CHRIST THE BUILDER OF THE CHURCH. REV. J. SCHOLEFIELl), A.M.

"And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of Hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRA CH ; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord: even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne ; and he shall be a priest upon his throne ; and the counsel of peace shall be between them both." — Zechariah, vi. 12, 13.

There are few portions of the sacred volume more interesting, in a merely historical view, than that which embraces the return of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity, and the rebuilding of their temple in Jerusalem. The simple record which exhibits to us that illustrious nation in their day of small things, struggling amidst reproach and contempt, to erect an edifice in which the God of Heaven should take pleasure and be glorified, attracts towards them our liveliest sympathy, and impresses us with the feeling, that all the other glories of the founder of the Persian monarchy, are mean and insipid, in comparison of bis being called the "shepherd" of Jehovah, to say unto Jerusalem, " Thou shalt be built, and to the temple, Thy foundations shall be laid." The temple thus erected was to stand in the place of Solomon s ; and to those who had seen that house in her first glory, it was in their eyes in comparison of it as nothing. It had, however, a glory peculiar to itself, and a peculiar interest attaching to it : for as in a short time prophecy was to cease, and the canon of the Old Testament was to close, and no fresh links were to be added to the golden chain, which had held together the hope of successive generations, fixed with intense desire on their coming MessiaJi ; so the very temple then building by Zerubbabel and Joshua, was to be the standing memorial to connect together all generations with the age in which the desire of all nations should come. And as it had been treasured up among the prophetical records of their nation, that the sceptre should not depart from Judah until Shiloh came, so it was a glory reserved for the second temple, by which it would surpass the glory of Solomon's, that in this place God would give peace; preaching peace there by Jesus Christ. The writings of the prophets who were raised up to help forward tin's building, are replete with an interest, corresponding in its character to tliat ■which rests on the temple itself: they are full of Christ. In the distinct recognition of his divine character, in the full exhibition of his gracious office, in the promise of the Holy Ghost given by him, in notices of liis sufferings, and intimations of the glory that should follow, the pages of Zechariah, estimated in proportion to their extent, scarcely yield to any other portion of the Old Testament. And if some of the visions which occupy the former part of this

* Anniversary Sermon for the Church Missionary Society.

486 CHRIST THE BUILDER OP THE CHURCH. work, as well as the more dark predictions of his latter chapters, are shrouded in much doubt and obscurity, yet here, as in the prophetical book which concludes the Old Testan)ent, we meet with many pages standing forth in so prominent and unequivocal a character, that they serve as land-marks to guide us in our inquiries into the more mysterious passages, in which Christ is revealed with such a splendour and radiance, that not only the piibject matter, but the time and circumstances also are depicted with an accuracy not to be mistaken. So that in this, as in his future manifestation, it may be said, " Every eve shall see him." In the passage connected with the text, the prophet having finished the details of those remarkable visions which were given him for his nation's encouragement, records the transactions Mhich took place in Jerusalem soon after the foundation of the temple had been laid. The Jews, who were still lingering in Babylon, though the decree of Cyrus that gave them their liberty, and enjoined them to return and build the temple of the Lord, had been issued about seventeen 3'ears before, having heard of the commencement and progress of the work, and desirous of shewing that they remembered the Lord afar off, sent certain of their number with a contribution of gold and silver, intended, no doubt, to be employed either in adorning the temple, or in furnishing the materials for the building. ITie prophet is directed by a divine command to take it, and apply it to a different purpose ; one which might lead some grudgingly to ask, as was afterwards in the case of her who poured the precious ointment on the head of the Saviour, " To what purpose is this ^vaste?" yet one ordained by the wisdom of God, and most calculated to lead the minds of the desponding Jews to the only sure source of consolation, by setting before them their expected Messiah, as the High Priest of things to come, with the crown of glory upon his head : for thus saith the word of the Lord to his servant, " Take of them of the captivity, even of Heldai, of Johijah, and of Jedaiah, which are come from Babylon, and come thou the same day, and go into the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah ; then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and speak unto him, saying, thus speaketh the Lord of Hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is the BRA CH ; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord : even he shall build the temple of the Lord ; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne ; and he shall be a priest upon his throne : and the counsel of peace shall be between them both." Assuredly, brethren, a greater than Joshua is here: even upon the very surface of these words we discern clear and distinct marks of the glory of Him

who is the true Joshua, of whom the sons of un and Josedech were types, and whose name was called Jesus, or Joshua, because he should save his people from their sins. May we be enabled by his blessed Spirit so to understand this testimony of Jesus, that we may gather from it motives of encouragement to the prosecution of the great work in which it is our privilege to be engaged: and may our present meditations be so sanctified, and all our proceedings so regulated, that tiie pervading spirit of our society may increasingly be, that which is embodied in the words — "He shall bear the glory." Even so. Amen. Our subject is calculated to lead to this result by directing our attention to three points: — the person spoken of; the work assigned him; and the reward promised him.

CHRIST THE BUILDER OP THE CHURCH, 487 Let us first endeavour to ascertain the Person spoken op: not merely shadowed forth, but directly and primarily spoken of; so that much that is here said does not relate jointly to Joshua and Jesus, but absolutely and exclusively to the latter. Joshua, the son of Josedech, is placed immediately before us, and we behold the crown set upon his head. But when we want to hear the explanation of a circumstance so remarkable, the spirit of prophecy begins to unfold the message it conveys, our eyes are turned away from the common type, and fixed upon One in whom, as in their common centre, all the types and prophecies meet, from the very beginning of the world. " Behold the man whose name is the Branch:" "Behold," as it is paraphrased by the pious Bishop Hall, " the man who is the true type of the Messiah, that flourishing branch of the stock of Jesse." This is a method of speech not infrequent in this prophecy : as in the third chapter; " Behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua;" where he speaks of the foundation stone of Jerusalem's temple: but the qualities which he goes on to speak of, as belonging to it, are those of ante-type, and not of type. Again, in the fourth chapter, " These are the two anointed ones, which stand by the Lord of the whole earth." So in the present case ; the whole tenor of the prophecy shews, that while to the eye of the sight nothing is presented but Joshua, the son of Josedech, the eye of faith shall discern, under that representation, one of the same name, but of far higher dignity ; especially when it is said in the thirteenth verse, " He shall be a priest upon his throne : and the counsel of peace shall be between tlicm both." Observe', then, the circumstances of the prophecy, and see how undeniably they all point to Christ, the High Priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle. Mark the form of expression with which it is introduced. If we adhere more closely to the literal exactness of the passage, it is, " Behold the man, his name is the Branch." " Behold the man." What memorable and emphatic words ; more than five hundred years afterwards they were uttered by the lips of the Roman governor, when he brought Jesus forth

from the judgment hall, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe; then set him before the assembled nation, and bade them gaze on him, and take knowledge of him, as one in whom he found no fault at all ; and they turned upon him the eye of scorn and hatred, and cried out, one and all, " Crucify him; crucify him." The text directs our attention in the same words to the same glorious person, wearing, not a ciown of thorns, but a crown of gold; but still the game, whetlier in his humiliation or in his glory, whether lifted up on the cross or on the throne ; exalted as an object of universal regard, that every eye may see him, that every sinner may look to him and be saved, that he may be the hope of all the ends of the earth, and the glad tidings of his salvation may be to all people. His atoning sufferings purchased our redemption ; his exaltation and glory completed it. Behold, then, the man, in his glory and in his grace: the Son of God taking our nature upon him, and so presented to us in the typical person of tlie son of Josedech ; and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God, exalted there to be a prince and a Saviour, in the fulness of his glory, carrying on the work of his grace, by making intercession for the transgressors. Again: "His name is the Branck" This name undeniably belongs to the Son of David; he is called by it in thethirdchapter of this prophecy: "Behold,

488 CHRIST THE BUILDER OF THE CHURCH. I will bring forth my servant the Branch." Isaiah foretells him as the branch growing out of the roots of Jesse: Jeremiah as "the righteous branch, raised unto David, who is also a king that shall remain and prosper, and whose name shaii be the Lord our Righteousness." 'I'he expression, indeed, being a figurative one, may undoubtedly have such an application to Joshua as to convey an intimation of the prosperous issue of the work in which he viis engaged ; just as the crown, placed on his head, shadowed forth the glory and happiness to which God would raise up their then prostrate church and nation. Both were announced in this emphatic form, as designating by a name, and not by a circumstance, the person intended: ot " he shall flourish as the Branch;"' but " his name is the Branch." o enlightened Israelite of that day would fai. to recognize in it, him to whom his hope so fondly turned, amidst all the desolations of Sinai, as the man of God's right hand, the branch that lie had made so strong for himself Let us glance at the remaining point. He "shall sit and rule upon his throne, and he shall be a priest upon his throne." Here we lose sight altogether of the son of Josedech, and gaze at once exclusively on the great High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus ; for at what period of the Jewish history was there ever a priest of Aaron's line sitting and ruling upon a throne? The

sceptre belongs to Judah, of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning the priesthood. Once only, but that at a period long before the appointment of the Levitical priesthood, we read of a glorious and mysterious person who was at the same time king of Salem and priest of the Most High God : but this very combination of dignity marked him out as belonging to an order totally distinct from that of Aaron's priesthood, and as a typical representative of one who was to rise after Aaron ; for he is foretold by David while Aaron's priesthood was established; and yet not only was called after the order of Aaron, but was afterwards to supersede that order. The prophecy of the text coincides thus with that of Psalm ex., where it is said of Joshua, that he shall be a priest upon his throne. It clearly teaches, that no other Joshua is really intended, than he to whom "the Lord sware, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek ;" and this by the confession of all, both Jev/b and Christians, is the Messiah. 'I'he person spoken of being thus ascertained, beyond all contradiction, to be our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we are prepared to enter with a livelier interest, in the second place, into the consideration of the Work assigned HIM " He shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord." When the Son of God became incarnate, he grew up as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground. In all the circumstances of his birth, his infancy, his childhood, and his early manhood, we discover but scanty intimations of the great work which he came into the world to iiccomplish. Witness the iufumity, poverty, and contempt, the contradiction of sinners, the scoffs of his brethren, the blasphemous revilings of those who were the wisest and "most exalted in the world's esteem: we can discover in all this, consummated as it was by that awful and bitter death of the cross, the most suitabte preparation, and the surest forebodings of that work of mighty and mysterious grace, by which salvation was to be brought to our world, man to be redeemed from the power of darkness, and God glorified in reconciling the world to himself. We ean discern through the cloud of thick darkness that broods over Gethsemaire

CHRIST THE BUILDER OF THE CHURCH. 489 and Calvary, the future glories of the Conqueror coming from Edom, "glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength." But thus was the incarnate Saviour growing up out of his place, and laying broad and deep the foundation of a work of love, the praises of which are to resound through everlasting ages. "It behoved him in all things to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people." He thus learned obedience by the things which he suffered, and was made perfect through suffering; and was thus furnished with every qualification for a perfect Saviour, with which in no other way he could have been furnished. And while hell was raging against the Son of God's love, and earth was lending

