ŇWhosoever then heareth of me these words, and doeth the same, I will liken him to a wise man which hath builded his house on a rock, and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell not; for it was grounded on a rock. But whosoever heareth these my words, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which hath builded his house upon the sand: and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell, and the fall thereof was great.Ó  Matthew 7:24-27.



ŇWhosoever then heareth of me these words, and doeth the same, I will liken him to a wise man which hath builded his house on a rock, and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell not; for it was grounded on a rock.Ó  (vv. 24-25).


After the delivery of many notable instructions in this sermon of our Saviour Christ, whereby He hath sufficiently shewed Himself to be the true prophet and doctor of His church; in this verse, and in those which follow to the 27th, He comes to lay down the conclusion of this excellent sermon, wherein He doth stir up His hearers to a notable duty; namely, that they should not make light account of His doctrine, contenting themselves barely to hear, read, or to learn the same; but further, to go about the practice thereof in their lives and conversations. And for the effecting hereof, He lays down here at large, the fruit of true obedience to the Word.


In this conclusion are these points contained:

I. A main duty to be done of all His hearers; that is, to hear and do the words of Christ: Whosoever heareth these my words, and doeth the same.

II. The property of this duty: it is a note of great wisdom: I will liken him to a wise man etc.

III. The fruit of this duty: safety and security against all perils of body and soul, in the 25th verse; all which are amplified by their contraries in the 26th and 27th verses, as we shall see in their place.




The first point is the main duty of every good hearer, namely, to join practice with knowledge of the Word of Christ. This duty is oft urged upon us by the Holy Ghost, (Rom. 2:13), Not the hearers of the law, but the doers thereof shall be justified before God. And St James stands long on this duty (Jam. 1:22), Be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own souls; which after, he enforceth both by the vanity of hearing without doing (vv. 23,24), and by the blessing that accompanies obedient hearing (v.25).  And (Luke 11:27,28) when a woman in admiration of ChristŐs doctrine, pronounced her blessed that bare Him; Christ answered, Nay, rather blessed are they that hear the Word of God and keep it. And in the parable of the sower (Matt. 13), there are four kinds of hearers, three bad and one only good, who do hear, know, receive, embrace the Word of God, and withal bring forth fruit plentifully. And natural reason may persuade us of the weight of this duty; for the best learning that men have in human things, is too little or of no use without practice; much less can divine doctrine then profit a man, without obedience be joined therewith.


The Use.

The consideration hereof must move us to pray to God the Father in the name of Christ, that He would vouchsafe His Spirit unto us, whereby our hearts might be inclined, disposed and bent to an unfeigned love and obedience of GodŐs precepts delivered in His holy Word, because it is our duty to live in the practice of that we hear. Yea, we must pray so to perform obedience in our life that our consciences may not only not accuse us, but also excuse us before God in regard thereof; or at least, in regard of our true endeavour and desire to obey. This duty being practised, will minister true comfort unto us in time of distress, yea, in the fearful case of death itself. Hereby did good king Hezekiah comfort himself at his death, that he had walked before the Lord with an upright and perfect heart (Isa. 38:3). And the Word of God is plain for this comfort, If our hearts condemn us not, then we have boldness towards God (1 John 3:21), always provided we have a good understanding of our duty to God, for an ignorant conscience will falsely excuse.




The property of this duty. It is a part of great wisdom, for he that heareth and obeyeth, is the only wise man, I will liken him (saith Christ) unto a wise man. This point is likewise with care to be remembered, that the hearing and doing of the Word of God is a special part of true wisdom. This is notably verified in the 32nd psalm, which is entitled DavidŐs learning; and indeed it is a notable psalm of learning, containing the sum of all religion; which David bringeth to these two heads: his repentance and new obedience. So (Deut. 4:6), the peopleŐs obedience to GodŐs commandments is counted by Moses their wisdom; and for this cause, he there saith, They shall be counted the wisest people under heaven, because they served and obeyed the true God; to which purpose it is said, The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, a good understanding have all they that do thereafter (Psa. 111:10).


