1 Peter 2:7
To you who believe, then, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, "The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,"
Sermons
The Two VersionsA. Maclaren 1 Peter 2:7
Newborn Babes and the Higher IsraelR. Finlayson 1 Peter 2:1-10
The Soul-Temple, and Soul-ServiceU.R. Thomas 1 Peter 2:4-8
Christian Life Crowned with Wonderful HonorC. New 1 Peter 2:4-10
Christ is Our HonourPhilip Henry.1 Peter 2:7-8
Christ More than PreciousMemoir of Bishop Simpson.1 Peter 2:7-8
Christ Precious to All True BelieversS. Davies, M. A.1 Peter 2:7-8
Christ Precious to BelieversC. H. Spurgeon.1 Peter 2:7-8
Christ Precious to BelieversC. H. Spurgeon.1 Peter 2:7-8
Christ Precious to BelieversC. H. Spurgeon.1 Peter 2:7-8
Christ Precious to the BelieverD. Dickson, D. D.1 Peter 2:7-8
Christ Precious to Them that BelieveW. McCulloch.1 Peter 2:7-8
Christ Rejected by the JewsJohn Rogers.1 Peter 2:7-8
Dangerous to StumbleJ. Trapp.1 Peter 2:7-8
Disobedience the Converse of FaithW Arn.1 Peter 2:7-8
Jesus Precious to True BelieversW. Notcutt.1 Peter 2:7-8
Jesus, the Stumbling Stone of UnbelieversC. H. Spurgeon.1 Peter 2:7-8
Practical Trust in Christ the Highest HonourD. Thomas, D. D.1 Peter 2:7-8
The Christ of ExperienceH. Allon, D. D.1 Peter 2:7-8
The Honour of Believing in ChristA. F. Joscelyne, B. A.1 Peter 2:7-8
The Precious SaviourW. C. Burns.1 Peter 2:7-8
The Preciousness of ChristJ. M. Buckley, D. D.1 Peter 2:7-8
The Preciousness of ChristH. M. Villiers, M. A.1 Peter 2:7-8
The Preciousness of Christ1 Peter 2:7-8
The Stone Which the Builders DisallowedJohn Thomas M. A.1 Peter 2:7-8
Where Christ is Valued He Will be Made Known1 Peter 2:7-8
The Authorized Version's rendering of these words has been felt by many devout souls to contain a truth which their deepest experience joyfully confirmed. The true meaning is no less great and beautiful. Literally, they read, "Unto you who believe is [or, 'belongs'] the preciousness." What preciousness? The definite article points us back to the attribute of the "Cornerstone" in the previous verse. It is "elect, precious." Peter's thought, then, is that all in Christ which makes him precious belongs or passes on to us by faith. That is a profound thought put in very simple and homely words. Faith makes us owners of all Christ's infinite worth.

I. THE TRANSFERENCE TO US OF THE PRECIOUSNESS OF THE FOUNDATION'. There are two possible meanings of this phrase, and probably both are included in the apostle's thought. It may either be that the qualities which make Christ precious pass over to us and become our qualities and character, or that the qualities which make Christ precious become available for our benefit. The first of these thoughts is in accordance with the immediate context, for we find the same idea expressed in several aspects in ver. 5, where the living Stone is said to make those who come to him also living stones, and Christians are represented as being like their Lord, living temples, consecrated priests, and acceptable sacrifices. The idea that vital union with Christ brings about a communication of qualities from him to his followers, as if the virtue of the Foundation rose through all the building, is surely taught in a hundred places in Scripture, and is the very climax of the gospel. He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit. He that is grafted into the true Olive Tree partakes of its root and fatness. We share our Lord's life; and his character shall growingly become ours. Whatever makes him precious in the sight of God we may partake of, and so be accepted in the Beloved, and be found in him, not having our own righteousness, but clothed with his. We may hope for progressive assimilation to his character, which will not cease till entire conformity has been realized, and we have absorbed all the preciousness of his infinitely worthy and spotlessly pure nature. Water stands at the same level in two communicating vessels, and if our hearts are open to the influx of Christ's life, the flow will not cease till all his is ours, and his fullness has filled our emptiness. Looking at the other aspect of the thought, it implies that the preciousness of the Foundation is available for us rather than communicated to us. The "therefore" of our text suggests that it is substantially equivalent in meaning to the closing words of the previous verse, "He that believeth on him shall not be confounded." So that part of the meaning, at all events, is the security of building on that Foundation. The preciousness of a foundation is its solidity and power to bear the superincumbent pressure without yielding. That steadfast capacity to sustain all our weight if we build ourselves on him is available to behest and bless us. Therefore we need not fear that our Foundation will settle or give. We need not fear to pile upon it all the pressure of our cares and sorrows, or to rear on it a fabric of our hopes and security, it will stand. Those who have reared their lives on other foundations will stand aghast when they feel them crumbling away in some hour of supreme need. They will have to flee with the haste of despair from the falling ruins. But if we have built on Christ, we shall have no need for haste, and no pale confusion need ever blanch our cheeks. The steadfastness of the Foundation will avail to make us builded upon it steadfast too, and, if we believe, all its preciousness will be ours and for us.

II. HOW THIS PRECIOUSNESS BECOMES OURS. The order of the sentence in the original puts emphasis on "who believe." The purpose of the clause is to mark the persons to whom alone the preciousness belongs, in sharp and solemn contrast with another class, to whom none of the saving, but only the destructive, powers which lie in the Foundation pass over. The worth of Christ is ours on one condition, but that condition is inexorable; faith, simple trust, which takes him for what he is and rests the whole being on Jesus as incarnate Son of God, Sacrifice for my sin as for all men's, Inspirer of all my goodness, Pattern, Friend, my Life, my All in all, - is the simple, sole, and indispensable condition of receiving his blessings and being enriched by his preciousness. There is nothing arbitrary in such a condition. It arises necessarily from the very nature of the case. How can Christ's sacrifice benefit me if I do not believe in it? What possible connection can be established between him and me, except through my trust in him? Faith is but stretching out the hard to grasp his extended hand. How can he hold me up, or give me the blessings of which his hands are full, if mine hang listless by my side, or are resolutely clenched behind my back? Faith is the opening of the heart for the inflow of his gifts. How can the sunshine enter the house if doors are barred and windows shuttered? Faith is but the channel through which his grace pours. How can it enter if there be no channel? Faith is the sole condition. Let us learn, then, how much and how little it takes to put us in possession of the preciousness of Christ. How much? Nothing less than the surrender of our hearts to him in entire self-distrust and abasement, and in absolute reliance on his all-sufficiency for our every need. How little? No external connection with Churches or Church ordinances; no efforts of ours after self-improvement nor fragmentary and partial goodness; but simply trust in the Christ whom the gospel reveals. That faith must be a continually active faith. It is "you who believe," not "you who believed," to whom the preciousness belongs. The transference is continual if the faith be continual. Every interruption of the latter causes a cessation in the former, and is marked by breaks like those on a telegraphic ribbon where the contact was suspended. Builders put a film of pitch between the foundations and the upper courses to keep the damp from rising. How often Christians put a film of impenetrable unbelief between Christ and themselves, so that his grace cannot rise in their hearts!

