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sinking it into the depths of despair, and I still Jesus appears to the eye of faith, and the blackness of darkness for ever seems shines upon the soul with undiminished to have already set in, so that all hope of brightness, yea with encreasing power, to being saved is taken away,–0 how sweet cheer and illuminate the passage of the is the first view that is caught of this saint into his vast'unseen dominions, that “ bright and morning star,” rising in mild lie beyond the confines of mortality.-serenity, beaming forth that grateful light This is another blessed truth implied in which gives life to the soul! How this appellation which our Lord assumed, quieting to the distressed spirit, that is He is the hope of glory. As the morning anxiously looking round for deliverance, star is the certain harbinger of approachis that invitation, “come unto me and I ing day, which then is surely drawing will give you rest:”_how encouraging to near ; so the Lord, having appeared once the fearful and hesitating penitent is the in the end of the world to put away sin assurance, “him that cometh to me I by the sacrifice of himself, being by the will in no wise cast out.”
right hand of God exalted and crowned Surely the glory and beauty of the with glory and honour, we have therein Lord_his suitableness to our wants, his an assurance and pledge that he will power to save us, and his willingness to bring many sons unto glory : “ if I go and receive us the unsearchable riches of prepare a place for you, I will come again his grace, the kindness of his condescen- and receive you to myself, that where I sion,-his love which passeth knowledge, am, there ye may be also,” for “ if we be bis compassion and faithfulness,--his planted together in the likeness of his justice, his wisdom, and his holiness, death, we shall be also in the likeness of form altogether an assemblage of perfec- his resurrection.” “ Beloved, now are we tions before which every created excel the sons of God, and it doth not yet aplence sinks into obscurity, and shine pear what we shall be, but we know that forth so plainly in his word, that nothing when he shall appear, we shall be like but the blindness of men's hearts, veiled him, for we shall see him as he is.” All and hardened by the god of this world, our expectations for eternity hang upon can account for their not discerning and him,-on him only,_0 how constantly rejoicing in this light.
then should our thoughts turn to him, During the whole course of the be- and dwell upon him, that we may feel liever's voyage through the waves of this our security, and long for the enjoyment troublesome world, this “morning star” of his presence. is to be the guide of his way, on which And is there no practical instruction his eye is to be constantly fixed, “look- | bearing upon our present conduct and ing unto Jesus,” both for encouragement deportment, in this name which our and direction, that so he may neither | Lord has given himself ? Surely there faint nor wander. And when in the hour is. When he calls himself “the bright of death the day of eternity is breaking and morning star,” is it not as much upon the departing spirit, and all the as to say,--you are living at day-break glittering objects that engage attention in the night is far spent, knowing therethis world are fading before that light, 'fore the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep, cast off the works , at the break of day! and that “the day of darkness, and put on the armour of of Christ.” This is “ man's day.”light, for now is your salvation nearer“ With me,” said the apostle, (1 Cor. than when you believed. “They that sleep iv. 3.) “it is a very small thing to be sleep in the night, and they that be judged of you or of man's judgment,” in drunken are drunken in the night,” but, is the margin 'man's day.' This is man’s day, it for you in whose hearts the day-star is but “the day of Christ” is coming. When already shining, is it for you to say with it shall burst upon us, no human mind can the sluggard, “ a little more sleep and a determine, for it is not given to us to little more slumber, a little more folding know,—but we are permitted and taught of the hands unto sleep." Arise, shine, to ask the Lord to hasten it, and daily to for thy light is come, and the glory of say “thy kingdom come.” The prayers the Lord is rising upon thee ! Shake off of his people will at last be answered, and the heaviness that weighs down your eye- soon all the darkness that mixes with lids, and oppresses your powers of service, every present dispensation shall be and satiate the eye of faith with the removed; and the glories of our Recontemplation of Christ's beauty, and deemer and his salvation shall be finally elevate the desires of your heart by the and fully disclosed. As we are advancing expectation of his kingdom and glory. nearer and nearer, let us be more ready
And you who have never yet given in the state of our hearts, and in the one look of faith to Christ, ‘arise and frame of our minds; waiting with behold this bright and morning star. The spirits more conformed to the nature of things which are esteemed great among the glorious objects which we then expect men, appear so ouly through ignorance, to be partakers of. Let us look forward and in the darkness of this world. and realize the prospect, till its sanctifying “ Arise from the dead and Christ shall effects are experienced, and we are pregive thee light,"_light, that will dispel pared to behold him as he is, in all bis the shades of ignorance that becloud your unveiled excellency, with open face, understanding—that will dissipate the without a cloud to intercept, throughout mists of impurity that defile and chill the eternity. “ Now, blessed for ever be the soul—that will remove the gloom which God of Israel, through whose tender mercy overhangs your eternal destiny, and the day spring from on high hath visited brighten the prospect of an endless exist- us, to give light to them that sit in darkence,“ Christ will give you light.”. ness and in the shadow of death, to guide
O what at thought is it that we are living our feet into the way of peace !"