Hence we learn these instructions:


1. All superiors, magistrates, masters and parents, are bound to go before their inferiors in wisdom, as they are above them in authority; and therefore considering obedience is true wisdom, every superior ought to go before his inferiors in obedience to GodŐs commandments; for this only is true wisdom, without which all other wisdom is but folly and madness.


2. Hence, all students who profess themselves to seek for wisdom and learning, are taught especially to give themselves to learn and obey the will and commandments of God; for this is true wisdom, both before God and man. And it is a great blemish and disgrace for any man of knowledge to lead a loose and dissolute life; this argues their want of GodŐs fear, which is the very ground of true wisdom.


3. This gives a good caveat to ignorant persons, who persuade themselves they may continue in their ignorance because they are not book-learned. But they deceive themselves, for obedience is true wisdom; and therefore they must labour for so much knowledge as will bring them to this wisdom here commended.



Now to come more specially to this true wisdom, we must search out wherein it lieth. This is expressed in these words: which hath builded his house on a rock; which St Luke setteth down more largely (Luke 6:48), saying, he digged deep, and laid his foundation on a rock. In which words three parts of this wisdom are propounded: 1. To dig deep; 2. To make choice of a rock for a foundation; and 3. To build thereon.


1. The builder is the professor of the name of Christ; and this digging deep to find out a fit foundation, signifying thus much: that he that would make sure his own salvation, must come to a deep search and examination of his own corrupt heart, that he may know the iniquity thereof; as also he must renounce himself and his pleasures; and whatsoever may hinder him in this building he must cast out; for without this deep search and ransacking of the heart, there can be no sure foundation laid, nor certainty of salvation attained.


2. The second point of this wisdom is to choose a foundation to lay our salvation upon; and that is the rock Christ Jesus Himself alone, God and man, He is the chief corner-stone on which the whole building is coupled (Eph. 2:20,21). Neither is there salvation in any other; for among men there is given no other name under heaven, by which we must be saved than Christ Jesus only (Acts 4:12), and no other foundation can any man lay than that which is already laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 3:11). Christ is the rock and corner-stone, and true Christians are living stones upon Him (1 Pet. 2:5). As for our works, they are fruits, but no part of this foundation, unless to them that build on the sand, like foolish builders.


3. Thirdly, having found a good foundation, we must build thereon. Our souls and our salvation must be builded on Christ. This is done by our faith in Christ; for as mutual love joins one man unto another; so true faith makes us one with Christ; (Eph. 3:17), the Holy Ghost saith that Christ doth dwell in our hearts by faith. And (Psa. 125;1), He that trusts in the Lord is as mount Sion that cannot be removed. Yet here two caveats must be remembered:


(1) That Christ is a rock, yet not every way that man frames in his own heart, but only so as He hath offered Himself in the promise of the gospel, which is the Word of the covenant of grace. And for this cause we must labour that this Word of GodŐs grace may be rooted and grounded in our hearts by faith; for it is all one to believe in Christ, and to believe the Word that reveals Christ unto us. So saith our Saviour, He that refuseth me, and receiveth not my Word, hath one that judgeth him (John 12:48). And, If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you (John 15:7). We therefore must be like the good ground; for as it receives and keeps the good seed, so doth the good heart receive and keep the word of grace, which being rooted in our hearts, keeps us united unto Christ, and therefore it is called the engrafted word (Jam. 1:21), which being mingled with faith in our hearts is profitable, for it knits us fast to Christ, and makes us grow up in Him unto perfection.


(2) We must set all the main affections of our heart on Christ; if hereby must we shew forth our faith. We must so esteem and love Christ, as that in regard of Him we count all things loss and dung (Phil. 3:8), with the apostle; yea, we must so delight in Christ, that we desire Him wholly, and receive nothing into our hearts but Christ alone. Thomas desired but to put his finger into His side (John 20:25), but we must go further, and desire to have our souls washed in the blood that issued hence, and to have our hearts possessed by His Spirit, whom He giveth to His church.



