Sermon 691. An Immovable Foundation
DELIVERED ON SUNDAY EVENING, MAY 13, 1866, BY C. H. SPURGEON, AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?" Psalm 11:3.
WE are walking along through the vineyard of this Psalm, plucking the clusters on the right hand and on the left, when suddenly,with a tremendous roar, the "if of our text, like a young lion, leaps out upon us. What shall we do with it? Let us play theman, like Samson, and rend it as though itwere a kid and doubtless we shall find honey in it, and shall have again to put forth our riddle, "Out of the eater cameforth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness." These "ifs" are terrible lions, but when Divine Grace enables usto slay them, they become goodstorehouses for sweetness.
As the children of Israel spoiled the Egyptians and made themselves rich from the spoils of their oppressors, both when theyleft Egypt and after the passage of the Red Sea, so let us gather riches of comfort and arms for future warfare from this"if which threatens to enthrall the mind of theChristian and hold him in the chains of fear and doubt. It comes to us as a keen shaft from the camp of the foe, but bythe Grace of God we will fit it to our string, and with the arms of faith shoot it back again and may God in mercy guide itto the joints of some foeman's harness.
This "if" may have a bitter taste at first, but I am persuaded that it will have a wholesome effect upon us to use it. Yes,it will yield some spiritual sustenance to our souls. We will welcome its searching and shaking power now, as it will onlytend to prepare us for the time when the four windsmay come upon our house and the blast of the Terrible One be as a storm against the wall. If we use this giant batteringram "if," now, it will show us our weakness and our strength so that we may correct the one and rejoice over the other.
We shall take this "if in two ways. First, we shall consider it as an "if which is nothing but an "if." And secondly, we shallconsider it as an "if" which is a great deal more than an "if."
I. We shall first CONSIDER THIS "IF" AS BEING NOTHING BUT AN "IF." "If the foundations are removed, what can the righteousdo?" My Brethren, there are certain spiritual foundations which God has laid in Zion which never can be removed. There arecertain foundations against which the gates of Hellcannot prevail-which time cannot shake-and which eternity will only confirm. If we venture to speak of these foundationsbeing removed, it can only be in hypothetical terms and with the word, "if"- for there must always be in our souls the convictionthat thefoundations of God stand sure.
I will mention a few of these foundation-things which we know cannot be removed, but we will ask the question- if they shouldbe removed, what then? First we will take the foundation Book. This Word of God, this Revelation of Himself which He has madeto us by Prophets and by seers, byApostles and by evangelists, and by His own dear Son. This Book we believe to be true even in its jots and tittles. Whateverform of thought we may adopt as to the method of inspiration, we believe this Book to be inspired throughout, and we acceptall its utterances as theteachings of the Most High.
From the first Word of it to the last we give our "unfeigned assent and consent" to it as being nothing less and nothing morethan the Word of Jehovah, the Lord our God. But if it should not be so, what can the righteous do, then? If, after all, theattacks of modern skeptics should have some forcein them. If they can dislodge part of the Word of God from its sure resting place. If first one stone shall topple fromthe summit of the battlements and then another shall be loosened from the embankment, and by-and-by its enemies should cometo work with their great bars upon thevery lowest and most valuable stones in the wall-what then?
What if the Book should be a delusion? What if it should be false? Ah, then, my Brothers and Sisters, what can the righteousdo? Oh, it had been better for us that we had never been born than that the Bible should not be true! Here is the only balmthat heals the wounds that sin has made! Here isthe only bread that satisfies the hungering of our spirits! If that is not true, O God, why did You create us, and why didYou suffer such a Book as that to come across our path to mock us, supplying, as it does, all that hope can desire, and allthat our deepest interests can craveafter?
Oh, cruel God, to permit so sweet a dream to charm us even for a while, if it is not true! But oh, Beloved, we come back witha sacred recoil to this-it is true-it must be true and if for no other reason because it so suits the craving of our inwardconsciousness. Because it so upliftsus out of the natural beggary and meanness of our condition and puts us on such a heavenly footing. It makes us communewith the Most High and fills us with such rapt and heavenly thoughts! It must be true, or else what could we do?
