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(i.) A man may profess to build his hopes for eternity on Christ, and yet all the while be putting an undue dependence, if not more, on his own works. And in such a case a man must fail For the foundation which God has laid, and on which alone we can expect to be justified, is singly and solely the righteousness of Christ. It is not what He did and suffered along with what we can do, but only and absolutely His obedience unto death. "Behold I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone "—not many stones, but one stone—unique and complete in Himself. And yet there is hardly anything about which we are more apt to go wrong than about this. Hence the many mediators of the Church of Rome, and the great stress that is put on penance and good works. But " other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ." And whosoever receiveth and believeth or buildeth on this foundation—on the righteousness of the Lord Jesus, no more and no less—is forgiven and accepted of God.
Now the foundation on which Winstanley built his edifice was perfectly sound and good; but then he failed to dovetail his building sufficiently into the rock, and put too much dependence on his own workmanship. Hence he failed. It all came down, and great was the fall of it. So will it be in the case of every one who, while professing to build.on Christ, yet really and truly builds his hopes on his own doings. That is dishonouring God. It is crossing His plan of grace. For He has designed that your salvation should rest solely on the finished work of Christ . See how Judas fell. He professed to build on Christ, and yet it was not really so. Oh, nothing but the blood and righteousness of Christ can avail as a foundation on which to stand before a holy God! Can you say—
"My hope is built on nothing less
"The foundation of God standeth sure; having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are His."
But (2.)—Take heed how you build. For there is a very solemn passage in the 3rd chapter of the Corinthians that runs in this way: "If any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble, every man's work will be made manifest; for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire: and the fire shall try every man's work, of what sort it is. If any man's work abide [which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved 5 yet so as by fire." Now, one meaning of that is, that whatever we do, as believers in Christ, from a right motive, out of love to Him and His cause, it will stand like gold and silver and precious stones; but whatever we do, as Christians, from a wrong motive, that will be consumed like the wood, hay and stubble—just as the wood and the other combustibles were consumed in Rudyerd's lighthouse. Everything in your life and mine, not done for Jesus' sake, but for self or for some worldly purpose—that will all be loss to us on the great day. Therefore take hee 1 how you build.
What a beautiful spirit was that which Smeaton showed, when below his lamp he wrote these words: "Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it;" and over the lamp these words, Laus Deo—praise to God! And what is all that but an illustration as to how we ought to dedicate everything to the glory of God? And when that is the motive of our lives, we never live in vain, whether on sea or land.
But (3.)—What is the use of a lighthouse? Is it not by giving light to guide weary sailors safe to shore? And is it not that the end for which God is pleased to save us by His grace, that we may so hold up the lamp of truth to others as to lead them by its light to see how "God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life "? Oh, how are you trying to help to fetch weary, tempest-tossed souls into peace! Have you ever saved any of your companions from death, and had the joy of fetching them back to life?
Smeaton said that his lighthouse was erected as a debt he owed to the general stock of happiness—to save human lives and lighten human sorrows. And are not we also called upon, if we know the saving grace of God, "so to shine as that men seeing our good works may glorify our Father who is in Heaven "? Let us remember this whenever we think of or see the lighthouses that are so helpful to those who journey over the deep.
Up to Mount Pisgah's lonely height
< To solitude and God.
Six score long years have o'er him passed,
Marks of long pilgrimage.
Undimmed his eye, erect his frame,
To find an unknown tomb.
The border of the land was reached,
Type of the Christian's heaven.
Oft had the prospect cheered his heart,
From friend or foe he dies.
No loving hand his pillow smoothed,
For Israel's God is near.
To comfort and sustain His saint,
The land he might not tread;
And then the warrior prophet slept,
Until recalled by God.
No eye hath seen that hallowed grave,
The corse to men to show.
But this we know, the warrior bold
In later time on Tabor stood
In wondrous splendour, bliss untold,
Wiih Christ his Lord and God.
So may my life be closed with God.
My soul with Christ be found.
It recks not whether friend be near
All shall for me be Well.
|t was an April afternoon, it was iff the country: and, now that I think it over, fifteen years must' have passed since then. I remember it as if it were yesterday. The bud was on the tree; the sunlight, soft and clear, was in the air; and to-night I can' hear, as if close beside me, the voices of a group of children behind the garden hedge. We watched, my friend and I, sometimes in silence, sometimes with a bit of unforced talk, for our eyes were busier than our tongues, and both tongue and eye were waking old memories which filled with their tender feelings all the spaces of calm.
I must tell you something of the business of that far-off day. Yonder—upon the hill-side, just coming into view beyond the group of chestnuts—you see a peaceful cottage; there is an orchard-garden behind, with its tiny conservatory, and before, a sloping lawn. It was not long before the afternoon I speak of, that a funeral drew its dark group down the avenue, and a few sad faces to the windows watching the sorrowful show. The old man was dead. The quiet, gentle, tender soul, so full of ancient wisdom and childlike goodness, had been gathered to his fathers. We went down the avenue that day with the mourners. And now we were coming back again to the silent house, for the departed scholar had said that some of his papers should come into the hands of my friend who walked with me, and myself, and we were on our way to see the note-books and journals, which we were now to make use of for the good of all plain Christian folk in the way we thought well. It was the wish of the old man that, if there were any good in his papers, it should be used in that way.
Oh! that still and deserted study. There were the books he loved so truly, row upon row, with their gilded leather and vellums, the stately folios, the quartos, and octavos; many with the old bindings of Italy and France and the Low Countries, three hundred years ago; even more in the leather of the Puritan times, and not a few, and these the best of their day, in the modern casings of England and the Continent. These cabinets held the Herbarium, for botany was the one cherished science, and the fruits of twenty years' loving labour in Scottish and English and Irish fields are there. And this is the microscope; and on its tall stand in the corner the great telescope, at which the children used