« PreviousContinue »
II. In reference to that which is typically represented
The material temple was a type of the Christian Church, even of that temple which is “ built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone." This temple we are now called upon to build
[God has of late years stirred up an almost unprecedented zeal to erect this temple in heathen lands. Every denomination of Christians has stood forth on this occasion. The Moravians, with unrivalled perseverance, led the way. Independents and Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians, have followed, according to their respective abilities. The Church of England has long had two Societies engaged in this glorious causem: and of late a third has arisen, whose attention is principally directed to AFRICA and THE EAST". None of these interfere with each other: there is room for all; and there is need of all. It might be thought better perhaps if all were combined in one: but, considering what human nature is, we cannot expect that all should so perfectly coalesce, as to prosecute their plans with sufficient unanimity: and it is certain that far greater efforts are likely to be made, when all can exert themselves in a way congenial with their own sentiments, than if they were called upon to support a plan which they did not wholly approve.
That such a spirit should be so generally diffused, must
k If this were the subject of a Sermon for Charity or Sunday Schools, the words following the text, “ And give unto Solomon my son a perfect heart," should form a part of the text. Then the second head might be treated in reference to, 1st, The Christian Church ; and 2dly, The souls of men. Under the former of these the propriety of supporting Missions might be stated ; and under the latter, (see 1 Cor. vi. 19. and 1 Pet. ii. 4, 5.) the importance of having the soul built up as an habitation for God. The necessity of postponing all other considerations to this may be shewn from hence, that if David disposed of his wealth so liberally for the constructing of an edifice of stone for God, much more should we disregard the acquiring of wealth in comparison of making our souls a temple for him. A particular address might then be made to the children, to shew them, that the ultimate end of the charity was to put them in the way of obtaining a perfect heart, and that they should concur in this design to the utmost of their power.
1 Eph. ii. 20.
m That for promoting Christian Knowledge; and that for propagating the Gospel in Foreign Parts.
n Here an account may be given of what has been done by them.
surely be a matter of rejoicing to every one that has the interests of religion at heart. And we trust that, in reference to this assembly, we may adopt the words of the text, “ Now have I seen with joy thy people which are present here to offer willingly unto thee."]
Let us then imitate the example now set before us: 1. Let us offer willingly
[Difficulties and objections are very apt to arise in the mind, especially when we want a plea for withholding or limiting our contributions. But what objection can be urged, which would not have had incomparably greater force on the foregoing occasion? Indeed the reasons that should animate us to exertion, are ten-fold stronger
which David could have urged in
[If we had been asked, what would be proper for David to give towards the building of the temple, we should probably have thought ten thousand pounds a large sum: we should scarcely have judged it reasonable to require of him so large a subscription as an hundred thousand pounds : yet he not only gave as much as that, but ten times as much ; yea, a hundred times as much; yea, almost two hundred times as much. Independent of the immense treasures dedicated as spoils taken from his enemies, he gave, out of his own purse, gold and silver to the amount of above eighteen millions of money. And what was it that prompted him to such astonishing liberality? He himself tells us in the preceding context; “ I have prepared with all my might .... because I have set my affection to the house of my Godo.” Let the same principle operate in us: let
us set our affection to the work of Christ, and the salvation of our fellow-creatures, and then our ability alone will determine the measure of our contributions. Instead of waiting for arguments to overcome a parsimonious and reluctant spirit, we shall be "willing of our own selves to give, not only according to our ability, but even beyond our proper ability; and with much entreaty we shall urge and compel, as it were, the acceptance of our gifts” for the furthering of this blessed cause P. The rich will give largely out of their abundance; and the poor will be casting in their not less acceptable mite; and all will unite in adoring God for the opportunity afforded them to shew their love to him.] 3. Let us give in due order
[There is an offering which God requires, previous to his acceptance of any other: it is this ; “My son, give me thy hearty." Here then we must put to you the question which David put to his subjects on that glorious occasion; • Who amongst you is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the Lord'?”
Who will consecrate himself to God as a Christian? It would be a blessed day indeed, if you were all as unanimous in this, as that assembly were in devoting their treasures unto God. Could we but see you offering to him your hearts, we need not add a word respecting your property; for you would feel that it is not possible to dispose of that in any other way so happily for yourselves, so beneficially for the world, or so honourably to God. Give then, I say, like the Macedonians; of whom St. Paul says, that “out of their deep poverty they abounded unto the riches of liberality:" but, like them, "give first your OWN SELVES unto the Lords.” Then you will know, that all which you have is his; and make no account of your property, but as it may be subservient to his glory
Permit me to ask further, Who will consecrate himself to God as a Missionary? It is in vain that materials are collected for a building, if there be none found to construct the edifice. And alas ! here is the difficulty, here the want! Of those who are destined to the service of their God, how few are found willing to sacrifice their earthly prospects, and their carnal ease! When God calls them to an arduous and selfdenying service, how do they, like Moses, multiply their excuses, when they are actuated only by a fear of the cross ! God has been for many years saying to us of the Established Church, “Who will go for us?” but there have been few Isaiahs found to answer,
P 2 Cor. viii. 3, 4. $ 2 Cor. viii. 2, 5.
9 Prov. xxiii. 26.
r ver. 5.
“ Here am I, send meu.” O that there were less reason for that complaint, “ All men seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's?!" If we even knew that the fruits of our labours would not appear to any great extent in our day, it were no reason for declining the service to which we are called. David sowed, that others might reap: our blessed Lord did the same: I
God there may be some found amongst us inclined and qualified to follow their examples.] TO CONCLUDE
[If there be any, whether in the ministry or out of it, who desire to be the Lord's, we pray that “our Covenant-God would keep this in the imagination of the thoughts of their hearts for ever.” And if the raising of God's spiritual temple among the heathen be an object worthy of our regard, let us now vie with each other in our endeavours to promote it, and shew our sense of its importance by the cheerfulness and extent of our donations.]
u Isai. vi. 8.
x Phil. ii. 21.
USE OF CHURCH MUSIC. 2 Chron. v. 13, 14. It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and
singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord; so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God.
EVERY duty which we owe to God is excellent in its season; nor is there any which is not peculiarly suitable for particular persons, and under particular circumstances. Repentance, prayer, attendance on the preached Gospel, are eminently proper, not for the ungodly alone, but for the saints also, whenever a sense of ignorance, guilt, or helplessness, call for such exercises. But the duty of praise seems to claim a just preference before all others, not only because it is more pleasant, and more comely for the upright, but because in all others we receive from God; whereas in this we give to God. Indeed God himself declares, that he is more especially honoured by the due performance of this duty; “Whoso offereth me praise, glorifieth me:" and in my text, he has given the most abundant testimony of its acceptableness to him.
Solomon having finished the temple, had now brought up the ark of the Lord, and placed it in the