Restoration of the Law of Moses in Restoration Movement

Pure worship was measurably pure and simple in the days of Solomon, but it is far more so now, under the reign and administration of Jesus Christ, the greater than Solomon. The following document explains how worship defined by Jesus nevertheless follows the pattern of the Law of Moses.


TEXT.--"So the king and all the children of Israel dedicated the house of the Lord." (1Ki 8:63.)

TO dedicate is to devote, or set apart, to some special purpose. To dedicate a bethel, or house of worship, is to set it apart to a sacred use, by appropriate acts of religious worship. In this way King Solomon and the people of Israel, as the text informs us, dedicated the temple at Jerusalem. By the Lord's permission, and pursuant to public notice, we have assembled here, this morning, thus to dedicate this newly-erected bethel, or house of God.

Accordingly, we shall take occasion, from the words of our text, to show:



Agreeably to this arrangement, we intend to show, [125]


We should note that instrumental music was never used to accompany "congregational singing" in the Old Testament. Remember that Israel rejected the Theocratic rule of God and demanded a king like the nations so that they could worship like the nations. When therefore the instruments of David were added to the "trumpets of God" it was for dedicatory or purification ceremonies associated with Jerusalem and the Temple area. When the animals were sacrificed only representatives of the people or "standing men" were allowed to remain inside the gates. The common people did not worship in this ritual which was more civil than religious.

Click to see Edersheim's notes.

See our notes on Chronicles

This they did, as the context clearly shows:


1. THE KING, AND THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL DEDICATED THE HOUSE OF THE LORD BY APPOINTING AND OBSERVING A PUBLIC FEAST. The word feast is often used to denote a solemn time for God's service (Ge 21:8). The people of Israel had many feasts, or states seasons of religious worship, to wit: weekly, monthly, and yearly.

See what really happened at the dedication of the temple

1. Weekly, as the Sabbath. "Six days shall work be done; but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, a holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings" (Le 23:3).

" is admitted that instrumental music was not employed in the synagogue on the Sabbath. The reason assigned is, that it would have infringed the law of the Sabbath requiring a cessation of all unnecessary work. Now, the question arises, how, in view of that law, it was employed in the temple on the Sabbath? The answer given is, that God, in that case, by his authority relaxed the rigor of the fourth commandment, and warranted work which otherwise would have been unjustifiable...

"I rejoin: A relaxation of the Sabbatic law, in favor of the temple-services, is not granted. Whatever was necessary or proper, according to God's appointment, in order to the observance of his worship, was provided for in that law. It was not requisite for God to dispense with his own authority to secure compliance with it." (John L. Girardeau, p. 72).

"It is still banned by rigid adherents to old ways; but in ordinary conservative congregations it is unhesitatingly employed at weddings and other services on week days" (Isadore Singer, Jewish Encyclopedia, p. 134).

"There is nothing to show that the blowing of the trumpets, on festival days and at the beginning of months, over the offerings was accompanied by singing on the part of priests and Levites. There is no mention of that fact, and Jewish tradition opposes the supposition. Moreover, it is almost certain that the blowing of trumpets on such occasions was a representative act performed by the priests, and that consequently it was not accompanied by the singing of the congregation" (Girardeau, p. 28-29).

2. Monthly, as the new moons. "Offer all burnt sacrifices to the Lord, in the sabbaths, in the new moons, and on the set feasts" (1Ch 23:31). Again, He appointed "the burnt offers for the sabbaths, and for the new moons, and for the set feasts" (2Ch 31:3; see also Ezr 3:5 Ne 10:33 Eze 46:3 Ho 2:11). [126]

Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Col.2:16

3. Yearly, as the Passover, the Pentecost, and the Tabernacle feasts. (See Le 23:5-8,15-16,34).

Besides these, there were some other stated and occasional feasts, of which we have no time to speak at present. One of these occasional, or incidental, feasts was observed at the time of the dedication of the temple. This feast continued for seven days, and was held in connection with the tabernacle feast--one of their stated annual feasts. Hence we read in the sixty-fifth verse of this chapter: "And at that time Solomon held a feast, and all Israel with him, a great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt, before the Lord our God, seven days and seven days, even fourteen days" [1Ki 8:65]. (See also 2Ch 7:8,9).

