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and the kind attentions of the ministers in the Circuit soothed and comforted him again and again.
As might have been expected, he was still very conversant with our hymns; they were to him, as they have been to thousands, a source of great comfort, being on his lips by day and by night. Whether in petition, thanksgiving, or adoration, his sentiments were breathed in verse. When pleading for a clearer manifestation of the Divine favour, he prayed,
Lord, I will not let Thee go,
Bless me; for I will prevail !" As the closing scene approached, and he was nearing “the better land," he breathed in feeble accents, but with deep emotion,
" O remember me for good,
Passing through the mortal vale;
When my strength and spirit fail;
Jesus crucified for me !"
" Bright angels are from glory come." " Yes !" he said,
They are round my bed, and in my room;" repeating the whole hymn. During his last night he frequently exclaimed, “ Abba, Father! Abba, Father!" He also reverted to the hymn in which he had not long before joined with such emphasis, and with all his remaining strength cried, “ All is well! All is well!" In this frame his happy spirit passed from earth to heaven, September 6th, 1870, in the sixty-sixth year of his age, and the forty-fourth of his ministry.
THE HOLY TEMPLE IN THE LORD.
(Concluded from page 16.) In considering this spiritual Building, we have now to advert to, V. ITS GROWTH UNTO COMPLETENESS AND PERFECTION.-It“
groweth into an holy temple in the Lord." The Christian Church is not like the "New Jerusalem " which John saw, "coming down from God out of heaven;" that is, perfect and complete in all its parts, “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband," and “having the glory of God." Its truer emblem is the grain of mustard-seed, which, when cast into the ground, germinates, springs up, and grows into " a great tree;" or the little leaven" cast into a measure of meal, and there silently fermenting until the whole is leavened. There are two respects in which the Church of Christ is, and was from the beginning, destined to grow, -numerically and spiritually, in external magnitude and in spiritual perfection.
It is matter of history that, from the day on which it was founded, to the present time, the Church of Christ has continued to grow; and we surely believe it will continue to increase until, like "the stone cut out without hands," it shall have “ filled the whole earth.” It contains within itself the principle of illimitable expansion, an exhaustless power of growth. This power was notably manifested in the Apostolic age; the word of the Lord ran "very swiftly." At the election of Matthias to fill the place “ from which Judas by transgression fell,” we are told “the number of names together was about a hundred and twenty;" but on the day of Pentecost " there were added unto them about three thousand souls." And farther on in the sacred narrative we meet with such statements as the following :-"Be. lievers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women;" (Acts v. 14 ;) “ And much people was added unto the Lord." (Acts xi. 24.) Hence, in his Second Epistle to the Corinthians, St. Paul writes, “ Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of His knowledge by us in every place.” (Chap. ii. 14.) And we know that, at a comparatively early period of post-Apostolic history, Christian churches existed in almost every part of the then known world. Thus signally was the Scripture fulfilled : " A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation.” (Isai. lx. 22.) And under the fostering care of its Divine Founder, the Church still continues to grow ; its area is extended more and more, and its members increase and multiply in almost every nation under heaven.
In regard to its internal state, its moral and spiritual condition, the purest and most prosperous Christian community that exists might say with St. Paul, “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect ;” or with the beloved disciple, " It doth not yet appear what we shall be." The Saviour's purpose in relation to this matter is beautifully set forth in the Epistle from which our text is taken. “ Christ loved the Church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present it to Him.
self a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” (Eph. v. 25-27.) To bring His people into conformity with this grand ideal, is the final purpose of the Saviour's love. That a Church without “ spot or wrinkle," having nothing to defile its purity, or blemish its beauty, or mar its happiness, has never yet existed upon earth is, of course, certain. Yet such ultimately is to be the blessed result. For this Christ died, and to accomplish this all power is given unto Him in heaven and in earth.” The gift of the Holy Glost, in all its manifold grace and blessing, is at His sovereign disposal. Great and marvellous as the work confessedly is, “ faithful is He that calleth, who also will do it." And in the final perfection and eternal blessedness of “a glorions Church," her glorious Lord “shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied."
The ultimate destiny of the community of Christian believers on earth is a subject on which we must forbear to speculate. That a brighter, happier future is in reversion for her, a future in which the Church on earth will more truly resemble the Church in heaven, we confidently believe, though, in order to attain that happier future, she may yet have to pass through the fire. It would seem, however, that, as a Church, a measure of imperfection will cleave unto her, even until “ the time of the end.” At the great supper we read that, “ When the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment.” And speaking of the tares of the field," when the servants asked, “Wilt thou that we go and gather them up ?” the owner answered, " Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
Let both grow together until the harvest." (Matt xiii. 29, 30.) No Christian community can tolerate scandal in its members and be guiltless ; no Church can fail to attempt to exterminate everything that offends, and be innocent. A godly discipline ought ever to be maintained; and those who walk disorderly and will not be amended must be cut off. Still, within a certain latitude, the law of the case woull seem to be, “Let both grow together until the harvest.”