Cling, then, to the Divine authority of the Scriptures with a death grip! Let those give up the Inspiration of the Bible whocan afford to do so, but you and I cannot! Let those cast away the sure promise of God who have got something else to comfortthem-who can go to their philosophy orturn to their self-conceit. But as for you and for me, it is a desperate matter for us if this Book is not true, and thereforelet us be ready to defend it at all costs, and if need be, to die for it! Oh, Brethren, it were better to die, this Book beingtrue, than to live, this Bookbeing false!
It were better for us that all the miseries of this life should fall upon us, this Book being an unmoved foundation, thanfor all the joys of life to be ours if this Book is once taken away. Clasp it to your heart! Enfold it in your bosom! Holdit as the very core of your life's comfort and thevery strength of your existence! Remember that if this is removed there is nothing for the righteous to do but despair anddie. I hope we shall always sing-
"Should all the forms which men devise Assault my soul with treacherous art, I'll call them vanity and lies, And bind thisBible to my heart."
But now we turn from the foundation Book to the foundation doctrine. What is the foundation doctrine? I shall not shock anyone of you if I say that it is admitted by all evangelical Christians that the standing or falling in the Church is that ofjustification by faith. The Church which holds thatdoctrine is in the body-the church which is tampering with that doctrine is not in the body. I will not merely say the churchthat is not holding it, but the church that is not holding it in the most distinct form is not to be acknowledged as a partof the body of Christ.
Justification by faith alone is such a Truth of God that it must not be hidden. To obscure those words, legible in their ownlight-"Believe and live"-is to commit high treason against the majesty of God and to make one's self an outlaw from God andfrom mercy! The great standing orfalling doctrine, then, is this-"Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God." "Therefore we are justifiedby faith, and not by the works of the Law."
We hold that it is of faith that it might be of Divine Grace through Christ Jesus. Holding this Truth of God-that every soulwho believes in Christ is thereby made a partaker of the merit of His passion and is saved-what joy and peace are opened upto us! Some of us live in a sense ofpardon. Oh, Brethren, this is a river to swim in, when we can sing-
"Now freed from sin I walk at large, My Savior's blood my full discharge. At His dear feet my soul I lay, A sinner saved,and homage pay."
Oh, the blessedness-as Ainsworth translates it-"The heaped-up blessedness of the man whose iniquity is forgiven, and whosesin is covered." Oh, the blessedness of being justified by faith, and of possessing peace with God! But if that is removed,what can the righteous do? My Brethren,the righteous can do nothing! They can do nothing, and they must at once give up their peace, give up their joy, give uptheir hopes-and then give up existence altogether. This one thing I know-though I have preached my Master's Gospel with perpetualindustry and havesought to honor Him-yet I have no more hope of Heaven apart from the merits of Christ than the greatest criminal that isbanished from his country for his crimes.
That poor wretch who was, till lately, under sentence of death for many murders, would have as good a hope of entering intoeternal life as the best among you were it not for this precious doctrine-that is to say, she would have no hope, and youwould have no hope, either-for we are allalike shut up under condemnation. Good or bad, righteous or unrighteous, we are all alike condemned under the Law of God,and there would be no more hope for one than for another if this doctrine of salvation by faith in Christ were not true. Weare all in this one boattogether-I mean as many of us as have believed-the weakest cannot sink unless the ship goes down, and the strongest cannotfloat unless the ship should bear them.
If this foundation were removed, I will ask you gray-haired saint, hoary with many years of service, what could you do? Youbow your head and say, "Alas, my master, what could I do but die in despair?" I would ask the bravest of Christ's Apostles,the most earnest and indefatigable of the servantsof the living God, what could they do if salvation was not the result of faith in Christ, and they would reply unanimously,"We were of all men the most miserable if our only hope were gone!"
But oh, Brethren, we will come back to this, that it is by faith in the blood of Jesus that we are saved. For this doctrinelet us be prepared to bear any reproach. And for the spread of this doctrine let us make any exertions. Let us publish itto every wind! Let us invoke the help of every waveto bear it abroad! My Brothers and Sisters, help those of us who are engaged in telling out this precious truth of salvationby faith, and then proclaim it far and wide yourselves.