2. THE TEMPLE AT JERUSALEM WAS DEDICATED BY INDUCTING THE ARK AND THE HOLY VESSELS OF THE HOUSE, AND BY ARRANGING THEM IN THEIR PROPER PLACES. By the ark, in this place, is meant the chest or coffer, in which the two tables of the law, Aaron's rod, and the pot of manna were preserved (Ex 37:1). By the holy vessels, the furniture and utensils of the temple are to be understood. These holy vessels Solomon, it is said, made in great abundance, some five thousand in number (2Ch 4:18).

Now all these, together with the ark of the covenant, the elders of Israel and priests and Levites took up, and solemnly inducted into the house of the Lord. "Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel, unto Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord, out of the city of [127] David, which is Zion. Wherefore all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto the king in the feast which was in the seventh month. And all the elders of Israel came; and the Levites took up the ark. And they brought up the ark, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and all the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle, these did the priests and the Levites bring up" (2Ch 5:2-5).

3. ANOTHER ACT OF WORSHIP, BY WHICH THEY DEDICATED THE TEMPLE, WAS VOCAL AND INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC. "The Levites, which were the singers, all of them of Asaph, of Heman, of Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, being arrayed in white linen, having cymbals and psalteries and harps, stood at the east end of the altar, and with them an hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets.

"From (the Ugaritic text) come references to a class of Temple personnel designated by the term serim, who exercised functions similar to those of the Hebrew singers during the monarchy and later times. Some of the servants of David who were designated in 1 Kings 4:31 by (a) term meaning 'aboriginal' or 'native sons,' and who possessed Canaanite names such as Heman, Chalcol, and Darda, were engaged in various forms of musical activity.

As such they were described by the phrase 'sons of Mahol,' a Hebrew term closely related to (the Greek), used of a semi-circular area in which the Greek chorus danced, and meaning 'members of the orchestral guild.' A further reflection of this musical interest became apparent when Megiddo was excavated and the treasure room of the royal palace was uncovered.

From this area was recovered a plaque inlaid with ivory, depicting a royal personage seated on a throne. He was drinking from a small bowl, and was being entertained by a court musician who stood before him plucking the strings of a lyre." (Harrison, R. K., Introduction to the Old Testament, Eerdmans, p. 335-6, see p. 411).

Jesus condemned the Jewish clergy who had not changed their views from the Monarchy period:

But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, Mt 11:16

And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented. Mt 11:17

The dance they wanted Jesus to get into was a dance reserved for women liberated from caring for their children and effeminate men:

Orcheomai (g3738) or-kheh'-om-ahee; (a row or ring); to dance (from the ranklike or regular motion): - dance

They wanted Jesus to lament in the sense of singing the song of worship with instrumental music to Bacchus while getting touched or "set on fire." When applied to dionysus or Bacchus it was the:

"Thriambeuo (g2358) three-am-byoo'-o; from a prol. comp. of the base of 2360 and a der. of 680 (mean. a noisy iambus, sung in honor of Bacchus (Dionysus); to make an acclamatory procession, i.e. (fig.) to conquer or (by Hebr.) to give victory: - (cause) to triumph (over).

It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound (not music but sound or noise) to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying, For He is good; for His mercy endureth forever:

that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord. So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God" (2Ch 5:12-14).

From this passage, we may learn that singing in time of public worship is well-pleasing and acceptable to God. For whilst this act of worship was going on in the temple, the Shekinah, or symbol of the divine presence, came in and filled the house of God. This was a token, both of Jehovah's presence and approbation. [128]

Hebrews Chapter 8 shows that this was not good and would repudiate his victory:

1 NOW of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;

2 A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.

3 For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.

4 For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law:

5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.

