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And this brings me to consider in the third place, the lesson deduced.
III. “Therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, rohich are God's." You see on what this blessed exhortation is grounded. It is love, the love of Christ, yea, the love of Christ in giving himself for us ;, a stronger motive, a more persuasive inducement,a more gracious reason could not be given than this. Methinks, if some great worldly benefit had been procured for us, we should not have found it difficult to spread abroad the kindness of the donor. And the greater the gift, the greater would be our thankful. ness. But if some friend had laid down his life in our stead, how grateful would be our hearts, how ceaseless our remembrance of his love, how animating his example on our life. His self-denial, affection, and sincere friendship would be the subject of our daily theme. How deeply we should feel our nnworthiness, how our bursting hearts and tearful eyes would express the reality of our thankfulness. And shall the love of Christ be less constrain. ing; shall his example be less influential; shall we with less gratitude cherish the remembrance of his death ? When we consider the position which Christ holds in the estimation of the mass of mankind, there is a great reason why we should glorify God. Christ is the manifestation of the Father ; men dishonour Christ, shall we not therefore honour him ; men despise him, shall we not therefore exalt him; men deny him, shall we not therefore confess him; men put him to an open shame, shall we not therefore be partakers with him in his humiliation. Christ, so to speak, has left the vindication of his character to us, and men look to us as Christ's representatives. How solemn the charge, how necessary that the Holy Spirit should ever be with us, lest like Judas, we betray our Lord. How carefully the ambassador from a foreign court seeks to sustain the majesty and glory of his royal master ; how circumspect, lest by word or deed he should refleet dishonour upon his cause ; how specially is he vigilant when surrounded by foes. And we, too, my brethren, are ambassadors for Christ; our Master's deadliest foes surround us, under the mask of friendship they conceal the deadliest hostility, they wrest our words, mark our steps, note all our indiscretions, flatter with their tongue whilst poison is under their lips, and with a zeal which never tires, they seek to entrap our souls. Oh, how vigilant we should be lest we compromise the cause we desire to promote.
First. Then we may glorify Christ by living near to him. Ah, brethren, the secret of our inconsistency is this, we profess what we are not ; we try to keep up the outward character when the inward spark has nearly fled. And thus we find the work a heartless task, which neither satisfies God nor gives any comfort to our souls. We fear, that if religion were to have its full influence on our lives, it would interfere with our secular advantages, and thus the stream of holy affection which flows forth on the Sunday is pent up and pressed down during the week. Will you suffer me to say that you take a wrong view of Christianity altogether; it will not interfere with your real advancement in life, rather it will bring down a richer blessing upon you, and you will realize in all its fulness the promise—“Them that honour me, I will honour. Therefore seek to glorify Christ by living very near to him. To that end have your stated hours of prayer ; communion with God does much to sustain the flame of devotion. It is indeed the breath of our spiritual life, the animating spirit of all Christian effort. Read God's word, it will increase your acquaintance with him ; it will manifest to you new glories in the Divine character which shall elicit increased gratitude and love ; study its blessed pages, " make it a lamp unto your feet, and a light unto your path ;" it will solve your doubts, guide you in seasons of perplexity, cheer you in your moments of depression, and fing a tinge of glory on all around ; make it your rule of life, place it in your counting-houses, and learn from it true principles of commercial morality.
Have your seasons of self-examination. How often you take an account of your progress in your various worldly concerns. Be not less anxious to know what advancement you are making in the acquisition of heavenly treasure. What failures you have made, what defects still exist in your leavenly steward. ship. Iuto what follies have you been betrayed, what evil connections have you formed, how stands your credit in the account of heaven ; how may you increase your influence for good; how win jewels to the Saviour's crown.
Have your seasons of spiritual intercourse with your fellow Christians. Much wisdom may be gained by exchanging notes on your spiritual experience, it will draw out your affections, correct false notions, enlarge your sympathies, impel you to go more vigorously forward in the heavenly race. The rebukes of a friend will be true medicine, the warnings of one who has himself fallen will be of precious worth, and his encouragement will be indeed stimulating. If, therefore, you would glorify God, live near to him.
Again : We may glorify Christ by confessing him at all times. Brethren, be assured we have advanced very far in the Divine life when we have learnt this duty; when neither the fear of man, nor a sense of shame, nor a prospect of pecuniary loss has any influence over us, then is the time when we may apply the test, as to whether our esteem of the world is greater than our esteem for Christ; whether we count the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt. How various our positions in life, low great our influence. Oh, what a inighty effect would the united Christian contession of this great congregation have upon this neighbourhood ; if business men would conduct their trades on Christian principles, if they would wholly seek the glory of God, both in buying and selling; if truthtulness marked their words and integrity their deeds ; if they pursued with less impetuosity the dangerous race for gold ; if the spirit of accumulation had not quenched the spirit of brotherly love. Ah, my brethren, stop and ponder. You may, you must glorify God in your business. It is God's shop or counting-house ; you are but trading for him. Dishonour uot your Master; let not the hope of speedy profit ever induce you to trample on misfortune or even indirectly to encourage dishonesty. Let then the principles on which you act in your commercial character be indeed a witness for Christ.
