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in subsequent reigns, through the negligence and ungodliness of such as had the charge of it, it fell sometimes into decay. When godly kings and governors were in authority, then commandment was immediately given, that the temple of God should be repaired, and the oblations of the people gathered for the repair. We read in the second book of Kings, that, under the guidance of Jehoiada the priest, who took a chest, and bored a hole in the lid of it, and set it beside the altar, Jehoash commanded the priests to deliver all the money, that came into any man's heart to bring, for the breaches of the house. JOSIAH also gave commandment to Hilkiah the priest concerning the repair of God's temple, with the “silver, which the keepers of the door gathered of the people.”
It hath pleased Almighty God, that these bistories should be written at large for the instruction of all ages.
Our own King at this time is willing to consecrate the voluntary gifts of the people in a similar manner. The paramount importance of religion to the permanent peace and prosperity of the state, as well as to the salvation of each individual; and the consequent expediency of social worship for the preservation of it, are admitted by every dispassionate friend to truth, every consistent believer in divine revelation. The Ministers of the Gospel, therefore, are very properly required in their respective spheres to promote the pious and patriotic purpose of the King. Better arguments cannot be urged, than those in our HOMILÝ for repairing the church ; affording a specimen of godly and wholesome doctrine and exhortations, provided by the venerable REFORMERS for the edification of our forefathers and their posterity from generation to generation.
Churches were built among Christian people on this great consideration, that there THE WHOLE multitude in every parish should hear the blessed word, and learn the will of the everlasting God; should with one voice and heart invoke, magnify, and praise the name of God; should return earnest thanks to our heavenly Father for his heap of benefits, daily and hourly poured upon us; that there the sacraments, which our Lord and Saviour Christ Jesus hath ordained, should be duly, reverently, and decently administered. To these godly uses were churches dedicated, and wholly exempted from worldly uses. They therefore, who have little mind or devotion to repair and build God's temple, are to be accounted people of much ungodliness, undervaluing good order in Christ's church, and the true honour of God; with evil examples offending and bindering their well-disposed neighbours. They, who think it but a matter of indifference to see their church in ruin, sin against God and his holy congregation.
God was grieved with his people and plagued them, according to the prophet Haggai, because they built and adorned their own houses, and suffered his holy house to continue in uncomely dilapidation. Thus saith the Lord, “Is it time for you,
0 ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and the Lord's house lie waste? Ye have sown much, and bring in little ; ye eat, but ye have not enough ; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he, that earneth wages, earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.” By these and other plagues, which God for this cause inflicted upon his people, it may evidently appear, that God will have the place of public assembly for divine worship well maintained.
Some, neither regarding godliness, nor the place of godly exercise, will say, that the temple under the law was commanded, because it had great promises annexed to it; because it was a figure or signification of Christ and his church. But our churches are not destitute of promises. Our Saviour Christ saith, “ Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Any number therefore coming to church together in the name of Christ, have their God and Saviour present by his grace, according to his most comfortable promise. Why then ought not Christian people to build them churches, having as great promises of the presence of God, as Solomon had for the temple?' Solomon's temple was a figure of Christ. But we know, that now in the time of the clear light of Christ Jesus, the Son of God, all shadows, figures, and significations are utterly gone, all vain and unprofitable ceremonies are absolutely annihilated. If then it had not been sin and shame to neglect the rebuilding of bis temple, God would not have been so much grieved, and so soon have plagued his people, because they built and decorated their own hoiises so gorgeously, and despised the house of God, their Lord.
In many places of this country it is lamentable to behold the ruinous state of churches. If a man's dwelling-house be decayed, he will never cease, till it be restored ; if his barn,
where he bestows all his fruits and bis goods, be out of repair, what diligence doth he use to make it perfect? If the stable for his horse, or the sty for his swine, be not able to exclude severity of weather, when the rains fall, and the winds blow, how careful is he to incur the necessary cost? Shall we then be so mindful of our common houses, deputed to such low occupations, and be forgetful toward that house of God, in which are expounded the words of our eternal salvation ; in which are administered the sacraments and mysteries of our redemption ? The fountain of our regeneration in baptism is there presented to us; the participation of the body and blood of our Saviour Christ is there offered to us. Shall we not esteem the place, where so heavenly things are handled? Wherefore, if we have any reverence to the service of God, if we have any common honesty, if we have any conscience in observing solemn ordinances, let us cheerfully contribute our offerings to keep the national churches in good repair. Thus we shall not only please God, and deserve in some degree his manifold blessings, but also deserve the good report of all godly people.
When the church is well furnished with places convenient for all classes, the people are more