ON LAYING FOUNDATIONS

" And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I 
say ? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth 
them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built 
an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when 
the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could 
not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and 
doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon 
the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immedi- 
ately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great." — Luke vi. 46-49. 

These parables describe two classes of hearers; but they 
say nothing of those who are not hearers. Their posi- 
tion and prospects we must infer from what is said of 
hearers. Our Lord Jesus Christ has come into the 
world to tell us of the Father's love, and never man 
spake as he spake, and yet there are many who refuse 
to hear him. I do not mean those who are far away, to 
whom the name of Jesus is well-nigh unknown, but I 
mean persons in this land, and especially in this great 
and highly-favored city, who willfully refuse to hear him 
whom God has anointed to bring tidings of salvation. 
Our Lord Jesus is proclaimed, I was about to say, upon 
the house-tops in this city ; for even in their music-halls 
and theatres Christ is preached to the multitude, and at 
the corners of our streets his banner is lifted up; and 
yet there are tens of thousands to whom the preaching 
of the gospel is as music in the ears of a corpse. They 
shut their ears and will not hear, though the testimony 
be concerning God's own Son, and life eternal, and the 
way to escape from everlasting wrath. To their own 
best interests, to their eternal benefit, men are dead: 
nothing will secure their attention to their God. To 
what, then, are these men like? They may fitly be 
compared to the man that built no house whatever, and 
remained homeless by day and shelterless by night, 
When worldly trouble comes like a storm those persons 
who will not hear the words of Jesus have no consola- 
tion to cheer them ; when sickness comes they have^e no 
joy of heart to sustain them under its pains; and when 
death, that most terrible of storms, beats upon them 
they feel its full fury, but they cannot find a hiding 
place. They neglect the housing of their souls, and 
when the hurricane of almighty wrath shall break forth 
in the world to come they will have no place of refuge. 
In vain will they call upon the rocks to fall upon them, 
and the mountains to cover them. They shall be in 
that day without a shelter from the righteous wrath of 
the Most High. Alas, that any being who wears the 
image of man should be found in such a plight! Home- 
less wanderers in the day of tempest! How my soul 
grieves for them ! Yet, what excuse will those men in- 
vent who have refused even to know the way of salva- 
tion ? What excuse can the tenderest heart make for 
them ? Will they plead that they could not believe ? 
Yet they may not say that they could not hear; and 
faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of 
God. Oh my friend, if the word of God comes to you, 
and you decline to hear it, and therefore do not believe 
in Jesus, but die in your sins, what is this but soul-sui- 
cide? If a man die of a disease when infallible medicine 
is to be had, must not his death lie at his own door ? If 
a man perish of hunger when bread is all around him and 
others feed to the full, and he will not have it, will any 
man pity him ? Surely not a drop of pity will be yielded 
to a lost soul wherewith he may assuage the torment of 
his conscience, for all holy intelligences will perceive 
that the sinner chose his own destruction. This shall 
ever press upon the condemned conscience, "You knew 
the gospel, but you did not attend to it: you knew that 
there was salvation, and that Christ was the Saviour, 
and that pardon was proclaimed to guilty men, but you 
would not afford time from your farm and from your 
merchandise, from your pleasures and from your sins, 
to learn how you could be saved. That which cost God 
so clear you treated as a trifle. Ah, my dear friends, 
may none of you belong to the non-hearing class. It is 
not to such that I shall this morning address myself, 
and yet I could not enter upon my discourse without a 
word of loving expostulation with them. Let me part 
with them by quoting the warning word of the Holy 
Spirit, "See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For 
if they escaped not who refused him that spake on 
earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away 
from him that speaketh from heaven." 

Our earnest attention will now be given to those 
who are hearers of the word, and are somewhat affected 
by it. All hearers are builders of houses for their souls: 
they are each one doing something to set up a spiritual 
habitation. Some of these go a considerable distance 
in this house-building, and even crown the structure by 
publicly confessing Christ. They say unto him, " Lord, 
Lord": they meet with his followers, and join with them 
in reverence to the Master's name; but they do not obey 
the Lord; they hear him, but they fail to do the things 
which he says. Hence they are mistaken builders, who 
fail in the foundation, and make nothing sure except 
that their house will come down about their ears. 
Others there are, and we trust they will be found to be 
many among us, who are building rightly, building for 
eternity; constructing a dwelling-place with basis of 
rock, and walls of well-built stone, of which the Lord 
Christ is both foundation and corner-stone. 

