And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.
THUS does the Prophet Joel declare the blessings which men may expect in the Church of Christ. Mount Zion and Jerusalem are figures of the Church. Jerusalem on earth, before she had committed the sin of crucifying the Son of God, was the type of the Jerusalem which is above, and is the mother of us all, and the type of the Church on earth, of which we still are members. Joel then shows us the blessings which we may find in the Church,--even the blessings of deliverance and salvation: "In mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call." From the Acts of the Apostles we know that Joel is here speaking of the Church. Three verses before he had said, "It shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit. And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered, for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall He deliver us, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call." When was this fulfilled? On the "day of Pentecost," when the Church was "with one accord in one place." Then, as St. Peter tells us, was this prophecy of Joel accomplished.
Great then are the blessings which we may find in the Church. This house, being set apart as holy to the Lord, is a place in which God has recorded His name; and He hath said, "In all places where I record my name, I will come unto thee and bless thee." The same promise is made by our Lord to Christians. He hath said, "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." Great then are the blessings which, as members of Christ's body, we may expect in this His house: even salvation, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit; or rather, the gifts of the Holy Spirit now, and everlasting salvation hereafter. And how are these to be obtained? Even by prayer. "Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered." These blessings are to be obtained by those who call on the name of the Lord; that is, by those who cry unto God with their souls and spirits; not by those who only draw near to God with their lips, while their hearts are far from Him, but by those who worship God in spirit and in truth. Mere formalists only insult God, when they pretend to honour Him. To come here with our bodies, while our spirits are elsewhere,--to kneel before Him on our bended knees, while our hearts are not bowed down,--to stand up to praise Him, while our hearts are not lifted up: this is a mere mockery. We must glorify God with our body and our spirit, for both are God's. We must pray to and praise Him with our hearts, and not only with our lips: and they who thus call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
How necessary then is this spirit of prayer! In what striking ways has our Lord shown its necessity, both by example and precept! In the second lesson this morning, our Lord is brought before us, "praying in a certain place;" thus teaching us by His example. This was one instance of what St. Paul has recorded in his Epistle to the Hebrews, namely, that Jesus, "in the days of his flesh, offered up prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears, unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared." After He had prayed, and so had set them the example of prayer, in answer to the request of one of His disciples, He teaches them to pray--giving them a form of prayer--even the Lord's Prayer, which we still use. He then encourages them to persevere in prayer, by a familiar illustration. He tells them, that if a man in the middle of the night will rise up to give a friend what he needs, and if a father will give his child good things, much more will our Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him: therefore "ask and ye shall have, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you." But no where does He encourage us to pray more plainly or more strongly than in the parable of the unjust judge, who, though he feared not God, neither regarded man, yet was moved by the persevering entreaties of a poor widow, to do an act of justice, and to avenge her of her adversary. This parable, as St. Luke tells us, was spoken to this end--that "men ought always to pray, and not to faint." Here, as in other places, our Lord stirs us up both to pray and to believe; to trust in the Lord God, and not presumptuously to lean upon our own weak arm. I say, He stirs us up both to pray and believe; for both the duty of prayer and the necessity of faith (faith as distinguished from trust or confidence) are plainly set forth in this parable. This we shall see as we proceed. At the same time, trust and confidence in God are evidently implied. For one who really prays, shows by his very act of prayer, that he does not trust in himself, but in the living God. Our Lord, however, stirs us up to believe as well as to pray, for without faith, all prayer and all worship must be formal. It is the eye of faith only that sees Him to whom we offer any sacrifice of prayer and praise.
