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be attained. To be “ Israelites indeed," we must be “ without guile." There must be no lust, which we desire to retain; no duty, from which we draw back; no sacrifice which we are averse to make: the will of God, even his whole will, without any limitation or exception, must be that to which we aim to be conformed --- And in our labours to fulfil our duty, we must not be constrained by slavish fear, but by filial love. We must feel the service of our God to be perfect freedom; and find all our delight in it, like the angels, who " do his will, hearkening to the voice of his word” — As we are to love our God, so also are we to serve him, “with all our heart, and mind, and soul, and strength."]
The importance of this charge is strongly marked in, II. The considerations with which it is enforced
Two arguments are here used to impress the more deeply on Solomon's mind the foregoing exhortation. They are briefly these; 1. That God is privy to our inmost thoughts
[If God could judge only by the outward appearance, we might with less danger be inattentive to our hearts: but the heart of man is as visible to him as the sacrifices when flayed and divided asunder were to the priests of olda. Not the thoughts only, but “ the imaginations of the thoughts,” the very first risings of them before they are formed into a distinct apprehension of the mind, are all seen and marked by Him, so as to ascertain with precision their nature and quality; and to make them infallible grounds of condemnation or acquittal in the day of judgment. Not actions only, but “ the spirits of men are weighed by him," so as to discern how much there is of good or evil in every inclination, affection, appetite, and motion of the soul.
What a reason is this for attending to the frame of our minds in the service of our God! That, and that only which is according to his word, will be accepted by him: whatever there is of formality, or hypocrisy, or of any evil principle, will all be separated as chaff from the wheat, to be consumed in the fire, when the wheat is treasured up in his garner. Alas! how little that is truly good, will be found even in the best of men! Consider this, all ye who would find acceptance with God; and endeavour to approve yourselves to Him, “who searcheth the heart, and trieth the reins."]
a Ηeb. iv. 13. τετραχηλισμένα.
2. That he will deal with us according as we conduct ourselves towards him
[It is grievous that men should explain away the plainest declarations of God, in order to accommodate them to human systems. There is nothing clearer in all the inspired volume, than that “ God will be found of them that seek him, and cast off those who forsake him.” We appeal to the experience of all who are in the slightest degree acquainted with vital godliness. “ Did God ever say to any man, Seek my face in vain?” On the other hand, Who ever turned back from him, without suffering loss in his soul? Who has not found that the Spirit of God may be grieved and provoked to withdraw his gracious communications? Most assuredly he will not always strive with man, but will give us up to our own hearts' lusts, if we wilfully harbour those dispositions or affections which are hateful in his sight. Moreover, in the eternal world, he will recompense every man exactly according to his works; adjudging to his diligent servants a reward proportioned to their diligence in improving their talents, and to the disobedient servants a punishment proportioned to their guilt.
Who can reflect on this, and not feel the force of the advice given in our text? Our happiness both in time and in eternity depends on our present diligence and fidelity. Let us therefore implore help from God, that we may so devote ourselves to him now, as to be approved by him in the day of judgment.] ADDRESS 1. To parents[You see in David, what should be your chief desire in children. We
say not that
should be indifferent about their worldly advancement; for that also is important in its place: but your great concern should be to have them truly pious and devoted to God. Labour then, by every possible means, to attain this point. Call them to you, and address them each by name with all tenderness and fidelity; remembering that you yourselves must answer unto God for the influence with which he has invested you for their good; and that, if they perish through your neglect, their blood will be required at your hands.] 2. To those who are coming forth into life
[Such advice as that which is given in our text, you are ready to judge premature, or at least to think you have good reason for delaying your attention to it.
But are you young, and moving in an elevated sphere, and engaging in concerns of vast importance? So was Solomon: yet were these no reasons for David to withhold the advice, or with Solomon to reject
behalf of your
it. Remember, it is for eternity, and not for time only, that you should live; and, if you disregard the admonitions of your parents, they who now so long for your welfare, will be swift witnesses against you at the day of judgment.] 3. To all who are here present
[It is not unbecoming a minister of Christ to regard his flock with parental solicitude, or to address them in the language of our text. Let me then address each of you, as it were, in the presence of the whole collective body, and urge you to seek after God with your whole hearts. Rest not in a formal routine of duties, or in a partial conformity to his revealed will: but see that your “ hearts are right with him;" and never rest till you have “the witness of his Spirit,” and “the testimony of your own conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity you have your conversation in the world.” Such a state of mind is most desirable for every one of us; and it is the best preparative, no less for the duties of this life, than for the enjoyments of the life to come.]