I am anxious to speak at this time to those who are 
just beginning to build for eternity. I am indeed happy 
to know that there are many such among us. May the 
Holy Spirit bless this sermon to them. 

I. Our first subject will be a common temptation with 
spiritual builders. A common temptation with hearers 
of the word, according to the two parables before us, is 
to neglect foundation-work, to get hurriedly over the 
first part of the business, and run up the building 
quickly. They are tempted to assume that all is done 
which is said to be done; to take it for granted that 
all is right which is hoped to be right; and then to 
go on piling up the walls as rapidly as possible. The 
great temptation, I say, with young beginners in relig- 
ious life, is to scamp the foundation, and treat those 
things lightly which are of the first importance. The 
same temptation comes to us throughout the whole of 
life, but to young beginners it is especially perilous: 
Satan would have them neglect the fundamental princi- 
ples upon which their future hope and character are to 
rest, so that in a future trying hour, from want of a 
solid foundation, they may yield to evil, and lose the 
whole of their life-building. 

This temptation is all the more dangerous, first, be- 
cause these young beginners have no experience. Even the 
most experienced child of God is often deceived; how 
much more the pilgrim who has but just entered the 
wicket-gate ! The tried saint sometimes mistakes that for 
a virtue which is only a gilded fault, and he fancies that 
to be genuine which is mere counterfeit; how, then, 
without any experience whatever, can the mere babe in 
grace escape deception unless he be graciously preserved ? 
Newly awakened, and rendered serious, earnest hearts 
get to work in the divine life with much hurry, seizing 
upon that which first comes to hand, building in heedless 
haste, without due care and examination. Something 
must be done, and they do it without asking whether it 
is according to the teaching of the Lord. They call 
Jesus " Lord"; but they do what others say rather than 
what Jesus says. Satan is sure to be at hand at such 
times that he may lead the young convert to lay in place 
of gospel repentance a repentance that needs to be re- 
pented of, and instead of the faith of God's elect a proud 
presumption or an idle dream. For that love of God 
which is the work of the Spirit of God he brings mere 
natural affection for a minister; and he says, "There, 
that will do: you must have a house for your soul to 
dwell in. There are the materials, pile them up." Like 
children at play upon the beach, the anxious heap up 
their sand-castles, and please themselves therewith, for 
they are ignorant of Satan's devices. I am for this cause 
doubly anxious to save my beloved young friends from 
the deceiver. The common temptation, is, instead of 
really repenting, to talk about repentance ; instead of heart- 
ily believing, to say, "I believe," without believing; in- 
stead of truly loving, to talk of love, without loving; 
instead of coming to Christ, to speak about coming to 
Christ, and profess to come to Christ, and yet not to 
come at all. The character of Talkative in Pilgrim's 
Progress is ably drawn. I have met the gentleman 
many times, and can bear witness that John Bunyan was 
a photographer before photography was invented. Chris- 
tian said of him "He talketh of prayer, of repentance, 
of faith, and of the new birth ; but he knows but only to 
talk of them. I have been in his family, and his house 
is as empty of religion as the white of an egg is of savor." 
We have too many such persons around us who are, as 
to what they say, everything that is to be desired, and 
yet, by what they are proven to be, mere shams. As 
tradesmen place dummies in their shops, papered and 
labeled to look like goods, while yet they are nothing 
of the sort, so are these men marked and labeled as 
Christians, but the grace of God is not in them. Oh 
that you young beginners may be on the alert, that you 
be not content with the form of godliness, but are made 
to feel the power of it. 

