The temple was constructed using finished stones cut at the quarry, so that no hammer, chisel, or any iron tool was heard in the temple while it was being built.
silence before him." If we are upbuilding Christian character in ourselves, or in our children; if we are helping to rear the spiritual temple of God, such reverence, as opposed to thoughtlessness, flippancy, etc., should characterize us. The silence of the building was not only the outcome of devout feeling, but it was (like the temple itself) symbolical of spiritual truth; as we propose to show. A noble temple is being reared (1 Corinthians 3:16, 17; Ephesians 2:22; 1 Peter 2:5). This temple is imperishable and unassailable; that of Solomon's was pillaged (1 Kings 14:25; 2 Kings 12:17), polluted by the unworthy (2 Kings 21:4-7), burnt by the enemy (2 Kings 25:9). The erection described in our text teaches us something of the work which is still carried on by the builders of the true temple.
I. THE BUILDERS OF GOD'S HOUSE ARE OFTEN DOING A SECRET WORK. Picture the workmen in the quarries, the moulders in the clay, the artist with his graving tool, etc. Their names were unknown, they were unrecognized by the multitudes who would worship in the temple they were helping to build. Illustrate from this the work of mothers influencing their children; of visitors to haunts of sin and sorrow, whose ministry of love is not known to their nearest friends; of literary men in obscure rooms who are influencing the destinies of a people, etc. Draw encouragement from this, e.g., that we do not see all the good that is going on in England and abroad, in the Churches and outside them. So Elijah was cheered by the revelation that there were seven thousand in Israel who had not bowed the knee to Baal, when he thought he alone was left to witness for Jehovah. Refer to the Lord's teaching about the secret progress of His kingdom; the leaven hid in three measures of meal; the seed cast into the earth and left buried by the man who sleeps and rises, unconscious that it is springing and growing up he knows not how.
II. THE BUILDERS OF GOD'S HOUSE DO VARIED WORK. Enumerate some of the different kinds of labour and of skill which were required for the temple. Show that the work varied in dignity, in arduousness, in remunerativeness, etc. None of it, however, was without its value or final effect. Describe the multitudinous forms of Christian activity, and the advantages of such diversity. It demands self-abnegation, it calls forth all graces and gifts, it makes one Christian dependent on another, and so evokes sympathy and gives place for co-operation, etc. Let none despise his own work, nor envy another his.
III. THE BUILDERS OF GOD'S HOUSE DO THEIR WORK WITH CAREFUL COMPLETENESS. How exact the measurements, how perfect the finish of work, which only required to be brought together in order to make a complete whole. Piece joined piece in the woodwork, and every separate casting found its appropriate niche. Nothing but painstaking accuracy could have insured such a result. Yet probably no workman knew the whole design; he was only intent on finishing his own appointed work. Observe the carefulness of God in little things, whether in creation or in moral law. Small infringements of Divine ordinances bring lamentable results. Illustrate from the consequences of disobedience to natural law in pain, disease, etc. Argue from this to the higher in mental and moral spheres. Carelessness is not tolerated. How much less in concerns of the soul. Negligence is sin. "How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?" There must be care in laying the foundations of heavenly hopes (see Matthew 7:24-27). Care also is required in doing work for our Lord. "But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon" (1 Corinthians 3:10-15).
IV. THE BUILDERS OF GOD'S HOUSE ARE MORE ANXIOUS FOR THOROUGHNESS THAN FOR NOISE. No sound of hammer or axe was heard to call the attention of passers by to the noble work going on; but all the inhabitants of the kingdom saw the effects of the quiet labour. Quietude is hard to obtain in the activities of the present day, yet God's servants must have it. Christ saw His disciples were excited, and said, "Come ye yourselves apart into the desert and rest awhile." Moses needed the solitude of Midian and of Sinai; Elijah the loneliness of Horeb, etc. Great souls are fashioned in silence. Our lonely times are our growing times. Exemplify by reference to a man laid aside by illness, to a mother or wife who is for a time absorbed in ministry to some invalid. The busy workers need quiet most. They wait on the Lord, and so renew their strength. Some of the best work done for Christ is silent. It is not proclaimed by large organization, or applauding crowds, but lies in the whispered counsel, the interceding prayer, etc.