PREACHED ON THE DAY WHEN THE CHURCH OF HOLLYMOUNT, PARISH OF Down, DIOCESE OF DOWN, WAS FIRST OPENED FOR THE CELEBRATION
OF DIVINE SERVICE,
ON SUNDAY, MARCH 1st, 1840,
BY THE REV. THOMAS DREW, A.B.
(Incumbent of Christ Church, Belfast.)
Ezekiel xlvii. 8. _These waters issue out towards the East country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea, which being brought forth into the sea, the waters are healed."
Here is a condescension of God mani- | There is a blessing promised to the study fested in his Bible, which is not to be of prophecy; nevertheless, in the study overlooked. Man cannot comprehend of unfulfilled prophecy, we are to be God-in his natural state, he is unwilling enquirers rather than expounders-exto contemplate God-in his converted pectants, rather than dogmatists. The state, he cannot of himself by searching Jews had great reverence for prophecy : find out God God condescends to this special portion of Ezekiel, namely, man—the mind of man, illumined by | the vision of the holy temple and holy grace, obtains certain perceptions of God, waters, was regarded as a thing of mysteand of the truths of God—still man, in ry; no Jew was permitted to read it until his highest spiritual state, is a debtor to he was of the age of 30 years. To the Jew the condescension of God ;-the most was the prophecy delivered in the most powerful intellect—the most refined un- gloomy season of the captivity, being derstanding—the wisest, fairest, and most twelve years before Jehoiachin was denoble, is but as a child before God- livered from his captivity in Babylon by God stoops to save and to instruct-and Evil-Merodach. To the Jew, then, and “ the fear of the Lord is the beginning of to both Jew and Christian now, the proknowledge.”
phecy is important; we cannot fully · God's condescension is manifested, in interpret it—but we can derive much the attractive measures to which he has edification from it-it is presented in recourse, in order to obtain the attention most attractive language and similitude. of man,-God speaking by his dear Son In order to meditate upon it aright, says, “ Behold the lilies of the field.” we must refer to the 40th chapter of God uses similitudes and parables to Ezekiel; from this chapter to the end of arouse attention, and to stimulate to the book of Ezekiel, is one continued enquiry : his use of prophecy is for a vision--the measurements and arrangesimilar purpose—fulfilled prophecy is ments of a temple similar to Solomon's, the seal and proof of his truth and love. but of greater extent and uses, are brought Unfulfilled prophecy is the type of God before us ;-if, as some assert, this new himself—it is mysterious-awful--sure. temple was to be more spacious than the entire city of the old Jerusalem, and the mony of the internal arrangements of the new Jerusalem, here spoken of, to be the church—he may say how fair—how more spacious than all the land of Ca- splendid—how beautiful-how spacious ! naan, the whole vision of this prophecy would we be right to day, if we give our atmust be figurative-it cannot, by any pos- tention merely to the edifice, and overlook sibility, be understood literally. | the great Indweller? Shall we in com
Seven chapters having been occupied punction hereafter say, “ Surely the Lord in the description of the intended spiritual was there, and I knew it not ? Yea, rather, temple, in the eighth (which is the 47th | let us now say, “ the Lord is in his holy chapter of Ezekiel) we are introduced to temple, let all the earth keep silence bea remarkable adjunct of the temple_ fore him!” If you make this mistake (a read from Ist verse to 12th verse. This fearful mistake in the present day), prizing strange, abundant, and enriching stream
the husk above the kernel_attending to of waters is thus described in the text: details, and losing sight of principles “ These waters issue out towards the East Aattered by novelty, and dazzled by country, and go down into the desert, architectural beauty, you will be as Ezeand go into the sea-brought forth into kiel ; and Ezekiel is a warning to the the sea, the waters shall be healed.” preacher especially, for you read in the
The goodness of God and the riches 40th chapter, 4th verse, that Ezekiel was of his grace, are here pourtrayed; how- brought to see, and know, that he might ever men may differ in the interpretation teach others—“declare all that thou seest of the prophecy, all will agree that there to the house of Israel.” In the next verse, is designated here a "mighty outgoing save one, we
| save one, we read, that Ezekiel was of blessing.” That we may be enabled to
brought to the gate, or door, of the attain profit in our consideration of the
temple, and being engaged in surveying subject, let us enquire
what was beautiful and architecturally 1. Whence do those blessings flow.
