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now to beckon to us from the mansions of his Father's house into which He has gone to receive them; and while they rise before us clothed in the robes of His righteousness, can we wish their return into a world of pollution and sin ?
And, in these moments, when we look back upon the long vista of
within these walls, and see the forms of those whom we loved and reverenced passing on once more before us, is there no light of Heaven, my brethren, seeming to throw a glory around them ? are they merely the shadowy inhabitants of the grave whom we behold ? and when we are looking, for the last time, on the House in which our Fathers worshipped, do we seem to be looking upon the desolation of their tombs ? O no! The sanctity of this house speaks to us of other things. It tells us of glory, and honour, and immortality. It speaks of the good fight which they fought, and of the crown of glory which they have won ; and if we are here called by so many affecting circumstances to contemplate mortality, it is only that we may raise our eyes to that life which is alone worthy of the name.
We are now quitting this house, and we, and our children, shall no longer worship in the place where our fathers have worshipped. “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth'; but the word of our God shall stand for ever." The scenes which their piety sanctified will, indeed, vanish from our eyes, as they themselves have vanished, but the word of our God is ever with us, as it was with them. Ere, therefore, we leave the seats of their devotion, let us impress upon our souls the memory and the source of their virtues. It was the word of their God which was seated in their hearts, and which flowed out upon the purity and the beneficence of their lives. That word they taught and committed to us.
It is now our part to exhibit it in our lives, and to transmit it to our children.
Go forth then, my brethren, with thankful spirits. Feeling as men among the anticipations and remembrances of mortality, rejoice at the same time as Christians. Carry with
you, wherever you go, that “sword of the spirit which is the word of God," knowing that it “ shall stand for ever.” Pray that its influence may never quit this House, but that here it
may continue to train, though under other forms, other worshippers to salvation ;—pray still more, that the House into which we are going may never want its best decorations of holiness and piety ;--and that the children who come after us may feel, when they enter within its walls, that it has been sanctified to them by the memory of our faith and our virtues, as this House has been sanctified to us by the memory of the faith and the virtues of our Fathers !
ON THE DEDICATION OF PLACES OF PUBLIC
GENESIS, xviii. 18.
And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and
took the stone that he had put up for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it: and he called the name of that place Bethel.
HESE words, my brethren, carry us back to the simplicity of early times ; to those first ages
when the rudest memorials were conceived to be sufficient for the commemoration of inter
* Preached February 1, 1818, being the first Sunday after the consecration of St Paul's Chapel, York Place.
esting events, and when the accidental stone which marked the place of their occurrence was dedicated with such natural ceremonies as the sentiment of the moment suggested. The incident to which they refer is one of the most remarkable, in the very beautiful history of the Patriarch Jacob. He had but just left his father's house, and was going forth to a foreign land amidst all the uncertainties of youthful inexperience. It was then, we are told, that " he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set upon the earth, and the top of it reached to Heaven : and behold the Angels of God ascending and descending on it. And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac : the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; and thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south; and in thee, and in thy seed, shall all the families of the