Sermon 17. Joseph Attacked by the Archers
Delivered on Sunday Morning, April 1, 1855, by the
REV. C.H. SPURGEON
At Exeter Hall, Strand
"The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him; but his bow abode in strength; and the arms of his handswere made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel."-Genesis 49:23,24.
It must have been a fine sight to see the hoary-headed Jacob sitting up in his bed whilst he bestowed his parting benedictionupon his twelve sons. He had been noble in many instances during his life-at the sleeping place of Bethel, the brook of Jabbok,and the halting of Peniel. He had been a glorious old man; one before whom we might bow down with reverence, and truly say,"There were giants in those days." But his closing scene was the best. I think if ever he stoodout more illustrious than at any other time, if his head was at any one season more than another, encircled with a haloof glory, it was when he came to die. Like the sun at setting, he seemed then to be the greater in brilliance, tinging theclouds of his weakness with the glory of grace within. Like good wine, which runs clear to the very bottom, unalloyed by dregs,so did Jacob till his dying hour continue to sing of love, of mercy, and of goodness, past and future. Like the swan, which(asold writers say) singeth not all its life until it comes to die, so the old patriarch remained silent as a songster formany years; but when he stretched himself on his last couch of rest, he stayed himself up in his bed, turned his burning eyefrom one to another, and although with a hoarse and faltering voice, he sang a sonnet upon each of his offspring, such asearthly poets, uninspired, cannot attempt to imitate. Looking upon his son Reuben, a tear was in his eye, for he recollectedReuben's sin; he passed over Simeon and Levi, giving some slight rebuke; upon the others he sung a verse of praise, ashis eyes saw into the future history of the tribes. By-and-by his voice failed him, and the good old man, with long-drawnbreath, with eyes pregnant with celestial fire, and heart big with heaven, lifted his voice to God, and said, "I have waitedfor thy salvation, O God," rested a moment on his pillow, and then again sitting up, recommenced the strain, passing brieflyby thenames of each. But oh! when he came to Joseph, his youngest son but one-when he looked on him, I picture that old manas the tears ran down his cheeks. There stood Joseph, with all his mother Rachel in his eyes-that dear loved wife of his-therehe stood, the boy for whom that mother had prayed with all the eagerness of an Eastern wife. For a long twenty years she hadtarried a barren woman and kept no house, but then she was a joyful mother, and she called her son "Increase." Oh! how sheloved the boy; and for that mother's sake, though she had been buried for some years, and hidden under the cold sod, oldJacob loved him too. But more than that, he loved him for his troubles. He was parted from him to be sold into Egypt. Hisfather recollected Joseph's trials in the round-house and the dungeon, and remembered his royal dignity as prince of Egypt;and now, with a full burst of harmony, as if the music of heaven had united with his own, as when the widened river meetsthe sea,and the tide coming up doth amalgamate with the stream that cometh down, and swelleth into a broad expanse, so did theglory of heaven meet the rapture of his earthly feelings, and giving vent to his soul , he sung, "Joseph is a fruitful bough,even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall; the archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him; but his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty Godof Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel); even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above,blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb; the blessings of thy father have prevailedabove the blessings of my progenitors, unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills; they shall be on the head of Joseph,and on the crown of the head of him that wasseparate from his brethren." What a splendid stanza with which to close! He has only one more blessing to give; but surelythis was the richest which he conferred on Joseph.
Joseph is dead, but the Lord has his Josephs now. There are some still who understand by experience-and that is the best kindof understanding-the meaning of this passage, "The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him; but hisbow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob."
There are four things for us to consider this morning. First of all, the cruel attack-"the archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him;" secondly, the shielded warrior-"but his bow abode in strength;" thirdly, his secret strength-"the arms of his hands were made strong by the mighty power of the God of Jacob;" and fourthly, the glorious parallel drawn between Joseph and Christ-"from thence is the shepherd, the stoneof Israel."
I. First, then, we commence with THE CRUEL ATTACK. "The archers have sorely grieved him." Joseph's enemies were archers. Theoriginal has it, "masters of the arrows;" that is, men who were well skilled in the use of the arrows. Though all weaponsare alike approved by the warrior in his thirst for blood, there seems something more cowardly in the attack of the archerthan in that of the swordsman. The swordsman plants himself near you, foot to foot, and lets you defendyourself, and deal your blows against him; but the archer stands at a distance, hides himself in ambuscade, and, withoutyou knowing it, the arrow comes whizzing through the air, and perhaps penetrates your heart. Just so are the enemies of God'speople. They very seldom come foot to foot with us; they will not show their faces before us; they hate the light, they lovedarkness; they dare not come and openly accuse us to our face, for then we could reply; but they shoot the bow from a distance,so that we cannot answer them; cowardly and dastardly as they are, they forge their arrow-heads, and aim them, wingedwith hell-birds feathers, at the hearts of God's people. The archers sorely grieved poor Joseph. Let us consider who are thearchers who so cruelly shot at him. First, there were the archers of envy; secondly, the archers of temptation; and thirdly, the archers of slander and calumny.
