July 4: Our Corner Stone

“A precious corner stone.” Isaiah 28:16

Of whom does the prophet speak this but of Jesus, compared with whom nothing is precious? He alone is worthy of the term, who alone can smooth life’s rugged path, sweeten life’s bitter trials, lighten life’s heavy burdens, and this by daily and hourly emanations of His own life, grace, and preciousness. Oh, how precious–what language can express?–is this precious stone to him who, conscious of his vileness, poverty, and nothingness, or with a spirit oppressed with deep trial, or bleeding from painful bereavement, wades to it through the billows, exclaiming, “When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.” Precious in His all-atoning blood–precious in His all-justifying righteousness–precious in His infinite fullness–precious in every office that He fills, in every work that He performs, in every promise that He makes, is Christ to him who, finding all other foundations but as sliding sand, builds his hope of glory upon the incarnate God. “To you, therefore, who believe, He is precious.”

A “corner stone,” too, is our glorious Redeemer. The important position which this occupies in the spiritual building–its essential relation to the compactness, strength, and durability of the whole fabric–we fear, is not duly considered by many who are professedly “lively stones” in the “spiritual house.” And yet how momentous and how holy is the instruction it conveys! The corner stone is that which unites the parts of the edifice; it is to the building what the key-stone is to the arch; it imparts unity, symmetry, and strength.

The Lord Jesus has been the uniting stone of the Church in all ages. The saints of the Patriarchal, Levitical, and Christian Churches all meet and form, in Him, one glorious temple of the living God. “No more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God:” they are “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together, grows unto an holy temple in the Lord,” and thus becomes “a habitation of God through the Spirit.” That there are divisions in the Church of God, visible and painful–that the one body is sadly dismembered, the seamless robe rudely torn and disfigured, is a truth too glaring to conceal, and almost too painful and humiliating to acknowledge. Alas, that it should be!

Oh, how much is the unity of the Church lost sight of in the din of religious controversy and in the heat of party zeal! How does brother look coldly upon brother, and minister glance suspiciously at minister, and church stand aloof from church! Ought this so to be? And to what may it in a great degree be traced? We believe to a forgetfulness of the truth that all true believers are “one in Christ Jesus;” that the blood of the Lamb is the bond of union of the saints; that He is the “corner stone,” uniting all the parts of the one edifice; and that, if built upon Him, we are one with that Church, and that Church is one with Christ.

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