grand, even while the threshold was mea2. Whither do they flow, and to what
sured, he did not see what was at the end ?
threshold at his very feet, even that which 3. Our duty in acknowledging and
was of more importance than the temple cherishing them.
itself : refer now to the 47th chapter 1st I. FROM WHENCE DO THESE BLESSINGS
verse, “ Afterward he brought me AGAIN FLOW ?
unto the door of the house, and beBishop Ken's hymn answers the ques
hold waters issued out from under the tion
threshold of the house eastward." He “Praise God from whom all blessings flow!"
might have passed the door repeatedly
before, but it was not till now he per“ Every good and every perfect gift, ceived the tricklings of a little stream is from above, and cometh down from rising from the threshold of the temple ; the Father of lights !” Man is slow to its origin, or source, was unknownperceive-slow to acknowledge this; he coming from the temple and rising from may be attentive to the beautiful exterior the ground, its origin was mysterious—its of the church or temple, or to the har- derivation was referable to God: such a
stream was not connected with Solomon's | Spirit of God can do, and will do, when temple—it is true, a stream of water was once permitted to go forth from a temple turned into it to cleanse the sacrifices and reared to the glory of God. By what purify the temple, but the stream which a speaking lesson was Ezekiel taught? Ezekiel witnessed, was not flowing into His heavenly guide led him forth along the temple, but flowing from it. The that fair, and growing, and mysterious stream was the Spirit of God vouchsafed stream (3rd verse) measuring as he went to man through the atoning merits of one thousand cubits; and then he and Jesus. The Spirit of God dwells in the Ezekiel crossed the stream to the opchurch, and goes forth from the church posite side, at which time of crossing, to the vallies and the mountains—to the the water only reached their ankles. In mansions and cottages of the land : the the 4th verse we read, the heavenly Spirit of God went forth from Jerusalem architect measured one thousand cubits as the infantine tricklings of a mountain more; they re-crossed the stream to the spring, blessing man while yet man was opposite bank, and now found that the scarce conscious of its existence :-how waters had risen to the knees; another little is this well-spring of life noticed ? like measurement, and the river was how few look upon a church in this crossed once more, at which time the beautiful light ?—the waters of God rapidly encreasing waters had reached to bubbling forth, rushing out at the door, the loins; once more there is a measureand swelling and brightening 'over the ment one thousand cubits, when Ezekiel moral landscape, till the whole city of declares in the 5th verse, “it was a God shouts for joy: and so it is a doleful river I could not pass over, for the consequence, when men notice not the waters were risen-waters to swim in-a existence of the spiritual blessing—they river that could not be passed over !" prize it not—they know not its power Here is wisdom !-here is the type of its out-goings_its blessings. To day a Gospel going forth over a wide world we want Christ to be present in the a Gospel abounding—incomprehensible, temple-we want the mysterious Spirit and still developing deeper and deeper to arise and burst forth upon the land blessings! Here is wisdom and the type we hope yet to go forth and trace it of a Gospel preached in the house of yea, it may be already traced here in the God—the Spirit accompanying it—the assembly of the people of God, some of conversion of souls increasing—the mani, whom, connected with this happy con- festation of sanctification developing itself gregation, have already found Christ more and more through the surrounding precious, and the Spirit precious to their lands. Here is wisdom! for thus does souls ! The well-spring of life which grace begin in the heart of the humble Ezekiel saw, sprang forth spontaneous follower of the Lord : at first scarcely and unimpeded in its course ; but Ezekiel, felt--scarcely perceptible—then growing and all who read this prophecy, were to and filling the bosom ; the Spirit of be taught a lesson, namely, not to under-adoption witnessing with his spirit that he rate the Spirit of God-nay, to set no is God's dear child-until, at length, his bounds to their expectations of what the peace is as a river," and he is filled