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to learn the great lesson of self knowledge--of divine knowledge of your future and eternal destiny-of the way of escaping eternal ruin, and of attaining to all the glories of the upper world. Let truthis like these fill the mind of every one that crosses the threshhold of the house of God, and there will be no further need of homilies on the best mode of preserving its sacredness.
Let the Sanctuary be preserved inviolate, as I have said ; let it be a place exclusively devoted to the service of the Triune God; let no pains be spared to impress the mind of the coming generation, as they rise up about you, with an idea of the sacredness of its character ; let it never be made a place where you may go to gratify a vain curiosity, or to be entertained or amused with those minor differences, as to form, or even as to doctrine, that may obtain in different houses of worship, and then will the Sanctuary be regarded, as it should be, holy unto the Lord--as the dwelling place of the Most High, where he will deign to meet and bless a waiting people.
We cannot too highly estimate the worth of a well ordered Sanctuary. There is not a more dismal sign of the present times, than the comparatively low estimation in which the house of God is held. The old fashioned idea, that it is a holy place, and that all who enter it must be serious, solemn, and attentive, is too much done away. I would not be superstitious, but I would have thrown about the place where prayer is wont to be made, something so impressive and solemnizing, that the careless child of mammon should there be made afraid, and be compelled to say, “How dreadful is this place !"
This is the place where God's people have always delighted to be. “I was glad," said an ancient saint, " when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord." “How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord.” “A day in thy courts is better than a thousand." “Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thce." “Blessed is the man whom thou choosest and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.”
"Keep thy foot, therefore, when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear than to give the sacrifice of fools."
May our delight always be in the place where God's honor dwelleth. And with a suitable apprehension of his awful presence and his adorable excellence, may the language of our hearts be, How AWFUL IS THIS PLACE !
Starcotyped by F. F. Ripley,