III. THE GRIM ALTERNATIVE. If the condition of possession be as the apostle declares it, then the absence of the condition means non-possession. The freeness and. simplicity of the gospel of salvation by faith has necessarily a dark under side, and the more clearly and joyfully the one is preached the more clearly and solemnly should the other be. Therefore Peter's message would not be complete without the awful "but" which follows. Christ is something to every man to whom he is preached, and does something to him. Mark how significantly the following clause varies the statement of the condition, substituting "disobedient" as the antithesis of "believing," thereby teaching us that unbelief is disobedience, being an act of the rebel will, and that disobedience is unbelief. But observe, too, that while faith is the condition of all reception of Christ's blessings, unbelief does not so isolate from him as that he is nothing to the man. Unbelief, like some malignant alchemy, perverts all Christ's preciousness to harm and loss, as some plants elaborate poison in their tissues from sunshine and sweet dews. One thing or other that great Savior must be to us all. We cannot stand wholly unaffected by him. We cannot make ourselves as if we had never heard of him. There is a solemn alternative offered to each of us - "either... or." Either our life is being received or being rejected - our death. There will come to us from him either the gracious influences which save, or the terrible ones which destroy. He is either the merciful Fire which cleanses and transforms, or the awful Fire which consumes. Faith builds on him as the Foundation, and is secure. Unbelief pulls down that Rock of offence on its own head, and is ground to powder by the fall. - A.M.







Unto you therefore which believe He is precious.
I. THE PERSONS, TOGETHER WITH THEIR FAITH, TO WHOM JESUS IS PRECIOUS.

1. The grace of faith, which renders Jesus precious to the soul, is not the faith of assent, or such a faith by which men credit the testimony of Jesus through the gospel.

2. It is not only a believing of Christ, but a believing in Christ — the soul's receiving of, and resting upon Him alone for righteousness, pardon, and salvation.

3. That faith works by love (Galatians 5:6).(1) This faith is ever attended with an affectionate desire of the company of Jesus Christ (Song of Solomon 4:6; Psalm 4:6; Job 23:3; Isaiah 26:8).(2) With delightful thoughts of Him (Psalm 139:17).(3) With cheerful service to Him (Psalm 119:4, 5).(4) Such as believe in and love the Lord Jesus in sincerity, are tender of His name and honour.(5) They are afraid to offend Him.(6) True faith in Christ, and sincere love to Him, are ever attended with the soul's longing to be more and more like Him — in humility, in patience, in service, in resignation, and in holiness.

(a)It is such a faith as is the act of a living soul; for these believers, to whom Christ is precious, are said to be "new born."

(b)Those to whom Jesus is precious are such as have "tasted of His grace."

(c)They are described by their living by faith on Christ — "to whom coming."

II. UPON WHAT ACCOUNT IS JESUS PRECIOUS TO THEM THAT BELIEVE? I answer, in general, that it is from His suitableness to them, their relation to Him, and the benefits they receive from Him. But, more particularly —

1. Jesus is precious to believers, in the constitution of His person, which is very wonderful.

2. On account of His excellent qualifications and rich anointing for His work, as Mediator between God and men.

3. On account of the discharge of His offices of Prophet, Priest, and King, in order to the salvation of His people.

4. On account of the relations that He stands in to them that believe. He is their Head of influence, and they are members of His spiritual Body. He is their Shepherd. He is their best Friend — loving, tender, compassionate, sincere, sympathising, and constant. He is their great Physician and Healer.

5. On account of the display of His transcendent love and riches of His grace in order to their salvation.

6. He is most precious to believers, as whatsoever makes any of the creatures lovely, desirable, and precious one to another, is originally in Him; it is in them as a cistern, but in Christ as an inexhaustible fountain.(1) Is beauty one ground of the creature's delighting in each other? The Lord Jesus excels them all (Psalm 45:2).(2) Does wisdom recommend any creature to the affection of another? The Lord Jesus is the Wisdom of God. He not only governs the world in wisdom, but as a Prophet He teaches men to know God and Himself, which is eternal life.(3) Does usefulness in any creature bespeak the affections and esteem of others? Jesus Christ is more than all the creatures put together; He is all things to His people — their light, their life, their food, their strength, their clothing and ornament, their riches and honour, their guide and leader, their healer, their advocate and intercessor, and all in all.(4) Does a meek and quiet spirit, attended with patience and humility, commonly win the esteem of fellow creatures? Jesus Christ excels them all in these most desirable endowments; He is a perfect pattern of humility and meekness for all His disciples.(5) Does faithfulness to any trust win the love and esteem of one to another? This is eminently found in Jesus Christ (Hebrews 3:2).(6) Does sincere and ardent love in anyone call for the love and esteem of Others? The Lord Jesus excels them all; no creature can possibly love another at such a rate as He has done; His love is strong as death, many waters cannot quench it. And it is as free as it is great and uncommon.

III. HOW DO BELIEVERS SHOW THAT CHRIST IS PRECIOUS TO THEM?

1. By choosing Him for their own, and careful endeavour to clear up their interest in Him.

2. By their frequent and delightful thoughts of Him (Psalm 139:17).

3. By earnest desires of His presence, communion with Him (Job 23:3; Psalm 42:1, 2).

4. They yield to Him the seat and habitation of their very hearts (Ephesians 3:17).

5. By making use of Him, for all the ends that God the Father has appointed Him.

6. By their sincere love to Him.(1) They love to think of Him, and their love inclines them to think and speak honourably of Him.(2) They love His image wherever they can perceive it (Psalm 16:3).(3) They love His Word (Job 23:12; Romans 7:22).(4) They highly esteem His ordinances, and the places and means where they may enjoy Him.(5) They are careful to keep His commandments (John 14:21).(6) They desire to be more and more like Him (Romans 8:29).(7) They rejoice in Him, and all He is made of God to them (Philippians 3:3).

(W. Notcutt.)

I. First, this is a positive fact, that UNTO BELIEVERS JESUS CHRIST IS PRECIOUS. In Himself He is of inestimable preciousness, for He is very God of very God. He is, moreover, perfect man without sin. The precious gopher wood of His humanity is overlaid with the pure gold of His Divinity. He is a mine of jewels and a mountain of gems. He is altogether lovely, but, alas! this blind world seeth not His beauty.

