Taken from, Light Shining in Darkness
Written by, William Huntington
Edited for thought and sense.
If the foundation be destroyed, what can the righteous do?
–Psalm 11: 3.
In the Lord I put my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain? -Verse 1.
The psalmist was brought off from all reliance on his own strength, from all trust in his own heart, and from all expectations of either hope or help from the law of God and from all confidence in his obedience thereto. He knew that the Lord had made with him an everlasting covenant, well-ordered in all things, and sure; this was all his salvation, and this was all his desire. And be knew that this covenant was made with the promised Messiah as the covenant head, and with David in him; and that it was to be a covenant ratified and confirmed by a human sacrifice in union with the Word that was God, and that the human nature, which was to be assumed by the Word, was to be of the fruit of David’s body, on which account Christ calls himself the root and offspring of David.
To build upon this rock David was led, upon this foundation his heart was fixed, and in this Almighty Savior David put bis trust for protection and defense for all supplies in a way of providence, for grace, and for glory. He knew that all things, were put under bis feet, that he was heir of all things, that he was anointed with the oil of gladness above all that ever had or will have fellowship with him; that all grace was poured into his lips, and that he was King of Zion, yea King of Glory, the Lord of Hosts mighty in battle and therefore he asks his carnal advisers why they bid him fly from his enemies like a bird the mountain, when his trust was in the omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent Savior. Where shall I go from his Spirit, or whither shall I flee from bis presence? If l ascend up into heaven thou art there, if I make my bed in “hell thou art there also; if I take the wings of the mornings and remain in the uttermost parts of the earth there art thou in all these places. So that there is no cause to flee, when I have a present help, a God at hand.
For lo the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrows upon the firings. By the wicked man’s bow, I understand his tongue; they bend their tongues like bows. The arrows are doctrinal lies, lies of slander, or bitter words: the one is intended to injure the judgment and distress the soul; the other to wound the reputation. The firing of the bow appears to me to be the cord of sin, or the bond of iniquity, which keeps Satan in his possession of the heart, and the sinner safely bound to Satan’s service; and it is the devil’s work to keep this string tight, and to aid this archer with his assistance; hence the Savior says; “This is your hoar and the powers of darkness; ye are of your father the devil, and his works ye will do.”
These bowmen are said to shoot privately, or in darkness. They hate the light: hence it is that they generally circulate their heresies, first in a secret, or private way, till they get a majority, or a number on their side, and then the whore’s forehead appears abroad; and if they intend to slander the righteous, it is never done to the face but in secret, therefore such are justly called backbiters.
The upright in heart are the targets at which such archers shoot, in order to remove them from the foundation, or the foundations from them; but if the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? One foundation is the secret purpose and good will of God toward us, which is his prescience or foreknowledge of us ; and is a knowledge of approbation, of love, of choice, and of a gracious acceptance of us in his beloved Son. In this his decree he has given us a sure and firm standing in his sovereign love to us in Christ Jesus: as it is written, Never the less the foundation of God standeth sure; having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his.
Christ Jesus is the foundation which God in his decree appointed, and in the death of him he laid this foundation in Zion; and he is the foundation that is laid by all the wise master builders that ever God employed in his building, whether prophets, apostles, evangelists, or teachers.
He has borne the weight of all our sins, and of all the wrath and all the curses due to us on account of sin; and has approved himself; a tried stone. To this foundation the Father draws us; here we cast our burdens and cares too; here the weary soul rests; here hope anchors, and faith fixes: into sweet captivity every thought goes, and love sweetly unites us to him whose strength is put forth in our weakness, and from whom life is communicated to every living stone that rests upon him: here we are sensibly borne up above despondency, above a spirit of heaviness, above the meditations of terror, and above the dark regions of the shadow of death. Upon this foundation the sure mercies of David (in the salvation of sinners)are built up forever; and in our glorification truth will be settled in heaven.
In laying this foundation, or in the founding of Zion judgment was laid to the line, and righteousness the plummet. Isaiah 28: 16, 17. The undertakings of the Savior, and the judgment that was executed upon him answered all the demands of precept upon precept, line upon line; and the everlasting righteousness that he wrought out and brought-in was divine, perfect, complete, and in every sense adequate to the plummet, and answered to the uttermost all the rigorous expectations of vindictive justice. So that this building of mercy upon this foundation, goes up with the even eyes of the Lord upon it (Zech.3:9, 4:10), and is a building complete; there is no breach, shake, or settlement in its occasioned by any dishonor to the law, nor any part that overhangs to the injury of justice; for both line and plummet have been stretched and laid to this great work, and to every living stone in it, who have all died and suffered in their surety, and have been justified in him at his resurrection.
