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to the seven lamps, which were burning, with distinguished lustre, upon the top of the candlestick. Here was an emblem of the reality, the necessity, and the consistency of Divine and human agency, in the furnishing of the light of life, to this dark and ruined world.
The prophet, not understanding the meaning of the vision, was astonished; and said, 'What are these, my Lord ? The angel answered, Knowest thou not what these be ? He said, No, my Lord. Then the angel answered and said : This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel, who was at this time Prince of Judah, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by. my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.
As these lamps which you see, are supplied with oil, and kept constantly burning, not by the agency of man, but of God, so the temple shall be built, and the nation established, and made prosperous and happy, not by human might or power, but by the Spirit of the Lord. He shall operate on the heart of the king of Persia, and incline him to favor you ; on the hearts of your enemies, and keep them at a distance; on the hearts of the people, and excite them to the work; to undertake it with resolution, and to prosecute it with diligence, amidst all the difficulties which they may be called to encounter, until it shall be completed. All this shall be done, not by might, nor by power, but by the Spirit of the Lord. Yet, in the accomplishment of this work, there must be might and power. Human might and power, with great skill and perseverance, must be exerted, or the work will not be done. Olive trees will not grow, bear fruit, and produce oil, in such a manner as to give light, without human effort. Candlesticks and lamps, bowls to receive oil, and pipes to convey it to the proper places, are not made without hands; and hands under the guidance of sound heads and hearts; dependent, indeed, upon God, but voluntarily employed in the accomplishment of that, which is represented in the Bible, and represented truly, as done by the Lord. This unfolds a principle of vast importance to all men. Notwithstanding their dependence on God, which is real, entire, and universal, what their hands find to do, they must do; and with their might. That might which God has given them, and for this purpose, must be voluntarily and perseveringly exerted, in accordance with certain laws, which he has established; or his Almighty power will not be exerted in their behalf. It is true, and it ought deeply to be felt, that, except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. And it is equally true, and it ought as deeply to be felt, that except men labor, according to his appointment, vain are their expectations, that he will ever build it. For he will not exert his power, except in his way. And to experience the benefit of that power, men must take that way. His promised operations were not designed, and when correctly understood, are not adapted to supersede their efforts, but to awaken them; to give them new energy; and to crown them with glorious success. And this is an aspect of Divine operations, which should never be lost sight of; that which awakens attention, and which excites to effort, in dependence on him, of whom, and through whom, and to whom, are all things.
:- This was the aspect in which the subject was presented to the mind of the prophet, and this the aspect in which he presented it to the minds of the people. And so they understood it No sooner were they told that the Spirit of the Lord was to be the builder of the temple, than they ascended the hills and the mountains, collected their. materials, brought them on to the spot, and according to laws by which God operates in such matters, fitted them for their places, and put them together. Had they not done this, they might in words have acknowledged their dependence, and waited and prayed, and prayed and waited for the Lord, or rather against him, all their lives, and not even the foundation of their temple have been laid. Why not? Was it not the temple of the Lord ?.and had he not promised that it should be built ? and that he would be the builder? And had he not decreed that this should be done, and thus shown that it was çertain ?. Yes, it was the temple of the Lord. He had declared that it should be built, and that he would be the builder. He had decreed this should be done, and made known that decree; and thus showed to the universe, that its accomplishment was certain.
But it was not his house in any such sense, that he would build it, without them. He had not promised, or decreed any such thing ; but the contrary. - He had indeed said, that it should be built.; not by might, nor by power, but by his Spirit; and this was true. But it was not true in that sense, which those men put upon his words, who would not work, and gave his declarations as an excuse for their neglect: who said that they had nothing to do, or that there was nothing which they could do ; and of course, did nothing. But it "was true in that other sense, in which God meant it; and in which those understood it, who were awakened by it, to inquire, each one for himself, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? and who, as God showed them their duty, were ready, in dependence on him, to do it. And who, in this way, caused their temple to rise, and who continued their exertions, without becoming weary, till they saw it complete. And then, as a confirmation of God's truth, and a public testimony to their faith in it, brought forth the head-stone thereof, with shoutings, crying, GRACE, GRACE, UNTO IT.
Nor will the most deep and permanent conviction of entire dependence for every right view, thought, feeling, word, and action, do such persons any hurt. It will always do them great good. It will arouse them to great effort, secure untiring, perseverance, and prepare them for great success. Nor will it be difficult for such persons to see, or to feel, the perfect consistency between entire and absolute dependence on God, and perfect human freedom and accountability. That most difficult problem, which never has been, and never can be, rightly solved, by those who stand“ all the day idle," even though they say,
," and yet go not, these men will work out, to a perfect demonstration. They will work out, instrumentally, not only their own salvation, but the salvation also of their fellow men ; while God works in them, both to will and to do, all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power; that faith which comes
by hearing, is the gift of God, of his own operation, and which works by love, purifies the heart, and by which, in every generation, such men have wrought righteousness, obtained promises, out of weakness been made strongwaxed valiant in fight, and overcome the world, the flesh, and devil, and come off conquerors, and more than conquerors, through him that loved them and gave himself for them. ar And the history of their labors, conflicts and triumphs, is recorded, that we may be followers of them, who, through faith and patience, and, often, through much tribulation, are now inheriting the promises. Not that we should call any man, master; or follow him farther than he follows Christ, who alone is our Master; and in the doing of whose will, we may know for ourselves the truth of God.
