« ForrigeFortsæt »
to be, the dwelling-place of the saints; for they are they that dwell in this house. Let me show you,
III. That such characters are truly blessed.
For on them a blessing is pronounced in our text; and wherein does their blessedness consist ? Is it in an increase of worldly prosperity? Are we told that they shall be more respected by the world than their fellow-creatures ? or, are they to expect that their attendance upon Divine worship procures the favor of God, and by it they merit heaven? No, beloved, no such things are inentioned, and I will venture to assert, that none such are expected by the sincere believer. But their reward is in their work, their blessedness is in their employment; for, says my text,
They shall be still praising thee.” It is true that there are numerous privileges insured to the attendants upon
God's house, mentioned in various other parts of Scripture, but we shall confine ourselves at present to the idea of our text. Their blessedness, then, arises from the nature, and from the perpetuity, of their engagement.
1. The nature of their employment is a source of their happiness.
Their work is praise. “ Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Zion : unto thee shall the vow be performed." “ In the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.” “ Let them exalt him also in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.”'
When Christians properly consider the glories of the Divine nature, and the wonders God has wrought for them in their election, calling, adoption, justification, redemption, and sanctification, they cannot forbear bursting out in songs of praise and thanksgiving; and truly “praise is comely for
the upright.” The Lord Jehovah himself is the object of their praise and adoration : and what is he ? he is the source of all true knowledge, the author and donor of every good and perfect gift, with whoin there is no variableness, nor the least shadow of a turn; with him is the fountain of life. In him are all the supplies that we need, and from him proceeds every blessing, both temporal and spiritual. Viewing God then in this light, the saints make his temple echo with his praise : and must it not be blessedness itself to engage in such a delightful employment? While many think it their happiness to fawn and cringe to their fellow-creatures, my brethren, be it our happiness to worship the King, the Lord of hosts. He must be blessed that praises God, because he is led to see that excellency and glory in the Divine Being, which must engage the adoration of those who are favored with the enjoyment of it. Ask the true Christian, why he praises that God, whom others neglect and slight : he will tell you,
“ Because I am enabled to see him engaged on my behalf, and all his perfections are on my side; and I know that if God be for me, nothing that others are able to do against me can do me any injury."
The believer praises God for the blessings of his grace, for all the mercies he enjoys, and for the prospects he has of eternal life and blessedness; then who can doubt that those who dwell in God's house are truly blessed ? Their employment comes the nearest to that of glorified saints in heaven, and has connected with it the most distinguished favors. Tell us no more then of carnal amusements, of sensual joys, which never yield any solid satisfaction : be it our happiness to dwell in the temple of God, and by Jesus Christ to “ offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks unto his name." But if the blessedness of the saints arises from the nature of their employment, much more will it do so,
2. From its perpetuity. “ They will be still praising thee.” Similar to this is the resolution of the psalmist, contained in the 146th psalm. “ While I live will I praise the Lord : I will sing praises unto my God while I have my being.' The pleasures of the followers of the Lamb are not transient, but lasting; they are never to be interrupted: by day and by night they warble the praise of their Creator and Redeemer. Thanksgiving to God shall check the mourning sigh, to which they are liable to give vent under trouble : all through life the Divine praise shall employ their tongues, nay, when the powers of language fail in the article of death, their streaming eyes shall intimate the joys they cannot speak. And what think you
shall be their employment after the last conflict is over, and the chains which confined them to flesh and blood are broken? Then shall they rise to join the heavenly musicians, to sing that song which none can learn but the redeemed. Nor shall the glowing troops that surround the throne of God and the Lamb, sing more loudly than those who have been brought out of every nation, kindred, and tongue, and people, to shout for ever, “ Unto bim that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and has made us kings and priests unto God and his Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
The sweet work, the glorious theme of praise to Jesus shall occupy eternity itself, and when unnumbered ages have rolled away, yet it may be said, “They shall be still praising thee."
Such is the employment of those who dwell in the Lord's house; it is a perpetual engagement, and therefore they are truly blessed to whom it belongs. If there are any believers here in the house of God at this time, let me tell them never to be dumb in the praise of their great Lord. Praise him, Christian, with joyful lips. Praise him, by reviewing and acknowledging his goodness; by speaking to those around you of his greatness; and by acting before all to his glory. Praise him in your families, praise him in the world, praise him in your closets ; but more especially praise him under the sacred roof, within the temples of the living God: so shall he grant you the light of his countenance, and the visits of his love ; so shall he meeten you for the rest that remaineth for the people of God.
Having gone through what I proposed, I will close this discourse with one remark, which is
Regularity of attendance upon the house of God is a pleasing sign, but no decisive evidence of a man's being a real Christian.
We cannot tell the motives that bring you to the temple of God. You may come, for aught we know, from custom, or because you feel a curiosity to know what is done there : we are not acquainted with the feelings of your mind when you are there ; they are only known to that God, whose prerogative it is to judge the heart. Examine yourselves to know whether your after conduct is influenced by any thing you have heard from the mouth of God's servants in his temple. See whether you are the characters that dwell in God's house, and have any right to claim their privilege, or any taste for it. May God bless his word, through Jesus Christ. Amen. DISCOURSE VI.
DEITY OF JESUS CHRIST.
“ He is Lord of all.” Acts x. 36.
The ardor of that affection which the apostles and primitive Christians felt for the Saviour, is truly remarkable, and well worthy of our imitation, upon whom the ends of the world are come. When they were addressing their fellow-mortals on the important concerns of the soul, if his name did but come under their notice, for a moment, they left their subject to speak of some of his distinguished excellences. In many instances we behold this in the discourses and epistles of the apostle Paul ; and can it not be perceived in the language of Peter, which now lies before us? “ The word,"
" which God sent to the children of lsrael, preaching peace by Jesus Christ;" and then, as he had formed the highest ideas of his character, he adds that sentence which we have selected for a test, and which, in the New Testament, is inclosed in a parenthesis, “ He is Lord of all.”
The honor of the Saviour cannot be an unwelcome or an unpleasant subject of consideration to those among us to whom “ his name is as ointment poured forth :” our hearts are inditing a good matter, when the things concerning the King are our subject: for“ He is fairer than the children of men, grace is poured into his lips ; therefore God hath blessed him for ever." His name shall be remem