"Well, then, to teach us to pray, and not to faint, Jesus Christ brings before us an unjust judge, moved by the prayers of a poor widow. This man heard the widow praying for justice; he granted her prayer, not moved by any good will towards her, or by any love of equity, or any sense of his duty towards God, but overcome by her perseverance, and wishing only to be rid of an annoyance. If, therefore, he who hated justice, and looked upon those as troublesome who sought redress at his hands,--if such a man as this granted the petition of this poor widow, how much more readily shall we be heard by God, who, so far from considering us troublesome when we pray, exhorts us to call upon Him, and that instantly. One would have thought that it would have been enough, if our Lord had brought forward as an example a good and just man, always ready to hear the petitions and relieve the wants of those who apply to him. This, we might have thought, would have been encouragement enough to teach men to pray, and not to faint. For what man is there, or has ever been, whose mercy falls not far short of the mercy of God?--whose patience falls not short of the patience of God? Nay, compared with God, is not the most merciful man unmerciful--the most patient man impatient? Compared with God, is not even Joseph unforgiving? Surely, then, it would have been enough to have set before us one who acted justly and loved mercy, lending a ready ear to the cry of the poor, and the needy, and the oppressed. But our Lord does more than this. To make more impression upon us, so that we may be altogether without excuse if we neglect prayer, He brings before us a bad man, a hard-hearted cruel man, one who had lost all sense of shame, and had abandoned the fear of God; and this man he sets before us, as overcome by the prayers of a poor widow. And why docs our Lord this? That no one might be ignorant of the power of prayer. Having shown its power over the unjust man, He passes at once to His Father in heaven, and asks, as it were, what power must prayer have with God. This man was wicked, and cruel, and hard-hearted, and selfish; and yet by the prayers of a woman he was moved. God is merciful and long-suffering, forgiving sins, provoked every day, and every day patient, bearing with men, even while they do homage to the devil, (for they who live in sin do homage to the devil,) and dishonour God, and renounce the service of Christ, (for those who live in sin renounce the service of Christ;) can we doubt then that He will receive us graciously, and hear us mercifully, when we draw near to Him with reverence and godly fear? If the unjust judge was moved, much more will God be moved, who wisheth always to show mercy, and never to punish. Mercy is His own work; punishment, as we are told by Isaiah, is "his strange work," and "his strange act." It is true that He not only promises blessings, and honours, and rewards to the faithful, He also threatens the wicked with punishment. But His threats as well as His promises are spoken in mercy, that both fear and hope may lead to that which is good; hope stirring us up to advance more and more in godliness; fear driving us to flee further and further from sin.
Great, then, is the encouragement given us to pray, and not to faint. Our prayers are offered up to one of whose mercy we have daily experience: nay, every hour and every minute brings fresh proof that He "is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." If we would only ponder what happens around us, yea to ourselves, then we should understand the loving-kindness of the Lord. What do we see? Why, we see the light of the sun, and of the moon and the stars, we see the early and the latter rain, we see fruitful seasons, we see abundant harvests, we see life, and health, and strength, we see these blessings poured upon the children of men, upon the evil and the good, by a merciful God. We see these blessings given to those that ask not for them. Oh, then, how much greater blessings may they expect, who cease not to pray, and that instantly, to Him who is the Giver of all good things, and whose will it is that men should pray, and not faint!
Such is the encouragement to prayer; and equally great is its power. But if this be so, it may be asked, why then do men not pray? For I fear it is too true that very few men pray. Many, perhaps, may say prayers in a formal way, but few really pray. Many of those who think they pray may deceive themselves, and be mere formalists. And why is this? The answer is, They have little or no faith. They do not believe. It is remarkable how our Lord connects faith with prayer, in the parable of the unjust judge. He implies that men will grow weary of prayer, and He shows that this weariness in prayer will spring from a want of faith. The question which He asks immediately after the parable is this:--"Nevertheless, when the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?" From this question following immediately after the parable of the unjust steward, we may gather, that, when faith fails, prayer ceases. Indeed, it is impossible for one to pray who does not believe. This St. Paul tells us plainly, in the tenth chapter of his Epistle to the Romans. He there uses the words of Joel in the text, and says, "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Here, then, is the power of prayer--it procures salvation. "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved;" but the Apostle immediately adds, "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?" Faith is the source of prayer: when the source is dried up, then the river cannot flow.
