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But it is not enough for us to avoid foundations which are non-enduring, which are essentially uncertain and treacherous, we must inquire for, and not rest satisfied until we find, some foundation on which we may safely build.
It is to be observed by us that what is condemned as a foundation, is good and serviceable in its own place. Sand, which is not safe to build upon, is useful as material for building. Just so profession is good, if it have a foundation, if there be something to be professed, but it is a poor sandy foundation if there be nothing else.
Religious activity is good, if it rest on a proper foundation, if it be an expression and result of real life; but it is a perfectly unreliable foundation for our hopes of heaven to rest upon.
And so hearing the word is good, if regarded as a mean to an end, but valueless, if considered as the end in itself. It is not, it never can be a foundation.
What, then, is the true foundation on which we may safely build, and how are we to build thereupon? There is only one foundation, and there can be none other laid than that is laid, even Christ Himself.
If we take God's word as our directory we can scarcely mistake. Nothing can be more plainly declared than that Christ is the one foundation on which we must build, if we would have our house stand unmoved in the great day of trial. Christ is the rock on which we must be built if the gates of hell are not to prevail against us. "Behold," saith the Lord, "I lay in Sion a chief corner-stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on Him shall not be confounded." It matters not how high our house be builded, or of what material it may be composed, everything depends on the foundation on which it rests. If it is to stand, it must be based on this underlying rock.
If we are grounded on, and built into, Christ, if we have taken hold of His words as the words of eternal life, we shall profess Christ, we shall be doers of His words; and having the principle of life within us, that life will declare itself in various forms of willing activity. Our house shall
rise as a firm, well-compacted structure, which grows out of the rock on which it is builded, and partakes of the solidity and stability of the foundation itself. Built upon the rock, we may calmly await the day of trial, when the rains shall descend, and the floods come, and the winds blow, and beat upon us; and with all this we shall remain unmoved, unharmed. We may
"The darkening universe defy,
FROM THE GERMAN.
o the loving Lord and wise
Let your praises never cease,
Gather now before His throne,
He hath written in a book
COME, oh! come, Thou faithful One,
Kindle now Thy sacred fire
O'er this wide terrestrial ball.
Mighty things Thy grace hath done,
Bow, O blessed Lord, to Thee!
Basle Mission Hymn-Book.
A Satisfactory Argument and its Result.
T was a June Sabbath afternoon, and in the library of General R's beautiful home he and his son were sitting near the open window in the softly-shaded light, engaged in earnest conversation. Colonel R was at home on leave of absence
from his regiment, and he had been speaking to his father of the joy and strength which the salvation and companionship of Jesus can put into a soldier's life amidst its physical dangers and moral perils. The face of the younger man was radiant as he spoke, but no brightness rested on the strong handsome features of his aged companion.
"Ah, Bob," he said at length, "you are a happy fellow ! What would I not give if I could feel as you do, that the Lord Jesus is my personal Saviour! but I cannot, my boy, I cannot."
"You may not feel it, father, but you believe it, do you not?" his son gently asked.
"I believe everything in a general kind of way, of course, Bob, but I get no comfort from it, for I cannot see that the Lord died for me personally."
The son paused a moment; he thought of his father's beautiful life, so blameless in the eyes of his fellow-men, but he could not bid him take comfort from this, except so far as it was an evidence of the soul's union to Him in whom alone we have righteousness and strength. He longed that the life of this beloved parent might have an " eventide light," with joy in God through the Lord Jesus Christ, and in that brief interval of silence an earnest prayer went up to heaven that he might be permitted to teach him the way of simple faith more perfectly.
"Do you not believe, dear father," he asked, "that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners ?"
"Yes, I do."
"And are you a sinner in the sight of God?"
"I am indeed," the old general answered; "it needs no effort on my part to believe that, Bob."
"Very well, then, father, Jesus Christ must have died for you, unless there was an exception made by the Almighty God in your case, and it was decreed that when Jesus Christ came into this world to die for sinners General R was excepted."
There was perfect silence for a few moments, and then
the old gentleman said earnestly, "Will you repeat that again, my dear boy?"
Gravely and slowly the son went over the argument: "You say, father, that you believe Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners; you say you are a sinner; therefore Jesus Christ came to die for you, unless God has decreed that His blessed Son should die to make an atonement for sinners with the exception of General R——.”
Again a pause; the birds outside singing, and the sun shining, Colonel R, sitting by his father's side, praying that the Sun of Righteousness might arise with healing in His wings, the old man pondering with absorbed attention the simple words. Suddenly a lovely smile stole over the aged countenance, and a look of peace such as his son had never seen there before was in his eyes, as he raised them to his face.
"I see now ! yes, I see it now! The Lord Jesus Christ came into this world and died for sinners; I am a sinner, therefore He died for me, unless I can prove that I am excepted." This he repeated several times with increasing confidence and exultation, only pausing to listen as his son solemnly added, "Yes, God will never punish, for there is no condemnation for you, because Jesus Christ has died and atoned for your sins."
Soon afterwards Colonel R- went out with his regiment on foreign service. The dear old disciple was left in the home from which, years ago, his beloved wife had gone to the City of the Great King. But he was never lonely now. He was possessor of a joy which no man could take from him, and he exulted over his treasure, and pointed it out to all the friends who loved to visit him, with almost childlike ingenuousness and glee. "I am so happy now," he would say ; " my mind is full of peace. My son Bob has told me more than I ever before understood; when I was doubting he put the truth before me in this way: 'Christ died for sinners; you are a sinner; then He must have died for you, unless your name is excepted.' Now, could