The Use.

Seeing Christ Jesus is the rock of our salvation, our duty is to have our hearts rooted and founded on Christ. They which be as the stony ground, hear and receive the Word, and it takes some rooting in them, and brings forth some fruit; but as the rooting is not deep, so the fruit is never ripe, and therefore when heat cometh, it withereth. So it is with professors. A man may be one in name, and bring forth some fruit of the Word which he hears, and yet be deceived in the matter of his salvation, because he is not rooted and founded in Christ. This is the point which Paul stands much upon in sundry of his epistles (Eph. 2:20,21; 3:17; Col. 2:7); for shew of grace will not serve the turn. Indeed in these happy days of peace, any grace makes a man seem to be a Christian; but when the parching heat of persecution comes, unless we be thoroughly rooted in Christ, we shall never continue to the end, nor bring forth fruit with patience.




The fruit of this true obedience, in which men by faith build themselves on Christ Jesus, is security and safety against all temptations of the devil, the flesh and the world; meant by the standing of the house that was built upon the rock, notwithstanding the falling of the rain, the beating of the floods and the blowing of the winds (v.25); a most notable fruit which nothing else but true obedience can procure unto us. Wealth cannot minister this comfortable security; nay, the more wealth, ofttimes the more trouble; and unto many, riches are the cause of a fearful downfall. No strength of man, nor power of any princes can procure this safety, and yet Christ vouchsafeth the same to them that hear His Word and keep it.


1. The consideration hereof must move us to be most willing and ready to perform obedience to that holy Word of God which we read and hear; for such a benefit comes by it, as no creature in the world can procure besides; and the rather we must inure ourselves hereto, because our sins deserve an end of these happy days of peace, and we may justly look for the black days of persecution, which when they come will surely be our ruin, unless in these days of peace we hear the Word and do it.


2. Secondly, from this fruit of true obedience we may gather that he which once hath true faith in Christ rooted in his heart, shall never lose the same, either wholly or finally, but shall continue therein unto the end, and enjoy the fruit thereof for ever. For by faith a man is truly built on Christ, as on a most sure foundation, so as neither temptations nor persecutions can drive him off; though they may assault and shake him, yet they can never throw him down. But if a man might quite lose his faith, then might he be beaten down that is built on Christ, which thing this text denieth.


3. Lastly, this teacheth us that he that is built on Christ by faith, must look for fearful trials and temptations; for he is like an house built on the sea bank, against which wind, and rain, and waves, do all beat and rage. GodŐs servants must not look to go to heaven in ease, but they must wait for trials and temptations coming hand in hand, as wind and rain, and wind and wave commonly do. And therefore the more careful and earnestly must we labour to be surely grounded on Christ, that though they assault us, yet they may not throw us down.




ŇBut whosoever heareth these my words, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which hath builded his house upon the sand: and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell, and the fall thereof was great.Ó  (vv. 26-27).


In these verses our Saviour Christ layeth down four other points contrary to the former, belonging to an evil hearer:

            I. The fault and bad practice of an evil hearer: to hear ChristŐs words, and not do the same;

            II. The property of this vice: it is a point of extreme folly;

            III. The practice of this folly: in building upon the sands;

            IV. The fruit and issue of this building: fearful ruin and destruction.



The practice of a bad hearer, from which Christ would terrify all men in this place is to hear and not to do. This is no small fault. The ground that receiveth seed and rain, both in measure and season, and yet bringeth forth either bad fruit, or none at all, is by all men condemned for bad ground. The apostle saith, it is near unto cursing, whose end is to be burned (Heb. 6:8). The waters that come and issue from under the threshold of the sanctuary (Ezek. 47:1), whereby is meant the Word of God, when they come into any ground they are of this nature, if they make it not fruitful they turn it into barrenness (v.11). A subject that knows his princeŐs will, and doeth it not, is indeed no better than a rebel. How much more then is he that hears the Word and doctrine of salvation by Christ, and yet makes no conscience to do the same, to be judged for bad and barren ground, yea, for a rebel against God Himself. (1 Sam. 15:23), Samuel telleth Saul that rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and transgression is wickedness and idolatry. And the reason is plain, for they that submit themselves to hear GodŐs Word, are sundry ways bound to perform obedience. First, by the law of creation, as they are GodŐs creatures. Secondly, by the law of redemption, as they are ChristŐs servants, bought by His most precious blood. Thirdly, in regard of their adoption, as they are, or at least hold themselves to be, His children in Christ. And fourthly, in regard of His merciful providence whereof we have daily experience. In regard of all these, we ought by way of thankfulness, to shew ourselves obedient unto His Word. And therefore, he that hears the Word of God, and will not do the same, sinneth grievously against God, which in its kind God hateth as the sin of witchcraft. Now this sin of disobedience is a common sin. We are all hearers, but where almost is the man that answerably is a doer? Men content themselves with the bear action of hearing, like unto the papists, who think God is well served with the work done. But the principal thing we omit, which is the treasuring up of GodŐs Word in our hearts that upon just occasion we might practise the same. Yea, which yet is more lamentable, men are so far from yielding conscionable obedience to the Word, that the endeavour thereunto is commonly judged superfluous niceness and curious preciseness. But this sin of hearing and not doing, will bring many fearful judgments upon us, unless by true repentance it be cut off.




The property of this bad practice. It is a point of great folly: He that heareth and doeth not, shall be likened unto a foolish man. This the Author of all wisdom Christ Himself avoucheth. And the Holy Ghost by St James doth notably describe this part of folly: They that be hearers and not doers, deceive themselves, being like unto a man that beholdeth his natural face in a glass (Jam. 1:22-24); either to spy out some spot, or discern his own countenance; but when he hath considered himself, he goeth his way and forgetteth immediately what manner of one he was.


Again, this folly will further appear in this: if a man should shew forth great parts of wisdom in sundry things pertaining to his body, and yet fail in the main point of all, every man would count his wisdom but folly. Now such are all they that hear the Word of God and do it not; they shew some parts of wisdom in coming to hear, and in seeking to understand; and yet if they come not to practise, they fail in the main point of their salvation, which indeed ought to be sought for in the first place.


1. By this we may see how to correct and reform our foolish conceit we have of men in the world. We think of those that have worldly wisdom to be able to go beyond others in the greater affairs of this life, that they are the only men, deserving best place of government both in church and commonwealth. But we must know that these men, though they have never so good heads for the things of this life, yet if they fail in the knowledge of this duty to God, or in the practice thereof, are here by our Saviour Christ noted with the brand of folly. The rich man in the gospel had notable forecast for the augmenting of his wealth. When his substance increased, he could pull down his barns and make them greater, but yet because he failed in the main point of his salvation, he is noted for a rich fool (Luke 12:20). And therefore in all sorts and estates of men, he is the wisest, who hath grace to know, and answerably to obey the will of God.


2. This must excite us to a careful endeavour after true obedience to God in all His commandments. We all desire to be freed from the reproach of folly among men, and we take it for a great disgrace to be counted fools. Well, if we would avoid this ignominy indeed, let us be willing to hear and carefully obey the Word of Christ, both in thought, word and deed; otherwise, let men judge as they list, God will account us fools.




