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chief corner-stone." Perhaps the most beautiful and most sug. gestive figure employed on the subject, is that of a temple, in allusion, no doubt to the temple of Jerusalem.* In some passages of Scripture, several of these images are blended and intermixed. An instance of this we have in the context. To one of these metaphors only shall we refer in the following discourse, namely, that of a temple ; our subject being the Church of the New Testament, under the figure of "an holy temple in the Lord.” Keeping this leading idea before us, several topics of permanent interest will offer themselves for our consideration. We may instance,
I. THE FOUNDATION OF THE SPIRITUAL EDIFICE.It is right that we should distinguish between the foundation of the Church, properly so called, and its doctrinal base; that upon which the entire building rests, and that which constitutes the bases of its system of doctrine.
The true foundation of the Church is Christ Himself ; His Divinehuman person, and His glorious mediatorial work. " The main stress of this spiritual building rests upon Him, who by His death hath united Jews and Gentiles, the two different constituent parts of it, into one compact, regular building and temple.” Like the house of the wise builder spoken of in the Gospel, the Church of the New Testament is “founded upon a Rock;" and undeniably, or that Rock is Christ." So St. Paul affirms: “ Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner-stone." Still more impressively the Apostle writes : “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor. iii. 11.) St. Peter amply confirms the testimony of St. Paul. Speaking of Christ as "a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious," he says, “ Wherefore also it is contained in the Scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner-stone, elect, precious : and he that believeth on Him shall not be confounded; and presently adds, “ The stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner." (1 Peter ii. 4, 6, 7.) Except it be with those who set the teaching of men above the teaching of God, this inspired testimony will be decisive. Redeemed by Christ's blood, the entire spiritual fabric springs out of and rests upon His meritorious facrificial death :
" Other ground can no man lay;
Jesus takes our sins away;
• Some indeed suppose an allusion to the celebrated Temple of Diana, Ent in such a writer as St. Paul, and on such a subject, the view taken above seems more patura
The doctrinal basis upon which the Church is founled is, by the will of its Dicine Founder, the apostles and prophets. "Built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets :" That is, upon the doctrine, not of Paul, nor of John, nor of Peter; but upon that of the inspired teachers of the New Testament collectively. The traditions of uninspired men are of no authority here; the one important question is, “What saith the Scripture? How readest thou ?" Human opinion is ever changing; “but the Word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the Word which by the Gospel is preached unto you.” (1 Peter i. 25.) Hence, speaking of the Church under another figure, namely, that of "the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem," St. John writes, “ And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb." (Rev. xxi. 14.) Here, then, is the only true and valid source of doctrine for the Church of Christ. It is the Word of God as taught by the inspired writers of the New Testament. No bulls of Popes, nor the decrees of Councils, nor the opinions of fallible men must be allowed to add unto or to take away from, to nullify, or evade, or explain away, " the words of the prophecy of this Book." Such is the doctrinal basis, “ Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner-stone."
From the foundation we pass on to contemplate,
IL. THE BUILDING.—"All the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord." The true idea of the Christian Church is, not that of a mass of materials promiscuously thrown together, but that of an edifice regularly constructed and compactly built. The temple of Solomon, as well as the taberDacle erected by Moses, was constructed upon a Divine plan, a pattern sketched by the finger of God. (See Exod. xxv. 40; 1 Chron. Xxviii. 11, 19.) The several parts of the sacred structure were to be " fitly framed," and skilfully put together, according to the design of the Divine Architect. The result was that “holy and beautiful house" in which God caused His name to be recorded, and His worship to be solemnly celebrated.
In relation to this point, the Church of Christ presents two aspects. It may be considered as visible or invisible; under the former view it is manifested to the world ; in the latter it is known only to God: “the Lord knoweth them that are His."
That which, for distinction's sake, we are accustomed to call the invisible Church, comprehends all that is spiritually pure and Godlike in humanity, all who worship the Father " in spirit and in truth;" all who believe in Christ " with the heart unto righteousness;" and who while they trust only in the merits of His dying love have “ respect unto all His commandments.” It is of such that the Apostle writes : “ Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a
and gratitude to God. That he did not require the proffered aid was, in his view, no diminution of the grace of the act. For years afterwards litigation continued to occasion him great anxiety, but he bore it with surprising equanimity. “You are a puzzle to me, Mr. Snell," said one of the lawyers concerned, “I know not how you bear this as you do.” The speaker knew not the inward strength which was derived from an unshaken trust in the pro. mises of God. Conscious that these trials were permitted by his Heavenly Father, although the sufferer shrunk under the hand that pressed so heavily upon him, he could say, “ Not my will, but Thine, be done!” To the end the God whom he served proved his “ Refuge and Strength, a very present Help in trouble ; " and for several years before he died all solicitude from this source ceased.
Mr. Snell showed that there was such a thing as honesty in politics. In his dealing with social and public questions there was an entire absence of equivocation, exaggeration, or deception. If his soul were ever strongly stirred it would be on detecting some meanness or chicanery on the part of those who, he thought, should have known better ; especially when the poor were the objects of wrong treatment. The blessing of the peacemaker descended richly upon him; his task often being that of undoing the work of the slanderous whisperer and talebearer. Few things afforded him more satisfaction than the success of his attempts to re-unite ruptured friendships, or reconcile alienated neighbours.