her feeble aid to help forward the malignant purposes of that unnatural and sinful confederacy. He that sitteth in the heavens laughed at their accursed devices, which were most effectually bringing about what his hand and his counsel had determined before the world begun : his blessed Son was only drinking of the brook in the way, tliat he might the more gloriously and triunaphantly lift up his head. He was growing up amidst opposition and difficulty, and conflict, and in the face of them all, and by means of them all, was carrying forward the counsels of his will, and advancing the great end for which he had come into the world. And wliat was the work which the Father had given him to do? It was to build the temple of the Lord. The typical image of this was represented in the work in which Joshua was at this time engaged ; and the subordinate design of the whole transaction to which the text refers, was, to encourage Joshua in his important work. But the temple he built, being but a shadow of good things to come, was again to be removed, as Solomon's had been before, and its glory to be done away. It would make way, in the fulness of time, for that other tabernacle, which the Lord built, and not man; and this is the true and spiritual Church of God, which is spread over all ages and all nations, which consists of all believers, all faithful men, and sanctified persons, throughout the world, gathered out of the vast multitudes of mankind, and brought into one mystical body, the members of which, for the most part, are unknown to each other by face during their earthly pilgrimage, but will all be united in the worship of the heavenly sanctuary through all eternity. It is the glory of the Son of God to be the builder of this temple : " Even he shall build the temple of the Lord." The materials of which it is composed are sinners, who are by nature dead in trespasses and sins, and in that state are far off from God, alienated from the life of God, having the understanding darkened, the mind blinded, and the heart hardened and corrupt. Whether the Gospel finds men in the polislied society of a Christian land, or debased in the revolting mystery of the ew Zealand savage, or led captive by Satan in the thousand chains of Hindoo superstition, whatever difference there be in the outward form and circumstances of the case, there is none whatever in those essential elements of character with which the Gospel has to deal. It finds hiuj lost, guilty, and spiritually dead; it addresses its gracious invitations, its lifegiving message, to his soul. But he is dead, and cannot hear; he hears indeed, but understands not. And can these dry bones live ? And is God able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham? Yes; when the great Master Builder sends forth the mighty ener'jv of his Spirit, the dead in s'ns are

490 CHRIST THE BUILDER OP THE CHURCH. quickened into life, the stony heart is taken away, the scales fall from thecyea,

and the veil from the heart, and the Gospel is made the power of God unto salvation. Sinners thus converted are made living stones, and, coming in faith to Christ, the living foundation stone, they are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. And such sacrifices of holy and spiritual worship have been offered up, and are offered up to God continually, in every place where the Gospel has been preached in faithfulness and in simplicity, and combined, as in all such cases it will be, with the demonstration of the Spirit, and with power. And herein is exercised the power of our Redeemer's grace — that he can soften and subdue the most stony hearts, and build the most unpromising materials, and make them subserve his purpose in building the temple of the Lord. The triumphs of his Almighty power are displayed, not only in the Church, which for ages has been planted in our Christian land, but in the work which is going on before our eyes, in our own Missions, and those of other societies, in much people added to the Lord from among idolaters of every class and caste, from every kind and deo-ree of spiritual degradation. For the demonstration of this missionary service is abundant with many thanksgivings unto God ; and the same hallelujahs are continually ascending from the remotest regions of the earth, in harmony with those of heaven. For in the continual progress of this work of our Redeemer, all the scattered Churches throughout the world, and all the individuals who are made the subjects of his quickening grace, are brought together, and united in one spiritual building ; all are by faith united to Christ, and, therefore, nnited to each other in him. However separated by seas and continents, however diverse from each other in language and manners, in habits of living, and modes of thinking, and possessing, in their outward relations, no common bond of synipathy or union, they are all one in Christ Jesus. They are one body, of which Christ is the head ; they are builded together in him, for an habitation of God through the Spirit ; they are all sanctified together by that one Spirit ; they have communion together, in the unconscious mingling of their prayers at the same mercy-seat ; they have one Lord, one faith, one baptism ; they are heirs of the same eternal itdicritance beyond the grave ; and in their passage through the wilderness, they have their souls refreshed with living waters from the same spiritual rock, which, as it flowed to ancient Israel in all their wanderings, so now, and in every age, is present in every part of the great wilderness, wherever there is a Church nnited in the communion of the body of Christ, or an individual to call on the mime of the Lord Jesus, in faith and love. And it is most delightful to look abroad upon our world, groaning as it is under the desolating ravages of sin, and travailing in pain together, with the fierce contests of the selfish passions of man, and to conteniphite it in a holier character, as the field in which the seed of life is somu, and the great harvest of God's glory is ultimately to be reaped ; to see the word of Almighty grace extending its triumphs to the utmost ends of the earth, to gather in the heirs of salvation, out of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues ; so that even now, there is scarcely a known language on the face of the earth, in

which the praises of Jesus have not been sung, and the wonders of redeeming love proclaimed. The flow of the nations to the mountain of the Lord's house, lias already commenced ; the orth has given up her sons to God, and the South has not held back ; the East has beheld the rising beams of the Sun of