The practice of this folly; which consists in this: that he builds his house upon the sands; whereby is signified another thing concerning the soul; namely, to build our salvation upon insufficient foundation; and that doth every hearer of GodŐs Word that makes not conscience of obedience. For profession is as it were the erecting or rearing of an house. And the not performing obedience withal, is the setting of this house upon the sands. There be three sorts of men that thus build upon the sand:


1. The papist that will be justified and saved by Christ; but yet withal he must have works of grace to concur for the increase of his justification, and for the accomplishment of his salvation. Now this is to build upon the sands, when we join works with Christ in the matter of salvation. For though Christ be a sure rock in Himself, yet if we will fortify Him by our works, we fall from this rock into perdition, and our foundation is no better than sand. (Gal. 5:2,4), Behold I Paul say unto you, that if you be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothingÉ. Ye are fallen from Christ, whosoever will be justified by the law; in which places the apostle labours to overthrow the opinion of the Galatians learned of the false apostles, which was to join works with Christ in the matter of justification. (Rom. 9:32), Christ became unto the Jews a rock of offence, whenas they would be saved by the works of the law.


2. A second sort that builds upon the sands are the common Protestants; by whom I mean such as bear the name of Christians, and yet rest themselves contented and satisfied with their civil lives; thinking that because they abstain from outward evil and gross sins, and do no man wrong, therefore God will hold them excused; whereupon they profess religion more for obedience to the laws of men, than for conscience to God. But this will not serve the turn; these men, though they profess Christ outwardly, yet indeed they deny Him; for by their course (though it may be they think not so) they will needs become saviours, and so christs unto themselves; which thing they do when they stay themselves on their own civil life. The Scribes and Pharisees for outward actions were very godly, and many of them lived unblameable; but yet Christ saith to His disciples (Matt. 5:20), Except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. And Paul goes somewhat further, speaking of himself when he was an apostle (1 Cor. 4:4), I know nothing by myself, and yet am I not thereby justified. This was a notable thing, for a man to walk so uprightly in his calling that his own sanctified conscience could not accuse him of any offence therein, either against God or man; and yet this is nothing in the matter of justification, wherein the righteousness of the whole law must be fulfilled, which cannot be done by the obedience of sanctification, which is not perfect in this life. And therefore Paul desires not to be found of God therein (Phil. 3:9), much less by civil righteousness, which consisting only in outward behaviour, may be in those that never have the Spirit of grace to renew their souls, as the apostle witnesseth of the Gentiles, that some of them do by nature the things contained in the law (Rom. 2:14); that is, outwardly. But without the Spirit, they are none of ChristŐs, for he that hath not the Spirit of God is none of His (Rom. 8:9), neither can possibly enter into the kingdom of God; for except a man be born again of water, and of the Holy Spirit, that is, be regenerate by the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God (John 3:5).


3. The third sort of those that build upon the sand is the Protestant that is more forward in religion than the former. I mean such as do hear the Word of God ordinarily, and receive it with joy, bringing forth some good fruit thereof. It had been hard, I must confess, to have called such men foolish builders, without good warrant out of the Word. But Jesus Christ hath revealed them to be such as build upon the sand; for in the parable of the sower (Luke 8:13), They that receive the seed in stony ground, are they which hear the Word, and incontinently with joy receive it; but they have no roots, which for a while believe, there is some fruit, but in time of temptation they go away. Of such St John speaketh (John 6:66), From that time many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him. They were His followers, and heard Him gladly, or else they should never have been called His disciples, but their going back doth plainly discover their sandy foundation. Of such also he speaketh in his epistle, They went out from us, but they were not of us (1 John 2:19). For a time they professed Christ, and so were among the faithful, but when trouble and persecution came because of the Word, then they went away, wanting true humility and sound faith, whereby they should have been built upon Christ; which want in time of peace they could not espy.


The Uses.

1. Seeing that men which hear and receive the Word of God with joy may build upon a sandy foundation, we must not content ourselves herewith, but further pray to God for this one blessing: that He would write His Word in our hearts by the finger of His Spirit, as He wrote the law on tables of stone in mount Sinai; for our hearts are deceitful, as the prophet speaketh (Jer. 17:9), and in the time of peace will counterfeit grace, which in time of trial will vanish away as the mist before the sun. Now God hath promised this blessing to His church in the New Testament (Jer. 31:33), After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts and (32:40), I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me. This therefore we must pray for, that the Word which we hear may enable us to obedience in the time of peace, and arm and strengthen us against temptation in the day of trial, and so become the power of God to our salvation.


