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name of the Lord, we will not hearken unto thee." You say so, 100, because,
2. What your ministers preach loudly speaks your condemnation.
No debtor more unwillingly looks into his books, which show himn the extent of his arrears, than you examine your own hearts, when your consciences are roused to attend to the words of the law of God, as repeated by the ministers of the sanctuary. Ahab, the king of Israel, as a striking instance of this : you remember, that when Jehoshaphat asked him, if there was not another prophet of the Lord of whom they might inquire ; he replied, “There is yet one man, Micaiah, the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the Lord ; but I hate him, for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.”
See here then, sinners, the reason why you will not hearken to your ministers. You know that they show you your own truly awful characters; they tell the exceeding sinfulness of your lives, and present to you the terrors of the Lord. They must prophesy evil concerning you, whilst you continue in your present state ; for, living and dying unconcerned about the word, they tell you in the name of the Lord, that all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon you, and “God shall blot your name out of the book of life forever."
Two or three remarks shall close the present discourse. I would say, by way of inference, In what an awful state are those persons who are making the resolution contained in the text. They are evidently exposed to the loss of their privileges; to hardness of heart, and contempt of God's word and commandments; and to utter and eternal destruction. For “ if he escaped not, that despised Moses' law, but died without mercy, under two or three witnesses, of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who (by rejecting the gospel) tramples under foot the Son of God, and counts the blood of the covenant an unholy thing ?" • He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." “ Hear, and your soul shall live." The voice of God demands attention. Listen to the Friend of sinners, as he speaks in his word, and great advantages will result: so shall it
appear that the word has not fallen by the way-side, upon a rock, or among thorns, but upon good ground.
How blessed are they to whom faith cometh by hearing!
What reason have they to be thankful for the preaching of the gospel, and the news of salvation! What prejudices it has opposed ! what ignorance it has enlightened ! what consolation it has afforded ! and what blessings it has diffused ! Live, then, as those who have received the gospel. And now, brethren, “ I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified."
GOD THE DEFENCE AND GLORY OF HIS CHURCH.
PREACHED SEPTEMBER 3, 1809.
“ Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities : thine eyes shall see
Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither sball any of the cords thereof be broken." Isalah XXX111. 20.
It is probable, that when this prophecy was delivered, the city of Jerusalem was threatened with an immediate siege ; but Jehovah engages to defend it from the attacks of its enemies, the Assyri. ans, and to render it at once quiet and secure : but yet the text which I have read to you, appears to have a direct reference to the privileges and stability of the gospel church; for Jerusalem, after this period was never long preserved from hostile invasions, therefore our attention is turned from it, to that glorious city against which the gates of hell shall never prevail
. We shall, therefore, without any further introduction, proceed to take those views of the church of Christ which our text recommends, and enforce that attention to it which it demands. Let us,
1. Take those views of the church of Christ which our text recommends.
And we are led to regard it in a threefold point of view: as a solemn city, as a quiet habitation, and as an immoveable tabernacle.
We have the church of Christ represented to us,
1. As a solemn city. “ Look upon Zion,” says my text, “ the city of our solemnities."
The church of ihe Lord on earth is called “the holy people ;" “ the redeemned of the Lord ;" "sought out; a city not forsaken.” It is “that great city, the holy Jerusalem." It is “ Mount Zion, the city of the living God.” It is “the holy city, which is the mother of us all.” The orders and laws necessary for the city of Zion are contained in these lively oracles, which may also be considered as the charter of the privileges of its happy and active citizens. Peace is within its walls, and prosperity within its palaces; and every thing is conducted well, being managed by him who is the God of order, and not of confusion. Its great King ever dwells in the midst of it, and its walls are continually before him. The immunities, for which its inhabitants are distinguished, are numerous and inestimable ; including deliverance from the bondage of corruption and sin, together with a full enjoyment of a right to the tree of life, and to all the blessings they can need : these they obtain by pleading the name, blood, and righteousness of Jesus, the King's Son. Watchmen are set upon its walls, to assure the citizens that their iniquity is pardoned, and that their sin is covered ; as well as to promise a sanctuary to the weary and distressed, who yet remain without
Its “ walls are called salvation, and its gates praise ;" its streets are all pleasant, and its towers may well strike the eye with admiration. We, however, briefly sum up its excellences, when we say, that it is "the city of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel.” But we particularly wish
“ The city
to notice the solemnities for which this city is distinguished : it is well called in my text, of our solemnities.” This name may be applied to Jerusalem, on account of the most solemn feasts that were there made; the solemn assemblies that were there held; and the solemn sacrifices which were there offered. Nor is the term at all inapplicable to the church of God, which consists of serious believers, who enter into the most solemn engagements with Jehovah ; who are employed in the most solemn exercises of mind that can possibly be imagined ; and whose minds are peculiarly affected with the solemnities of death and judginent.
Real religion, brethren, is altogether a solemn thing : its exercises are abused, when they are not entered upon and pursued with real devotion of heart. Nothing trilling can be viewed with approbation by the Father of the spirits of all flesh.
O that when we entered the church of God, we were more impressed with the idea, that it is "the city of our solemnities;" then would our levities be checked, our minds be prepared for the devout service of God, and he would, indeed, “cleanse the thoughts of our hearts, by the inspiration of his Holy Spirit.” In the church of God, we are called solemnly to give ourselves up to him, saying, “Lord, I am thine : here we are, with all seriousness, to aim to promote the best interests of our immortal souls; here we are, with reverence and godly fear, to offer the sacrifice of a broken and contrite spirit.” Never look upon Zion, then, without remembering, that there the most solemn transactions
between God and the soul. 2. Our text views the church of God as a quiet habitation : “ Thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation.”