« PoprzedniaDalej »
distant, and totally unfit to form a part of such an edifice, he who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, will shine down, not only upon them, and around them, but into them, and will so give them the light of the knowledge of his glory. And they shall not only see light, but themselves become light, in the Lord. However defective, or even opposite they were before, to all that is requisite for such a building, on such a foundation, and for such a purpose, he who made them will so have mercy upon them, and he who formed them show them such favor, as to transform them into his own image, and cause them to shine in the beauty of holiness. And having begun this good work in them, he will carry it onward, till he shall present them spotless and faultless before the throne of his glory, with exceeding and everlasting joy. And though of every age and nation, he will have made them, in his providence, and by his grace, so perfectly like the foundation, and like the rest of the temple, and so perfectly fitted each one for his place, that when brought to the spot where the temple is to stand, no sound of any instrument will be heard in building. But all the materials, from all parts of the earth, will come together, as by their own attraction, and their union will be perfect and eternal.
3. As the Spirit of the Lord is the builder of this temple, any individual to whom he is made known, and who is in a state of probation, may himself become a part of it. Wherever he may live, and under whatever circumstances he may be placed ; however long he may have been in rebellion against God, and however deeply he may have sunk in degradation and guilt ; he may nevertheless be transformed into the Divine image, and live. Though his sins were as scarlet, they may become white as snow; though they were red like crimson, they may become as wool. From all his filthiness and his idols, God may cleanse him ; a new heart he may give him, and a new spirit put within him; may take away the heart of stone, and give him a heart of flesh. He has done this for thousands. He is now doing it for thousands more. And he will do it for ten thousand times ten thousand, multitudes which no man can number. The time cometh, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf be unstopped; the lame man shall leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing. And they shall return and come home to the heavenly Jerusalem, and to the city and temple of God—the house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
4. As the Spirit of the Lord is the builder of this temple, we see what each one must do, in order to be prepared for it. He must become acquainted with the Holy Spirit, and must look to him for what he needs. He must attend to his communications, must understand, believe, and obey them. They will thus be spirit and life to his soul. He will be begotten again, not by corruptible seed, but by incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. To this word each soul must himself give heed, as to a light shining in a dark place, till the day dawn, and the day-star arise in his heart. He must treat this word, in his feelings and conduct, not as the word of man, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which is able to save the soul. And he must be not a hearer only, but a doer of the word; and he will then find it to be perfect, converting the soul ; and sure, making wise the simple; right, rejoicing the heart ; pure, enlightening the eyes; clean, enduring forever; true and righteous altogether; more to be desired than gold, even much fine gold ; and in obeying it, will experience great reward.
Nor does the fact that men are dependent on God, and that he is almighty, lessen the necessity or the benefit of thus hearkening to his voice, believing his declarations, or obeying his commands. Dependent on God, they indeed are; but that, instead of being a reason why they should not immediately hearken to his voice, believe his declarations, and obey his commands, is the very reason why they should.
5. As the Spirit of the Lord is the builder of this temple, and he operates by the truth, we see the reason why a knowledge of the Spirit, and of his truth, should be communicated, in the least possible time, to all people. All people need this knowledge. They are in imminent danger of perishing eternally without it. It is suited to their condition; and adapted to meet their wants.
Nothing else will do it. We have this remedy. Freely we have received, and freely we are bound to give. God commands, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. And he that believeth not shall be damned. But how shall they believe on him of whom they have not heard ? And how shall they hear, without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent ? And by whom shall they be sent, if not by us, who know that there is a Holy Ghost ; who know the truth which he has revealed ; and through the belief and practice of which, he sanctifies and saves the souls of men ; and who are commanded by the Holy Ghost, in the least possible time, to make known his truth to all people? The grand business of every one should be to embrace the gospel himself, and thus, in his own experience, find it to be the power of God to salvation ; and to exert his influence to have this done by every man, woman and child, in Christendom and throughout the world. He is bound by high and sacred obligations not only to embrace the gospel himself, but to exert his influence to cause it, in the least possible time, to be proclaimed to every creature. And from the discharge of this duty no man can be excused. Let him be a merchant, a manufacturer, a mechanic, or a farmer; a professional man; a man of leisure, or a man of business; whoever, wherever, whatever he may be, he is bound by obligations which he can never throw off, to go himself; or, assist others to go and preach the gospel to all people, and to use his influence to induce all people to embrace it. To this he is bound to devote his time, his talents, his influence, his property. Here is an object for which it is glorious to labor ; glorious to acquire property, learning, talents, influence, every thing which can be made subsidiary to the diffusion of the knowledge of God and his salvation. And here is an object for which men may live not only safely, and blissfully for themselves, but for their children, and children's children; in which the accumulated treasures of wisdom, and knowledge, and wealth, which any and all may be enabled to accumulate, instead of drowning in destruction and perdition those who come after them, may be so used as to work out for them an exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Parents, do
you wish to be rich, and to have your children rich ? to live rich, to die rich, and to be rich to all eternity? Be rich in good works ; ready to distribute ; willing to communicate; and thus lay up for yourselves and them, a good foundation against the time to come; an inheritance which is incorruptible, undefiled, and never to fade away. Do you wish for glory ? Inscribe your names and those of your children, on a monument where they will shine, in living characters, an eternity after all the monuments of earth shall have crumbled into ruins; inscribe them on those living stones of that living temple, whose foundation is the Prince of life, and where they shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and as the stars, forever and ever. Though it is to be built by the Spirit of the Lord, yet he has need of you, and of your children. And forget not, 0, 1 beseech you, forget not, that you and they have need of him, and will continue to have need of him, to all eternity. His favor is life, and his loving kindness is better than life.
