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become my salvation; he is my God, and I will prepare him an HABITATION—my father's God, and I will exalt him.” Scarcely had the echoes of that anthem of joy died away midst the mountain peaks of the “pass” that led down to the deep, ere the tabernacle was planted. The altar (though a rude one) was owned and blessed of Jehovah ; the people were honored ; and the wilderness of “Shur” became henceforth, for forty years, the place of God's encampment upon earth.
But when Jerusalem was builded, then the temple was also demanded. While Jacob dwelt in tents, God, in his tabernacle-making manifest his presence by the pillar of cloud and firedwelt with them. But when Jacob went up from the desert to dwell in palaces, a palace for Jehovah was also required; and Solomon the king, who was deputed its builder, received both the plan and the direction for its accomplishment from God himself. When the temple was finished, the “Shekinah” of acceptation, which filled the place, attested the Divinity of the cause and the high approval of heaven. In this the Jews performed a solemn obligation which rested upon them. The same obligation pow rests upon all people—that is, to make the house of God to correspond, both in elegance of structure and beauty of adorning, with those in which they dwell themselves. There can be no better guide to what should constitute a right standard of Christian beneficence—no better rule to be observed in reference to what God requires for the appointments of his service, as regards « the Church he has purchased with his own blood”. than to make the proportionate measure, according to the allowances made for private and domestic uses. This was the graduating scale among the Jews, who were required to give one-tenth of all their gains to the service of the altar. The same law- the law of tithes-exists in some countries still. But a tenth part is not now required to meet the demand—a far less proportion would be sufficient; nay, a tithe of the tithe, if promptly paid in, and faithfully administered, would do away with the inconvenience of poor church houses, and drive indigence from the doors of every respectable congregation. And yet the rule should be the same. If God requires less from the world than in former years, it is not because of the increasing merit of mankind, but of his own amazing goodness—the munificence of his great mercy. A pleasant illustration (and profitable also) of this doctrine (and which in its turn is likewise symbolic of the progress and requirement of the aggregated Methodism of the present time) is presented in the history of this society, and the erection of this beautiful house. When Methodism was small in the city and the town, and few of the wealthy and the great of the land honored its altars with their gifts, or its pales with their presence, then the the “ former house-the Tabernacle*-was all that was required to supply the need. God then and there honored his name and his cause in the conversion of many souls ; some of whom yet linger upon the shores of time, as ancient waymarks in the pathway to heaven-connecting links betwixt the past and the future, and unto whom the present finger of historic observation points, and says, 6. This and that man were born there.” But when numbers and wealth increased; when Methodism, no longer puny and despised, laid off her ancient and distinctive garb, (how great the pity!) and the Nicodemuses of the world, and of kindred “Sanhedrims,” came in to inquire of “the better way,” not only in night, but also in the broad day;" then this “latter house" (the Templet) was demanded to be built. In obe dience to the requirement, and by the liberal interference of one who was the original benefactor of the former house, and whose name is almost a synonym for active benevolence, in every direction, both of public and private philanthrophy, the structure rose, which now stands alike an honor to progressive Methodism, and an ornament to the City of the West.
But shall “ the glory of this latter house be in truth greater than that of the former,” and will the God of Jacob here give peace ?|| So may it be. Religion, it is true, does not consist in fashions and in forms, but in the demonstration of the spirit and the power of God. There may be no specific Christianity in an humble house, a close bonnet, or a straight-breasted coat, it is likely; and yet the association which they had with deep piety and fervent zeal for God, in the days of our fathers and our mothers, makes them pleasant to the eye of the mind, when memory is busy in its filial retrospect. The modern heart, hidden in the midst of fleecy clouds of lace, and overwhelmed with billowy folds of “crinoline,” MAY feel, and the arm robed in silks and satins may be strong, as if clothed in humble garb; and yet it will require an effort, when (through faith) such ones stand by the manger at the inn, and look upon the babe of Bethlehem, or by the cross, or by the sepulchre, to forget their costly and proud attire. Better leave it off.
The old 4th street Church. First M. E. Church South.
1 Col. John O'Fallon, who gave the ground.
|| Hagg. ii, 2.
There was an untrammeled freedom -- a power—in the simplicity of original Methodism, which it is to be feared has not gained by its alliance with the too fashionable world. “ Watch and pray, then-oh, watch and pray—that ye enter not into temptation.” Let not the grandeur of your house, nor the splendor of your equipage, nor the costliness of your attire, steal away your affections from the cross of Christ; but be humble and be faithful, as in the days of your former house. Then peace will be given here, to you and to your children; “and of Zion it shall be said that this and that man was born in her.” May it so come to pass! Here, in after years, when the scenes of the present, and their actors, have passed away from the memories of the living, may shouts of gladness rise from new-born souls, in the midst of this sacred altar, which is now consecrated, in perpetual sacrifice, to the service of the living God. And may the Divinity of the cause and place be the constant inspiration of both the progress and the result. Then, if those who go hence are permitted to know what is passing here, there will be joy in heaven, not only with the angels of God, because of the conversion of sinners, but with the saints of the Most High, also, in their blessed retreat. And thus joy will necessarily be increased by the knowledge of the pious benefits received by their posterity, from the works which they did while they were yet upon the earth. « Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.
For they rest from their labors, and their works do follow
Reader, HAVE FAITI IN GOD!
Rev. xiv, 13.
DEVOTEDNESS TO CHRIST.*
BY REV. BISHOP PIERCE.
" For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord ; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live, therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.”-Romans xiv, 7, 8.
The spirit of Christianity is essentially a public spirit. It ignores all selfishness. It is benevolence embodied and alive, full of plans for the benefit of the world, and actively at work to make them effective. Catholic, generous, expansive, it repudiates all the boundaries prescribed by names, and sects, and parties, and stretches its line into the regions beyond,” even to the uttermost parts of the earth. The world is its parish. Its wishes are commensurate with the moral wants of mankind; and the will of God, who gave
His Son to die for us sinners and our salvation, is the authority for its labors and the pledge of its triumphs.
It is the policy of every form of infidelity and speculative unbelief, and of every false religion, to depreciate and undervalue the nature of man. They despoil him of his true glory by their chilling, preposterous theories, even while they affect to magnify him by fulsome eulogy of his intellect and its capacious powers. By false notions of personal independence, they isolate him from his kind, and the sensibilities which Heaven intended should flow out free as the gushing spring, they contract and stagnate, till the heart grows rank and putrid with its own corruptions. But while our holy religion exalts man as made in the image of God, the head and chief of the system to which he belongs, and thus invests the individual with dignity and value vast and incalculable, far, far beyond “ worlds on worlds arrayed,” it yet links him in closest fellowship with the kindred of his race. For him the ground yields its increase, the sun shines, the stars beam in beauty, the winds blow, the waters run. Earth, air, and ocean are all astir with agencies commissioned to do him good;
"A Sermon preached in McKendree Church, Nashville, Tennessee, April 15, 1855, in memory of the late William Capers, D.D., ODC of the Bishops of the M. E. Church, South.