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the opposite side, the dispute between Minerva | THE IMPERFECTION OF THE BELIEVER'S and Neptune about giving a name to the city.

EARTHLY BLESSEDNESS : The figures on both these pediments were not nearly so ancient as the body of the temple, which

Sermont, was built by Pericles, probably not older than the reign of Hadrian. Without the portico, upon the

BY THE Rev. RICHARD SANKEY, M.A., frieze, were several figures exhibiting horsebreakers and battles with the centaurs*. Within

Curate of Farnham, Surrey, and late Fellow of are some representations in sculpture of various

C.C.C., Oxford. ceremonies of idolatrous worship. There is a win

Deut. xii. 9. dow at the east end, made by the Greek Christians when they used it for a church. It was, in pro- “ For ye are not as yet come to the rest and to the cess of time, converted into a Christian church, and inheritance which the Lord your God giveth you.” subsequently into a Turkish mosque, from which circumstance it underwent very great alteration

I NEED not now inform you, my brethren, certainly, not for the better, as far as its archi- that the whole history of God's ancient peotectural beauty was concerned. In 1687 it was ple, the Jews, may be considered, in a spiused as a powder magazine by the Turks, when ritual sense, as applicable to the believer in the city was besieged by the Venetians, when it all ages. I do not mean to say that, when we was so much shattered by an explosion that its read any thing about them, we are not to take original character was almost entirely lost.

The chief portion of the sculpture was removed it literally, as applying to them in the first by lord Elgin—a procceding which gave rise to place; but I mean that it may also be apmuch rancorous discussion—and may now be seen plied in a spiritual sense to ourselves. Their in the British Museum. It would appear, how- journey, e.g., out of Egypt, across the Red sea, ever, that there is good reason to suppose that, had through the wilderness, and again across the they not been removed, they would have been Jordan into Canaan, and all the variety of utterly destroyed by the Turks.

events and circumstances, both great and During the last twenty years excavations have small (if indeed any of God's dealings with been made round the temple. Some valuable cimens of architecture have been discovered, and them can be called small), do most beautifully efforts consequently been made to restore the shadow much of the spiritual history of every temple as much as possible to its former appearance. child of God in his progress from the bond

How vastly privileged are they on whom, in age of sin and Satan, through the washing of these later times, the Sun of mercy has arisen, regeneration (figured by the Red sea), across with healing on his wings, to dissipate the clouds the wilderness of this world, and finally of ignorance and error! that Saviour manifested to be a light to lighten the Gentiles, no less than to through the grave and gate of death, which, be the glory of his people Israel'! How deeply like the Jordan, they are allowed to pass unresponsible to improve these privileges ! Let the hurt into the heavenly Canaan. I will not, poorest individual, in whose heart the light of I say, dwell upon these points now. Those gospel truth savingly shines, remember, that all who have turned their backs on sin and the the wisdom of heathen learning is but fonlishness world towards heaven will not need it, for compared to his; and yet the nominal Christian, they will have often derived instruction and darling lust, passion, desire, or propensity, is as warning and encouragement from this view great an idolator, in the estimation of him who of the word of God; and the subject is so weigheth men's spirits, as the most darkened Athe- large, that on the present occasion it would be nian whose feet ever trod the courts of the Parthe- impossible to open it to others. And I only non. And let the Christian ever rejoice that he is allude to it now in order that it may furnish not called on ignorantly to worship an unknown me with an apology (if an apology can be God," but that eternal and merciful Jehovah who dwelleth not in temples made with hands,

needed) for taking this part of God's word, whose throne is heaven, whose footstool is the which I have just read to you, entirely in á earth, and who has been pleased to manifest the spiritual sense, as applicable to the Christian's spirituality of his nature, the graciousness of his journey, to the history of the hearts of many purposes, and the richness of his mercy, in the I trust, of those who now hear me. May he revelation made by his blessed Son.

that led his people through the wilderness, The Marquis de Nointel had drawings made of them all and fed them upon angels' food, and bore with when he was at Athens, but the artist whom he employed nearly lost his eye-sight, as he was obliged to draw them from the

their murmurs, condescend, my brethren, to ground, without the aid of a scaffold (M. Spon's “ Voyage to bear with us, to feed us and to biess us in the Lerant." Montfaucon's Antiquities).