V. THE BUILDERS OF GOD'S HOUSE WILL SEE THEIR LABOUR ISSUE IN THE DIVINE IDEAL. The work was widely distributed, secretly done, etc., but all was tending to an appointed end - the temple. The building existed in the mind of the master builder before it had material existence. So with God's work. A Divine purpose is controlling all, appointing all; and out of what seems confusion and contradiction He will bring forth "the new heaven and the new earth." Faithfully doing each one what lies to his hand, we shall all find that what we have done has its place and results; that our "labour is not in vain in the Lord." Forgotten and obscure workers will have their reward from Him who noticed the widow's mite, and gratefully accepted Mary's offering. We shall do more than we expect, if we do what we can.
VI. THE BUILDERS OF GOD'S HOUSE FIND THEIR REWARD IN THE GLORY OF THEIR GOD. Describe the temple - complete at last - resounding with songs of praise, crowded with worshippers, overwhelmed by the Divine presence - and use it as a type of the temple not made with hands, where the redeemed serve God day and night. The wish of God's noblest servant is that God may be glorified whether by life or by death. Apply the idea of silent working to what God is doing in each Christian heart by the discipline of life and the influence of the Holy Spirit. It is felt within, but it is not known or heard without. - A.R.
1 Peter 2:5; Ephesians 2:20, 21; Ephesians 4:16; Colossians 2:19).
And the house... was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither.
I. THE STONES OF WHICH IT IS COMPOSED. St. Peter says of Christians, that "as lively stones they are built up a spiritual house." A stone is a shapeless mass of rock. It is inert — lifeless: could never split itself from its native quarry; could never fashion itself into classic shape and beauty; and could never set itself up as a lintel or column in any edifice of mare And such by nature is the spiritual state of all men. But believers, having been hewn out from the quarry of humanity by the a, race of God, are termed "living stones"; not inert masses of rock, not senseless blocks of marble, but full of life, feeling, action; and they are thus designated because Christ, as "the tried corner-stone," "the sure foundation," is called "a living stone," and diffuses His own life through all parts of the spiritual temple which rests on Him. So that every stone in it, from the foundation to the top stone, is made a precious, a glistering, a living stone, through the indwelling life of Jesus, the Prince of Life.
II. THE WAY IN WHICH THESE LIVING STONES ARE PREPARED FOR THE TEMPLE, FURNISHES A SUBJECT OF INTERESTING AND PROFITABLE THOUGHT. The wood and stone used in Solomon's temple were carefully prepared at a distance from the place where the edifice was to be built. The sacred house was planned out in minutest detail by David, under the direction of the Spirit of God. Each stone, column, lintel, architrave, capital, beam, rafter, had its special and appointed place; but as yet the wood was waving its branches in the forests of Lebanon, and the stone was unquarried in the mountains of Judea. Many an axe and sharp-edged tool passed over that tree before it became a stately pillar; and many a hammer and instrument of iron was used on that once unsightly block ere as a polished stone it was fitted for the temple s wall. Most beautifully does all this illustrate the way of God in building up His spiritual and living temple. Though at conversion the child of God is a marked man, though he is justified freely by the grace that is in Christ Jesus; yet how much spiritual trimming and dressing, how much hewing and squaring does he need to fashion him aright for the position which the Divine Architect intends he shall occupy hereafter! There are sharp angles of character to be rounded off; unsightly protuberances of conduct to be chipped away; many roughnesses of temper to be smoothed down; many flaws and cracks of mind and heart to be chiselled out; and then, when the general form of the stone is prepared, how much severe friction is required to give it the right polish, and bring out all its beauties, so that its smooth surface may fling back the rays of the Sun of Righteousness! Our earth is the place where this work is to be done; for, as there was no noise of any axe, or hammer, or tool of iron heard on Mount Moriah while the temple was building, so in the New Jerusalem above there will be heard no crushing strokes of conviction, no sharp hewings of an awakened conscience, no sound of preparatory discipline. The greater part of the preparation to which we are subjected as professing Christians, is of a disciplinary character, and hence is fitly represented by the axe, the hammer, and the tool of iron. Now the axe seems driven into the root of his happiness; now he is broken as a block of granite under the blows of the hammer of God's word. and now the iron of a sore adversity has entered into his soul, and he feels himself stricken, smitten, and afflicted. In these dispensations, however severe, he is being fitted by the hand of God Himself for a place in glory. God knows for what position in that heavenly temple He has designed us.
