And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought;…
"My house shall be called the house of prayer." This is true of every regenerate soul. When it is in a state of grace the soul of man is a temple of the Divine presence. "If any man love Me, and will keep My words, My Father will love him, and we will come unto him and make our abode with him." Christ's throne within the soul enlightens the understanding, and kindles the affections, and braces the will, and while He thus from His presence-chamber in this His spiritual palace, issues His orders hour by hour to its thinking and acting powers, He receives in return the homage of faith and love, a sacrifice which they delight to present to Him. So it is with God's true servants, but alas! my brethren, if you and I compare notes, what shall we say? Even when we desire to pray we find ourselves in the outer court of the soul surrounded all at once with the tables of the money-changers, and with the seats of the men who sell the doves. Our business, with all its details, follows us in the churches, follows us into our private chambers, follows us everywhere into the presence of our God. Our preparations for religious service, the accidents of our service, occupy the attention which is due to the service itself. Sometimes, alas! we do not even try to make the very first steps towards real prayer, and steps which ordinary natural reverence would suggest; we lounge, we look about us, just as though nothing in the world were of less importance than to address the Infinite and Eternal God. But sometimes, alas! we do close the eyes, we do bend the knee, we try to put force upon the soul's powers and faculties, and to lead them forth one by one, and then collectively to the footstool of the King of kings; when, lo! they linger over this memory or that, they are burdened with this or that load of care, utterly foreign to the work in hand. They bend, it is true, in an awkward sort of way in the sacred presence beneath, not their sense of its majesty, not their sense of the love and the beauty of God, but the vast and incongruous weight of worldliness which prevents their realizing it. And when a soul is thus at its best moments fatally troubled and burdened about many things, God in His mercy bides His time; He cleanses the courts of a Temple which He has predestined to be His for ever, He cleanses it in His own time and way; He sends some sharp sorrow which sweeps from the soul all thoughts save one, the nothingness, the vanity of all that is here below; and so He forces that soul to turn by one mighty, all-comprehending act to Himself, who alone can satisfy it; or He lays a man upon a bed of sickness, leaving the mind with all its powers intact, but stripping from the body all the faculties of speech and motion, and then through the long, weary hours the man is turned in upon himself; and if there is any hope for him at all, if at that critical moment he is at all alive.to the tender pleadings of the All-merciful, he will with his own hands cleanse the temple; he sees the paltriness of the trifles that have kept him back from his chiefest, from his only good; he expels first one and then another unworthy intruder upon the sacred ground. The scourge is sharp, the resistance it may be persevering; the hours are long, and they are weary, but the work is done at last.
Parallel VersesKJV: And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought;