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SERMON XCI.

AT THE DEDICATION OF THE NEW CHURCH

IN KIRK-LONAN.

1

MARCH 25, 1735,

2 CHRON. vi. 40. We have in the prayer of King Solomon, at the dedication

of the Temple, these words:

MY GOD! I BESEECH THEE, LET THINE EYES BE OPEN,

AND LET THINE EARS BE ATTENT UNTO THE PRAYER
THAT IS MADE IN THIS PLACE,

AND 2 CHRON. vii. 15,
We have the gracious answer and promise of God to this

petition, in these words:

MINE EYES SHALL BE OPEN, AND MINE EARS ATTENT

UNTO THE PRAYER THAT IS MADE IN THIS PLACE."

We all know that God is every where

present to hear the prayers of such as call upon him in sincerity;

but then the Holy Scriptures teach us, that he is in an especial manner present in the assemblies of the faithful.

The Lord give thee blessing out of Sion, faith the psalmist. Why out of Sion? Why; because there was the temple, the house of God, where his holy angels attended, ascending from thence to carry the prayers of the devout worshippers to the throne of God, and defcending to bring down blessings from God, as they are represented in a vision to Jacob at Bethel.

a See Heb. X. 25.

cause

Now what the temple of Jerusalem was to that nation, the same is every parish church to us Christians, and it has a right to all the same gracious promises which God did make to the temple of Solomon.'

Taking this for granted; we will proceed to consider some truths, which have relation to this subject, and which are not so well understood as they fhould be; such are these following:

ift. The great blessing of having convenient places for the publick worship of God.

2dly. The great sin of neglecting the publick worship; as also the evils and judgments which generally follow such neglect.

3dly. The great blessing of a regular fettled ministry.

4tbly. The command of God, that his ministry shall have all just encouragement to discharge their duty cheerfully and faithfully.

5tbly. The great regard and reverence, which Christians ought to have for places dedicated to the honour and service of God; and what their behaviour should be in such holy places. And

Lastly. Lastly. The sin and punishment of those who go about to make void this gracious design of God, for the good of his people, as well as for the support of his own ministers.

1. We will first consider, what a very great blessing it is to have convenient places for the publičk worship of God.

When God would shew his love and concern for his own people, he lets them know, that he will set his tabernacle amongst them; intimating, that he will always be near them to hear their prayers, and to help them.

And when that people fell into sin, and into idolatry, to shew his great displeasure against them, he suffered his temple to be destroyed by heathens, as one of the greatest punishments which could be laid upon them. And so they found it and esteemed it, when once they came to feel the want of it.

Be assured of it, Christians, the publick worship of God is an indispensible duty, both with respect to God's honour, and our own greatest interest

. With respect to the honour of God, it is by this duty that we profess, to all the world, that we are the servants of God; that, therefore, we profess ourselves bound to‘adore, to honour, and obey him, after the best and most publick manner we are able.

With respect to ourselves; as we live and depend upon God's blessing, for our life and health, and for all the good things that we

have

have or hope for in this world, or in the world to come, he expects that we should beg these blessings in the places dedicated to his honour, as appears plainly from the feveral promises he has made to Solomon's prayer at the dedication of the temple.

And our Saviour on his part hath promised that " where two or three are gathered toge" ther in his name, he will grant their re

quests,” much more will he answer the prayers which are made in the great congregation, (as the Psalmist speaks.)

They, therefore, who imagine and say, that they can serve God as well at home as at church, have not considered what we mean by the publick warship: That it is an open and publick acknowledgment of God's glorious perfections, and of our dependance upon him, of his power to help us, of his justice to punish us when we do evil, of his mercy and goodness to pity us.

It is owning to all the world, that we believe what he has revealed in his holy word there read to us; that we expect to be judged by that word at the great day; that therefore we fear God, and consequently we may expect that all men with whom we have to do, may trust us as men fearing God's judgments if we do

wrong. And in good truth, they that seldom or never attend the publick worship, can give no sure testimony to the world that they either believe a God, or fear his judgments; nor do cutey give any proof to men, that they can be honest upon any true principles of reason or religion.

believe

II. But this is not all. The sin and evil of neglecting the publick worship is very great with respect to ourselves.

Christians do not consider, how very apt the very best of us are to forget the duty which we owe to God, to our neighbour, and to ourselves; and that the cares of the world will soon blot out all thoughts of duty.

It pleased God, therefore, from the creation, (for he knew what helps man would want to preserve in his mind the remembrance of his Maker) it pleased Him to appoint one day in seven to be kept holy; and the neglect of this, in all probability, was the occasion of that great wickedness which brought on the flood upon the world of the ungodly.

The same law continued after the flood; and yet, by the neglect of it, how many nations now are there, who, though they sprung from one man who taught his children the knowledge of the true God, yet have, at this day, no remembrance of the Creator of heaven and earth.

The same law, as to the intent of it, is still in force, and the sad effects of neglecting it are, and will always be, the same.

Such as observe it with any degree of seriousness live in the fear of God; while they that despise

the

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