Distribute it in a printed form! Speak of it with your warm and loving lips! Tell it, tell it the wide world over that thereis a foundation already laid in Zion-a cornerstone elect and precious! Proclaim that "other foundation can no man lay thanthat which is laid, Jesus Christ therighteous!" Proclaim that "whoever believes in Him is not condemned."
We will now go a step further. We have had the foundation Book and the foundation doctrine, and now we come to the foundationfact. The fact upon which our faith rests is this, that "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputingtheir trespasses unto them." The great fact onwhich genuine faith rests is this, that "the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us," and that having taken upon Himselfthe form of a servant, and being made in the likeness of man, He became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross,for us.
The great Truth which makes the Gospel worth proclaiming is the Truth that "Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners,"that Christ also has suffered for sin, "the Just for the unjust that He might bring us to God." "Who Himself bore our sinsin His own body on the tree." "For thechastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed." In one word, the great fact on which the Christian'shope rests is substitution.
The vicarious sacrifice of Christ for the sinner. Christ suffering for the sinner. Christ's being made sin for us that wemight be made the righteousness of God in Him. Christ offering up a true and proper expiatory and substitutionary sacrificein the place and stead of as many as the Father gaveHim, who are recognized by their trusting in Him-this is the cardinal fact of the Gospel. Now, if this is true, what willwe not do? Do? Why, we will sing of Christ in time, and sing of Him in eternity! We will sit at the foot of His Cross and-
"View the flowing Of the Sa vior's precious blood. With Divine assurance knowing He has made our peace with God."
We will praise Him when we get to Heaven and sing, "Unto Him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His blood." But-oh,horrible "but"! If this is not true-if God was never Incarnate, if God never did in the Person of His Son Jesus bleed anddie-if no Atonement was ever madefor human guilt, then howl because of it! Let each man put his hands upon his loins as a woman in childbirth, and let sorrowpierce the heart of every child of Adam-for sin must be punished-and if it was never punished in Christ it must be punishedupon each one of us!Wrath, and a certain terrible looking for judgment and fiery indignation-these are all that await us!
"As when a man wipes a dish and turns it," said the Prophet, even so will it be with us-wiped out and turned upside down ifit were not true that Christ died. As when the potter with a rod of iron breaks the vessel into shivers, so should we, too,be broken into shivers with each particle tobe full of pain and covered with grief, if it were not that Jesus died. Oh, if this foundation were removed what could wedo? But it cannot be removed! We know it! We rest on it! We trust in it! And our joy is to hold it, to understand and to studyit, to be actuated and moved by itin every part of our life and conversation. But if it were removed what could the righteous do?
There is just now, and there has been for many years, a direct attack made upon the doctrine of the Atonement. Men cannotbear substitution. They gnash their teeth at the thought of the Lamb of God bearing the sin of man. Ah, but we will proclaimit in defiance of them and hurl it in their teeth!We will neither dilute it, nor change it, nor fritter it away in any shape or fashion. It shall still be Christ a positiveSubstitute, bearing human guilt and suffering in the place of men, for if this is not so what could we do?
We cannot, dare not give it up for it is our life! I have thus given you three matters, and now just a word upon another point,namely, the foundation work. The blood of Jesus, Brethren, must be applied by the Spirit of Divine Grace, and the foundationof our inward confidence must be in the workof Grace in our own souls.
Now the foundation in us was laid in repentance, and in faith in Christ-and we have gone on to build thereon, much, I am afraid,of wood, hay, and stubble, but still, something of gold, and silver, and precious stones. Now, if the Grace of God could ceaseto work. If the eternal love ofJehovah could be removed, and if the effectual might of the Holy Spirit's arm could be withdrawn, what could you and I do?Would it not be as hard to get to Heaven by the Gospel as by the Law if it were not for the work of Grace in us?
Brethren, Calvary is no nearer to Heaven than Sinai if the Spirit of Grace works not in us. If Christ is not crucified inus, His being crucified for us will be of no avail! We must have Christ formed in us the hope of Glory. Now, what do you say,Brothers and Sisters? Suppose this foundation workwere all removed-what could you do? Do? Why the brightest of you would become as smoking flax without light! You who arepure as crystal now in your daily life would become like a polluted stream! You who now are the delight and joy of the Churchof God would be as reprobatesilver cast out, or as salt that has lost its savor and is fit neither for the land nor for the dunghill.
