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** cal body of Christ, his temple, liable to destruction " and defilement; and when it is profaned and defiled, " it is said to be destroyed; “ If any man defile the "temple of God, him will God destroy; for the temple s of God is holy, which temple ye are:" It may be read, " If any man destroy the temple of God, him will God
destroy,” i Cor. iii. 17. To this purpose we say in our Confession, in the forementioned chapter, • 'l'hat the * purest churches under heaven are subject both to mixture and error; and some have so degenerated, as • to become no church of Christ, but synagogues of
Satan ; though yet there shall always be a church on · earth, to worship God according to his will.'* Thus we read, Rev. ii. iii. what errors the churches of Asia were filled with; and Mat. xiii. 24, &c. what tares may grow up among the wheat. We read, Rev. xviii. 2. how the ancient famous church of Rome is become a BABYLON, the habitation of devils, the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. We read of the blasphemy of them that say they are Jews and are not; but are the synagogue of Satan, Rev. ii. 9. 1 Cor. xi. 19.“ There must be heresies among you,” says the apostle, " that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.” Thus the apostle Paul also foretold, Acts xx. 29, 30. “ I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your ownselves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.”
Remark 3. “ That such temple-destroyers and de“ filers are ordered of God in the visible church : by “ his determinate counsel and fore knowledge, they put « forth their wicked hands to this destrustive work.” God says to them, providentially, not preceptively, as Christ said here, “ Destroy this temple.” When we see the wicked hands of men, and condemn them that are thus employed, we are to see the holy hand of God, and justify him, saying, Thou art holy, thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. Is there evil in the city,
* Confession of Faith, chap. xxv. 5.5. with the scriptures cited.
and I have not done it, saith the Lord?” Amos iii. 6. See Isa, xxii. 4, 5. “ Therefore said I, Look away from me, I will weep bitterly: labour not to comfort me, because of the spoiling of the daughter of my people : for, it is a day of trouble, and of treading down, and of perplexity by the Lord God of hosts, in the valley of vision, breaking down the walls, and of crying to the mountains.” But God's permitting such evils, for wise and holy ends, will never justify temple destroyers, no more than his deterininate counsel justified the Jews in crucifying the Lord of glory, and destroying the temple of his human body. Therefore,
Remark 4. “ After this destruction God bath promised “a restoration and a rebuilding.” Thus he promises, Zech. i. 16, 17. “ Thus saith the Lord, I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the Lord of hosts, &c. The Lord shall yet comfort Zion, and shall chuse Jerusalem.” This is yet further explained in the vision of four horns, and the four carpenters. It is said, ver. 19. “These are the horns that have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem." And ver. 20, 21. “ The Lord shewed me foar carpenters : Then said I, What come these to do? And he spoke, saying, These are the horns that have scattered Judah, so that no inan did lift his head: but these are come to fray them, to cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lift up
their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it." The scattering horns were formidable, so that no man did lift up his head: every body saw, even by the eye of sense, the power and policy of the church-destroyers : but, says the prophet, “ The Lord shewed me four carpenters,” or smiths. Indeed it is by the eye of faith we see the church's safety, notwithstanding the destroying horns : it is the Lord that shews us that, as he opened the eyes of the prophet's servant, to see a guard of angels round about his master. We may here observe, That if there be horns for pushing the church, there are carpenters provided of God, to fray and break them. Some by these four horns understand Zerubbabel and Joshua, Ezra and Nehemiah, that carried on the work of God, in despite of the opposition given to
it. Which way soever the church is threatened with mischief and ruin, God can find out ways and means to restrain the wrath, and make it praise him : “ The wrath of man shall praise thee; the remainder thereof thou wilt restrain," Psal. lxxvi. 10.
Remark 5. “ That this restoration of the temple is “ the work of Christ, the glorious Head of the body of " the church; • In three days I will raise it up.'” It is by the power of Christ that the temple is built and rebuilt : « Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts : who art thou, O great mountain ? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain, Zech. iv. 6, 7. * The man, whose name is the Branch, he shall build the temple, and bear the glory," chap. vi. 12.
He will display the glory of his power in his resurrection-work: “ He will arise and have mercy on Zion, he will appear in his glory, Psal. cii. 13. 16. "This is the Lord's doing,” Psal. cxviii. 23. This is from the Lord,' as in the Hebrew.