II. WHY IS CHRIST PRECIOUS TO THE BELIEVER?

1. Jesus Christ is precious to the believer because He is intrinsically precious. But here let me take you through an exercise in grammar; here is an adjective, let us go through it.(1) Is He not good positively? Election is a good thing; but we are elect in Christ Jesus. Adoption is a good thing; but we are adopted in Christ Jesus and made joint heirs with Him. Pardon is a good thing; but we are pardoned through the precious blood of Jesus. And if all these be good, surely He must be good in whom, and by whom, and to whom, and through whom are all these precious things.(2) But Christ is good comparatively. Bring anything and compare with Him. One of the brightest jewels we can have is liberty. If I be not free, let me die. Ay, but put liberty side by side with Christ, and I would wear the fetter for Christ and rejoice in the chain. Besides liberty, what a precious thing is life! "Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life." But let a true Christian once have the choice between life and Christ — "No," says he, "I can die, but I cannot deny."(3) And then to go higher still — Christ is good superlatively. The superlative of all things is heaven, and if it could be possible to put Christ in competition with heaven, the Christian would not stop a moment in his choice; he would sooner be on earth with Christ than be in heaven without Him.

2. Still, to answer this question again: Why is Christ precious to the believer more than to any other man? Why, it is the believer's want that makes Christ precious to him! The worldling does not care for Christ, because he has never hungered and thirsted after Him; but the Christian is athirst for Christ, his heart and his flesh pant after God. This is the one thing needful for me, and if I have it not, this thirst must destroy me. Mark, too, that the believer may be found in many aspects, and you will always find that his needs will endear Christ to him.

3. Look at the believer, not only in his wants, but in his highest earthly state. The believer is a man that was once blind and now sees. And what a precious thing is light to a man that sees! If I, as a believer, have an eye, how much I need the stun to shine! And when Christ gives sight to the blind He makes His people a seeing people. It is then that they find what a precious thing is the sight, and how pleasant a thing it is for a man to behold the sun. From the very fact that the Christian is a quickened man, he values the robe of righteousness that is put about him. The very newborn powers of the Christian would be very channels for misery if it were not for Christ. But, believer, how precious is Christ to thee in the hour of conviction of sin, when He says, "Thy sins, which are many, are all forgiven thee." How precious to thee in the hour of sickness, when He comes to thee and says, "I will make all thy bed in thy sickness." How precious to thee in the hour of trial, when He says, "All things work together for thy good." How precious when friends are buried, for He says, "I am the resurrection and the life." How precious in thy grey old age, "Even in old age I am with thee, and to hoary hairs will I carry you." How precious in the lone chamber of death, for "I will fear no evil, Thou art with me, Thy rod and Thy staff comfort me." But, last of all, how precious will Christ be when we see Him as He is! All we know of Christ here is as nothing compared with what we shall know hereafter.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. WHAT CHRIST IS TO HIS PEOPLE. The Revised Version reads the text, "For you therefore which believe is the preciousness." His very self is preciousness itself. He is the essence, the substance, the sum of all preciousness. Many things are more or less precious; but the Lord Jesus is preciousness itself, outsoaring all degrees of comparison.

1. How do believers show that Christ is thus precious to them?(1) They do so by trusting everything to Him. Every believer stays his hope solely upon the work of Jesus. Our implicit faith in Him proves our high estimate of Him.(2) To believers the Lord Jesus is evidently very precious, because they would give up all that they have sooner than lose Him. Tens of thousands have renounced property, liberty, and life sooner than deny Christ.(3) Saints also find their all in Him. He is not one delight, but all manner of delights to them, All that they can want, or wish, or conceive, they find in Him.(4) So precious is Jesus to believers, that they cannot speak well enough of Him. Could you, at your very best, exalt the Lord Jesus so gloriously as to satisfy yourself?(5) Saints show that in their estimation Christ is precious, for they can never do enough for Him. It is not all talk; they are glad also to labour for Him who died for them. Though they grow weary in His work, they never grow weary of it.(6) Saints show how precious Christ is to them, in that He is their heaven. Have you never heard them when dying, talk about their joy in the prospect of being with Christ?(7) If you are not satisfied with these proofs that Christ is precious to believers, I would invite you to add another yourself. Let every one of us do something fresh by which to prove the believer's love to Christ. Let us invent a new love token. Let us sing unto the Lord a new song. Let not this cold world dare to doubt that unto believers Christ is precious; let us force the scoffers to believe that we are in earnest.

2. In thinking Christ to be precious, the saints are forming a just estimate of Him. "He is precious." For a thing to be rightly called precious, it should have three qualities: it should be rare, it should have an intrinsic value of its own, and it should possess useful and important properties. All these three things meet in our adorable Lord, and make Him precious to discerning minds.

3. The saints form their estimate of Him upon Scriptural principles. "Unto you therefore which believe He is precious." We have a "therefore" for our valuation of Christ; we have calculated, and have reason on our side, though we count Him to be the chief among ten thousand, and altogether lovely.(1) Our Lord Jesus is very precious to us as "a living stone." As a foundation He is firm as a stone; but in addition, He has life, and this life He communicates, so that we also become living stones, and are joined to Him in living, loving, lasting union. A stone alive, and imparting life to other stones which are built upon it, is indeed a precious thing in a spiritual house which is to be inhabited of God. This gives a character to the whole structure.(2) Our Lord is all the more precious to us because He was "disallowed indeed of men." Never is Christ dearer to the believer than when he sees Him to be despised and rejected of men.(3) He becomes inconceivably precious to us when we view Him as "chosen of God." Upon whom else could the Divine election have fallen? But He saith, "I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people." The choice of Jehovah must be divinely wise.(4) Note well that the apostle calls Him "precious," that is, precious to God. We feel abundantly justified in our high esteem of our Lord, since He is so dear to the Father.(5) Moreover, we prize our Lord Jesus as our foundation. Jehovah saith, "Behold, I lay in Sion a chief cornerstone." What a privilege to have a foundation of the Lord's own laying! It is and must be the best, the most abiding, the most precious foundation.

II. WHAT IT IS IN THE SAINTS WHICH MAKES THEM PRIZE CHRIST AT THIS RATE. It is their faith. "Unto you therefore which believe He is precious." Faith calls Him precious, when others esteem Him "a root out of a dry ground."

1. To faith the promises concerning Christ are made. The Bible never expects that without faith men will glorify Christ.

2. It is by faith that the value of Christ is perceived. You cannot see Christ by mere reason, for the natural man is blind to the things of the Spirit.

3. By faith the Lord Jesus is appropriated. In possession lies much of preciousness. Faith is the hand that grasps Him, the mouth that feeds upon Him, and therefore by faith He is precious.

4. By faith the Lord Jesus is more and more tasted and proved, and becomes more and more precious. To us our Lord is as gold tried in the fire. Our knowledge is neither theoretical nor traditional; we have seen Him ourselves, and He is precious to us.

5. Our sense of Christ's preciousness is a proof of our possessing the faith of God's elect; and this ought to be a great comfort to any of you who are in the habit of looking within.

