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ter the counsel of his own will," and to arise, in due time, the wonder of angels and of men. This building of God at lengte began to appear and to ascend. But it accorded not with hu. man ideas of grandeur and magnificence. The very deposse taries of the original design, were the first to resist the completion of it, because it justified nor their prejudic:s and preposa, fellions. Their oppofirion, however, ferved only more illuf. triously to display the manifold wisdom and goodness of God, and to expose the weaknefs and folly of man. Had the edifice been of man's deviting and rearing. it could no: have tood “the washing of a tide,” tor the " foolish man built his house upon the sand ; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon the house ; and it fell : and great was the fall of it.” But infinite Wisdom founded the fabric of Christianity upon a rock. The rains have de fcended, the floods have come, the winds have blown and beat. en upon this house, but it has not fallen; for it is founded upon a rock.

In the gospel history we behold the groun{floor or plat. form of the Chriftian religion. It principally consists in a narration of plain, unadorned tacts, well authenticated, indeed, but recommended by no artificial polish, and deriving all their importance and effe&t from their own native truth and excele Tence, lerving, nevertheless, as a solid support to the precepts, the promises, the predi&tions, the doctrines, the confolations of our most holy faith. Take, for instance, the event which our Blessed Lord, in the passage which has now been read, fore. told concerning himself, namely, that the temple of his body fhould be destroyed, and in three days raised up again. Now when this event actually did take place, not only was the veracity of Jesus, as a prophet; completely established, but a foundation was laid of sufficient strength to sustain the whole weight of the Chriftian's hope, of a resurrection to life and immortality. We shall, therefore, fiift confider this all-important doćirine, in the history which is the foundation of it, and then in the fuperft uctire reared.

In purifying the temple tiom ihe abominations practised in it, Jesus had undoubtedly assumed the authority of one invested in the office of magiftracy or with the character of a prophet That he was no magiftrate all men knew and he never pretended to it. To have acted in this capacity might have been considered as vsurpation. As a prophet, ihen, and only as a prophet, could be appear in the character of a public reformer. But it is requifite that a prophet should produce his credentials. This fuga gested the demand : “ What sign (hewest thou unto us, seeing that shou doeft these things ?" which plainly implied, that one

afting under a commission from heaven, was obliged to supa port his claim by a sign from heaven. But is there need to produce fupernatural teftimony to a right to retorm knowo, public, flagrant abuse ? Did not their own hiftory furnish at noted inftance of a private person's assuming the fword of guftice, and acting at once as jodge and executioner, in the case of open and gross violation of the divine law; that of Phinehas, who was but the grandfon of Aaron the priet? He not only became liable to no cenfure, but obtained a death. Jess name, and an honourable office for his seasonable interpofi. tion. “Then food up Phinehas, and executed judgment; and fo the plague was stayed. And that was counted unto him for righteousnefs un'o all generations for evermore." Did not the fign, in the present instance, appear in the act? Did not the great Reformer authenticate his powers by the manner in which he exercised them, and by the effect which they produced ? Did i he guilty relift? Did they call in queftion his authority ? Did they drag him, in their turn, to the tribunal? No, they teek his afcendant and shrink from his rebuke. Who, then, call for a sign ? Not the offt nders; they had received fufficient evidence: not the populace, for they must have been equally overawed and confounded. The rulers of the Jews hearing of this singular tranfa&tion, some of them, perhaps, being on the Spot, and eye-witnesfes of what paffed, jealous of their honour, and considering their prerogative as invaded ; they, as inen having authority, demanded a fign. From their general charac. ter, and from the inefficacy of this and other signs afterwards given, we know from what motive the present demand was bade; not in the fpirit of meekness, not from the love of truth, not to obtain conviction; but in the hope of finding occasion to censure, or of putting the affumed authority of Chrift to a telt which it could not stand.

A fign is given them, and a moft remarkable one it is.

Jelus answered and said unto them, dellroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." Whatever conftruction the Jews might put on these words, what Jesus intended to convey is obvious, and it was in every point justified by the correfponding event. He who is (mıplicity and truth itselt could have no design to millead. The a&ion and emphasis with which he fpake, clearly pointed out the object. The general attention had just been directed to a temple made with hands, a temple wickedly profaned by an abominable traffic, which was connived at by its protessed conservators, and whose hoa. eur had been tu nobly vindicated by a stranger. That stranger Sad already attracted general notice by the Gogularity of his

speech

speech and deportment ; every eye was fixed upon him, his every attitude and gesture were oblerved, and thele plainly indicated that the temple to be destroyed, and raised up in three days, could not be the venerable pile in the court of which this converfation passed. When he afterwards foretold the approaching deftruction of that temple, he expressed himself in terms not liable to misapprehenfion "As he went out of the temple, one of his disciples faith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here! And Jesus answering laid unto him, Seeft thou thefe great buildings ? there shall not be left one stone'upon another, that shall not be thrown

down." Now he points to an edifice infinitely more sacred. From both the first and second houses built on mount Zion *the glory had long since departed. The sensible tokens of the divine presence were withdrawn. The holy oracle was no "longer consulted by Urim and Thummim. But in Him, who was the only glory of the second house, “ dwelled all the fulness of the Godhead bodily," and the destruction of this temple he thus prediêts as a sign not to the men of that generation only, but to all ages, even to the end of the world. From the very nature of prophecy, a vail must be drawn between the prediction and the event. “Hope that is seen is not hope," and

"faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Christ indulges 'not those unbelievers with an immediate display of his miraculous power, in support of his pretensions to the character of a prophet, which they could easily have explained away, or misinterpreted ; but he refers them to a fign hortly to be exhibited, which should be, at once, the exact accomplishment of a well known prediction, and the greatest miracle that can possibly exist. That the misconcep. tion of the Jews was perverse and affected is evident from this, that when they had actually fulfilled the part of the prediction which depended on themselves, by destroying that sacred tem

ple, we find them labouring under the most dreadful apprethension that Jesus would accomplish the other part, which depended on him, and they employ every precaution, which terror could suggest, to prevent and defeat it. "The chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, laying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command, therefore, that the fepul. chre be made sure until the third day, left his disciples come by' night and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than' the first.” And when the astonished watch came into the city, and made report to their employers, of "' all the things that

Cc

were

were done,” did it produce conviction ? No, it only filled them with mortification, and kindled rage. “ The chief priests, when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counfel, they gave lage nioney unto the soldiers, saying, say ye, His disciples came by night, and it le him away while we fept. And if this come to the governor's ears, we will persuade him, and secure you.” To what purpose, then. ask for a sign? They relift and reject the most illustrious, which, with reverence be it ipoken, God himlelt could give, thereby approving the tru'h of what Jelus on another occasion said, " If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded; though one rose from the dead.”

“Deltroy this temple." Let it be observed, that this is simply a prediction or fuppofition, and not a precept, equivalent to, ge will deflroy this temple, or, though ye should defroy this temple. It is a mode of expression that frequently occurs in Scripture. Thus in the Old Testament, Joseph says to his brethren, " this do, and live," that is, do this, and ye shall live. Thus God speaks to Moses, "Get thee up into this mountain, and die in the mount whither thou goeft up, and be gathered unto thy people,” meaning evidently, thou shalt die in the mount, and shalt be gathered unto thy people. Thus, Ifaiah viii. 'O.“ Take counsel together, and it shall come to nought; speak the word, and it shall not Aand : that is, though ye take counsel together, and though ye speak the word. And in the New Testament, the word of Christ to Judas, “ that thou doft, do quickly," cannot be considered as a command to accomplish his plan of treathery, but merely as an intimation that he was seen through, and that under the impulse of a diabolic spirit, he was hurrying on to commit that dreadful enormity. Thus Paul exhorts, “ Be angry and fin not;" surely not as if he meant to encourage violent transports of wrath, but in the event of a man's giving way toa fit of passion, the apostle means to guard him against exceffive indulgence in it, by restricting its duration to the going down of the sun. This early notice did. Jesus give, not to his disciples only, but to all who came to worlhip in the temple," of his disease which he should ac. complich at Jerusalem ;" that it should be effected by the hand of violence; frat by decay, but by destruction, and that his own country men thould be the perpetrators of it. This declaTalion was frequently repeated, and became plainer and plainer, till the fact justified every particular of the prediction.

This temple." Our blessed Lord in this place and elsewhere denominates his body a temple, as declaratory of his suci periority to the luity pile ou Mount Zion, even in its greatest

glory

glory, much more in its then degraded, defiled flate. " I lay unto you,” addresling himself to ihe pharisees, “ that in this place is one greater than the temple," because Deity refided continually and inseparably in him, as the Jews believed he did in that which was built by Solomon, in answer to that petition; "O Lord may God, hearken unto the cry and to the prayer which thy servant prayeih before thee 10-day : that thine eyes may be opened toward this house night and day, even toward the place of which ihou last said, My name Thall be there :" according as it was toretold by Moies near five centuries' be. tore: “ Then there shall be a place which the Lord your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell ihere." J fephus informs us that not only did the answer to Solomon's prayer imply a real and tensible residence of Duity, but that it was the univeríal belief of the Jews and of the strangers who visited jeru. falem, that there was an ingress of God into the temple, and a habitation in it; and, in another place, that God descended and pitch-d his tabernacle there. The Jews themselves, however, admitted, that whatever glory these expressions might fignify was now departed. To restore ibat glory, and to bestow it on the second i mple in more abundant measure than the first ever poflessed was the end of Christ's mifiion ; and in him was the predictio n fulfilled : “The glory of this latter house fhall be greater than of the former, faith the Lord of hosts." He was that oracle by whose answers all light and truth were emitted ; the true Schechinah who had the spirit without measure; he was anointed with the soil of gladness above his fellows," and thus in all respetis greater than the remple. That temple, says he, which you have defiled I have cleansed : and this temple of my body, which you are going to delloy, I will raise up again

When this predi&tion was verified by the matter of tact, that fact became the foundation of one of the distinguishing doctrines of the gofpel, the resurrection of the dead. Jesus early taught and frequently repeated it, that it might be clearly un. derstood and carefully remembered. The impostor is at pains toʻconceal his purpose till it is ripe for execution. He tears prevention, and there'ore endeavours to take you by surprize. The thief gives no warning of his approach, but comes upon men while they fleep. The true prophet discloles his design, prepares, forewarns, puts the perfon who doubts or disbelieves upon his guard, bids defiance to prevention. His own resur. rection, and the doctrine of a general resurrellion which is founded upon it, were not barely hinted at, or declared in ob. cure and equivocal terms, They were not the casual topic, ,

and

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