CCCXCI. DAVID'S PREPARATION FOR THE TEMPLE. 1 Chron. xxix. 2. Now I have prepared with all my might for
the house of my God. THERE is no end to the benefits which we may derive from Scripture history. What if our situation and circumstances be different from those which are there adverted to? the advantage to be received from the relation of them is not a whit the less : on the contrary, it often happens, that the voice of God in them is on that very account the more powerful. Take, for instance, the example before us. David, of his own mind, desired to build a temple for the Lord: and he was forbidden to do it : yet “with all his might he prepared for it;" though it was never to be done till he should be removed to a better world. It may be said, and with truth, that we are not, nor are at all likely to be, in circumstances like his : yet will his example be found of very peculiar use, whilst I set before you, I. The zeal he manifested for the building of a material temple to the Lord
Though forbidden to execute his wishes, he was not forbidden to prepare for the execution of them by his son and successor on the throne of Israel. He, therefore, availed himself of the wealth and influence which God had given him, himself to contribute, out of his own personal property, above eighteen millions of our money; and to promote a similar liberality amongst his subjects, who contributed above thirty millions. The amount of both together was fifty millions of pounds. Now, it may be asked, On what principle did he proceed? And why should he so strip both himself and his people of their possessions, for the purpose of raising a structure to the Lord ? I answer, he did it, 1. To honour God
[David had built for himself a noble palace: and he could not endure to live in a house of cedar himself, whilst the ark, which was the symbol of the divine presence, " dwelt between curtains." True, no earthly house could be a fit habitation for Him who filleth heaven and earth : but still it was more seemly that there should be for God a fixed abode: and by making it “exceeding magnifical,” it would become an object of admiration to all the surrounding nations. It would also fill with reverence all his own people; and thus be the means of honouring God among them, and of exalting in their esteem its Divine Inhabitant. And was not this an object worthy to be promoted, whatever might be the trouble, or whatever the expense ?]
2. To bring down a blessing upon his whole land
[Greatly would it facilitate the access of all the people to their God, especially when they should come up annually, at the three appointed seasons, to worship there. And much would they see that would afford them abundant edification. Indeed, the candlesticks and lavers that were used in the tabernacle were multiplied ten-fold in the temple: and the accommodations for the worshippers would be enlarged, perhaps an hundred-fold. Whilst, therefore, the very sight of that magnificent structure would fill them with reverential awe, they would derive exceeding great comfort and encouragement from the increased facilities of social worship. And, beyond a doubt, in proportion as they delighted in drawing nigh to God, God would delight in drawing nigh to them;
and in proportion as they sought him, he would be found of them, and pour out his benefits them.
And could a monarch improve his wealth and influence better than in such a work? No, surely: no labour, however great, nor any sacrifice, however costly, would be ill bestowed in the advancement of so blessed and desirable an end. Millions of gold and silver were well appropriated to a cause like this.]
But greater far is, II. The zeal that becomes us in raising a spiritual
temple in his nameIn reference to this work, no prohibition is issued to any living soul; but, on the contrary, a commandment is given to all. And infinitely more does it deserve our utmost exertions: we all are called to aid in raising this nobler edifice
[Yes, a nobler edifice it is indeed! Its foundation is more solid. The material temple, doubtless, was built on a foundation well fitted for its support. But Jesus Christ is, “the foundation laid in Zion :" on him must we raise the edificea; or rather “on the foundation of the Prophets and Apostles, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stoneb."
Its materials are more precious. Doubtless of timber and stone there was the most careful selection that could be made. But our temple consists of living stones,” every one of them penetrated by the Spirit of God, and animated with the
very life that is in Christ Jesus.
Its architect is more honourable. Bezaliel and Aholiab are immortalized by their unrivalled skill. But of the Temple in which our assistance is required, it must be said, “Its Builder and Maker is Gode.” There is not a stone belonging to it which has not been hewn out of the quarry by God himself, and formed and fashioned by Him who built the universe: so true is that declaration of the Apostle, “ We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works'."
Far nobler sacrifices, too, are offered in it. All the cattle upon a thousand hills were not worthy to be compared with the sacrifice of a broken and contrite spirit. such offering God is well pleased :” and the temple itself is infinitely more raised in his esteem, on account of the offerings presented there. Not one is ever inflamed with his heavenly a Isai. xxviii, 16. b Eph. ii. 20.
c 1 Pet. ii. 4, 5. d Gal. ii. 20. Col. iii. 3, 4.
e Heb. xi. 10. i Eph. ii. 10.
8 Isai. Ixvi. 1, 2.
" With every