In order to pray then, or to perform any act of worship, we must believe. An act of worship is a drawing near to God. To do this we must believe; as St. Paul says in another place, "He that cometh to God, must believe that He is, and that He is the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." And this, no doubt, is one reason why, in the Morning and Evening Service of the Church, and in the administration of the Holy Eucharist, the Articles of our Belief are rehearsed--that we, each for himself, profess our faith in the Holy Trinity. And observe: this profession of our faith goes before our prayers. A few supplications have, it is true, been offered up before; but in the Morning and Evening Service of the Church, the main part of our prayers follows after the Creed,--then it is that the work of prayer especially begins. And in the Creed what do we profess to believe? We profess to believe that God is, that God exists, and that He is the rewarder of those that diligently seek Him. We profess to believe that God exists; God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost exists; three Persons and one God. We profess to believe that the Father is made of none, neither created, nor begotten; that the Son is of the Father alone, not made nor created, but begotten; that the Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son, neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding. We profess to believe that each of these Persons by Himself is God and Lord; but that there are not three Gods or Lords, but one God and one Lord. We profess to believe that God the Father made all the world, seen and unseen; that God the Son redeems mankind; that God the Holy Ghost sanctifies His Church. We profess to believe that God the Son is both God and man; that He was born of the Virgin Mary, died upon the cross, rose again from the dead, ascended into heaven, sitteth at the right hand of the Father, will come again to judge the quick and the dead. Thus we profess to believe that God is.
But we further profess to believe, that He is the rewarder of those that diligently seek Him. We profess to believe in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting after death; that all men shall rise again with their bodies, and give account for their own works; and they that have done good shall go into everlasting life; and they that have done evil into everlasting fire. Thus do we profess to believe that God is, and that He is the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him: and professing to believe this, we next draw near to Him in prayer, and offer up supplications for ourselves, intercessions for others, and thanksgivings for the mercies we have received. Thus faith is the source of prayer. God as the object of our worship must be set before us; God our Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier.
How then is the object of our worship thus set before us? One office of the Church is to do this. It is for this, among other purposes, that all her ordinances, all her rites and ceremonies, have been instituted. In every one Christ is set before us; Christ born of the Virgin, Christ crucified, Christ dead and buried, Christ risen, Christ ascended, Christ on the right hand of the Father, Christ interceding, Christ coming again at the end of the world to judge the quick and the dead. In all the ordinances and ceremonies of the Church Christ is set forth, Christ is preached. But then, it is only the eye of faith that discerns Him. To the faithful all these ceremonies have a spiritual tendency. Through these rites and ceremonies, the faithful are quickened by the Spirit. To the unfaithful, they are nothing but unprofitable forms, with no quickening power. The unfaithful look upon the bread and wine in the Holy Eucharist as common bread and wine, not discerning the Lord's body; and, as in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, so it is in other ordinances of the Church. To the unfaithful they are mere forms without life. Not so to the faithful. The eye of Faith pierces through the veil, and the Spirit quickeneth. Thus, in the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, when the minister of God takes the helpless infant into his arms, the eye of Faith beholds that infant embraced in the arms of Christ's mercy. In prayer, the lowly posture prescribed is something more than the homage of the body, to which God has a right; it shows forth also the prostration of the soul before the Lord of our spirits. In standing up to rehearse the Articles of our Belief, the eye of Faith beholds in that posture a stedfast resolution to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. By turning to the east, the faithful signify that they are waiting for the coming of their Lord. When the young soldiers of Christ are brought to the bishop to be confirmed by him, when the successor of the holy Apostles lays his hand upon their heads, then the eye of Faith beholds them taken under the protection of the Most High; then the eye of Faith beholds them endued with strength, a strength whereby they can do all things'; then the eye of Faith sees that it is Christ Himself who strengtheneth them; it is the Holy Spirit of God that comes down upon them. Yes, in all the ministrations of the Church, it is Christ who ministers, His Spirit who sanctifies; but it is only the eye of Faith that can discern God. If we have faith, our worship is a spiritual worship. If we have not faith, it is formal; it cannot be otherwise. But, my brethren, whether it shall be formal or spiritual, this depends on ourselves. The Church sets before us God, as the object of our worship in all her offices and service: to discern Him therein, we need faith.
