For which of you, intending to build a tower, sits not down first, and counts the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?…
I. The entrance upon, and progress in, a religious life, may, with some considerable propriety, be COMPARED TO THE BUILDING OF A TOWER. Something to be done by us. Many graces to be exercised, many temptations to be resisted, many enemies to be vanquished, and many duties to be performed. The power of religion must first be felt, then a profession of it made, and, last of all, care taken to adorn the profession; the whole of which may be compared to building a tower, because —
1. There must be a foundation to support the building. Christ — the foundation of doctrinal, experimental, and practical' religion.
2. It is a work of labour and difficulty. Requires exertion of all the strength we have, and every day fresh supplies out of the fulness of Christ.
3. A gradual work. A tower reaching to heaven. Patient continuance in welt-doing.
4. A visible work. The Christian is a spectacle to world, angels, and men. His sufferings make him so; his conduct, so different from that of others, makes him so; and though the springs of his life are "hid," yet the workings and effect of it are manifest to the world. Grace makes a visible change in the temper and conversation.
5. A durable work. True religion is like a strong and well-built tower, secure itself, and a security to its builder. The foundation and materials of it are both lasting.
II. THIS WORK CALLS FOR GREAT CAUTION AND CIRCUMSPECTION.
1. The Christian will consider beforehand the certain and necessary expense.
(1) Remorse for past sin.
(2) Conflict with spiritual enemies.
(3) Corruptions to be mortified.
2. To this he will add the possible and contingent expense. Not only what it must, but what it may, cost him. Friends may desert him, enemies assail, and a thousand obstacles be thrown in the way to discourage him.
3. There is another kind of expense which such a one will also take into account, not only what it will cost him, but what — if I may be allowed to use the expression — it must cost God, before He can finish his work. The Spirit of God must afford him His continual aid, and Christ's strength must be made perfect in his weakness. No spiritual duty can be performed without a Divine influence.
4. To the labour and expense he is at, he will oppose tim benefits and advantages hoped for. The cross is the way to the crown.
5. Where this caution and circumspection is neglected, it is an instance of egregious folly, and will expose to universal shame and contempt.
(B. Beddome, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?