There is this to help the temptation too, that this plan 
for the 'present saves a great deal of trouble. Your mind 
is distressed, and you want comfort; well, it will comfort 
you to say, " Lord, Lord," though you do not the things 
that Christ says. If you admit the claims of Jesus to 
be Lord, even though you do not believe on him for sal- 
vation, and so neglect the main thing which he com- 
mands, yet you will find some ease in the admission. 
He bids you repent of sin, trust his blood, love his word, 
aud seek after holiness; but it is much easier to admire 
these things without following after them in your life. 
To feign repentance and faith is not difficult, but gen- 
uine godliness is heart- work, and requires thought, care, 
sincerity, prayerfulness, and watchfulness. Believe me, 
real religion is no sport. He that would be saved will 
find it to be no jesting matter. " The kingdom of heaven 
suffereth violence" ; and he that is easy about the thing, 
and thinks it is nothing more than the conjuror's " Heigh, 
presto, done," has made a fatal mistake. "Strive," saith 
Christ, " to enter into the strait gate." The Spirit 
striveth in us mightily, and often works us to an agony. 
The crown of eternal glory is not won without fighting, 
nor the prize of our high calling received without run- 
ning; yet by just making a holy profession, and by prac- 
ticing an outward form, a man imagines that the same 
result is produced as by seeking the Lord with his whole 
heart, and believing in the Lord Jesus. If it were so, there 
would be a fine broad road to heaven, and Satan himself 
would turn pilgrim. Believe me, dear hearers, this sav- 
ing of trouble will turn out to be a making of trouble, 
and, before matters end, the hardest way will turn out to 
be the easiest way. 

This kind of building without foundation has this ad- 
vantage to back up the temptation, — it enables a man to 
run up a religion very quickly. He makes splendid prog- 
ress. While the anxious heart is searching after truth 
in the inward parts, and begging to be renewed by grace, 
his exulting friend is as happy as he can be in a peace 
which he has suddenly obtained without question or ex- 
amination. This rapid grower never asks, " Has my re- 
ligion changed my conduct? Is my faith attended by 
a new nature? Does the Spirit of God dwell in me? 
Am I really what I profess to be, -or am I but a bastard 
professor after all ? " Xo, he puts aside all enquiry as a 
temptation of the devil. He takes every good thing for 
granted, and votes that all is gold which glitters. See 
how fast he goes ! The fog is dense, but he steams 
through it, heedless of danger ! He has joined the 
church: he has commenced work for God: he is boasting 
of his own attainments: he hints that he is perfect. But 
is this mushroom building safe ? Will it pass muster in 
the last great survey? Will it stand should a tempest 
happen ? The chimney-shaft is tall, but is it safe ? Ay, 
there's the rub. This is the question which makes an 
end of much of the boasting which is all around us. Jt 
is better to tremble at God's word than boldly to pre- 
sume. It is better to be fearful, lest after all we may be 
castaways, than to harden one's forehead with vain con- 
fidence. When a man travels upon a wrong road, the 
faster he runs the further he will go astray. Remember 
the advice to hasten slowly, and the old proverb which 
saith, "The more haste the less speed." If you build 
quickly because you build without a foundation, your 
time and toil are thrown away. 

How common, how deceptive is this temptation ! For 
the young beginner, the man who is just aroused to seek 
the Lord, will find a great many to help Mm in his mistake, 
should he neglect the foundation. Kind, good, Christian 
friends often, without a thought of doing so, help to 
mislead seeking souls. " Yes," they say, " you are con- 
verted," and so perhaps the person would be if all he 
said was true; but then it is said without feeling; it comes 
from the lip only, and does not come from the heart; 
and therefore it is ruinous to encourage him. A kindly 
assurance from a Christian friend may breed false confi- 
dence, if that assurance was mistakenly given. In these 
days we do not meet with many Christians who err by 
dealing too severely with converts; the shot strikes the 
other target. Our forefathers were possibly too suspic- 
ious and jealous; but nowadays we nearly all err in the 
opposite direction: we are so anxious to see everybody 
brought to Christ, that our wish may tend to delude us 
into the belief that it is so. We are so willing to cheer 
and comfort those who seek the Lord, that we may fall 
into the habit of prophesying smooth things, and thus 
shun everything which tends to probe and test, lest it 
should also discourage. Let us beware lest we cry, 
" Peace, peace," where there is no peace, It will be a 
sad thing to breed hypocrites when we were looking for 
converts. I have heard of one who had been into the 
Enquiry Room a dozen times, and when on another oc- 
casion she was invited to go there she said, " I really do 
not know why I should go, for I have been told that I was 
saved twelve times already, and I am not a bit better than 
before they told me so." It would be better to send 
some home weeping rather than rejoicing. Many a 
wound needs the lancet more than the plaster. You 
may be comforted by well-meant assurances of tender 
friends, and yet that comfort may be all a lie. I there- 
fore warn you against any peace except that which 
comes from doing that which Jesus commands, or in 
other words, against any confidence except that which 
rests in Jesus only, and is attended with repentance, 
faith, and a life of obedience to your Lord. 