We must ever keep in mind that we are only channels for Divine Grace-we are not even pools and reservoirs-we must have a continualsupply of Divine gifts. We must have an abiding union with the fountain of all good or we should soon run dry. And only asfresh streams flow into us are wekept from becoming mere dry beds of sand and mire. But we know that He will never fail us. This spring is high up in Heavennear the Eternal Throne and it ripples down through the means of Grace from the God of all Grace-and we receive daily of Hisfullness Grace for Grace.
Joyful truth for us, that because He lives we must live also! Till Jesus bows His head in death, we, the living members ofHis mystic body, can never droop or fail. His might is our strength. His resources our never failing supply. And we, throughHis Spirit, are daily tended and sustained-
"Oh! To Grace, how great a debtor, Daily I'm constrained to be!"
Were that Grace once gone what should I do? Hold fast, then, to that which you have received, that no man take your crown.Cling to the doctrine of the work of the Spirit with a death grip! Never give it up. Having begun in the Spirit do not seekto be made perfect in the flesh. Do not look toexcitement. Do not let your faith stand in the wisdom or the speech of man, but in the power of God, and in the invinciblemight and majesty of the Holy Spirit! If you go anywhere else, the foundation will be removed and then what can you do? OGod! You have begun the good work andYou will carry it on and perfect it unto the day of Christ. This foundation shall not be removed.
Once more, there is also a foundation hope-something which we may, I think, call a foundation-since our joy and our peacevery much depend upon it. You and I possess tonight, dear Friends, a hope which is sometimes called "a blessed hope," andat another time, "a good hope." It is ahope partly that Christ may come and a hope that when He comes, "we shall be like He, for we shall see Him as He is." Itis a hope that whether He comes in our lifetime or not, yet, if we fall asleep, we shall sleep in Jesus. We have a hope thatsometimes bursts out into a song andthen we tune it in warbling such as this-
"On Jordan's stormy banks I stand, And cast a wishful eye To Canaan's fair and happy land, Where my possessions lie."
Or sometimes it is-
"Jerusalem! My happy home! Name ever dear to me. When shall my labors have an end, In joy, and peace, and you?"
Or, perhaps it is-
"Jerusalem the golden, With milk and honey blest. Beneath your contemplation Sink heart and soul oppressed. We know not, oh! we know not, What joys await us there! What radiance of Glory, What bliss beyond compare."
At any rate, whatever notes we may use to warble out the hope, the hope is still the same-
"It is the hope, the blissful hope, Which Jesus' Grace has given. The hope when days and years are past, We all shall meet in Heaven." Now, if that were removed, what could we do?- "What is there here that I should wait? My hope's alone in You. When will You open Glory's gate, And take me up to You?"
"Whom have I in Heaven but You? There is none upon earth that I desire besides You." Take Heaven away, and the world to come,and what a dreary desert, what blackness and darkness, what a gulf of mad despair it would speedily become! But, oh, Brethren,that foundation cannot be removed! Because Helives, we shall live also. "Father, I will that they, also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, that they maybehold My Glory." That hope abides sure and steadfast! Let us think of it more than we do.
Let us plume our wings of flight every now and then. Come, you birds of Heaven, you eaglets of God-how is it that you keepbelow upon the earth as though you had no wings? Come, plume your callow pinions and begin to fly! The clouds are your atmosphere-beyondthere is the blue sky whereall is fair and clear. Up with you! Up, nearer to God, nearer to eternity, nearer to your home, nearer to your everlastingmansion. Remember that you-
"Nightly pitch your mo ving tent A day's march nearer home," and let the thought that you shall soon be-"Forever with theLord" come over your hearts and sweep like the touch of some master harpist's hand as he sweeps the ten-stringed instrumentand wakes it up to thunders of sacred melody.Be glad in the Lord, you righteous, and shout for joy, you upright in heart! This foundation cannot be removed and you neednot fear!
II. And now we change our note for a few minutes. Let us TAKE THIS "IF" AS BEING SOMETHING MORE THAN AN "IF." The foundationsmay be removed-not the spiritual foundations at all, but the temporal foundations. The foundations of civil government, thefoundations of commerce, the foundations ofone's estates, the foundations of trust between man and man-these may be removed. They have been grievously and terriblyshaken during the last few days.