CHRIST THE BUILDER OF THE CHURCH. 491 Righteousness; and the fettered slave of the West, has exulted in the liherty wherewith Christ makes his people free. Thousands, and tens of thousands, under the whole heavens, have been quickened from the death of sin, by the power of the Spirit, and have turned from idols, to serve the living and the true God. They are the drops before the shower, the first fruits of the full and universal harvest which the Lord of the harvest has promised to his beloved Son ; and in his hands the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper, until every stone of the glorious building shall be gathered unto its place; and the temple of the Lord shall rise, in its ample and beautiful proportions, over the face of the M'hole earth, and he shall bring forth the head stone thereof with shouting, " Grace, grace unto it." For the foundation on which this temple rests, is one against which the gates of hell cannot prevail. The provision which God has made by his Gospel, for accomplishing this work of grace towards the lost world, and concentrating all the glory of it in his Son, is fully adequate to answer the end designed. The text gives an assurance of this, in the intimation, that " the counsel of peace shall be between them both." Peace is the end proposed, even peace between God and man ; and, resulting from this, peace to the guilty conscience of the sinner. We have peace with God ; and God, as revealed to believers in the Gospel, is the God of peace. But who is the wonderful counsellor that can devise such a scheme of grace ? And what are those councils of deep and mysterious wisdom, by which a guilty and revolted world can be brought into peace and reconciliation with Him whose name is holy? We find an answer, brethren, in the typical circumstances here put upon record ; of which, being a typical circumstance, we must search for such an interpretation as is pointed out, at the same time, by the general bearing of the passage, and by its adaptation both to the type and the antetype: and this at once excludes all reference to God and man, as the parties concerned, or to the Father and Son, or to Jews and Gentiles ; and absolutely confines us down to one application, namely, to Joshua and Zerubbabel, who, in other pages also of this Prophet, are, by implication, intended, even when one of them only is expressly mentioned ; as in the fourth chapter, the vision recorded is declared to be " the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel ;" and yet it represents two olive trees, which are " the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth." We are thus, then, directed to Hiin, of whom both Joshua and Zerubbabel

were types, but types in a different relation ; Christ, the King of his Church, as represented by the one, and Christ, the Priest of his Church, as represented by the other : and between them both the office and vv'ork of Christ our King — and Christ our Priest — the counsel of peace is established. For in no other way than by that wonderful combination in the person of Immanuel, could man be brought into peace with God — in no other way, than by the Son of God undertaking a union of office and character, so apparently incongruous, but vet so beautifully harmonizing. But wlien he presented himself to the Father, as willing to undertake the one, saying, " Lo, I come," it was promised that he should see of the travail of his soul, by being exalted to the glory of the other. As the High Priest, therefore, of his people, he descends from his heavenly glory, becomes a man of sorrows, is despised and rejected of men, and pours out his soul unto death, bearing our sins in his own body on the tree ; and having thus made a full atonement, he arose from the dead, and

