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loud voice, saying, “ salvation to our God, which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb ?" Should it please the condescension of my heavenly father, to grant one so unworthy as myself, the humblest station in that innumerable company, I hope I should not be disposed to envy any situation to which others might aspire.
The language of the above text is perfectly adopted to show, that the promise made to the fathers, will finally be accomplished in its most extensive and glorious sense.
Should any suppose that it is inconsistent with truth to hope for the salvation of any who enter in at the wide gate which leadeth to destruction, let them remember the testimony of the Lord by the prophet Hosea.
See chap. xiii. 9. “O Israel, though hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help."
PARABLE VII. " Therefore, whosoever hearcth these sayings of mine, and
doth them, I will liken him unto a wise man which built his house upon a rock,"
MAT. vii. 24. The words of Christ, to which he hcre undoubtedly refers, immediately precede those which I have written, in which he observes, that many might say unto him, Lord, Lord, who should not be admitted into the kingdom of heaven; but they alone should be admitted who did the will of his Father who is in heaven. But just before, he was speaking of the good and bad trees and of their respective fruits, arguing the impossibility of a good tree bringing forth evil fruit, or á corrupt tree bringing forth good fruit ; and further he says,
every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire ; the meaning of which I have elsewhere given. But we may here learn, that those who partake of the corrupt tree alone, that have not yet been cut down and c:st into the fire, as we have before described, but are still laboring to establish a righteousness of their own, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, may profess christianity, and say to Christ, Lord, Lord, &c. ; but those, and those alone who do the will of the Father, can enter into the kingdom of heaven : therefore, those who heard the sayings of Christ and did them, were likened unto a wise man who built his house upon a rock. By house, I understand the hope or confidence in which the mind rests. By rock, I understand Christ, which idea is too evident to need proof. And what can compare with that wisdom which teaches us to put our trust in Christ, and build all our hopes of salvation on that rock of ages, that chief corner stone which foolish builders refuse ? He, and he only is truly wise who doth this; all other wisdom is from the earth, from beneath, &c. But the wisdom of which I speak, to what shall I compare it? “ It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof. It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx or the sapphire. The gold and the crystal cannot equal it : and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold. No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls : for the price of wisdom is above rubies
. The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold.” Job xxviii. 15, 16, 17, 18, 19.
“* And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man which built his house upon the sand.” Verse 26.
As was said in the other instance, the house is the hope or confidence in which the mind rests. By the sand, I understand that righteousness of which I spake in the description of the corrupt tree. And what can equal the folly of man who is vile, placing his hopes of salvation in works of his owu!
In verses 25, 27, it is said, “ The rains descended, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon these houses, and that which was built upon a rock fell not, because it was founded upon a rock
rock ; but that which was built upon the sand, fell
, and great • was the fall of it.”
I shall turn the reader to Isaiah xxviii. beginning at the 16th, to the close of the 22d inclusive. Here observe, a stone is laid in Zion for a foundation ; this is the rock or stone spoken of in our text; and it is said to be a tried stone, a precious corner stone, and a sure foundation; and that he who believeth should not make haste. Then there is an account given, of judgment being laid to the line, and righteousness to the plummet. This line and plumb were used in laying this foundation in Zion, and this chief corner stone was raised by them. Some. thing of the same was communicated to Amos, see Amos vii. 7. 66 Thus he shewed me, and behold the Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumb-line, with a plumb-line in his hand ;" which plumb-line the Lord told Amos he would set in the midst of his people Israel, and that he would pass by them
Note, Christ is here meant by a chief corner stone, the spirit of the law, by a plumb-line,
and the whole hcuse of Israel brought to perfect rectitude, is represe:ated by a wall built by a plumbline; and this is the house which will endure when the storm shall come, which is described in Isaiah Xxviii. 17, &c. 6 And the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding-place." The refuge of lies is the same as the house builded on the sand. Here we are taught, that nothing but that which is raised by plumb and line can endure when the overflowing scourge shall come ; nothing can abide but the gold, the silver, and the precious stones builded on the sure foundation. In verse 20, self-righteousness is described thus, " For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it; and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it." And in verse 22d, it is said that there is “ a consumption determined upon the whole earth :" When the whole earthly nature, with all its increase, shall be destroyed, then shall the hope of the hypocrite perish, the house of the self-righteous shall fall, and great shall be the fall thereoi. Let the question be asked, among the various denominations who profess christianity, and call Jesus Lord, how many rare ones can be found who hear the words of Christ and do them? Who have obtained that wisdom whereby they are taught to depend on nothing but Christ and him crucified ? We ought to make but one denomination of real christians; all who hear the words of Christ and do them, are of that class ; and all those, who, trusting in themselves, vainly believe that they are rich and increased in goods, must find their gain to be their loss : and may God grant that at the last they may find their loss to be their gain.
ILLUSTRATION. The common opinion of the falling of the house which is built upon the sand, is, that it signifies the failing of a false hope, and the greatness of the fall is significant of the endless despair of the builder. Against this opinion, I shall endeavor to introduce some queries, by way of investigation. I believe it will be agreed by all
, that the falling of the house builded on the sand, is the same as the destruction of the hope of the wicked, which is as the giving up of the ghost. What I wish to direct the reader's attention to, is the question, whether the failing of a false hope necessarily implies that the disappointed can never receive, from another quarter, that for which he hoped on false grounds, or eyen blessings infinitely better.
Let us take St. Paul for an instance. His hopes of salvation, before he was converted, were all built upon the sandy foundation of legal righteousness. Did this hope abide ? No, surely it did not. It was utterly demolished, and became of no value cven in his own judgment. But did he not obtain, from another quarter, that which was infinitely more valuable than he had before conceived of? See his own answer to this query: “Phil. iii
. 4, &c. “ Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any
other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more; circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews, as touching the law, a pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. Bat what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the