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heard in the building of the literal temple. Nor is there any. thing to be heard in the spiritual building. When God quickens his dear children into life, they are brought to feel they are helldeserving sinners. Then let me appeal to your consciences this morning. Have you been made to feel this? This is a minute description, as we have said, of the temple of Solomon; but we would look at a greater than Solomon, even the Lord Jesus Christ; and as God was the designer of the tabernacle and temple and used instruments like Moses, David, and Solomon to build the temple; so he uses his ministers now, and calls poor sinners through their instrumentality, and by sending his word home into the hearts of his people. Now, what a mercy it would be, if God, by his Holy Spirit, should come into any poor sinner's heart and call him by his grace this morning. If there are any come up unconcerned about their never-dying souls, what a mercy it would be if God would call them out of the quarry of nature. The Scrip
“Where the word of a king is there is power.” Some of you, and I hope a goodly number, have felt that power calling you, arresting you, and bringing you to cry for mercy, like the poor publican. God has a people, and he has a set time to call each and every As the poet says,
“The appointed time rolls on apace,
Not to propose, but call by grace;" &c. &c. This was the case with many before me. Years ago they were brought into the fold, while others are pressing on stiil. They are longing and desiring; they are sighing, crying, and groaning on account of the abominations done in the land of their own hearts. What a mercy, poor dear child of God, that the Lord, in fulfilment of his eternal purposes, has made that power known to you. There was a time when you had no desire after God or after eternal realities.
“ There was an enlarging and a winding about still upward." As God calls his dear children, he separates them from the world; and in Jno.iii. we read how it is done. Christ said to Nicodemus, “ Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again,” &c. The Word tells us that God dwells in the man who is poor and of a humble and contrite spirit, and trembles at his word. I hope there are many tremblers here this morning. It is a mercy to be a poor trembler! It is the poor who are rich in Christ Jesus; and all God's people are made to feel they are poor indeed. The poor have the gospel preached to them. There is encouragement, then, poor child of God, for thee this morning. If thou art a poor trembler, if thou art come up a poor bankrupt soul in thy own estimation; if thou art cutting thyself off; if thou art putting thyself on the background; there is hope for thee. The
Lord will not cast thee off, because he has given thee to feel thy need of him; and
“ AU the fitness he requireth,
This he gives you,
'Tis his Spirit's rising beam." Now, it is a mercy to know these things; because God has made a provision for those who do; and he calls them his saints. He tells us in that psalm we read just now (cxxxii.) “ The Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation.” And in Ps. ciii. we read, “ The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him.” And you will find, whenever a poor soul is brought to feel his lost state and needy condition, there will be an enlarging as to the things of God, å contraction as to the things of time, and a weaning from the things of the world. The soul goes upward; winding about up
. wards for another token from the Lord.
Now, where are you going? Is your soul going upward? What does Paul say when writing to the Colossians ? “Set your affections on things above, not on things of the earth.” Can you say there is any enlarging in your heart here? If there is, you are dissatisfied with the world and the things of the world. You feel that they are all vanity and vexation of spirit. And the more you have of them, the more you will be afraid of them ; lest they should rob you. And though you will bless God for his temporal favours, you will say with the poet,
" Thanks to his name for meaner things,
But they are not my God.”
souls? The Lord has enlarged this house for you to meet in; has he enlarged your hearts and affections to honour him? He says, “Them that honour me, I will honour,” and he also says, “Honour the Lord with thy substance." Now, wherever you see this spirit, friends, there is an enlarging and a going upward in your affections. .
You will find, if you read the description of Solomon's temple, it was five cubits broad in the lower room, six cubits in the middle room, and seven, still upwards. This signifies that when the soul goes out of time into eternity he goes in to eternal glory.
Now,“ The Lord hath chosen Zion.” Now, this chapel is a little Zion which God has chosen for many years, and which he has visited much. It has been a very favoured hill of Zion, and I feel that he has desired it for his habitation. He also says
Zion is his rest for ever. Then, what a blessed thing it is to be an inhabitant of Zion. Are you anxious to know, poor child of God, that you are one of the inhabitants of this Zion? You might come to this chapel 20 or 30 years, and not be an inhabi
tant of Zion. I have seen some come to the house of God here for many years without there being any change in them; while others have come but a short time before the Lord has met with them. Some did not care to hear about the Lord; now they are glad and thankful to come to his house. How they have delighted to see peace and concord in Zion; and the Lord says, “This is my rest for ever; here will I dwell, for I have desired it. I will abundantly bless her provision. I will satisfy her poor with Bread,” &c. &c.
Some may say, “How do you know the Lord dwells in Zion ?” Because I have felt it. I have had the word come with dew and savour into my soul. This is how I know it. To be sure it is. This is the only way you can know it experimentally. The Lord often speaks through his servants; when he speaks into your soul with heavenly power, it makes you desire to walk humbly before God, and causes longings and desires, as Paul says, to know him and the power of his resurrection." 0, there will be such fervent desires going out of your heart, that the Lord will come and bless you, and make one in your midst when you meet with the Lord's people. When you have come prayerfully to the house of God, and have had the testimony in your soul that he has heard you, when he has blessed you under the preached word, at the prayer-meeting or in godly conversation, there has been enlarging, just as Solomon's temple was enlarged one story above another. So the Lord brings his dear people in and enlarges them, giving them holy desires to know more and more of him. 0! They are never satisfied while here, or only for short seasons. They use God's blessings, or desire to use them, without abusing them. They want to see Jesus. When they come to the house of God, their affections long after a precious Christ. They want to know him, to live near him, and to learn his secrets. Does this speak out the experience of your souls? Because I believe this is the way God's people enlarge, as they go upwards. Their affections are more in heaven, and their thoughts upon things above. They think upon the Word of God. And there is something said about such in Malachi. A book of remembrance was written before Him for them that thought upon his name. "And they shall be mine, saith the Lord, in that day when I make up my jewels.” (Mal. iii. 16.)
