THE LORD LOVETH THE GATES OF ZIO . BY REV. JOH SUMMERFIELD, A.M.

PREACHED AT THE OPE I G OF A EW CHAPEL. Psalm Ixxxvii., 2. — The Lord loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. " Walk about Zion, count her towers, consider her palaces, that ye may tell it to the generation following :"• " glorious things are spoken of her ;" one of the most glorious forms our text. " God hates nothing that he has made ;'" " he is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works ;" " he has no pleasure in the death of the wicked,' ' bestows ten thousand blessings on the evil, and is in many respects the Saviour of all ! He loves with forbearance even the ungodly ; loves the awakened with tender pity ; the obedient believer with delight : for saints are lovely in his sight. These he loves as individuals, these he regards as families. But their public assemblies do most honour him, and on them he bestows most honour. " The Lord loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob." I. Illustrate this fact. II. Discover its meaning. III. Endeavour to draw forth its practical good. I. Illustrate this fact. 1. Ever since men began to multiply, God has been solicitous to provide places of public worship ; solitary religion is unknown in the history of the Church ; everywhere God has caused places to be erected in which to meet, render thanks, and ask those things which are needful (Liturgy). See his directions to the patriarchs for social altars ; see the Mosaic table (the pattern by God himself) ; see his provi-

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10 THE LORD LOVETH THE GATES OF ZIO . dence in the case of David, by which he was enabled to collect materials for building the Temple ; see Solomon's extraordinary endowments — Providence. Josephus relates that, during the rebuilding of the Temple by Herod the Great, no rain fell but in the night. In the Christian Church we find the apostles selected the best situations to establish places of worship. Though the early Christians were compelled to meet in dens and caves, cellars and garrets, and often at dead of night, yet they always had some place, and, as soon as the cross supplanted the eagle, they built splendid temples to adore God. Thus the practice is kept up : it is God's voice. 2. A second illustration of the fact is found in the inducement held out to his servants to occupy them when erected ; every possible inducement contrived — exhausted the ingenuity of Infinite Wisdom. 1. See the solemn injunction — not optional, and it is enjoined upon us as well as upon the Jews. " The lion goeth about seeking to devour" the scattered sheep ; not those in the common fold, but those who have no bond of association, no common interest. " See that ye forsake not the assembling of yourselves together as the manner of some is, but exhort one another daily, and so much the more as ye see the day approaching," the day of persecution : wo to him that falleth alone in the day of nature's sorrow and dissolution, with none to sympathize and pray. 2. But the subject is urged by a promise : " "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them :" my eyes shall be there, my heart shall be there, touched by the feelings of their infirmities, moved in pity. " I will clothe my ministers with salvation, and my

people shall shout aloud for joy." (Enlarge on the minister and the garment able to wrap them all — we hear words whereby we may be saved.) Jesus the Saviour, to the uttermost, in time and in eternity. — " Behold, we bring glad tidings," is the import of our message. 3. God has exerted a remarkable Providence in illustration of this fact. Shishak, ebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Antiochus, and a host of others who dared to provoke and

THE LORD LOVETH THE GATES OF ZIO . 11 disturb God's worship. What monuments of his anger ! How awfully did they die ! In modern times, in the civil wars kindled by religious contests, how were many places of religious worship profaned ! but what judgments on the violators! History — in more modern times — revival by "Wesley and Whitfield — when enemies arose — the history of our own Church will furnish you with awful examples ! God has astonishingly protected places of worship and worshipping people ! How many millions attend, some in carriages, some on foot, some through drifts of snow and rain * # # # (Limerick), and even then the places not commodious ; yet how few have found their death there, or were killed in going or returning. How seldom is a church consumed by fire or lightning ! It is a Providence ! there can be no other solution — same always — see the Jews, when they went up three times a year to worship, surrounded by enemies, left their boundaries unprotected ; no soldier behind ; yet no instance of being invaded by enemies while worshipping. — (Grace Hill.) God has astonishingly rewarded the patrons of houses of worship. Your parents, poor many of them, but wherever two or three went, they would have a house for God. God blessed them, so that no persons increased in wealth so rapidly. Then they built more ; they always would have a house for him, and God rewarded them. Their children

now rise up and call them blessed ! So in old times, see David — even more so his son Solomon : certainly he became a fool, but this was his own fault. God tells us why he blessed : one built the house, and the other had it in his heart. Many other facts illustrate. II. Discover its meaning. The reason of this preference — this paramount love. Why ? 1. We may find a reason in the people that assemble there ; not that we have a claim in justice. Who assemble here generally ? ot gangs of thieves, not merciless assassins, the seditious and treasonable who meet at midnight ; not those who prowl our streets at the dead hour, and sell their body, soul, and glory ; not the foul adulterer, whose eye waits for the twilight ; not the staggering drunkard, whose