We must glorify Christ in our homes. Kiud forbearance, a genial temper, a loving sympathy, a tender heart; in our homes to erect the family altar will do much to glorify the Lord ; let the relationship of masters and servants be for a season inerged in that loftier fellowship in Christ, when the sacred volume is read before us, and the evening prayer like sweetest incense ascends to the Father of us all. We must confess Christ in seasons of recreation.
Two souls may meet together for the first and last time on earth; a word of warning, a simple truth froin the treasury of God's word may save the soul of the stranger. Indeed, the Saviour in his love may have sent him to thee for the purpose. Yes, my brethren, you may witness for Christ continually. If thy light of Christian consistency shines brightly, thou art unconsciously winning
souls to Christ ; if thy heart be full of Christ, thy countenance will reflect his glory, and thy tongue will eloquently spread abroad his praise.
Let us witness for Christ in all our conversation. Let not the world have all our words, but let Christ more frequently engage our thoughts. Yes, brethren, let us witness for Christ, in the social party, in the chainber of sickness, before servants, and before mistresses, at all times, in the mart and on the exchange, in the steainboat and on the rail, in season and out of season, by night and by day, “ warning every man, and teaching every man, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus."
Again : We may glorify Christ by suffering for him. St. Paul, when writing from his prison at Rome, says, “ The things which have happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel, so that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace and in all other places, and many of the brethren in the Lord waxing confident by my bonds are much more bold to speak the word without fear.” So that the poor despised prisoner was in deed glorifying God in the midst of his adversity, making the disciples bolder for the truth, spreading abroad the Saviour's love in the midst of the Roman army, introducing the gospel into the very palace of the Cæsars, and as in the case of Onesimus, begetting spiritual sons in his bonds. God makes the wrath of man to praise him; and those who persecuted the church at Jeru. sulem, unconsciously sent the disciples everywhere preaching the word.
Again : We can glorify God in our afflictions. Thus many a poor afilicted saint has borne a glorious testimony for Christ, from her bed of suffering, the unmurinuring temper, the holy calın, the placid sweetness, the bright hope and cheerful contentment have shed a sacred influence for good in the neighbourhood around.
Finally. We must glorify Christ before his enemies. This is hard to do, and especially so if they are above us in position. Still, be assured that if we prize the favour of Christ above all things else, our conflict of interests will be very feeble. Once upon a time, a poor prisoner stood before the bar of judginent, the judge was no less a person than a king, he was surrounded by all the pomp which makes majesty so impressive. His queen, arrayed in her costliest robes sat beside him ; his captains and honourable men surrounded the royal chair. The court was filled with the prisoner's inost hostile foes. How awe-inspiring the scene, how terrible the conflict in that poor prisoner's breast. Will he compromise his cause? Will he falter in his speech as he addresses the crowded court? The king grants permission to the prisouer to make his defence. Every eye is fixed upon him, every ear stretched to catch the first accents of his voice. With an ease and dignity which astonish the spectators he commences his defence. His power of utterance increases as he proceeds, bis arguments become more weighty, his eloquence more thrilling, its effect more powerful, until the judge confesses to the prisoner, almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. Let us copy the example of St. Paul, and like him we may bring the bitterest opponents of the cross to confess a siinilar confession. And let us remember that we “are not our own, for we are bought with a price ; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
CHRIST GLORIFIED AS THE BUILDER OF HIS CHURCH.
DelivERED ON SABBATI MORNING, MAY 2, 1858, BY THE
“He shall build the temple of the Lord, and he shall bear the glory.”—Zechariah vi. 13.
“There's music in all things, if men had ears;
This world is but the echo of the spheres." HEAVEN singeth evermore. Before the throne of God, angels and redeemed saints extol his name. And this world is singing too; sometimes with the loud noise of the rolling thunder, of the boiling sea, of the dashing cataract, and of the lowing cattle; and often with that still, solemn harmony, which floweth from the vast creation, when in its silence it praises God. Such is the song which gushes in silence from the mountain lifting its head to the sky, covering its face sometimes with the wings of mist, and at other times unveiling its snow-white brow before its Maker, and reflecting back his sunshine, gratefully thanking him for the light with which it has been made to glisten, and for the gladness of which it is the solitary spectator, as in its grandeur it looks down upon the laughing valleys. The tune to which heaven and earth are set, is the same. In heaven they sing, “The Lord be exalted; let his name be magnified for ever.” And the earth singeth the same: “Great art thou in thy works, O Lord! and unto thee be glory.” It would seem, therefore, a strange anomaly if the church, the temple of the living God, should be void of song, and we bless God that such an anomaly doth not exist, for “ day and night they praise God in his temple.” And while it is true the ceaseless circles of the starry heavens are praising him without cessation, it is also true that the stars of earth, the churches of the Lord Jesus Christ, are each of them evermore singing their hymns of praise to him. To-day, in this house, thousands of voices shout his name, and when the sun of to-day shall set, it shall rise upon another land, where Christian hearts awakened, shall begin to praise as we have just concluded; and when to-morrow we shall enter upon the business of the week, we will praise him when we rise, we will praise him when we retire to rest, and we will solace ourselves with the sweet thought, that when the link of praise here is covered with darkness, another golden link is sparkling in the sunshine in the lands where the sun is rising when it sets upon us.