our meditation on his word, and thus make Israel after the flesh a blessing to the Israel of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

I. Let us, then, first notice the terms in which the end of the Israelites' journey is spoken of. They are the very same terms which are used in the New Testament as applicable to the Christian's everlasting home, and they point out respectively its blessed- says, “We glory in it;" if persecution,“ None ness, its certainty, its freeness.

of these things moved me;" if shame, “I 1. For it is called a rest: “Ye are not as yet rejoice to be called worthy of it;" but when come to the rest.” And this it is well known he beholds sin and unbelief, aye, and the very that St. Paul applies to our eternal home, least of it in others, or feels it in himself, then when he says to the Hebrews, “There re- he grieves. When he saw a city wholly given maineth, therefore, a rest to the people of to idolatry his spirit was stirred. When at anGod.” And in this expression, I repeat, is other place they would have done sacrifice, conveyed to us the great blessedness of that “he rent his clothes.” When he thought of our eternal portion. For if there is one word the unbelief of his brother, his kinsman after which seems to contain within it an idea of the flesh, he had great heaviness and conwhat is really grateful and desirable and en- tinual sorrow in his heart. But 0, above all, joyable in this world, it is the word "rest." when he looked inwardly, and felt that other Condemned, as we are, to eat our bread by the law warring against the law of God, then, sweat of our brow, “and being born to trou- and then only, he cries out,

“ O wretched man ble, as the sparks Ay upward, rest is one of that I am!" the greatest earthly blessings that God can Now, it is from this that the Christian bestow. I will ask some of you what you is to rest.

To this does the Saviour have most desired when lying on a bed of sick- allude when he says, “Come unto me, all ness, racked with pain and full of tossings to ye that labour, and I will give you rest.” and fro? Was it riches, or luxury, or delicacies, It is this one word which is made to describe or this world's pleasures or honours ? Would the blessedness of heaven; and the only case you not rather have tossed them from you, in which we read of no rest there is of if they had then been offered, as only mock- those who rest not day and night, saying, ing your misery, and have said, “I care for “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, none of these things, give me, give me rest which was, and is, and is to come.” from this pain and suffering ? Or, again, 2. But there is another expression here take the labourer when he returns from his used, which the New Testament warrants us work, bowed down with fatigue, what is more to apply to the rest that remaineth to the delightful to him than rest? And those too, people of God, viz., "inheritance :".“ Ye my brethren—and they are not few—who you are not as yet come to the rest and the inmay think live an easy life, because they do heritance." I need scarcely remind you of not work as you do, but whose minds are in that

passage in St. Peter, in which he decontinual exercise—the lawyer, the physician, scribes this as an "inheritance undefiled, the minister, the ruler, and the statesman, no- incorruptible, and that fadeth not away.” thing is more pleasant oftentimes to them Nor need I recall to your recollection many than rest. Wherever we are, whatever we other passages in which the child of God are doing, it is rest we are looking for. And spoken of as an heir of God, and therefore a hence the Spirit of God has selected this joint-heir with Christ; and his future portion word to convey an idea of what he had re- is called an inheritance. I have said that this served for us in another world. It was the expression denotes the certainty of the begreat object continually held up by Moses be- liever's portion ; and it is a figure which I fore the Israelites : iť is that which is for cannot but think does convey most beautiever held to you. It is, you will remember, fully and most exactly an idea of the certhis which constitutes the whole of the bles- tainty of this to every believing child of God, sedness of the departed believer, in that voice and in this way: there are only three things which the apostle John heard from heaven: in the dealings of this world which can dis“ Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord. appoint the heir of his inheritance; and, if it Even so, saith the Spirit, for they rest from can be shown that then these things cannot their labours."

