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the people assembled to offer sacrifices for sin, and entreat Jehovah to be their Sun and Shield. Now the Church of Jesus Christ is the place where conscience-stricken and contrite sinners assemble to behold the Lamb of God, and pray for guidance and defence in the path of righteousness. “Ye are not come unto the mount that burned with fire,” &c. All who enter the Church of Jesus Christ with penitent and believing hearts obtain the forgiveness of sins, and the succors of grace. “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died.” “I am persuaded that neither death nor life,” &c.
Fifthly : The Church of Jesus Christ in time is a type of the Church of Jesus Christ in eternity. Literal Jerusalem was typical of spiritual Jerusalem. Its temple, its priesthood, its worshippers, and its sacrifices, were symbols of a temple of living stones ; a priesthood to which every believer belongs ; worshippers who look to Jesus, and sacrifices consisting of religious acts. “To whom coming as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God and precious, ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." Spiritual Jerusalem prefigures Jerusalem above. The faith, the reverence, the burst of praise, and the diligent service of the saints here, are emblems of the vision of God, the casting of crowns before the Lamb, the ceaseless chorus of lofty souls, and the untiring activities of obedience by the saints hereafter. Thus, the church militant, amidst the temporary gloom of earth, presents a broadly shaded outline of the church triumphant amidst the everlasting glory of heaven.
II. TAE EMPHASIS WITH WHICH THE CHRISTIAN EXPRESSES HIS RECOLLECTION OF, AND PREFERENCE FOR, THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST. The ancient Jew said, “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning ;"—forget its office-lose its skill in playing the harp ; “if I do not remember thee, if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy,” - If I do not think and speak and sing of Jerusalem in preference to every other object, even that which yields me the highest pleasure—“let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth,"— lose the power to articulate, be sealed in perpetual silence.
As it was with the Jew, so it is with the Christian. He testifies that the Church of Jesus Christ is uppermost in his thoughts, and ranks higher in his esteem than anything else; and that were it otherwise, paralysis and dumbness would be a fit punishment of his ingratitude, &c.
The Christian speaks thus respecting the Church of Jesus Christ :
First : Because of its wonderful revelations. The text-book of the Church is the Bible. From the Bible ministers obtain truths which edify saints and convert sinners. To the Bible Christians refer for the doctrines they believe, the precepts they obey, and the promises they inherit. God has given us the Bible that we may know what is true, do what is right, experience what is good, and lay hold on eternal life. “We have here a sure word of prophecy,” &c. “ The law of the Lord is perfect," &c. In the Church of Jesus Christ, every sincere Christian receives instruction from ministers who study the Bible, and saints whose experience is responsive to its statements. The instruction he obtains renders him “wise unto salvation.” Taught of the Lord, and obedient to the truth in the love of it, he makes progress in knowledge, virtue, and usefulness, until his path appears like a shining track ascending from earth to heaven.
Secondly: Because of its sacred exercises. Man is formed for communion with God. He is the subject of convictions, desires, and tendencies which render him unhappy, while an alien from God. Infidelity tries in vain to extinguish these elements in the constitution of man, and as it cannot satisfy them, it mocks and augments human unhappiness. Idolatry places objects of worship before man, which can neither hear his prayers nor supply his wants. It fails, therefore, to give peace to the human conscience. Christianity is not thus ineffective. It meets the case of man fully and continuously. It places before him the proper object of religious worshipthe true and living God. It invites him to commune with his Maker. The members of the Church of Jesus Christ enter the temples of Christianity to hold fellowship one with another ; "and truly their fellowship is with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Such honor and joy have all the saints. In the means of grace, the Christian finds a peace which the world can neither give nor take away.
His fears are dissipated, his passions are hushed, his wants are supplied, his tears are wiped away, and he obtains a foretaste of celestial bliss. Hence he frequently exclaims,—“ Return unto thy rest, O my soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.” “Unto the altar of God I will go, unto the altar of God, my exceeding joy.".
