« AnteriorContinuar »
the churches of Christ, Open your hearts for hea. ven, be ye enlarged upwards.
I read not in fcripture of any house, but this, that was thus enlarged upwards, nor is there any where, save only in the church of God, that which doch answer this fimilitude.
All other are wid ft downward, and have the -largest heart for earthly things: the church only is widest upwards, and has its greatest enlargements towards heaven.
Of the out ward Glory of the Temple. I
DO also think, that as to this, there was a
great expression in it: I mean, a voice of God, a voice that teacheth the New Testament chureh to carry even conviction in her outward usages, that, I say, might give conviction to the world! And, besides this of its enlarging upwards, there was such an outward beauty and glory put upon it, as was alluring to beholders ; the stones was cu. siously carved, and excellently joined together; its outward shew was white and glittering, to the daz. zling of the eyes of beholders ; yea, the disciples themselves were taken with it, it was fo admirable to behold. Hence it is said, they came to Christ to thew him the building of the temple : “ Master, faid they, see what manner of stones, and what buildings are here,” Matth: xxiv. 1. Mark xiii. 1. Luke xxi. 5. And hence it is faid, that kings, and the mighty of the earth, were taken with the glory of it! * B cause of thy temple at Jerufalem, fall kings brings prefents unto thee;" as it is, Plal.
Kings, Gentile kings, they shall be fo taken with the light of the outward glory of it; for they were not fuff red to go into it ; no uscircumcised were aduiited in thither. It was therefore with the out.
Ixvili. 29, 31.
ward glory of it, with which the beholders were thus taken,
Her enlarging upward, as that was to fhew ug what the inward affections of Christians should be, Col. iji, 1, 2, 3. ; fo her curious outward adorning and beauty was a figure of the beauteous and holy conversation of the godly. And it is brave, when the world are made to say of the lives and conver• sations of faints, as they were made to say of the stones and outward buildings of the temple : “ Be. hold, what Christians, and what goodly conver. fations are here ! I say, it is brave, when our light so shines before men, that they, seeing our good works, shall be forced to glorify our Father which is in heaven," Matth. v, 16.
Hence this is called our adorning, wherewith we adorn the gospel, and that by which we beautify it, Tit. ii, 10.
This, I say, is taking to beholders, as was this goodly outside of the temple. And without this what is to be seen in the church of God ? Her infide cannot be seen by the world, but her outside may Now, her outside is very homely, and with : out all-beauty, fave that of the holy life; this only is her visible godliness. " This puts to silence the ignorance of foolish men.” This allureth others to fall in love with their own salvation, and makes them fall in with Christ against the devil and his kingdom,
C H A P. XX.
of the Porch of the Temple. WE
E come next to the porch of the temple,
that is commonly called Solomon's.. 1. This porch was in the front of the house, and so became the common way into the temple, 1 Kings vi. 3. % Chron. iii.
4 2. This porch ther fore was the place of reception in common for all, whether Jews or religious
profelytes, who came to Jerusalem to worship, Acts iii, II. v. 12.
3. This porch had a door or gate belonging to it, but such as was seldom Thut, except in declining tipies, or when men put themselves into a rage against those better than themselves, 2 Chron. xxix. 7. Acts xxi. 28, 29, 30,
4. 'l he gate of this porch was called Beautiful, even the beautiful
of the temple, and was that at which the lame lay to beg for an alms of them that went in thither to worship, Acts iii. 1, 2, 10,
Now then, since this porch was the common place of reception for all worshippers, and the place also where they laid the beggars, it looks as if it were to be a type of the church's bofom for charity, Here the profelytes were entertained, here the beggars were relieved, and received alms. These gates were seldom Nut; and the houses of Christian compallion thould be always open. This therefore beau. tified this gate, as charity beautifies any of the churches. Largeness of heart, ard tender compas. fion at the church door, is excellent; it is the bond of perfectness, Cor. xii ult, xiii. 1. ii, 3, 4. Heb. xiii, 1, 2, 3. John v. 6, 7. Col. iii. 14.