take place as regards the believer, the case is The believer, then, is one day, and clear. For, in the first place, in earthly things, that perhaps nó distant day, to rest com- the parent or the person owning the property pletely and eternally from all that pains may, from some cause or other, change his and grieves him here. He shall rest from suf- mind, and cut off the heir from the inheritfering," for there shall be no more pain :" ance, But, in the case now before us, “the he shall rest from sorrowing, for “there shall gifts and calling of God are without repentbe no more death, neither sorrow nor crying;” ance.” Or, secondly, the heir may rebel or but above all he shall rest from sin. A run away, and so forfeit and give up all Christian can bear suffering and can endure claim to the inheritance. But in this case this sorrow: he can glory in the one and rejoice is provided against ; for one part of the adopin the other; but sin he cannot endure. 'You tion into the family of God is the gift of the remember one. If tribulation beset him, he Spirit, to keep the heir in the love and fear of God, according as it is written : “ I will put to render him, to which he has not already my fear within them, that they shall not de- an undoubted right and claim; and, consepart from me.” Or, thirdly, the heir nay die quently, we can never do any thing for which before the time appointed of the father, and God is bound in the least degree to bless us. so be disappointed. But, as regards the hea- You remember what pains he takes to remind venly inheritance, this can never be : “ The Israel of this truth: “ Beware lest thou forsoul once quickened shall never die:” “The get the Lord thy God, and say in thine heart, heirs of God are kept by his power through My power and the might of my hand have faith unto salvation :” “I give unto them gotten me this wealth.” And again : “Speak eternal life, and they shall never perish :” not, saying, Formy righteousness the Lord hath “ Because I live, ye shall live also.” brought me in to possessthis land.” “ Not

Thus, then, my Christian brethren, if God for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your of thine heart, dost thou go to possess this hearts, it is “the Spirit of adoption, whereby land; but for the wickedness of these nations, ye may cry to him, Abba, Father.” If God and that he may perform the word which the has begotten you again, it is to this inherit- Lord sware.” “Understand, therefore, that the ance, undefiled and incorruptible, and that Lord thy God giveth thee not this good land fadeth not away. Nothing shall disappoint to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou you of it. Though band join in hand, the art a stiffnecked people” (Deut. ix. 4-6). hand of Satan with the hand of the world, All his gifts, therefore, to us are free and ungreater is he that is for you than he that is deserved, and as such he offers them to us; against you. Your greatest danger lies within : and whatever he gives or offers he gives and the united powers

of the devil and the world offers of his own free and sovereign grace; against you would not be formidable, if it and as such we must receive them and acwere not for the traitor within, the heart, knowledge them, or perish without them; and which is too willing to be tempted. Never as such the child of God, convinced and theless, I repeat, greater is he that is for you taught and drawn by the Spirit of God, is than all that is against you. Faithful is he content, nay, is happy to receive them. It is that hath promised, who also will do it. a thought most cheering, that God will thus

3. But there is yet another expression here deal with him; and to be saved by grace is used, which appears to denote the freeness all his dependence and all his desire, as, when with which it is offered, and which we find he is saved, it shall be all his joy and the used in the New Testament in strong con burden of his song for ever.

“ Unto him trast, to denote the same idea. It is spoken that loved us, and washed us from our sins of as a gift: “ Ye are not come to the rest in his own blood, and hath made us kings and the inheritance which the Lord your and priests unto God and his Father; to him God giveth you.” Now, the New Testament be glory and dominion for ever and ever.” invariably speaks of this as a gift. St. Paul “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to says, particularly, “ The wages of sin”- thy name be all the praise.” i. e., the due and just and deserved reward II. Such being the terms in which the of sin—"is death ; but the gift or God”- heavenly inheritance is spoken of, let us turn observe, not the wages, nor the reward, but to another point suggested by the text, viz., the gift

, i. e., the free, undeserved gift of the proofs which the Christian has that he God—" is eternal life, throngh Jesus Christ has not yet come to the rest which is reserved our Lord.” It is very important ever to re- for him. These, indeed, are many and vacollect this; for by nature we are inclined to rious, but we will take only a few which come forget it. We are too apt to think that eternal more immediately in connection with the text. life is given to a man as a sort of reward for 1. The imperfection and vanity of every a good life; and it is not unfrequently the thing connected with his life-its sorrows, case, that persons who know better are yet disappointments, pain, and bereavements-all secretly cleaving to some goodness which these things are enough to remind us, as I they find, or, if they do not find, are diligently believe they are graciously intended to relooking for in themselves, by which they mind us, that this is not our home. Thus the think God may be prevailed on to have mercy Israelites, wherever they rested, wherever on them. No wonder, my brethren, if such they went, were still in the wilderness : persons fail to find comfort or joy or peace. turn where they would, the same barren scene

My brethren, God is a sovereign : he has would probably continually present itself, and a right to do what he will: he is our sove- remind them that this is not Canaan, this is reign, and he has a right to our services : he still the wilderness. We cannot, indeed, is our maker, and he has a right to our suppose that there was nothing beautiful or selves. And there is no obedience, no ser- inviting there; no hiding-place from the vice, no allegiance, which it is in our power world, no covert from the tempest, no rivers

worse.

of water, no shadow of a great rock. In one of God, and therefore are secretly, if not place we know there were twelve fountains of openly, enemies to God and to all godliness. water, and three-score and, ten palm trees; O, when he turns his eyes inward, and looks but still it was not Canaan, still it was the into his own heart, there the matter is even wilderness.

