8 FEBRUARY (PREACHED 6 FEBRUARY 1777)
The true Temple
‘What prayer and supplication soever be made by any man, or by all thy people Israel, which shall know every man the plague of his own heart, and spread forth his hands toward this house: then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men).’ 1 Kings 8:38–39
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: 2 Corinthians 3:7–18
I shall speak of the true Temple. The type points out to us several things. Though the whole earth was filled with the providence and goodness of the Lord, he was only known in the temple worship. No other place or people had tokens of God’s presence amongst them. Thus God is only known in Christ. The book of nature and even the book of Scriptures give us no comfortable apprehensions of him, any farther than Jesus the true Temple is acknowledged. If men have not eyes to see what is taught of the person, offices and saving work of Christ, even the Scripture is a sealed book to them, and with the Word of God in their hands and in their mouth, they stumble like the blind at noonday. Many who acknowledge the Scripture in words know no more of God in a way of comfortable dependence and influence than the heathens. All acceptable service was confined to the temple, or immediately referred to it. No sacrifices could be offered anywhere else, and prayers by those at a distance must be directed towards it. Thus, as there can be no knowledge of God, so no communion with God, but by Christ. He is the door and the way, and no one cometh to the Father but by him. In the temple there was a veil separating the things within it from the people’s view, intimating the state of distance of the church under the law. But this veil was removed, and every partition broken down at his death. The hidden glories are revealed. All the Lord’s people are priests and have right of access, and the temple, no more confined to one space, is open to people of all languages and nations.
FOR MEDITATION: ‘Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God’ (Revelation 21:3).
SERMON: 1 KINGS 8:38–39 [3/6]