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as such, must have a foundation. From the nature of the temple, we may satisfactorily learn the nature of its foundatio'. As the temple is peculiar, so is its foundation : as it is but one, composed or built up of lively stones, so is its foundation but one: as the temple is ample and extensive, the foundation must be strong, able to bear it: as it is the only one of its kind, the foundation must be suited to it, and be exclusive, the only one that fits it. To drop the metaphor, believers are by nature guilty and rebellious, and polluted creatures, as you have heard. By Christ, the Scriptures teach us, that they are reconciled to God, and made new creatures. Now, the question is, whether they can be made new creatures, holy and obedient subjects of God, in any other way than through Christ. If they cannot be accepted by God in any other way, God cannot dwell in them, or give them tokens of his presence. They cannot be dedicated or. appropriated to his service. :
Now that they cannot be thus regenerated in any other way, is assumed, not as a theory, but as a matter of fact. The enemies of religion, with all their labour and ingenuity, are not able to bring forward one solitary instance of a complete radical change effected in a person, without the grace of Christ. A partial reformation has been produced by other means; but the religion of Jesus claims, beyond dispute, without the shadow of contradiction, the exclusive power of so altering the prevailing disposition, and so regulating the general conduct of a person, as to make him truly a new creature. The systems of human wisdom reach not the heart. Though they may modify the life, pride still reigns within, and unworthy motives prompt to action. In not one of them is man represented as he really is, a fallen creature, totally corrupted in his nature. Our sins are only considered as frailties, which it is taught can be remedied by our own exertions.
If man be not a totally corrupted creature, a complete radical change is unnecessary. Hence all these systems which deny the first, are silent as death about the last. As man, however, is totally corrupted, a radical change is necessary. This change must be the work of a higher hand than ours. The Scriptures teach us that it is the work of God, and as you have heard, is produced
by the grace of Christ. If the Scriptures then be given by inspiration from God, we must conclude that we cannot be made new creatures, except by Christ. The wisdom of God selected him as our Saviour, and he possesses every perfection requisite for his office. Unless we deny that wisdom and this perfection, we must believe Christ to be the only Saviour. If there be any other mode of acceptance with God than by him, that by him is useless, and as such, unworthy of God.
There is no escaping this dilemma, if we believe the Scriptures to be the word of God; and, that they are, we have the fullest evidence.
The declaration of the text, then, is a solemn truth. Without Christ there is no atonement for sin. The separating wall between God and the sinner frowns upon us, and we in vain seek to penetrate it, that we may behold and enjoy the smiles of a Father. Human nature lies in ruins. Before it can be made a temple of God, it must be raised from its ruins, and prepared for the abode of the great Inhabitant. In Christ alone God can be just, and justify the ungodly. By his death he has vin
dicated the divine honour, and satisfied the divine law. The merits of this death apprehended by faith, qualify the believer for the favour of God, and constrain him to a surrender of his heart and affection to God.
In this way, and in no other, are believers made the temple of God. In no other way can they be converted, and raised from sin and uncleanness. Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Christ Jesus. It is a foundation which has withstood the storms of nearly 6000 years, and therefore has been fully tried. Whoever has rested on it has never been deceived. Ask the patriarchs, the prophets, the apostles, the martyrs. They all died in the faith. Nothing could seduce them to build on another foundation. This is a Rock firmer and more immoveable than the everlasting hills-firm and immoveable as God himself.
As such, according to the apostle's charge, I desire to exhibit it to you for your benefit. You may try other foundations, but you build on yielding sand—the winds and waves will sweep it away. On this you may build with confidence. You may rest upon it your whole weight-it will bear
you—nay more, it will save you. Be persuaded, ye who have hitherto neglected it, be persuaded to make the experiment. Ere long you may wish to do it, but will not have the opportunity. .
This foundation is laid in Zion, in the Church of God. To rest upon it, you must become believers in Christ. To become believers, you must be made new creatures in Christ Jesus. Do you not see the necessity of this? Sin hath blinded your eyes. Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. Your danger is not the less for your insensibility. You are dying mortals, hastening to the grave, and after death is judgment. Before God's bar you must appear; and how can you bear to think of appearing without being prepared to give to him an account of your stewardship ? In your present state you are sinners; as such you must be rejected, if you do not become saints. You may dream of heaven in store for you, though you walk as you please; but remember it has been told you, you will be fearfully disappointed. In the blackness of darkness you will for ever bewail your sad mistake and awful folly.