6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.

Hebrews 12:

18 For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest,

19 And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more:

20 (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart:

21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:)

22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,

23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

25 See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:

If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Isa 58:13

We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 2 Pet 1:19

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 2 Pet 1:20

Epilusis (g1955) ep-il'-oo-sis; from 1956; explanation, i.e. application: - interpretation.

Epiluo (g10956) ep-ee-loo'-o; from 1909 and 3089; to solve further, i.e. (fig.) to explain, decide: - determine, expound.


For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. 2 Pet 1:21

BUT there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 Pet 2:1

Even the casual student will note that "the priests could not serve." The cloud was:

Anan (h6051) aw-nawn'; from 6049; a cloud (as covering the sky), i. e. the nimbus or thunder-cloud: - cloud (-y).

Anan (h6049) aw-nan'; a prim. root; to cover; used only as denom. from 6051, to cloud over; fig. to act covertly, i., sorce. practise magic: - * bring, enchanter, Meonemin, observe (-r of) times, soothsayererer.

The glory was:

Kabowd (h3519) kaw-bode'; from 3513; prop. weight; but only fig. in a good sense, splendor or copiousness: - glorious (-ly), glory, honour (-able)

Kabed (h3515) kaw-bade'; from 3513; heavy; fig. in a good sense (numerous) or in a bad sense (severe, difficult, stupid): - (so) great, grievous, hard (-ened), (too) heavy (-ier), laden, much, slow, sore, thick.

Kabad (h3513) kaw-bad'; or 3515 kaw-bade'; a prim. root; to be heavy, i. e. in a bad sense (burdensome, severe, dull) or in a good sense (numerous, rich, honorable); causat. to make weighty (in the same two senses): - abounding with, more grievously afflict, boast, be chargeable, * be dim, glorify, be (make) glorious (things), glory, (very) great, be grievous, harden, be (make) heavy, be heavier, lay heavily, (bring to, come to, do, get, be had in) honour (self), (be) honourable (man), lade, * more be laid, make self many, nobles, prevail, promote (to honour), be rich, be (go) sore, stop.

When the people prayed they were "outside of the temple" and God heard from heaven. The message is that when the people are worshiping in prayer and He is listening, the "house" is disabled and the clergy could not minister. God never allowed the temple as anything but "a place toward which you may pray" but He said: "I will hear from heaven." The message is that God was not in the house. Furthermore

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 a house of sacrifice. 2Chr.7:12

Solomon understood:

But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built 2Chr.6:18

4. PRAYER WAS ANOTHER ACT OF WORSHIP BY WHICH THE TEMPLE WAS DEDICATED. We read, "Solomon made a brazen scaffold of five cubits long, and five cubits broad, and three cubits high, and set it in the midst of the court, and upon it he stood, and kneeled down upon his knees before all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven," and prayed (2Ch 6:13).

Here we may observe,

1. That this service was performed by King Solomon himself, in propria persona. We have often admired the pious example of King Solomon on this memorable occasion. How unlike the kings and emperors of the world! Many of them pray not at all. And those who keep up the forms of religion, usually employ chaplains to lead them in prayer. But mark! Solomon was his own chaplain--his own officiating priest--and the officiating priest and chaplain of the people on the occasion of the dedication of the temple. Although he was highly exalted, on one of the most resplendent thrones which mortal man ever built or beheld; and although he was covered over, with an almost unearthly glory, yet he hesitated not to come down from his gorgeous throne and take the attitude of a humble and devout worshiper. If then, Solomon, in the midst of all his glory, could thus humble himself, what are we, and what are you, poor haughty mortals, that you should hesitate to identify yourselves with the worshipers of Almighty God?

2. That the place he occupied was a "brazen scaffold" of given dimensions, made for the occasion, and set in the midst of the court. [129]

3. That the posture of the king took at the time of offering up this dedicatory prayer was, as stated in the passage just read, the kneeling posture. He knelt down, it is said, upon his knees before the congregation of Israel and spread forth his hands towards heaven. This humble and reverent posture was in conformity with ancient custom. And this custom of kneeling in time of prayer, we think, ought never to be given up.