III. THE END FOR WHICH THESE LIVING STONES ARE DESIGNED. The real end, then, for which God hath chosen us in Christ Jesus before the world began, and fitted us on earth by His providential dispensations, is, "that in the dispensation of the fulness of time, He might gather together in one, all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth, even in Him." And this recapitulation of all things in Christ, is to be effected by building all things on Christ as the sure foundation which God Himself has laid in Zion; and Christians, as living stones chosen of God and precious, are, in the language of St. Paul, built upon the foundation of the apostles. This spiritual temple God is now building up, and it progresses just as fast as the living stones arc prepared to take their places above. And this building process is going on every day, in our midst, under our own eyes.
Homiletic Review.There is a hidden, withdrawn realm in every one of us, where life is getting itself chiefly shaped. Not e'en the truest heart, and next our own, Knows half the reasons why we smile or sigh. "Do noble things, not dream them all day long," urges and sings Charles Kingsley; and it is a good music and a right urging. Yet it is still true that no one can do noble things except he first dream them. There was a voyage to the New World in the thought of Columbus before he left Spain, or there could have been no voyage by ship. There was the boat propelled by steam in the thought of Robert Fulton before the actual boat could go puffing up the Hudson, drawing in its wake the vast retinue of later steam navigation. There must be the hidden dreaming before the doing can be possible. Think of some of these withdrawn and hidden quarries, where the stones are chiefly shaped, which became builded in the temple of our lives — the hidden quarries of the imagination, the affections, the will
( John Bunyan..)
There was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house.
1. Silence seems fittest when we first think of God. Surely the earliest consciousness of His presence and His nearness, if it be a real and a vivid consciousness, commands our silence! And then, close as we feel God to be to us, it is undeniable that there is much in His nature that must ever remain mysterious; much that, as far as logical statement goes, seems contradictory. Not mysterious, observe, in such a sense as that we should be justified in giving up thinking of God altogether; but mysterious as implying that when we have reached certain lines of limitation to our inquiries, there we must stop. We can know God; but there is much relating to God which we cannot know.
2. When our religion passes into personal conviction, then again we find the value of silence. "Then Job answered the Lord, and said, Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer Thee? I will lay my hand upon my mouth. Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further." When the sense of self-reproach is keen, when the conviction of guilt is fairly awakened, the sinner is dumb before his God. What can he say? Can he give utterance to the overwhelming sense of personal demerit, or express the depth of humiliation in the convicted soul? And then, when we go forth redeemed and disenthralled, how feebly can words indicate the sense of relief, of gratitude too profound for words! Let not noise, then, be the test of truth. Believe nothing merely because it is said by many, and said very loudly. The people of Ephesus cried with a loud voice for the space of two hours, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians!" but I do not suppose that any truthful person at the end of the two hours was more impressed by her greatness than at the beginning, or more inclined to believe that her image had fallen down from Jupiter. As you value truth and fairness, as it is the sacred duty of every man to form his convictions without fear or favour, his duty for the sake of others as for his own, resolve never to be led by clamour.
3. But silence has its proper relation to spiritual worship. Certainly this truth is distinctly involved in all that Scripture says of the worth of silence, viz. that if we would commune with our own hearts we must be "still"; we must cease from the stir and fuss and superficial chatter of a superficial world; above all, from the wilfulness of our hearts and their clamorous devices and desires. We must say in the same spirit as the child-prophet of old: "Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth"; and then, in self-forgetfulness, listen for the voice that is best heard in silence.
4. But silence has its proper place, its due relation, in regard to our intercourse with our fellow-men. Among the valuable things that some of us have learned from Thomas Carlyle, we shall not forget the value of silence. It seems that there is far too much talking in the world. After all, Carlyle only said what the wise man of old had wisely affirmed, that "in all labour there is profit, but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury." The author of Ecclesiastes reminds us that "there is a time to keep silence, and a time to speak." We return, last of all, to our original thought. The temple of God is to be built in silence. In silent conviction the individual is built up a dwelling for God's Spirit. In silence is His spiritual temple, His Church, built in its glory and beauty, "which temple ye are." It is a silent work, because it is a spiritual work. "The kingdom of God," to put this truth into New Testament language, "is not in word, but in power." It depends upon the invisible touch of the Divine Master's hand, "whereby all the building, fitly framed together, groweth into an holy temple in the Lord."