No doubt many are encouraged in slight building by 
the fact that so many professors are making a fair show, 
and yet their building is without foundation. We cannot 
shut our eyes to the fact that in all churches there are 
persons who have no depth of spiritual root, and we are 
afraid no real spiritual life. We cannot root them up, 
though we fear that they are tares, for we are assured 
that we should unavoidably root up the wheat with them, 
and this our Master forbids. There is nothing about 
their outward conduct which we could lay hold upon as 
a proof of their being deceivers, and yet a cold chill 
runs through us when we talk with them, for they have 
no warmth, and no life, and nothing of the Lord about 
them. We miss in their conversation that sweet spirit- 
uality, that holy unction, that blessed humility, which 
are sure to be present when men are truly familiar with 
the Lord, and have entered into living union with him. 
People of this order mix up with us in our holy convoca- 
tions, and when they come across the newly-awakened 
ones, they talk of divine things in such an off-hand 
and flippant manner that they do serious mischief. 
They speak about conversion as if it were a mere trifle, 
a matter as easy as kissing your hand; and so those who 
are hopeful, and over whom our hearts are yearning, are 
turned aside by them. Young people are apt to think, 
"So-and-so is a member of the church, and he is never 
very precise. If a lukewarm profession satisfies him, 
why should it not satisfy me ! " Ah, my dear friends, 
but you would not say so in business. If you knew a 
man was trading without capital and likely to come to 
bankruptcy, you would not say, " I may do the same."' 
If you saw a man venturing into deep water who could 
not swim, and you felt sure that he would ultimately 
sink, you would not follow his example and be drowned 
too. No, no; let these frothy professors be beacons to 
you. Get away from Mr. Talkative, lest he make you 
as hollow a drum as himself. Beware of loose professors, 
who are as wreckers' lights that hire men upon the rocks. 
Make sure work for eternity, and bid triflers begone. 

Again, there is always at the back of all this an in- 
ducement to build without a foundation because it will 
not be known, and possibly may not be found out for years. 
Foundation-work is quite out of sight, and the house can 
be got up and be very useful in a great many ways, and 
it may stand a good while without the underground 
work; for houses without foundations do not tumble 
down at once; they will stand for years; nobody knows 
how long they may keep up, perhaps they may even be 
inhabited with comfort till the last great flood. Death 
alone will discover some impostures. Hence, because 
the ill-founded house will do for the present, and can be 
used, and may bring immediate comfort, many people 
consider it economical to leave out the foundation as 
a needless superfluity. If they are questioned as to their 
vital godliness they grow angry: — " What business have 
you to enter into my private business ? Why should you 
meddle with the secrets of my soul ? " Ah, dear friend, if 
we were cruel to you, and wished you to be deceived, we 
would hold our tongues, or speak to you with the voice of 
flattery ; but as we love you, and as we hope to be bi 
in years to come through your true and holy consecra- 
tion to Christ, we are intensely earnest that you should 
begin aright, We would have you build that which will 
not need to be pulled down again, work that will stand 
• when the waters are out and the stream beasts vehe- 
mently upon it. I dread that any man should perish 
without religion, but I dread far more that any man 
should perish with it, finding his faith to have been 
false after all. If you do build, build what is worth 
building: if you must be builders for your souls, and 
surely you must, or else be shelterless, than take heed 
on what foundation you build, and be careful what ye 
build thereon, lest after all you suffer the loss of all your 
labor in that last tremendous day. How sad it will 
seem to dwell near the gates of heaven, and spend your 
lives among those who are to be its future inhabitants, 
and then for want of sincerity and truth to be shut out 
of the celestial city. How terrible to find out by expe- 
rience that there is a back way to the gates of hell even 
from the gates of heaven. God grant it be not so with 
one of us here present. ye builders, care not merely 
for the present, but build for death, and judgment, and 
eternity ! 

This part of our discourse is not only for young people, 
but for us all — for old as well as young. Depend upon 
it, there is not one man among us but what has need to 
search himself, and see whether the foundation of his 
faith has been truly laid or no. 

