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ordinary standing Places of Worship, is the constant Doctrine of Scripture. I shall trace this
Matter from the Creation, and give a brief History of it, as we find the several Instances recorded in the Bible,
The great Dean of St. Paul's, Dr. Sherlock, seems to have made a very probable Conjecture, viz. that even in Paradise itself, there was some peculiar Place where God most ordinarily appeared to cur first Parents. For this Opinion he quotes Gen. iii. 8. where we read, that, when Adam and Eve had eaten the forbidden Fruit, "they '' heard the Voice of the Lord God (the eternal *' Word) walking in jhe Garden in the cool of "the Evening, and Adam and his Wife hid "themselves from the Presence of the Lord "God, among the Trees of the Garden." Two things, I think, are clear from this Passage.. First, That there was some particular Place in Paradise where God usually met, and conversed with them. Secondly, That there was some external Appearance accompanying his Communications in this Place, from which they fled, and endeavoured to hide themselves, among the Trees of the Garden. Bishop Patrick supposes this Appearance to have been more glorious and majestick than it had been at other Times; oo this Occasion, he quotes the following Paraphrase * of a Jewish Commentator; " They heard the "Voice of the Word of the Lord, who ap"peared in \ try glorious Clouds, inflaming Fire, , "of such an amazing Brightness that they were "»Ot able to endure the Sight of it»"
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The next Instance is in the Account of Cam and Abel's offering their Sacrifices, which was an Act of religious Worfoip, and, no doubt, accompanied with some Prayers; see Gen. iv. 3, 4. The Observation of Bishop Patrick upon this Passage, is so pertinent to my present Purpose, that I shall cite it at large. "As there v were some solemn Times of making their de
* vout Acknowledgments to God, so, I doubt *| not, there were some set Places, where they "met for that Purpose: For the original Word "brought, is never used about private, but pub"lick Sacrifices; and, therefore, I suppose that "they brought these Sacrifices to some fixed '' Place, looking towards the Schechinah, or glo"rious Presence of God at the Entrance of the te Garden of Eden," (as the Jews were afterwards ordered to look towards the Temple at yerusalem, when they offered up their Prayers at a Distance from it) 't from which Adam had *' been expelled. For there being, no doubt, "some settled Place, where they performed sa*' cred Offices, it is most reasonable to think "that it had respect to the Schechinah. Where"soever That appeared, they appeared before
• God (as the Scripture speaks) because there he "manifested his special Presence, which moved "them to go thither to worship him, to give "him Thanks, or to enquire of Him" From this Presence of the Lord, this glorious Appearance, which Cain, at the 14th Verse, calls she Face of the Lord, he was banished, and never afterwards enjoyed the Sight cf it 5 and God with
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drawing his gracious Presence from him, hewas also forsaken by him, and put out of bis special Protection. From thenee he went into the Land of Nod, which was as much the. Place of God's vJJ'ential Presence, as that . from which he was banished. . . . . „ z.
Let us now proceed to the History of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; from whence we not only learn, that in those Days they always had their appropriate Places of Worship, but that they pitched their Tents, and built their Altars, either in such Places as God directed them to, or where God appeared to them, and that these .were the Places where God ordinarily received their Homage, and conversed with them. ; At the 12th ch. ver. 6, 7, we read that God ap-peared unto Abraham in the Place of Sichem, in the Plain of Mamre, and that there he built an Altar unto the Lord, who appeared to him. If we proceed in the History to the 13th ch. v. 4, we shall find that he returned hither again when hejcarne out of Egypt; and that there, at the Place of the same Altar which he built. at thfe first, he called on the Name.of the Lord: So that the Appearance of God to him in this Place, had made it a [landing Place of Worship. Ih this-Place God. appeared to him again, and renewed his Promise to him after the Departure of Lot. After this, by God's Command, Abraham removed his Tent, and dwelt in the Plain of Mamre, where he built an Altar to the Lord, xiii. 18. Here God frequently appeared to him, • as we may fee at large in the -xvth, xviith, and
xviiith 'Xviiith Chapter. In the- fame manner, when God appeared to Isaac at' Beerseba, he built an Altar, and called upon the Name of the Lord, and took • up his Abode there, as in a Place where God was present, xxvi. 24, 25. "And 's the Lord appeared to-him the fame Night, ^"and said,' I am the God- of Abraham thy Fa"ther, &c. And he builded an Alrar there, "and called upon the Name of the Lord.'*— 'Thus, as Jacob, his Son, was going towards Herran, being obliged to lodge in the Field all Night, he had a Dream, wherein he saw a Ladder set upon the Earth, the Top of which reached to Heaven; and he saw Angeh ascending and descending upon it, God himself standing above st, and'renewing his Promise and Covenant to him. 1 From hence he concluded that God was peculiarly present in this Place. Says he, Chap, xxviii. 12, T3, &c. "How dreadful is this Place, "' this is hone other than the Gate of Heaven; and, therefore, he calls the Name of it Bedel, and sets up the Stone whereon he lay, and pours Oil on it, and vows .that if he came again in Peace tohis Father's House, that Stone which he had set up should be God's House. This is God's House'; this is the Gate os Heaven. Here God might be said lo keep bis Ccw/,attended by . Bis holy Angel's, his Ministers, whom Jacob had seen going up from hence tb'reccive Instructions, and coming down from thence to put them in Execution. Thus the great Mr. Mead explains it Book 2. p. 436. He observes, that the Pre