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cated persons, it is then their duty to call ministers, and form themselves into flocks, not as a sect, but as the true church of God within the land, knowing and acknowledging no name but the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. And in so doing they are following the example of the Lord and his Apostles, who did not separate from the Jewish church, but were cast out, and did not separate others, but permitted them to worship in the temple and the synagogue, and to observe all the ordinances of Moses, until the temple was laid low, and with it all the glory and order of the Levitical institution, which lies a ruin, a ruin to remain, until He come whose right it is to build it up again.
It was not my intention to have gone into these details ; but simply to have pointed out the connection which is established between a minister and his people, and the one common discipline of good or evil, of reward or punishment, to which they are subjected, to the end, that men might well consider with what congregation they cast in their lot, when they have the power of making a choice. The anticipation of the perplexities with which we are about to be set around, hath led me out further than I should have gone in the midst of a lecture : and yet I can see a purpose of the Spirit in it, to instruct the Philadelphian sons of the church, how they may preserve the love of the brethren, in the midst of those trials and persecutions which are about to come upon them; while they cease nothing, but are more earnest than others, in their testimony for the truth. I feared lest the names Church of Scotland and Church of England, might, from their venerable antiquity and many benefits, stun and stupify the witnesses of the truth, should they come to be used against them, lest their voice might be silenced altogether, or they might flee into other lands. May the Lord bless this short digression to the end of love and unity! and with this prayer I return again to the proper subject of lecture.
The promise of the Spirit to this church, and therewith to all the churches, and to every one who hath an ear to hear, is as usual expressed in terms corresponding to the two other parts of the epistle; to wit, the superscription and the charge ; as possessing the key of David, he hath a right to open every door of David's house, and every gate
of David's city; and so he promiseth to the faithful, that they shall have their abode in the temple of his God, and in the New Jerusalem, the city of his God, which cometh down out of heaven. To these poor and weak brethren he promiseth the seal of his Father's name upon their forehead, that they may be delivered out of the midst of the judgments which are to come upon the earth. And to these faithful and true disciples, who were not backward to. enter into the door opened on earth, he openeth the door of the temple in heaven, that they may enter in thereat, and for ever glorify the Lord. To those bold confessors whó kept his word and had not denied his name, he promiseth the honour of many names; the name of his God, the name of the New Jerusalem, the city of his God, and his own new name. But the peculiar adaptation of the promise, to the circumstances of the church, will more clearly appear, as we proceed with the exposition of this most inclusive promise, “ Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out : and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my. God; and I will write upon him my new name” (iii. 12).
The two pillars in the temple were named, the one Jachin, that is, He will establish; the other Boaz, that is, In it strength : to sustain and strengthen, being their character and use. And the expression “ to be pillars,” is applied by the Apostle Paul to the chief men of the church of Jerusalem (Gal. ii. 9), “James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars.”_And in a certain Psalm, it is thus spoken of Christ : “ The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved : I bear up the pillars of it.” And unto the Prophet Jeremiah it is thus spoken by the Lord (i. 18, 19): « Behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brazen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land. And they shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail against thee: for I am with thee, saith the Lord, to deliver thee.” These passages of Scripture serve to shew us that the meaning conveyed by the word “pillar," is, support and stedfastness. But to the com. plete interpretation of the expression, it will be necessary to examine what is meant by “ the temple of my God.”