The murmurings and rebellions in And so it is with the Christian : every the camp of Israel are but too faithful a thing around him, every step he takes counterpart of what he feels to be at work shows bim the same. There is not a within himself. pleasure and advantage, there is not a My brethren, we do not know our own flower in all this wide world, beautiful as hearts, if we do not know this to be the case. it is, but wears the stamp of mortality, the With all our fancied resignation and submark of death, the blot of sin and corrup- mission--which, after all, we seldom feel but tion upon it: the grass withereth, and the when we cannot help ourselves-how much flower thereof falleth away, and all our of secret murmuring and repining! how brightest schemes and fairest hopes are many a golden wedge is secretly harboured! blighted sooner still. It was the sentence of how many a longing, lingering look cast back one who had tasted of every form of earthly upon the flesh-pots of Egypi! how many a pleasure, lawful and unlawful, and who spake a time are we discouraged because of the by inspiration of God about it all, and said, way! how much ignorance of God and his “All is vanity and vexation of spirit.” Let ways; how hard it is, with all our lip-service, us be blessed with whatever joy or advantage to say from our heart, “ Thy will be done !" we will, there is a worm at the root; and, with how difficult, with all our profession, to take all its capabilities of affording happiness, still up our cross daily, as a fresh work every day, it is not permanent, it perishes in the using. and follow Jesus Christ! The Christian Friends disappoint, children and those dear knows and feels this, aye, and much more are removed, health decays, riches make to than this; and it is the sense of this that tells themselves wings, and fly away; so that, with him where he is. There may be seasons all our earthly comforts, and they are not few, when he is enabled so to possess things hoped with all our earthly blessings, and they are not for, and to behold things not seen, as that he small, and with all our earthly mercies, and for a time forgets that he is not there; but, they are neither few nor small, we are still like the glorious scene on the mount of transreminded by them, and it is the crowning figuration, it soon passes away, and be feels mercy of them all that we are reminded and that he is distant from the land he loves. His by them, that this is not our resting-place, and own experience tells him that he has not yet we are strangers and pilgrims here.

reached that place or that state where igno2. But the Israelites would be reminded, rance shall not exist, where there shall be no from time to time, that they had not entered night, and we shall know even as we are into rest, by the continual attacks to which known, where every murmuring disposition they were exposed from their enemies, and shall be for ever linshed, where every reperhaps also by the continued murmurings bellious feeling shall be for ever slain, and and rebellions which arose among themselves. every thought of his heart shall be brought in True it is that even in Canaan, the nations complete and eternal captivity to the obegreater and mightier than they were to be dience of Christ. dispossessed; still, even on their road they 3. But I think it may be said that our very would feel that they had not yet attained spiritual blessings are calculated to remind wbat Moses had promised: “When the Lord us of this. All our means of grace, and all God shall have given you rest from all your our privileges, many and great and blessed enemies round about.”

as they are--and God forbid that any man, And this, my brethren, is an especial mark much less any minister, should undervalue to a Christian that his rest and his inheritance them-are yet adapted for a state of ignorance is not here. Wherever he looks the enemy and imperfection. The manna which the meets his view; wbether he look around him Israelites gathered from day to day, and the or within him, the scene is the same. I mean “spiritual Rock that followed them,” would not that he takes a gloomy view of all these especially remind them of the truth adverted things, but he cannot deny the fact that “the to in the text. How different from the grapes world lieth in wickedness." Though there may of Eshcol ! how far short of the land flowing be more than seven thousand whom he knows with milk and honey, to which they were not, who have not bowed the knee to the god of repeatedly encouraged to look! and yet they this world and this consideration will make were marvellous blessings in themselves. him charitable still the fact stares him in the And so it is with us. The spiritual life is face, that the mass of mankind are not under the but a small foretaste of that fulness of life saying and sanctifying influences of the Spirit which is hid in Christ with God; and the

