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thinks that all Cost: of this kind may better be spared, and applied only to the Relief of the Poor, should do well to consider, that this wa* the opinion of the Traytor Judai in a like cafe, , who thought the pretious Oyntment wasted upon the Head of our Blessed Lord, and that the Price of it might have been more usefully bestowed; not that he really cared for the Poor, but because he designed to have made other use of the Money. And I believe someof those who are the backwardest to contribute towards the Beauty and Decency of the Material Houses of God, are none of the forwardest in supplying the Wants'of his Living Temples.
This first Instance of Respect to the House of God, is the more necessary to be mention'd in this Age* because so many of those noble Monuments of the Piety of our Forefathers, in this Nation, are by long tract of time, and too much neglect, come to great decay. Though, blessed be God, there are some publick Spirits left, who think upon their Stones, and are grieved to see them in the Dust, as this Sacred Place where we are now assembled, and divers others will testify. And we have reason to hope,.that the Noble Example of our Gracious Queen, in so freely contributing to supply the Necessities of those ■Avho minister in holy Things, will in time provoke some persons of Ability, generously to give ; their Assistance towards Repairing and Beautify.injj.the Places of their Holy Ministration.
2. Another Instance of Respect: to the House of God, is the keeping it from all profane and common Usage, and applying it wholly to the "Worship of God, and the Business of Religion. And for our Authority in this matter, we have one of the greatest Instances of Zeal in our Blessed Saviour that perhaps he ever showed, when he drove the Buyers and Sellers out of theTem- Mar.u.ij.i*. plo, and would not suffer that any Man mould carry any Vessel through it. Which Action was the more remarkable, because ( as Learned Men observe) the place, which he would not suffer to be thus profaned, was the Court of the Gentiles? which the Jews accounted less Holy than that where they themselves Worships, and therefore thought that they might put it to a more profane use} because they reckoned all Nations, beside themselves, profane: But our Blessed Saviour plainly reproves this opinion out of the Prophet, saying, It is written, My house Jhallisii. f6.7. be called an house of prayer for all Nations, but ye have made it a ken of thieves. And from hence it will plainly appear, that no Houses of Prayer, or Places of Religious Worship, ought to be profaned or look't upon as Common places, but as Houses of God.
And this will also afford us an Answer to that Objection, which some make, from those words of the Prophet Malachi, My Name Jhall be fry eat among Malic, Uu. the Gentiles, and in every place Incense shall be offered unto my Name, and apure offering: Asifunder
the Gospel-dispensation, when the Gentiles should be called into the Church, all places should be equally holy, and fit for offering to the Lord.. But both our Saviour's Actions and Doctrine in this matter shew, that this cannot be the meaning , but only, that Jerusalem should not then be the only place where the God of Israel mould be truly Worships, but that in every Nation there should be Houses of Prayer, and a pare Offering to the true God; that there should be indeed more Holy places, but not that the distinction between Holy and Profane should be quite taken away.
And it may further be observed to this purpose, that though our Blessed Saviour frequently reproved the Jews for their too superstitious Observation of the Sabbath, yet he does with as great seventy condemn their Profanation of the Temple, which may make it the more to be wondered at, that some of those in our time, who would be accounted very strict keepers of the Sabbath, yet express but very little Reverence for the Sanctuary.
But then further, if it be a great Indecency and Profanation of the House of God to use it for a place of Worldly Business, and such as may lawfully be done in other places, it is still a much greater profanation to do those things there which are indecent in any other place ■> and therefore all Clamour and Tumult, all Acts
of of Force or Violence are more severely forbidden in Consecrated places, both by our own sutf. Ed.tf. Laws and by ancient Imperial Constitutions, codjuft. Lib And least of all ought they to be made places of i. Tit.iU.j-.' Refuge for Murderers, Robbers, and other notorious Malefactors to skreen them from Justice, as is too frequently practised in some Countries of the Roman Communion, where the Houses of Prayer are indeed literally made sometimes Dens of Robbers. But
3. Another instance of Reverence ought to be the duly frequently the Worship of God in these Holy places for they are by Dedication to God made publick for his Service, and by a *** **» M Solemn Act so declared to be* this is the use ^InjofL for which they were Erected. And a great hap - n*ctanATmt piness it has always been esteemed to have the °f ?r*Jeropportunity of enjoying the publick Ordinances of Religion in them, and the greatest misfortune to be deprived of it. Blessed are they ?^ S4,. that dwell in thy house, fays Holy 'David They shall be always praising thee. My foul hath a de- psii.84.*. fire, and a longing to enter into the Courts of the Lord. O fend out thy light and thy truth, that Psai.43.3. they may lead me, and bring me to thy holy hill, and to thy Tabernacles. Whatever Reverence therefore we may pretend to. have for the House of God, while we live in the neglect of his publick Worship and Service, is meer Vanity and Hypocrisy.
I shall not insist upon this Instance of Respect to the House of God at present, not because it is less material, but because I hope there are but few in this Audience but what are fully convinced of the Necessity of it; so considerable a part of us being dedicated to minister in the publick Service of God. And therefore we may proceed,
4ftbly. and lastly To consider what Reverence, becomes us when we come into the House of God. Our Business there is to exercise ourselvesih holy and heavenly Matters, and the place is. separated from all Common use for this purpose, and this solemn manner of its separation is. to teach us so much; and therefore our demeanour in it ought to be such as may testify what awfuL Thoughts we have of. that Glorious Majesty, before whomr in a more particular manner, we: Psil.^.;. present ourselves. Holiness becometh thine housey O Lord* for ever, fays the Psalmist. If the place be Holy by a solemn Dedication to the Worship of God i if the Offices to be performed in it be Holy* if we expect the gracious Assistance of God's Holy Spirit in our Devotions, and the Presence of his Holy Angels, as Witnesses and Companions, in the performance of Religious Duties* then ought we also to be Holy both in Body and Spirit, both in our inward Affections, and our outward Behaviour -y for the Worship not only of our Souls, but also of our Bodies, is due to Almighty God, the Creator of both, and'