12 THE LORD LOVETH THE GATES OF ZIO . brutal gratification is the abolition of his senses ; these are not in general here. Here assemble docile youth, sisters, wives, mothers, fathers, industrious mechanics, loyal subjects ; men who are either saved from sin or come inquiring ; either are virtuous or desire to become so. God beholds these with approbation, and loves the place in which they meet. 2. Another reason maybe found in the exercises performed there. It is that they pray, and sing, and listen to the tidings of salvation ; they hear his law promulged, Gospel preached, ordinances are administered ; God is glorified, man blessed, and God loves the exercises. 3. Another reason is, the good done there, the ignorant instructed, profligate reclaimed, guilty pardoned, unholy renewed, miserable made happy, vicious reformed, pious encouraged and instructed ; more, heaven is brought down to earth, and earth raised to heaven. ow God is love ; and

he cannot behold these without sharing at least in the joy of angels ! ay, farther, it is in the house of God that the stone of movent is dropped in mercy's pool, which makes its widened circles till all may be healed. In these places all our charitable institutions arise. Sunday and Charity schools, Tract, Bible, and Missionary societies had their origin here. To plead the cause of these, ministers are never backward ; the materials of all our charities were provided by the preaching of the Gospel. I have often wondered how the ingenuity of charity can invent so many: charity is infinite. British wealth is without end, and British charity equal to it ; and who can tell how many more are in embryo, warming into life in our churches ; some may spring forth here. 4. Another reason is, the glory that redounds to him : but he takes it well, and chiefly as it redounds again to us. " Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me, and to him that order eth his conversation aright will I show the salvation of God" — The lisping praise of the Sunday-schools ! * * III. Endeavour to draw forth its practical good. 1. If God so love them, so should we. Are we not called

THE LORD LOVETH THE GATES OF ZIO . 13 to be imitators of him ? Should we not love this better than our own ? The Jews are reproved for dwelling in ceiled houses while the house of God lay desolate. I imagine God commends you in now erecting a more splendid house. * * 2. Attend worship ; and do not be so slavish in your expenses at home as to leave nothing for God's house ; do not love your own home too well on a cold winter's evening ; suffer no frivolous excuse to detain you. ¦ Who are they that flourish in Zion ? Are they those who once in six months or so enter the temples of the Lord ? Are they old trees,

that by a stimulus such as oratory come out, but not else ? o ; they that are planted in the house of the Lord, they are still fat and nourishing in old age. But what inducements to attend ? Why, where should subjects love to be but in the presence-chamber of their sovereign ? Do not kiss his hand as a courtier. He is thy Lord, and adore thou him. Where should the spouse be but where the husband is ? The Lord is thy husband ! Where do the children love to be but where the parents are ? God is your Father : " If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him ?" Where should the indigent and wretched be but at the mansions of the benevolent and great ? We are poor, and our wants recur daily; the impressions wear away; come again. But mind with what affections we attend the house of God ; beasts might come, but they would be no better. 1. Come in a Christian spirit — with holy reverence — let there be no trifling; these are gross indecencies here and awful affronts. " Keep thy foot from being taken," for he is great and thou art little ; he is just and thou art guilty ; he he is Almighty and thou a worm ; who, if angry, can crush thee ; who can also elevate thee to the dignity of angels. 2. Attend it with desire. " Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness : for they shall be filled." Divine mercies are too rich to be thrown away ontriflers ; as soon might you feed a dog with Bibles ; there must be a congeniality ; come desiring, praying, bringing the word to the heart. 2

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3. Should we not come with delight to meet the heralds of salvation, who ever breathe a sweet odour, willing to impart their souls to us, to meet our Christian brethren and sisters ? "As iron sharpeneth iron, so the countenance of a man his friend." To meet the angels of God, who on Jacob's ladder descend with blessings and ascend with tidings. To meet God, the Saviour, the Holy Ghost, the fragrant breeze from heaven's spicy throne ! to find heaven nearer. Are not these circumstances delightful ? or how grovelling our taste if by these our spirits are not touched ; yea, wound up with rapture : "I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. " " My heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts !" Finally. Countenance and support the public worship of God to the uttermost. Do it for God's sake, and thus testify your gratitude. For your neighbours 1 sake ; many will not mind it, but surely one Magdalene will come in at this door. To some one it will be said, " Thy sins, which are many, are forgiven." Look forward, see how it is serving the public when a prodigal comes in at the door {your own son perchance) on a dark night : " Father, I have sinned against heaven and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son." And this repeated for scores of years to come. Do something now to ensure this ; fancy you see through the vista of time, hundreds of years hence ; one singles out one and another by happy spirits, as the fruit of this chapel. Do it for your own sakes. — o man can dislike to come to this fine house. And when truth begins to be feeble in your mind, and you fall by temptation, come here ; it will be a delightful repast. Do it for posterity. " One generation passeth away and another cometh," You must die ! " A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children," and what recollection can more delightfully play round the heart when throbbing its last ? It will be a rose to perfume the dying bed. Feel, then, for your children. There is one advantage in a Meth-

odist chapel ; a conference deed. In it are recorded, and put under the broad shield of the constitution, every glorious

BE CAREFUL FOR OTHI G. 15 doctrine of the blessed God ! Here then is a certainty of perpetuity of good ; no preacher (if one could be found wicked enough) can alter the doctrines delivered here. I have been deeply interested in this ; it is an era in my pilgrimage ; and I am so delighted that I can truly say, " ow lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation." You who have co-operated with us in this good work, accept our thanks, and may the God of peace bless you with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus.

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

2. ALL WRITI GS http://www.scribd.com/glennpease/documents?page=1000

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