Thirdly : Because of its ennobling associations. There are three kinds of honor in the world, resulting respectively from wealth, from wisdom, from virtue. Accordingly, one individual counts it honorable to associate with the rich, another with the wise, another with the good. Doubtless, it is far more honorable to associate with the good, than with the wise and the rich ;—for the wise and the rich often dishonor themselves by wickedness. It was well said by one of old,—“The saints in the earth, they are the excellent, in whom is all my delight.” It was well said by a rich man, in reply to wealthy neighbors who spoke scornfully about his fellowship with methodists,—“Gentlemen, I am choosing my companions for eternity.” Every Christian derives honor from the company he keeps. His companions are the children of God; "and if children then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ." Indulge no longer, ye men of the world, in day-dreams about the degradation of the man who wears the name of Christ, and works righteousness ; for he is nobler far than any other human being. The dignity of the Christian eclipses the highest earthly honor ; seeing that in the Church of Jesus Christ he communes and is a co-heir with individuals, who, when all the symbols of temporal glory have crumbled into dust, will be clad with the robes, and wear the crowns, and sit on the thrones, of immortality.
'ourthly: Because of its momentous interests. Our Lord and Master requires us to diffuse knowledge, piety, and happiness among all nations. The interests of the Church of Jesus Christ, therefore, are those of truth, and righteousness, and joy. These interests are much more important than any other which occupy the thoughts, and employ the capabilities of men. The interests of commerce, science, and civilization are not worthy to be compared with them. All that is exclusively earthly will pass away ; but the truth held by the Church of Jesus Christ is unchangeable, its righteousness is everlasting, and its joy is for evermore.
Brother, Is the Church of Jesus Christ in all thy thoughts, or in scarcely any of thy thoughts ? Dost thou prefer it to everything else, or everything else to it? Dost thou remember the world and the things of the world—its labors, its riches, its honors, and its amusements; but forget the Church and the things of the Church—its doctrines, its ordinances, its blessings, and its pleasures? Dost thou prefer the fellowship of the ungodly to the communion of saints; the transactions of business to works of faith and labors of love ; the joys of sense to the joys of salvation? If these questions startle thee to a consciousness of alienation from the Church of Jesus Christ, resolve, in the strength of grace, to enter it, remember it, and prefer it; that amidst its sanctifying fellowship, thou mayest prepare for the nobler fellowship of the heavenly world.
P. J. WRIGHT.
SUBJECT :- The Desirable and Undesirable in the History
of the Immature Christian.
“ I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.”-John xvii. 15.
Analysis of Homily the Four Hundred and Thirty-sixth. The true prayer of a true man has always a peculiar charm, and a special claim to attention. It reveals the real state of the suppliant's heart, the deepest aspirations and wants of his nature. There is neither levity nor falsehood in his utterances. All is serious and true:-his mind realizes its contact with the awful and omniscient God.
The prayer of Jesus has, however, additional claims to our notice. It not only reveals the real state of His great, pure, and glorious, soul, but the very mind of the God to whom He appeals. Both the good He seeks, and the mode of seeking, are in accordance with the will of the Infinite. He asks only for what God is ready to bestow; He asks in the way which is agreeable to the Divine mind. When we hear a good man praying we feel justified in regarding his prayer as a true reflection of his own soul at the time; but knowing that though sincere he is fallible, and is liable to ask both for wrong things and in a very wrong way, we cannot consider his prayer as a correct revelation of God. The case, however, is different in relation to Christ. He being infallible in knowledge as well as sincere in heart, His prayer reveals not only Himself, but the Everlasting Father too.
We take this prayer, therefore, as a revelation both of God and Christ. Here we have in this chapter on the one hand the Filial Reverence, the Ardent Philanthropy, and the True Divinity, of Christ; and here we have on the other, the Fatherhood, Sovereignty, and Universal Love, of God. Admirably adapted, therefore, is this prayer of Jesus, at once to kindle and to guide our devotions.
The words that I have selected for remark express the desirable and the undesirable in the Christian life.