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errors of life, and boldly spurning at those very things, which alone can answer the purpose of his being and make him happy! He wanders wide through the world for that peace and safety, which no wanderer, as such, ever found. Satàn and Cain have gone to and fro in the earth, and walked up and down in it,* under the curse of being fugitives and vagabonds, t but never attained satiety or rest ; and the same may be said of all, that follow them. In the ark, in the city, in the church, of God, must men enter in spirit and in truth; or the world and their own bosoms, were there no enemies beside, will be leading them down from woe to woe, till they enter the dark and hopeless caverns of death eternal.
Reader! Art thou in this church of the living God ?I ask not, whether thou art of any particular denomination or outward church, so called among men; No, my aim is higher. Thou mayest be a member of any particular Christian society, enjoying the soundest and most apostolic form; thou mayest be esteemed for thy zeal, thy strictness, and for thine whole outward deportment; thou mayest make a good profession too before many witnesses; and yet, after all this, and much more, not be a member of Christ's spiritual church, or a Christian indeed. It is even a possible case, that thou mayest be a minister or preacher to others, and be enabled even to work miracles in nature and grace (for Judas and others have done these) and yet be in the gall of bitterness and bond of iniquity. Thy heart may be
unchanged; thy spirit may be loaded with pride, malice, and every evil temper; thy affections may be fixed upon self or the creatures; notwithstanding much apparent zeal, knowledge, or reputation. Thou mayest also change thy sect, without being renewed in thyself; and thou mayest hold any or every form of godliness, and for many years, but all the while be a stranger to its power. Thou mayest write books in proof of the true church, and be the instrument of leading others into the true profession; but be in thyself, notwithstanding, only sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal. It is hard to say, what thou mayest be; what gifts, attainments, admiration, and successes, thou mayest receive or procure; yet all without following Christ in the regeneration, and without being united to him in the sacred fellowship of his Spirit. It is certainly possible to be much in show, and nothing in reality : and how much, it is worth both thy labor and mine to search deeply and inquire. The sincere soul, with fear and trembling, seeks the discussion : the hypocrite, with a careless or presumptuous confidence, abhors and shuns it.
O what a dismal case it is for a man to be a stranger to his own self! How deplorable, that he should not know the motives and machinations of an evil heart of unbelief; that he should call evil good, and good evil; and that he should fancy himself to be well enough, upon the very precipice of death everlasting! What an hardening deceitfulness is there in sin! What an unfeeling stupefaction doth it occasion in every sinful heart! No law, no judgements, no threatnings, no chastise
ments, ments, on the one hand; no gospel, no promises, no mercies, no glories, on the other; are sufficient, of themselves, to awaken a poor sinner from this sensual sleep of lost and ruined nature. Thine Omnipotence alone, thou blessed Head of the church; the powers of thine eternal Godhead, only, can quicken into spiritual life, the wretched, sunk, and helpless sons of men. When thou speakest, in thy word, Arise, from the dead ; thy Spirit rushes rapidly to the inmost recesses of the soul, and raises it up with vigor from the mental grave. Who can resist thy will; who frustrate thy gracious designs; who retain him in bondage, to whom thou impartest liberty and peace ?-Lord, all hearts, all hands, all wisdom, all things, are thine; and to thee alone be ascribed the kingdom, the power, and the glory.
And, Lord, who and what am I, or what is any, other man, that thou shouldest make me, or him, a living member of thine holy and dearly united body! I have done nothing, I could do nothing, to deserve or obtain this, in my fallen state, being altogether wicked and weak. It was thy mercy, thy tender mercy alone, which visited my soul, and gave me eyes to see, and a heart to desire, the things that make for my peace. It is the same merciful power, which supports and carries me on from day to day. I do not leave thee, only because thou dost not, in tender faithfulness, leave or forsake me. Without thine help, I should droop in a moment. O make me sensible, always sensible, of this my weakness and manifold infirmities, that I may never trust to myself, but that thy power may rest upon me. Thus keep me in the fellowship of thy church, of
thy, brethren (as thou hast deigned to call them) and mine; and enable me, with the deepest humility and gratitude, to remember the spiritual dignity thou hast conferred, and to walk, in the utmost degree, worthy of the high vocation wherewith I am called. In this way, by thy continual help, may I endeavour to make my calling and election sure. And when all that I am to do, and all that is to be done in me, is completed according to thy will; O receive me up to thyself, my Lord, my life, my God; and let me see thee face to face, according to thy word, which I have so often longed spiritually to see while in these regions of dulness and sorrow !-My soul exults in the bright expectation of its full interest in that great truth, which from age to age is fulfilling, and finally shall be accomplished, that the GLORIOUS CHURCH, which my dear Redeemer hath purchased, he will, as High-priest, or Man-mediator, present to himself, in JEHOVAH, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; yea, holy, unblameable, and unreproveable in his sight; and that I, a poor unworthy sinner by nature, but a member of Christ by grace, shall stand in my lot also at the end of the days, and enjoy my Lord and my portion amongst his redeemed for ever.!
The literal sense of this word is, a dwelling or habitation; and it is peculiarly the name of that remarkable building or tent, which according to God's command was raised by Moses, and carried through the wilderness with the Israelites to Canaan, as the token of God's residence with them.
The purpose of it was expressed in the command; Let them (the children of Israel] make me a SANCTUARY (a place of peculiar holiness) that I may DWELL amongst them ; wherein I may vouchsafe my Shecinah, my immediate presence to or among them: According to all that I shall cause thee to see, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.*
The whole structure, therefore, had a particular sense in it, and exhibited, to the spiritual discernment of those that were Israelites indeed, several important truths; some of which are obvious to the spiritual discernment of God's people to this day, and were designed to be so. The several parts of this structure preached Christ and his goodness in a mystery; and they prophesied of him † till he came, who was the great minister of the true Tabernacle [that which the other only shadowed forth, but had no reality in itself] which the Lord pitched, and not man. I