The divine founder and fabricator has inspected very minutely every part of this building; he chose the corner-stone himself, and engraved it with grace, grace unto it I and he likewise gave the building its name, the temple of the Living God, and the city in which it stands is “Jehovah Shamma: which names continue to this day”and ever will. And sure I am that this foundation will never sink, and that this building will never be laid in a ruinous heap. Foundation signifies also the beginning of the work of grace and truth in the sinner’s soul, which is the doctrinal and experimental basis in the believing heart; such as, repentance from dead works, and faith towards God, which are the beginnings of Christ’s work and word in us; because there is no salvation without repentance, which is a clearing away (of some sort) the rubbish that lays between us and the foundation; and because faith, and repentance, under the Spirit’s operation, square, fit, and polish, the rude, rough, impenitent and stony-hearted sinner, and make him more fit to join and cleave to the foundation, and when once he is cemented to it by a feeling sense of divine love he becomes settled, firm, and ornamental in the building. Such a humbled sinner ranges and lines with the rest of the building, and appears to be one of God’s chosen materials whom God has chosen in the foundation and called to union with it, to rest on it, and to cleave with the whole heart to him, that bears him up as a foundation, and that holds him fast as the head stone in the corner.
Abraham looked for a city which hath foundations, whose maker and builder is God. If that city be the heavenly Jerusalem, the bride, the Lamb’s wife, the triumphant church; then the glorious perfections of the Almighty, agreeing and harmonizing in Christ, are doubtless the twelve foundation’s of that holy city, which God founded, and which will be in the end perfect in one; that is, complete in God, Father, Son and Spirit, and be filled with all the fulness of God, when he will be all in all, all to it, and all in every part of it.
Now if these foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? Satan has got a number of laborers working to undermine these foundations. The children of spiritual pride,who are self-willed, self-righteous, and self-seeking, labor against God’s eternal decree of election, which has this seal upon it, “The Lord knoweth them that are his.” The Arian is working to overthrow the foundation that God has laid in Zion, and warning us from all trust in Christ, because he is no more than a man; and cursed is he that trusts in man: but Christ is God, and blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
The Deist works at the doctrinal foundations, and ridicules the scriptures, though these can never be broken; while the Atheist and the Sadducee declare that there is no hereafter, nor world to come; but, if in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
Now if these foundations be destroyed what can the righteous do? It is true the self-righteous and the self-fulfilled can do well enough, being so wise in building as to set at nothing this head-stone of the corner. Others build upon Peter; some build without a foundation, and others build upon the sand; and some, like the Babel-builders, begin to build without counting the cost, and therefore must expect not only to leave the building unfinished, but that when the Judge of all the earth shall appear to confound their language, the ruin of it will be great and many will meek, saying, These began to build, but had not wherewith to finish.
Of this stamp were the children of Edom in the days of old, whose soul loathed Zion, the people of God, and the place where God dwelt, where his people met to pay their homage to him, and to bring their tributes. Whenever any evil happened here, whenever any enemy besieged this holy spot, then these enemies triumphed. “Remember, O Lord, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem,who said, Raze it, raze it, even to the foundation thereof.” Psalm 137:7. This is the wicked mans triumph, and the just man’s lamentation.
But can these foundations be destroyed? No, not in themselves; but seducers who lead us astray are said to destroy the way of our paths; and those who blind our eyes, seduce us from Christ and from the purpose of God, are said to destroy the foundations, because they pervert the word of God, and obscure the foundations he has laid by explaining away the sense of truth, and throwing false glories upon it, in order to blind the understanding and mislead the judgment of the simple. In this way the path of the just is blocked up with stumbling blocks, the ways of Zion are unoccupied, and people go in by-paths, and the poor sensible sinner gropes for the wall like the blind at noonday. In such perilous times as these God raises up some of his own workmen, and fits, and qualifies them by his Spirit, as he did John, to raise up these foundations again,as you read, And the Lord shall guide thee continually and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places; thou shall raise up the foundations of many generations, and thou shall be called. The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. Isaiah 58:11:12. Here is an account of new workmen raised up of God to put these foundations in their course again. He calls them by his grace; he guides them continually, and satisfies their souls in these times of drought, when the drink of the thirsty fails; he makes fat their bones, the joy of the Lord being their strength; he makes their souls like a watered garden and his Spirit within them is a living spring whose waters fail not. By such workmen the waste places of Zion are comforted again, which have been wasted by the internal artillery of those evil archers, who scattered some, seduced others, threw down many, wounded more, and blinded all.
The righteous raise up the foundations again, and bring them forth to light; and root out the heresies, superstitions, and formality, that has been cast over them; and these foundations remain again in view to many generations.
Such workmen are called the repairers of the breach, because they are instrumental in removing the lies and falsehood, the self-righteous, the blindness and ignorance, the pride and superstitions which separate between God and the soul. They are said to restore the paths to dwell in, because Christ, who is the only way to the Father, the way of life and path of peace (in which the saints should walk, and in which they should dwell by faith), being obscured by the blindness and wickedness of these works and workers of darkness, are now brought to light again by the preaching of the glorious gospel of Christ; and by these means these paths are restored which were refuted, rejected, and set at nothing, by these faithful men, who know nothing but what they know naturally, and in these things they corrupt themselves; but when God shines upon them again in the word they are restored; for the select of God shall not be finally deceived, nor the counsel of God frustrated, for he hath laid the foundations of the earth in the death of his dear Son, and he will plant the heavens with all those that trust in him, Isaiah 51:16.