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6 Where two or three are gathered together in my Name, there am I in the midst of them.” St. Matthew.
2. An occasional Prayer from the Reading-Desk.
St. Matthew, Ch. xxi. to verse 14th. [N. B. Thus far (except reading the Absolution) by the youngest officiating Minister.*]
6. An occasional Prayer, with a Baptism, at the Fount [By
the Author of the following Sermon.].. 7. The remainder of the Morning Service (using only, instead
of the Collect for the Day, that for St. Peter's Day, and the
last for good Friday) by the t eldest Missionary present. 8. Occasional Prayer, with the Communion Service. 9. The Epistle. Haggai, Ch. 2d. to yerse 10th, 10. The Gospel for St. Peter's Day.
[N. B. This part of the Service was performed at the Altar, by the eldest officiating Minister.]
To this succeeded the following Sermon; and if a Judgment might be formed from the Attention wherewith it was received by a very crouded Audience, the Author may flatter himself that now when it appears from the Press, and solicits a candid Perusal in the Closet, it may be of some Service; more especially that part which regards our neglected Sabbaths, and public Ordinances.
The Author's engagements allow him but few Opportuni. ties of addressing the World in this Way; and those hitherto have chiefly arisen out of public Occasions, where the Calls were sudden, and where he hath only had Leisure to shew the Warmth of the Heart, and not the labour of the HeadHappy always if, with a Desire to serve his Friends, he can give any Testimony of a Zeal for Truth, and for that Church whereof he is a Member!
Rev. Mr. Duche.
+ Rev. Mr. Neill.
Rev. Mr. Sturgeon.
I KINGS, Chap. VIII. v. 13, 27, 57, 60. I have surely built thee an House to dwell in, a settled Place
for thee to abide in forever!-But will God indeed dwell on the Earth? Behold the Heaven, and the Heaven of Heavens, cannot contain thee; how much less this House that
I have builded ? The Lord our God be with us as he was with four Fathers:
Let him not leave us, por forsake us-That all the People of the Earth may know that the Lord is God, and that there is none else.
ALTHOUGH I have only read to you the foregoing verses, as being those which I am more immediately to insist upon, yet the greatest part of the chapter from which they are taken, containing the history of Solomon's Dedication of the Temple, and which has been already read to you as the first Lesson for this day's service, will be the subject of my following discourse.
But, before I proceed, it may perhaps be expected that I should carry you back into remote antiquity, to investigate the origin and shew the reasonableness of Consecrating, Dedicating, or Setting Apart, par
ticular places for the more immediate and public worship of the Supreme God. And such an inquiry, it must be confessed, would furnish out a most interesting detail; no way unsuitable to this day's solemnity. But the time being short, and having another plan in view, I shall touch but slightly on these matters.
The great Progenitors of our race, Adam and Eve, when they first sprung from the for ming hand of their munificent Creator, no doubt, felt their hearts to exult with joy and gratitude unutterable. Every thing within, and without them, contributed to heighten this joy into the most transcendent ecstacy. The curiosity of their own structure, the Paradise that surrounded them, the unfading beauty, the eternal verdure and yet continual novelty, of its scenes (while they continued in their state of innocence) led them, doubtless, at all times and in all places, into the most fervent acknowledgments of that Goodness, from which the whole proceeded. Nevertheless, it is no way improbable but that they had some Conse. crated place, some chosen Bower, by brook or by fountain, adorned with all the bloomy honours of Paradise, whither (at stated times, and at proper intervals) they might retire from the heat of the day, to offer up their more immediate praises, for Creating Love and Preserving Goodness.
But whatever may be in this, one of the first things we find their descendents employed in, after the Fall, was their solemn offering up“ the fruits of “ the earth, and the firstlings of their flocks,” in places set apart for that end; and, after the Flood,
Noah no sooner descends from the Ark than he is found erecting an altar unto the Lord. Abraham too planted a Grove in Beersheba, where he called on the name of the everlasting God; and this God himself, through four whole chapters of Exodus, is found in. structing Moses how to erect and adorn that glorious Tabernacle which we read of there.
Now these places of worship were agreeable to the state of a people, in those early ages, migrating from place to place. But when nations were settled, and distinct societies formed; in the place of Groves and temporary Tabernacles, superb Temples were erected. And thus it was with the Jews, at the time of erecting that Temple of unparalleled magnificence and architecture Divine, whose Dedication or Consecration my text refers to.
After journeying for many years through the wilderness, after sustaining many bloody wars with their fierce enemies; that people had now got full possession of the Land of Promise, and enjoyed that happy tranquillity, which their souls had long and earnestly wished for.
And now, what improvement doth their illustrious monarch make of this occasion? Doth he forget the God of Israel, that had led his people through so many dangers? Doth he turn the fruits of Peace entirely to works of secular import, to Luxury, the pursuit of Pleasure, and of low selfish Enjoyment? No! but he remembers the intimation given by the prophet Nathan to his father. David, how that his Son after him should build an House (not a moveable and temporary Tabernacle, but a fixed and set. tled House) to the name of the Lord forever*. Accordingly, with his whole heart and spirit, he sets about this divine work, and writes to distant places, for an amazing store of materials of every sort.
Το this purport is his letter to Hiram, king of Tyre and Sidont.
“ Thou knowest, says he, how that David thy « father could not build an house (or fixt Temple) “ unto the name of the Lord his God, for the wars " which were about him on every side, until the Lord put
them under the soles of his feet. But now the « Lord my God hath given me rest on every side, so " that there is neither adversary nor evil occurrent: " and behold, I purpose to build an house to the " name of the Lord my God; as he spake unto David
my father, saying, Thy Son, whom I will set upon " thy throne in thy room, he shall build an House “ unto my name. Now, therefore, command thou, “ that they hew me cedar trees out of Lebanon; and
my servants shall be with thy servants-for thou “ knowest that there is not among us any that can " skill to hew timber like unto the Sidoniansf."
Solomon having procured his materials, and at length finished his house, with such a profusion of ornament and eastern magnificence, as far excels all the pomp of modern times; having been favoured
* 2 Sam. i. 13.
† 1 Kings, Chap. V. v. 27. # These are the same Sidonians whom Homer calls wonudidán85, much skilled in divers arts; which particular character of them is men. tioned to shew, that Solomon sought out the most excellent artists in the world for the work of the Temple; and that the Bible account of them corresponds exactly to that given of them, in some of the most ancient profane writings which we now have.