collection for the chapel was to be made.
rear tabernacles dedicated to Jehovah, throughout the whole earth. To excite your gratitude, I have already alluded to the temples dedicated, by deluded votaries, to dumb idols, or to apostate demons, in various parts of the world; but gratitude to God and to the former benefactors of our race, whom Heaven employed to originate spiritual blessings in our native land, is not to be confined to mere feeling. Although, even if it were, I fear we seldom feel enough on this subject. However, it is not enough to feel grateful or to express thankfulness; gratitude should rouse us to exertion, for the purpose of establishing tabernacles to Jehovah in all lands; that all nations, and peoples, and languages, may also exult in those lovely edifices, where mercy and salvation are revealed to the children of men. There is no possible good work at all comparable to the originating, amongst any tribe of men, a Christian Church. Alas, that there should be so often a spirit of cavil, and censorious criticism, in reference to those who have gone before us in good works of this kind; because, forsooth, it has been discovered that the operators were not perfect, that frailty and imperfection attended them and their efforts! Did a right spirit prevail amongst Christians, it would subdue or annihilate the spirit of censorious cavil, and lead to an emulation and imitation of those who first erected tabernacles to Jehovah in these lands, the beneficial effects of which have so far exceeded all calculation. Oh, what would Christian Missionaries in some parts of the world not do, or suffer, to witness a hundredth part of the Christian temples which adorn this land, rising up in the regions in which they labour. But next to Heaven's aid, they require the constant and energetic co-operation of the churches at home, and it is incumbent on those who rejoice from Sabbath to Sabbath, in the enjoyment of the unspeakable privileges of God's house, and the loveliness of his sanctuary, to co-operate assiduously to convey similar bliss to all mankind. And when Christians arrive at the house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, that better and infinitely more perfect tabernacle, if they can look back and review the occurrences of earth, what can possibly yield