The vermilion cement!
The church is not a heap of stones thrown together; she is a
BUILDING. Of old, her architect devised her. Methinks I see
him, as I look back into old eternity making the first outline
of his church. "Here" says he in his eternal wisdom, "shall be
the corner stone, and there shall be the pinnacle." I see him
ordaining her length, and her breadth, appointing her gates
and her doors with matchless skill, devising every part of
her, and leaving no single portion of the structure unmapped.
I see him, that mighty architect, also choosing to himself
every stone of the building, ordaining its size and its shape;
settling in his mighty plan the position each stone shall
occupy, whether it shall glitter in front, or be hidden in the
back, or buried in the very center of the wall. I see him
marking not merely the bare outline, but all the fillings up--
all being ordained, decreed, and settled, in the eternal
covenant, which was the divine plan of the mighty architect
upon which the church is to be built.
Looking on, I see the architect choosing a 'corner stone'.
He looks to heaven, and there are the angels, those glittering
stones- he looks at each one of them from Gabriel down;
but, says he, "None of you will suffice. I must have a corner
stone that will support all the weight of the building, for on
that stone every other one must lean. Gabriel, you will not
suffice! Raphael you must lay by- I cannot build with you."
Yet was it necessary that a stone should be found, and one
too that should be taken out of the same quarry as the rest.
Where was he to be discovered? Was there a man who
would suffice to be the corner stone of this mighty building?
Ah no! neither apostles, prophets, nor teachers would. Put
them altogether, and they would be as a foundation of
quicksand, and the house would totter to its fall.
Mark how the divine mind solved the difficulty--
"God shall become man, very man, and so he shall be of the
same substance as the other stones of the temple, yet shall
he be God, and therefore strong enough to bear all the
weight of this mighty structure, the top whereof shall
reach to heaven."
I see that foundation stone laid. Is there singing at the
laying of it? No. There is weeping there. The angels gathered
round at the laying of this first stone; sad look the men and
wonder, the angels weep; the harps of heaven are clothed in
sackcloth, and no song is heard.
They sang together and shouted for joy when the world
was made, why don't they shout now? Look here and see
the reason-- that stone is imbedded in blood!
That corner stone must lie nowhere else but in his own gore!
The vermilion cement drawn from his own
sacred veins must
And there he lies, the first stone of the divine edifice!
Oh, begin your songs afresh, you angels, it is over now.
The foundation stone is laid; the terrible ceremony is
And now, where shall we gather the stones to build this
temple? The first is laid, where are the rest? Shall we go and
dig into the sides of Lebanon? Shall we find these precious
stones in the marble quarries of kings? No. Where are you
flying, you laborers of God? Where are you going? Where
are the quarries? And they reply-- "We go to dig in the
quarries of Sodom and Gomorrah, in the depths of sinful
Jerusalem, and in the midst of erring Samaria." I see them
clear away the rubbish. I mark them as they dig deep into
the earth, and at last they come to these stones. But how
rough, how hard, how unhewn are these stones.
Yes, but these are the stones ordained of old in the
decree, and these MUST be the stones, and not others.
There must be a change effected. These must be brought in
and shaped and cut and polished, and put into their places.
I see the workmen at their labor. The great 'saw' of the law
cut through the stone, and then comes the 'polishing chisel' of
the gospel. I see the stones lying in their places, and the
church is rising. The ministers, like wise master-builders,
are there running along the wall, putting each spiritual stone
in its place; each stone is leaning on that massive corner stone,
and every stone depending on the blood, and finding its
security and its strength in Jesus Christ, the corner stone,
elect, and precious.
See the building rise as each one of God's chosen is brought
in, called by grace and quickened! Lo! the structure rises,
and it is complete, and at last it is built.
And now open wide your eyes, and see what a glorious
building this is-- the church of God!
Here is the house where God delights to dwell-- built of
living hearts, all beating with holy love-- built of redeemed
souls, chosen of the Father, bought with the blood of Christ.
The top of it is in heaven. Part of them are above the clouds.
Many of the living stones are now in the pinnacle of paradise.
We are here below- the building rises, the sacred masonry
is heaving, and, as the corner stone rises, so all of
us must rise until at last the entire structure from its
foundation to its pinnacle shall be heaved up to heaven,
and there shall it stand for ever--
the new Jerusalem-- the temple of the majesty of God!