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THE FOUNDATION OF GOD STANDETH SURE.
2 TIMOTHY ii. 19.
Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ, depart from iniquity.
In the early ages of Christianity, as well as in the present day, there were many who caused divisions in the church of Christ for the veriest trifles, and they are reprobated strongly by St. Paul for their conduct. Writing (1st Epistle, chap. i.) to the Corinthians, he says, that it had been declared unto him that there were contentions among them. That one convert said, "I am of Paul; another, I of Apollos; I of Cephas; and I of Christ." But he asks, "Is Christ divided? was Paul cruci
fied for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?" The church of Christ is a body in which there should be no schism; but the mind of man is so fallible in its present state, that we are often led to raise doubts, and to create difficulties, when in reality there are none. In the verses preceding my text, Timothy is exhorted “to study to show himself approved unto God, a workman that need not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. To shun profane and vain babblings, for they will increase unto more ungodliness, and their word will eat as doth a canker; of whom is Hymenæus and Philetus, who, concerning the truth, have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already, and overthrow the faith of some." Such was their error. These persons vainly supposed that the resurrection was wholly spiritual from a death of sin, and therefore past and gone. Others have since denied this first resurrection, looking only to the resurrection of the body in the last great day. But the Scripture makes mention of both these. "I am the resurrection and the life". in a spiritual sense. The "
sound," &c. Both are in Christ. "Nevertheless," says the apostle, notwithstanding all these heresies, "the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity."
I. Let us consider this foundation.
II. The seal set to it: with its two inscriptions.
1. The omniscience of God.
2. The holiness of his servants.
1. When we speak of our divine and holy religion, and preach its doctrines to others, we offer something which is lasting, imperishable, abiding for ever. Something which has been tried-tried in the fires of martyrdom, like the gold which comes out of the furnace pure and unadulterated. Like the God who gave it, it is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. Other modes of faith may vanish away, but the Lord our God is the same, and his years shall not fail. The foundation of the Gospel is, "That God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not
perish, but have everlasting life." If we look at the different foundations upon which men are building their happiness, they deceive them. Some build upon health; some upon riches-they fly away; some upon future prospects of temporal good but these either never come into actual possession, or they fly away as a vision of the night. As the smoke vanisheth, so shalt thou drive them away. As wax melteth before the fire, so shall the ungodly perish before the presence of God. But let the righteous rejoice before God; let them also be merry and joyful. But not so in Christianity. Here is a sure foundation. 66 Behold I lay in Zion, for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation, and whosoever believeth in him shall not be confounded." The truth of the Gospel is a sure foundation, because God himself is the author of it. He taught his people under the law by shadows, types, and figures; but still the Gospel was in view: Moses could say, “A prophet shall the Lord raise up unto you of your brethren like unto me; him shall you hear in all things whatsoever he shall
say unto you; and it shall come to pass that every soul that will not hear that prophet shall be destroyed from among the people." Behold I will raise unto David a righteous branch; this is his name whereby he shall be called, "The Lord our righteousness." The solid truths to be yet more fully revealed, were the pardon of sin. Without shedding of blood under the law there was no remission. But there was a better sacrifice yet to come. "Lo! I come to do thy will, O God." The atoning sacrifice; the paschal lamb; the wave offering ; the blood of bullocks and goats. All these pointed to the blood of Christ. The foundation of the Gospel stood not upon hay, or stubble, or any human device, but upon the word of Jehovah. It is, therefore, wonderful men do not examine the evidences of religion more attentively, and then examine themselves yet more carefully to see whether they be in the faith. Why should they not take the Bible, and with prayer to God see whether their lives correspond with its precepts; whether they have gained an acquaintance with the grand points of faith and practice; what