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The serious and practical hearer of the present day will, therefore, add—to the precepts given in the Sermon on the Mount—all the other precepts of his Bible : and, to the whole preceptive part of it, he will add all that is doctrinal. Alarmed by those declarations of the spirituality and strictness of the divine law, which the Sermon on the Mount furnishes, he will receive with joy that soul-reviving truth, that “God was in CHRIST, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them."* And that “by Him, all, that believe, are justified from all things from which ye could not be justified by the Law of Moses ;"| for it is unquestionably one end of that searching discourse of Christ to prepare the mind for these doctrines.
Filled also, with a sense both of his own weakness, and of the high nature of that holiness, to which (as the same Sermon shows) it is absolutely necessary that he should attain, how earnestly will he now seek by prayer the help of God's Holy Spirit. He will put on the whole armour of God: he will search, through all parts of Scripture, for every thing which can contribute to make him wise unto salvation ; he will attend in an especial manner to the affecting history of his Saviour's death, and to the doctrines resulting out of it; nor will he lightly esteem the writings of those apostles, whom Christ sent forth for the express purpose of evangelizing the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
This, then is the man, who builds his house upon a rock. His is a religion which shall never disappoint him. It is no baseless fabric, which shall be overthrown by the first rising storm. This man, if affliction and trouble should fall upon him, shall find the consolations of CHRIST dwelling in him : if persecutions should come upon him, because of the word, he shall not be offended : if death should draw near, he shall face that king of terrors : and, when the
* 2 Cor. v. 19. + Acts xiii. 39.
Day of Judgment shall arrive, he shall be counted worthy to escape all those things which are coming on the earth, and to stand before the Son of Man : for he has not been a mere hearer of the word, but a doer of it. His faith in Christ has not been that faith which is without works, and which is dead, being alone ; but it has been proved to have been true faith, by its fruits. His confession of sin has not been confession of the lip; but the real language of an humble, broken, and contrite heart: his love to his Saviour has not consisted in saying “ Lord, LORD;” but in doing the things which He hath commanded.
Being, therefore, thus safe, for life, for death, and for eternity, he may be likened unto a wise man who built his house upon a rock: and the rains descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house: and it fell not ; for it was founded on a rock.
“ But whosoever heareth these sayings of mine," says CHRIST, " and doeth them not, I will liken him unto a foolish man, that built his house on the sand.” It matters not what profession such a man has made ; what doctrine he has heard ; or what preacher he has followed. Only to hear even the best doctrine is not to build on the right foundation. His house is upon the sand : the religion of such an one is a slight and unsubstantial thing. It will not abide the test, when the storm comes, which is to try it ; and there is a time approaching, when every one's building shall be tried. That fair edifice, with which he had for a while pleased himself, shall fail. All his high hopes and confidences shall be thrown down. The house, which he had reared to himself for eternity, shall fall; for he had built it on the sand : and great shall be the fall thereof.