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appliances and associations, which attune the mind to a solemn and serious harmony, and enlist the senses on the side of the soul and its everlasting interests. The temple of God, which was soon to perish, was holy notwithstanding; and, while it lasted, the house of prayer, and of prayer only. The Church of God, which is to endure for ever, does this demand a less reverence at our hands? or is it not meet that these buildings, where that Church assembles to plume her wings and prepare her flight for her everlasting and Heavenly habitation, should, as the instruments of a more illustrious covenant than that of bulls and goats, receive at our hands a still humbler and more constant reverence?
It is for this cause, and fortified by this great example, that in the primitive Church, and in the humble but golden days of Christian zeal and courage, the tombs, the caves, the lowly and secret cells where the scattered congregations assembled to sing hymns to Christ, bear witness by their inscriptions, remaining at the present day, with how deep reverence they were approached, and with how solemn services they were appropriated to the honour of the Lamb, and to the memory of His saints and martyrs. It is for this cause, and encouraged by so vast a cloud of witnesses, that the more recent Church of Christ has continued to call down an appropriate blessing on those temples which national or individual piety has reared to such holy purposes; and for this cause it is, and to no superstitious end, and, as we trust, from no presumptuous principle of will-worship, that we have this day offered the work of your munificence, in a public and solemn manner, to Him from whom we have received all things!
Let not him assume the name of Christian who is wilfully or willingly wanting in his token of respect to even the building thus hallowed by its destination; let not him lay claim to the character of a devout and rational worshipper, who forgets that, though God is every where, His blessing may be more largely given in one place than in another; and that no places can with greater propriety have hope of such a privilege, than those temples which
are called after His name, and which have been repeatedly distinguished as the scene of His mercies!
Yea, rather, let the sense of the high privileges of which we are or may be partakers here; the communion with God, which we here enjoy; the union with His Son, which through His body and blood we are not afraid to aspire to; the gift of the Holy Ghost, which our accepted though imperfect prayers may here obtain from the Giver of every good thing; inspire us to a reverence not only of the body but of the mind, a submission of ourselves to His holy will and pleasure, and an ardent longing after those celestial habitations where, not through the dark glass of faith, or the long and dim perspective of hope deferred, but in the flesh shall we see that Lord, who now, though unseen by mortal eyes, is present to reward or punish us.
Where two or three, said Christ, are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them! Surely God is in this place, though we behold Him not! How dreadful is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this the gate of Heaven!"
SIN AND GRACE.
[Preached at St. Mary's, Madras, March 4, 1826.]
ROMANS Vii. 24, 25.
Oh wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death! I thank God through Jesus Christ
A VERY touching and natural complaint is expressed, and a very seasonable and efficacious consolation afforded in the former and latter parts of this passage of Scripture, which contains, indeed, in very few words, a comprehensive and forcible view of the necessities and the hopes of a Christian. The natural misery of man is expressed in the heaviness of that sorrow which, when abstracted from the consideration of redemption through Christ, made St. Paul declare himself most wretched; and the merciful deliverance of man is no less warmly and gratefully acknowledged in that noble burst of rapture wherein he magnifies the favour bestowed on him, and thanks his God for his escape, through his crucified Lord and Saviour, from the body of death.
Without these distinct yet blended feelings; without a sense, and a mournful sense, of the natural weakness and forlorn condition of mankind, and more particularly of his own condition; and without an earnest and thankful hope of God's help and mercy through His Son, it is hardly too much to say that no man can be a genuine Christian. If
he is deficient in the former of these feelings; if, not acknowledging his own helplessness, he trusts in himself that he is strong, he cannot ask the aid of Christ, nor will that blessed and mighty aid be offered to him. If he is deficient in the latter, he must also want that love for his Redeemer which arises from a sense of His benefits; he must want that reliance on his God, which only can save us from despair. It shall, therefore, be the aim of my present discourse to lay before you, shortly and clearly, the nature and the grounds of both these mental habits; and, at the same time, to point out and illustrate the tenor of the apostle's reasoning in that remarkable passage of Scripture from which the words of my text are taken.
The Epistle to the Romans, it is always necessary to bear in mind, was addressed, in the first instance, to individuals of the Jewish nation, who, though they had so far believed in Christ as to acknowledge Him for their Messiah, were very far from a right understanding of the nature of His errand among men, or of the blessed and wonderful effects of His merits, His intercession, and His sufferings. They denied, in fact, that truth in which the main secret of the Christian system lay, the forgiveness of sins by His one sacrifice of Himself once offered; or at best they confined the necessity of such an atonement to the blinded Gentiles alone, without admitting that the race of Israel required any further aid than was supplied by the law of Moses.
To those who were led by that glorious light which, in the wilderness, rested on the mercy-seat of the ark, and in subsequent ages shone with a different, but not less clear and miraculous illumination, in the writings of so many prophets, what room, they argued, was left for further knowledge? By those who had the divinely imposed seal of circumcision, and were themselves the kindred of Christ, what further proof of God's favour was required or could be looked for? And, by those who walk after the whole and perfect rule of God's commandments, could any condemnation be feared, could any further atonement be needed?
To cure this lofty opinion of themselves is St. Paul's
scope through the greater part of this Epistle; and the principles on which he reasons are, perhaps, of matchless ingenuity and clearness. He begins by proving that which, indeed, the best informed among the Jews have themselves allowed, and of which the experience of the world affords abundant and melancholy evidence, that the Gentile and the Jew were alike transgressors before God. He shows that the circumcision on which they so much relied, was in itself a badge of their profession, a distinctive mark of God's favour to those who keep the law, but no more to be pleaded as an atonement for the breach of the law, than the uniform of a soldier is an excuse for his transgression of those articles of war, which that very uniform enhances his obligation to keep inviolate. The question of the law itself he treats in a more elaborate manner, by urging, both that the publication of a law contains in itself no atonement for its transgression; and still further, that such a law could do no more than show men their danger, without furnishing the means of escape, and thus would leave them more wretched than it found them.
The argument thus brought forward is obscure, perhaps, though just and subtle. A familiar illustration may explain it. If I see my neighbour riding furiously towards the brink of a precipice, I do well, indeed, to cry to him to stop his horse; but if his horse have the mastery, no benefit will arise from my warning. If I tell a man who is tempted to commit adultery, that the consequences of such a crime will be infamy here and everlasting ruin hereafter, I tell him, indeed, a sad and dismal truth; but, if his passions so enslave him, that, while acknowledging the goodness of my counsel, he professes himself unable to follow it, it is plain that such advice has only the effect of enhancing his folly, and rendering his sin more exceedingly sinful.
Now this was the case with the law of Moses; and it must, from the constitution of our nature, be the case with every law and every rule of conduct which can be given, unless there be given at the same time a power of keeping the law; a mastery over those passions, the indulgence of which is prohibited; and a pardon and atonement for the