You shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD.
The reverence we owe to public places of worship must be expressed
I. IN SOLEMNLY SEPARATING THEM FROM COMMON USE. Churches, when once consecrated, cannot be alienated from God's service without sacrilege, nor applied to any other use without profanation; for, as the Divine Majesty is holy, so it is manifestly a part of that honour we owe to God, that those things wherewith and whereby He is served should not be common and promiscuous, but reserved solely for sacred purposes.
II. IN THE BEAUTIFYING AND ADORNING THEM. Shall the Almighty vouchsafe, in a peculiar manner, to take up His residence among us here on earth, and shall not we endeavour to provide the most honourable reception for Him? The bestowing proper ornaments upon God's house is not only an instance of respect due from us to Him, but is also a useful means of promoting religion; for outward objects will always affect the mind with impressions, according to the nature of them.
III. BY A CONSTANT ATTENDANCE UPON THE SERVICES IN THEM. God, no doubt, is conscious to our most private devotions in our closets, to every ejaculation, to every pious thought that ever rises in our souls; He requires these, and approves of them; but then He expects, and commands also, that we pay Him public homage and external worship, wherein if we are deficient, we discharge but half our duty.
IV. BY A DECENT AND DEVOUT BEHAVIOUR IN THEM. As earthly potentates have many palaces in several parts of their dominions, where at different times they keep their court, one whereof is generally erected in their principal city, superior in magnificence and grandeur to the rest: so the Almighty, the King of kings, has His several mansion-houses throughout the world, though His chief dwelling be in heaven, where He is encircled with beams of light and glory, too strong for mortals to approach. These mansion-houses in these lower realms are those places that are dedicated and consecrated to His service, in which He is ever present, ready to dispense liberally His favours to all that duly ask, surrounded with a guard of angels and archangels, who to us indeed are invisible, but we are not so to them. With what humility, with what reverence and devotion, then, ought we to carry ourselves, in a place so dreadful as is the house of God, and in the presence of such honourable, such awful company!
(S. Grigman, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD.