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Let us now attend to the reflections, which arife from our fubject.
1. We fee what ufe we should make of God's temple below. Here we are to acquire a preparation for that city, in which is no temple.
Heaven is a holy place; and without holiness none can enter into it. God's presence is the glory of heaven; without a conformity to his character, we cannot come into his prefence, nor behold his glory. By men of corrupt and vicious minds-by men who are enemies to God and holinefs-by men who covet nothing but earthly glory, and relish nothing but fenfual pleasure, what beauty can be feen, and what happiness enjoyed, in that holy place, and in that glorious prefence? God has inftituted the worship of his temple here below, that by our attendance upon it we may be formed to a capacity of beholding the glory and enjoying the felicity of the world above. Here his law is pronounced, that we may see our corruption and guilt. Here his character is exhibited, that we may be convinced of our enmity to him and demerit from him. Here his grace is proclaimed, that we may be encouraged to feek pardon by repentance, and to implore his Spirit for our renovation. Here the glories and the terrors of the future world are difplayed, that we may be awakened to flee from the wrath to come, and to lay hold on eternal life. Here we are called to the exercises of holy devotion, that we may be habituated to, and qualified for the fublime employments of heaven. When we come to God's house, we are to banish all finful paffions, and invite into our fouls fpiritual and benevolent affections, that we may be meet to enter into that holy city, where all is goodnefs and love, and nothing which disturbs or defiles.
2. We fee how Chriftian focieties on earth may beft resemble the heavenly city.
In that city, it is faid, there is no temple, because the city itself is all one temple. God is regarded and worshipped every where, and his glory is every where difplayed. Such, in fome meafure, fhould be the church of God on earth.
As we cannot spend our whole time, in focial worship, nor affociate for worship, unless there be fome known time and place, in which we may meet together, God has been pleased to inftitute in his word a particular day, and to point out in his providence particular places, for this facred purpose. But ftill a Chriftian fociety may, like the heavenly city, be all temple. The apoftle fays to the Ephefians, "Ye are fellow citizens with the faints and of the household of God, and are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jefus Chrift himself being the chief corner ftone, in whom all the building, fitly framed together, groweth into an holy temple in the Lord, in whom alfo ye are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit." religion be maintained in every family; let the fcriptures be statedly read, and prayer and praise daily offered in every dwelling; let there be piety and benevolence in every heart; let there be juftice, peace and charity in all social intercourse; let the holiness which becomes God's house be carried into the concerns of the world; let the fear of God influence the common business of life; and then the fociety is all temple; the church itself is a fanctuary; for God's name is glorified every where, the good and holy effects of the temple worship are every where fpread and diffused, and the fociety below resembles the fociety above.
The reason why God calls us to worship him in
his temple, is that at all times, and in all places, we may maintain a fenfe of his prefence, and act as feeing him who is invifible. If we are devout only on the fabbath, and profane at other times; if we are grave and serious only in the house of God; and light and vain in our own houses; if we are peaceable and orderly in religious affemblies only; and unjust, paflionate and contentious in our ordinary intercourfe with men; if we affume airs of piety when we meet for divine worship; but are artful and intriguing, when we meet for dvil purposes; we bely our profeffion and contradiet our affumed character; and our attendance in the house of God brings to him no honour, and to our fouls no benefit, "Truft not in lying words, faying, The temple of the Lord are thefe; but amend your ways and doings." If ye ftand before God in his house, and indulge iniquity elsewhere, you make his worship an abomination. The reason why you are to worship God in his temple, to fupprefs evil paffions and to cultivate holy and benevolent tempers there, is that you may do the fame every where, and at all times.
When a people, by united attendance in the temple acquire the true fpirit of the gospel, and carry this spirit with them into their families, into their private conduct and into their focial intercourse, then the fociety is like heaven. It is all one holy temple in the Lord.
3. Our fubject teaches us, how to form an opinion of our meetness for heaven. We must examine ourselves whether we have the temper, in which the happiness of heaven confifts.
Though there be no particular or local temple there, yet there is focial worship, and this worfhip is conducted with devotion, humility and
love. There is deep reverence of God's majefty, rapturous admiration of his perfections and works, delightful adoration and praise, and mutual con.i defcenfion and benevolence among the worshippers. Do we in any degree find thefe tempers here? Thefe are the marks and characters of those, whom God approves on earth, and whom he will admit to his prefence above. Blefled are they that do his commandments; they have a right to the tree of life, and fhall enter through the gates into the city. But the fearful, and unbe lieving, and abominable fhall be caft out, and fhall have their part in the lake, which burns with fire and brimftone. This is the fecond death.
4. We learn, that in all our approaches to God, we must regard Chrift Jefus as the mediator through whom we obtain admiffion and find acceptance. John fays, "God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of heaven.”
Chrift is honored in heaven as the Lamb of God, who by his facrifice has expiated the guilt of a finful world. He appears there as a Lamb, that has been flain. Praifes are there fung by the faints, not only to him who fits on the throne, but also to the Lamb, who has redeemed them, and made them kings and priests unto God. "He is there glorified in the faints, and admired in all them who believe." They remember, that to him they are indebted for all the felicity which they enjoy, and for all the glory to which they are exalted. "He is glorified in them, and they in him." That our worship may resemble the heavenly worship, we must pay honour to this glorious mediator; we must remember his dying love, embrace him by humble faith, rejoice in the falvation which he has purchased, and afcribe to the virtue of his blood all that we enjoy, and all that we hope to
enjoy. If he is honoured in heaven, let us honour him on earth. If angels adore him for his benevolence to men, let men adore him for his benevolence to them. No forms of worship are of any value in the fight of God, if the Redeemer, whom he has fent, be forgotten and disregarded. If we believe in God, let us believe alfo in Chrift. If we honour the Father, let us likewise honour the fon. "For we are redeemed by the precious blood of Chrift, who was manifefted in these last times for us, who by him believe in God, that raised him from the dead and gave him glory, that our faith and hope might be in God."