War may arise. There seem to be many indications of a coming tempest and when the eagles are gathered together to the prey,the fight will probably thicken. And instead of a few combatants it may be that there will be a multitude of nations engagedin a terrible slaughter and the foundations of thevarious kingdoms of Europe may be removed. Revolution, too, may come. We remember 1848, and some of you, perhaps, are oldenough to go farther back than that, to dates when revolutions were the order of the day.
There are some who are always putting on their blue spectacles and who can see very wonderful revolutions here. May theirheads never ache before their predictions come to pass, but still these things may occur, for men are men, and if they should,what then? If the foundations should be removed,what would the righteous do? A panic has come and man does not trust his fellow man. But he plays the fool, the wild lunaticin the street, destroying commerce for the sake of commerce-and to get gain, himself-destroying the tree that bears the fruit.
I suppose no greater proof of folly could have been known in the nineteenth century than might have been seen last Fridayin Lombard Street. If anyone had whistled for a thousand fools, he need not have traveled a thousand yards, but might havefound them on the spot! Now, if there should be such athing, there may be ground for all this fear, for the foundations of human things are not made by God-they are only man'smanagement, and consequently they may be shaken-but what then? I am going to suppose the very worst-that the social fabricis rocking like thewalls of old Jericho and that the very foundations are falling.
I will even suppose that the cornerstone is being removed. What then? What can the righteous do? Well, he can do as well asanother man and he can do a great deal better! Let me tell you what he can do. The first thing he can do, if the worst comesto the worst, is that he can bear it with a holyequanimity. He can say, "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." If the ship is wrecked,his treasure is not aboard it. He knows that if the banks should break, he will only part with some of his odd spending money-Histrue treasure is upthere-not in an iron chest where the burglar can break through, but-
"Hid with Christ in God Beyond the reach of harm," so that if the worst comes, he can still fold his arms and say, "It is written, 'I will neverleave and never forsake you,' and so long as I have bread to eat and raiment to put on, so long will I bless the name of theLord Most High from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same."
Now, dear Friends, prove this if it should happen to you. Do not do as the worldling does, who puts his hand to his feveredbrow and says, "I am a ruined man!" You cannot be a ruined man. Do not say, "I have lost my all!" You cannot lose your all-yourall is Christ-and Christ is not tobe lost. Just accept the blow. Kiss the rod. Touch the hand that smites, and say, "Blessed be You, my Father, for it isthe Lord."
Then the Christian not only bears the worst patiently but the next thing he can do is to hope for the best cheerfully. I thinkif there is any man who can see clearest, even a spot of blue sky, it should be the Christian. "Oh," he says, "things arenot what they seem. The dark cloud has a silverlining! Light is sown for the righteous and gladness for the upright in heart." It is very much in the struggle of lifeto keep a brave heart. And you, Christian, have many arguments for doing so. Why bow your head at yonder crested billow asthough you should be drowned by it? OMan, it will only wash your face!
It is all that it will do for you, and you shall lift your brow, when the spray has cleared it, towards Heaven, and shallsee your God the better because the dirt is washed out of your eyes. Therefore, look cheerfully for something bright in themidst of the darkness. Out of all this apparent loss,God can bring for you true gain in spiritual things. You may part with things temporal with equanimity, if they are likelyto be restored to you transmuted by God's alchemy into things spiritual and eternal.
If God takes away from His people, He can restore again, as in the case of Job, twice as much as they had before, even inworldly goods-and with these a gracious work of His Spirit in the heart-which is more to be desired than gold, yes, than muchfine gold. Adam was laid asleep and Godtook a rib and made it into a helpmeet for him. If God shall take anything from you, yes, though it lies near your heart,do not mourn as one that has no hope.
In patience possess your soul. Rest on the Lord, for He will bring it to pass that out of all this shall come a spiritualpower which, in after days shall gladden your heart and make you the joyful parent of much good to others in this world ofsin and woe. Christ became poor that He might makemany rich. And in His poverty He was as a lamb before its shearers dumb, and opened not His mouth. His prayer was, "notMy will, O Father, but Yours be done." So may we hold our peace, if God has done it. Never charge God foolishly, but say,"The Lord gave and the Lord has takenaway. Blessed be the name of the Lord."
