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union, perhaps, no motive influenced Hiram beyond that of securing amity with a powerful monarch for mere political purposes; but that which had its origin in a desire to promote national good or greatness, God was pleased to ordain to give to his ancient church and to the world a lively emblem of the union which should exist in the fulness of time between his own people and the outcasts of the earth, when “in Jesus Christ there should be neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ should be all, and in all ;" * when all nations converted to Christianity should unite to erect a spiritual house for God, and kings be nursing fathers to the church. p
The temple was an advance upon the taber
III. In regard to the circumstances under which the two places were raised.
Generally when the Israelites set up the tabernacle they were wanderers in the wilderness, and exposed to enemies who were ever ready to attack them on every side, and no doubt they would often be interrupted in its erection, and in their worship; but at the time the temple was erected, all was quietness and repose, and the kingdom of Israel was enjoying the most happy period of its history.
In this respect the house of God erected by Solomon was a very striking type of the Gospel temple, which is to be reared in a season of peace. Christ, to whom the glorious work is committed, is the Prince of Peace. To effect * Col. iii. 11.
† Isa. xlix. 23.
a reconciliation between God and his offending creation, was the great design for which his incarnation and death took place, and peace is the inestimable blessing which he bestows among the children of men.
It is true of the tabernacle, that its parts were so exactly prepared and fitted that comparatively little labour was required to set it up whenever God might give command for its erection, but what is very remarkable in the temple, considering its dimensions, and the size of its materials, it was finished without the noise of axe or hammer. *
In like manner the spiritual temple—the church of Christ on earth, is being builded in the most unostentatious manner; hence he said, “ The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you." +
The temple was an advance upon the tabernacle,
IV. As respects the superiority of its worship; for though in both places this was substantially the same, that conducted in the latter was on many accounts of a higher order than that of the former.
As to the proportion which the different parts of the service of God performed in the tabernacle bore to each other, we have no means of judging. It is most probable, however, from what we do know, that sacrificing engaged the chief attention, while all the other employments * 1 Kings vi. 7.
+ Luke xvii. 20, 21.
were such as to agree with the gross state of the minds of those for whom they were appointed. That of the temple, however, though not altogether free from much that had belonged to the former edifice, was far more spiritual in its character. It was dedicated by a prayer of remarkable piety and power, and on account of the devotional exercises which were there to be performed, was emphatically called “the house of prayer,
,"* and while the services of the former edifice were restricted almost exclusively to Israelites, the temple was the resort of all, without distinction. And there, especially, the presence of Christ was found many of his miracles performed, and his devotional services presented.
In this respect the temple was not only an improvement upon the tabernacle, and connected with a better state of things in regard to the worship of God than had existed in former years, but it was the emblem and pledge of that spiritual service which is to characterize the church of Christ on earth; especially in the latter days, and the perfection with which it will be conducted in heaven. It was to this difference of worship that Christ referred when conversing with the woman of Samaria. He said, “God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” Since, therefore, prayer is superior to sacrifice, and spirituality of worship more suited to the nature of the Deity than any ritual performances can be, the temple excelled the tabernacle. The same is true
* Matt. xxi. 13.
V. Of its perpetuity:
Unlike the tabernacle, which was local and designed for frequent removal, the temple was an erection of a durable nature, calculated to defy the ravages of ages, and to perpetuate the worship of God from one generation to another. It was of this place that God said, “This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.”* But it is true in a much higher sense of the Gospel temple, concerning which he has declared, “For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee." Those goodly stones collected by Solomon, which were so much the wonder and admiration of the Apostles, and with which they sought to astonish their Lord and master, # are now no longer left one upon another, and Zion has long since been ploughed as a field. § But of that church of which Zion was a type, it is still true that “God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.”|| Nor ought we to forget,
VI. The appearance which the two places presented, and the interest they excited.
It is true that the tabernacle was composed of the most costly materials; but still compared with other erections, with which the Israelites were not altogether unacquainted, its appearance must have been mean; but the temple was a magnificent structure, to which the world had * Psa. cxxxii. 14. + Isa. liv. 9. I Matt. xxiv. 1. § Jer. xxv. 18.
|| Psa. xlvi. 5.
not contained anything similar, and in the same manner, in which the latter of these excelled the former in appearance, so does the Gospel temple that by which it was preceded; of this it may be said in the truest sense, “ Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great king."