!

very supplies of the Spirit are but the distant the sand on which you are building your branchings of that river which “makes glad hopes is slipping away from under you; you the city of God," issues from the living are casting anchor on the waves and not on fountains to which the Lamb shall one day the rock, and shipwreck—a shipwreck from lead his people.

which there will be no escape-must be the How inferior, too, is the very written or consequence. God give you grace to be wise preached word on earth to what the believer in time, that you may be happy in eternity. will hear in glory! How inferior the worship 2. But, again, we learn a large lesson of in the earthly courts to the worship of the re- duty. We learn that we must not lay aside deemed! How inferior is that feast of the our armour while we are in the enemy's Lord's

supper, to which we are often invited, neighbourhood; we must not cease our watchto that supper at which the bride of Christ is fulness while we are beset by foes within and one day to be present. The very emblems of without; we must not be contemplating on water and of bread and wine in the two sacra- the length of road we have past, but looking ments, beautiful, simple, and significant as on to what remains. Our language must be they are, are yet adapted for a wilderness that of St. Paul: “I count not myself to state, a state of imperfection and ignorance, have apprehended ; but this one thing I do: where at best "we see through a glass darkly;" forgetting those things which are behind, and and, while we use them diligently, and bless reaching forth unto those things which are God for them, yet let them continually re- before, I press toward the mark for the prize mind us that we are not as yet come to the of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” rest and the inheritance which the Lord our We must follow the great Leader and CapGod giveth us.

tain of our salvation, both as ouratonement and III. What then, let us ask, in the third our guide. We must keep close to him. From place, are the lessons of warning, of duty, or of him we must derive all our strength and all encouragement which we are to learn from our graces. Be

ye

followers of him: where these considerations ?

you see the print of his step, there be sure to 1. We learn a lesson of warning, not to fix place your feet. We must make a diligent our habitation here, still less to look back and faithful use of all the means of grace, esupon the world which we have left. As he pecially the two sacraments. said to his people in the days of Micah, so My brethren, that may be common water he says to us : “ Arise ye, and depart; for with which your babes are sprinkled, and to this is not your rest: because it is polluted, the eye of sense it may seem so; but it is it shall destroy you, even with a sore sanctified by the word of God and prayer, destruction.” The pathways of this world and shadows forth the promised Spirit. And are full of sin.

The Christian pilgrim is that may be common bread and wine which travelling along a dusty road : with all his you partake in the supper of the Lord; but care he is continually contracting defilement. it shadows forth, to the eye of faith, that only Beware, then, how you make it your home. sacrifice of the body and blood of Jesus by If you take up your portion with the world, which our sinful bodies and souls can possibly you must not be surprised if you are con- be made clean. O, despise not, neglect not deinned with the world. You inay meet with these or any other means of grace; but use much to dismay and terrify you, but beware them in faith and prayer, and you will find how you turn back; beware how you stay your souls strengthened and refreshed. And, with the world. You may have enemies 0, be found in daily, hourly application to within and without to encounter ; but your the blood of sprinkling, and for the Spirit of only safety is in going straight on.

grace to change your hearts and sanctify your And if there be any here who know that souls, and make you holy enough to enjoy the they have not even set out on this journey, happiness and the holiness of heaven. who have never had a desire to be delivered 3. And, lastly, let us learn a lesson of from the terrible and galling and soul-destroy- great encouragement. The very expression, ing bondage of sin; in one word, if there be “Ye are not as yet come," seems to imply any habitual sinners here, O that they would that the day is at hand when you certainly take warning. My friends, who are living shall come; and there is nothing so enwithout God, listen to this. You are in daily couraging in any work as the certain conand hourly danger of everlasting ruin, and viction of success. Now you know of your you cannot, you dare not deny it; you know heavenly journey what you know of no other, that you have no hope in Christ. But can that you shall not be disappointed; "your you not, dare you not cast away your sins ? labour shall not be in vain in the Lord.” Ĝird Can you not, dare you not look unto Jesus? up, then, the loins of your mind, and lay hold Do you love your sins more than you

love on eternal life. He that has awakened you your souls? O, this world is passing away; to the danger of sin by his Spirit, and brought

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