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will they contrive to disjoin them? They will be as little able to disprove the one as withstand the other.
But a great residue, it is to be hoped, our blessed Redeemer will, in due time, conquer in the most merciful way, inspiring them with Divine wisdom and love, detecting their errors, mollifying their hardness, subduing their enmity, making them gladly submit to His easy yoke and light burden. He is, before the world end, to have a numerous seed, and we are not to despair of their rising up more abundantly than hitherto among ourselves, so as no man shall be therefore ashamed to be thought a serious Christian, because it is an unfashionable or an ungenteel thing.
Then will honour be acquired by living as one that believes a life to come, and expects to live for ever, as devoted ones to the Ruler of both worlds, and candidates for a blessed immortality under His dominion. Nor will any man covet to leave a better name behind him here, or a more honourable memorial of himself, than by having lived an holy, virtuous life. It signifies not nothing with the many to be remembered when they are gone. Therefore is this trust wont to be committed to marbles and monumental stones. Some have been so wise to prefer a remembrance among them that were so, from their having lived to some valuable purpose. When Rome abounded with statues and memorative obelisks, Cato forbade any to be set up for him, because (he said) he had rather it should be asked why had he not one? than why he had ?
What a balmy memory will one generation leave to another, when “the savour of the knowledge of Christ shall be diffused in every place,” and everything be counted as dross and dung that is in any competition with the excellency of that knowledge; when that shall overflow the world, and one age praise His mighty works, and proclaim His power and greatness to the next, and the branches of religious families, whether sooner or later transplanted, shall leave an odour, when they are cut
off, that shall demonstrate their nearer union with the true Vine, or speak their relation to the Tree of Life, whose leaves are for the healing of the nations ! Even those that were deciduous, and have dropped off, may, without straining a borrowed expression, signify somewhat towards this purpose.
A Temple in Ruins.
[The following extract is from Howe's greatest work, “The Living Temple." The readers of Hervey's “Theron and Aspasio” will recollect it there transcribed, as one of the finest pieces of imagery to be met with in elegant writing.”*]
That God hath withdrawn Himself, and left this His temple desolate, we have many sad and plain proofs before us. The stately ruins are visible to every eye that bear in their front, yet extant, this doleful inscription, “ Here God once dwelt.” Enough appears of the admirable frame and structure of the soul of man, to shew the Divine presence did some time reside in it; more than enough of vicious deformity, to proclaim He is now retired and gone. The lamps are extinct, the altar overturned, the light and love are now vanished, which did the one shine with so heavenly brightness, the other burn with so pious fervour; the golden candlestick is displaced and thrown away as a useless thing, to make room for the throne of the prince of darkness; the sacred incense, which sent rolling up in clouds its rich perfumes, is exchanged for a poisonous, hellish vapour, and here is “instead of a sweet savour, a stench.” The comely order of this house is turned all into confusion; "the beauties of holiness” into noisome impurities; the “house of prayer into a den of thieves,” and that of the worst and most horrid kind; for every lust is a thief, and every theft sacrilege; continual rapine and robbery are committed upon holy things. * " Theron and Aspasio," Dialogue xi.
The noble powers which were designed and dedicated to Divine contemplation and delight, are alienated to the service of the most despicable idols, and employed unto the vilest intuitions and embraces; to behold and admire lying vanities, to indulge and cherish lust and wickedness.
What have not the enemies done wickedly in the sanctuary? How have they broken down the carved work thereof, and that too with axes and hammers, the noise whereof was not to be heard in building, much less in the demolishing this sacred fane! Look upon the fragments of that curious sculpture which once adorned the palace of that great king; the relics of common notions; the lively prints of some undefaced truth; the fair ideas of things; the yet legible precepts that relate to practice. Behold, with what accuracy the broken pieces shew these to have been engraven by the finger of God, and how they lie now torn and scattered, one in this dark corner, another in that, buried in heaps of dirt and rubbish! There is not now a system-an entire table of coherent truths to be found, or a frame of holiness, but some shivered parcels. And if any, with great toil and labour, apply themselves to draw out here one piece, and there another, and set them together, they serve rather to shew how exquisite the Divine workmanship was in the original composition, than for present use to the excellent purposes for which the whole was first designed. Some pieces agree, and own one another; but how soon are our inquiries and endeavours nonplussed and superseded!
