صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني
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rial temple, "There fhall not be left one ftone upon another, that shall not be thrown down." The apostle cuts off all other foundations befides Chrift; 1 Cor. iii. 11. faying, "Another foundation can no man lay, than that which is laid, which is Chrift ;" and he did not speak ignorantly; for he faw, by the infpiration of the Holy Ghost, that he was a wife master-builder, ver. 10. And therefore, we would be but mad builders, if we should teach you to build upon any other foundation; yea, or to build, as it were, upon any other foundation, by mixing any of our own rubbish with it, as if this were not a fufficient foundation. To daub with untempered mortar in this cafe, were enough to bring a curfe upon any angel in heaven, let be any minister on earth; therefore, the apostle, fpeaking on this very fubject, fays," If we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gofpel, let him be accurfed." Curfed be the man or angel, that dare build a temple for God, upon any other ground than this bleffed foundation.

Queft. How fhall we know then, if the foundation of the fpiritual temple be laid in us? That is, in fhort, if Chrift be formed in you, or not; and if you be built upon Chrift as your foundation.

I offer you thefe fcriptural marks for your trial.

1. If this foundation be laid, you have been humbled under a fenfe of your own fin and folly, in building your hope upon any other foundation, and thereby flighting this foundation. This is imported in the promife of the Spirit to convince of fin, efpecially of unbelief, John xvi. 8." He shall reprove the world of fin, of righteousness, and of judgment; of fin, because they believe not in me:" that is, because they have not built upon me as the foundation. Now, has the Spirit of God ever convinced and humbled you, for your fin of unbelief in flighting the Son of God; and feeking to build on other foundations? If you know nothing of this, it is to be feared, the foundation is not yet laid; but if you do, it is an evidence that God either hath begun, or is beginning the good work.

2. If this foundation be laid, then you have been made to quit your hold of all other foundations, and to give up with them; yea, to defpife them as dung, in VOL. VII.

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comparison of this foundation: "What things were gain to me, favs Paul, thefe I counted lofs for Chrift," Phil. iii. 8. What things doth he fpeak of? Why, it is even his beft things, his beft righteoufnefs; for he was, concerning the law, a Pharifee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; and concerning the righteoufnefs which is of the law, a blamelefs perfon: yet all this he counts lofs for Chrift. You will fay, "That was the "righteoufnefs he had before his converfion; but doth "he not efleem better of his righteoufnefs after his "converfion?" Nay, he puts that among the defpicable dung too; "Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but lofs and dung, [or, dogs meat, as it is in the original] for the excellency of the knowledge of Chrift Jefus my Lord, that I may win him, and be found in him, not having mine own righteoufnefs, which is of the law, but the righteoufnefs which is of God by faith, unto all, and upon all them that believe." Have you thus been made to quit the hold of all other foundations, and to defpife them as dung in comparison of this foundation? This fays much for you.

3. Have you cordially and refolutely been made to lay the whole weight of your fouls and bodies, and all that concern them for time and eternity, and the whole weight of your falvation upon this foundation, and upon it only? This is the foul's echo to that call, Pfal. Iv. 22. "Caft thy burden upon the Lord, and he fhall fuftain thee." And to that, 1 Pet. v. 7. Caft all your cares upon him, for he careth for you." This is the foul's motion to Chrift for reft, Mat. xi. 28. "Come to me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you reft." Now, have you thus come, and found reft to your heart and confcience, by cafting all the burdens of your fin and guilt, all the cares of your falvation and eternal happiness upon this bleffed foundation? Why then, your portion is provided, your everlasting felicity is fecured for ever; you may fay, truly, what the fool faid, vainly, Soul, take thy reft, thou haft goods laid up not for many years only, but for all the ages of "eternity." If all your burdens and cares be laid upon the foundation, what have you to care for ?



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Why, fay you, fhould a foul that is come to Chrift, have no more care about falvation? I anfwer, There is a finful care of anxiety, doubts, and fears; this he ought no more to have: but there is a holy care of activity and diligence, to testify his gratitude to the God of his falvation; this he ought to have; both these you fee, Phil. iv. 6. " Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and fupplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God." Therefore,

