Abbildungen der Seite


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."


a Sermon


[blocks in formation]

“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 No. 191.

Penny Pulpit, No. 2,943.

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 first 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 solliers 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 ehurch 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 Jeliovah, 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

discovered; but if you would see him best, it is not on Bashan, it is not on Hermon, it is not on Tabor; it was on Mount Zion that the Lord God loved to make a special display of himself. It is so with the Church, God is to be seen in the midst of her; her helper, her strength, her teacher, her guide, her deliverer, her sanctifier. In holy communion-in the breaking of bread, and in the pouring out of wine, in holy baptism-in the immersion of believers into the Lord Jesus Christ, in the preaching of the Word, in the constant declaration of the great salvation of Jesus, in the lifting up of the cross, in the high exalting of him that died upon it, in the preaching of the Covenant, in the declaration of the grace of God-here is he to be seen, here is his name written in brighter letters and in clearer lines than elsewhere the wide world o'er. Hence his church is said to be his temple. Oh, Christian people, you know this, for God dwelleth in you, and walketlı with you; you dwell in him, and he dwells in you—“the secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, and he will show them his covenant." It is your happy privilege to walk with God; he manifests himself to you, as he doth not unto the world; he takes you into his inner chamber; he manifests his love; the song of Solomon is sung in your courts, and nowhere else; it is not the song of the wide world, it is the sonnet of the inner chamber, the song of the house of wine, the music of the banquet. You understand this, for you have been brought into near acquaintance with Christ; you have been made to lean your head upon his bosom, you have been taught to look into his heart, and to see eternal thoughts of love there towards you. You know well, better than we can tell you, what it is to be the temple of the living God.

And once more; we should fail to describe the reason why the word "temple" is used to picture the church, if we did not observe that the church is like the templea place of worship. There was a law passed by God, that no offering should be presented to him except upon the one altar in his temple at Jerusalem, and that law is extant to this day. No acceptable service can be offered to Christ except by his church. Only those who believe in Christ can offer songs, and prayers, and praises, that shall be received of God. Whatever ordinances you attend to, who are without Christ in your hearts, you do belie that ordinance and prostitute it-you do not honour God therein. Two men go up to the temple to pray; the one a believer, the other an unbeliever. He that is an unbeliever may have the gifts of oratory, the mightiest fluency of speech, but his prayer is an abomination unto God, whilst the feeblest utterance of the true believer is received with smiles by him that sits upon the throne. Two persons go to the Master's table-the one loveth the ordinance in its outward sign, and reverenceth it with superstition, but he knows not Christ; the other believes in Jesus, and knows how to eat his flesh and drink his blood as a worthy partaker in that divine ordinance; God is honoured in the one, the ordinance is dishonoured in the other. Two persons come to holy Baptism: the one loves the Master, believes in his name, and trusts him; he is baptized, he honours Christ. Another comes, perhaps an unconscious infant, one who is incapable of faith, or hath no faith; he dishonours God, he dishonours the ordinance in venturing to touch it, when he is not one of the church, and therefore hath no right to offer sacrifice of prayer and praise unto the Lord our God. There is only one altar-that is, Christ; and there is only one set of priests, namely, the church of God, the men chosen out of the world to be clothed in white robes to minister at his altar, and whosoever besides pretendeth to worship God, worshippeth him not aright. His offering is like that of Cain; God hath no respect to his sacrifice, "tor without faith it is impossible to please God." We care not who it is that doth the act; unless he believeth, he cannot win pleasure from God, nor shall his sacrifice be accepted.

I have thus noted the reasons why the church is said to be the temple. As there was only one temple, so there is only one church. That one church is his holy place, where God dwells, where God accepts worship, where songs of praise are daily uttered, and the smoking incense of prayer continually comes up before his nostrils with acceptance.