The source of this and every other excellence which he manifested was his frequent communion with God. He commenced each morning with family devotion, and forgot not in the excitement of daily duties and engagements that he had a Saviour to serve and a heaven to win. It was well known to his household, however, that his converse with Heaven began prior to this family worship. To his library, close by his bedroom, he repaired early for the purposes of devotion ; and often came from his retirement with his face radiant with benevolence and holy joy. Still, although he maintained domestic worship with exemplary regularity, he could not, except on some very rare occasions, overcome his reluctance to lead the devotions of a public assembly.
Mr. Snell loved the house of God, and ever felt it an honour to be engaged in promoting its interests. When he was induced to become the treasurer and steward of the chapel-trust, it was burdened with a heavy debt, which was increasing at the rate of about thirty pounds a year. By skilful and continued effort the leakage was not only stopped, but the deficiencies of former years were liquidated ; and he had tho gratification of witnessing the income of the chapel subserve the interests of the Circuit. In the various
ofices in the Methodist minister, he was taken to his
offices which he held, including those of Circuit and Societysteward, he was remarkable for order and punctuality. His attendance on public worship during the week was regular; and, enjoying “ the communion of saints," he highly appreciated the weekly meeting in class. Yet he was not wont to say much on the subject of his personal experience of religion. His delight was unostentatiously to labour for God, to profit his fellow-man. Of transparent integrity and sincerity, numbers induced him to take the office of trustee under wills, sometimes involving affairs of delicate and difficult management; but he ever manifested a tact and capacity which called for grateful recognition from those who in this way had transactions with him.
He lived to call by name more than fifty children, grand-children, and great-grand-children. The oldest of the fourth generation completed his fourth year on the day on which his great-grand. father entered upon the day which has no night. He rejoiced to see all his children, and some of his grand-children, devoted to th service of the Saviour whom he had so long served, and occupy. ing various offices in the Church; one grandson, the Rev. R. Spooner, being a Wesleyan-Methodist minister.
About eight months before Mr. Snell's death, he was taken very ill. Considering this to be a messenger sent to take him to his heavenly home, one by one he gave up his offices in the Society, saying he should like to see them all filled up, and in good working-order, before he passed away. His medical attendant gave no hope of his recovery; and his two daughters were summoned to the side of what was supposed to be their father's death-bed. At this time, contrary to his habit, supposing himself on the confines of eternity, his tongue was loosed, and precious and comforting to his children and friends were the words which fell from his lips. A few of these may benefit the reader. Soon after he fell ill le said, “ God is very precious to me; I feel I am going home. The tabernacle of clay is being gently taken down. Ever since my conversion I have loved God's service; but all my works are stubble." He also observed, “I have always tried to be at peace with all men: if I had an enemy, I have striven to make him my friend, and have often succeeded. But there is no merit in this; it is constitutional. I could never bear evil-speaking ; there is something to be said in the favour of every one, and it is my pleasure to dwell on that." At another time, he exclaimed,-“ Jesus said, • Him that cometh to Me, I will in no wike cast out.' I am sure I come to Him as a poor sinner,
• This all my hope, and all my plea,
For me the Saviour died!'
God's lovingkindness has followed me all my days. I have had heavy trials, but they have been sent in mercy—to keep my heart right with God. I shall enter heaven through Christ."
He gradually rallied in some degree from this severe attack; and, although at first evidently disappointed, he entered afresh on life's duties with cheerful, willing steps ; he could still say, with the Psalmist, “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.” No weakness of health, or roughness of weather, kept him from the means of grace, if he could possibly be present. Only three weeks before his death, he occupied his usual place in the chapel. On the day following, when a cold wind was blowing strongly, he went out on business connected with the chapel-trust; but on Tuesday morning he was seized with paralysis, and was carried to his bed, from which he never rose.
Whatever he thought, he said nothing about death at the commencement of the seizure. His mind was kept in perfect peace, stayed upon God. There was no restlessness, no anxiety. He felt himself “ in God's hands.” Once he said, “I should like to die in harness; ” at another time, “I should not like to slip away without knowing it;" and again, “I am a sinner saved by grace. Precious Jesus ! Blessed Saviour, Thou art my Refuge; Thou art my Rock.” During the night he was heard saying, “ The Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” In the morning a son said, “Father, you feel ours is a covenantkeeping God ? " “ Yes, He has been so to me all the days of my life.” He was often heard whispering to himself, “ In My Father's house are many mansions : if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." He also softly repeated, ««• Bless the Lord, O my soul! and all that is within me, bless' and praise · His holy name.'" When reminded of the beauty of that passage in the Psalm, “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him," he replied “ Yes, I know I do fear Him. But sometimes, since I have been lying here so ill, I am afraid I do not love Him enough."
On December 19th, 1871, after the doctor's usual visit, Mr. Snell inquired what he said, and was told; “He says that you are very ill, and thinks that you will soon be with Jesus.” “Ah! I thought so too,” he exclaimed. The day before his departure, he asked that some of Charles Wesley's “ Funeral Hymns" should be read to him ; and directed particular attention to our hymn 716, “ Hear what the voice from heaven proclaims," etc. Then sending for his class-leader, he enjoyed with him a few minutes' Christian communion. It was affecting to witness this last earthly interview of these two old pilgrims, one with his feet already in “ Jordan's cold stream," and the other not far distant. “You are going