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assembly of the saints! Ah my brethren, eternity shall tell -eternity shall tell this influence.
Such then, is the authority for the public worship of God; such is the inanner in which it should be performed; and such the influence which it exerts. It is clear, then, that nothing. but absolute physical inability, or some work of charity, can excuse a man from attending upon it. As well may he attempt to flee from the government of God, and plant himself in some other empire, as from the obligation of worshipping Him in the assembly of the saints. No man who loves God can wish to excuse himself. None of the travellers to the heavenly Jerusalem can fail of taking this refreshment by the way.
It is for the encouragement of men to this duty and their convenience in performing it, that this beautiful edifice is erected. I honour you, my brethren, and every man who loves the interests of religion, will honour you, for what you have done. By the convenience and beauty of this house many will be allured, from the ignorance and folly and guilt of refusing to assemble themselves together, and thus be put in the way of divine instruction. Such is human nature. Though the motive in these cases is wrong; yet you are not accountable for that. They will come hither-and some of them will be taught of God, and consequently obtain the blessedness of him whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sin is covered. There is something in the neatness and regularity of such a church which well accords with the spirit of the sabbath, and the assembly of the saints. There is nothing which contributes more powerfully to build up an ecclesiastical society than the common interest which every man feels in a house that is worth possessing. The expense you have incurred, instead of impoverishing, will greatly enrich you. With the blessing of God, you will go on stronger than ever in supporting the gospel ; and the multitudes that will flock hither from the common interest they feel, will cheer you. You will be in far less danger than before of scattering; for no man will wish to surrender his right in this beautiful structure.
This house manifests a zeal for the honour of religion worthy of the descendants of the pilgrims; and this people can no longer feel the reproach of that exclamation of sacred writ, 'wo unto you who dwell in ceiled houses while the house of God lieth waste.'
But while you congratulate yourselves on obtaining such a house for public worship, you must always remember that you owe your disposition and your ability to build it, to God alone. To Him, therefore, you must dedicate it, not only now, but always.
If you neglect the privileges which these opening doors will hold out to you, you will perish with an aggravated condemnation. You will not be beaten with those few stripes which he that did not his master's will because he did not know it, received ; for you will have the opportunity of know. ing his will, and it is your own fault if you do not improve it. You will not fall into the company of them who did not read the character of God, and their obligations to obey him, in the broad manuscript of the heavens that was spread over their heads; nor of them who despised the messages of the prophets, more easily understood ; but you will sink down to hell under the terrible condemnation of them who refused to hear Him that spoke from heaven, the Son of God himself; in the narrow limits too of “ He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned,”—capable of being understood by a child !
And now, my brethren, with all the force of the duty we have been considering, lying upon our consciences, and all the solemn responsibilities of this day pressing upon us, let us proceed to the purpose for which we are assembled. And may some of those ministering spirits, who are sent forth to minister to them who are heirs of salvation, be present, and witness our solemnity, and record it in heaven! And now, O Lord God of hosts, the God of our fathers, who didst drive out the heathen before them and plantedst them in this goodly land, if dust and ashes may speak unto thee, we desire to make mention of thy manifold goodness, which this day ex
hibits. Thou hast remembered thy covenant which we trust does exist with many of this people, and hast not blotted out their name from among the churches of the land. Though for a long time thou didst seem to withdraw from them the special tokens of thy favour, thou hast returned and put it into their hearts to build this house for the honour of thy great name, and for the celebration of thine ordinances. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath exalted them to heavenly places in Christ, and who doth now give them the prospect of union and all the social order of the gospel. We bless thee for the exceeding great and precious promises that thou makest unto thy people, and that in the use of the ordinances of thine appointment, they may know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. We thank thee that thou dost encourage us to come before thee as at this time, in the assembly of the saints, and commit our way unto thee. We believe that thou art, and that thou art a rewarder of all them who diligently seek thee. Oh that our hearts might feel what our lips utter! and that with the devout spirit of thy people, we might now dedicate this house unto thee! To thee it belongeth, and thy people in building it, have only taken of thine own, and given to thee.
