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will ye deliver to Satan the souls whom ye profess to bring anto God?
11. "Woe unto you, ye blind leaders of the blind! for ye shut the kingdom of heaven against men! Ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Them that would strive to enter in at the strait gate, ye call back into the broad way. Them that have scarce gone one step in the ways of God, you devilishly caution against going too far. Them that just begin to hunger and thirst after righteousness, you warn not to be righteous overmuch. Thus you cause them to stumble at the very threshold; yea, to fall and rise no more. O wherefore do ye this? What profit is there in their blood, when they go down to the pit? Miserable profit to you! "They shall perish in their iniquity; but their blood will God require at your hands!
12. Where are your eyes? Where is your understanding? Have ye deceived others, till you have deceived yourselves also? Who hath required this at your hands, to teach a way which ye never knew? Are you "given up to [so] strong a delusion," that ye not only teach, but "believe, a lie?" And can you possibly believe that God hath sent you? That ye are His messengers? Nay; if the Lord had sent you, the work of the Lord would prosper in your hand. As the Lord liveth, if ye were messengers of God, he would "confirm the word of his messengers." But the work of the Lord doth not prosper in your hand: you bring no sinners to repentance. The Lord doth not confirm your word; for you save no souls from death.
13. How can you possibly evade the force of our Lord's words? So full, so strong, so express? How can ye evade knowing yourselves by your fruits? Evil fruits of evil trees? And how should it be otherwise? "Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?" Take this to yourselves, ye to whom it belongs! O ye barren trees, why cumber ye the ground? "Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit.” See ye not, that here is no exception? Take knowledge then, ye are not good trees; for ye do not bring forth good fruit. "But a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit;" and so have ye done from the beginning. Your speaking, as from God, has only confirmed them that heard you in the tempers, if not works, of the Devil. O take warning of Him in whose name ye speak, before the sentence he hath pronounced take place:
Every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit, is hew down and cast into the fire."
14. My dear Brethren, harden not your hearts! You have too long shut your eyes against the light. Open them now before it is too late; before you are cast into outer darkness! Let not any temporal consideration weigh with you; for eternity is at stake. Ye have run before ye were sent. O go no farther! Do not persist to damn yourselves and them that hear you! You have no fruit of your labours. And why is this? Even because the Lord is not with you. But can you go this warfare at your own cost? It cannot be. Then humble yourselves before him. Cry unto Him out of the dust, that he may first quicken thy soul; give thee the faith that worketh by love; that is lowly and meek, pure and merciful, zealous of good works, rejoicing in tribulation, in reproach, in distress, in persecution for righteousness' sake! So shall the Spirit of glory and of Christ rest upon thee," and it shall appear that God hath sent thee. So shalt thou indeed "do the work of an Evangelist, and make full proof of thy ministry." So shall the word of God in thy mouth be "an hammer that breaketh the rocks in pieces!" It shall then be known by thy fruits, that thou art a Prophet of the Lord, even by the children whom God hath given thee. And having And having "turned many to righteousness, thou shalt shine as the stars for ever and ever!"
UPON OUR LORD'S SERMON ON THE
"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
"Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name have done many wonderful works?
"And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
"Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
"And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
"And every one that 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 house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it." Matt. vii. 21-27.
1. OUR Divine Teacher, having declared the whole counsel of God with regard to the way of salvation, and observed the chief binderances of those who desire to walk therein, now closes the whole with these weighty words; thereby as it were setting his seal to his prophecy, and impressing his whole authority on what he had delivered, that it might stand firm to all generations.
2. For thus saith the Lord, that none may ever conceive
there is any other way than this, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but be that docth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore, every one that 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 house; and it fell and great was the fall of it."
3. I design, in the following discourse, First, to consider the Case of him who thus builds his House upon the Sand: Secondly, to show the Wisdom of him who builds upon a Rock: And, Thirdly, To conclude with a practical Application.
I. 1. And, first, I am to consider the Case of him who builds his House upon the Sand. It is concerning him our Lord saith, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven." And this is a decree which caunot pass; which standeth fast for ever and ever. It therefore imports us, in the highest degree, thoroughly to understand the force of these words. Now what are we to understand by that expression, "That saith unto me, Lord, Lord?" undoubtedly means, that thinks of going to heaven by any other way than that which I have now described. It therefore implies (to begin at the lowest point) all Good Words, all Verbal Religion. It includes whatever creeds we may rehearse; whatever professions of faith we make; whatever number of prayers we may repeat; whatever thanksgivings we read or say to God. We may speak good of His name; and declare his lovingkindness to the childreu of men. We may be talking of all his mighty acts, and telling of his salvation from day to day. By comparing spiritual things with spiritual, we may show the meaning of the Oracles of God. We may explain the mysteries of his kingdom, which have been hid from the beginning of the world. We may speak with the tongue of angels, rather than men, concerning the deep things of God. We may proclaim to sinners, “Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world." Yea, we may do this with such a measure of the power of God, and such demonstration of his Spirit, as to save many souls from death, and hide a
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 outward 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 sin? We may have a conscience void of any external offence, towards God and towards man. 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 neighbour, deal my bread to the hungry, and cover the naked with a garment. 1 may be so zealous 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 have no part in the glory which shall be revealed.
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 thereof, which he has set before us in this Discourse. For how far short is all this, of that righteousness and true holiness, which he has described therein! 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