6. Christ becomes growingly precious to us as our faith grows. If thou doubtest Christ, He has gone down fifty per cent. in thine esteem. Every time you give way to scepticism and critical questioning you lose a sip of sweetness. In proportion as yea believe with a faith which is childlike, clear, simple, strong, unbroken, in that proportion will Christ be dearer and dearer to you.

III. WHAT BELIEVERS RECEIVE FROM HIM. Take the exact translation, "Unto you that believe He is honour."

1. Honour! Can honour ever belong to a sinner like me? Worthless, base, only fit to be cast away, can I have honour? The Lord changes the rank when He forgives the sin. Thou art dishonourable no longer if thou believest in Jesus. Thou art honourable before God now that He has become thy salvation.

2. It is a high honour to be associated with the Lord Jesus.

3. It is a great honour to be built on Him as a sure foundation. A minister once said to me, "It must be very easy for you to preach." I said, "Do you think so? I do not look at it as a light affair." "Yes," he said; "it is easy, because you hold a fixed and definite set of truths, upon which you dwell from year to year." I did not see how this made it easy to preach, but I did see how it made my heart easy, and I said, "Yes, that is true. I keep to one fixed line of truth." "That is not my case," said he; "I revise my creed from week to week. It is with me constant change and progress." I did not say much, but I thought the more. If the foundation is constantly being altered, the building will be rather shaky.

4. It is an honour to believe the doctrines taught by Christ and His apostles. It is an honour to be on the same lines of truth as the Holy Ghost.

5. It is an honour to do as Christ bade us in His precepts. Holiness is the truest royalty.

6. It will be our great honour to see our Lord glorified.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Unto you therefore who believe is the honour."

I. Practical trust in Christ gives man the NOBLEST CHARACTER. What is true nobility or honour? Disinterested love is the spring and essence of a noble character, this is the soul of the hero. Where it is not, though a man be sage, statesman, poet, king, he is contemptible. How does a man get this? By practically trusting in Christ — in no other way.

II. Practical trust in Christ gives man the HIGHEST FELLOWSHIPS. But into what society does practical trust in Christ introduce them? First, into the society of sainted sages — the great and good men of all lands and times. Secondly, into the society of holy angels — the firstborn of the Eternal. Thirdly, Into the society of the great God Himself.

III. Practical trust in Christ gives man the SUBLIMEST POSSESSIONS.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

Many will doubtless feel some regret at the loss in the Revised New Testament of the familiar words, "Unto you therefore which believe He is precious." The marginal reading of the Revised Version is even preferable to that of our text, "For you therefore which believe is the honour." Men object to be told that they must believe in order to know the truth, the power, the value of Christianity.

1. Faith is the condition of all knowledge. The student of natural science believes that there are hidden secrets of nature, laws unknown as yet, which will be revealed to patient investigation. Because he believes this, he laboriously toils and patiently waits.

2. Faith is the condition of all enterprise. It is because men believe, not merely in the possibility, but in the probability of the success of an undertaking that they are willing to engage in it, and even to incur toil and risk.

3. Nay, more, faith is the condition of existence. We eat because we believe that food is necessary and will nourish us. We rest at home or walk abroad because we believe in the stability of nature's laws and the goodwill of our fellow men.

4. Faith, which is the condition of everything else, itself rests on conditions, and compliance with those conditions involves the believer in much "honour." It depends on knowledge, on experience, i.e., on evidence.

5. Nor does faith rest on evidence simply, but on an emotion, on the feeling which the evidence excites, and on the will which is thereby awakened and influenced.

6. What, then, is the faith in Christ which is the condition of this honour? What do we believe about Jesus Christ? What are we called upon to believe, and on what evidence?(1) Ascending from the lower to the higher, we believe first in Jesus Christ as the ideal man.(a) Faith in the perfect humanity of Christ brings with it the assurance of immortal life and of undying sympathy.(b) And as we think of Him living still, we feel assured of His sympathy with us. For His perfection was not something inherent in Himself, something necessary and unavoidable, but a perfection attained through conflict and suffering.(2) From the belief in the perfect humanity of Jesus Christ we rise to a higher faith in His Divinity, His Deity. For we find that He stands alone in His sinlessness, in His perfection. This is, I believe, the real genesis and growth of true faith in Christ. It is through His humanity that we rise to the conception of His Deity. "The person of Christ is the perennial glory and strength of Christianity."(3) The faith attained through looking at Christ, meditating on Christ, reasoning about Christ, is developed and perfected by experience. Experience is the test of faith, of its value or worthlessness. The strongest faith, that which cannot be shaken, is that which rests on personal experience. Unto you that believe is the honour. What honour?

I. IT IS THE HONOUR OF BUILDING ON A FOUNDATION WHICH CAN NEVER GIVE WAY. It is the safety of having an unfailing refuge in which to hide. We have an experience of which nothing can rob us, and a hope that maketh not ashamed, which will never disappoint, as the anchor of our soul. "Unto you that believe is the honour."

II. MAN'S HIGHEST HONOUR IS TO RENDER HOMAGE TO PERFECT LOVE AND RIGHTEOUSNESS AND THE TRUEST HOMAGE IMITATES THAT BEFORE WHICH IT BOWS IN REVERENCE. Dishonouring Christ, men dishonour themselves. Many may admire a .picture which only one could paint, and the consciousness of inability would prevent them from attempting to emulate the artist whose work fills them with delight and wonder. But if the artist were to offer to enable us to do what he had done, and assure us of his power to do so by the example and experience of numbers who had been taught by him, should we Hot gladly accept such an offer? Such an offer Christ makes to every one. He sets before us in His life a purity, a nobility, a righteousness which we cannot attain by ourselves, but which He can and will help us to attain.

III. THE HONOUR IS THAT OF TESTIFYING TO THE POWER AND GRACE OF THIS SAVIOUR AND FRIEND OF MAN, THE HONOUR OF MAKING HIM KNOWN TO OTHERS. We can only do this as we believe in Him ourselves, and our life must prove our faith.

(A. F. Joscelyne, B. A.)

The doctrine from these words is this, that Jesus Christ is an honour to all believers.

1. He is the author of honour to them.

2. He is, and ought to be, the object of honour from them. He honours them, and they do and should honour Him.

I. HOW IS THE LORD JESUS THE AUTHOR OF HONOUR TO ALL TRUE RELIEVERS? We use to say concerning the king, that he is the fountain of honour, that is, all his subjects that are men of honour derive their honour from him. Others give them honour, but it is he that makes them honourable. Now King Jesus is He, and He alone, that is the fountain of honour to all true believers.

1. He hath Himself an honourable esteem of them. They are persons of honour, even the meanest of them, in His account (Isaiah 43:4).

2. His will is that every one else should be in this like Himself, in having an honourable esteem of them. As when the king bestows a degree of honour upon a person, makes him a knight, or a lord, or an earl, he expects others so to regard him; so it is here (Esther 6:3, 6, 7). How much soever they may be despised by others, they are the excellent of the earth in His eye because they are so in Christ's eye (Psalm 16:2).

