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must be put up daily in my secret chamber, and out of a pure and forgiving heart, for the pardon of my sins, and for the supply of the perpetually returning wants—both of my body, and of my soul. By this heavenly teacher I have also been instructed, that I must no longer lay up treasure in this world; and that, if I hope to have a treasure in heaven, my heart must be there also: that, so elevated must be my mind above earthly things, that I must lay aside all that multitude of anxieties by which I have been troubled; that I must not be careful even for my necessary food and clothing; nor for any of the things of this mortal life; but that I must acquire a new calmness, and resignation. as to all the events of this world, whether prosperous or adverse; seeking, first, the kingdom of GoD, and His righteousness; and quietly trusting, that, the greater blessings being obtained, all other things, which are really needful for the body, will be added unto me.
"Moreover, that disposition, which I have had, to judge others, must now, as I perceive, be exchanged for a disposition to judge myself. To do, also, to others, as I would they should do unto me, must, henceforth, be the great rule of my life. How exalted is that purity to which I am called :-I am to be a light of the world :—I am to be as a city set on a hill:-I am to be that salt, which is to season the whole earth. I am to be one of only a little flock for strait, I am assured, is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life; and few there be that find it. But how," he would likewise add, "shall I ever be sufficient for these things? Do thou, O my Saviour, still direct and teach me. Do thou also sustain and comfort me. To whom shall I go, but unto Thee; for Thou hast the words of eternal life? Already Thou hast opened mine eyes, in some measure, to see both my past sinfulness, and my further duty. Pardon, O LORD, all that is past. Show me more clearly that way, by which I may be forgiven; and instruct me whence I may gather strength to perform those great things, which Thou requirest of me."
In some such manner as this, would the practical hearer apply the Sermon on the Mount, and meditate upon it. Such an one would continue to be found among the followers of CHRIST; his faith might fail for a time, like that of the Apostles at the trying period of the crucifixion; yet he would afterwards be numbered among the hearers of the Apostles, and among the multitude, that met together on the Day of Pentecost. This man would also be of the number of that infant Church, which continued stedfast in the Apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. I add, that he would also be one of those persons to whom the Epistles, now extant, are addressed he would be one of the saints, the called, the sanctified in CHRIST JESUS. He would be a serious and earnest reader of those epistles; and a partaker of tha excellent spirit with which they are written.
It is unnecessary, after giving this description, to draw a second picture of the serious and practical hearer, o reader, of the same Sermon on the Mount, who lives at the present day.
Suffice it, generally, to remark, that such an one will partake in all the same feelings, with the man whom we have just described; and also will unquestionably be disposed, in like manner, to attend not to this Sermon only. but to all the other words, both of CHRIST, and of His Apostles.
This point is here particularly mentioned, by way of reply to those who profess to draw the whole of their religion, from the Sermon on the Mount; assuming that all, which is material in Christianity, must of course be found there; and forgetting that saying of CHRIST Himself to His disciples, at a period subsequent to this," I have yet many things to say unto you: but ye cannot bear then now. Howbeit, when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth:-He shall glorify me; for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you." 99*
St John xvi. 12-14.
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 afferting 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.