6. We see in view of this subject, that the missionary of the cross is engaged in a great and glorious work. Men may, if they will, view him with pity, or contempt; as a wild enthusiast, or blind fanatic. God views him as a co-worker with himself; in preparing his own eternal habitation. They are workers together with God. Though he dwelleth not in temples made with hands, as he saith,“ Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool;" yet, he dwelleth also with the humble, and taketh up his abode with the contrite in heart. As it is written, “ Ye are the temple of the living God.” And God hath said, “I will dwell in them, and walk in them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” “ If a man love me, my father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” He shall dwell in them, and they in him; and they shall be filled eternally with the fulness of God. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars forever and ever.
7. As the Spirit of the Lord is the author and finisher of this work, all are bound to be instant, sincere, fervent, and persevering, not only in labors, but in supplications to him, that their efforts, and the efforts of others, may not be in vain, in the Lord. Without his influence, though you put a Bible into every family, and preach the gospel to every creature, not a blind eye will be opened, nor a deaf ear be unstopped ; not a hard heart will be softened, nor a distant soul be brought nigh by the blood of Jesus. Not a living stone will ever shine in that living temple, but all will be cold, motionless, and dead. Even the glorious gospel, that word of life, will be, through its perversion, a savor only of death unto death. But let the voice of the “Resurrection and the life," "Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light,” be proclaimed, even by the feeble tongue of mortals, and attended, as in answer to humble affectionate supplications, it will be, by the power of him who quickeneth the dead, and calleth things that are not as though they were; and there shall be a shaking among the dry bones; and bones shall come together, bone to his bone; and flesh and sinews shall come upon them; and they shall stand up for God, an exceeding great army. Nations shall be born in a day. I, Jehovah, have spoken, and I will do it: I will hasten it; for my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith Jehovah. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven and water the earth, and cause it to bring forth and bud—so shall my word be. It shall not return unto me void, but shall accomplish that which I please, and shall prosper in the things whereto I sent it. Ye shall go forth with joy, and be led forth with peace. The mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn, shall come up the fir tree ; instead of the brier, the myrtle tree. The glory of Lebanon shall come; the fir tree and the box tree, to beautify the place of my sanctuary. And I will make it glorious. Thy walls shall be salvation, and thy gates praise.
8. As the Spirit of the Lord is the builder of this temple, it will be completed. For four thousand years he was preparing to lay the foundation ; and that is now done. For six thousand years he has been preparing the materials; and taking them on to the spot. Not a few, whom I once saw, here, and some who took part with us in these deliberations, I now see, there, shining like the sun. Multitudes, partakers of the same boundless grace, are now on their way. And he who hath begun this good work, is able, and he has resolved to finish it; to carry them onward; and all who shall follow them, and present them, spotless, and faultless, before the Eternal. And has he begun, and will he not make an end? Shall any of his enemies ever taunt him, and say, He began to build, and was not able to finish? No. Let difficulties accumulate till they fill the whole earth, and rise up to heaven. What art thou, O great mountain ? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain ; and he shall bring forth the head-stone thereof with shoutings, crying, GRACE, GRACE, UNTO IT.
Let all the enemies of Christ in our world unite to oppose it, and let all who people the world of darkness come forth to assist them ; let them be aided by every enemy of God in the universe, and the rising of this temple, will laugh at opposition and mock every effort to resist it. Disappointment will be written upon every exertion, and all opposers held up to the view of the universe, as everlasting monuments of their own weakness and folly. They will soon feel, that they are contending, not with might, nor with power, but with the Spirit of the Lord; who looketh on the mountains, and they tumble; on the hills, and they melt: from whose face the heavens and the earth flee away.
Opposer of Christ, you may, if you will, prevent yourself from ever
becoming a part of this temple; and carry yourself to a spot, from which should you ever behold it, it will be at an amazing distance; and on the other side of an impassable gulf. Its glory may exceed a thousand suns, and cast its brightness even on you; but it will only show you in ten-fold horrors, the gloomy darkness of that dreadful abyss into which you will forever be descending. To that abyss you are going; to continue there, forever,
Unless born from above, created anew,
Then rise in triumph, to that temple above.
By Rev. RUFUS ANDERSON, D. D.,
ONE OF THE SECRETARIES OF THE AMERICAN BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
FOR FOREIGN MISSIONS.
THE PROMISED ADVENT OF THE SPIRIT.
“ And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all
flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions; and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days, will I pour out my Spirit. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered."-JOEL 2: 28–32.
How evident it is that more is wanting than we now have to bring about the conversion of the world—both to multiply the means, and to give them success. Not that the churches of Christ are unable to publish the gospel every where. Not that there is a lack of opportunity. Not that the experiments already made have been without