And this knowledge which is thus gained, by being wrought out, is heaven wide in its influence, from that which is ever gained
by being only thought out. The one may be done in the cloister, and the man remain there till he dies. The other will carry him who has it to the high places of the field, and engage him in conflicts, not with flesh and blood only, but with principalities and powers, with the rulers of the darkness of this world, and with spiritual wickedness in high places. And it will not suffer him to put off his armor, till he puts on his crown. And it will then lead him to proclaim, what he feels, “Not unto us, not unto us, but unto thy name, be the glory;" and with the builders who brought forth the head-stone with shoutings, to cry, “Grace, GRACE, UNTO IT.”
That temple which was built at Jerusalem, was a striking type of the spiritual temple which God has long been building, and which will be completed at the last day. Of this temple, the apostle speaks in his Epistle' to the Ephesians. In whom, speaking of Christ, he says, all the building; fitly framed together, groweth up, unto an holy temple in the Lord.
This temple is the Church; that holy spiritual building, which is founded upon the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone. It is to be composed of all true believers, who shall ever have lived, from the first morning of creation, to, the last moment of time. They may not belong to the same denomination ; or spend life on the same side of the wall which they have set up; but if they believe on the Son of God, and are so joined to him, as to be
one spirit,” they shall form a part of his spiritual temple. Europeans, Asiatics, Africans, Indians; all, of every age, and color, and kindred, and people, and nation, and tongue, who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, shall thus be builded together, for an eternal habitation of God, through the Spirit.
The building of this temple is, not by might, nor by power, but by the Spirit of the Lord. This appears from the greatness of the work which it was necessary to perform in order to lay the foundation ; from the foundation itself; from the materials out of which the temple is to be made; and from the object, for which it is to be erected. I. From the greatness of the work which it was necessary to
perform, in order to lay the foundation, it appears, that the Spirit of the
Lord must be the builder of this spiritual temple. It was a work which none but God himself could perform. Nor could even he do it, in the wisest and best way, though he was almighty, and had all creation at his disposal, in less than four thousand years. The physical creation he could complete, and in the wisest and best way, in a single week. He had only to speak, and it was done; to command, and it stood fast. But to prepare the way, even to lay the foundation, of this eternal habitation for himself, he must operate throughout the kingdoms of nature, providence, and grace, for thousands, and thous sands of years. And this not merely through the instrumentality of creatures, but he must make bare his own arm, and travel, for ages, in the greatness of his strength. Nor is this all, but, he who was in the beginning with God, and was God, must himself leave the glory which he had before the creation, take upon him the form of a servant, and labor, even unto death, the death of the cross.
And as under its awful, crushing weight, he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost, the sun turned away, the rocks broke asunder, and the dead started from their graves, to adore him that liveth, but was dead, that they might live for evermore.
And must he who was in the beginning with God, make bare his arm, and travel for ages in the greatness of his strength, and even give up life itself, to lay the foundation? What other arm, and what other strength, but that which is divine, can rear the superstructure? Surely, it must be done, not by might, nor by power, but by the Spirit of the Lord of hosts. This appears,
II. From the foundation itself. This foundation is the Son of God; the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of his person; in whom dwells the fulness of the Godhead bodily. By him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth; visible, and invisible; whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him, and for him. He was before all things, and by him all things consist; and he is over all, God blessed forever. To him the Father saith, and he knows, “ Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever; a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old, as doth a garment; and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed; but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.”. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the ending, which is, and was, and is to come, the Almighty.
Such is the foundation of this temple, God manifest in the flesh. Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner-stone, a sure foundation. And other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ, the true God, and eternal life The value of this foundation never can be known by any, except those who are builded, and are building upon it. And it cannot be fully known even by them, unless they can know the greatness, extent, and duration of that misery, into which this founda
tion keeps them from falling; and also the greatness, extent, and duration of that glory to which they will be raised, in consequence of building upon it.
Redeemed sinners, you who are builded together on this foundation, for an habitation of God, through the Spirit, you know something of its worth ; but nothing to what you will know, when you have tried it for eternity. It exceeds in value all the treasures of creation ; in excellence equals the glory of Jehovah ; and for stability, is like the pillārs of the universe. That he must be the builder, is evident,
III. Froñ the materials out of which the temple is to be made. These, as they are in their natural state, universally; and as they would be, without the Spirit and grace of God, eternally, are described by him, as walking according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. Among whom, we all had our conversation in times past, in the lusts of our flesh ; fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. Does any one say, this is not my condition? I ask him, why? Had he been without the light of revelation, and without the Spirit and grace of God, would it not have been his condition ? Look abroad
the millions who are now in that condition; and is he naturally better than they? No; in nowise. It has been proved by the testimony of God, and by facts, concerning both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin ; and are even, naturally, dead in trespasses and sin.
And who can take these materials and make them alive, and fill them with love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, faith, and temperance; but he who spake, and it was done; who commanded, and it stood fast? Can
do it? Can any man do it? Let him make the experiment. And to make it under the most favorable circumstances, let him be a parent, and try it upon his own child. Let him renounce all dependence on God, and the influences of his Spirit, and then, take that child, who is now an enemy to his Maker, and if he can, create him anew in Christ Jesus unto good works, and cause him to glow like a seraph in the Divine service. No, not an Infidel parent on earth can do this; and not a Christian parent will dare to attempt it. All the dedications of children to God, in baptism; all the prayers and tears of pious parents while wrestling with God for their salvation, are a standing testimony, that the work must be done, not by might, nor by power, but by the Spirit of God. Even children, to be alive unto God, must be born again ; not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. Does any one still doubt ? let him try the experiment upon himself. Let him openly and heartily renounce all dependence on God, and the influences of his Spirit ; and by his own unaided efforts, transform himself into the Divine image; that as he has borne the image of the earthly, he shall bear the image of the heavenly ; that as he has yielded his members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin, he shall yield them as instruments of righteousness unto God;