1. First, Joseph had to endure the archers of ENVY. When he was a boy, his father loved him. The youth was fair and beautiful; in person he was to be admired; moreover,he had a mind that was gigantic, and an intellect that was lofty; but, best of all, in him dwelt the Spirit of the livingGod. He was one who talked with God; a youth of piety and prayerfulness; beloved of God, even more than he was by his earthlyfather. O! how his father loved him! for in his fondaffection, he made him a princely coat of many colors, and treated him better than the others-a natural but foolish wayof showing his fondness. Therefore his brethren hated him. Full often did they jeer at the youthful Joseph, when he retiredto his prayers; when he was with them at a distance from his father's house, he was their drudge, their slave; the taunt,the jeer, did often wound his heart, and the young child endured much secret sorrow. On an ill day, as it happened, he waswiththem at a distance from home, and they thought to slay him; but upon the entreaty of Reuben, they put him into a pit,until, as Providence would have it, the Ishmaelites did pass that way. They then sold him for the price of a slave, strippedhim of his coat, and sent him naked, they knew not, and they cared not, whither, so long as he might be out of their way,and no longer provoke their envy and their anger. Oh! the agonies he felt-parted from his father, losing his brethren, withoutafriend, dragged away by cruel man-sellers, chained upon a camel it may be, with fetters on his hands. Those who have bornethe gyves and fetters, those who have felt that they were not free men, that they had not liberty, might tell how sorely thearchers grieved him when they shot at him the arrows of their envy. He became a slave, sold from his country, dragged fromall he loved. Farewell to home and all its pleasures-farewell to a father's smiles and tender cares. He must be a slave, andtoil where the slave's task-master makes him; he must be stripped in the streets, he must be beaten, he must be scourged,he must be reduced from the man to the animal, from the free man to the slave. Truly the archers sorely shot at him. And,my brethren, do you hope, if you are the Lord's Josephs, that you shall escape envy? I tell you, nay; that green-eyed monster,envy, lives in London as well as elsewhere, and he creeps into God's church, moreover. Oh! it is hardest of all, to be enviedbyone's brethren. If the devil hates us, we can bear it; if the foes of God's truth speak ill of us, we buckle up our harness,and say, "Away, away, to the conflict." But when the friends within the house slander us; when brethren who should upholdus, turn our foes; and when they try to tread down their younger brethren; then, sirs, there is some meaning in the passage,"The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him." But, blessed be God's name, it is sweet to be informedthat "his bow abode in strength." None of you can be the people of God without provoking envy; and the better you are,the more you will be hated. The ripest fruit is most pecked by the birds, and the blossoms that have been longest on the tree,are the most easily blown down by the wind. But fear not; you have naught to do with what man shall say of you. If God lovesyou, man will hate you; if God honors you, man will dishonor you. But recollect, could ye wear chains of iron for Christ'ssake,ye should wear chains of gold in heaven; could ye have rings of burning iron round your waists, ye should have your browrimmed with gold in glory; for blessed are ye when men shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for Christ's name'ssake; for so persecuted they the prophets that were before you. The first archers were the archers of envy.
2. But a worse trial than this was to overtake him. The archers of TEMPTATION shot at him. Here I know not how to express myself. I would that some one more qualified to speak were here, thathe might tell you the tale of Joseph's trial, and Joseph's triumph. Sold to a master who soon discovered his value, Josephwas made the bailiff of the house, and the manager of the household. His wanton mistress fixed her adulterous love on him;and he, being continually in herpresence, was perpetually, day by day, solicited by her to evil deeds. Constantly did he refuse; still enduring a martyrdomat the slow fire of her enticements. On one eventful day she grasped him, seeking to compel him to crime; but he, like a truehero as he was, said to her, "How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?" Like a wise warrior, he knew that insuch a case fleeing was the better part of valor. He heard a voice in his ears: "Fly, Joseph, fly; there remains no way ofvictory but flight;" and out he fled, leaving his garment with his adulterous mistress. Oh, I say in all the annals ofheroism there is not one that shall surpass this. You know it is opportunity that makes a man criminal; and he had abundant opportunity; but importunity will drive most men astray. To be haunted day by day by solicitations of the softest kind-to be tempted hour by hour-oh!it needs a strength super-angelic, a might more that human, a strength which only Godcan grant, for a young man thus to cleanse his way, and take heed thereto according to God's word. He might have reasonedwithin himself, "Should I submit and yield, there lies before me a life of ease and pleasure; I shall be exalted, I shallbe rich. She shall prevail over her husband, to cover me with honors; but should I still adhere to my integrity, I shall becast into prison, I shall be thrown into the dungeon; there awaits me nothing but shame and disgrace." Oh! there was a powerindeedwithin that heart of his; there was an inconceivable might, which made him turn away with unutterable disgust, with fearand trembling, while he said, "How can I? how can I-God's Joseph-how can I-other men might, but how can I do this great wickednessand sin against God." Truly the archers sorely grieved him and shot at him; but his bow abode in strength.