493 CHRIST THE BUILDER OF THE CHURCH. ascended on high to make intercession for us. We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous, and he is the propitiation for our sins. But though he was thus delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification, the counsel of peace is not yet complete : God has opened a door of reconciliation, but man is unable to enter in ; being restrained by the stubborn rebellion of the carnal mind, which is enmity against God. But yet fear not, O daughter of Zion ; behold thy king cometh unto thee : and having been lifted up on high, he declares, " I will draw all men unto me." For, being now at the right hand exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he pours down his righteous influence into the hearts of his people, and sheds abroad his love in them, and makes them willing in the (lay of his power; and so subdues them to himself, as his subjects and disciples, that he m;iy reign over them by his grace, and be glorified in their obedience and faith. When thus drawn to Christ, they are brought within the bonds of the covenant of peace ; they have communion with God as their Father, in the rich manifestations of his pardoning love, and rejoice in hope of his glory. In this way does our Redeemer build the temple of the Lord, by the virtue going forth continually from his kingly and priestly oiSces. Its foundation is laid in the work of his priesthood, in the infinitely precious sacrifice Mhich takes away the sin of the world : his kingly power and glory crowns the work, and erects a superstructure, corresponding to so excellent a foundation. The preachers of his word are sent forth with their high commission, to gather in the outcasts of a guilty world ; and by the mighty operation of his Holy Spirit, their word, which is sown in weakness, is raised in power. " Beautiful on the mountains are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace;" "The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad, and the desert shall rejoice and

blossom as the rose." In the midst of this great wilderness of temptation and sin, thespiritual temple of the Lord of Hosts is risingbefore our eyes continually, and the songs of salvation are heard to resound within its sacred precincts, as the prelude to that universal chorus of praise, with which the whole earth shall break forth into singing, when Christ shall sit on the throne of his glory, and the heathen shall be given to him for his inheritance. For the Divine Builder shall not fail, nor be discouraged, until he hath set judgment in the earth, and tlie isles shall wait for his glory. Thus will he finish the work which the Father hath given him to do : and to this work there is promised, in the last place, an appropriate Reward. " Fle shall build the temple of the Lord ; and he shall bear the glory, and sliall sit and rule upon his throne." Two particulars are here mentioned, possessing each a deep interest in connexion with the missionary work ; the one liolding forth our encouragment, the other our duty : He whom we serve in this work is invested with the government, and shall bear the glory. <'hrist is invested with the ^ovcrumeut. He " shall sit and rule upon his throne ;" " the government shall be upon his shoulders," and " he must reign until he hath put all his enemies under liis feet." AVhen he had laid the foundrition of his Church, by the shedding of his blood, tiie basis on which lie rested the commission which he gave to his Apostles, for carrying on the building, was — universal dominion : " All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations." He was himself crucified for witnessing the good confession, that he was a king ; and then he sent forth the heralds of

CHRIST THE BUILDER OF THE CHURCH. 493 his salvation, to proclaim him as the Great King over all the earth, and to call upon all people, and nations, and languages, to bow down before him, to receive his yoke, and accept his salvation. This dominion of Christ has a two-fold bearing — in reference to the Church, ond the world. He rules his people as willing subjects ; his service to them is perfect freedom : their higliest happiness consists in not being their own, but bought with an infinite price, that they may glorify him in their bodies and in their spirits, which are his ; and their most fervent ambition is tu have every thought of their hearts brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. The frame of mind which they most earnestly cultivate, is that expressed in the inquiry of the trembling Apostle, " Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" And more extensively throughout the world, the submission to his will, though less conscious and less willing, is not the less absolute. In all the complicated machinery of conflicting events, which are moving forward in their several directions, with resistless rapidity, there is not one, either the smallest or the greatest of them all, which is not subject to his righteous sovereign control.