(J. A. Jacob, M. A.)1. A single soul under the action of God's Spirit illustrates both the steady continuity with which great forces operate, and also what we may call the periodicity of exceptional and startling upheavals. None can tell how long it has taken to form a single geologic stratum; silently and slowly, and by a prearranged law, the processes take place by which what we call a rock, a stone, a formation is made; but, in some moment of violent interference, the aspect of a continent is changed. To those close and steadfast years of formation we attach too little importance. The currents of electric and other forces, so essential in various ways, are distinctly active, and may be tested, even where no violent action may be traced; but there comes a thunderstorm, the elements seem at war; and then we see the awfulness of this power for good or for devastation. The efflorescence of life, as one may call it, has the same moral meaning. The pre-ordained flower is in the seed, and grows into its organic beauty by a living vitality which has its preordained type. You look out upon the snow-mantled earth; one snowflake, with innumerable crystals, each exquisite in its beauty and perfect in its structure, is not a snowstorm. But it is essential to it, and has been separately framed so that each fits into each for the perfect whole. Do we not see how all these become as parables, equally with the blocks of quarried stone, which, fitly hewn, went to build the temple? When, for instance, we ask concerning the origin of spiritual life, we axe thrown back into the sphere of the hidden and incomprehensible. A good man always, however, refers all his goodness to the contemplated purpose of the Almighty. Hence he does not hesitate to use and apply to himself the word, "elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father." The response of the soul to the words of the Saviour, "I have chosen you and ordained you," is immediate and unfaltering. "Even so, Lord; the love that was before all my sin, my very existence, was the fountain of my life and love." But I have called it hidden and incomprehensible. Yes; it is in the Divine secrecies that all the life to be revealed lies. These are the depths which are unsearchable, the mysteries which are inscrutable.
2. Let us now trace some of the methods by which, in practical experience, the setting of these spiritual stones takes place. That there are such upheavals as correspond with the periods of inorganic nature we have been reminded. Sometimes stormy religious experiences herald "the peace which passeth understanding"; and the transfer from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light is most emphatic and marked. The world intrudes too much upon our notions of what a spiritual change is. We come to expect something startling and showy. We want a spectacle to see and to exhibit; but the kingdom of God cometh, a true kingdom too, "without observation." Readers of the lives of Madame Guyon and Fenelon will at once have grasped my allusion. For "interior silence" was one of those qualities which made the mystics so devout, and still makes them so interesting study. But that "interior silence," that submission of the will to God, that entire absence of self-dependence which has given to mysticism a peculiar charm for a certain order of minds, does it not afford us, — in these days of sensationalism, when everything must be tabulated, set down by name, and labelled with some distinctive sign, — some needful check and counteractive? Does it not suggest to us that the holiest, and therefore the best and safest, ways along which men may pass towards the highest life, are those along the Divine silences? But natures are different. Some need the stimulus of great external excitement. Let us not condemn them, even while we claim a place for those who find refreshment and nutriment both in the things that make no noise. Silence does not mean inaction; nay, has not silence been called the very "voice of God"? We may be touched to the very core of our being without any deeper, fuller pulsation than that which indicates a healthy, natural inward life. Let the goodman be encouraged to hold on his way in goodness, to cherish with a tender regard the quiet virtues which blossom for Heaven alone to look at; let him not be discouraged that he hears not the throb of his inward vitality. If the fruit of the Spirit be with him, let him not doubt that the Spirit is there. And it would be well to guard against those laboured substitutes for the Divine endeavour, which often accompany an outward show of religion. You are not stirred as once you were, let me suppose; this may be because your nature offers less resistance to the holier will. The noise of the babbling brook as it dashed against the pebbles or rocks in its onward course, has subsided because the flow is less impeded; but the deep stream flows with equal force. My busy, restless, eager friend, we have need of all your earnestness and energy; but settle it well that there are other natures with as true an earnestness which are not equally restless and busy. With an inward reserve force, they, while expending themselves in various ways, have yet something hidden away from human observation; great reservoir forces which will not dry up in summer heat, nor become useless in winter's frost. It is of the first importance that our wills shall be confirmed to God's; and that, without uneasy effort, we endeavour to walk in the light of God. Our outward life may make no noise, even as our inner life may work without friction, but both have their sure reward. We may, on the other hand, be so busy that-like one in ancient story, "As thy servant was busy here and there, he was gone" (1 Kings 20:40) — the special charge with which we are entrusted may escape us. Let every man bring such gifts as he has, and always the best he can bring; but it may please God to set more honour upon those which are lightly esteemed among men and even by ourselves. All these things press home to us this conviction, that above all we are required to be simple and faithful, laying bare every energy we have to the eye of Infinite Love, and willing to have even our best labours passed by and our unconscious and unpretending efforts crowned with such blessing as the Lord may allow.
