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SERMON XII.

ON THE DESTRUCTION OF THE TEMPLE.

MATTHEW XXIV. 2.

And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things ? verily I say unto you,

There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thronn doun.

When Christ was leaving the temple, the disciples not knowing whether he would return thither again, took this opportunity of showing him the external beauty and elegance of that building, which was well-proportioned and magnificent, enriched with the spoils of conquest and the presents of princes—the pride of the Jewish nation, and justly esteemed one of the wonders of the world. In the words before us, we have what Christ said to them upon this occasion; and they contain an instructive question, and a solemn declaration.

I. An instructive question :-See ye not all these things; these goodly stones, this stately fabric, this masterpiece of architecture? This was certainly meant as a reproof;-

1. That they so much admired it. It was a temple made with hands, and, though a noble structure, having been lately repaired, enlarged, and beautified, by Herod, who is said to have employed ten thousand workmen for eight whole years about it, yet fell far short of that built by Solomon, and was not in the least comparable to the heavenly temple, where God is worshipped day and night, and which is eminently enlightened with his glory. It is, then, as if he had said, Turn your eyes from hence, and see things of a superior nature. Behold the beauty and excellency of the renewed soul, clothed with my righteousness, and adorned with the graces of my Spirit—those substantial and undecaying ornaments, in comparison of which, gold, silver, and precious stones, are worthless things. Behold the new Jerusalem, that is, the gospel church in her perfect state, coming down from heaven, prepared as a bride for her husband; nay, gaze on the visible heavens, the sun, moon, and stars, which God hath ordained; or, rather, look above these to the empyreal throne. Are you capable of admiring grandeur and magnificence?-there it is in the highest degree. This house, built by Zerubbabel, and adorned by Herod, shall be laid waste and left desolate; but that house is eternal, “whose builder and maker is God."

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2. That what they admired, they imagined he must admire also. Thus, they remark, " See what manner of stones, and what buildings are here!" So fine a place attracted their regard, and they might probably hope that it would so far attract, as to engage him to revoke the sentence he had just before pronounced upon it. But what are earthly temples to Him who “meted out the heavens with a span," who himself dwells in unapproachable light, and before whom the seraphim cover their feet and veil their faces? That which is esteemed highly among men is not only vanity, but oftentimes an abomination in the sight of God. The greatest glory of the second temple, and in which indeed it excelled the first, was not what the disciples so much admired, but the personal presence of Christ, by which it was more honoured than by all its embellishments, furniture, and sacrifices. We now proceed,

II. To consider the solemn declaration, “ Verily I say unto you;" I, who am the truth, who know the end from the beginning, who can neither deceive nor be deceived, declare, that of this gorgeous building which you so much admire, “ there shall not be left one stone upon another which shall pressing after the beatific and uninterrupted sight of him in heaven, where they shall enjoy the greatest intimacy with him, without reserve on his part, or slavish fear on theirs ; where they shall be like him, for they shall see him as he is :-“Whom,” says Job, “ I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold him, and not another.” I proceed,

II. To observe, that those who desire to see Christ, do not always take right methods to obtain their end. Thus it was with his mother and brethren. They stood without; and while they did so, they were not likely to be favoured in the manner they wished for. And something like this takes place with respect to the seekers of Christ in every age; which may be illustrated in the following particulars.

1. Some, through an improper humility or servile dread, keep at a distance from Christ, even when they have earnest desires to see him ; which desires will never be answered without nearer approaches to him. Fain would they come to him, and throw themselves at his feet; but a sense of their own guilt and of his greatness is an insurmountable obstacle; they must be possessed of some qualifications which are at present wanting, be more humble and abased, or put off their prison clothes, and be better adorned. Thus, though they would give a thousand worlds for Christ, yet, in their present condition, they cannot believe that any attempts to reach him would be successful, or that he would deign to look upon such wretches as they have been, and still think themselves to be. They cannot imagine that he can love what is unlovely, and, therefore, say as Peter, “ Depart from me, for I am a sinful man;" or with the centurion, “ Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof.” This is not humility, but infidelity; for the grand question is not, are we worthy? but, are we willing?

2. Others seek Christ in duties and ordinances, in the streets and broad-ways, when they ought to seek him in their own closets. They seek him abroad, but not at home; whereas the kingdom of Christ is within us; and

where should the king be but in his kingdom? Thus, the apostle, speaking of himself

, says, “ Yet not I, but Christ liveth in me;" and, addressing himself to the Colossian believers, he says, “ Christ in you, the hope of glory.” If many Christians, who are looking for Christ in their closets and in the sanctuary, or going from minister to minister, saying, “ Saw ye him whom my soul loveth?" would but look within them, and converse more with their own hearts, there it is possible they might trace his image, and find some sure evidences of his grace and love.

3. Others, again, seek Christ out of the church, who ought to seek him in it. Like the persons in my text, they stand without, desiring to see him. They seek him, it is true; but not after the due order, or in his own way. They have terrifying apprehensions of church membership, and dread as much to come to the table of the Lord, as the children of Israel did to come to the mountain that burned with fire. Sometimes they fear that they shall not give satisfaction to the religious society with which they may propose to join; at other times, that they shall dishonour a profession, if they make it, and bring reproach both upon religion and its blessed Author. Thus they go mourning from day to day, and many of their complaints are chargeable upon their own negligence and folly. In vain do they wish to see Christ, who will not go where he is to be seen. That is suitable advice to one in this situation, “ If thou know not, (that is, where to meet with him whose absence thou mournest, and for whom thou declarest so great an esteem,) go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherds' tents."

In a word, let us be instructed, from what has been said, earnestly to seek Christ, but to seek him in that way in which we are most likely to succeed; and not cease seeking, though, like the woman of Canaan, or the persons in my text, we may meet with a seeming repulse. A sight of Christ by faith here, much more a sight of Christ in glory

SERMON XII.

ON THE DESTRUCTION OF THE TEMPLE.

MATTHEW Xxiv. 2.

And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things ? verily I say

unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

When Christ was leaving the temple, the disciples not knowing whether he would return thither again, took this opportunity of showing him the external beauty and elegance of that building, which was well-proportioned and magnificent, enriched with the spoils of conquest and the presents of princes—the pride of the Jewish nation, and justly esteemed one of the wonders of the world. In the words before us, we have what Christ said to them

upon

this occasion; and they contain an instructive question, and a solemn declaration.

I. An instructive question :-See ye not all these things; these goodly stones, this stately fabric, this masterpiece of architecture? This was certainly meant as a reproof ;-

1. That they so much admired it. It was a temple made with hands, and, though a noble structure, having been lately repaired, enlarged, and beautified, by Herod, who is said to have employed ten thousand workmen for eight whole years about it, yet fell far short of that built by Solomon, and was not in the least comparable to the heavenly temple, where God is worshipped day and night, and which is eminently enlightened with his glory. It is, then, as if he

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