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thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and thy foundations with sapphires. And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones.” (Isa. liv. 11, 12.) I picked up a piece of agate, Mamma, on the shore; but what sort of stone is a carbuncle ?
Mamma. A deep transparent red, and you will find in the description of the heavenly Jerusalem how “the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones, jasper, sapphire, chalcedony, emerald, sardonyx, cardius, chrysolyte, beryl, topaz, chrysoprasus, jacinth, amethyst.” (Rev. xxi. 19, 20); and if you look in the 14th verse, it is said in these twelve foundations were “the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb”-does this remind you of anything St. Paul says ?
Mary. Oh, yes, Mamma, I know what you mean- it is a passage I have marked on my slip of paper --"Ye are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed, groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord : in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” (Eph. ii. 20—22.)
Lily. Dear Papa, how is this ?-before, we had that the Lord Jesus was the only foundation-now we read of the foundation of the apostles and prophets.
Papa. Some think it means the Scriptures they wrote, or the Word of God—but, if not, all rest on the corner stone-here, too, you must not strain the figure too far—Jesus is beyond compare the living life-giving foundation of His temple. only may my dear children be precious stones built on Him, and try to build others upon Him too. Arthur, read 1 Cor. iii. 12-15.
Arthur reads. “Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire ; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss : but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” What difficult verses, Papa.
Papa. They are difficult verses, my boy: but one thing is plain, that perishable stubble as well as permanent stones may be piled on this one foundation. You see there are three kinds of true material, gold, silver, precious stones, menticned; and three perishable substances, wood, hay, and stubble-but all will
be sifted and searched, tried and tested by fire, and only that which stands the trial forms part of the glorious temple. Here, again, we learn that it is not enough, my beloved children, to be in a Christian home, and members of a Christian Church. What more do you want ?
Mary. To be living stones, Papa : for St. Peter says, “ To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house.” (1 Pet. ii. 4, 5.)
Mamma. We seem to be taught by the very words used how much is meant for a lively stone is a very strange expression ; we often speak of things dead and hard as a stone-but here we read of life in stones—as if, while using this figure, to guard us against thinking there could be such a thing as a dead Chris. tian, and to remind us this inward struggling life must come from God himself, “who quickneth whom He will.”
Arthur. And dear Mamma, may not the different kind of material, which we saw them using, fine stone and granite, brick and iron, and lead, too, in some parts, point out the different characters of Christians ?
Mamma. Yes, Arthur : did you observe those immense blocks on the basement floor? If we were fanciful we might say they were like the prophets and apostles, upon whom, as they rest on Christ, the Church is built. But did you find any special name for them?
Mary. Do you mean pillars, Mamma ? For it is said of “James, and Peter, and John, they seemed to be pillars.” (Gal. ii. 9.)
Mamma. Yes, my child; and the promise is also given to every overcoming saint, “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.” (Rev. iii. 12.) But if you shrink, Mary, from so high a post of honour, can you tell me any promise which seems made for you and Lily?
Mary. No, Mamma. I don't remember
Arthur. Why, I believe we had it in church this morning, sister. Yes, here it is : “ that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace.” (Ps. cxliv. 12.) · Papa. Our children little know how often their father and mother have pleaded for them in prayer, not that they may be great or wealthy in this world but living stones engraven with
the name of Jesus, polished corner stones, reserved in God's "treasuries for precious stones and for all manner of pleasant jewels” (2 Chron. xxxii. 27), not one wanting “in that day when the Lord makes up his jeweis." (Mal. iii. 17.) And then, that they may be humble and faithful labourers in building this spiritual temple.
Mamma. You saw, my children, how many different labourers were employed-carpenters, and bricklayers, and masons, and overseers— some engaged in very humble work, mixing the cement, or removing the earth; some in very heavy labour, moving those vast blocks of granite ; some in very quiet delicate workmanship, carving the stone mullions for the windows; some men of skill and experience; and some quite boys, learning their trade; but all at work, diligent and cheerful. So, my children, Jesus has something for each one of you to do: and not a stroke of work done for Him shall lose its reward.
Lily. When once that ugly scaffolding comes down, Mamma, how beautiful the church will look.
Mamma. And that too, Lily, may teach us something: that we must not judge of Christ's Church now before the design of the masterbuilder is completed.
Papa. And see, my children, how they have boarded up the lower stone-work, which they