Even the winds and the seas obeyed him, when he was on earth ; and that troubled and tempestuous sea of the world's distempered passions, and busy schemings, and eventful changes, subsides at once into a great calm, if he but utter the word, " Peace, be still ;"' or is permitted to lash itself into fury again, if so it may better help forward the accomplishment of his purposes. He ruleth in the kingdoms of men : he stilleth the raging of the sea ; and the noise of its waves, and the madness of the people : the counsels of the wise, and the eiforts of the mighty, are not only powerless against him, but are bending to him in implicit subjection, to work his will in the convulsions of nations ; and the rise and fall of empires are ordained and overruled, for the setting up of his kingdom. In the possession of all this sovereignty, he is Head over all, though especially and emphatically to the Church. And in the exercise of this universal dominion, he addresses that Church with an inexpressible combination of tenderness and majesty : " I have put my word in thy mouth, I have covered thee with the shadow of my hand ; that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people." This is the never-failing resource, upon which his Church must cast herself in all her difficulties. And no one difficulty is more imminent, than those which ri.se before her in her prosecution of her missionary work ; for as this, above all others, is a work of faith, so above all others, it shuts us up to a simple and immediate dependence on the arm of the Lord. When, then, obstacles present themselves before us, which baffle human wisdom ; when faith is tried, and nope tempted, by the want of visible success ; when disappointment withers our undertakings, or worldly policy thwarts them ; when our missionaries are weakened by sickness, or cut off by death ; when they turn aside from the simplicity of their walk with God, or their converts turn back to idolatry and Bin ; yet still it is our privilege and comfort to know, that Christ sits and rules upon his throne, and that at his bidding, the great mountains of difficulty shall become a plain before Zerubbabel. " Every valley shall be exalted, »nd every mountain and hill be made low ; and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together." And so, whether in prosperous, or in troublous times, he shall build the temple of the Lord. Moreover, " He shall bear the glorj/.'" . The glorv of Joshua's temple

494 CHRIST THE BUILDER OF THE CHURCH. belonged not to himself. Like Moses, he was fjiithtul in :ill his house, as a servant ; but Christ as a son over his own house. And the glory of the spiritual temple which he builds is all his own. Even in this present world, the Church wliich is planted in the midst of it, marred as it is with infirmity and corruption, and burdened like its Saviour with contempt, is a glorious monument of praise to our Saviour s name. Every stone that is laid upon a stone

in the temple of the Lord, becomes a living witness to the trutli, and grace, and power of a crucified Redeemer. Thfe universal Church is the light of the world, sliining before men in the beauty of holiness, and shewing forth the praises of Him who hath redeemed it with his blood. And just as when he was upon earth, and went about doing good, those who were made the happy subjects of his beneficent miracles deliglited to employ their newly recovered faculties in tributes of affectionate homage to their deliverer, and followed Jesus, glorifying God, even so it is now in the spiritual working of his power; all who experience his grace are unto him for a people, and for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory.: the temple that he is thus building in the world, resounds with his praises ; for in every part of it, under all varieties of climate, in all the different grades of society, the heart is still the same, has the same bitterness of sin to be delivered from, and finds the same relief at the cross of Jesus. From the ends of the earth have we heard songs, even glory to the Righteous One, and tlie hallelujahs of the Christian Church, ascribing salvation unto Him tliat sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, have been echoed back from the banks of the Ganges, and the coasts of Africa, from lips heretofore polluted with the frantic cries of idol worship, and hearts bound in the iron chains of brutalizing superstition. And when this glorious temple shall be completed, and the head stone is brought forth with shouting, and a great multitude which no man can number is gathered before the throne, what an exceeding weight of glory will then rest on the universal Redeemer? All the crowns in the heavens will be cast down before him ; every eye shall see him, and gaze upon him, with wonder and ineffable delight ; every redeemed sinner, in the enjoyment of a full salvation, will give all the glory of it to his Saviour, and ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands of angels, will join their songs with ours, saying, with a loud voice, " Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing." Thus will the once suffering, but now glorified Redeemer, see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied. All his enemies made his footstool, and all his people brought to glory, to be with him where he is — to dwell in his presence, and sing his praises, for ever. This is the joy that was set before him, for which he endured the cross, despising the shame. " And he shall reign for ever and ever." And now, beloved bretliren, we have only to g.ather up in a few concluding sentences, some of the fragments of the subject before us, for the purpose of direct practical application to ourselves as concerned in the work of missions. In the first place. Let us beware of building ivithout Christ. For '.' he shall build the temple of the Lord: even he shall build the temple of the Lord." It is his prerogative to build, as he is to bear the glory ; and as he himself has solemnly warned us, " He that gathereth not with me, scattereth ;" so the greatest and hisest of earth's master builders hath set us an example of disclaiming all participation in the power, as well as the glory, — " ot 1, but the grace of God wliich wis with me." Cordially do I rejoice, my brethren, to know and believe.

