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tabernacle, of a nature superior to that of the law, but signified and shadowed out by it. The same appears from the words spoken to Moses, see thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount: which direction was preserved, and is quoted in the new testament twice, to teach us, that the vișible tabernacle was nothing more than a copy from an heavenly original, which came down from God out of heaven (like the New Jerusalem in the Revelation) and was exhibited to Moses in a vision on the mount. Hence the apostle argues for a prophetic relation to heavenly things in the earthly tabernacle. As we hear of a Jerusalem that is above, corresponding to the earthly Jerusalem ; so was there always ụnderstood to be a heavenly tabernacle; the eternal residence of God, as the tabernacle below was his temporary residence, while his presence was with Moses and the Jews. This heavenly original must be understood, where the Psalmist speaks of the dwelling of the righteous man in the secret place of the most High, under the shadow of the Almighty, covering him with his wings, as the cherubim of glory are said to spread forth their wings in the secret place of the earthly sanctuary *,
Psalm xci. 1, 4.
So where he saith in the 15th psalm, Who shall dwell in thy tabernacle, or who shall rest upon thy holy hill ? No man can be so ignorant as to think that the godly were to expect their rest and reward in a tabernacle, which had no existence after the days of David. The words must refer to that other tabernacle spoken of by Isaiah, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down, not one of the stakes thereof shall be removed *. As there is an eternal throne of David on which the Messiah sits and reigns for evert; so is there an eternal tabernacle, in which he is exalted as the head and ruler in his church; and both are united on another occasion. In mercy shall the throne be established, and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging and seeking judgment and hasting righteousness : which words cannot be understood of the literal tabernacle, though they refer to the mercy-seat in the most holy place, over which God appeared enthroned in glory above the cherubim; with which in Ezekiel's vision of them, there was a likeness of a throne, with the appearance of a man upon it; and the whole together is called the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord I: whence we collect, that what Ezekiel say was a visionary
appearance * Isaiah xxxiii. 29. + Luke i. 325
Ezekiel i. 26.
appearance of that seat of glory in the holy place, which was the instituted likeness of the seat of the divine glory in the heavens. And in a like vision of Isaiah, the throne of God, and the display of his glory, is still present in his temple: I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and his train filled the temple *. So, where the same prophet saith, Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory t; the words habitation and holiness and glory all refer to the earthly sanctuary as a pattern of the heavenly.
The tabernacle was also a figure of the church of Christ : and therefore the renovation and establishment of the church amongst the Gentiles by the preaching of the gospel, is described under the idea of a restoration of the tabernacle which had ceased from the time of David. The prophet Amos speaks of this gathering of the Gentiles into the church of Christ, as into the tabernacle taken in this new sense; and St. James made the proper application of it, when the great question was debated concerning the reception of the heathens. To this, says he, agree the words of the prophets, as it is written, I will return and will build again
* Isaiah vi, 1.
+ Ib. lxiii. 15.
the tabernacle of David, which is fallen downthat the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles upon whom my name is called *. To the same effect St. Stephen had observed in his apology to the Jews, that the tabernacle had originally been brought in with Jesus into the possesion of the Gentiles; and therefore the church might reasonably go
thither again ; whereto the preaching of the gospel under the true Jesus should remove and settle it.
The propriety with which the Christian church is signified by this name, is too plain to be enlarged upon ; inasmuch as we have already seen, that all things are there done in spirit and in truth, which were done in figure in the tabernacle of the law.
But the tabernacle, as well as the temple, is farther applied as a figure of the body of Christ; and this in a passage 'not open to common observation. The word, saith St. John, was made flesh and dwelt amongst us ; where the true sense of the original is, he tabernacled amongst us : and then it is added, and we be+ held his glory; for where the true tabernacle is, there must be also the glory of it. Here then we have the manifestation of Christ in the
Acts xv, 6.
flesh, signified by the dwelling of God's presence in the tabernacle ; than which there can be no higher proof of his divinity to those that understand the thing in this light. As the glory of the Lord was once present in the tabernacle, so it is said, with reference to the same, that in him dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. Well therefore might he say
of his body, destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again ; for it was both a tabernacle and temple in a stricter sense than had ever been before ; the Godhead had occasionally dwelt in the buildings made with hands : but with him it abode continually. The use our Saviour made of this term amounted to an assertion of his Godhead to the Jews; but as the Jews did not then understand the sense of his expression, so are many Christians as blind to it at this day.
After the pattern of Christ, and according to their proper measure, all Christians have the presence of God abiding within them ; whence their bodies also are the temples of the Holy Ghost ; from which consideration they are instructed to dedicate them, to the service of God; for that is certainly one use of a temple; and not to defile them for that is sacrilege. And the subject gives them