TEMPLE LIFE. BY REV. JOHN GUMMING, D. D.

" Jerusalem, my happy home. Name ever clear to me ! When shall my labors have an end. In joy, and peace, and thee 1

" When shall mine eyes thy heaven-built walls And pearly gates behold ; Thy bulwarks with salvation strong. And streets of shining gold 1 "

" Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts : we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple." — Psalm C5 : 4.

Man pronounces benedictions that are only in words, which he cannot make the vehicles of real or efficient power. When God pronounces a blessing, it is not only in word, but in power. It strikes and lasts when heard. Man may bless those whom God has not blessed — this is our weakness ; and we curse those whom God has blessed — this is our sin. It is a light thing to be blessed or cursed of man ; but it is a precious privilege, a real result, a lasting force, to be blessed of God.

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" Blessed is the man whom thou choosest." The men of this world think they are blessed or happy who are rich, illustrious, or great ; it is not so. God pronounces blessings, not on outward appearance, but invariably on inward character

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He pronounces the blessing according to what the heart is ; man very often gives it according to what the man wears.

The characteristic features of the blessed are these : " The man whom thou choosest," not the man who first chose God. "VVe are sinful and ruined; if rewarded according to our works, we should perish forever. Grace in its sovereignty fastens upon us in our lost estate, and selects and stamps us for glory. An eye we did not see sees us, an arm we did not know lays hold upon us, and we are therefore chosen and blessed of God. This doctrine of election is stated frequently in Scripture. " According," it is said, " as God hath chosen us in Christ before the foundation of the world." This choice is made in sovereignty. He elects the creature who has nothing, in order to make the creature eventually something. Election is not an empty decree, but an oper-

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ative influence. This special influence and eflfect is called approaching unto God. Only a religion that comes from God can carry its subjects to God. Chosen of God, we receive our first impulse, and so are made centripetally to approach unto him as the closing and blessed consummation. This language implies that we are found projected by sin to a distance from God ; and not only so, but that we are disinclined to return to him. It is a very strange thing that, knowing what heaven and its happiness are, man can ever settle down satisfied with what he is ; the only explanation is that our own feelings are lowered down to the temperature of the world in which we live, and we think there is nothing in prospect better for us, or possible. We are therefore by nature unwilling to approach God. But when we are chosen of him, and come under his attraction, we delight to approach unto him — we feel ourselves borne upward under an irresistible yet joyous and welcome attraction. " I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me." Duty and delight become one. Blessed is the man who is thus drawn ; because, the

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nearer we approximate In likeness to God, the happier we feel. But this blessedness is not a mere vague feeling of

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happiness. There accompanies it a sweet sense of pardon, based on the surest grounds. " Blessed is the man whose siu is forgiven," is ours also. It is a very delightful thing to know that the Great Sovereign of the universe has pardoned us, and that sin shall not be our ruin. Our resting on Christ's atonement, and our inward and just belief that God has chosen us, is the Spirit witnessing with our spirit, that we are in Christ Jesus, the sons of God, the heirs of heaven, and therefore subject to no condemnation here or hereafter.

Another great element of this blessedness is the conscious fact that we are regenerated, one proof of which is that we like things that God approves, and which formerly we hated. This feeling deepens as we draw near to God. Our joy increases as a river. We feel blessed when God causes us thus to approach unto him : but what are some of the sources of the impulse that he employs ? First, the light and the force of truth, which penetrates our minds and sanctifies our hearts. Secondly, the hopes of joy, and the fear of offending God ; and these truths, lodged, like seeds, in the heart, grow up under the influence of the Holy Spirit, and exercise the force and permanent spring of living principles. But especially does God cause us to approach to himself by the personal presence of the Holy Spirit, who takes the things of Christ, and so presents them to our minds that the great truths of the Gospel rise before us beautiful and true as they never did

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before, and fill our hearts with pure light, and create therein the warmth of celestial love, the very atmosphere of heaven.

The promise to the man thus blessed is, that he shall dwell in God's courts. This does not mean always dwelling in the outward building called the church. This is impossible, were it desirable. It means having a Sabbath spirit, a temple life, and a worshipping heart. It means living near to God,

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finding everywhere an altar, and in all space a divine consecration. What a man does is as expressive of gratitude as what a man says. Love is worship as pure and earnest as the words of the lip ; and wherever, and by whomsoever, anything is done from a pure motive, and to the glory of God, there is worship that rises swifter than the morning or the evening incense into the presence of the Eternal. Deeds are songs. Life is praise. When the tabernacle in which we now sojourn shall be taken down, we shall enter the chancel itself, and, without vail or obstruction, dwell in the Lord's house and serve him without ceasing — temple, priests and Levites, in his presence.

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They shall be satisfied with God's goodness. There is no satisfaction deducible from any object upon earth, or rendered by its deepest and fullest cisterns. The more a man has, the more he desires, and the less he is satisfied. On earth there are but empty joys, that collapse, like bubbles, the instant they are touched ; but in heaven there is fulness of joy. Here there are pleasures, like snow-flakes upon a stream, that no sooner touch life's current than they are dissolved and disappear ; but in the upper temple there are pleasures that last and blossom eternally.

In the presence of God there is joy that grows in beauty, and dilates the heart equal to its expanding greatness. Blessedness is intense in the ratio of our nearness 4o God, likeness to Christ, and possession and presence of the Holy Spirit. In the future world these are realized in all their glory, all interruptions are removed, clouds are impossible, decay, and disease, and death, are unknown. The brightest things last longest ; eternity, unlike time, increases and brightens every element it embraces in its capacious bosom.

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