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with what the Apostle emphatically calls for meat, and the leaf thereof for me“all the fullness of God."
dicine !” (compare Rev. xxii, 1, 2.) It was in the time of the greatest de- Here we have the passage of Isaiah pression of the church, that Ezekiel was (lxi. 3, brought before us “ trees of permitted to see this mystical river ; it is righteousness, planting of the Lord." now, in our church's greatest depression, | These are the worshipping, spiritual that we are permitted to see the Spirit people of God: so are they described in of God arising from places long neglected the 1st Psalm, they shall be profitable and unnoticed; what heart will refuse to to all around_leaves and fruits will be see the hand of God, giving the “water unfading and abundant—the “ leaves" of life freely?”—what heart will refuse representing their precious conversations to “drink and live for ever?" Surely the “ fruit" their good works—"yea, they, who know and feel these things, thus shall the people be blessed who fear are bound to give gladsome testimony- the Lord !” all who have drank
All who hear such things may naturally - “Of Siloa's bronk that flowed
desire to have a share in them, they must Fast by the oracle of God.”
then be told whither proceed those waters, It is a delightful duty to direct all to which go forth from the temple, and this look to this heavenly fountain—it is de- we may learn by asking the questionlightful to lead forth our fellow-men, 11. WHITHER DO THEY FLOW, AND TO and to bid them trace its origin and its wHAT END? The text says, “ down into leadings-to point to those who have
the desert and into the sea.” The name made experiment of the bounty and life- 'desert was applied by the ancients not giving resources of God's streams of only to any place that was barren and love, and who show forth the beauty of solitary, but also wherever there was any holiness in their lives ; such persons are great intervening space between one city ever found desirous to approach and and another, that they called 'desert.' participate in the privileges of the Sanc
By desert we understand those places tuary—they abide close to the ordinances
| which have no spiritual culture, no seed • of God. The types of such faithful men
sown, and consequently no fruits appearwere exhibited to Ezekiel ; and you find
ing: wherever this is the case, there mention made of them in the 7th verse : must be a spiritual famine, and however «« Behold at the bank of the river were disastrous the literal famine may be revery many trees on the one side and garded, yet, in the word of God, the on the other.” And again, in the 12th spiritual famine is exhibited as one of the verse, “ And by the river upon the bank greatest visitations which can fall upon thereof, on this side and on that side, the sons of men—tbus Amos viii. ll. shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf“ Behold the days come saith the Lord shall not fade, neither shall the fruit God, that I will send a famine in the thereof be consumed, it shall bring forth land; not a famine of bread, nor a thirst new fruit according to his month, be. for water, but of hearing the words of the cause their waters they issued out of the Lord !" this is a most awful state for any Sanctuary, and the fruit thereof shall be portion of the earth to be left in—there
Satan must reign triumphant, there is the and vilestyea, every heart is capable of “ shadow of death !” every place that being overcome by the Spirit of God, lacks Gospel and ministerial oversight save and except that heart which resists faithfully administered, is a desert, each all testimony-mocks at the doctrine of heart that knows not God is a desert; a Holy Spirit, and thereby commits the " things rank and gross in nature possess unpardonable sin against the Holy Ghost! it merely :" the heart of man is a moral The text illustrates the prevalency of the wilderness, a decaying city, a house top- Holy Spirit when going forth not only to pliny to ruin. Each man needs to be the desert,'—but even to the sea ;' now converted--to be sanctified—the Spirit of we are enabled to know what sea is here God goes down to such a desert bringing meant by the names mentioned in the life and health in its train; the Spirit of 10th, Engedi and Eneglaim; these God does wonders in the desert heart, were places, Engedi on the one side, and making the “wilderness to blossom as the Eneglaim on the other of the dead sea. rose ; however barren, however unfruit- The dead sea occupied a space of some ful the heart may have been, in times twenty-four miles long by six or seven past, yet when the healing waters from miles broad— (it covered a space which the fountain cleanse and refresh the heart, might have included Belfast, Downpatrick, what a change takes place ! what changes Saintfield and Killyleagh) and in fact ha ve taken place in the hearts of many four towns stood formerly where that awful individuals, the cold careless pharisaical sea now lifts its murky head; Deut. xxix. protestant feels that something beyond 23. tells us that the names of these four mere profession is demanded the young cities were Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah man learns to trust not in youth, strength and Zeboim : with Sodom we are apt to or beauty—the old man hastens to seek connect an idea of great crimes-yea, the peace “ ere he go hence and be no more most abominable offences. The causes seen”-the proud become humble—the which God points out as having led to rich become poor in spirit—the fatherless his displeasure against Sodom, are somefeel protection and courage—the sorrow- times overlooked under the idea which is ful are made to rejoice, and the “ widow's attached to the fearful abominations of heart to sing for joy !”