II. So I advance to the second step, and there we 
will consider a wise precaution which safe builders never 
forget. They dig deep, and never rest till they get a 
good substantial foundation: they are glad to get to the 
bottom of all the loose earth and to build on the rock. 
Let me commend this wise precaution to all of you. 

Follow the text and learn to see to your sincerity. The 
Lord Jesus says " Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do 
not the things which I say ? " May the Holy Ghost 
make you true to the core. Be afraid to say a word 
more than you feel. Never permit yourself to speak as 
if you had an experience of which you have only read. 
Let not your outward worship go a step beyond the in- 
ward emotion of your soul. If Christ be truly your Lord 
you will obey him: if he be not your Lord do not call 
him so. It is a great point in all your religious thoughts, 
beliefs, words, and acts to have the heart moving in all. 
It is an awful thing to make a high profession of sanctity, 
and yet live in the indulgence of secret vice: such per- 
sons will listen to my observation and commend me for 
my faithfulness, and yet continue in their hypocrisy. 
This is most painful. These men can speak the Jew's 
language, and yet the tongue of Babylon is more natural 
to them: they follow Christ, but their hearts are with 
Belial. Ah, me! My soul is sick at the thought of 
them. Be true ! Be true I If truth will carry you no 
further than despair, better that you stop in despair than 
gain a hope by a lie. Do not live on fiction, profession, 
presumption. Eat ye that which is good, and feed only 
upon the truth. Remember that when you build with 
the wood, hay, and stubble of mere notion you are only 
gathering materials for your own funeral pile in that 
day when the fire shall devour all lovers and makers of 
a lie. Be true as steel ! Every wise builder for his soul 
must mind that. 

The next thing is thoroughness. For observe, accord- 
ing to our Lord, the wise builded digged deep. You can- 
not do a right thing too well. Dig deep if you do dig a 
foundation. If it be repentance, let it be an intensely 
earnest repentance, including a vehement hatred of every 
form of sin. If you make confession before God, confess 
with your very soul, and not with your lips only: Jay 
bare your spirit before the glance of Deity. If it be faith 
that you talk of, believe right up to the hilt. Do not go 
in for that kind of skeptical believing which is so com- 
mon nowadays. If thou believest, believe: if thou re- 
pentest, repent. In the purging of the soul there is 
nothing like sweeping out every particle of the old leaven 
of falsehood; and in bringing in the good things into the 
heart there is nothing like bringing in everything that 
Christ prescribes, that of his fullness we may receive, not 
only grace, but grace for grace, grace upon grace, all 
the grace that is needed. Be downright in everything. 
The wise builder dug through the earth, and continued 
his digging till he reached the rock; and then he dug 
into the rock, and struck out a trench wherein he might 
lay his foundation; for he could not be content unless 
he made sure and thorough work of it. Sincerity and 
thoroughness are fine building-materials. 

Next to that add self-renunciation; for that is in the 
parable. When a man digs a deep foundation he has 
much earth to throw out. So he that builds for eternity 
has a great deal to get rid of. Self-trust must go at the 
beginning; love of sin must follow; worldliness, pride, 
self-seeking, all sorts of iniquity,— these must be cast 
aside. There is very much rubbish, and the rubbish 
must go. You cannot make sure work for eternity 
without clearing away much which flesh and blood 
would like to retain. See ye to this, and count the cost. 
Then must come solid principle. The man who is de- 
termined that if he does build he will build securely, digs 
down to the rock. He says, " I believe in God, he is my 
helper. I believe in Christ Jesus, and on his atoning 
sacrifice and living intercession I build my eternal hopes. 
I also build on the doctrine of grace, for the Lord hath 
said it, — By grace are ye saved, through faith. I build 
on Scripture: nothing but the warrant of the word will 
do for me." What God has said is a rock: what man 
teaches is mere shifting sand. What a blessed thing it 
is to get down to the eternal principles of divine verity! 
You that pick up your religion from your mothers and 
fathers; you that follow it because it happened to be in 
the family; what are you worth in the day of trouble? 
You are blown down like a booth, or a hut of boughs. 
But you that know what you believe, and why you be- 
lieve it, you who, when you put your foot down, know 
what you are standing upon, and are persuaded that you 
have firm rock beneath yon; you are the men who will 
stand fast when mere pretenders are hurled out of their 
place. Oh, my dear seeking friends, fix upon true prin- 
ciples, and be not content with falsehood. 

