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which we behold encompassed with tokens of grace and mercy, faithfulness and truth. Let us fall down before it in deep repentance of sin, and receive the offered pardon with all the energies of fervent desire, active faith and flowing gratitude. “ Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him turn to the Lord, who will have mercy on him, and abundantly pardon him.”
No Temple in Heaven.
À Sermon preached on the first Lord's Day after the
Dedication of a New Meeting-House.
REVELATION xxi, 19. .
And I saw no Temple therein,; for the Lord God Almighty and the Lambe
are the Temple of it.
SAINT JOHN, in the preceding verses, defcribes the heavenly state as a spacious city, in some respects, resembling the ancient Jerusalem, but far more glorious, so that it may be called the new Jerusalem.
As heaven cannot, at present, be made visible to us, it is represented by images taken from things which are visible. That our conceptions of it may be raised as high as imagination can afcend, the images are borrowed from objects the most magnificent of any, with which mortals are acquainted; and in the figurative representations such circumstances of fplendor and majesty arecom. Vol. V.
happiness of this world is with many ; but the happiness of the future world ought to be with all, the grand object of the social union. In a state of fociety, by mutual communication and asliftance, each one can make those scientific, moral and spiritual improvements, which would be unattainable in a state of folitude. It is not merely for our temporal convenience, but especially for our future happiress, that God has appointed us to live in society,
The foundation of religion is a belief of the existence, and a reverence for the character of God. We
We may fee evidence of his being, power and goodness in his works. But this evidence few would regard, without some special means to call their attention to it. He has therefore given us the word of revelation, which exhibits his character in a clear, but gentle light, states our various duties with perspicuity, and urges them with impressive arguments; and he has instituted social worship as a standing mean of religious knowledge, internal piety, and social virtue.
There is the same reason, why communities should worship God in their social connexion, as why particular persons should worship him in their individual capacity, If each man ought to have a closet, to which he may retire and pray to his Fa. ther who sees in secret, the society ought to have a temple, in which all the members may assemble to call on their common protector and benefactor.
Even the heathens had temples in their cities for the worship of their imaginary divinities. It was a common sentiment, that there were invisible powers, on which they were dependent, and to which they were indebted; and it was a natural inference, that joint adoration should be paid to these powers, and temples erected for the purpose.
The great Jehovah, when he revealed himself to men, as the fupreme and the only true God, instituted social worship, and required the erection of temples, in which his votaries might assemble to pay homage and adoration to him, and to re ceive instructions and blessings from him. It is his command, Build me a fanctuary, that I may dwell among you." And this is the promise which accompanies it ; " In every place, where I record my name, I will come unto you, and bless you."
In our present imperfect state, while we dwell in material bodies, are surrounded with fenfible objects and receive our knowledge through corporeal organs, such external means are necessary. Thofe holy tempers and spiritual affections, which are the effence of religion, must be founded in knowledge ; and religious, as well as natural knowledge, must be communicated to us through the bodily sen es. Hence God has instituted cer. tain forms of worship adapted to the light and hearing; and has directed us to fequefter certain places, where these instituted forms may be oblerved, that, by means of them, our minds
may be enlightened, our knowledge improved, and pious and holy difpofitions brought into acion.
But in heaven the case will be otherwise. There we shall subfift in a different manner-without these gross bodies, and without these fenfitive organs; and consequently we shall not need these vilible and sensible forms of worship, which we find fo necessary here. Hence John says, “In heaven he saw no temple ;” for heaven was all temple, and the glory of God filled it every where alike.
We will attend to this thought. « Social wor. thip is an employment in heaven ; bịt no temple is there.”
1. There is no material temple in heaven.
The angels are spirits, pure and active as flames of fire. The saints, in the separate state, will dwell there without bodies. After the refurrection, they will have bodies ; but these will be fashioned like to Christ's glorious body. What kind of bodies they will be, we have no exact conception ; but we know, they will be exceedingly diverse from these which we now possess. The apostle tells us, “ They are sown in corruption, dishonour and weakness; but will be raised in incorruption, glory and power. They are sown natural ; but will be raised spiritual bodies.” The present organs of sensation they will not need ; for they will have faculties of perception and communication, more refined, exalted and comprehensive. They will be all eye-all ear--all intellect.
Our senses of light and hearing must be incon. ceivable to persons born blind and deaf. The faculties of saints in glory are inconceivable to us, who have no inlets of knowledge, but the avenues of the senses. But to suppose, that they can have no faculties more perfect than ours, would be as absurd, as if a man born blind should judge, that there was no way to acquire the knowledge of sensible objects, but by feeling; or one born deaf should conclude, that there could be no intercourse between man and man, but by signs.
In the heavenly world, where the worshippers are all spiritual beings, without any such gross bodies as these, in which we dwell, there will be no need of temples constructed of timber, stone and earthly materials, like these, in which we afsemble for worship. We are struck with the grandeur, and pleased with the beauty of a magnificent and elegant temple. The fight of it elevates the thoughts, and allifts the spirit of devo