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Solomon's prayer is a most excellent pattern of public devotion; consisting of petitions for national blessings, spiritual and temporal ; forgiveness of sins, and deliverance from the evil consequences of them: to which he added, intercession for those nations who were not yet converted to the true religion.
As a token that the sacrifices offered at this time were acceptable, it pleased the LORD to send holy fire (as at the dedication of the tabernacle) to consume them. David had furnished the people with words to express their pious raptures as follows *
The Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice ; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof.
Clouds and darkness are round about Him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of His throne.
A fire goeth before Him, and burneth up His enemies round about.
His lightnings enlightened the world : the earth saw and trembled.
The hills melted like wat, at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the LORD of the whole earth.
The heavens declare His righteousness: and all the people see His glory.
Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols : worship Him all ye gods.
Zion heard, and was glad, and the daughter of Judah rejoiced ; because of Thy judgments, 0 Loud.
For Thou, Lord, art high above all the earth : Thou art exalted far above all gods.
Ye that love the Lord, hate evil: He preserveth the souls of His saints, He delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.
* Psalins xcvii, xcviii, and xlvä.
Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.
Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous ; and give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness.
Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice and sing praisc.
Sing unto the Lord with the harp; with the harp and the voice of a psalm.
With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the king.
O clap your hands, all ye people, shout unto God with the voice of triumph :
For the LORD most high is terrible: He is a great king over all the earth.
He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet.
He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved.
God is gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet.
Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises unto our king, sing praises.
For God is the king of all the earth, sing ye praises with understanding.
The whole solemnity might properly end with the same blessing which David pronounced on the people*.
God be merciful unto us, and bless us: and cause His face to shine upon us.
That Thy way may be known upon earth, Thy saving health among
all nations. Let the people praise Thee, O GOD: let all the people praise Thee,
* Psalm layii.
: O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for Thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations
Let the people praise Thee, O Gon; let all the people
Then shall the earth yield her increase ; and God, even our own GOD, shall bless us.
God shall bless us, and all the ends of the earth shall
· Though our mode of worship differs greatly from that of the Israelites, Christians may, notwithstanding, collect niuch valuable instruction from the account of the dedication of Solomon's Temple.
The sentiments which Solomon entertained of the majesty and goodness of God are such, as every one should feel whilst engaged in public worship. Solomon is likewise worthy of imitation in his benevolent solicitude for the welfare of God's people, and the propagation of religion. In respect to burnt sacrifices, we have no'occasion to follow his example; neither is it with us a point of duty to build stately edifices to his honour.
As the LORD Vouchsafed to make his PRESENCE evident in the land of Israel, it was proper that a Temple should be erected in the place which he had chosen,to fix his name there; in order to keep up a perpetual remembrance of His relation to this people as their King, and likewise to shew forth His GLORY and MAJESTY to the surrounding nations; who hearing that the living God had actually manifested Himself in a visible manner at Jerusalem, might forsake idols, and embrace his holy religion.
Whoever considers the greatness and excellency of the SUPREME BEING, will be ready to exclaim with Solo
upon earth? Behold
mon, Will God in
the heaven, and heaven of heavens, cannot contain thee, how much less a house which is built with hands! We cannot, it is true, add to the Glory of God by any human means. He is infinitely perfect and happy in Himself, and the fountain of all happiness in the whole universe: all the service we can pay Him, therefore, is to proclaim His power, wisdom,
goodness, mercy, justice, truth, as a mean to keep up our own fear, love, and veneration towards Him, and to invite others, by our example, to do the same; and this service may be performed in an humble edifice. It is, however, no sin to erect fine churches, and adorn them properly; on the contrary, in opulent cities, where the very merchants dwell in palaces, those buildings which are dedicated to Divine service should be proportionably magnificent, provided that the worship performed in them be agreeable to the rules prescribed by their religion; and this section encourages us to hope that God will be present in all places dedicated to public worship, if the hearts of those, who assemble in them, are rightly disposed to hold communion with Him, by fervent prayer, for he is no respecter of persons;
and as, by the diffusive propagation of Christianity, there are now many congregations of His people, who cannot all meet together in one Temple, we may certainly multiply places of worship, and may reasonably hope each will be sanctified by his presence. Our Lord Himself has said,-Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. We must not expect, be the building ever so costly, that God will appear amongst us as he did in Israel; because we live under a very different dispensation; and have the promise of those good things, of which the splendour and magnificence of Solomon's Temple were but very imperfect emblems.
THE LORD GIVETH A TESTIMONY OF HIS ACCEPT
ANCE OF SOLOMON'S PRAYER.
From 2 Chron. Chap. vii, viii.- 1 Kings, Chap. ix.
And the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice.
If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people :
If my people which are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now mine eyes
and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place
For now I have chosen and sanctified this house that my name may be there for ever : and mine
and mine heart shall be there perpetually.
And as for thee, if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, and do according to all that I have commanded thee, and shalt observe my statutes and my judgments; Then will I establish the throne of thy kingdom, according as I have covenanted with David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man to be ruler in Israel. But if ye and forsake
statutes and my commandments which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other gods, and worship them, Then I will pluck them up by the roots out of
my land, which I have given them; and this house which I