3. He hath done that for them which in the account of men may and doth deserve that honour. What is it that tie hath done for them that may be the ground of men's honouring them?(1) One ground of honouring men is upon the account of their personal excellences and endowments; some are honourable for their learning and knowledge in arts and sciences; some for their, wisdom and prudence in the management of secular affairs; in the field, as soldiers; in the senate, as counsellors. Now if so, the people fearing God deserve honour indeed, for they have better knowledge than others. They from the least even to the greatest know God. And whence have they that knowledge but from Christ, who gives them an understanding? (1 John 5:20) They have wisdom also, another sort of wisdom — wisdom from above in soul affairs.(2) Upon the account of their great usefulness in their particular places and stations; in court or camp, for peace or war. By their prayers, fetching down mercies, keeping off judgments, as Moses. By their pattern, they are the lights of the world.(3) Upon the account of their honourable relations wherein they stand. He that is himself in honour reflects honour upon all that are related to him. Now what are the relations of true believers? They are all the children of God, and how but by faith in Jesus Christ? (Galatians 3:16; John 1:12) And is not that a high honour? To be a servant, even the meanest, to men of honour, carries honour in it (Psalm 116:16). Nay, they are His friends, admitted to His secrets, acquainted with His counsels (John 15:15). As Hushai was a friend to David (2 Samuel 15:37). Zabud to Solomon (1 Kings 4:5).(4) Some are honourable on account of their honourable hopes. Young heirs are honoured for their inheritance sake, though as yet under age.(5) Some are honourable on account of their honourable offices and employments (Revelation 1:5) — kings and priests, so He makes them.(6) Others are honourable on account of their honourable name (James 2:7). The word Christian is from Christ; all this honour have all His saints (Psalm 149:9).

II. WHAT KIND OF HONOUR IS IT THAT TRUE BELIEVERS HAVE FROM JESUS CHRIST? It hath these properties.

1. It is real honour. Other honours are but a shadow, a dream, a fancy. This hath substance in it (Proverbs 8:21).

2. It is righteous honour. Other honours which the honourable men of the earth have are oftentimes unrighteous — unjustly given, and unjustly taken.

3. It is heavenly honour. Other honours are from below, this is from above; other honours are upon earthly accounts, this upon heavenly. The birth of a believer is heavenly, his endowments heavenly.

4. It is harmless honour. Other honours often hurt those that have them, puff them up with pride, as Haman, but so doth not this.

5. It is unsought honour. What endeavours are there to obtain other honours, what struggling, what bribing and waiting!

6. It is unfading honour. It is honour that lasts, it is everlasting.

III. WHAT MAY WE LEARN FROM THIS SUBJECT?

1. We learn what to think of the great and glorious majesty of heaven and earth. His name, and His Son's name, is certainly upon this account to be adored by us and by all His creatures, angels and men. For what? For His infinite love and free grace in condescending in this manner to a remnant of Adam's seed, so as to put all this honour upon them.

2. We learn what to think of those who are not believers; all the ignorant, careless, unregenerate generation: certainly they have no part nor lot in this matter. They are none of those that God will honour.

3. We learn what is the true way to true honour. It is in our nature to desire it. But the misery is, we mistake our end, and consequently our way. We take those things to be wealth and pleasure and honour that are not so, and that not to be so which is so, and we pursue accordingly.

4. We learn what is our duty towards those to whom Christ is an honour. Certainly it is our duty to see them truly honourable, and to love and honour them accordingly (2 Kings 20:12, 13).

5. We learn what is their duty to whom Christ is an honour. To make it their business to honour Him all they can. Why is He to be honoured? He is worthy that it should be so. It is the Father's will it should be so (John 5:22, 23; Colossians 1:18, 19). It will be our own benefit and comfort, living and dying. We shall be no losers, but gainers by it. Wherein are we to honour Him? In general — let Him be precious to you. Have high and honourable thoughts of Him. Speak high and honourable things concerning Him, as Paul did. Do nothing to displease and dishonour Him, but everything contrary (Philippians 1:2).

(Philip Henry.)

1. He is precious as a Redeemer from sin. The believer appreciates salvation, because he knows what it is to be lost.

2. He is precious as a manifestation of God.

3. Look at His mission. He enters into my sin and poverty to pity and to aid.

4. He is the central glory of heaven. Human loves are not extinguished, but they will be subordinated to Him.

(J. M. Buckley, D. D.)

I. IN WHAT THIS PRECIOUSNESS CONSISTS.

1. I would mention, first, the difficulty of securing the possession of the Saviour. He is freely offered "without money and without price." Yet "all men have not faith." The reason is, that there are difficulties in the way of their believing, which is one cause why we may say that Christ is precious.

2. There are few who possess this invaluable gift; not, indeed, that there is not in Christ a sufficiency for all, but Christ can only be received in one way — by faith. You may try to discover the Saviour by your works, but you cannot find Him.

3. There is a great demand for the Saviour; not, indeed, amongst the worldly, the frivolous, the luxurious and selfish, the sensual and profane. But the demand is amongst those who are convinced of their sin.

4. There are advantages accruing to the possessor, which can leave no doubt of the preciousness of Christ. His blood is precious; His intercession is precious; His righteousness, His Word, His doctrine.

II. WHO EXPERIENCE THIS PRECIOUSNESS? Gold is valueless to the infant. Pearls are as nothing to swine. And, alas! the precious blood of Jesus is to many as an unholy thing.

1. To the openly profane, Christ is as nothing.

2. The men of the world can see nothing in Christ in which they should rejoice; but they do see their lusts forbidden, and their lives condemned (Titus 2:11, 12).

3. The luxurious experience no comfort in Christ. He who had "not where to lay His head" is a continual reproof to them.

4. Nor is Christ more precious to the formalist (Romans 10:3, 4).

5. It is to the believer, and to the believer alone, that Christ is precious. It is the believer who has felt the burden of sin. He can say, "Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift."(1) Meditate on His name — Jesus, Saviour I How much does that word convey to a believer's heart!(2) Consider how precious to us is the sympathy of Jesus (Proverbs 18:24; John 13:1).(3) Call to mind the power and strength of our Redeemer. We know that we are surrounded by enemies, that we are subject to misrepresentations, to persecutions for righteousness' sake. But Jesus, the mighty God, is on our side, and we become "more than conquerors through Him who loved us."(4) Again, behold the righteousness of Jesus.

(H. M. Villiers, M. A.)

