<< Temple and Sanctuary >>
''And he would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple.'' Mark xi. I6.
The salvation of the soul is a Divine work. The vessels which a man makes for himself from his self-love and from his ambitions, beautiful and graceful though they may be, the Lord cannot suffer to be carried through His temple. It would be unjust to weave into an eternal soul those traits which man needed to satisfy the demands of his temporal mind.
''And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom. " Mark xv. 38.
May it not be that in the desperate struggle of the healthy mind for a spiritual conception of the Christ. and of His truth the death of all natural conceptions precedes the parting of the veil that covers the sanctuary and keeps hidden the deep mysteries of faith ? Out of the darkness of doubt created by a natural conception of the truth the spirit struggles upward into the light, and presently, just when the whole natural conception crumbles in his hands, the veil is rent and that which he could not see because the Great One could not trust him with the sight of it stands revealed, and all the veil that hid it is torn from the highest to the lowest — even from the problems that towered to heaven down to the problems that sank into the depths of hell — and the inner verity stands revealed,
"It is a covenant of salt for ever before Jehovah.” Numb, xviii. 19.
Whatever of conjunction there is between that which is spiritual and that which is natural is brought about by the fact that the Divine Truth as manifested in the one coincides with and corresponds with the Divine Truth as manifested in the other.
“For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. " Mark ix. 49.
Every principle connected with the church in man is a Divine Truth impregnated with Divine Love, and every effort of such an one's life is directed along the lines of this Truth.
''And ere the lamps of God went out in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was, and ere Samuel lay down, the Lord called Samuel ; and he answered, Here am I.”1 Sam. iii. 3.
It may appear to man at certain times in his life as though religious convictions had entirely disappeared from the character of some one near or dear to him — aye, even possibly from his own soul. But there is no truth in the appearance, confirmed or strong as it may be. In every character, and at every stage of mental growth, there are those faint and flickering vestiges of prenatal and early childhood days when the Lord and His angels were laying the deepest foundation-stones of the soul. Those days in which man's consciousness and his struggle to understand, and to be, himself, not yet interfered materially with the marking of the pattern which the man would wish to follow during that period of his soul-growth in which he attains a maturer knowledge of himself and of his possible life-purposes ; and when the Master calls it may seem as though the call came from the " Eli " of tradition, or from the "Eli" of things social and civic, or from the "Eli" of things ethic and moral ; but presently he will desist from his efforts to find the Christ where He is not ; and he will learn to formulate for himself that true spiritual religion of which only he and his Father know.
''The altar shall be foursquare.” Exodus xxvii. 1
As much as there is of truth in your forms of worship, so much shall there be also of love. To worship God from truth or from the intellect alone is to freeze consciousness into coma ; to worship Him from love or from the emotional side of nature alone is to melt consciousness into inanity.
''And the Temple and the Sanctuary had two doors.” Ezekiel xii. 23.
Both the internal and the external mind are subject to immediate and mediate influx, that is to say, both minds does the Lord touch with His life-forces, from within and without.
''And Jesus went out, and departed from the Temple. Matthew xxiv. 1.
From some concepts of Divinity all that is really Divine has departed. A concept of Deity in which there is anger and a sense of injury ; the picture of a God who needs adulation or flattery in prayer; who demands oblation and sacrifice ; who must be reminded in prayers long or short, stilted or beautiful, honest or hypocritical, of what His children have done that was good or bad — is a concept in which there is nothing of Divinity left.
''And pour all the blood at the bottom of the altar." Lev. iv. 7.
Yet at the bottom all worship rests on Divine Truth.
"And if thou make unto Me an altar of stone thou shall not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it thou hast polluted it.'' Exodus XX. 25.
And if into the thought of worship there enter any form of truth (doctrine, instruction, admonition) at all, let that truth come into play in no stilted, artificial, man-made way. Let the play of truth about the soul be as natural as is the play of sunlight about a flower. Man may need hot-house plants on earth, but God needs none in heaven. Artificiality destroys and pollutes the truth.
''But He spake of the temple of His body.'' John ii. 21.
The temple signifies the Divine Human.
"And Abraham built an altar there. " Genesis xxii. 9.
There is an element of worship in every truly human action.
“And he built an altar there, . . . and pitched his tent there ; and there Isaac's servants digged a well." Genesis xxvi. 25.
For upon that which rouses in him the delight and the sense of worship can man build the tent of his character, and into its deeper mysteries can he permit his obedient faculties to dig, so that he may understand what it is he worships and upon what he founds his character.
''Thou shall make unto Me an altar of earth.'' Exodus XX. 24.
The primitive elements of true worship are humility of spirit in the natural man.
“And there he builded an altar unto Jehovah, who appeared unto him.'' Genesis xii. 7.
In this condition of mind man worships the Lord according to his conception of Him.
Author: A. Roeder (1900)