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The design is of God. None can add, none can diminish, here. The plan was laid before the foundation of the world, and hath been carrying into execution from time to time, according to the contract or covenant between the Divine Persons in JEHOVAH. It is ordered in all things and sure.
The completion also must be of God. For, in this respect principally, it is sung of the Lord, Thou art worthy to receive glory, and honour, and power ; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are; and were created.
The house of God is anointed, and thereby conses crated to himself for ever. As an emblem of this, Jacob anointed a single stone for a pillar of memorial, and called it God's house :* and for the same purpose, the tabernacle afterwards, with all its appurtenances, was ordered to be anointed with holy oil, as the place of his immediate presence. Thus God's house, or the mem
And when Uzziah, apprehending the fall of the ark, in its passage from Kiriath jearim, put forth an unhallowed and forbidden hand with error or rashness to support it, the Lord made a breach upon him, for a warning to others. 2 Sam. vi. 6.-All this preaches to us, in a most lively yet awful manner, that God will be sanctia fied in them that come nigh him; (Lev. x. 3.) that only the pure fire of his own Spirit can carry up the incense of prayer and praise, with acceptance before him; and that those, who intrude them selves contrary to his word, or meddle with holy things in an unhallowed way, or presume upon their own powers or goodness to support the truth of God, faithless in his providence or independent of his grace; shall fail in their object, and (if mercy prevent not) perish in their sins. See Isa. I. 11. Numb. iv. 15. 1 Chron. xv. 13, 1 Sam. xiii. 13, &c.
* Gen. xxviii, 17, &c.
bers which compose it, are CHRISTIANS; that is, persons anointed with the holy unction of God's Spirit, and thereby made unalienably his own for evermore.
This is their glory, that they are the Lord's, and not their own ; that he hath purchased them to the liberty and happiness of everlasting purity, from the bondage of corruption and misery of sin; and that he keeps what he hath purchased, by the never-failing exertions of his almighty power. No thought, perhaps, could terrify them more, than the thought of being left to themselves.
Except the Lord build the HOUSE, they labour in vain that build it : except the Lord keep the city the watchman waketh but in vain. Believers understand this text, in its most important sense, and can apply it to purpose. : Wherever God's house is, there is also his presence. It is never unfurnished by him, who filleth all in all. Hence, as a single stone could be the memorial of this matter, with Jacob; so each individual believer is an anointed stone of the Lord's abode, and, because anointed, a living and a lively stone in his holy habitation. He is appointed, as well as anointed, to salvation, and therefore shall never die, vever be removed. He is a part of the Lord's everlasting memorial. Two or three met together in his name have yet more expressive tokens of his presence: and how vast then shall the joy and the demonstration be of the Lord's gracious yet awful majesty, when all the redeemed, in one great assembly, shall constitute the spiritual house of his eternal abode? The Lord hath chosen Zion: he hath
all never .. well as
desired it for his habitation; saying, This is my rest for ever : here will I dwell, for I have desired it.*
Into this house, when fixed in its ordained place, . nothing corruptible or vile can possibly enter; no sin, no care, no sorrow, nothing that can defile or disturb. Below, indeed, it is not so. Hypocrites and unsound professors are not easily distinguished from the faithful and sincere. But though they may be in the bouse, during the present state, yet they are not of the house: “ They may enter into the house, but are not the house itself.”
As believers are the habitation of God through the Spirit, so he is their's. The point of their rest, the consummation of their faith and joy, the place of their sanctuary, is the throne of glory, the height over all from him who is the beginning, the first and the lust, and who ordained all this blessedness from before the foundation of the world.
O, who can think of these things, and not be moved ! Who can hope for them, and not rejoice? Who can rejoice in the prospect of this possession, and not look down with contempt upon the foolish pomps and vanities of this dying world, upon the puny.cares and concerns, which agitate and teize men almost to death continually, or which plunge them into a dreadful forgetfulness of God and themselves?
On the other hand; how should the weak and trembling believer lift up his hands that hang down, and stay his feeble knees; when this mercy, this great mercy,
this transcendently great and unalienable mercy, is all open before him, and all most freely and most surely his own? If any thing ought to grieve him, it is his doubt of it; his poor, low, hopes; his dull, cold desires; his drooping, unfeeling, unanimated, spirit. This should both grieve and make him ashamed; and that, after so many precious promises, such full and positive declarations, such undeniable evidence of the love and sufferings of Christ, such sure tokens of the Spirit's grace and instruction, such reiterated demonstrations of the love of . the Father; he should dare to imagine, that it is all in vain, or (what is the same thing) all to no effect towards him, who seeks no other refuge, who abhors and abandons every trust and confidence in himself, and who can truly say, This is all my salvation, and all my desire !--From such an impeachment of the divine truth and honor, and from such a robbery of happiness to his ownself; may every believer fervently say, Good Lord, deliver me!
CITY OF GOD.
G LORIOUS things are spoken of thee, or, revealing in thee, O city of God! All that Jehovah hath declared in his word, all that he hath wrought upon earth, and all the astonishing mercies of redemption by his Son, have appeared and been accomplished for thy sake, in the most intimate and inseparable connection with his own glory!
This title refers to the church, both as to its original plan, and to its gradual and final execution and accomplishment. The plan is laid down in the covenant of grace. The materials are the chosen and called of God, hewn and prepared, and at length removed by him out of the world. And the city itself stands upon the holy mountain of heaven, is now building and increasing from day to day, as the redeemed are gathered in; and shall finally be perfect and complete, without the omission of one spiritual or living stone, when the last of the appointed number shall be collected and fitted for its place.
This city is called the new Jerusalem, in opposition to the old, which was to vanish away; and this city is builded and compacted together, forming one spiritual fabric; and, though a fabric, yet a bride; and this bride the Lamb's wife.* To express the perfection of its ori