These truthful principles must be firmly adhered to. 
Bind your building to the rock. A house will not stand 
merely because it is on the rock; you must get its foun- 
dation into the rock. The house must take a grip of the 
rock, and the rock must grasp the house. The more you 
can get the house to be a bit of the rock, and the rock, 
;ss it were, to grow up into the house, the more secure 
you are. It is of no use saying, " Yes, I confide in 
Christ, in grace, in revelation," unless your very life 
enters into these things, and they enter into you. Hypo- 
crites, Job says, are stolen away in the night; so easily 
are they removed. The inventor of some new notion 
comes along, cracks up his novel wares, and silly souls 
are at once taken in by him. Christ may go, grace may 
go, and the Bible may go, too: their new master has 
them wholly in his power. We want not such unsub- 
stantial men; we care not for these speculating builders 
whose carcasses are all around us. We have had enough 
of castles in the air; we need true men, who will stand 
fast like the mountains while errors, like clouds, blow 
over them. Remember the huge shaft at Bradford, and 
how many were slain by its fall, and let it teach you to 
hold hard to foundation truths, and never depart from 
them. 

The man in the second parable did not build as he 
should ; what may I say of him ? I will say three words. 
First, he was a man who had nothing out of sight<: you 
could see all his house when you looked at it. If you 
can see all a man's religion at a glance he has no religion 
worth having. Godliness lies most in secret prayer, pri- 
vate devotion, and inward grace. The wise builder had 
the most costly part of his house buried in the ground; 
but the other man showed all that he had above ground. 
He is a poor tradesman who has no stock but that which 
he puts into the window. He will not last long who has 
no capital. He cannot long stand who has no backbone 
within. Beware of a religion of show. 

Next, this man had nothing to hold to. He built a 
house, but it stood upon the loose soil: he easily dug 
into that, and stuck up his house; but his walls had no 
holdfast. Beware of a religion without holdfasts. But 
if I get a grip upon a doctrine they call me a bigot. 
Let them do so. Bigotry is a hateful thing, and yet 
that which is now abused as bigotry is a great virtue, 
and greatly needed in these frivolous times. I have 
been inclined lately to start a new denomination, and 
call it "the Church of the Bigoted." Everybody is get- 
ting to be so oily, so plastic, so untrue, that we need a 
race of hard-shells to teach us how to believe. Those 
old-fashioned people who in former ages believed some- 
thing, and thought the opposite of it to be false, were 
truer folk than the present time-servers. I should like 
to ask the divines of the broad school whether any 
doctrine is worth a man's dying for it. They would 
have to reply, " Well, of course, if a man had to go to 
the stake or change his opinions, the proper way would 
be to state them with much diffidence, and to be ex- 
tremely respectful to the opposite school." But suppose 
he is required to deny the truth? "Well, there is much 
to be said on each side, and probably the negative may 
have a measure of truth in it as well as the positive. 
At any rate, it cannot be a prudent thing to incur the 
odium of being burned, and so it might be preferable to 
leave the matter an open question for the time being." 
Yes, and as these gentlemen always find it unpleasant to 
be unpopular, they soften down the hard threatenings of 
Scripture as to the world to come, and put a ^>lor upon 
every doctrine to which worldly-wise men object. The 
teachers of doubt are very doubtful teachers. A man 
must have something to hold to, or he will neither bless 
himself nor others. Bring all the ships into the pool; 
but do not moor or anchor one of them ; let each one be 
free ! Wait you for a stormy night, and they will dash 
against each other, and great mischief will come of 
this freedom. Perfect love and charity will not come 
through our being all unmoored, but by each having 
his proper moorings and keeping to them in the© name of 
God. You must have something to hold to; but the 
builder in the parable had not, and so he perished. 