2. This must move us to look unto the deceitfulness of our hearts. The case is weighty respecting the eternal state of our souls, and yet through spiritual guile we may easily deceive ourselves herein; for who would not think himself to be in a good case, when he doth receive the Word with joy and bring forth some fruits thereof? This indeed is a good step towards grace, but if we go no further, we deceive ourselves; this will not serve our turn in the time of trial. As yet we are but those who receive the seed on stony ground; the graces which we make shew of will be like the grass on the housetop, which withereth in the blade before it shoot forth. Wherefore we must look well to our souls, that in our profession we carry a true heart toward God, and keep a good conscience in ourselves. And for this cause we must see that we be thoroughly humbled in ourselves for our sins, that we trust not in ourselves but in God, and make His mercy in Christ to be our chief treasure. Also we must remember that we are not our own, but GodŐs; for He hath bought us, and so we must not take liberty to dispose of ourselves as we list, but must subject ourselves wholly to His blessed will in all things. And because He hath revealed His will in His holy Word, according to which He would have us to frame our lives, we must endeavour to prove and try what is the good will of God and acceptable, and let the obedience of our lives express our faith in God and reverence towards His Word. And if thus we make God in Christ our joy and fear in the days of peace, we shall be sure to find Him the Rock of our salvation in the time of trial.


3. Seeing men may receive the Word with joy and bring forth some fruit, and yet build upon the sand, we must not content ourselves with this, that we know Christ to be a Saviour, and do embrace true religion in profession; but we must labour for the power of this knowledge in ourselves, that we may know Christ to be our Saviour, and may feel the power of His death to mortify sin in us, and the virtue of His resurrection to raise and build us up to newness of life; for knowledge in the brain will not save the soul. Saving knowledge in religion is experimental; and he that is truly founded upon Christ, feels the power and efficacy of His death and resurrection, effectually causing the death of sin and the life of grace, which both appear by new obedience.




The effect and fruit of bad hearing; that is, fearful ruin and destruction, resembled by the issue of building on the sands.


The rain fell, the floods came, and the wind blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell, and the fall thereof was great (v. 27).


Here, two things are to be noted: First, the cause of this fearful ruin, The falling of the rain, and the beating of the floods and winds; Secondly, the quality of this ruin, it is great and fearful, The house fell, and the fall thereof was great.


1. For the first, floods and wind and rain do here betoken trials and temptations, which are here said to befall the professors of the name of Christ. Whence we learn that everyone that doth profess true religion must look for a day of temptation and trial. It is GodŐs will that whosoever taketh upon him the profession of His name, should be tried and proved what he is. Thus He permitted Adam presently after his creation, to be tempted and tried by Satan; the smart whereof we all feel unto this day. And God gave Abraham a commandment of trial, when He bade him take his only son Isaac whom he loved, and offer him up for a burnt offering in mount Moriah (Gen. 22:1,2). So He left Hezekiah to himself to try him, and to make known what was in his heart, when the ambassadors of the prince of Babylon came unto him, to enquire of the wonder which God had done in the land (2 Chr. 32:31). And John Baptist saith of Christ, that He hath His fan in His hand, to sift and try the good corn from the chaff (Matt. 3:12). And Christ tells Peter that the devil sought to winnow the disciples as wheat (Luke 22:31). And for the trial of his faith and patience, God gave Job and all that he had into SatanŐs hands, except his life (Job 1:12; 2:6). And Christ tells the church of Smyrna (Rev. 2:10), The devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried, and ye shall have affliction ten days. And St Peter makes it a thing requisite, that the faith of GodŐs servants should be tried by affliction, as gold is tried in the fire (1 Pet. 1:7).


The Use.