(G. J. Proctor.)
1. Sometimes he speaks of the individual Christian being the temple of God (1 Corinthians 6:19).
3. Sometimes Paul speaks of the Church glorified under the figure of a temple, not yet completed, but progressing, continually growing unto a holy temple in the Lord (Ephesians 2:19). In some invisible realm, God is rearing a temple of sanctified souls gathered from this evil world.
I. THE NATURAL UNFITNESS OF THE MATERIAL. The house was built of stone made ready — made fit, implying natural unfitness. The stone when raised from the quarry is rough, shapeless, unsightly, totally unfit to occupy a place in the walls of a temple. It may serve to fill up a place in a mean and humble structure; but the builder of a temple requires it hewn, shaped, so as to fit with nicety into its appointed place, that the entire building may at last be symmetrical and beautiful, revealing the skill of architect and builder. We all need the mighty working of the Divine Artificer in order to fit us for the service of heaven. Our total unfitness is manifest, unfitness of nature, of character, of disposition, of taste. In what then does fitness consist?
1. You must be in harmony with your environment in heaven. You must be made ready before you are brought thither.
2. You must be in harmony with the employments of heaven. Heaven is not a place of inactivity. Ample scope will be given for the development and growth of both mind and spirit. Every employment there will, however, be of a highly sacred character, and will be joyful only to those who are in perfect sympathy with holiness.
3. Another qualification is sympathy with God. In heaven God will be the supreme joy of angels and all unfallen spirits; God in Christ will be the joy of all redeemed spirits for ever. There is only one will in heaven.
II. THE MATERIAL FOR BUILDING THE TEMPLE WAS BROUGHT FROM A DISTANCE. The woodwork was wrought from Lebanon-Cedars, the stones also are supposed to have been brought chiefly from the sides of Lebanon; brass "without weight" from the foundries of Sue-doth and Zaretan; gold, silver, and precious stones from Ophir and Parvaim. This fact symbolises the distance, the moral distance, from God of the material with which He builds for Himself the heavenly temple. Strangers, foreigners, aliens, enemies, afar off are the expressions employed in the Scriptures to describe our condition when sought and found by a gracious God.
III. THE MEANS EMPLOYED. Ordinary means only were used in the erection of Solomon's temple. No miracle was wrought. To men hath God committed the ministry of reconciliation. "We have this treasure in earthen vessels." Saved ourselves He sends us forth to save others. While the instruments are human the means are varied. In the quarry some blast the rock, some hew the stone, some may be seen sawing, others polishing, others removing it when finished. While holding fast the unchanging truth, that the Holy Spirit alone effects the great moral change in every regenerated soul, the means He employs are varied. "There are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all" (1 Corinthians 12:4-7). Stones differ materially in their character and nature. Some will break, others split, others crumble, others polish. As human beings we differ greatly in temperament, ,disposition, tastes, qualities, and we require different treatment in order to bring out the best that is in us. The discipline that would be a blessing to one might prove a curse to another. God, who holds in His hand the weapon, knows perfectly the nature, the qualities, the character of the man He is working upon.
IV. ITS GRADUAL ADVANCEMENT. Solomon took seven years to build his temple, but it took David many more years to provide and prepare the materials. So the great spiritual temple in the heavenlies has been in process for about six thousand years, and even now it seems far from completion. The foundation may be considered laid when the first promise of a Saviour was proclaimed to fallen man. The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head. Throughout the centuries the building has been rising beautiful and fair under the superintendence of the Divine Architect. Fresh stones are gathered and piled on the sacred edifice. Every day reports progress.
V. THE SILENCE WITH WHICH THE TEMPLE RISES. "There was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house while it was in building." This world is the quarry where the souls of men are to be prepared for the kingdom of heaven. Whatever change your spirit requires in order to fit you for a place in the heavenly temple must be realised here. This world is the only one where renewal is possible. Probation is limited to our earthly life.