The foolish builder had nothing to resist outward cir- 
cumstances. On summer days his house was a favorite 
resort, and was considered to be quite as good as his 
neighbor's in all respects. Frequently he rubbed his 
hands and said, " I do not see but what my house is 
quite as good his, and perhaps a little better: the fact 
is, I had a few pounds to spare which I did not bury in 
the ground as he did, and with it I have bought many 
a little ornament, so that my habitation has a finer look 
than his building." So it seemed; but when the torrent 
came raging down the mountain side, his building, hav- 
ing nothing wherewith to resist the violence of the flood, 
fell down at once, and not a trace of it remained, when 
the storm had ceased. Thus do men fail because they 
offer no resistance to forces which drive them into sin; 
the great current of evil finds in them victims, and not 
opponents. 

III. Thirdly, we will now gather from our text a set 
of ARGUMENTS, URGING US TO TAKE CARE OF THE FOUNDATION. I
will glance over these arguments, wishing much that I 
had time to enforce them. The first is this. We ought 
to build axith a good foundation at the beginning, be- 
cause otherwise ice shall not build well in any other part 
of the house. Bad work in the foundation influences all 
the rest of the courses. In the Revised Version at the 
end of the forty-eighth verse instead of "For it was 
founded upon a rock," we read, "Because it had been well 
builded." The house was built well at the bottom, and 
that led the workmen to put in good work all the way 
up, so that all through "it had been well builded." The 
other man built badly underground, and did the same 
up to the roof. When you get into the habit of slovenly 
work in secret the tendency is to be slovenly in public 
too. If the underground part of our religion is not 
firmly laid upon Christ, then in the upper part there 
will be rotten work, half-baked bricks, mud instead of 
mortar, and a general scamping of everything. When a 
great Grecian artist was fashioning an image for the 
temple he was diligently carving the back part of the 
goddess, and one said to him, "You need not finish that 
part of the statue, because it is to be built into the wall." 
He replied, "The gods can see in the wall." He had a 
right idea of what is due to God. That part of my re- 
ligion which no man can see should be as perfect as if 
it were to be observed by all. The day shall declare it. 
When Christ shall come everything shall be made known, 
and published before the universe. Therefore see to it 
that it be fit to be thus made known. 

See, again, that we ought to have good foundations 
when we look at the situation whereon the house is to be 
built. It is clear from this parable that both these 
houses were built in places not far from a river, or 
where streams might be expected to come. Certain 
parts of the South of France are marvelously like Pal- 
estine, and perhaps at the present moment they are 
more like what the Holy Land was in Christ's clay than 
the Holy Land now is. When I reached Cannes last 
year 1 found that there had been a flood in the town. 
This flood did not come by reason of a river being swol- 
len, but through a deluge of rain. A waterspout seems 
to have burst upon the hill-side, tearing up earth, and 
rocks, and stones, and then hurrying down to the sea. 
it rushed across the railway station and poured down 
the street which led to it, drowning several persons in 
its progress. When I was there a large hotel — I should 
think five stories high— was shored up with timber, and 
was evidently doomed; for when this stream rushed 
down the narrow street it undermined the lower courses 
of the building, and as there were no foundations at 
all able to bear such a test the whole erection was 
rendered unsafe. The Saviour had some such case in 
his mind's eye. A torrent of water would come tear- 
ing down the side of the mountain, and if a house 
was built on the mere earth, it would be carried away 
directly, but if it were fastened into the rock so that it 
became part and parcel of it, then the flood might rush 
all around it, but it would not shake the walls. Be- 
loved builder of a house for your soul, your house is 
so situated that one of these clays there must come 
great pressure upon it. " How do you know?" Well, 
I know that the house wherein my soul lives is pitched 
just where winds blow, and waves rise, and storms beat. 
Where is yours ? Do you live in a snug corner ? Yes, 
but one of these times you will find that the snug corner 
will be no more shielded than the open riverside; for God 
so orders providence that every man has his test sooner 
or later. It may be that you think yourself past tempta- 
tion, but the idea is a delusion, as time will show. Per- 
haps from the very fact that you seem quite out of the 
way, a peculiar temptation may befall you. Therefore, 
I do pray you, because of the exposed condition of your 
life's building, build upon a good foundation. 

