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to crush the work. "What" (said one) "do these feeble Jews? will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned?" "That which they build" (says another)" is so slight, that if a fox were to go up he would even break down their stone wall." Thus they had to encounter ridicule; and soon after they had to encounter most decided opposition. In these circumstances the servant of God felt that his best refuge was where, brethren, alone safety is to be found. And accordingly it is said that he instantly "went into the presence of the Lord;" and his language was, Hear, O our God, for we are despised." And afterwards he says, "We made our prayer to God, and set a watch against them."


What an inestimable privilege is prayer to every man who has approached God through a Saviour! You meet the man of God in some seemingly deep anxiety, and he accosts you perhaps with his spirit in some measure cast down, and his forehead shaded with the feeling of care or apprehension. In a few moments you see him with every care laid to rest, and his countenance lighted up with the beams of hope and joy. What is the cause of the change? He has been with God: that beam on his countenance is from heaven; he has drawn nigh to God through a Saviour: he has cast his burden in prayer upon the Lord; and in the multitude of his sorrows the comforts of God have refreshed his soul. Your friend was a man perhaps in the hour of his last sickness, and you had prepared yourself to encounter a scene of perturbation, and doubt, and gloom, and possibility of fear. You find him on the contrary full of peace, and joy, and gratitude: you find that his last moment is his happiest; you find that to him the sick-bed is no place of alarm; and that in that moment in which he is about to appear in the presence of a holy and heart-searching Judge, his accents of praise and of joy were never so loud. The truth is, the sickness that has shut him out from the world has brought him closer to God: that spirit of prayer which perhaps the hurry and bustle of life had, in some degree impaired, has now taken full possession of his soul; and in deep communing with the Father of spirits, he has discovered such new sources of hope and joy that his soul longs to be gone to hold uninterrupted intercourse with the Father of spirits; longs to escape from a world of clouds, and storms, and doubts, and temptations, to the country of the blessed, to the bright region where is the palace of the Great King, where God dwells in the unbroken tranquillity of his own glory, and greatness, and joy.

Brethren, if you would prosper in the work of the Lord, whatever be the character of the duties you are called to discharge, your strength is in prayer, you must be striving to live a life of faith in the Son of God, you must go to him with earnest supplication, with strong crying and tears; you must turn from the shallow streams of this world's strength and wisdom, to the deep and bright fountains of power, in the strength and wisdom of your God. "By prayer I conquered" might be written on the monument of every true servant of God.

But I proceed to notice the second feature of the spirit by which the Jews were animated in this work of God; I mean that which is especially referred to in he words which are employed in my text. It is there said, "So built we the


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wall, and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof;" (or, in other words, it was built to half its height ;) “for,” he adds, “ the people had a mind to work." And what, brethren, can be of mere importance to the success of any work than a willing mind? Many appear to me to live under a great mistake as to that point. What is more common than to hear persons say, have the will to do right, but we cannot fulfil our own wishes ?" The fact is, that a large number of such persons want the will: “Ye will not come unto me.” They have no honest intention; if I may so express it, no thorough-going intention to do the will of the Lord. They may express many an idle wish to be Christians; they may indeed have the will to be Christians as far as it shall cost them nothing to become so: they would be willing to offer sacrifice to God of that which cost them nothing: they will not refuse the Gospel if you will sweeten the draught with self-indulgence. But they have no mind to forsake all and to follow Christ; to take up the cross in his service; to count every thing as dross and dung if but they may win Christ, and be found in him the objects of this grace, and the children of his family. In this sense of the word, they have not the will: the will is not right with God.

You observe, in the very Psalm we have been reading this evening, there is a remarkable account of the apostacy of the people, and their turning back in the day of battle; their various rebellions against God; and how it is added, as the very cause of that, that “ their hearts were not right with God." Brethren, rely upon it, that, in a great multitude of instances, the work of conversion, or reform, is begun too near the surface. You ask the hand to work, and what is wanting is the mind to work. What we want is, not a new power so much as a new disposition, to have the mind newly cast in the image and character of our God. It is in vain to change the hand of the watch, if the mainspring is defective: it is in vain to rectify the machinery, if the system is not brought to act upon it: it is in vain to heal the muscle or the sinew, if there is no life's blood in the heart : it is in vain to mould the mere image of a man, if the spirit of life is not communicated: and all these are but the type and the image of a man, without the mind, without the will. If you would be successful labourers in the work of the Lord, public or private, the work of personal religion following national reform, ask him to give you the willing mind; to work in you to will as well as to do ; to prompt the heart as well as move the hand.

The third and last quality I would notice in these Jewish builders, is, their vigilance and courage in resisting the enemies of the cause in which their hearts were engaged. “ Nevertheless,” says Nehemiah-notwithstanding all this opposition—"we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them.” And again, “ I set in the lower places behind the wall, and on the higher places, I even set the people after their families with their swords, their spears, and their bows. And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them : remember the Lord which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses." And again, “ They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with


the ther hand held a weapon. For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded.”