But, we may further observe, touching the prayer which Solomon offered up, and which is twice recorded (1Ki 8:23-53 and 2Ch 6:14-42), that it possesses several notable and peculiar characteristics, as

1. This prayer was an earnest prayer. Or as the apostle James phrases it, an "effectual fervent prayer" [Jas 5:16]. This is clearly indicated by the lifting up and spreading out of his hands towards heaven.

2. This prayer was a very pertinent and appropriate prayer. Many pray earnestly, but their prayers are not appropriate. They do not pray to the point. But Solomon's prayer was both earnest and appropriate. His prayer was in every respect admirably well-suited for the occasion.

3. It was a lengthy prayer. It is the longest prayer on record in Holy Writ. Yet, long as it is, it can easily be repeated in eight or ten minutes, according to the style and manner of good pulpit reading. If then this is one of the longest prayers, and the occasion required it to be so, what are we to think of the long and formal prayers of modern times? As a general thing, they are too long. [130]

4. It was an extemporary prayer. We infer from this the well-known fact that liturgies and written prayers were not in vogue in those days. And also, from the fact, that it was so very appropriate. Extemporaneous prayers, offered up by Christian men, are usually far more appropriate than written prayers.

5. Solomon's prayer was a believing prayer. He prayed in full faith and confidence that God would hear and answer his prayers. Hence,

6. His prayer was a prevailing prayer. In proof of this it is said, "It came to pass, when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt-offering, and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the house. And the priests could not enter into the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord's house. And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the Lord, saying: For He is good; for His mercy endureth for ever" (2Ch 7:1-3).

5. THE DEDICATION SERVICE WAS CONTINUED AFTER THE PRAYER, BY AN ADDRESS TO THE PEOPLE. And he, King Solomon, said, "The Lord our God be with us, as He was with our fathers, let Him not leave us, nor forsake us: That He may incline our hearts unto Him, to walk in all His ways, and to keep His commandments, and His statutes, and His judgments, which He commanded our fathers; that all the people of the earth may know that the Lord is God: and that there is none else" (1Ki 8:57,58,60). [131]

6. FINALLY, "THE HOUSE OF THE LORD" WAS DEDICATED, BY MANY AND SOLEMN SACRIFICES. Sacrificial worship was a mode of worship that obtained in the earliest ages of the world, and the best of men practiced it, for the space of four thousand years. These sacrifices were ordained to prefigure Christ. They were, as the apostle says, "a shadow of things to come, but the body is of Christ" [Heb 10:1]. But, the sacrifices offered at the dedication of the house of the Lord, by Solomon and the people of Israel were intended not only to shadow the great, propitiatory sacrifice of Christ upon the cross of Calvary, but likewise to testify their gratitude to God for the completion of the temple. After if their gratitude is to be measured fairly by the number of sacrifices, then, doubtless, they felt more, far more than an ordinary degree of gratefulness: for the number of of their sacrifices on that occasion, was far beyond what was common or ordinary. "The king, and all Israel with him," it is said, "offered sacrifices before the Lord" [1Ki 8:62]. These sacrifices consisted of twenty-two thousand oxen and one hundred and twenty thousand sheep. Hence we read, "And the king, and all Israel with him, offered sacrifice before the Lord. And Solomon offered a sacrifice of peace offerings, which he offered unto the Lord, two and twenty thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep: so the king and all the children of Israel dedicated the house of the Lord" [1Ki 8:62,63].

Here is a specimen of liberality, worthy of the world's imitation. The value of these sacrifices, at modern prices, would have amounted to more than a half million of dollars. Perhaps, not less than a million--a [132] sum amply sufficient to build two hundred large and elegant bethels. What a glorious manifestation of religious zeal! And what an unparalleled instance of liberality and gratitude!

