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And He went into the Temple, and began to cast out them that

sold therein, and them that bought ; saying unto them, My house is the house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves. And He taught daily in the Temple.

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This action of our Lord's, taken in its direct and historical form, was no more than a lesson of reverence for places set apart for sacred purposes, a lesson against common profaneness. In this sense it is probably not greatly needed now; for the profanation of churches by converting them to common worldly uses is not a prevailing fault; nor, again, are our Christian churches so like the Temple at Jerusalem, nor our worship and state so like that of the Jews, as that all which was profaneness in the Temple would be profaneness if done in a church. I do not propose therefore to dwell upon our Lord's action according to this its

outward and historical form, any farther than merely to say that there is undoubtedly such a sin as profaneness, and that it is shewn by an irreverent treatment of places which our common feeling regards as sacred.

But ascending from the mere outward form of our Lord's act, to what may be called its spirit and meaning, we find more than one sense in which it may be taken.

Christ cleansed His temple, so do thou thy heart,” is the expression of one of our best sacred poets, and the allusion is quite allowable and just. For the heart of

every Christian is properly God's temple, where every evil thought is a profanation against the Holy Spirit abiding in us. In this respect, how continually is God's house of prayer changed into a den of thieves; how often does the din of all evil passions drown the offering of prayer and praise, which the Christian within the temple of his heart should continually offer!

Yet neither is this the sense of our Lord's action on which I purpose now to dwell. I shall not speak of profaneness committed against His temples of brick and stone made by men's hands, nor yet of profaneness committed against His most inward and spiritual temple—the redeemed soul of each particular Christian, in which the Holy Spirit dwells. There is a third sort of Christian temple, which may be and is profaned daily; not a temple of brick and stone, nor yet the single soul of an individual man, but a Christian society formed for God's glory, and consecrated by God's presence; for wheresoever, says Christ, “two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” In this sense the whole Christian church is called the temple of God, and sinfulness in the church is especially a profanation of God's holy temple.

But yet neither am I going to speak of this sort of profaneness. What the whole Christian church is in general, that all particular churches are separately: and that too are all Christian societies formed for some good and Christian end. We here assembled are undoubtedly such a temple. I speak not of this particular building in which we meet for divine worship, nor do I speak of our own individual souls, although they too are each God's temple, and are each continually profaned; but I speak of us as a society, as a school, as a Christian school, as a place, that is, to which the sons of Christian parents, and of no other, are sent to receive a Christian education. Such a society is beyond all doubt in its idea or institution a temple of God; God's blessing is upon it, Christ and Christ's Spirit dwell in the midst of it.

I say that such a society is in its idea or institution God's temple. And so only are we each individually God's temple, so only is the church

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itself. The temple may be in fact profaned, the service of God in it may in fact be not only interrupted but utterly done away; God who dwelt in it may have been so grieved with the profanations done in it, as to depart from it altogether. This may be the case with individual Christians, or with the church itself; and so also it may be the case with any smaller society. I assume nothing, therefore, as to our actual state; I do not say whether the profanation done here is much or little, but I say, that considered as a Christian school, which we profess to be, we are undoubtedly a temple of God, and God is with us, and Christ

is in us.

Now that Jewish temple, from which our Lord drove out the buyers and sellers, was as we know in its outward appearance most magnificent and imposing “ Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!” was the language of the disciples as they looked with admiration on the grandeur of the fabric. But this fair and goodly building had been made no less a den of thieves. And so with us, it cannot be any thing in our outward condition, as to numbers, reputation, or such points, which can ensure our being truly, as we are in theory, and as we ought to be, a temple of God.

Every one, it is true, knows this, and every one if asked would acknowledge it. But yet it is true,

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also, that we are all apt to be dazzled by any outward prosperity; that we are apt to be proud of our numbers and reputation, and perhaps to relax our anxiety, as if we thought that our care were under such circumstances less needed. Whereas in fact it never was or could be more needed; and the sense of outward prosperity is most naturally accompanied in every thinking mind, not by exultation, but by humiliation and fear.

There is, however, in a Christian a better feeling even than this just and godly fear; and that is, a lively and a godly zeal. Prosperity, whilst it strikes us with awe, may and ought also to encourage us to greater exertions. It is very fearful to think of the sin and the shame of letting this temple of God be profaned, of letting it be so overrun with evil that from a house of prayer it should have become a den of thieves. But, is it not also an enkindling and encouraging thought, to dwell on the blessing of not suffering it to be so profaned; of driving out in Christ's power the evil that would most corrupt us; of being indeed a temple of God, wherein His praise should be not only spoken with our lips, but acted in our lives?

I think that this is very encouraging and enkindling to every one who wishes to serve God.

“encouraging and enkindling," I mean, of course, encouraging and enkindling to exertion. It is but folly to say, “How delightful would it be

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But by

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