We now have by GodŐs mercy true religion maintained and professed among us, and are freed from the bondage of the Turk, Jew and papists, in regard of their idolatries and superstitions. These are inestimable blessings, which we must labour to walk worthy of, and therefore must stand fast in our profession, and quit ourselves like men in the maintenance of true religion, not suffering ourselves to be deprived of it by any adversary power; for times will come when we must be assaulted. The floods, wind and rain of trials and temptations will beat upon the house of our profession; for God hath so dealt with His dearest servants, and we may not look to get free. Now without a good foundation we shall not keep our standing. We must therefore in this happy time of peace and truth, which is to us the day of grace and mercy, seriously labour to have our hearts endued with some good measure of lasting grace, as of sincere love, sound hope, and faith unfeigned, which as good gold may abide the fiery trial of afflictions. This is PaulŐs counsel to the Colossians (Col. 2:6,7), Seeing you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in Him; that is, go on forward in the same profession. But how? Rooted and built in Him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. And when he had told the Ephesians of the mighty spiritual enemies that they must wrestle with (Eph. 6:12,13), for the keeping of faith and a good conscience; he bids them take unto themselves the whole armour of God, and put it on, that they may be able to resist and stand in the evil day, that is, the day of trial. In earthly kingdoms every prudent and well-governing state will have munitions in store, and men in readiness for their defence against an enemy. And surely in GodŐs kingdom everyone that doth profess the truth, should labour to be furnished with sound grace, that they may be able to fight for the maintenance of the faith. If an householder knew that thieves would come upon him, he would not be taken unprovided. Well, we are taught that trials will come, and therefore let us not be unprepared.



2. The second point in this effect is the quality of this ruin and fall: it is great and fearful. It fell, and the fall thereof was great. The thing resembled hereby is most fearful, to wit, that such professors of religion as in the days of peace did not join practice with their profession, shall fall away in the time of trial, and come to most fearful perdition. This is the principal point that Christ here aims at, whereby He intends to terrify men from dissembled profession. And the consideration of it must work effectually in our hearts; for we by GodŐs mercy and blessing, have had the light of the gospel for many years together, in such measure as was never in this land before. So as in regard of the means it may be said of us, as Christ said of Capernaum, that we are even lifted up to heaven (Matt. 11:23). The true light now shineth, and in that regard, blessed are our eyes for they see, and our ears for they hear. But yet though the most among us be hearers, where is our obedience? We have indeed the blazing lamp of outward profession, but where is the oil of grace? Alas, some among us grow to be peremptory and flat atheists, denying God that made them, and making but a mock at Jesus Christ. Others, not a few, under the name of religion, root their hearts in the world, some in profits, and some in pleasures, and none of these almost regard religion. Others profess religion, and yet live in gross sins, as swearing, drunkenness, uncleanness, etc., making no conscience of gross impiety in their lives. So that if we look into the general state of our people, we shall see that religion is professed, but not obeyed. Nay, obedience is counted preciseness, and so reproached; but we must know that in the end this profaning of religion will soon turn all GodŐs blessings temporal and spiritual, into fearful curses, both of body and soul. If ever anything bring ruin upon us, it will be the contempt of GodŐs Word professed. And therefore let us in the fear of God endeavour ourselves not only to know and hear the Word of God, but to turn unto God from all sin, and especially in regard of this sin of disobedience to the Word of God.


Lastly, Christ notes the quality of this fall to be exceeding great, to shew unto us the great danger of hypocrisy. For there is great difference between these three sorts of men: a sinner that makes no profession of religion, an hypocrite that makes a great shew of piety in profession, and a true believer whose life and conversation is answerable to his profession. For a true professor may fall into sin very fearfully, as Peter and David did, and yet recover again. Also he that is a most notorious sinner, as Manasseh was, may be converted and repent. But when a professor that is an hypocrite in religion is tried, he falls quite from Christ, and makes apostasy from his profession; and in this regard, his fall is called great. And therefore seeing professors may thus fearfully fall away; let us in the fear of God, labour in some truth of heart to yield obedience to that we hear.