I. CHRIST IS PRECIOUS TO BELIEVERS ON ACCOUNT OF WHAT HE IS IN HIMSELF.

II. CHRIST IS PRECIOUS TO THEM WHO BELIEVE ON ACCOUNT OF WHAT HE HAS DONE FOR THEM.

III. CHRIST IS PRECIOUS UNTO THEM WHO BELIEVE, ON ACCOUNT OF WHAT HE HAS DONE IN THEM.

IV. CHRIST IS PRECIOUS UNTO THEM WHO BELIEVE, ON ACCOUNT OF WHAT HE IS STILL DOING BOTH FOR THEM AND IN THEM.

V. CHRIST IS PRECIOUS TO THEM THAT BELIEVE, ON ACCOUNT OF WHAT HE HAS PROMISED AND PLEDGED HIMSELF TO DO FOR THEM HEREAFTER.

(D. Dickson, D. D.)

I. THE CHARACTER OF THEM THAT BELIEVE.

1. This is the peculiar privilege of those who are Christians indeed, whereby they are distinguished from others. "All men have not faith" (2 Thessalonians 3:2). Many there are who impose upon themselves, and vainly suppose that they believe, because they entertain some speculative opinions about religion.

2. Those who believe possess not only a peculiar but an important privilege. Faith is everywhere represented in the Word of God as a Divine and powerful principle, which is of unspeakable moment to the eternal interest of men.

3. Those who believe are endowed with a useful principle. True saving faith in Jesus Christ is not a dormant disposition, but a vigorous and active grace, attended with the happiest effects. It unites to Jesus Christ. It purifies the heart from the love and power of sin. It is the source of all holy obedience to God; it worketh by love, and is fruitful in all good works.

II. THE DISTINGUISHING EVIDENCE WHICH IS PECULIAR TO YOU THAT BELIEVE.

(W. McCulloch.)

This is a recognition of the practical religious value of the Christ — of what He is to those who have put Him to experimental tests. All the qualities that constitute preciousness are in Him, in a degree of excellence that imagination cannot overcolour, that even love cannot exaggerate.

1. In respect of rarity, He is the only Saviour of men; the "one Mediator between God and man"; the only hope of sinful souls.

2. In respect of beauty, He is the perfection of all moral excellence.

3. In character He is ideally good, pure, devout, benevolent, loving.

4. His work, as the Redeemer of men, realises our very loftiest conceptions — first, of moral philosophy; next, of spiritual holiness; next, of self-sacrificing love.

5. In respect of serviceableness, of personal beneficial relations to men, as their Redeemer from sin, His preciousness transcends all our words or thoughts.(1) We might apply a comparative test, and put the preciousness of Christ into comparison with all other possessions of our human life. How does our practical judgment estimate Him? Or we might subject Him to a comparative estimate with other good men; His character with that of all other saints; His teaching with that of all other prophets; His redeeming work with all other schemes for human improvement. How instinctively we give Him the transcendency!(2) Our estimates are largely influenced by the judgments of others. Let us think, then, of the estimate put upon Christ's character and work by other moral beings. Is it not significant of His excellence that He attracts the most readily and attaches the most profoundly the holiest and noblest natures?(3) The conclusive appeal, however, is to the conscious experience of our own religious souls: "If so be we have tasted that the Lord is gracious." This is the ground upon which myriads of religious men, men whose knowledge is limited, whose theology is confused, whose reason is easily baffled, who are able neither to defend their Christianity, nor theoretically to understand it, justly trust in Him. They have personally come to Christ; He has consciously quickened the life and the love of their souls; they "know that they have passed from death unto life," that "whereas once they were blind, now they see." His Divine presence witnesses in their souls. In some mystic way He is their daily Saviour, and Sanctifier, and Comforter.

I. Is not Christ precious to us WHEN WE GROPE AND STUMBLE AT THE MYSTERY OF GOD, when we feel that "the gods of the heathen are no gods"? When we cannot by any searching of our own find out God; when a thousand possibilities of ignorance and superstition torment us with vague and nameless fears; what a marvellous revelation of light and power of assurance it is when Jesus Christ puts before us His great teaching of God; when, with the strong confidence, and in the quiet ways of perfect knowledge, He tells us of the Father! Upon the conceptions of God which Jesus Christ has taught us our religious life rests. These ideas are the practical inspirations of what we are and do. In the sore feeling of our rebelliousness and guilt we go to Him, as the prodigal to his father, to ask the generous forgiveness of His fatherly love. In the helplessness of our need we cast ourselves upon the care of Him who clothes the lily and feeds the raven. Whether true or not, this conception of God is the greatest, the most inspiring, the most satisfying thought ever presented to men; the highest, purest, most endearing that the world has known.

II. How precious the Christ is WHEN THE SENSE OF SIN IS QUICKENED within us, when we awaken to the grave culpability of its guilt, when we realise its essential antagonism to the Divine holiness, its transgression of God's inviolable law, the imperative necessity of its dread penalty of death! The moral sense, the conscience within me, that which makes me a moral being, demands atonement for sin as much as my safety does. Mere security is no moral satisfaction to a righteous being. I could not be happy in the salvation of Christ if I were saved as a man is saved who breaks prison, or to whom the prison doors are illicitly opened; if I were saved at the cost of a single righteous principle. How unspeakably precious, then, the Christ when He is "set forth as a propitiation for sin," "who Himself bare our sin in His own body on the tree." "He loved me, and gave Himself for me." True or not true, it is, to say the least, a theory of forgiveness, the most perfect and satisfactory to all the feelings of our moral nature.

III. How precious again is the Christ IN OUR STRUGGLE WITH PRACTICAL EVIL, as we fight with lusts, resist temptation, overcome worldliness, subdue selfishness, or mourn over failures and falls! How assuring and helpful His perfect life, His promised grace, His ready and tender sympathy! But for Him we should have despaired in our degradation and helplessness. Again we say, this conception of Him, true or not, is practically the greatest moral force that we feel. Therefore He is precious to us, because He enables the moral redemption of our soul.

IV. How precious the Christ is IN TIMES OF GREAT SORROW; when we stand by open graves, and "refuse to be comforted because those whom we love are not"! How He comes to us, as He came "from beyond Jordan to Bethany"! How He talks with us about "the resurrection and the life"! How He weeps with us in the silence of ineffable sympathy!

V. And how precious He is IN OUR OWN MORTAL CONFLICT; when "the shadow feared of man" falls upon ourselves; when "heart and flesh fail"; when human love falls away from us, and we hear its receding voices as we go forward alone into the dark valley! "Into His hands we commit our spirit"; "His rod and staff comfort us"; His hand clasps ours; He leads us through the darkness into the eternal light and life.

(H. Allon, D. D.)