Faith, then, is the source of prayer, and of every act of worship; and yet this faith, which is the source of prayer and of every act of worship, by prayer and other acts of worship is itself strengthened. Faith leads to prayer, and prayer strengthens faith. Hence our Lord said to His disciples, "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation." Now what is the object of the evil one in tempting us? Even this, that we should depart from the living God. And what is it that makes us so depart? What but an evil heart of unbelief? "Take heed, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God." Temptation has power just in proportion as our faith fails, and temptation is weak just in proportion as our faith is strong. Our Lord, therefore, showed us how we were to prepare for temptation, namely, by watchfulness and prayer; for by watchfulness and prayer faith is strengthened. "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation." Before this He had said, "Simon, Simon, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat, but I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not'." The temptation to which the disciples were to be exposed on that night, was a temptation directed against their faith. Christ therefore prayed in their behalf that their faith might not fail, and bade them likewise pray for this themselves. Thus does He show the great need of prayer. He who had power to preserve their faith, yet prayed that it might not fail. Much more then should the children of men who are always in danger, and have no power in themselves to help themselves; much more should they pray in their own behalf, that their faith may not fail. Faith, then, is the source of prayer, the foundation of all worship. "Those who come to God must believe that He is, and that He is the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." "They that call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed." And yet, at the same time, by prayer faith is strengthened. The Apostles prayed, "Lord, increase our faith;" but, before they made this prayer, they believed. If they had not believed, they would not have left all that they had to follow Christ. They believed, but then their faith was not perfect, therefore they prayed, "Lord, increase our faith." Faith first drew them to Jesus, and afterwards their faith was strengthened by prayer, i. e. strengthened by cleaving to Jesus, by drawing nearer and nearer to Him by prayer and acts of worship: here, then, is the importance of prayer. And now we may see the bearing of our Lord's question, in connexion with the parable of the unjust judge; "nevertheless, when the Son of Man cometh will He find faith on the earth." Will there be any who shall profess to believe in Christ at all; or if there be any, will they, by the neglect of prayer, and the worship of God, suffer their faith to fail in the day of trial? One thing seems very clear, namely, that our Lord's words intimate most plainly, that before His coming, a time of fearful trial will come upon the earth, and that this trial will be a trial of men's faith; and the only way to abide this trial of our faith is, by preparing for it now, by seeking to have our faith strengthened; and this strength is obtained not by those who forsake the assembling of themselves together, but by those who pray, and do not faint; yes, by those alone. It seems clear, too, that only a few will be found who hold fast the faith, that there will be a general apostasy; and again, the words of the Psalm will be verified in the most awful manner. The true servant of God will have to cry as David did, "Help me, Lord, for there is not one godly man left, for the faithful are minished from the children of men." Now, this it is that makes the service of God so much more arduous, and prayer so much more needful, namely, that in all ages the faithful servants of the Lord have been few in number. "Strait is the gate and narrow the way which leadeth unto life, and few have been they in all ages who have found it." The fact, that the number of those that serve God truly is small, adds to the difficulties of the Christian life. A journey which we find comparatively easy and pleasant with a companion, is irksome and fatiguing when we are alone. Thus it is here on earth when we are travelling from one place to another, and so it is on our journey towards heaven. The presence of fellow-travellers helps us on in no small degree. Hence it is that St. Paul says, "Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."
The way of life is difficult in itself; its difficulty is increased by the very fact, that few there be that walk along it. And, therefore, the saints of old are to be had in honour, not merely because they served God faithfully, but because they served God faithfully while all around them were idolaters. This is the praise of Noah, not merely that he "was a just man, and a perfect, and walked with God;" but that he was a just man and a perfect, and walked with God, when "the wickedness of man was so great upon earth, that it repented the Lord that He had made man, and it grieved Him at His heart." This, too, was the praise of Abraham, of Lot, and of Moses; that they appeared as stars in the dark night. They were a few sheep in the midst of wolves. The crowd was walking one way, and they another; and they were not carried along with the stream, but held on their course, amid much difficulty, yet without swerving. We know how difficult it is in a crowded street for ourselves to go one way, while every body else is going the other. We must submit to be knocked and pushed about, and it may be, seriously hurt. Now this is only a figure of the difficulties which they must encounter who are walking faithfully in the ways of God. They, too, are going against the tide; they, too, are meeting the crowd, and who can help them? One only, even God. They must flee to Him in prayer, as David did when he saw that he was left alone, when "there was not one godly man left; when the faithful were minished from the children of men." They must flee to God, and say, "Help me, Lord, I have need of a stronger arm than my own to guide me through the crowd; I have need of a mightier hand to hold me up, that I he not trodden under foot; I have need of thy help, walking as I am in a way contrary to all men; I have need that thou shouldest stand by me, and strengthen me. Vain is the help of man; to thee, therefore, O Lord, do I make my prayer, who art our refuge and strength, and a very present help in trouble." Yes, my brethren, what David found to be so necessary, is especially needful for us. We cannot walk in the ways of God, or do His will, without His help. It is therefore absolutely impossible for any one to advance in virtue and godliness of living without prayer, which is a crying to God for help. How can a man obtain any Christian grace, if ho docs not go to the throne of grace? if, as an humble suppliant, he does not apply to Him who is the Giver of all good gifts?