Having thus briefly shown "How, and by what acts of religious worship, Solomon and the children of Israel dedicated the temple at Jerusalem," let us now proceed to show,

Application in a Christian Church


Thus we intend doing, God being our helper, in the following manner:


1. BY OBSERVING A SERIES OF RELIGIOUS MEETINGS, IN THIS HOUSE. Solomon and the Jews, as we have heard, held a meeting in the temple, at the time of its dedication, which lasted for two full weeks. How long our meeting here will last, we cannot tell. It will depend somewhat upon circumstances. If the Lord is with us, and crowns our efforts with success, then we shall protract our meeting from day to day, and continue it as long as we shall find it expedient to do so. If on the other hand, we have no success in winning souls, if we cannot succeed in getting sinners to dedicate their hearts to the Lord and God's ministers and people to give their time and attention to the work of the Lord, then we may close our meeting in a few days and return to our homes. But again, we intend to dedicate this house,

2. BY VARIOUS AND APPROPRIATE ACTS OF CHRISTIAN [133] WORSHIP. Christian worship is instituted by Jesus Christ. He has taught us, both by precept and example, whom to worship, when to worship, where to worship, and how to worship. Among other things, He has taught us the duty of public worship. To this end, and for this purpose, we erect bethels and dedicate them to the worship of God. Specifically for this object, we have built this house and are here today, to set it apart for divine worship.

Now we do this without tiresome forms and pompous ceremonies. Liturgical, and all man-made worship, may serve the ignorant, the formalists and Pharisees, but it never has, and never will, answer the purposes of a spiritual and holy people. God is a Spirit, and all who worship Him acceptably must do it in spirit and in truth [Joh 4:24]. Such worshipers God seeks to worship Him. And such worship is very plain and solemn and simple. Pure worship was measurably so in the days of Solomon, but it is far more so now, under the reign and administration of Jesus Christ, the greater than Solomon. Few and simple are the forms, acts and exercises of Christian worship. The principal ones are prayer and praise.

1. Prayer is a chief and leading act of Christian worship. God is the only proper object of prayer. Saints in all ages have observed this act of worship. No Christian can live without prayer. It is the pulsation of the Christian's life, and the breath of his soul. Hence, the poet beautifully and truthfully says,

Prayer was appointed to convey
The blessings God designs to give;
Long as they live should Christians pray,
For only whilst they pray, they live. [134]

Prayer was an act of worship, as we have heard, by which the temple at Jerusalem was dedicated. By prayer, also, we intend to dedicate this house. Long may it stand as the house of prayer! From this sacred desk, and from within these consecrated walls, may the holy incense of earnest prayer rise up for a memorial before the Lord God of Sabaoth, perfumed with the merits of the Redeemer's blood; and in answer to the same, may Jehovah's richest blessings descend and rest upon every sincere and true worshiper in this place! Again,

2. Singing is a leading act of Christian worship, by which we intend to dedicate this bethel. Singing in time of public worship has always been considered an important branch of natural and revealed religion. All systems of religion, in all ages of the world, whether true or false, agree in this one particular, namely: that worship should be solemnized in psalms and hymns. The whole science of music was employed by the ancient Greeks in the worship of their gods. It was also the practice of the people of God, before the giving of the law by Moses, to sing musically with the voice, as a religious action. Heman and Ethan, two of the sons of Zerah, the son of Judah, composed and sung the eighty-eighth and eighty-ninth psalms, long before the birth of Moses. Moses and the children of Israel sang a song at the Read Sea, which is recorded in Ex 15:21.

Singing psalms and spiritual songs formed a prominent part of divine service under the legal dispensation. The precepts and examples of the New Testament clearly show that this practice also obtained generally in the Church of God during the apostolic [135] age. And the authentic histories of the Church not only corroborate the New Testament accounts of this custom, but establish the fact of its continuance in the Church down to the present time.