that place— Vide Ezekiel xvi. 49. “BeIt is the proclaiming to man his utter hold this was the iniquity of thy sister sinfulness, and asking why will you die? Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and it is the pointing to Christ and him cruci- abundance of idleness was in her and in fied, it is the call for penitential confession her daughters, neither did she strengthen to God, it is the proclamation of mercy the hand of the poor and needy.” So it to all the most sinful and the most aban- was not only unmentionable offences that doned, that brings with it, through the hastened destruction upon that devoted Holy Spirit, wonderful results. Such city, but the aggregate of offences comare its effects when its waters flow upon mon and prevalent in our day as in the the amiable, the moral, the careless and days of Sodom. Great and universal the gay; but still more, as the “ blood of were the sins of various shades which were Christ cleanseth from all sin,” so the visited with the fires of heaven, and over Spirit of God goes forth to the lowest whose participators were shed the waters of desolation and death—yet, to sins such 4 But there is a fearful declaration made as these, go forth the healing waters of in the 11th verse, mention is made of the Spirit of God—they go to this de- “miry and marshy” places—these it is serť—they go even to this sea'—the said “shall not be healed, they shall be dead sea_they have power to heal sin and given to salt,” by these “miry, marshy guilt such as the dead sea had buried places” we understand stagnant souls beneath its waters—and what does this obdurate, hardened souls-souls that have propound to men ? that the Spirit of trifled with gospel appeals—that have God has power to visit the harlot, the “quenched the Spirit”—that have had a drunkard, the blasphemer, the murderer- " reprobate mind” continued upon them ; such was the case in Paul's time, when such are described in Proverbs 1. 25. healing waters visited the believing people "because I have called and ye refused, I of Corinth—see what vile characters have stretched out my hand and no man were some of them, as noted by Paul, regarded, but ye have set at nought all 1 Cor. vi. 11. “and such were some of my counsel and would none of my reproof, you, but ye are washed, but ye are sanc- I will also laugh at your calamity, I will tified, but ye are justified in the name of mock when your fear cometh.” &c. &c. the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our Dear brethren! pray that this day be not God.”
added to former days when convictions That the Gospel is the “power of God were silenced, and God provoked! what unto salvation” is shewn in this chapter an awful idea is it, to think that this day from whence the text is taken, for in the this hour-this minute may be the last mysterious language of the 9th verse it is occasion when the Spirit of God will ever stated, “ and it shall come to pass, that strive more_lift up the heart in prayer, every thing that liveth, which moveth, and agonize in entreatywhithersoever the rivers shall come, shall “Withdraw not thou thy help, live, and there shall be a very great mul
Nor cast me from thy sight;
Nor let thy Holy Spirit take, titude of fish, because these waters shall
His everlasting flight." come thither; for they shall be healed, and
Ill. OUR DUTY IN ACKNOWLEDGING every thing shall live whither the river AND CHERISHING THESE “HOLY WATERS.” cometh !” “all who hear and believe They flow in order to convey light, life, shall live--all who welcome the refreshing and immortality! he that shall receive of streams shall drink and live for ever.” —
these waters shall never thirst, these are Who then has excuse ? the desert heart the
the “living waters” spoken of by Jesus, want sthe Spirit--the dead heart wants the
John iv. 10. Those upon whom they Spirit-“ Unless we be born again, we
come, have their eyes enlightened, their cannot enter the kingdom of God”-let
hearts softened and subdued, their views them who have tasted the “waters of life
changed and a very foretaste of heaven is freely” pray for those who are yet in the de
often their portion : the social duties of sert and dead-sea state! and may God pour life are all improved and exalted by the his refreshing streams upon us, and may
visitations of God's Holy Spirit_where all belonging to us live in the refreshing
that Spirit pours its healing waters, there influence of God's stream, and ever lie
such a building as this is greatly valued; down beside the still waters !