II. Now, we have an interesting subject in the second part of our text. “ He shall build the temple of the Lord.” CHRIST IS THE CHURCH's ONLY BUILDER. Now, I shall want to make a parallel between Christ's building the church, and Solomon, as the builder of the first temple. When Solomon built the temple, the firsi thing he did was to obtain instructions with regard to the model upon which he should build it. Solomon was exceeding wise, but I do not think he was his own

architect. The Lord, who had shown the pattern of the old tabernacle in the wilderness to Moses, doubtless showed the pattern of the temple to Solimon, so that the pillars, and the roof, and the floor thereof, were all ordained of God, and every one of them settled in heaven. Now, Christ Jesus in this is no Solomon; with this exception, that being God over all, blessed for ever, he was his own architect. Christ has made the plan of his church. You and I have made a great many plans for the building up of that church. The Presbyterian makes his plans extrem ly precise. He will put an elder in every corner, and the Presbytery is the great ground-work—the pillar and the ground of the truth; and right is he in so doing to an extent. The Episcopalian builds his temple too. He will have a bishop at the door-post, and he will have a priest to shut the gate. He will have everything built according to the model that was seen by Cranmer in the mount, it he ever was there at all. And those of us who are of severer discipline, and have a simpler style, must have Christ's church always built in the congregational order; every congregation distinct and separate, and governed by its own bishop, and deacons, and elders. But mark, Christ does not attend to our points of church government, for there is one part of Christ's church that is Episcopalian, and looks as if a bishop of the Church of England had ordered it; another part is Presbyterian; another, Baptist; another, Congregational; and yet all these styles of architecture somehow fused into one by the Great Architect, make that goodly structure which is called “the temple of Christ, the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of truth." Christ must be his own architect. He will bring out different points of truth in different ways. Why, I believe that different denominations are sent on purpose to set out different truths. There are some of our brethren a little too high, they bring out better than any other people, the grand old truths of sovereign grace. There are some, on the other hand, a little too low; they bring out with great clearness the great and truthful doctrines of man's responsibility. So that two truths that might have been neglected, either the one or the other, if only one form of Christianity existed, are both brought out, both made resplendent, by the different denominations of God's people, who are alike chosen of God, and precious to him.

God forbid I should say anything that would bolster up any in their errors; nevertheless God's people, even in error, are a precious people. Even when they seem to be as earthen pitchers, the work of the liands of the potter, they are still comparable to fine gold. Rest assured that the Lord hath deep designs to answer, even by the divisions of his church. We must not interfere with Christ's reasons, nor with his style of architecture. Every stone that is in the temple, Jesus Christ ordained should be put where it is; even those stones that are most contemptible and unseen, were put in their places by him. There is not one board of cedar, one piece of burnished pinnacle, that was not foreseen and pre-arranged in that eternal covenant of grace which was the great plan that Christ, the Almighty Architect, did draw for the building of the temple to his praise, Christ, then, is the only Architect, and he shall bear the glory, for he designed the building.

Now, you remember that when Solomon set to work to build his temple, he found a mountain ready for his purpose, mount Moriah. The top of it was not quite broad enough; he had therefore to enlarge it, so that there might be room for the beautiful temple, the joy of the whole earth. When Jesus Christ came to build his temple, he found no mountain on which to build it; he had no mountain in our nature, he had to find a mountain in his own, and the mountain upon which he has built his church is the mountain of his own unchangeable affection, his own strong love, his own omnipotent grace and infallible truthfulness. It is this that constitutes the mountain upon which the church is built, and on this the foundation hath been digged, and the great stones laid in the trenches with oaths and promises and blood to make them stand secure, even though earth should rock and all creation suffer decay.

Then after Solomon had his mountain ready and the foundation builded, the next trouble was he had no trees near at hand: there were, however, fine trees growing in Lebanon, but his servants had not skill enough to cut them down. He had, therefore, to send for Hiram, king of Tyre, with his servants, to cut down the trees upon Lebanon, which, after being shaped according to the model, were to be sent by rafts or floats to Joppa, the port nearest to Jerusalem, and there brought a short distance over land for the building of the temple. He had to do the same with the stones of the quarry; for the different stones that were needed

« ZurückWeiter »