When Moses had charge given him to construct the tabernacle, it was in these words : “ See thou make all things according to the pattern shewn thee in the mount.” For Moses and his house were only for a testimony of the Prophet like unto Moses and his house : “ Moses verily was faithful in all his house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after : but Christ as a Son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end” (Heb. iii. 5, 6). The antitype of the tabernacle of Moses is therefore the church, as it doth at present exist, unfixed to place, wandering about and having no rest in the wilderness of the nations. This is clear from the passage just quoted out of the Epistle to the Hebrews, as also from the whole contents of the vijith and ixth chapters. But to me it is still more beautifully manifest from the Ixviiith Psalm, where, in the 17th verse, Christ's ascension into heaven is compared to Moses going up to Mount Sinai: “ The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them as in Sinai, in the holy place.” And the end of his ascension into heaven is, in the verse following, declared to be for the very same end of building upon the earth a dwelling-place for God. Being literally rendered, it is, “ Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive; thou hast received gifts in man, yea rebels also, for a dwelling-place of the Lord God.” Which being interpreted by the Epistle to the Ephesians, in chapters ii. and iv., where it is quoted, doth yield this great truth, That Jesus having in his flesh destroyed the enmity between Jew and Gentile, and received the rebels and aliens as well as the children of promise for his gift, [“ It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel ; I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the ends of the earth” (Isa. xlix. 6),] did with the Holy Ghost, which for this purpose he also received, [" Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the
Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which
see and hear” (Acts ii. 33),] proceed to build upon the rock of his Divinity, and the foundation-stone of his humanity, the spiritual temple, or rather tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, for the habitation of God through the Spirit;" as it is written, “ 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, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. ii. 4, 5.)
This work of building the tabernacle of witness out of frail furniture, Christ is carrying on since the day of his ascension into glory. He is making for God a place to dwell in; and in us verily God delighteth to dwell, and to will, and to speak, and to work by the Spirit in our spirits : but not yet in his visible glory, which is still to come, and shall make for itself a visible habitation. At present, in our flesh dwelleth no good thing, in our spirit dwelleth the very presence
and power of God; who trieth conclusions against Satan and the world in our flesh, and prevaileth against them. Our flesh is thereby taken out of the hands of sin, to be hereafter taken out of the hands of death; made a servant of righteousness, presented a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, and therefore is called the temple of the Holy Ghost :
“ Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which
have of God, and ye are not your own." (1 Cor. vi. 19.) But inasmuch as the body is still under the bondage of death, and waiteth for redemption in the day of the resurrection, it is not yet fit for being builded into the visible and manifest temple of the living God: And herein consisteth, if I mistake not, the difference between the tabernacle of Moses and the temple of Solomon, that the former representeth the present state of the church unfixed and unsettled, and of frail materials composed; the latter, the future state of the church, as it shall be after the resurrection, fixed and glorious for ever. The former is the state of one overcoming, and the latter is the reward of one who hath overcome ; if we be faithful while parts of the tabernacle, we shall be builded into the temple of the living God. This, I think, is the true distinction between the tabernacle and the temple, when a distinction is intended; but because they agreed essentially in their design, which was to be the dwelling place of God, they are often used, indiscriminately, the one for the other. For example, the new Jerusalem is called “ the tabernacle of God" (Rev. xxi. 3). And, on the other hand, the present state of the church is called “the temple of God." (xi. 1.)
The question now ariseth, whether it be the tabernacle, or the temple state of the church, that is intended in the promise before us. This I think is fixed by the words, “ And he shall no more go out,” which derive their interpretation from a passage in ch. vii. ver. 15; where, in the same connection as our text, that is, in connection with the great tribulation, the same as the hour of temptation, it is said of those who come forth out of it white and clean, “ Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them." This service by night and by day in the temple of God, is, I conceive, in substance the same with the expression “ he shall go no more out.” And the meaning in both places is, that the life of the saints shall be one of continual worship in the temple, and enjoyment of the presence, of God; whereof the blessed, ness hath been ever looked forward to by the saints with the greatest delight: “How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth; for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God..... Blessed are they that dwell in thy house; they will be still praising thee.” (Ps. Ixxxiv. 1, 2, 4.) And the promise in our text is an answer to the aspirations of the longing soul, which are every where scattered over the Psalms, and which the Christian is continually giving forth in his devotions : unless, indeed, in those churches which are too spiritual and evangelical to use the Psalms, except as remodelled by some uninspired man. The true origin of the expression, “not going out any more," seems to be taken from the custom of the temple, to be served by twenty-four courses of priests in succession throughout the year; so that one course had to go out from the blessed occupation, in order to make room for another. Whereas in the age to come it is promised, that we shall never have to depart from before his presence, or