How many attempts have been made, since that fearful fall and ruin of this fabric, to compose again the truths of so many several kinds into their distinct orders, and make up frames of science, or useful knowledge; and after so many ages nothing is finished in any one kind! Sometimes truths are misplaced, and what belongs to one kind is transferred to another, where it will not fitly match; sometimes falsehood inserted, which shatters or disturbs the whole frame. And what is with much fruitless
pains done by the one hand, is dashed in pieces by another; and it is the work of a following age to sweep away the finespun cobwebs of a former. And those truths which are of greatest use, though not most out of sight, are least regarded; their tendency and design are overlooked, or they are so loosened and torn off that they cannot be wrought in, so as to take hold of the soul, but hover as faint ineffectual notions that signify nothing. Its very fundamental powers are shaken and disjointed, and their order towards one another confounded and broken, so that what is judged considerable is not considered, what is recommended as eligible and lovely is not loved and chosen. Yea, the truth which is after godliness is not so much disbelieved as hated, held in unrighteousness, and shines as too feeble a light in that malignant darkness which comprehends it not. You come, amidst all this confusion, as into the ruined palace of some great prince, in which you see here the fragments of a noble pillar, there the shattered pieces of some curious imagery, and all lying neglected and useless among heaps of dirt. He that invites you to take a view of the soul of man, gives you but such another prospect, and doth but say to you, “Behold the desolation.”
The Kedeemer's Tears wept over Lost Souls.
(Such is the title of a discourse, than which the English language contains none more remarkable for majestic pathos and holy earnestness. We give the closing sentences.]
If the Lord of heaven and earth do now look down from the throne of glory, and say, "What! sinner, wilt thou despise My favour and pardon, My Son, thy mighty, merciful Redeemer, My grace and Spirit still?”—what can be the return of the
poor abashed wretch, overawed by the glory of the Divine Majesty, stung with compunction, overcome with the intimation of kindness and love? I have heard of Thee, O God, by the hearing of the ear-now mine eye seeth Thee; wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes. So inwardly is the truth of that word now felt, “That thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, when I am pacified towards thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord God” (Ezek. xvi. 63). But, sinner, wilt thou make a covenant with Me and my Christ? wilt thou take Me for thy God, and Him for thy Redeemer and Lord? And may I, Lord? yet, may I? O admirable grace! wonderful sparing mercy! that I was not thrown into hell at my first refusal! Yea, Lord, with all my heart and soul, I renounce the vanities of an empty, cheating world, and all the pleasures of sin. In Thy favour stands my life. Whom have I in heaven but Thee? whom on earth do I desire besides Thee? And O thou blessed Jesus, thou Prince of the kings of the earth, who hast loved me, and washed me from my sins in Thy blood, and whom the eternal God hath exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance and remission of sins, I fall before Thee, my Lord and my God; I here willingly tender my homage at the footstool of Thy throne. I take Thee for the Lord of my life. I absolutely surrender and resign myself to Thee. Thy love constrains me henceforth no more to live for myself, but to Thee who diedst for me, and didst rise again. And I subject and yield myself to Thy blessed light and power, O Holy Spirit of grace, to be more and more illuminated, sanctified, and prepared for every good word and work in this world, and for an inheritance among them that are sanctified in the other. Sinner, never give thy soul leave to be at rest till thou find it brought to some such transaction with God (the Father, Son, and Spirit) as this; so as that thou canst truly say, and dost feel thy heart is in it. Be not weary or impatient of waiting and striving, till thou canst say, this is now the very sense of thy soul. Such things