If the foundations are removed what can the righteous do? Why, they can do one thing-they can do the right. They cannot guaranteeresults, but they can do the right. They cannot tell whether they shall fail in business or not, but they can be upright.They cannot tell whether the fall of thishouse or the crash of that bank may injure them, but they can tell that they will have clean hands and come out of it allwith a spotless character. And when everything is lost there is but little lost if honor still remains, and if, by DivineGrace integrity is still preserved. Hethat wears the herb hearts-ease in his bosom is richer than he that can wear diamonds upon his fingers, if those fingersare stained with guilt.
It is comparatively easy to be correct and upright when these things pay-when we can, by them, secure the esteem of our fellowmen and that confidence which is as good as money to a man in business, because of the credit it brings with it. But it isquite another thing to do the right when itmeans to strip oneself of all and to give up long-loved and cherished possessions, hopes, and prospects, both for ourselvesand family.
This is the hour of temptation when Satan comes with his glory and wealth in one hand and a suggestion of evil in the other.He bids us open our lap to receive them, reminding us that to deny him is to close with injury and loss to reputation, toour business, and to our loved families at home. Howmany have made the dread compact with the Prince of Darkness! They have gained the world but lost their soul! They havesold their birthright for a mess of pottage and bartered Heaven for Hell! Time has been taken and eternity rejected. The honorof men has been esteemed more thanthe praise of God.
They have grasped the gold and it has been a millstone round their neck, and into the deepest depths of woe it has draggedthem. Lost! Lost! Lost forever! Oh, that men were wise, that they would remember this-that they would consider their latterend. For what can a man give in exchange forhis soul? Come what may, trust in God and do the right.
There is another thing we can do if the foundations are removed, namely, if we have a hand to spare we will help a comrade.If the foundations are removed and there is a common calamity, when others are selfish the Christian man will hear his Savior'swords-"You shall love your neighbor asyourself." "Well," he says, "it is a time of general suffering. And when a boat is at sea with a few survivors from a wreck,no man hoards his biscuit-no man keeps that little drop of pure fresh water wholly to himself-but like a generous man he divideshis biscuit withhis fellow sufferers and drinks his drop with the rest."
So will the righteous do. When things are bad they will say, "Now is the time for me to exhibit some degree of generosity."I like the action of a man who was once waited upon for a subscription, and contrary to expectation, gave the minister whoasked him a very large check-I think it wasone hundred pounds. The minister was about to retire when the merchant, happening to open one of his letters, found thathe had lost a vessel worth from ten thousand to twenty thousand pounds. He called the minister and said, "You must give meback that check, I have just opened aletter and found that I have been a very great loser."
The poor country minister, whose chapel was in a very bad plight, looked very blank about the matter. But the merchant said,"I find my money is going fast. I suppose I have not made good use of it, and so the Master has taken it away, but I willsave some of it anyhow." And he wrote out anothercheck for five hundred pounds. Now, this was a right way of acting-provided, of course, the money was his own-for no manhas a right to give away other people's property.
But if it were his own, this was the true and wise pathway to choose to make some of it safe-a much better plan than whenmy lord comes fresh from his bank with his money in his hand, and says, "Go and do likewise, my brave fellows! Get your moneyout like this!" And then finds five minutesafterwards that somebody else has his money without giving him a receipt for the deposit, or anything of the kind-for ithas gone into the hands of a pickpocket who is not so much to be blamed, perhaps, in such cases as he might have been in someothers.
Now, I can recommend to you when things are going bad, to make good investments. "Give a portion to seven and also to eight,for you know not what evil may be upon the earth." "Make unto yourselves friends of the mammon of righteousness, that whenyou fail they may receive you into everlastinghabitations." Once again. There is something more which the righteous man can do if the foundations are removed, and thatis, he can trust in God that it will be well in the end. The worldling says, "It will be all the same a hundred years fromnow." The Christian says, "I do notwant to look so far ahead as that. It is all right now."
But the wind blows! "It is all right." But the waves dash! "It is all right." But all the sails are reefed! "It is all right!"But the ship flies before the wind! "It is all right." But there are rocks ahead! "It is all right." Why? "Because He whois at the helm knows all about it. He created bothwind and wave and He knows how to cope with the storm. I cannot see that it is right, but I know that it is, and I walkby faith, and not by sight." Oh, Christian, this is what you can do! If the foundations are removed you can bring faith intoheavenly exercise, and you can sailagainst the wind.