CHRIST THE BUILDER OP THE CHURCH. 495 that the proceedings of this society, alloyed as they still doubtless are with a mixture of human infirmity, are yet, in the main, conducted in a simple dependence on the promises of Christ, for our encouragement, and on the Spirit of Christ for our guidance. Our gracious Master has sometimes seen fit to wither the arm in which we were tempted to trust, and to disappoint the hope which gathered perhaps some of its confidence from the imagined efficiency or adaptation of human instruments. Let it all combine to lead us to a greater simplicity of faith : let us be jealous over ourselves, with Godly jealousy : let our dependence be more child-like, and our obedience more unequivocal and self-denying: let all be begun, continued, and ended, in Him who is the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last : let us seek to be, even more than we yet have been, a society whose very element is prayer : and so let all the results of our undertakings, whether prosperous or adverse, lead us to the Saviour in prayer for blessings received, or confiding acquiescence under afflictive dispensations. In the next place, Give all the glory to Christ. "He shall bear the glory ;" and while all the events of the restless and agitated world, moving forward, as they too generally do, in utter forgetfulness of him, must yet work together in entire subordination to his glory, even the wrath of man must praise him ; the work of missions has this high and holy character stamped upon it, that it aims at this hallowed end in the most direct way, and on the largest scale. And tiiis consideration it is, which, .above all others, endears the missionary work to our hearts, that it is so identified with the work of our Saviour, and so bound up ■with his glory. It is a direct assault made upon the kingdom of Satan, by the act of proclaiming another king, even Jesus, for whom it claims the universal empire. The temple you are now building in ew Zealand, or in any other of the darkest spots of Satan's dominions, is consecrated to his glory, and becoming vocal with his praise. O, let us put the crown on His head who alone is worthy to wear it. The silver and the gold, which from the Church's liberality is poured into this treasury of the Lord, would be desecrated and perverted from its legitimate purpose, if employed to make crowns for any other head than that of Jesus. The most honoured of those who have laboured in the work of this building, and in whom pre-eminently we glorify God for the grace bestowed upon them, from the venerable Scott to those whose names are more recently embalmed in our aflfectionate remembrance, James and Wilberforce, would all unite with one mind and one might, to glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, putting away the honour from the earthen vessel, and referring to the grace of their beloved Master all they have been enabled to do for him. Still let us go forward, dear and honoured brethren, in the same spirit ; and let it be the joy and rejoicing of our heart, that we are counted worthy, in a very feeble measure, to work the work of the Lord Jesus, and that his grace has

taught us to set our affection to the house of the Lord. May He, for whom it is built, take pleasure in it and be glorified. Lastly, upon this principle, drawing all our strength from Christ, and giving all the glory to Christ, Let us contribute ivilh a self-denying liberality of our labour and our substance for the work of building the temple of the Lord. This is the concluding point, but I forbear to urge it by any formal arguments or exhortations. The cause itself is too elevated and holy to need a recommendation to our hearts by any enticing words of man's wisdom. Our labours in this cause, our prayers, and our gifts, are all for the glory of Christ.

496 CHRIST THE BUILDER OP THE CHURCH. " And lie shall live ; and to liini shall be given of the gold of Sheba ;" prayer also shall be made fur him continually; aid daily shall he be praised. To him be ail the glory of what he has already done in us and by us. May our hearts be filled with his love, and constrained by that love to bring forth more abundant fruits of righteousness to the glory and praise of God. " Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things, and blessed be his glorious name for ever, and let the whole earth be filled with his glory." — Amen and amen.

1. 68 FREE BOOKS http://www.scribd.com/doc/21800308/Free-Christian-Books

2. ALL WRITI GS http://www.scribd.com/glennpease/documents?page=970

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