The next argument "i, build deep, because of the ruin 
which will result from, a bad foundation. The foolish 
builder's house was without a foundation. Notice that 
word, " without a foundation." Write down the expression 
and see whether they apply to you or not. What hap- 
pened to this house without a foundation ? The stream 
beat vehemently on it. The river's bed had long been 
dry, but suddenly it was flooded, and the torrent rolled 
with tremendous power. Perhaps it was persecution, 
perhaps it was prosperity, perhaps it was trouble, per- 
haps it was temptation, perhaps it was prevalent scepti- 
cism, perhaps it was death; but, anyhow, the flood beat 
vehemently upon that house; and now we read the next 
word, — "And immediately it fell." It did not stand a pro- 
longed assault, it was captured at once. " Immediately 
it fell." What! in a minute, all that fair profession 
gone? " Immediately it fell." Why, that is the man 
I shook hands with the other Sunday, and called him 
"Brother," and he has been seen drunk ! or he has been 
in the frivolous assembly, using unhallowed language ! 
or he has become an utter doubter all on a sudden ! It 
is sorrowful work burying our friends, but it is much 
more sorrowful work to lose them in this fashion: and 
yet so they vanish. They are gone: even as Job saith 
" the east wind carrieth him away and he departeth." 
"Immediately" they fall, and yet we thought so highly 
of them, and they thought so highly of themselves. " Im- 
mediately it fell"; their profession could not endure trial, 
and all because it had no foundation. 

Then it is added, " And the ruin of that house was 
igreat." The house came down with a crash, and it was 
the man's all. The man was an eminent professor, and 
hence his ruin was all the more notable. It was a great 
fall because it could never be built up again. When a 
man dies a hypocrite certainly there is no hope of resti- 
tution for him. By the stream the very debris of the 
ruined house was swept away ; nothing was left. Oh, 
men, if you lose a battle you may fight again and win 
another ; if you fail in business you may start again in 
trade and realize a fortune; but if you lose your souls the 
loss is irretrievable. Once lost, lost for ever. There will 
be no second opportunity Do not deceive yourselves 
about that. Therefore, dig deep, and lay every stone 
most firmly upon the foundation of rock. 

For lastly, and perhaps this will be the best argument, 
observe, the effect of this good, sure building, this deep build- 
ing. We read that when the flood beat upon the wise 
man's house " it could not shake it." That is very beauti- 
ful. Not only could it not carry it away, but "it could 
not shake it." I see the man : he lost his money and be- 
came poor, but he did not give up his faith: " It could not 
shake it." He was ridiculed and slandered, and many 
of his former friends gave him the cold shoulder; but 
" It could not shake it." He went to Jesus under his 
great trial and he was sustained: " It could not shake it." 
He was very sick and his spirit was depressed within 
him, but still he held his confidence in Christ: "It could 
not shake it." He was near to die; he knew that he 
must soon depart out of this world, but all the pains of 
death and the certainty of dissolution could not shake 
him. He died as he lived, firm as a rock, rejoicing as 
much as ever, nay, rejoicing more, because he was nearer 
to the kingdom and to the fruition of all his hopes. "It 
could not shake it." It is a grand thing to have a faith 
which cannot be shaken. I saw one day a number of 
beech trees which had formed a wood: they had all fallen 
to the ground through a storm. The fact was they leaned 
upon one another to a great extent, and the thickness of 
the wood prevented each tree from getting a firm hold 
of the soil. They kept each other up and also constrained 
each other to grow up tall and thin, to the neglect of 
root-growth. When the tempest forced down the first 
few trees the others readily followed one after the other. 
Close to that same spot I saw another tree in the open, 
bravely defying the blast, in solitary strength. The hur- 
ricane had beaten upon it, but it had endured all its force 
unsheltered. That lone, brave tree seemed to be better 
rooted than before the storm. I thought, " Is it not so 
with professors ? " They often hold together, and help 
each other to grow up, but if they have not firm per- 
sonal roothold, when a storm arises they fall in rows. A 
minister dies, or certain leaders are taken away, and 
over go the members by departure from the faith and 
from holiness. ' I would have you be self-contained, grow- 
ing each man into Christ for himself, rooted and grounded 
in love and faith and every holy grace. Then when the 
worst storm that ever blew on mortal man shall come, it 
will be said of } T our faith, " It could not shake it." I be- 
seech you who are now seeking Christ to take care that 
you build well, that you may stand long in our Zion, 
steadfast and immovable. God grant it for Christ's sake. 
Amen. 
C. H. SPURGEON