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1. That there are certain Places which SERM.

God is pleased to distinguish with his VIII.
fpecial presence, and which therefore
ought to be observed as his houses or
places of peculiar residence. This is

none other but the bouse of God.
II. That these places are made the means

of communion between God and men,
wherein both he is pleased to manifest
himself to Mankind, and they are al-
lowed to address themselves to him,
and find an entrance into the glories
of his kingdom: For this same place
which is said to be the house of God,
is moreover declared to be the gate of

beaven. And,
III. That, upon both accounts, such
places ought to be considered and

approached with awe and reverence. How dreadful is this place ! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of beaven.

I. First, It may be collected from these words, that there are certain places which God is pleased to distinguish with his fpeçial presence, and which therefore ought to be consider'd as his Houses, or places of peculiar residence: This is none other (says Jacob) but the house of God.

Immediately as he awoke it was his first remark, surely the Lord is in this place, and

Serm. I knew it not. But what! could he be igVIII. norant that he who created the whole frame vof nature must needs be himself effenti,

ally in all places, and fill heaven and earth
with his Divine presence ? Could he think
him like the vain, fictitious, Heathen dej-
ties, circumscribed by place, and capable
of local motion, fit to be enclosed by walls,
and fortified with bulwarks ? No surely ;
in this acceptation the most High dwelleth
not in temples made with bands, as faith
the Prophet, Heaven is my throne, and the
earth is my footstool: where is the house that
ye build unto mne ? and where is the place of
my reft * ? But tho' he be present through-
ought all nature, yet is he pleased to de-
clare and manifest his presence in a more
especial manner in some places than in
others, and in that respect to choose them
as the houses in which he will delight to
dwell : Insomuch that Solomon scruples not
to mention it as a mighty honour to the
house which he had built, that God should
there condescend to dwell with men upon
the earth. And tho' the place be not al-
ways pointed out by vision or immediate
revelation, as in the case of the Patriarch
before us, or by express precept and in-
janction, as in the case of the Levitical
Tabernacle, and the Temple of Jerusalem,
yet his people have always thought them-
* Acts vii. 48. Ifai. Ixvi. I. 17" !"

selves

felves warranted by such examples, or even SERM. authorised by the reason of the thing, to VIII. appropriate places to his honour and fervice, to invocate' his gracious Presence, and implore his auspicious residence among them.

Need I mention the example of the ancient Patriarchs, before the giving of the law, who, wherever they came, erected altars for Divine worship, and without waiting for special or express appointment, thought it highly reasonable in the nature of the thing, that some places there should be for their approaching to God, and fupplication of his aid and favour?

Need I add the example of the first Cbriftians, who had their fixed and stated places of assembly, at first thote umepwa, or upper rooms mentioned in the new testament, and afterwards more sumptuous and convenient edifices, as their outward condition and circumstances would allow ?

Nor was this only calculated for their own convenience, who could not well have come together, without some place previoufly known and appointed for that

purpofe, but the Place so appointed was looked upon as fingularly honoured with the Presence of God, and therefore sacred and appropriate to his service. This, to omit the many testimonies which might be laid together from antiquity, may sufficiently ap

pear

Serm. pear from that single expoftulation of the
VIII. Apostle, with regard to the scandalous a-

buse of the Corinthians, What, have ye not
houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye
the Church of God * ? Where, that the
church is put for the place of assembly, and .
not for the persons there assembled, is evi-
dent from hence, that it is opposed to their
own private houses, and that their com-
mon feastings were more proper to be held
in one than in the other.

It is not to be denied but that the word
Éxxa no ha does strictly, and in its prime no-
tion, refer to the collective body of people
met together: But, who knows not that
the names of fynagogue, and college, and
the like, which do likewise primarily de-
note an assembly, or company of men,
are nevertheless used, in common accepta-
tion, for the building, or place where they
assemble ?

Now, as in most instances there is a near analogy between the old and new Teftament, so our churches succeed as the houses or dwelling-places of God, in like manner as the Tabernacle first, and afterwards the Temple. And as there he appointed continual facrifices, for a record or memorial of his name, so we have a per-, petual commemorative representation of the sacrifice of Christ, which is termed, after * 1 Cor. xi. 22.

the

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the same manner, the remembrance or me- SERM. morial of him. And as the Israelites were VIII. promised, that in every place where God's name fould be recorded, he would come unto them, and bless them *, so we make no doubt but the analogy continues, and his gracious presence is vouchsafed to us.

The manner by which this speciality of presence is distinguished, (and he whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain, is nevertheless pleased to condescend to dwell with men upon the earth) we have not obscurely hinted to us in scripture (as a learned person of our nation observes +) to consist in that train or retinue of Angels which is represented to attend him, whereever he is pleased more particularly to difplay or manifest himself. To this purpose the Law is termed the word spoken by Angels I, because when The Lord came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto Ifrael, be fined forth from mount Paran (as Moses expresses it) be came with ten thousands of his saints ll, or with bis boly ten thousands, as it Thould have been translated. To which the Royal Psalmist very plainly alludes, when he says, The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of Angels; the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place §. So has the Prophet Daniel ex

+ The great Mr. Mede. | Heb. ii. 2. # Deut xxxiii. 2. $ Pf. lxviii. 17.

pressed

* Exod. xx. 24.

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