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multitude of sins. And yet it is very possible, all this may be no more than saying, “ Lord, Lord.” After I have thus successfully preached to others, still I myself may be a castaway. I may, in the hand of God, snatch many souls from hell, and yet drop into it when I have done. I may bring many others to the kingdom of heaven, and yet myself never enter there. Reader, if God hath ever blessed my word to thy soul, pray that he may be merciful to me a sinner!
2. The saying, “ Lord, Lord,”, may, secondly, imply The doing no harm. We may abstain from every presumptuous sin, from every kind of ontward wickedness. We may refrain from all those ways of acting or speaking, which are forbidden in Holy Writ. We may be able to say to all those among whom we live, Which of you convinceth me of siu? We may hare a conscience void of any external offence, towards God and towards nian, We may be clear of all uncleanness, ungodliness, and unrighteousness, as to the outward act; or, (as the Apostle testifies concerning himself,)“ touching the righteousness of the law,” i. e. outward righteousness, “ blameless." But yet we are not hereby justified. Still this is no more than saying, “ Lord, Lord;” and if we go no farther than this, we shall never “ enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
3. The saying “ Lord, Lord,” may imply, thirdly, many of what are usually styled Good Works. A man may attend the Supper of the Lord, may hear abundance of excellent sermons, and omit no opportunity of partaking all the other ordinances of God. I may do good to my neigbbour, deal my bread to the hungry, and corer the naked with a garment. I may be so zcalous of good works, as even to "give all my goods to feed the poor." Yea, and I may do all this with a desire to please God, and a real belief that I do please him thereby; (which is undeniably the case of those our Lord introduces, saying unto him, “Lord, Lord;") and still I may bave no part in the glory which shall be revcaled.
4. If any man marvels at this, let him acknowledge he is a stranger to the whole Religion of Jesus Christ; and in particular, to that perfect portraiture thercof, wbich he bas set before us in this Discourse. For how far short is all this, of that righteousness and true holiness, urbich he has described thereiu! How widely distant from that inward kingdom of heaven, which is now opened in the believing soul;- which is first sown in the heart as a grain of mustard-seed, but afterwards putteth forth great branches, on which grow all the fruits of righteousness, every good temper, and word, and work.
5. Yct as clearly as he had declared this, as frequently as he had repeated, that none who have not this kingdom of God within them shall enter into the kingdom of heaven ; our Lord well knew, that many would not receive this saying, and therefore confirms it yet again : “Many" [suith he: not one; not a few only: it is not a rare or an uncommon case] “shall say unto me in that day," not only, We have said many prayers; we have spoken thy praise ; we have refrained from evil; ve have exercised ourselves in doing good ;—but, what is abundantly more than this, “We have prophesied in thy name; in thy name have ie cast out devils ; in thy name done many wonderful works.” “Il'e have prophesied;"-we bare declared thy will to mankind; we have showed sinners the way to peace and glory. And we have done this " in thy name;” according to the truth of thy Gospel ; yea, and by thy authority, who didst confirm the word with the Holy Ghost sent down from licaven. For iu or by thy name, by the power of thy Word and of thy Spirit, “have we cast out devils ;” out of the souls which they had long claimed as their own, and whereof they had full and quiet possession. “And in thy name, [by thypower, not our own,] have ire done many wonderful works;" insomuch that“ even the dead heard tlıc voice of the Son of God” speaking by us, and lived. “And then I will profess [even) unto then, I never knew you ; ” no, not then, when you were “ casting out devils in my name :” even then I did not know you as my own; for your heart was not right toward Ciod. Ye were not yourselves ineck and lowly; ye were not lovers of God, and of all mankind; ye vyere not renewed in the image of God; ye were not holy as I am holy. “ Depart from me, ye (who, notwithstanding all this, arc) workers of iniquity;"aroulx :-ye are transgressors of my law, my law of holy and perfect lore.
6. It is to put this beyond all possibility of contradiction, that our Lord contirms it by that apposite comparison: “Every one," saith de, “who heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that Jouse;"--as they will surely do, sooner or later, upon cvery soul of wan; even the floods of outward affliction, or inward temptation ; the stornis of pride, anger, fear, or desire;
« And it fell, and great was the fall of it :” so that it perished for ever and ever. Such must be the portion of all who rest in any thing short of that Religion, which is above described. And the greater will their fall be, because they “ heard those sayings, and (yet] did them not.”
II. 1. I am, Secondly, to show the Wisdom of him that doeth them, that buildeth his House upon a Rock. He indeed is wise, “who doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”. He is truly wise, whose “righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees.” He is poor in spirit; knowing himself even as also he is known. He sees and feels all bis sin, and all his guilt, till it is washed away by the atoning blood. He is conscious of his lost estate, of the wrath of God abiding on him, and of bis utter inability to help himself, till he is filled with peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. He is meek and gentle, patient toward all men, never “ returning evil for evil, or railing for railing, but contrariwise blessing,” till he overcomes evil with good. His soul is athirst for nothing on earth, but only for God, the living God. Hie has bowels of love for all mankind, and is ready to lay down bis life for his enemies. He loves the Lord his God with all his heart, and with all his mind, and soul, and strength. He alone sball enter into the kingdom of heaven, who, in this spirit, doeth good unto all men; and who, being for this cause despised and rejected of men, being hated, reproached, and persecuted, rejoices, and is “exceeding glad,” knowing in whom he hath believed ; and being assured these light, momentary afflictions, will “work out for him an eternal weight of glory.”
2. How truly wise is this man! He knows himself ;-an everlasting spirit, which came forth from God, and was sent down into an house of clay, not to do his own will, but the will of Him that sent him. He knows the world ;—the place in which he is to pass a few days or years, not as an inhabitant, but as a stranger and sojourner, in his way to the everlasting habitations; and accordingly he uses the world as not abusing it, and as knowing the fashion of it passes away. He knows God;-his Father and his friend, the Parent of all good, the Centre of the spirits of all flesh, the sole Happiness of all intelligent beings. He sees, clearer than the light of the noon-day sun, that this is the end of man, to glorify Him whọ made him for himself, and to love and enjoy him for ever, And with equal clearness he sces thc mcans to that end, to the ing your hope of salvation on this, you are still building upon the sand.
3. Do you go farther yet? Do you add to the doing no harm, the attending all the ordinances of God? Do you, at all opportunities, partake of the Lord's Supper ? use public and private prayer ? fast often ? bear and search the Scriptures, and meditate thereou ? These things, likewise, ought you to have donc, from the time you first set your face towards heaven. Yet these things also are nothing, being alone. They are nothing without the weightier matters of the law. And those you have forgotten : at least, you experience them not:-Faith, mercy, and the love of God; holiness of heart; heaven opened in the soul. Still, therefore, you build upon the sand.
4. Over and above all this, are you zcalous of good works? Do you, as you have time, do good to all men? Do you feed the hungry and clothe the naked, and visit the fatherless and widow in their affliction? Do you visit those that are sick ? relieve them that are in prison? Is any a stranger, and you take him in ? Friend, come up higher! Do you “prophesy in the name of Christ ? ” Do you preach the truth as it is in Jesus ? And does the influence of his Spirit attend your word, and makc it the power of God unto salvation ? Does he cnable you to bring sinners from darkness to light, from the power of Satan unto God? Then go and learn what thou hast so often taught, “By grace are ye saved through faith :” “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but of his own mercy he saveth us.” Learn to hang naked upon the cross of Christ, counting all thou hast done but dung and dross ! Apply to bim just in the spirit of the dying thief, of the barlot with her seven devils! Else thou art still on the sand ; and, after saving others, thou wilt lose thy own soul.
5. Lord, increase my faith, if I now believe! Else, give me faith, though but as a grain of mustard-seed !—But “what doth it profit, if a man say he hath faith, and hath not works? Can [that] faith sare him ? ” O no! That faith which hath not works, which doth not produce both inward and outward holiness, which does not stamp the whole image of God on the heart, and purify us as He is pure; that faith which does not produce the whole of the Religion described in the foregoing chapters, is not the faith of the Gospel, not the Christian laith, not the faith which leads to glory. O beware of this above
all other spares of the Devil, of resting on unholy, unsaving faith! If thou layest stress on this, thou art lost for ever: thou still buildest thy house upon the sand. When“ the rain descends, and the floods come, it will surely fall, and great will be the fall of it.”
6. Now, therefore, build thou upon a Rock. By the grace of God, know thyself. Know and feel that thou wast shapen in wickedness, and in sin did thy mother conceive thee; and that thou thyself hast been heaping sin upon sin, ever since thou couldest discern good from evil. Own thyself guilty of eternal death ; and renounce all hope of ever being able to save thyself. Be it all thy hope, to be washed in His blood, and purified by His Spirit, “ who himself bore [all] thy sins in his own body upon the tree.” And if thou knowest he hath taken away thy sins, so much the more abase thyself before him, in a continual sense of thy total dependance on Him for every good thought, and word, and work, and of thy utter inability to all good, unless he “ water thee every moment.”
7. Now weep for your sins, and mourn after God, till he turns your heaviness into joy. And even then weep with them that weep; and for them that weep not for themselves. Mourn for the sins and miseries of mankind; and see, but just before your eyes, the immense ocean of eternity, without a bottom or a shore, which has already swallowed up millions of millions of men, and is gaping to devour them that yet remain! See here, the house of God eternal in the heavens ! there, hell and destruction without a covering !--and thence learn the importance of every moment, which just appears, and is gone for ever!
8. Now add to your seriousness, meekness of wisdom. Hold an even scale as to all your passions, but in particular, as to anger, sorrow, and fear. Calmly acquiesce in wbatsoever is the Will of God. Learn in every state wherein you are, therewith to be content. Be mild to the good : be gentle toward all men; but especially toward the evil and the unthankful. Beware, not only of outward expressions of anger, such as calling thy brother, Raca, or Thou fool; but of every inward emotion contrary to love, though it go no farther than the heart. Be angry at sin, as an affront offered to the Majesty of Heaven; but love the sinner still: like our Lord, who “ looked round about upon the Pharisees with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts." He was grieved