4. If this foundation be laid, then you will live upon the foundation, and have a real and conftant communion with the foundation, by cleaving to it, and abiding in it; juft as the ftone of a building cleaves to, abides with, and, in a manner, lives upon the foundation. Now, do you live upon this living foundation, fo as you cannot live without him? As Chrift himself says, "Without me ye can do nothing;" or, Separate from


me, the foundation, ye can do nothing.' Hypocrites and legalists, and all that are not built upon this foundation, they can do all things themfelves; they can read, and pray, and hear, and communicate, and what not: they think it is very eafily done, and what fhould hinder them. Alas! they know not what it is to live upon the foundation; to lean upon and draw virtue from the foundation: but the believer finds it otherwise, even that he cannot live, he cannot move, he cannot act spiritually in any duty whatfoever, without fpiritual communications of life, light, and ftrength: his life is hid with Chrift in God; and fo he lives, yet not he, but Chrift liveth in him, and the life he lives is by the faith of the Son of God. Thus he lives in a conftant dependence upon the foundation.

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5. If this foundation be laid, then you will not only live upon, but live to this foundation. Chrift is faid to die for us, "That they which live, fhould not henceforth live to themselves, but to him that died for them, and rose again," 2 Cor. v. 15. Before a man be united to this foundation, he lives to himfelf; felf is at the top and bottom of all his best duties and performances: but whatever remainders of felf is with the believer, yet the power and do. minion of felf is fo farbroken in him, that his felf-love, felfDa


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aims, and self-ends are his burden; and to live to the honour and glory of a God in Christ, is the chief end he desires always to fet before him. In a word,

6. If the foundation of the spiritual temple be laid, then the Spirit of the foundation will be in you: for, “ If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his; but, he that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit :" and this Spirit within the man is sometimes a witnessing; and fealing, and comforting Spirit; and also a cleanfing, purifying, and fanctifying Spirit, leading forth the believer habitually to fpiritual thoughts and meditations; and to a spiritual walk and conversation. --Now, these marks, I am sure, will stand the trial of the word of God; and, therefore, search and try yourfelves thereby, whether the foundation of the spiritual temple be laid or not.

Ufe 3. The next use fhall be for exhortation. Omitting all that might be faid by way of terror, to all these in whom the foundation is not laid ; being under the curse from the day that they were conceived in fin, and brought forth in iniquity; yea, from the day that you fell in Adam; from that day you are cursed of God: omitting also, what might be said by way of comfort to believers in whom the foundation is laid, they being actually blessed from the moment of their union to the Son of God, from this day and for ever they are blessed: omitting thefe, I shall close with a word of exhortation to those two furts, viz. unbelievers and believers. And,

ist, To all unbelievers, as the most part are, that are strangers to this laying of the foundation of the temple. My exhortation is, o be restless till the foundation of the temple be laid, as you would not be laid under the heavy curse of God to all eternity, and for ever deprived of his blefling. And in order to the laying of this foundation of the temple, know, that the work is God's; for, “Not by power, nor by might, but by his Spirit,” is the founda. tion laid; and therefore, cry for the Spirit of God, to be poured out upon you, and under his influence, follow theft four means, which I thall direct you to.

I. Count

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1. Count the cost of the whole building, before you begin to lay the foundation; ” Which of you, intending to build a tower, says Christ, fitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have fufficient to finish it? Leit, haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish it," Luke xiv. 28,---30. Some believe too soon, by a teniporary faith, without ever counting the cost. This work must be done with deliberation ; not that you need to deliberate whether it fhould be done or not; but there needs mature deliberation that it be right done. Many do raflıly take up a profeflion of religion, and fo conies of them; for, in an evil day, they make defection, give up with all religion, and overturn the foundations that feemed to be laid ; and no wonder, for the true foundation was never rightly laid. The Lord deter- . mines all his own so to count the cost, that they must have Chrift, cost what it will; and resolve to cleave to him though it should cost them the loss of their friends, and means, and lives to the bargain.

2. Look to this fame Spirit, to help you to dig deep, till you come to the rock. All that lay the foundation right are acquaint with digging deep. There are these four things you fhould dig deep into.

(1.) Dig deep to see your natural condition : Oh! was you never afraid for yourfelf, man, as being under the curse of God? Was you never afraid for the wrath of God, and the threatenings of the law? Was you never afraid for the conversion you was born with, and for the faith and hope you have had all your days, as if you

had been born a convert? That conversion will carry you to hell if you get no more; for, you were born an enemy to God, a slave of Satan, and an heir of hell. Oh! dig to see your flate of sin and misery by nature, otherwise you will build upon a fandy foun. dation.

(2.) Also, dig deep to fee your heart-plagues : and fure I am, you will find it to be deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. If you saw yourself, you would never say, I hope I have a good heart to God; as I have


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