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SERMON V.

Of Places dedicated to God's

Service.

EXOD. XX. 24. - In all Places where I record my Name, I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee.

SERM, T HE Children of Israel were V.

God's peculiar People, chosenout

of all the Nations of the World, A and placed under his own Government; he was both their God and their King, and they managed both their civil and sacred Affairs under his more immediate Direction. He brought them out of the Land of Egypt with Signs and Wonders, with a high Hand, and an outstretched Arm, and fettled them in the Land of Canaan. He gave them Victory

the Moralments, he gave in the Voice of

hand thereforewhom they had fods of those

over all Nations round about them; and SERM. was so signally present with them, that V. they hardly eat or drank without a Mira- s a cle. And yet, such was their Stupidity and Ingratitude, that there was no Nation upon Earth so much addicted to Idolatry, as they were! They soon forgot the God that made them, and had loaded them with so many and so great Benefits, and turned away unto strange Gods, and worshiped the Gods of those very Nations, whom they had conquered. And therefore, when God gave them the Moral Law, contained in the Ten Commandments, he gave it them from a Mountain smoking, and with the Voice of Exod. xx, a Trumpet, in the Midst of Thunderings 18. and Lightnings; with which they were so terrified that they fled from it, and stood Ver. 19: afar off, and said unto Mofes, Speak thou with us, and we will hear; but let not God Speak with us, left we die.

When God had revealed himself to them after this terrible Manner, he cautions them particularly against the Sin of Idolatry, and forbids the Making with Ver. 23. him, Gods of Silver, and Gods of Gold. An Altar of Earth shalt thou make un- Ver. 24. to me, and shalt sacrifice thereon, thy Burnt: offerings, and thy Peace-offerings, thy Sheep,

VOL. II.

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and

SERM. and thine Oxen : In all Places where Ires

V. cord my Name, I will come unto thee, and Bland I will bless thee.

THE Meaning of which Words is plainly this, That in all Places which are fet a-part for the Performance of the public Offices of Religion, by a lawful Authority, God will thew himself in a para ticular" Manner present, by affording a favourable Ear to their Requests, and bestowing upon them those Blessings which they ask according to his Will.

This being the plain Sense and Meaning of the Words, I shall treat of them, ander these following Propositions.

than a

1. I SHALL shew, that some Places in a · more particular Manner belong to God,

than others. II. That God honours those Places with

his more peculiar Presence. III. That the Blessings of God are in a

more particular Manner conferred upon those Persons, who frequent these Places, and there worship God after a due Manner,

I. That some Places in a more pe culiar Manner belong to God, than others. Thofe Places in which God records bis

· Name, Name, or which is the fame Thing, Serm. which are called by his Name, because V. dedicated to him, and set a-part for his s on Worship, do, in a more particular Manner, belong to God. God, indeed, is the abfolute and supreme Proprietor of the whole World, as he was the Creator; and is the Governor of all Things ; but he justly claims a more particular Right to those Places where he records bis Name; and to those Persons and Things which belong to them. And this Right and Property in them he obtains, by the fame Means that one Man doth to those Goods which are in the Poffeffion of another Person ; God treats with us according to those Rules of Justice, which he has established in the World, and condescends to make Use of the same Weights and Measures in his Dealings with us, which we ought to do one with another. He accepts of our Offerings, though we can offer up nothing to him, but what was his own before, and esteems them not according to the Value, but the Will and the affectionate Gratitude of the Donor, Now since Property amongst Men is transferred from one to another, either by Free-gift, or Purchase, by both these Ways Houses and Lands may, in a peculiar

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Manner,

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SERM. Manner, belong to God : For though we
V. cannot, after the same Manner, in which

w e transfer our Goods to Men, imme-
diately intitle God to our Offerings, who
is exalted above our Praise, much more
above the Returns of our Gratitude ;
yet, since God has been pleased to substi-
tute Proxies to act for him, whatsoever
we transact with them, according to his
Will, and for his Honour, he acknow-
ledges it, and takes it as kindly, as if it
were done to himself. Thus, by giving or
purchasing any Thing for holy Uses, we
may alienate the Right of any particular
Person, and transfer the Property of it to
God, by delivering it to God's more im-
mediate Servants, for his Use ; and, when
thus it is dedicated to him, it cannot right-
ly be alienated to profane, i. e. to com- -
mon Uses ; no more than what belongs
to one Man can, without his Consent,
be taken away and possessed by ano-
ther.
· INNUMERABLE are the Texts in Holy
Writ, where God calls those Places which
are dedicated to his public Worship, his
Houses; those Persons who are set a-part
to the Service of the Temple, his Šer-
vants; and those Revenues which are ap-
propriated to their Maintenance, his Tythes

and

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