Remark 6. “ That this work belongs to him, as he « is the risen Head of the body of the church.” Our Head is not like the first Adam, dead, and lying rotten in the grave: but he is risen, and sitting at the righthand of the Father. He hath done with the temple of his body, as he said, “ In three days I will raise it up:" and he hath given this as a sign and demonstration of his power and authority to raise his church when ruined, and his power and authority to purge the temple, and repair the desolations of Zion. This leads me now to the second general head.
II. The second thing proposed, after reinarks for the explication of the text and doctrine, was to offer some reasons for the confirmation. The thing to be confirmed then is, That Christ's power and ability to raise up the temple of his human body, when destroyed by men, is a sure sign and evidence of his ability and authority, yea, and of his design, to raise up and rebuild the temple of his mystical body the church, when seemingly destroyed and ruined by men.
Reason 1. Because his raising up the body from the grave was a sure sign of his being the true Messias, the true God in our nature, the true Redeemer; “ Being declared to be the Son of God with power, by his resurrection from the dead,” Rom. i. 4. It was declared, that as he raised the temple of his body, in spite of death and all the destroyers of that temple; so he is able to raise and restore his spiritual temple, when laid in ruins, and in a seeming hopeless case. This might appear marvellous to us; but, “ Shall we think it marvellous to God?” Zech. viii. 6. No: he hath given proof of his being God the Saviour and Deliverer, by death, in death, and from death.
2. By this he hath given a sure sign of his being the Head of the body, the church, `that died and rose as their public Head, the First-born from the dead, that in all things he might have the pre-eminence, who hath made peace by the blood of his cross, Col. i. 18. 20. For their sake he took that body to himself; for their sake he suffered in the flesh, and suffered the destruction of that temple : for their sake he rose again, or raised that temple. Yea, the sufferings and the resurrection of Christ were the exemplars and pattern of the sufferings and revivals of his mystical body; shewing, that as he the Head suffered and rose, so they should suffer and rise; and their restorations should succeed and come after their destructions ; for, “He turns men to destruction, and says, Return, ye children of men.”
He brings them to the gates of death, so as to have the sentence of death in themselves, and then restores them to life and health; for, he killeth, and maketh alive, because he liveth; he that was dead and is alive, and liveth for evermore, having the keys of hell and death; they shall live also, in spite of death, and danger, and destruction. Thus it is many times with the mystical body of Christ, because of their union with and conformity to the glorious Head.
3. By this also he hath given a sure sign of his carrying on his Father's design, who is the God that qnickeneth the dead, and calleth the things that are not as though they were, Rom. iv. 17. The God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, and all things to rise out of nothing, it looks like bim to make life to rise out of death. Therefore, as he was able, when the temple of his body was destroyed, to raise it up in three days; so, he hath thereby given evidence that he is to carry on the work of God, in quickening dead souls, and raising his mystical body, after they are like dead and dry bones, scattered about the grave's mouth, by breathing upon these slain, that they may live.
4. By this he hath given a sure sign, not only of his ability, but of his authority and commission, as the risen and exalted Head, to raise his tabernacle when fallen, and to restore his mystical body from destruction. Hence it was, after his resurrection, he declared his commission in such plain terms, Mat. xxviii. 18. “ All power in heaven and in earth is given unto me;" and it is said, Eph. i. 22. “ He hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be Head over all things to the church.” Hath he not then evidently given proof of his power and authority to purge his temple when it is polluted, and deliver it from utter ruin, when it is apparently destroyed ? “ Him hath God the Father sealed" to be JEHOVAH-JIREH, that in the mount of the Lord it might be seen : be will provide, and make extremities, deaths, and destructions, the porch at which he will bring in deliverance and salvation.
5. By this he hath given a sure sign and pledge, that be will execute that commission of raising up the temple of his mystical body; for it was crucified with him, and raised with him. Hence the church invisible is said to be crucified with Christ, and to be raised up with him, and sit with him in heavenly places; and therefore, as sure as the Head was raised up, the body shall be raised, Not only the spiritual resurrection of dead elect souls is secured by the death and resurrection of Christ, and the resurrection of their body at the great day, which Christ so often spoke of, and promised, John iv. “ I will raise him up at the last day :" but also the resurrection of his dead and languishing body mystical in this world; for, even when he threatens to be as a lion, saying, “1, even I will tear and go away; I will go and return to my place;" yet it is only, “ till they acknowledge their offences, and seek my face; in