If, therefore, singing is an ordinance of God, if it properly formed a part of the dedication services in the days of Solomon when the temple at Jerusalem was set apart for the worship of God; then doubtless it is right and proper now to sing "in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs" [Eph 5:19 Col 3:16], and make melody in our hearts to the Lord; and also, by this delightful act of religious worship, to dedicate this house to the service of the true and living God--Father, Son and Holy Ghost. This then, by the help of God, we intend to do.

But let us be careful when we sing, to do it as best we can and as true and Christian worshipers ought to sing. This is to say, (1) Let us sing, not by proxy, but socially, with one accord and with united voices. Thus the churches are directed to sing (Col 3:16). (2) Let us sing heartily, as well as vocally, and with one accord (Eph 5:19). (3) Let us sing with the Spirit and understanding (1Co 14:15). This, brethren, is, in brief, the right way to perform this service. And, if we thus sing, it will be profitable to ourselves, useful to our fellow-men and acceptable to God.

3. THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL WILL ALSO CONSTITUTE A PART OF OUR DEDICATION SERVICES. Solomon, as we have heard, addressed the people, and instructed them in things pertaining to God and involving their own best interests [1Ki 8:55-61]. This duty is now made a special and standing ordinance in the Christian economy. God, for wise [136] and gracious purposes, has ordained the preaching of the gospel among all nations, as a witness to the people, and as a prime means of their conversion. Hence, it is called "the sword of the Spirit" [Eph 6:17], "the gospel of our salvation" [Eph 1:13], "the grace of God that bringeth salvation" [Tit 2:11], "the power of God to salvation" [Ro 1:16], and the incorruptible seed (by which, as Peter says, we are born again), "which liveth and abideth for ever" [1Pe 1:23].

Now, this glorious gospel of the blessed God, we intend to preach here, in all its length and breadth--in all its purity, preciousness and fullness. This bethel is built for this purpose, and we are here today, as we have said before, to set it apart, and dedicate it to the honor and worship of Almighty God.

When, therefore, God's ministers come up hither to preach Christ's gospel and to conduct the worship of Jehovah in this place, be it your business, dear people, regularly to attend, gladly to receive, and liberally to sustain the worship and preaching of the word in this place. Suffer not the word--God's precious seed--to fall by the way side, or upon empty pews, instead of honest and good hearts. Let it be a standing rule, never to neglect "the assembling of yourselves together, after the manner of some" [Heb 10:25]. Whilst you have ears to hear, come and hear. "Take heed," also, "how you hear." And above all, "be doers of the word, and not hearers only" [Jas 1:22]. Then will the Lord delight to dwell here, and cause the glory of this latter house to be greater than the former. Then, also, will you feel that you are in a heavenly place and can say, as Jacob did in Bethel. "How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven" (Ge 28:17) [137].

4. WE INTEND TO DEDICATE THIS HOUSE, BY MAKING SUITABLE AND LIBERAL SACRIFICES. Solomon and Israel sacrificed oxen and sheep, but we intend to offer far better and nobler oblations. Let us

1. Offer ourselves. This is said to be our reasonable duty (Ro 12:1). This, too, is our interest, both in this world, and that which is to come. But,

2. The sacrifice of praise. "Whoso offereth praise," says God, "glorifieth Me" [Ps 50:23]. And again, "Praise is comely for the upright" [Ps 33:1]. Here, then, let the voice of praise and thanksgiving be heard: from the preacher and the people; in preaching, in prayer and in song. Here may every Christian learn to sing and say with that king of poets, Dr. Watts:

I'll praise my Maker with my breath;
And, when my voice is lost in death,
Praise shall employ my nobler powers;
My days of praise shall ne'er be past,
While life, and thought, and being last,
Or immortality endures.