it stands up before the eye as God's own
mercy-seat, where intercessions will be , -Oh what a bountiful God to have shed made, where the hammer of the word ap- his blessing on the building of twelve new plied by the Holy Spirit will break the churches, and the enlargement of onestony hearts, where wounded consciences and on the prospect of some seventeen will be healed—where those who “sow more churches in connection with the in tears will reap in joy"-where little Down and Connor Church Accommodaones will be led to Jesus, and aged men tion Society! “Pray for the prosperity exclaim “ Lord now lettest thou thy ser- of Jerusalem. Pray for the peace of vant depart in peace, for our eyes have Jerusalem ! they shall prosper that love seen thy salvation !"-here the waters thee !" will flow when the word of God is read I Love to ministers, love to churches, when the Gospel is preached—and when love to the brethren of our own household the emblems of a broken body and of the is strongly bounden upon us; the duty outpoured blood are distributed to grate- overlooked, perhaps because God's comful recipients_here, minister and people mandment is not understood; how few will be blessing and blessed of God and understand the text, Gal. vi. 8. in its each other.
special meaning, “ He that soweth to the Here above all things we are to rejoice, flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption, that the love of Christ will be proclaimed, but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of and holy waters will bear that love upon the Spirit reap life everlasting,” yet that their bosom to the sinner's heart—the verse from its context has special reference love of Christ to the poor man and to the to what is due from us to our clergy and sorrowful—the love of Christ to the hus- to our own brethren, of late years we band and the wife, and to the seed of have thought upon our Zion—let us build the righteous_here Christ is to be lifted them in the strength of the Lord, for we up as having left heaven for our sakes are told in this same chap. 9th verse, walking this visible world in poverty, and“ let us not be weary in well doing, for in despisal, and then beaten, bruised, due season we shall reap if we faint not.” wounded, stabbed, crucified !-and here And now dear brethren, if the division Jesus will be exhibited as a brother!' | of the text admitted of the simple queshigh and exalted honour! rich relationship! | tion (with regard to the waters of life, heavenly fraternity! let Christ find but flowing from the sanctuary of God) one brother, one sister here, one penitent namely—whence ? and whither? well Peter, one convinced Thomas, one weep- may we apply the same series of questions ing Mary, and who will grudge the silver to each individual. We will soon sepaand the gold that reared the pile ? who rate, the same company in all human will take their eyes from the work which probability never to meet again! whence? is yet to be done in rearing more temples from the dust! whither ? to the cares, or for God's glory and man's good! the vanities, or pomp, or gain, or pleasures stream has gone forth, it has enriched of life! they are nought--they will have Belfast, it has extended to Holymount, , an end_ask the aged man and he will let it wend its heavenly way to Tyrella, tell you—ask the widow and she will tell Kirkcubbin, Castlewellan, Annaloug, &c. you-ask the lonely and desolate an
they will all testify how fugitive is all / scend upon the noble individual who happiness save that which is found in endowed, and upon the Society, the communion with God!
founders of this Church! for ever Then ask God's dear children, what upon its walls be inscribed the words is their estimate of communion with God?' of the last verse of the last chapter of they will answer peace and joy in be- Ezekiel, “ The Lord is there !” may he lieving !'-may God touch our hearts delight in this place may it be holy of and remembering for what end we were the Lord, honourable, and blessed to a born (for eternal heaven-or eternal hell) multitude of souls and may all who have may we be roused and stimulated to ap- met this day here to do him honour, and preciate more and more the things that to contribute their aid to his work, may belong to our peace! may this place be they all meet in the heavenly sanctuary, a monument of mercy to all generations ! and dwell for ever in the blessedness may faithful pastors ever be found here, which God has prepared for them tha and praying people! may a blessing de- I love him! Amen.