The church-porch to this day is a place for beggars, and perhaps this practice at first was borrowed from the beggars lying at the temple-gate. This porch was large, and fo should the charity of the churches be, It was for length the breadth of the temple, and of the fame fize with the holiest of all, 1 Kings vi: 3. 2 Chron. jii. 4 - 8,
The firit might be to teach us, in charity we fhould not be nigardly, but, according to the breadth of our ability, we should extend it to all the houde; and that in our so doing, the very emblem of hea. ven is upon us, of which the holiest was a figure ; “ As therefore we have opportunity, let us do good to all,” c. It is a fine ornament to a true church, to have a
large church-porch, or a wide bosom for reception of all that come thither to worship. This was commanded to the Jews, and their glory shone when they did accordingly : “And it shall come to pass, in what place the stranger fojourneth, there thall ye give him his inheritance, faith the Lord God,” Ezek. xlvii. 23.
This porch was, as I said, not only, for length, the breadth of the temple, and so the length and breadth of the holiest ; but it was, if I mistake not, for height far higher than them both. For the holy place was but thirty cubits high, and the most holy but twenty ; but the porch was in height an hundred and twenty cubits. This beautiful porch therefore was four times as high as was the temple itself, 1 Kings vi. 2, 20, 2 Chron. iii.
One excellent ornament, therefore, of the temple was, that it had a porch so high, that is, fo fa. mous for height; so high, as to be seen afar off, Charity, if it be rich, runs up from the church like a steeple, and will be seen afar off ; I say, if it be rich, large, and abounds. Chrift's charity was bla. zed abroad ; it was so high, no man could hide it : and the charity of the churches will be seen from church to church, yea, and will be spoken of to their condemnation in every place, if it be warm, fervent, and high, Mark vii, 36. 2 Cor. viii, 24. ix, 2, 3, 14
CH A P.XXI.
belides its height, that was an ornament untoit.
I. It was overlaid within with gold. II. It had the pillars adjoined unto it, lll. ls was the inlet into the temple. First, It was overlaid with gold. .Gold oft-times, was a type of grace, and particularly of the grace of
love. That in Solomon's chariot called gold, is yet again mentioned by the name Love, Song iii. 9, 10. As it is in the church, the grace of love is as gold. It is the greatest, the richest of graces; anci that which abides for ever. Hence, they that thew much love to faints are said to be rich, 1 Tim. vi, 17, 18, 19, And hence charity is called a trealore, a treasure in the heavens, Luke xii. 33, 34. Love is a golden grace; let then the churches, as the porch of the temple was, be inlaid with love as gold.
Secondly, It had the pillars adjoining to it, the which, besides their stateliness, seem to be there iypically, to teach example. For there was seen, by the space of four cubits, their lily-work in the porch, i Kings vii. 19.
Of their lily-work I spike before. Now, that they were so placed, that they might be seen in the porch of the house, it seems to be for example, to teach the church, that the should live without wor'dly care, as did the apostles, the first planters of the church. And let ministers do this, they are now the pillars of the churches, and they itand be. fore the porch of the house ; let them also shew their lily-work to the house, that the church may learn of them to be without carefulness as to worldly things, and also to be rich in love ard charity towards the brethren.
A covetous minister is a base thing, a pillar more fymbolizing Lot's wife, than an holy apostle of Jesus Chrift; let then, fince they stand at the door, and since the eyes of all the porch are upon them, be patterns and examples of good works, 1 Tim. vi, 10, 11, 12. Tit. ii. 7.
Thirdly, Another ornament unto this porch was, that ic was an inlet into the Temple. Charity is it which receiveth orphans, that receive th the poor and afflicted into the church. Worldly love, or that which is carnal, thuts up bowels, yea, and the church.doors too, against the poor of the flock: wherefore look that this kind of love bę never