Faith, love, zeal, purity, repentance, are all good gifts, which come down from heaven from the Father of Lights; they are the fruits of the Holy Spirit; and the Holy Spirit is given only to those who ask the Father for this gift in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ. For these, then, you must pray; these you must seek in the way appointed by God. You must have these good gifts, if you would be saved. You cannot be saved without them. You cannot be saved without faith: "without faith it is impossible to please God." Again it is written, "he that believeth not shall be damned." You cannot be saved without love: "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha." You cannot be saved without zeal: "I know thy works that thou art neither cold nor hot, I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot,
I will spew thee out of my mouth.....Be zealous therefore and repent." You cannot be saved without purity: "The works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, of the which I told you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." "This ye know that no whoremonger nor unclean person hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God." "Ye are the temple of the living God, as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people; wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." "If any man defile the temple of God, him will God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." "Blessed are the pure in heart," and they alone, "for they shall see God." Without repentance ye cannot be saved. "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." If, then, you would be saved, you must have faith, love, zeal, purity, and repentance, and many more graces, which like them are the gifts of God, and can only be obtained by prayer. For God forces not His gifts of grace on the children of men; He gives them only to those that ask Him for them.
It is necessary, then, that you should continue instant in prayer, in prayer both public and private. Indeed we are not qualified to worship God in public, unless we prepare ourselves for this more solemn service by earnest private devotion in our own chambers. May not all our coldness and wandering thoughts in church, be traced to this neglect of private prayer, this want of preparation? No, my brethren, we cannot bring forth this good fruit of devotion, or any other good fruit, unless by prayer we obtain from heaven the dew of God's blessing. Prayer is to our souls what the seasonable rain from heaven is to the crops and to the trees; or rather, prayer is to our souls, what the sap is to the tree; as the tree cannot bring forth fruit unless the moisture rises from its roots, and spreads through every branch; neither can we, unless prayer be at the root of all. When we first awake, our first thought should be a thank-offering to God for His mercies; when we have risen, our first duty is a prayer to Him to protect us during the day; at night, before we lie down, praise is due to Him for the blessings we have received. Before the darkness surrounds us, we should commit ourselves to His care, who alone can make us to dwell safely; otherwise, how can we lie down in peace? Thus our whole lives should be spent in a continual round of prayer and worship.
But is it so? Has it been so this one day? What was your first act this blessed day? Did you prepare yourself for the holy services of the Sanctuary, by earnest prayer in your own chamber? Did you pray for grace to hear meekly God's word, to receive it with pure affection, and to bring forth the fruits of the Spirit? What will you do when you depart hence? Will you pray? Or will you wander up and down the streets and roads, idly if not sinfully? And then when you are wearied with your wanderings, will you hurry into bed without a thought of God, without a prayer for mercy, without a cry for help, without a confession of sin? Have you then no sins to confess this day? May you not have sinned even in this very house? Can you say that you have not taken God's holy name in vain? Remember that whenever you utter a prayer, or sing a Psalm, without thinking of what you are doing, you take God's name in vain. Again, have you not, many of you, broken the last command of your Saviour? Have you then no sins to confess? And will you hurry into bed without confessing them, without a single prayer for mercy, without a cry for help? Oh! beware of this. Remember, a sin unconfessed is a sin unrepented; and a sin unrepented is a sin unforgiven; and he who is unforgiven, is under the wrath of the Most High God. Dare you, then, close your eyes in sleep in such a state? What if your sleep should prove the sleep of death? Oh! fearful will be the sleep of death, if Jesus Christ be not with us. And He will not be with us, unless we repent of and confess our sins, and pray unto Him for mercy. If we live without prayer, we live without God. If we live without God, we live without hope; with no hope here, no hope in death, no hope at the day of judgment, no hope in Hell. Then we shall lift up our eyes in torment, and pray; but prayer will be too late. Though we ask only for one drop of cold water, that one drop will be refused. Let us then, while we have time, continue instant in prayer. Prayer, it has been well said, "Prayer is the guardian of the sleeping, the confidence of the waking." [S. Greg. Nyss. quoted by Bp. Andrews, Devotions, Part ii. p. 165.] A holy man too hath also said, "We think not him safe who is undefended by the arms and guard of prayer." Verily, this saying is true. David is a witness to its truth. How does he describe the wicked? One mark of those fools, that say in their heart there is no God, is this, that they call not upon the Lord. . And what is the consequence? "They are brought in fear where no fear is." Even where there is no real cause for fear, they are fearful, because they are not under the protection of God. Oh! then, give yourselves unto prayer, without which you cannot he safe. It is the guardian of the sleeping, the confidence of the waking.