And mark how the music of the church is set to the same tune as that of heaven and earth—“Great God, thou art to be magnified.” Is not this the unanimous song of all the redeemed below? When we sing, is not this the sole burden of our hosannahs and hallelujahs?—“Unto him that liveth and sitteth upon the throne, unto him be glory, world without end.” Now, my text is one note of the song. May God help me to understand, and to make you to understand it also. “ He shall build the temple of the Lord, and he shall bear the glory.” We all know that the Lord Jesus Christ is here alluiled to; for the context runs— Behold the man, whose name is the Branch "—which title is ever applied to the Messiah, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. “He shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord; even he shall build the temple of the Lord, and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”.
Now we shall notice this morning, first of all, the temple, that is the Church of Christ. We shall notice next, its builder_“He,” that is Jesus, “ shall build the temple.” Then we shall stop a moment and pause to admire his glory,—" He shall bear the glory." Then we shall attempt, under the good hand of the Holy Spirit, to make some practical application of the subject.
1. The tirst point is THE TEMPLE. The temple is the church of God; and here let me begin by just observing, that when I use the term “church of God," I use it in a very different sense from that in which it is sometimes understood. It is usual with many Church of England people, to use the term “church" as specially applying to the bishops, archdeacons, rectors, curates, and so forth : these are said to be the church, and the young man who becomes a pastor of any congregation is said to “enter the church.” Now I believe that such a use of the term is not scriptural. I would never for one moment grant to any man that the ministers of the gospel constitute the church. If you speak of the army, the whole of the soldiers constitute it; the officers may sometimes be spoken of first and foremost, but still the private soldier is as much a part of the army as the highest officer. And it is so in the church of God; all Christians constitute the church. Any company of Christian men, gathered together in holy bonds of communion for the purpose of receiving God's ordinances, and preaching what they regard to be God's truths, is a church; and the whole of these churches gathered into one, in fact all the true believers in Christ scattered throughout the world, constitute the One true Universal Apostolic Church, built upon a rock, against which the gates of hell shall not prevail. Do not imagine, therefore, when I speak at any time of the church, that I mean the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of London, and some twenty other dignitaries, and the whole host of ministers. No, nor when I speak of the church do I mean the deacons, the elders, and pastors of the Baptist denomination, or any other—I mean all them that love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity and in truth, for these make up the one universal church which hath communion in itself with itself, not always in the outward sign, but always in the inward grace; the church which was elect of God before the foundation of the world, which was redeemed by Christ with his own precious blood, which has been called by his Spirit, which is preserved by his grace, and which at last shall be gathered in to make the church of the first-born, whose names are written in heaven.
Well, now, this church is called the temple of God, and Christ is said to be its builder. Why is the church called the temple? I reply very briefly, because the temple was the place where God especially dwelt. It was true that he did not wholly dwell in the temple made with hands, of man's building, which Solomon piled upon the mount of Sion, but it is true that in a special sense the Infinite Majesty there held its tabernacle and its dwelling place. Between the wings of the overshadowing cherubim, there did shine the bright light of the Shekinah, the type, the manifestation, and the proof of the special presence of Jelovah, the God of Israel. It is true he is everywhere; in the highest heavens and in the deepest hell God is to found, but especially did he dwell in his temple, so that when his people prayed, they were bidden to turn their eye towards the temple, as Daniel did, when he opened his window towards Jerusalem, and offered his prayer. Now, such is the church. If you would find God, he dwelleth on every hill-top, and in every valley; God is everywhere in creation; but if you want a special display of him, if you would know what is the secret place of the tabernacle of the Most High, the inner chamber of divinity, you must go where you find the church of true believers, for it is here he makes his continual residence known-in the hearts of the humble and contrite, who tremble at his word.
Again, the temple was the place of the clearest manifestation. He who would see God the best of all, must see him in his temple. I repeat, he was to be discovered everywhere. If you stood on Carmel's top, and looked towards the great sea wherein are all the ships and the great leviathan he had made to play therein, there might God be discovered in his great strength. If you turned your eye on the same hill, and looked towards the vale of Esdraelon, there was God to be seen in every blade of grass, in every sheep feeding by the stream; God was everywhere to be