"There is a lack of technical information in our sources (about temple singing); its cause is the deliberate silence of the priests, which is, however slightly, lifted but once, by Josephus, himself a priest. Only in one passage he discloses one of the internal 'stage secrets' of the priests performance: 'The King, with the suffrages of those that came into the synhedrion, granted the singers (Levites) this privilege, that they may lay aside their former garments, and wear such a linen a they desired; and as a part of this tribe (of Levites) ministered in the Temple, he also permitted them to learn those hymns as they had besought him for. Now all this was contrary to the laws of our country.

Whenever these laws were transgressed, we have never been able to avoid the punishment of such transgressions" (Antiq. XX.ix.6). (Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible, p. 462-3, Abingdon).

What was the scam used on the king?

Now as many of the Levites, (26) which is a tribe of ours, as were singers of hymns, persuaded the king to assemble a sanhedrim, and to give them leave to wear linen garments, as well as the priests

for they said that this would be a work worthy the times of his government, that he might have a memorial of such a novelty, as being his doing.

3. Let us offer liberally our gold and silver, or their equivalent. It is customary, on occasions like this, and especially where there is an unextinguished debt upon the house, to make an appeal to the people for material aid. This, then, from the facts of the case in hand, becomes a matter both of necessity and duty. Some, indeed, have already given liberally towards the erection of this edifice. But, so, had the Jews given liberally towards the erection of the temple. Both the king and the people, it is said (1Ch 29:1-30) with perfect heart offered willingly to the Lord. King David himself gave towards the building of the temple, of his own proper good of gold and silver, over and [138] above all that he had prepared for the holy place, eleven millions two hundred and fifty thousand pounds. "And the chief of the fathers and princes of the tribes of Israel, and the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the rulers of the king's work, offered willingly, for the service of the house of God," of gold and silver, and brass, and iron, eighteen millions seven hundred and fifty thousand pounds [1Ch 29:5,6].

Then the people rejoiced, and David the king also rejoiced with the great joy. Wherefore David blessed the Lord before all the congregation, and said: "Who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given Thee" (1Ch 29:14).

We say, then, that nothwithstanding the almost unparalleled liberality of the Jews at the time the temple was commenced, yet they again contributed largely, in sacrifices and offerings, at the time of its dedication to the service of the Lord.

Thus liberally, after their example, we want you to bring your contributions to the treasury of the Lord upon this occasion. This house, as is generally the case, cost more than was anticipated. It is still largely in debt. But, then, it is a large, commodious and well-finished house. It is an ornament to the place, and an honor to the Church of God. The Lord has done great things for us as a Church and people in this city, and you have done well to remember Him, in building Him a house in honor of His name.

You have done well also to have a baptistery put into this house, where the ordinance of Christian baptism [139] may be conveniently administered at any time, according to the ancient mode. We are aware that there are objections to this arrangement. But we regard them all as futile and groundless. There is just as much propriety in having a pool or baptistery in a bethel as a communion table or an altar of prayer. If it is lawful to spend thousands of dollars to erect houses of worship and fit them up suitably for occupancy at all seasons of the year, it is equally so, in our opinion, to spend a few hundred dollars, to prepare a suitable place for baptizing at any season of the year. This is done here on a very suitable and convenient plan, which will, no doubt, give very general satisfaction, when its utility is once appreciated.

But, now, in conclusion, let us remind you once more, that this house has cost a large sum of money; that there is still a large amount due for materials and work;

that these monies must be paid to whom they are due;

that you will have ample means to do it; that where there is a will, there is a way; and that a double blessing goes with the cheerful givers, blessing those who give and those who receive.

Therefore, come up to the work of giving with liberal hands. Give, in proportion as the Lord has prospered you. Give, without grudging.

Sow plentifully, and you shall also reap plentifully.

Take David and Solomon for examples, and prepare with all your might, and offer willingly to the Lord your gold and silver, or their equivalent, towards the object of the collection, which will now be taken. [140]

[DPS 133-140]

{b} Preached at the opening of the "Union Bethel," in the city of Lancaster, Pa., on the 20th of March, 1842.

Restoration Movement Pages

Home Page

Counter added 7.28.06 2000

personal injury

Hit Counter