I. THAT JESUS CHRIST IS NOW PRECIOUS TO BELIEVERS. Notice attentively how personally precious Jesus is. There are two persons in the text: "Unto you that believe He is precious." You are a real person, and you feel that you are such. You have realised yourself; you are quite clear about your own existence; now in the same way strive to realise the other Person. "Unto you that believe He is precious." You believe in Him, He loves you; you love Him in return, and He sheds abroad in your heart a sense of His love. Notice, too, that while the text gleams with this vividness of personality, to which the most of professors are blind, it is weighted with a most solid positiveness: "Unto you that believe He is precious." It does not speak as though He might be or might not be; but "He is precious." If the new life be in thee, thou art as sure to love the Saviour as fish love the stream, or the birds the air, or as brave men love liberty, or as all men love their lives. Tolerate no peradventures here. Mark, further, the absoluteness of the text, "Unto you that believe He is precious. It is not written how precious. The text does not attempt by any form of computation to measure the price which the regenerate soul sets upon her Lord. The thought which I desire to bring out into fullest relief is this, that Jesus Christ is continually precious to His people. Unto you that believe, though you have believed to the saving of your soul, He is still precious; for your guilt will return upon your conscience, and you will yet sin, being still in the body, and thus unto you experimentally the cleansing atonement is as precious as when you first relied upon its expiating power. Nay, Jesus is more precious to you now, for you know your own needs more fully, have proved more often the adaptation of His saving grace, and have received a thousand more gifts at His blessed hands.

II. LET US THINK HOW CHRIST IS TODAY PRECIOUS TO YOU. To many of you there is as much in Christ undiscovered as you have already enjoyed. As surely as your faith grasps more, and becomes more capacious and appropriating, Christ will grow in preciousness to you. Ask, then, for more faith.

III. BECAUSE JESUS IS PRECIOUS TO BELIEVERS HE EFFICACIOUSLY OPERATES UPON THEM. The preciousness of Christ is, as it were, the leverage of Christ lifting up His saints to holiness. Let me show you this.

1. The man who trusts Christ values Christ; that which I value I hold fast; hence our valuing Christ helps us to abide steadfast in times of temptation.

2. Notice further: this valuing of Christ helps the believer to make sacrifices. Sacrifice making constitutes a large part of any high character. He who never makes a sacrifice in his religion may shrewdly suspect that it is not worth more than his own practical valuation of it.

3. Moreover, this valuing of Christ makes us jealous against sin. He who loves the Redeemer best purifies himself most, even as his Lord is pure.

4. High valuing of Christ helps the Christian in the selection of his associates in life. If I hold my Divine Lord to be precious, how can I have fellowship with those who do not esteem Him? You will not find a man of refined habits and cultured spirits happy amongst the lowest and most illiterate. Birds of a feather flock together. Workers and traders unite in companies according to their occupations. Lovers of Christ rejoice in lovers of Christ, and they delight to meet together; for they can talk to each other of things in which they are agreed.

IV. CHRIST BEING THUS PRECIOUS, HIS PRECIOUSNESS BECOMES THE TEST OF OUR CHRISTIANITY.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

There are very few people who would not agree with the apostle when he says that Christ is precious to believers. But when one comes a little closer, and asks professing people why He is precious to them, and in what degree, the answers to this question are vague. It is not of Christ Himself that most professors will speak. Some will say they need His righteousness, others that they hope in His death; but ah! the genuine child of God alone can say, from the very bottom of his heart, "To me Christ is precious." Christ's righteousness cannot be separated from Himself, and nothing but faith in a living, reigning Jesus will save the soul. But now, to apply the subject more directly, we shall briefly notice a few characteristics in believers themselves which seem to show that to them Christ is precious.

1. Innumerable marks might be given, but here is a distinguishing one — Christ is the object nearest to a believer's heart. He dwells in the soul, nearer than any creature more closely entwined round the heart strings than aught beside.

2. The second mark of the believer's value for the Lord Jesus is, that he puts no society in comparison with His presence; no other company has such power to refresh and comfort and purify the soul.

3. The third proof of the estimation in which Christ is held by His people is that, for His sake, and for the love they bear Him, they give up all known sins.

4. The fourth proof that we shall now mention is that where Jesus is precious His ordinances are highly prized — we shall value His Word, alone and in the family, as well as in the house of God. And so also with His house, His table, His Sabbath.

5. Again, God's people are precious to the believer.

6. Another mark that Christ is precious to believers is that they are longing for His second coming. The way to heaven is to be in Christ; and heaven is to be with Christ.

(W. C. Burns.)

"To you therefore which believe, He is precious." The illative particle "therefore" shows this passage as an inference from what went before; and the reasoning seems to be this: "This stone is precious to God, therefore it is precious to you that believe. You have the same estimate Of Jesus Christ which God the Father has; and for that very reason He is precious to you, because He is precious to Him."

1. He is precious to all the angels of heaven. Angels saw, believed, and loved him in the various stages of His life, from His birth to His return to His native heaven. Oh, could we see what is doing in heaven at this instant, how would it surprise, astonish, and confound us! Do you think the name of Jesus is of as little importance there as in our world? Do you think there is one lukewarm or disaffected heart there among ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands? Oh no! there His love is the ruling passion of every heart and the favourite theme of every song.

2. He is infinitely precious to His Father, who thoroughly knows Him, and is an infallible judge of real worth (Isaiah 42:1). And shall not the love of the omniscient God have weight with believers to believe Him too? And now what think you of Christ? Will you not think of Him as believers do? If so, He will be precious to your hearts above all things for the future. Oh precious Jesus! are matters come to that pass in our world that creatures bought with Thy blood, creatures that owe all their hopes to Thee, should stand in need of persuasion to love Thee? What horrors attend the thought!(1) None but believers have eyes to see the glory of Christ. The god of this world, the prince of darkness, has blinded the minds of them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ should shine into them.(2) None but believers are properly sensible of their need of Christ. They are deeply sensible of their ignorance and the disorder of their understanding, and therefore they are sensible of their want of both the external and internal instructions of this Divine Prophet, but as to others they are puffed up with intellectual pride, and apprehend themselves in very little need of religious instructions, and therefore they think but very slightly of Him.(3) None but believers have known by experience how precious tie is. They, and only they, can reflect upon the glorious views of Him, which themselves have had, to captivate their hearts forever to Him.

(S. Davies, M. A.)

"When asked by a member of his family as to his hope he answered: 'I am a sinner saved by grace,' and added, 'Jesus! — Oh, to be like Him!' At another time he said: 'To you that believe He is precious.' Then with stronger voice he broke forth into holy rapture and exclaimed: 'Precious, precious, more than precious!' The writer of this notice, highly honoured with the friendship of the family, saw Mrs. Simpson a few minutes after the bishop had spoken these words, While her heart was breaking, she murmured amid her sobs, 'Precious, precious, more than precious!' She might well say: 'No one knew him as we did at home. He was so good and kind. We thought he would be spared to us a little longer.' Then she turned again to his comforting words about his Lord: 'Precious, precious, more than precious.' They sound as a refrain after his 'Psalm of life.'"

(Memoir of Bishop Simpson.)