But the time of final and complete purgation is surely fixed.
Wlose fan is in His hand, and He will throughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into the garner; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matt. iii. 12.) Again “ So shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of Man shal send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdon all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cas them into a furnace of fire." (Matt. xiii. 40-42.) The mists o calumny and misrepresentation on the one hand, the mask o
hypocrisy and the trappings of formalism on the other,-all will be done away. And through the thousand forms of misapprehension which baffle us now, and which so often lead to false conclusions, and to a false estimate of character: " Then shalt ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not." (Mal. iii. 18.) Not a grain of wheat shall then be lost; not a particle of chaff shall remain. “He will throughly purge His floor.” And in the residue thus sifted, and thus purified, shall be at last fully realized the object of Divine purpose and work, a people “ that may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.”
But what, in the mean time, is the view to be taken of the Church on earth ? As we understand the matter, the New Testament theory of a Christian Church is, not that of an absolutely perfect community; but rather that of a Divine institution for producing, training, and perfecting individual saints. Let us try to illustrate this idea.
You go into some hospital. Here you will find a number of people afflicted with divers maladies. All are sick, all are under medical treatment, and all are anxious to be fully restored to health. Some are in one stage of recovery, some in another; some all but perfectly recovered, some about to be dismissed as incurable. So it is in the Church of Christ. All the members of it profess to have a desire to be made whole; to be saved from sin and renewed in the spirit of their mind. All are, so to speak, under medical treatment; many in various stages of recovery. Some, it may be, are of the class incurable ; but some, thank God, are well-nigh ready for their discharge,-“having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better."
Go into the studio of some celebrated sculptor, and you will find numerous figures in almost every stage of artistic progress. Here, an almost shapeless block of marble; there, a desigu roughly chiselled ; and there, a beautiful statue, a finished specimen of the sculptor's art, worthy to take its place among the cherished productions of human genius. The artist is busily employed upon all the rest, chiselling, graving, rubbing, in order to bring each figure into faultless shape. Such, spiritually, is the Christian Church. It is an institution in which, from shapeless blocks, souls petrified and deformed by ignorance, and sin, and guilt, are being produced forms of immortal beauty,--forms which, when made perfect, will be fit to adorn the palace of the King of kings.
Take another illustration. When the tomple of Solomon was being built in Jerusalem, the stones and the timber were prepared in Mount Lebanon. "The house was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither ; " each block, each piece of timber, being fitted exactly for its particular place in the sacred edifice. “ There was neither hammer, nor axe, nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building.” (1 Kings vi. 7.) Here we have a striking emblem of the higher work of which we are speaking; by which countless millions of pure, immortal, and blessed human spirits, “as living stones," are being “ built up a spiritual house,” “ an holy temple in the Lord," "a glorious Church !" And what Mount Lebanon was to the temple of Jerusalem, the Church on earth is to the Church in heaven. Here every “ living stone " is being prepared and fitted for its abiding place in the upper temple,—is being wrought upon with hammer and tool till fit to be transported from the quarries of Lebanon to the building on Mount Zion ;
“From a suffering Church beneath,
To a reigning Church above ;”
from an imperfect communion even with the good on earth, to one that is perfect in heaven.
On this view of our subject, the following Scripture, quoted in & former paragraph for a different purpose, deserves particular atten. tion: “And He gave some Apostles; and some prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." (Eph. iv. 11, 12.) Into the precise meaning of the several titles here employed, we cannot stay to inquire ; nor is it needful that we should. Let us rather call attention to the interesting fact that Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers,-all are Divinely appointed for this definite purpose; namely, “For the perfecting of the saints,...for the edifying of the body of Christ.” It was in the spirit of this high and holy design that the Apostles of our Lord prosecuted their ministry: “Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom ; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus." (Col. i. 28.)
Two members of the text yet remain to be considered. The following is suggestive of individual personal obligation, duty, and privilege :
VI. “ IN WHOM YE ALSO ARE BUILDED TOGETHER.”—The Church of Christ, as stated already, may be regarded either as spiritual and invisible, or as visible and corporate. To be “ builded" into the first is to become one with Christ, to be “joined to the Lord," so as to become with Him “one spirit.” And when a man truly and savingly believes in the Lord Jesus, he becomes a living member of Christ's living “body." To be “builded" into the second, is to become incorporated into the Christian community. To what