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ing yet victorious leader, it becomes them to keep his cross constantly in view, as their guide and pat. tern, as their comfort and glory, and thus to be cheerfully travelling towards heaven, in the same road of humble, patient, resigned, heroic virtue, which their Lord has trod before them. Encompassed on every side with so great a cloud of witnesses, with the Captain of our salvation at our head, 'Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin, which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith ; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.'
6 Be watchful and strengthen the things which remain, that are
ready to die."--Rev. iii. 2.
BY THE REVEREND
MOSES HEMMENWAY, D. D.
PASTOR OF A CHURCH IN WELLS, DISTRICT OF MAINE.
HAGGAI 3. 5. Then came the word of the Lord to Haggai, the prophet, saying, is it time
for you, O yé, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste ? Now, therefore, thus saith the Lord of Host, consider your ways.
THE reproof and admonition contained in this passage was recorded for our instruction. And that we may make a right application and improvement, it is to be observed that the the Jews, to whom it was sent, were newly returned from captivity ; which was a punishment inflicted on them for their sins, especially for their idolatry, and neglect of the ordinan. ces of divine worship. It should then have been their first and great concern to take effectual mea. sures for the rebuilding of the temple, and making provision for the due administration of these ordinances But, meeting with difficulty and opposition from their enemies, they were too soon and easily discouraged; And though they had not determined finally to abandon this undertaking, yet they seem not to have been sorry that they had so fair an excuse for delaying this work of piety ; saying, that the time was not come that the Lord's house should be built. This gave them opportunity to provide themselves fair, commodious habitations, and enjoy themselves in their ceiled houses, when they had so
much reason to be humbled under the frowns of
pro. vidence. For this their improper conduct, the prophet, in the name of God, reproves and expostulates with them ; and admonishes them to consider their Wars. And the admonition may also be seasonable and instructive to us, on whom the ends of the world are come. For the fault here reproved, even a want of zeal for the house and worship of God, and an over fondness for private worldly interests, and enjoyments, is at least as blamable in christians, as it ever was in the Jews.
It should also be considered that the temple was a type of the church of Christ, which is expressly stiled the house of the living God, in which he by his spirit dwells, and is worshiped in spirit and truth. And as the Jews were blamable for having no more zeal for the rebuilding of the temple at Jerusalem, and being so easy and pleased with their outward accommodations, while the house of their God lay waste; so christians are no less to blame if they are unconcerned when they see the church, the spiritual house of God, in a decaying and ruinous conditions It is not then a time for them to regale themselves with the pleasures, and immerse themselves in the cares and amusements of the world ; but they are then loudly called by God to consider and amend their ways. This is the argument which I would now endeavour to illustrate and inculcate ; In pursuance of which design,
FIRST, I shall shew that sometimes the church, the spirital house of God, is in a wasting, decaying state among a professing people; and point out some evident tokens, from which we may judge when this is the case.
SECONDLY, Enquiry will then be made into the causes and occaions of such an unhappy state; after which,
THIRDLY, I shall endeavour to shew that when the house of God, or the true interest of his church is apparently decaying and sinking among a people, they ought not to give themselves up securely and unconcernedly to their worldly pursuits and enjoyments, but they should so consider their ways and state, 'as to be suitably affected, and seek and apply proper remedies, or means of redress.
First. That the church, the spiritual house of God is liable to decays, and sometimes is actually laid waste, will not perhaps be doubted by any. Christ has indeed promised to take care of his church, so that the gates of hell shall not prevail. He will always, till his second coming, have witnesses to the truth, who shall hold up the light of the gospel in the world. But particular churches sometimes decay till they become extinct. The kingdom of heaven is taken from them, and, as a just punishment of their abuse of gospel privileges, the candlestick is overset and removed. When the living and sound members of churches are taken away, and the breaches are not repaired, or are filled up withi unsound materials, the house of God will decay apace. When the godly cease, when the faithful fail, when they who are to be the salt of the earth, and the light of the world are scarce to be found among nominal christians, it may be expected that corrupt principles and practices will encrease, and that what weak remains there may be of true religion, will war cold and be ready to die. It is the presence of Christ in his churches, by the influences of his spirit, which preserves them from apostacy. These influences, as we learn from the warnings and facts recorded in the scriptures, are sometimes so withdrawn, or withheld, that visible churches have degenerated into synagogues of Satan. Infidelity, and gross antichristian corruptions of religion, have rooted out true christi anity from those parts of the world where the appos