To thee, the only living and true God, whose name is Jehovah, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, we now dedicate this pulpit.—May all that is ever uttered in it, be such as thy Gospel approves—may no man ever dare to enter it, who shall teach thy people any thing contrary to sound doctrine, the faith once delivered unto the saints! May no unhallowed lips be opened in its sacred enclosure, and no unauthorized hand touch this sanctuary of truth!
To thee, we dedicate these seats.-May all those who shall occupy them, worship thee in spirit and in truth! and may they receive the word into good and honest hearts, bringing forth fruits unto eternal life!
To thee, we dedicate this communion table.—May those who shall sit at it, be spiritual members of thy church, obedient to all its ordinances, and heirs of all its glory!
To thee, we dedicate these walls. May the sounds of salvation echo through them, and the voice of prayer and praise, such as God shall approve, be heard within them!
To thee, we dedicate this whole house--to be appropriated exclusively to the worship of Jehovah in the assembly of the saints. Let God Almighty accept it—and let the acceptance be ratified in the book of everlasting remembrance! And when the number of the people shall be proclaimed at the summing up of this world's accounts, may it be found written that this and that man was born here!
Arise, O Lord, and enter into thy rest, thou and the ark of thy strength. Let thy priests here be clothed with salvation, and thy saints shout for joy. Here may the ministers of Christ be the sons of consolation to all the obedient, and the sons of thunder to all the disobedient. Here may the word of God be quick and powerful, sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and the marrow, and a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Here may the gospel be the power of God unto salvation to multitudes, and here may the Holy Spirit be poured out, as rain upon the mown grass, and as showers that water the earth. May many an impenitent sinner be broken down here under the inAuence of thy truth, and many a saint be quickened in. thy holy way. And when thy people in time to come, shall be in distress or in darkness, thou having withdrawn from them the light of thy countenance; or when they shall be put to the worse before the enemy, having been led astray by this alluring, this deceitful world; or when thou shalt have smitten them with the rod of correction; and they come before thee in this house to make supplication unto thee; then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive their sin and heal them. Let this house long stand, and be a witness for thee against every evil doer; and let the church who expect to worship in it, continue from generation, to generation, so long as the sun and the moon shall endure. And when the time shall come, that we and all this present
generation, shall be gathered unto our fathers, and belong to the great congregation of the dead, may others arise to speak for God, and to glorify him in this house. May God always be greatly feared in the assembly of the saints that shall meet in this place, and be had in reverence by all them that shall be here about him. And when the desolations of time shall have laid this fair fabric in the dust, may other hands engage in a work of benevolence like it, and others again, if time shall so long continue, till all the faithful shall be gathered into the general assembly and church of the first born that are written in heaven—where there is no need of a temple, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb, are the temple thereof.
And now at thy footstool, would we lay down all our honours, and all our wealth, and all our talents, and ascribe to thy great name, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, “ glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen."
Brethren, you have built this house for God; and it is Row his by special dedication. Let not future years then, witness against you, that all this ceremony has been no more than a solemn farce. Let it not be told in eternity, that this day you mocked God with a solemn sound upon a thoughtless tongue. Let every sabbath witness your assembling here, according to the obligations that have been set forth in this discourse. Let every man feel the duty which God has so fully enjoined; and if he at any time neglect it, let all the guilt rest upon a troubled conscience, till pardon has been obtained from Him who healeth the backslidings of his people. Bring your children hither; and let them know the way of holiness, "the good old way" in which our fathers walked, and all those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Within these consecrated walls, you are to sit, beloved brethren, and hear the solemn reproofs of the sanctuary, and the whole plan of God's salvation. Never let a discontented and rebellious heart rise up to defend you against the arrows