If He is precious to you, you cannot help speaking about Him. We remember, in a house which we used to visit, an ornament under a glass shade which delighted the children. It was a gilt casket, with a cameo on the top, and inside a nugget of gold, the ore in its rough state. It had been brought from Australia, and was kept locked up and rarely seen. No one was the richer for that gold. There are many saved ones now who have the priceless nugget, the living Christ, whom they would not part with for worlds; but He is bidden in the deep recess of their soul, and no one is the richer. You must breathe out and pass on that name of Jesus; there is in it a living power, more than that of the philosopher's stone, of turning all into gold.

I like what was said by a child in the Sunday school, when the teacher said, "You have been reading that Christ is precious; what does that mean?" The children were silent for a little while, but at last one boy replied, "Father said the other day that mother was precious, for 'whatever should we do without her!'" This is a capital explanation of the word. You and I can truly say of the Lord Jesus Christ that He is precious to us, for what should we do, what could we do without Him?

Them which be disobedient
is eminently worthy of notice that over against "believe" in ver. 6 stands, not its exact correlative "unbelieving," but "disobedient." They who receive Christ believe: you would expect to read conversely, they who reject Him are unbelieving; but instead, you read that they are disobedient. People raise a great debate upon the question whether a man is responsible for his belief, and whether he can be condemned for not believing. Quietly this debate is all quashed here by the representation that unbelief is disobedience. Unbelief is indeed the root, but the outgrowth is disobedience.

(W Arn.)

The stone which the builders disallowed
1. To show that God had purposed the salvation of His Church and building of His kingdom by a way that the wise men of the world never dreamed of.

2. That their malice might appear to their punishment, and God's power in resisting them.

3. To show that great men are not always the greatest maintainers of the truth, but often great enemies and hindrances thereto.Uses:

1. This serves to teach us not to stand upon great men's opinion, approving and disallowing upon their testimony or example.

2. To magnify the power and wisdom of God, that hath used to build His kingdom, not only without the help, but against the will of great men.

(John Rogers.)

I. A GREAT OPPORTUNITY MISSED. Who are the builders? All the sons and daughters of men. But there are blind builders that reject the "chief cornerstone." They cannot perceive the glory of the largest and divinest truth. The causes of this blindness are manifold worldliness, prejudice, and intellectual pride. The immediate cause is ever a superficial spirituality, however it may be produced.

II. TRUE GREATNESS IGNORED AND NEGLECTED. The neglect suffered by the prophet in his own age is proverbial. He lets in the glory from the eternal into this half-blind world until it becomes a pain, and he is accused of being the enemy of his generation. We pride ourselves that such a history is a thing of the past, that we enlightened ones honour our prophets. It is for a future generation to discover whether we have done so. "Demos" is emphatically the builder today. Is the democracy laying the foundations of its temple on the "cornerstone" of Divine and eternal truth? But there is ever great danger that "the spirit of the age" may ignore the divinest message that is delivered to it.

III. THE CERTAIN SUPREMACY OF TRUTH. The divinest truth must ultimately become the "chief stone of the corner." False prejudices are powerful, and may seem for a time all supreme. Truth is God, and God is truth. The eternal energies have the world in their grip, and "He must reign forever and ever."

IV. THE WORDS FIND THEIR IDEAL FULFILMENT IN JESUS CHRIST. Unspeakably magnificent was the opportunity lost by the Jewish nation. God guard us from similar blindness! May the Christ be apprehended by us in all the fulness of His glory, so that we may not be ashamed when He appears to reign.

(John Thomas M. A.)

A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence
I. THE RESULT OF THE UNBELIEF, AND THE OPPOSITION OF MEN, UPON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.

1. First came the Jew. He had the pride of race to maintain. Were not the Jews the chosen people of God? Jesus comes preaching the gospel to every creature, He sends His disciples even to the Gentiles: therefore the Jews will not have Him. But the opposition of His countrymen did not defeat the cause of Christ; if rejected in Palestine, His word was received in Greece, it triumphed in Rome, it passed onward to Spain, it found a dwelling place in Britain, and at this day it lights up the face of the earth.

2. Next arose philosophy to be the gospel's foe. But though it made terrible inroads for a while on the Church of God, in the form of gnostic heresy, did it really impede the chariot wheels of Christ? The stone from the sling of Christ has smitten the heathen philosophy in the forehead, while the Son of David goes forth conquering and to conquer.

3. After those days there came against the Church of God the determined opposition of the secular power. All that cruelty could do was done; but what was the result? The more the Christians were oppressed, the more they multiplied; the scattering of the coals increased the conflagration.

4. Since that period the Church has been attacked in various modes. The Arian heresy assaulted the deity of Christ, but the Church of God delivered herself from the accursed thing, as Paul shook the viper into the fire. Be of good courage, for brighter days are on the way. There shall come yet greater awakenings, the Lord, the avenger of His Church, shall yet arise, and the stone which the builders disallowed, the same shall be the head stone of the corner.

II. THE CONSEQUENCE OF THIS OPPOSITION TO THE OPPOSERS.

1. When men stumble at the plan of salvation by Christ's sacrificial work, what is it that they stumble at?(1) Some stumble at the person of Christ. Jesus, they will admit, was a good man, but they cannot accept Him as co-equal and co-eternal with the Father.(2) Some stumble at His work. Many cannot see how Jesus Christ is become the propitiation for human guilt.(3) Some stumble at Christ's teaching; and what is it they stumble at in that? Sometimes it is because it is too holy: "Christ is too puritanical, He cuts off our pleasures." But He denies us no pleasure which is not sinful, He multiplies our joys; the things which He denies to us are only joyous in appearance, while His commands are real bliss. We have found some object to the teachings of Christ because they are too humbling. He destroys self-confidence, and He presents salvation to none but those who are lost. "This lays us too low," saith one. Still I have known others object that the gospel is too mysterious, they cannot understand it, they say. While again, from the other corner of the compass, I have heard the objection that it is too plain. Do not cavil at it. What if there be mysteries in it? Canst thou expect to comprehend all that God knoweth? Be thou teachable as a child, and the gospel will be sweet to thee.(4) We have known some who have stumbled at Christ on account of His people, and truly they have some excuse. They have said, "Look at Christ's followers, see their imperfections and hypocrisies." But wherefore judge a master by his servants?

2. What does the stumbling at Christ cost the ungodly? I answer, it costs them a great deal.(1) Those who make Him a rock of stumbling are great losers by it in this life. What anger it costs ungodly men to oppose Christ! Some of them cannot let Him alone, they will rage and fume. Concerning Jesus it is true that you must either love or hate Him, He cannot long be indifferent to you, and hence come inward conflicts to opposers.(2) Ah, what it costs some men when they come to die! If you oppose Him you will be the losers, He will not. Your opposition is utterly futile; like a snake biting a file, you will only break your own teeth.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

A bridge is made to give us a safe passage over a dangerous river; but he who stumbleth on the bridge is in danger to fall into the river.

(J. Trapp.)

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