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Mediator Jesus Christ sealing our pardon, and the divine Sanctifier, even the Holy Ghost, dispensing his all-powerful grace, the feelings of dread and of terror subside into the holy emotions of peace and of hope we delight to visit this temple, to behold here the fair beauty of the Lord; and if our pardon be indeed secured by lively faith, and our souls be indeed renewed in righteousness, this "house of God" will prove to us the "gate of heaven"-the vestibule that opens to that celestial Zion, to which the Lord is an everlasting light, and God himself an eternal glory; and where, receiving continual accessions of truth, of holiness, of felicity from the infinite source of perfection and good, we shall exclaim, in the transports of grateful love and adoration-" Surely the Lord is in this place." God grant, my brethren, that, by the services of this earthly sanctuary, purified from sin and adorned with all the graces of the Spirit, we may meet and abide in that blest place, in the fruition of the divine glory, for ever and ever.
with his peculiar presence and favour the church of the redeemed.
2. The necessity of vital universal holiness to qualify his people, the members of this church, for the enjoyment of the blessings of his favour, and the everlasting glories of his presence.
3. Lastly. It quickens the virtue and zeal, and heightens the consolations and triumphs of the faithful, by the exhibition of the glorious ascension of their victorious Redeemer, the Lord of hosts, the King of glory, to that celestial and eternal kingdom to which he will finally advance his obedient people.
1. The first truth which we infer from this psalm is, the infinite condescension and goodness of the Lord of the universe, in blessing with his peculiar presence and favour the church of his redeemed.
"The earth is the Lord's, and all that therein is; the compass of the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and prepared it upon the floods."
These words declare the sovereign dominion of Jehovah over the world; for he hath made it; and by setting to the seas and "floods a decree which they cannot pass," hath seated the earth upon stable and unchanging foundations.
But these verses are to be considered as an appropriate and emphatic introduction to a psalın which is designed to celebrate the presence of God with his chosen people. We lose sight, then, of the distinguishing character and meaning of these words, unless we contrast them with the pervading sentiment of the psalm. And the interesting and impressive inference which results from this com
parison is, that if God is the Almighty Lord and Ruler of the universe, supporting it by that sovereign power which at first created it, extending his supreme dominion over all the creatures he has made, his condescension and mercy must be most exalted and distinguished in marking by his peculiar presence and favour a portion only of the human race the nation of the Israelites, and finally, the church of his redeemed.
The forefathers of the Jewish nation he had selected as his peculiar favourites, guiding them by his counsel, consoling them by his favour, protecting them by his power, and animating them by the most splendid promises. When the arm of oppression bowed their necks to the yoke, and the "iron entered into their soul," when the land of Egypt was moistened by the tears which a cruel bondage forced from them, the Most High made bare his arm, and by the most signal exertions of power effected their redemption. Through the horrors of a trackless wilderness he led them, their everpresent Protector and Guide: and though loud and frequent murmurs repaid the displays of his power and favour, though discontent raised against him the impious standard of rebellion, ingratitude could not extinguish the love of Jehovah for Israel whom he had redeemed, and provocations reiterated and aggravated could not excite him to pour upon them the flood of merited wrath: the promised land of which he spake to their fathers, beheld them in the possession of every blessing, temporal and spiritual, which a bountiful God could shower down on his chosen servants and people. While the Gentile nations, in the inscrutable dispensation of him who worketh all things according to the counsel of his
own will, enjoyed only that glimmering light of divine truth which reason and tradition afforded, the nation of Israel were surrounded with the blaze of divine knowledge; for "God was in the midst of them;" the glory which was visibly displayed in Mount Zion, the seat in which he delighted to dwell, shed its irradiating beams, its enlightening, consoling, and protecting power, through every part of this highly favoured land.
How wonderful the condescension of the Lord of the universe! 66 Behold," said Moses to the children of Israel," the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the Lord's thy God; the earth also, with all that therein is. Only the Lord had a delight in thy fathers to love them; and he chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day."
In the development of the inscrutable but gracious plans of God's providence, the Christian church succeeded to the consummation of all those privileges which had been bestowed on the Jewish Zion.
"Darkness covered the earth, and gross darkness the people:" led captive by their lusts, in subjection to sin and Satan, the human race were degraded by a bondage infinitely more severe and disgraceful than that which oppressed the Israelites in the land of Egypt. From this ignominious thraldom God hath delivered the Christian church, which is now the Zion of the Lord: and the redemption was achieved, not by the most distinguished human personage, not by the most exalted seraph that ministers at the altar of heaven,-but by him who was with God, who was God-the eternal and incarnate Son. The redemption also
was effected by sufferings the most poignant, and by victories the most exalted. The precious blood of the Almighty Deliverer dyed his celestial garments; infinite in efficacy, it quenched the wrath which had been kindled against a guilty world.
It is of the great multitude of his redeemed that Jesus Christ now reigns the almighty and victorious King; and the members of his mystical body the church, which he loved, and for which he gave himself, derive from the enlightening word, the evangelical worship, and the divine ordinances of the Christian sanctuary, mercy, grace, and salvation. God is now in the midst of the Christian Zion: his glory encircling her, dispenses to her light, consolation, protection, everlasting felicity.
Infinite condescension in that Almighty Lord who holds the sceptre of the universe, to distinguish with the rich blessings of mercy and favour his chosen people, the members of the church which his eternal Son redeemed.
Professing Christians, members of this church, on whom has shone this light of salvation, of which many of the nations are yet destitute, the emotions of gratitude cannot be too ardent to that Almighty Lord who bestows upon you these distinguished mercies. Let not the murmurs of presumption arraign the goodness of the Sovereign of the universe in confining to a portion of mankind the knowledge of his revealed will, and the overtures of his mercy and grace in his Son Jesus Christ. By the creatures whom he has made, by the sinners who have rebelled against him, all his favours must be unmerited. He who, like the potter, has power over the clay, to make one vessel to honour and another to dishonour, may distribute his spiVOL. II.