The night may be dark and dreary but it will usher in the brighter morn! And merrily will the celestial music and songs greethis ears as the fresh dawning light triumphs over the fleeing darkness and spreads itself till it bathes with its splendorall things which were even in the darkness workingtogether for the good of God's people. Yes, the rough March winds and the dreary April showers were all fulfilling theirtask then-and now we can see it and rejoice in it as well as in their result. We will sing in our dungeon with Paul and Silas,for all is well now as itwill be hereafter in Heaven. It is only in degree and realization that earth's joys differ from Heaven's to the true Believerin Christ.
Lastly, if the foundations are removed, the righteous can commune with Christ therein. We should never have such fellowshipwith Jesus as we do if we had not such troubles as we have. You cannot see the stars in the daytime but they tell us thatif you go down into a well you can. Sometimes Godsinks wells of trouble and puts His servants into them-and then they see His starry promises. You might hunt in vain forglowworms by day, but they shall all be seen at night-and so shall the comfortable words and thoughts of Holy Scripture.
The fireflies shall flash best at night when the sunlight is gone, and so oftentimes the light of the promises is better seenin the night of trouble than in the day of outward prosperity. The black foils of trouble shall bring out the brighter jewelof Divine Grace. You cannot know Christ exceptby following in His footsteps. Poverty will reveal Him who for our sakes became poor. Sickness will show Him whose visagewas more marred than any man's. Shame will teach you His shame-and suffering will reveal to you His suffering.
And even death itself, which shall remove the foundations, shall give you conformity to His death that you may have part inHis resurrection. Courage then, my dear Brothers and Sisters, and to the question, "If the foundations are removed, what canthe righteous do?" give this answer, "We can do asthe righteous ought to do. We can do as God enables us to do." Let us go and show the world what that will be and let thesuperiority of our faith and of our religion reveal itself in our times of darkness and in our hours of suffering.
I have been thinking all the while I have been thus talking that this text has an application to those who are not righteousbecause if the righteous cannot do anything if the Grace of God fail, then what can the wicked do? They can do nothing, butthen they can do as much as the righteous, who cando nothing either-and so here is comfort for the very worst, and for those who feel themselves to be farthest from God.So long as the foundation stands there is hope for every soul that believes, and though you are the worst of the worst, yetif you trust Christ there is hopefor you! Though there would not be any if the foundations were removed, even if you were the best of the best.
Come, then, needy Sinner! Come, though years of sin have heaped up their iniquities upon you! Come to Jesus-He can cleanseyou. Trust Him, trust Him! Trust Him now, and you are saved and shall be His in the day of His appearing! Build on this foundation!Christ Jesus died for the ungodly.Trust Him to save you and when the floods arise, and the rain descends, and the winds blow, your house shall never fallbecause it is built upon a rock, a foundation that can never be removed!
I would that some here tonight would learn to leave the treacherous path of sin and seek an interest in the work of our LordJesus Christ. Do you know that the road you tread is undermined and that sooner or later you will fall through, and sink on,on, on through the grave into the pit which hasno bottom, the lake which burns with fire and brimstone? Turn! Turn! Why will you die? There is a sure foundation whichcannot move-on which you may build and never fear an overthrow!
Come, then, with all your load of guilt, and rest at once and forever on Him who says, Come unto Me, and him that comes Iwill in nowise cast out. Heaven and earth may pass, but He will save to the uttermost all who come by faith to Him. God blessthese remarks to you according to His will, forJesus' sake. Amen.-
"Yes! He is mine! And nothing of earthly things, Not all the charms of pleasure, wealth, or power, The fame of heroes, or the pomp of kings Could tempt me to forego His love an hour. 'Go, worthless world,'I cry, 'with all that's yours. Go I to my Savior's am, and He is mine. Whatever may change, in Him no change is seen, A glorious sun that wanes not, nor declines. Above the clouds and storms He walks unseen, And sweetly on His people's darkness shines: All may depart-I fret not, nor repine, While Imy Savior's am, and He is mine."