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THERE is an order in things. That order is Divine. You must observe that order, or pay a severe penalty. You cannot produce ripe corn, without first producing the green blade, you cannot have the green blade, except from seed, nor from seed, unless under certain conditions. You cannot multiply birds, except you have first the eggs. You cannot have a house without a foundation,
build on it. You cannot grow timber, unless you have ground.
II.-But in Spiritual things, there are persons who think to build their house, by beginning in the air; and who are looking for fruit without trees, and for trees without roots, and for roots, trees and fruit, without ground.
There are two classes of persons who pay little respect to the foundations of things: namely, those who, right or wrong, determine to live according to their own hearts. Whatever be said about right
beginnings, the folly of this course, or the ungodliness of the other, they will live as they like. Let what consequences may come of it, they will not give up their own will to the will of another, though that other be God.
The other class are those well-intentioned, easy sort of people, who have no idea of attaching grave importance to any thing spiritual and eternal. They observe the order of God in things natural, but in spiritual things they expect God to adjust His order to theirs. They think to come to the end of their journey without setting out.
They calculate on the grapes of God, apart from “the True Vine" of God. They are sure enough of Heaven, whether there be any ground of heaven in them, or not. They do not say, * We must break up our fallow ground, or we shall have no harvest;' but, while their ground is bringing forth its crop of thistles and thorns, they say, 'Our harvest is sure at the last, because God is good!
III.—God is good, but His order must be respected, for His goodness operates according, and not contrary, to that order. The order in God's own Being is as eternal as His Being. If you could imagine certain changes to take place
in the Divine Nature, similar to those which have taken place in fallen angels and men, then God would be no
ore. The foundations of His Being and Character being gone, God would be gone. God is bound to His foundations. They must abide eternally the same.
Could there be variableness, or the shadow of a turning with God, then there were no God.
IV.-The whole question of Foundations derives its importance from this fact,—that, there are eternal, unalterable Foundations in God. In Him, is the Rock of ages. Fundamental principles are unchangeable, because they agree, and must for ever agree, with the fundamental being of God. The ground of God is God, and whether we can apprehend the distinction or not, there is a distinction, expressed by the terms, the Father, and the Son. Both are Eternal, both are One; the Unity is eternal, the distinction is eternal. There could be no manifested God, except from the ground of God. The manifestation is the Only Begotten outbirth of the Eternal Ground. The Divine manifestation brings the Divine ground out to view. We know the Father from the Son, for He is “ Very God of
, Very God.” Christ is in the very eternal ground of God, and the very eternal ground is in Him. “I am in the Father and the Father in Me.” Therefore : “He that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father.” Nor can any creature find the Father, nor come to Him, except in and through His Son. “No man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” This is no mere dogma, nor is there any thing arbitrary in it: the law is universal and eternal. The Father, being the inscrutable, ineffable, inapprehensible ground of God, can only make Himself known to the creature in His Son; nor can the creature, in any other way, come home to the bosom of the Father. “The Only Begotten Son is in the Bosom of the Father.” To come to Christ, therefore, is to come to the Father, or to the deepest ground of God; and to be rooted and grounded in Christ is the way, and the only way to become rooted and grounded in that deepest Eternal Ground. There is nothing hard or narrow in the declaration of St. John: “Whosoever abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.” The law is inevitable. The creature who enters into covenant with God must conform to the order of the Divine Nature.