And now, my brethren, now that we are come to the end of the festal celebrations which were becoming the dedication of this holy house, let me speak to you a few more words of exhortation. May God write them in all our hearts. Brethren, you have helped to build this house. Why? That God may be worshipped herein according to the rites of the Church to which we belong. You have heard the deed of consecration read, and this house has been formally set apart as holy to the Lord, by His servant, the Bishop of this diocese, the successor of the holy Apostles, as a place where the worship of God is to be conducted, according to the rites of that Church to which we belong, being a branch of Christ's holy Catholic Church. It is for this that you have helped to build this house; helped in different ways; some of you by your contributions, some by your advice., some by the labour of your hands,--for are there not some of the workmen employed in the building of this house present here to-night? I think I see more than one before me. You have helped then to build this house for the purpose I have said,--that the worship of God may be conducted according to the rites of the Church to which we belong. God forbid that at the last day this building should rise up in the judgment against any of us, and condemn us. Oh! it is an awful thing to contribute in any way to the building of a Church. Be assured that the part you have taken in the building of this house is registered in heaven. God forbid that this should appear against you. And will it not appear against us, if we use this house for any other purpose than that for which it has been built? It will appear against us, if we either neglect or abuse the worship here offered to God; if we either forsake the assembling of ourselves together, or come here in a careless formal way. Oh! then, at the last day, "the stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber shall answer it," and both shall witness against us, and demand our destruction. Our first thought, then, should be a thought of fear, lest, after having helped to build this house, we ourselves be not built up in our holy faith,--we ourselves be not resting on the one foundation, Jesus Christ our Lord. Our next thought should be one of humble thankfulness. For, my brethren, great, yes great beyond all thought, is the privilege that has been granted us; the privilege of being allowed to contribute to the building of this house,--the privilege of being spared to see it consecrated by the successor of the Apostles,--the privilege of being here assembled this night, to worship God within, its walls. Consider this: David, the man after God's own heart, was not allowed to build the Temple. What are we. that we should be allowed to build a house far more glorious than the Temple of Jerusalem, glorious as that was? For in our temple Christ Himself is present. What are we, that we should be permitted to witness its solemn dedication? what are we, that we should be allowed to meet together here to-night? Are there not many of our brethren who would have rejoiced to witness the solemnities of consecration, who have not been allowed to do so? Yes, my brethren, during the last two years, since that joyful day on which we laid the foundation of the Lord's house, have we not, many of us, lost friends,--friends who helped us to build this house, but who have not been left among us to witness its dedication, and who are no longer members of the Church on earth? Happy they, if they have died in the Lord! Happy they, for they rest from their labours!--they are waiting for an admission into a temple far more glorious, the everlasting doors of which shall lift up their heads at the last day. Happy we, if on that day we, with them, shall be admitted into the heavenly city. Yes, my brethren, they are gone; we too are going. This Church is given to prepare us for the next world. Let us use it for this purpose; and one way of so using it is this,--we may look upon it as a memorial of those who helped to build it, and are taken from us. Yes, when we enter this house, let us bless God for all His servants departed this life in His faith and fear; especially for those who have been in part founders of this sanctuary; let us beseech Him to give us grace so to follow their good examples, that with them we may be partakers of His heavenly kingdom. Let us pray to Him to give us grace, so to follow His blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those unspeakable joys, which He has prepared for them that unfeignedly love Him, through Jesus Christ our Lord.