How encouraging God's Word is to his dear people to meet together for spiritual conversation. See what the Lord says in Ps. cxxxii. 15. Thus, you see, God has promised those brought into his church militant that he will dwell with them and bless them.
We never get tired of bread literally. It is the staff of life. And so Jesus Christ is the Bread of life, is the staff of spiritual life to his living family. While there is an enlarging in your affections and desires there is a winding about, still upward, from one trial to another. As Bunyan says:
“ The Christian man is seldom long at ease;
When one trouble's o'er another doth him seize." Do you find it so ? Because spiritual trouble is no mark against you, poor dear child of God. You may nestle down in ease for a time; but I believe the Christian man or woman is seldom there very long. Their paths are winding; and when they are blest in their desires and affections, they feel this is not their rest; it is polluted; and they are seeking an enduring city. What a mercy, friends, if you know these things in your souls' experience, if you are Zionites! He blesses his Zion with Gospel ministers; he blesses them with the ordinances of his house; he blesses them with praying men and women; and, by tokens upon token, he shows his Almighty power, making it manifest that he is with them. This is how he blesses the provisions of his house, and sends his people living bread, and wine to gladden their hearts.
All God's people are brought to feel their poor state spiritually; and if you have never been brought to feel your poverty and to lament your lost condition before God, I cannot encourage you as to your being among those God has promised to provide for; because he makes all his people feel they are poor and needy; and then he manifests his thoughts of love, mercy, and compassion towards them. We have many instances in the Word of God of how poor, needy, and barren some of God's people were. As Hannah was in a poor state literally on account of her barrenness, so all God's people are brought to feel their barrenness, poverty, and need, and to realize what poor, weak, helpless creatures they are, and how entirely dependent upon the Lord Jesus Christ, for him to guide them into all truth. The Lord gives his people a desire for living bread; and he has said, “ he will fulfil The desire of them that fear him.” See also Prov. xiv. 27; Ps. xxv. 14. Yes, he shows them they are his; and he will bring his covenant into your hearts if you truly feel to need it, and then you will be able to say, “ He satisfieth the poor with bread." He comes into the soul, strengthens the inner man, and gives that living faith you feel to stand in need of.
Thus he builds you up and supports you, according to his promise to dwell with his Zion. "Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor, that we, through his poverty, might be made rich."
Sometimes the children of Zion wander from the Lord, and he tells us, in Ps. lxxxix. 31, what he will do to them. He will follow them with the rod. O what a good God we have to do with, friends! He brings his wandering sheep back and says he will not forsake them. "Is Ephraim my dear son; is he a pleasant child ?" "Yes; he is just the same in his love. So it was with the poor prodigal son. When he began to be in want, he was brought to think of his father's house; and then he said, “I will arise and go to my father, and say to him, I am no more worthy to be called thy son.” But while he was yet a great way off the father saw him, ran and fell on his neck, and kissed him, brought him home, and made merry. You see he was a living child, a son whom God loved. The feast sets forth the Lord Jesus Christ, the living Bread.
" Whom once he loves he never leaves
But loves them to the end." I have been throwing out a few hints. All are brought to feel they are poor, and are like the poor man who begged of Peter and John at the gate of the temple. He was lame and wanted to be healed; and Christ put forth his power, through the apostles' instrumentality, and cured the man. And this is how Christ is made precious to needy souls. His name is as ointment poured forth. Is his name precious to you? Because, if so, you can enter into what the psalmist says in Ps. ciii. 1-4. I remember when God spoke that word and blessed it to my soul as I was coming out of affliction, I did not want to come back into the world, but wished to go and be for ever with Jesus. The world and all things here below then had lost their charms. I do not always find it so now. Do you? I have often to sigh and groan because, as the apostle says, “ the things that I would I do not, and the things I would not that I do.” I prove that “the spirit is willing, but the flesh weak.” Do you ever feel earthbound? Do you know the difference between the Lord's sensible resence and his withdrawings? I believe this is an essential point. When the Lord's people are permitted to wander from him, he withdraws the light of his countenance. Are you always enjoying the Lord's presence? If you told me you were, I could not believe you, whoever you are; for the Lord's people have many dark seasons; and the Lord tells us, for our encouragement, “ He that goeth forth weeping, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”
“ There was an enlarging and a winding about still upward." This winding staircase sets forth the path of tribulation which God's people have to go up, round about; and as they go they want resting places, here and there; for, while winding in this direction, they get into very low and cast-down states, although they may have felt that they were in the covenant, and been able to say with David, “ Although my house be not so with God, yet hath he made with me an everlasting covenant," &o. Well; the child of God has been brought there, and has had some