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glorious gospel of the blessed God.” We say of it, as the inimitable Watts did of its divine author,
Did all the world this system know,
Then all the world would love it too." 4. Before the promulgation of the gospel, an impenetrable gloom brooded over the prospects of futurity. No ray of light gleamed from the dark casements of the tonb. Eternity was a contemplation full of depression, discouragement, and horror. Death presented an aspect terrific and appalling. To the bewildered and distracted imagination, its approach was “the besom of destruction” to extinguish intelligence, to sweep away every fond delight, every tender comfort. If some glimmerings of hope were, at times, indulged, a painful uncertainty, but little preferable to despair, enbittered the anticipations of " a future and a better world.” But of heavenly extraction, the soul of man desired to live forever. It sighed for immortality. Desire prompted deep inquiry and patient investigation. Philosophy labored with commendable perseverance to substantiate the truth of man's future existence. But the loftiest powers of human reason grasped, and grasped in vain, to reach indubitable evidence of its certainty. The vagaries of Plato, and the dreams of Aristotle, never extended beyond the circumference of languid hope. They ended in the twilight of possibility. But not so with the teachings of the Lord Jesus.
“He spake as never man spake.” His gospel sheds the meridian light of day on this superlatively interesting subject. “The author and finisher of our faith,” announced the doctrine of the resurrection, by informing his disciples, that “ he should suffer many things of the elders, and the chief priests, and be killed, and raised again the third day.” This communication would naturally excite the curiosity, and produce the most critical observation both of his friends and enemies. He actually died and rose again agreeably to the prediction. He personally and repeatedly appeared after his resurrection to a competent number of credible witnesses. More than five hundred individuals, whose testimony would not be scrupled in a court of justice, received occular demonstration of the fact. The circumstances attending his death and re-appearance were such, as to render imposture impossible. Here of course all doubts with respect to this hitherto perplexing subject were effectually removed. Jesus positively died, and positively lived again after death. 1. The Lord is risen indeed." And he declares with divine authority, “I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. Because, I live ye shall live also.” This is emphatically the desire of all nations.
Lastly. Assured of a future existence, men are anxious to know whether it will be a happy or a wretched one; what preparations are necessary; and how they may obtain them. This information is ready and ample in the doctrine of Immanuel. “All the promises are in him yea, and in him amen, to the glory of God. He shall swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God shall wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth ; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. And there shall be no more death ; neither sorrow nor crying, nor yet any more pain. As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” All shall be made alive in Christ, and she that is in Christ is a new creature.” Where is the nation, where the individual, that does not sincerely desire the truth of these divine promises ? The sublime poet was unquestionably correct in representing happiness as the great destination and desire of our existence.
“O happiness, our being's end and aimn.”' And according to the doctrine of God our Savicur, this is no less our destination, than desire. For “in the dispensation of the fulness of times, he will gather together in one, all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which areon earth, even in him. “ Faith, repentance, and holiness of heart are essential preparations for future, as well as present happiness. And the gospel declares, “By the same spirit he giveth faith. Him hath Godexalted with his right hand, to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. God hath also to the gentiles granted repentance unto life. Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is ma le unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. Behold, says Jesus, I make all things new, these words are true and faithful.” Glory to God in the highest, for the desire of all nations, has in truth, come!
The remaining particulars require but little labor, except a brief application of the doctrine already advanced. “ I will fill this house with glory, and the glory of this latter house, shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts.". The superior glory of the second temple did not consist in its exterior magnificence and splendor. In this respect it was greatly interior to the first. “ Who is left among you, says the prophet, that saw this house in its first glory ? and how do ye sce it now ? is it not in comparison of it as nothing.” It was the heavenly doctrine taught in the sacred temple, which imparted to it its transcendant glory. “The brightness of the Father's glory” entered it, and spake as one having authority, the words of eternal life. Without this, no ray of superior glory would have gleamed through its apartments. But the august presence of the Redeemer, “full of grace and truth, as the resurrection and the life, as the salvation of God” to the whole world, filled the temple with unparalleled glory. Infinite, unlimited, immortal grace and mercy brightened and blazed from the doctrine of the Lord Christ, through all the parts, and issued through every aperture, with immeasurable refulgence. “The law which made nothing perfect” was taught in the first, and the gospel, which
presents every man perfect in Christ Jesus," was promulgated in the second temple. In this consisted chiefly its incomparable glory. We might as well talk of the glory of a triangle, or honor of a pyramid, as of the glory of the house of worship, when cisconnected with the manifestations of divine mercy in it. Dissociated from “the gospel of our salvation,” there is no more glory in a christian church, than there was in the temple of Venus or of Jupiter Ammon. The boundless riches of divine goodness displayed in the genuine doctrine of Christ, is the real glory of his temple. The unrivalled glory of God consists essentially in the superabundance of his goodness. When Moses requested to see the glory of God,” the return was, “I will cause all my goodness to pass before thee.”' The infinite and impartial goodness of our Father in heaven impressed upon the gospel an incomparable glory. The apostle Paul in a comparison of the Mosaic with the evangelical dispensation, says, “If the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. For even that which was made glorious, had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth." And the angel, who declared the gospel to be "good news of great joy which shall be to all people,” saw in it, “glory to God in the highest,” by establishing “peace on earth and good will towards men.” To the proclamation, defence and enjoyment of this gospel, this elegant and convenient edifice is now solemnly set apart. It is exclusively devoted to the riches and triumphs of grace divine, which will produce in the heart exalted piety to God; pure and undefiled religion; and the most perfect morality. The presence, and unsearchable riches of Christ will be the glory of this house. Here his doctrine will drop as the rain and distil as the dew" on the hearts of the old and the young. Many houses of worship have been erected in this place before it, but we trust that the glory of this latter house will be greater than any of the former. The more grace is preached, and the divine goodness proclaimed and understood, the greater glory will illuminate this temple of praise and of homage. The result will be the fulfilment of the promise in the last clause of the text.
IV. “In this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts.” The Saviour of the world is styled in the scriptures, “The Prince of Peace.” And it is said of him in this illustrious character, “Of the increase of his government and peace, there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it, with judgment and with justice, from henceforth even forever.” When the venerable Simeon clasped this infant “ Prince of Peace and of life” in his arms, he exclaimed in delightful exstacy, “Lord now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people ; a light to lighten
the gentiles, and the glory of thy people Isracl.” The gospel of Jesus is emphatically termed, “The gospel of peace.". Through the stated ministry of this gospel, the glorious God will impart the calm enjoyment of sacred peace in this place. You will have peace in believing, peace with God, peace with Jesus, peace with cach other in the intercourse of life, and peace divine in the anticipations of eternity.
A word to the Pastor elect, and the Society in this place, and I close.
Dear Brother, -Language is too feeble to express the emotions which distend and enrapture my heart on this momentous occasion. Joy on a review of the past, and anxiety in the anticipations of the future, fasten upon my feelings. God has made you an instrument of his glory in this place. The expeditious completion of this stately and beautiful house of worship, is among the fruits of your labors in the ministry of reconciliation. We have now solemnly consecrated this superb edifice to the service of God, and the advancement of the cause and kingdom of Christ; and it surely forms one of the happiest
days of my life. The hearts of your brethren are rejoiced, and the enemy is confounded. The smiles of heaven are upon us.
We share the felicitations of angels, and the multitude of the heavenly hosts, who welcomed the Saviour to the field of his mediatorial labours and triumphs. The tidings of this day's solemnities will gladden the venerable hearts of the parents