« הקודםהמשך »
seat yourselves in this house, which you this day dedicate to the Father of mercies, to Jesus, the great high priest of our profession, and to the doctrine of his grace, and attend to the divine testimony, that we were all created, and brought into being, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. On this doctrine you can all feed and be nourished therewith, of this you can all partake with rejoicing. And this is the true token that the bread is acceptable unto God. A parent delights to feed the child with that which gives it pleasure and comfort. And so we have seen that it was commanded, in the shadow of these good things; nothing was to be eaten as tithes before the Lord, but such as the soul desired, and of which they could eat and rejoice.
4. The doctrine of immortality and eternal life is brought to light through the gospel, and is the true bread of God, and is that meat which endureth unto everlasting life. This doctrine is the true tithe of the resurrection of Jesus; who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. The house of the Lord should never be destitute of this meat, it should always be found on his table. Jesus said ; 6 God is not the God of the dead, but of the living ; for all live unto him." St. Paul says ;
66 As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." This doctrine proves that the opinion, that in a future state, there will be a separation made, and some of the human family received to favour and happiness, while the rest are to be banished to a state of wretchedness is polluted bread. We have no intimation in the sacred word, from which we collect all the tithes for the house of the Lord, that Jesus, our forerunner, has brought a future state of sin and misery to light through the gospel.
Who can calculate the sorrows which have wrung the hearts of thousands, in consequence of their believing in this separation of husbands and wives, of parents and children, of brothers and sis
ters in the future state. What lamentations, what darkness, what despair have filled the house of the Lord, where this doctrine has been successfully inculcated. That this is polluted bread is evident, for no one can eat it with rejoicing. Even those who profess it, and who are careful to place themselves in the most favoured condition, have continual sorrow of heart, for fear some dear companion, some affectionate parent, some lovely child, some beloved brother, sister or dear friend, may be torn away by the merciless hand of divine vengeance, and plunged into a burning lake. But the true doctrine of eternal life, of iinmortality and glory, completes the heavenly banquiet, and is a source of the most rational rejoicing that was ever contemplated by the human mind. But if we carry sin and misery into the resurrection state, we pollute the bread of life, and convert the ministration of righteousness into death.
Surely there can be no lovelier sight on earth, than a congregation assembled, composed of whole families, in a convenient house, dedicated to the pure, unsullied doctrine of godliness, and there exercising themselves in supplication and thanksgiving ; in contemplating the goodness of God and celebrating his praise; and above all in anticipating an eternal sabbath of holiness and happiness beyond the Jordan of death.
Such doctrine is certainly the most desirable meat which can be offered in the house of God, to his honour, or for the comfort and happiness of his people. And it is worthy of remark that even the opposers of this doctrine acknowledge that it is the desire of their hearts; it is what they servently and most devoutly pray for, but they fear that it is too good to be true. But let it be remembered, that those who ate tithes in the house of the Lord, were strictly commanded to eat whatsocver their soul desired.
5. Let us now bring all these tithes into the house of the Lord, that there may be meat in his
house ; and let us prove God herewith, and see if he will not open the windows of heaven, and pour us out a blessing, until there be not room enough to receive it.
Although we have restricted ourselves to only four particulars out of an innumerable multitude, care has been taken to select those, which when connected, necessarily involve all others which belong to the table of the Lord ; and necessarily exclude all polluted bread, which has been invented by the partial wisdom of this world.
In the combination of the fulness of our heavenly Father's love to the whole family of man, and the influence of the same to lead sinners to repentance, and to a settled confidence in the divine favour, with the assurance that mankind was constituted the heirs of eternal life in Jesus, and the hope, brought to light through him of life and immortality, we find necessarily comprehended every grace and every virtue which is not here particularly enumerated.
With these clear and luminous sentiments in our minds, and while feasting on them with rejoicing, do we not perceive that the windows of heaven, by which we may understand the promises of God in covenant to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the testimony of all God's holy prophets since the world began ; who have testified the restitution of all things, corresponding with the covenant of promise, that in the seed of Abraham all the nations of the earth should be blessed ; the doctrine of Jesus and the following testimony of his inspired apostles ; I say, do we not see that these windows are open on this meat which we have brought into the house of the Lord ? And from these windows do we not behold the light and evidence of our doctrine ? and do we not discover that a plenitude of blessing flows through them, even beyond the reach of the powers of our minds ?
As a sample of the whole, let us notice the following ; “In thee and in thy seed shall all na
tions be blessed. All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name. In this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things; of wines on the lees, of fat things full of miarrow; of wines on the lees well refined ; and in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts destroy the face of the covering that is cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations ; he will swallow up death in victory ; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth : for the Lord hath spoken it. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. And him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. For as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. Who is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. For it is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption ; it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory ; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power ; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. And every creature that is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them,
heard I, saying, blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto hin that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the lamb for ever and ever.
This doctrine is that river, the streams whereof make glad the city of our God ; it is that pure river of the water of life, that proceeds from the throne of God and the lamb. In the midst of the street of it and on either side is the tree of life, which bears twelve manner of fruirs, and yields her fruit every month ; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
That there is an abundance of this grace, even beyond the extent of our wants, is evident not only from the apostle's declaration, that where sin abounded grace did much more abound, but also from all the emblems which the holy spirit of prophecy has used to represent it.
Moses says ; my doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew: as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass. These emblems extend the divine favour without measure. Isaac represents the Saviour by the emblem of light, rising and shining on ihe Gentile world, effecting salvation to the ends of the earth. Ezekiel travelled in the holy waters of this grace, until he says they were risen waters, waters to swim in, a river that no man can pass.
Jesus said ; The water that I will give, shall be a well of water springing up into everlasting lise. And in the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, if any nian thirst let him come to me and drink.
My friends, the grace of God is as free and as abundant as the light of the sun, as the rain from heaven, as wells and rivers of water.
Brethren, may it please an indulgent God, to reward all your labours, your highly honourable exertions, and your commendable perseverance, from the coinmencement of the gathering of your society in this place, to the completion of this beautiful house, and to its present dedication to