Homilist.I. THE ERECTION OF THE TEMPLE. The building of the temple at Jerusalem was a grand work. But this grand work, we are informed, was wrought in silence; and when we consider the nature and dimensions of the material used, this seems very extraordinary. Some of the blocks of stone were 80 feet long, 10 feet high, and 14 feet wide. Its pillars were socketed in solid masonry. Yet these ponderous masses were hewn, squared, fitted without the sound of a hammer, an axe, or any tool. This silence not only demonstrated that the work was Divine, but symbolised the mode in which the Eternal works out His vast designs.
II. THE PROCESSES OF NATURE. He who built all things is God. How did He rear this grand temple of the universe, compared to which the building on Mount Moriah is a mere atom? How did He round and burnish and set ageing the innumerable worlds and systems that roll throughout immensity? Without any sound of "hammer," or "axe," in infinite silence. How does He bring round the various seasons of the year, change the aspects of the landscape, draw up the herbs, the plants, and flowers, from the silent earth, and build up the majestic trees of unnumbered forests? It is all done in silence. "In solemn silence all" grow and all move, flourish, and decay.
III. THE EDIFICATION OF CHRISTLY SOULS. All virtuous souls are His building, His temple to dwell in. But how does He build them up in true knowledge in unbounded confidence in the truth, and invincible love for all that is right, beneficent, and Divine? In the most silent way. How did He, the great Architect, begin this work in Christ? He did "not strive nor cry, neither did any man hear His voice in the streets." Thus now He proceeds, He inbreathes a regenerating, holy thought silently into the soul, and there it works and works until it builds up the temple of a noble character. CONCLUSION.
1. Do not judge of the prosperity of any Church by its boisterous sounds. All Divine operations are in silence. In the working of human machinery, the grating noise and rattling din are often insufferable to the ear; but how noiselessly works the stupendous and complicated mechanism of the great universe! Scarcely a sound is heard where God's hand is most manifest.
2. Do not endeavour to promote any Divine cause by noise and bluster°
In silence mighty things are wrought,
Silently builded thought on thought,
Truth's temple greets the sky.
And like a citadel with towers,
The soul with her subservient powers
Is strengthened silently.
Soundless as chariots on the snow,
The saplings of the forest grow
To trees of mighty girth.
Each nightly star in silence burns,
And every day in silence turns
The axle of the earth.
The silent frost with mighty band
Fetters the river and the land
With universal chain,
And smitten by the silent sun,
The chain is loosed, the rivers run,
The lands are free again.
(Homilist.)I. It might be expressive of the CHARACTER OF THE WORSHIP WHICH WOULD BE ACCEPTABLE TO GOD IN THE TEMPLE.
1. Worship prepared for. The stones were cut and shaped beforehand. So should we go to the house of God in the spirit of devotion. Many go expecting there to get spiritual thoughts, who keep worldly thoughts in their heads until they reach the very doors of the sanctuary. To cultivate a spirit of prayerfulness and reverence before going to the house of God will warrant us to expect the acceptance of our worship, and a blessing on ourselves.
2. Worship quietly conducted. God is not delighted with loud and noisy declamation. A reverent tone will be subdued; but not hypocritically so.
3. Worship conducted in an orderly manner. Random, irregular, disorderly services cannot be such as God would approve. Late attendance, listlessness in God's house, unseemly haste to leave, all these appear to be condemned.
4. Worship appropriately conducted. There should be regard paid to the fitness of things.
II. The circumstance mentioned in this narrative may be expressive of the CHARACTER OF THE SPIRITUAL TEMPLE, OF WHICH THE MATERIAL TEMPLE WAS TYPICAL.
1. There must be a change in those who are made stones in the living temple.
2. Religion has to do with the externals of man's life. An uncouth, rough, rugged Christian is an anomaly. The servant of God should be gentle, meek, patient, lovely, amiable
3. The work of preparation must be done outside the church. Men are not to be brought into Christ s church as members in order that they may be converted, but because they have been already converted.
4. All stones in the temple were serviceable. Christians in different spheres of life have greater or less responsibility according to circumstances; but all are "precious in the sight of the Lord."
(T. R. Williams.)
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