What a lovely picture have we here of the bold and determined spirit with which these labourers of the Lord gave themselves to the work! And what a striking example for ourselves! Brethren, we live in a world at war with God and with the Gospel: Unconverted men are not neutrals between right and wrong; they love what is evil, and they hate what is good. They hate the Master whom, as Christians, we love and serve. They seek to quench that light of the Gospel which he has kindled. They will, in many instances, hate and resist you, if you are faithful to your God and Saviour, and contend earnestly for the faith that is given to the saints. For you, then, also, it is necessary to have the trowel in one hand, and the sword in the other; it is for you to remember (and here I am especially speaking to young people; you must bc bold in the service of your God)—it is for you to remember, that while you are to be mild in the manner, you are to be strong, and upright, and determined in the act; to set your face as a flint against corruption; and to lift up the banner of the cross in the front of every opposer.

How base and how contemptible is a cowardly religion! Ashamed of Jesus ! Can that be? How noble, and how suited to His service who died in the cause, is it to resist even unto blood where God and his honour are concerned! After all, brethren, I think that we are apt to undervalue the difficulties of religion as to this point. It wants much courage to be a true servant of God. It was urged upon Joshua-and we may urge it upon every soldier in the camp of Christ_“ Be strong; be of good courage; and I will be with thee." Dear brethren, I trust there will be many in this congregation who will bring all their manhood to bear on religion; who will speak for their Lord in all places, and in all societies; and who will endeavour to make known that they have chosen the Lord's side, and that they mean to live and to die under the banner of his cross.

But it is time that I come, in conclusion, to notice the particular object of this sermon.

As I said in the opening of this discourse, I believe that it is not necessary that I should urge, either upon the minister or upon the settled congregation of this place, that you should put your hearts into the work in which you are engaged. I have reason to believe that great sacrifices have been made in the maintenance of this place of worship; and I am sure it is no common subject of satisfaction to any Christian mind to witness such a congregation as this, and to believe that, to a considerable degree, large numbers of them are actually concerned honestly to promote the preaching of the Gospel in this place with the utmost possible effect. I trust, Christian brethren, that you render God the praise for whatever you have been permitted to do already. My object this evening is, particularly to press upon all who are present, the recollection that, humanly speaking, the maintenance of this place of worship, the maintenance of this congregation, the supply of their spiritual wants, (as assembled here, at least,) depends, next to the divine blessing, not upon any support from without, but upon yourselves within-on certain sermons preached during the year for promoting those particular purposes. Now, let na bram from the text some natural, common-place conclusions, with regard to the accomplishment of this end.

In the first place, you have observed from the text—or at least from the passages connected with it, in the third and fourth chapters of Nehemiah-that all classes contributed to that end. There must be unity among ourselves; all classes must contribute to this end—the great a larger portion, and the poor a smaller portion; but all are to do what we can.

You observe that, in all these cases, there was an endeavour that each man should discharge his own particular office; to “ repair,” as it is expressed, “ before their own door." That must be your endeavour : you must be cultivating personal religion in your own souls. You must not merely be looking to the religion of your neighbour; you must be looking to your own religion, your own vineyard, the state of your own heart. You must be asking yourselves, Do I love my Lord and Saviour ? Am I his, and is he mine?

Moreover, you are to be doing your own particular work as to this church of which you are a member. If you have money to give, you must give it: if you have time to give, you must bestow it: if you have, as you certainly have, prayer to give, you must be pouring out your supplications before the God of all grace, that a special blessing may rest on the congregation assembling here.

You observe that, in this particular case, there was much of the spirit of union. Every man carried a trowel, and every man a weapon of defence. And may God, my Christian brethren, breathe more and more upon this congregation, the spirit of love, unity, sympathy, and brotherly affection, in this distracted, quarrelsome world! May there be found here one corner of it, at least, in which the true spirit of Gospel love prevails !

Then again you have seen that, in these builders of Jerusalem, there was a giving of meas and where there is a willing mind, providence constantly supplies the meang. It is astonishing, where there is a disposition to do, how. easily things are accomplished.

And observe, also, from these chapters, how much the spirit of prayer prevailed among these builders. Yes, brethren ; and prayer is the very sinew of our spirits. You must begin, continue, and end, in prayer, if you mean, not merely that the walls of your place of worship should stand, but if you desire that the glory of the Lord shall be found to illuminate its walls. Prayer keeps the lamp of the altar bright : prayer gives you the presence of God.

I can truly say, in conclusion, how satisfactory and cheering the spectacle is to myself, of seeing a place of worship like this raised up from the midst of a poor population, as it was, at least, a few years since ; large numbers collected together; a full congregation; and, as I venture to hope, the Gospel simply and faithfully preached to you. We ought to bless God who is the great Author of this work. Brethren, I commend it to his care. I desire for each and all of you, that Christ Jesus may become more precious to every one of your souti. that you may grow in grace, and in the knowledge of your God and Saviour; that large numbers may go from within these walls to fight the battle of the Lord; that your minister may find the seed sowi striking root downward, and

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bearing fruit upward ; and that his labours may be watered by the dews of heaven, and bring forth fruit a hundred-fold; to the glory of God, and the sal.. vation of a lost world. May God be with you! May the power of the Spirit rest upon you! And may you be enabled to go on your way peacefully and rejoicingly!

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