Whoever comes to me, and hears my sayings, and does them, I will show you to whom he is like:…
Now, in the course of my travels, I have met with three distinct dreamers.
I. There is the rationalistic dreamer. He beholds his face in a glass, and stands before it, admiring it. To him religion is a system of ideas, and no idea represents reality. His religion is "a face in the glass" or an unsubstantial "house on the sand."
II. There is the sentimental dreamer. He will talk to you for hours of the presence of God in nature, A house of sentiment is the last place I should fly to, to shelter me from the storm.
III. There is the pietistic dreamer. There is a form of church-going piety which does not influence daily conduct; people whose religion is an impersonated sigh.
1. The religion of the dreamer is a religion of theory. The religion of the doer is one of experience.
2. The religion of the dreamer will always be one of doubt. The religion of the doer will always be a religion of evidence. This follows the last remark, because doing leads to knowing.
3. Hence, let me say, the dreamer confines his religion to solitude; the doer finds a vent for his in society. Religion comforts solitude, and consoles it; it does not encourage the spirit of it. If we are to enter the solitude, it is that we may collect the moral forces of our nature, and come forth, inspired by the Divine Spirit, to cry aloud, "O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord."
4. The religion of the dreamer is a religion without love. But the life of the doer is love. Our love, in fact, is proportioned to our labours — our labour proportions our love. Love is the fountain of all true knowledge. Every man understands more by his affections than by his reason.
5. And there is, finally, no salvation for the dreamer. Come, let us walk along the sands, and see the houses they build there; these are the buildings of which the apostle spoke, "wood, hay, and stubble"; these are the buildings which will not stand either the flood or the fire; these are the buildings reared by the religious dreamers, whose houses are unsubstantial as the palaces in the clouds. Here is the house of wood — the building reared out of notions of natural amiability and goodness, a religion of politeness and native grace: in this house the inhabitants will talk to you of God, and of worshipping God, but you will hear nothing of God in Christ, nothing of the love of the Father for a lost world. The Unitarian builds his edifice from such material, and thus all those buildings rise which leave out of view the supernatural in the ruin and recovery of man. How unsubstantial i there is not one brick of all the building made from "these sayings of Mine," and here "the flood will come and sweep them all away." Let us walk further along the sands. Here is a house, strangely built of hay; of rhetoric, and philosophy, and superstitious notions; and sometimes, when the ice hangs its pendulets on the absurd, grotesque building, and the sun shines in its cold wintry ray, it seems an uncouth but glittering cave upon the sand: within, the inhabitants have so many pretty sentiments about religion, and so many brilliant sayings, and so many deep and philosophical views, and strange pretences glide to and fro through the heavy chambers, and even the neighbourhood to the awful sea makes the building sometimes seem so safe for shelter; but in the incongruous building nothing is reared from "these sayings of Mine," and the "flood will come and sweep them all away." Now, come, I will carry you to two death-beds; for they die in the castle on the rock and in the palace on the sand. Ah! how fine it looks! By the two death-beds you may hear the two confessions. I draw the curtain in the palace: let us hear. "How are you; are you happy?" "Well, I am easy." "What are your foundations?" "Well, Lord, Thou knowest I have had some very pretty notions in religion. I have usually gone to church once a day. I was certainly away frequently on account of our dinner-parties; but I am sure God won't be strict. On the whole, I am happy I I have ever tried to pay everybody their own, twenty shillings in the pound — and God is love." Now step into the poor room on the Rock. "How do you feel?" "I feel happy, but only by taking hold on Christ. Lord, I feel I am a poor creature, but I come to Thee through Christ; and I can only cry, Mercy, Mercy, Mercy, Mercy." Hark! the rain is on the roof; what a tempest. Oh that cry — The Flood! the Flood! the Flood! Yes; the rain descends, and the flood comes, and the winds blow and beat; behold yonder the advancing floods; and see yonder the drifting soul on the broken spar. What is the hope of the hypocrite, when God shall take away his soul? Yonder they drift away. Hark! it is a voice of singing from the eternal Rock, a strain from the heights of the strong foundations.
(E. . P. Hood.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: