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blow upon it; and why? faith the Lord of hosts: because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man to his own house: therefore the Heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit. And I wish there was not reason to make this melancholy application to ourselves: Hath there any one ever yet returned home from this place in peace, to enjoy the blessings of his native land, with the fruits of his labours, since the time that this House of God hath lain waste? For from the least to the greatest every one is given to covetousness, and from the Prophet to the Priest every one hath dealt very treacheroufly. Jer. vi. 13.
But whatever judgments of reproach or poverty the long neglect of this sacred building, almost for the space of thirty years, hath brought upon our nation, our forefathers or ourselves, surely the rebuilding of it, in the best manner we are able, is the likeliest means of averting God's anger, and of bringing variety of blessings upon us, and our posterity after us. And therefore upon us it lies to see that it be done; upon us, I say, who have the greatest share and interest in the benefit; and this, I hope, will be inducement sufficient to go and set about this necessary work; which was the second thing proposed to be considered; namely,
II. The encouragement here proposed for the doing this work, For the Lord is with thee. And what greater encouragement could we wish for or desire, than to have the Lord on our side: for if he be for us, who can be against us? The Lord is my light, and my salvation, faith the Royal PsalmiRi'ivhom then shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom then shall I be afraid? God's favour is our greatest happiness, and his loving
kindness kindness better than the life itself. His mercy usually entails a blessing upon his people, and his faithfulness remains upon children's children; it affords the most comfortable assurance of happiness in this life, and will be the very perfection of our enjoyments in the next.
For God is not unrighteous to forget such works and labour of love; and when he is pleased with us, what may we not hope for or expect from him ? AH these blessings shall come upon thee, and overtake thee, saich Moses, speaking to the children of Israel; is thou shall hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God: blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field: blessed jhall be the fruit os thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, the fruit os thy cattle, the increase os thy kinc, and the flocks of thy sheep: blessed shall be thy basket, and blessed shall be thy store: blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out. Deut. xxviii. z, 3, 4, 5, 6.
These and many more such blessings are promised to obedience in general, and therefore may well be expected from this shining instance of it, our charity in particular; and of all the gracious promises made to recommend charity in general, this of building and repairing Churches is in the highest degree the most commendable and praiseworthy, inasmuch as it is of all others the most excellent sort of it; designed more immediately for the service of God, and coming to us in the name of the Lord.
You have heard of the blessing that attended the ark of God; how the Lord blessed the house of Obed-edom, and all that pertained unto him, because of the ark of God, which remained in his house; and if the receiving of the ark of God into his house was so well-pleasing in his sight,
how much more acceptable may we suppose the building an house for its reception and use?
But who is able, says Solomon, to build an house for God; seeing the Heaven, and the Heaven of Heavens cannot contain him? much less that house which he had built for him, though the most magnificent in all the world. But since it pleased God, out of mere love and condescension tomankind, to have his Temple here on earth, and to place his name there; this was what induced that wise king in erecting that glorious and stately fabrick, to make up in ornament what it wanted in extent; and, since it was in vain he saw, to enlarge its dimensions, he resolved to adorn it fy much the more with richness, and beauty, and excellency of workmanship.
Now, though we cannot pretend to parallel those great and shining examples of Moses his Tabernacle or Solomon's Temple, either in splendor or magnificence, yet still we may in some proportionate degree imitate their zeal and affection, for God's honour, by a pious emulation to the utmost of our abilities; our honest endeavours will prove never the worse for having so bright an example before us: for acts of charity, and other good works, like the sacrifices of old, are accepted, not according to the value of the offering, but according to the ability and good will of the offerer; the person under the law, who was not able to bring a lamb, was to bring two turtles or two young pigeons; and in building the Tabernacle, goats hair and badgers skins were an offering sufficient from those who had not wherewithal to give more; according to this fame rule of proportion, the widow's two mites, we read of in the gospel, were looked upon as a greater present than all the offerings of the rich put together; For
all they did cast in of their abundance into the treasury \ but she of her want did cast in all that Jhe had, even all her living. Markxxi. 44.
So that if there be first a willing mind, which all may have, and none can be without, it is accepted according to what a man hath, and not according to what he hath not; a willing mind, I say, for that is. the life and soul of benefactions; it is that which conquers all difficulties, and renders all excuses vain. And, since St Paul assures us, that God proportions the quality of the blessing to the quantity of the gift, this should also encourage us to do all that ever we can in this matter, and even to straiten ourselves to do God service, when need shall so require it: For he that soweth sparingly shall reap sparingly, and he that foweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully; but let every man do according as he is disposed in his heart, not grudgingly, or of necessity, but willingly and cheerfully, for God loveth a cheerful giver: we need not be afraid of losing any thing laid out after this manner; for we have the best security, when God himself stands bound for it, and is engaged for the payment; it is laying up in store a portion for hereafter, and a good foundation for the time to come.
Moreover, we see the usefulness of good works, in that they conduce both to the honour of God, and the interest of our religion; to God's honour, by promoting his service and worship; to the interest of our religion, by preventing any causeless separation from its communion; it is also a credit and advantage to the whole island, inasmuch as religion is, or ought to be, the chief concern and business of our whole lives; and when there is such a convenient provision made for the free and open profession of it, it will be an encouragement to trade,
and $lt\& a public indication of our faith and integrity. Besides, it is our surest guard and defence against Popery, and a most powerful argument and bulwark against Dissenters; a place of continual resort in prosperity, and our greatest safe-guard in time of adversity.
If ever, therefore, we expect to see this island flourish and increase in honour, Wealth, and power; if ever we hope for God's mercy and protection, or desire the light of his countenance to shine either upon our counsels or endeavours, but families or ourselves, may We date these blessings from the day that the foundation of this Church is laid? and may this Blessing, not confined to time or place, diffuse itself beyond the circle of this royal settlement unto the neighbouring factories round about us! may their merchants carry out little, and bring in much; and when they have brought it home, may God breathe upon it, and multiply it exceedingly!
Then may we fay with holy David; Thouflialt arise, 0 Lord, and have mercy upon Sicn: for it is time that thou have mercy upon her; yea the time is come-, and why? even because thy servants think Upon her stones, and it pitieth them to fee her in the dust. Then shall the heathen sear thy Name, U Lord, and all the kings of the earth thy majesty; even when the Lord shall build up Sion, and when his Glory shall appear. This /hall be written for a memorial of us to those that come aster, and the people which shall be born shall praise theLord, Psal. cii. 13—18.
In a word; may those be exalted to the highest degree of glory, and shine forth as stars of the first magnitude, that shall be thus happily instrumental in promoting God's honour, in converting men from the error of their way?, and in