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“ Domestic happiness, thou only bliss
THE CHRISTIAN'S HOUSE.
The superabundance of grace displayed in the Christian system is not likely to be appreciated, much less exaggerated, in this cold and selfish and
It would sometimes seem to me as though not one of a thousand in the whole army of the church militant did realize the amount of privilege, of wealth and honour guarantied to those in covenant with the Lord Messiah. The state and estate are, it would seem, alike unknown and unknowable, to the plodding votaries of man-made systems of devotion-seekers of religion-apprenticed converts—the speculative catechumenoi of sectarian schools.
The religion of the Lord Messiah is indeed a personal affair-a spiritual concern -a soul-absorbing, subduing, ennobling institution. The subject and the object are persons, not things—not doctrines, not theories, not forms; but living, thinking, talking, acting agents. The elements of this celestial invention are one person believing, trusting in, loving, admiring, rejoicing in, and obeying another person. It is the intercourse, the commerce, the converse, the intimacies, the communings and communications of two kindred minds of very unequal standing--of very dissimilar rank and dignity. It is a sinful creature pardoned,
reconciled, sanctified, adopted, saved, in covenant with the supreme intelligence, the uncreated God, as appearing in the person and character of the incarnate WORD, the only begotton Son of God.
The disparity of their rank greatly heightens the confidence, affection, and esteem of the humbler party, and heightens the superior in affording & wider and deeper channel for the benignant communications of his condescending love. A league of truer, purer, and more enduring amity can always be formed and maintained between a magnanimous and generous Prince and his own reconciled subjects, than between Princes of equal rank and independence. The forest oak that kindly raises from the ground the humble vine, receives not only its fond embraces for the help and protection which it affords, but it is also adorned by the beauty of its foliage, as well as honoured by the music and the melody which its flowers, its odours, and its fruits allure to its branches.
No co-partnery on earth like marriage, and yet this is but a feeble type of an eternal union of all interests between the Bridegroom of heaven and his earthly spouse. He gave himself for, and then transfers himself to his bride; and thus by an everlasting covenant the parties are united in an identity of interests, honours, and enjoyments commensurate with all the powers of blessing and being blessed, possessed by the contracting parties. Did Christians realize all this, how different would be their earthly career from what it too often is. Their hearts would be temples for the Spirit of Holiness, and their houses Bethels for the God of Jacob
By a recurrence to the patriarchal age, to the time of Jacob, we shall find the origin of Bethels. This renowned patriarch of eternal fame, whose new name Israel is transferred to all the elect of God, and whose first name is a part of God's own memorial to the end of all generations, had commenced his earthly pilgrimage; and with the blessing of his father upon his head, and the prayers of his mother, he had set out to form an alliance with the remnant of the faithful in the motherland of his pious ancestors.
On the first night of his pilgrimage he had the celebrated vision of the ladder suspended from the threshold of heaven to the rocky pillow on which, amidst the hazle thicket, he slept so sweetly and dreamed so truly, while his father's and grandfather's God spoke to him of unborn ages, and promised to be with him in every place whither he went, or in which he waked or slept during his whole peregrinations, until his return to the covenanted land. It was then the fear and awe of the heavenly Majesty constrained these words“How dreadful is this place : this is none other but the house of God:* this is the gate of heaven." When the patriarch rose up early in the morning he took the stone on which he had slept, and set
up for a monumental pillar, he anointed it with oil and called the place Bethel. There he made his covenant with God, and solemnly vowed allegiance and devotion to hiin, on the terms of an immutable covenant.
Now it occurs to us that what was true of Israel is still true that all the Israel of God are a covenanted people—that the God of Jacob is still
* Beth El is the Hebrew for the house of God.