3. Then another host of archers assailed him; these were the archers of MALICIOUS CALUMNY. Seeing that he would not yield to temptation, his mistress falsely accused him to her husband, and hislord, believing the voice of his wife, cast him into prison. It was a marvelous providence that he did not put him to death;for Potiphar, his master, was the chief of the slaughtermen; he had only to call in a soldier, who would have cut him in pieceson the spot. But hecast him into prison. There was poor Joseph. His character ruined in the eyes of man, and very likely looked upon withscorn even in the prison-house; base criminals went away from him as if they thought him viler than themselves, as if theywere angels in comparison with him. Oh! it is no easy thing to feel your character gone, to think that you are slandered,that things are said of you that are untrue. Many a man's heart has been broken by this, when nothing else could make himyield. Thearchers sorely grieved him when he was so maligned-so slandered. O child of God, dost thou expect to escape these archers?Wilt thou never be slandered? Shalt thou never be calumniated? It is the lot of God's servants, in proportion to their zeal,to be evil spoken of. Remember the noble Whitefield, how he stood and was the butt of all the jeers and scoffs of half anage; while his only answer was a blameless life.
"And he who forged, and he who threw the dart,
Had each a brother's interest in his heart."
They reviled him and imputed to him crimes that Sodom never knew. So shall it be always with those who preach God's truth,and all the followers of Christ-they must all expect it; but, blessed be God, they have not said worse things of us than theysaid of our Master. What have they laid to our charge? They may have said, "he is drunken and a wine-bibber;" but they havenot said, "he hath a devil." They have accused us of being mad, so was it said of Paul. Oh, holyinfatuation, heavenly furor, would that we could bite others until they had the same madness. We think, if to go to heavenbe mad, we will not choose to be wise; we see no wisdom in preferring hell; we can see no great prudence in despising andhating God's truth. If to serve God be vile, we purpose to be viler still. Ah! friends, some now present know this verse byheart, "The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him." Expect it; do not think it a strange thing;allGod's people must have it. There are no royal roads to heaven-they are paths of trial and trouble; the archers will shootat you as long as you are on this side the flood.
II. We have seen these archers shoot their flights of arrows; we will now go up the hill a little, behind a rock, to lookat the SHIELDED WARRIOR and see how his courage is while the archers have sorely grieved him. What is he doing? "His bow abidethin strength." Let us picture God's favorite. The archers are down below. There is a parapet of rock before him; now and thenhe looks over it to see what the archers are about, but generally he keeps behind. In heavenlysecurity he is set upon a rock, careless of all below. Let us follow the track of the wild goat and behold the warriorin his fastness.
First, we notice that he has a bow himself, for we read that "his bow abode in strength." He could have retaliated if he pleased, but he was very quiet and would not combat with them. Had hepleased, he might have drawn his bow with all his strength, and sent his weapon to their hearts with far greater precisionthat they had ever done to him. But mark the warrior's quietness. There he rests, stretching his mighty limbs; his bow abodein strength; he seemed to say,"Rage on, aye, let you arrows spend themselves, empty your quivers on me, let your bow-strings be worn out, and let thewood be broken with its constant bending; here am I, stretching myself in safe repose; my bow abides in strength; I have otherwork to do besides shooting at you; my arrows are against yon foes of God, the enemies of the Most High; I cannot waste anarrow on such pitiful sparrows as you are; ye are birds beneath my noble shot; I would not waste an arrow on you." Thus heremains behind the rock and despises them all. "His bow abideth in strength."
Mark well his quietness. His bow "abideth." It is not rattling, it is not always moving, but it abides, it is quite still; he takes no notice of theattack. The archers sorely grieved Joseph, but his bow was not turned against them, it abode in strength. He turned not hisbow on them. He rested while they raged. Doth the moon stay herself to lecture every dog that bayeth at her? Doth the lionturn aside to rend each cur that barketh at him? Do the stars cease toshine because the nightingales reprove them for their dimness? Doth the sun stop in its course because of the officiouscloud which veils it: Or doth the river stay because the willow dippeth its leaves into its waters? Ah! no; God's universemoves on, and if men will oppose it, it heeds them not. It is as God hath made it; it is working together for good, and itshall not be stayed by the censure nor moved on by the praise of man. Let your bows, my brethren, abide. Do not be in a hurryto setyourselves right. God will take care of you. Leave yourselves alone; only be very valiant for the Lord God of Israel;be steadfast in the truth of Jesus and your bow shall abide.
But we must not forget the next word. "His bow abode IN STRENGTH." Though his bow was quiet it was not because it was broken.Joseph's bow was like that of William the Conqueror; no man could bend it but Joseph himself; it abode in "strength." I seethe warrior bending his bow-how with his mighty arms he pulls it down and draws the string to make it ready. His bow abodein strength; it did not snap, it did not start aside. His chastity was his bow, and he did not losethat; his faith was his bow, and that did not yield, it did not break; his courage was his bow, and that did not failhim; his character, his honesty was his bow, nor did he cast it away. Some men are so very particular about reputation. Theythink, "surely, surely, surely they shall lose their character." Well, well, if we do not lose them through our own fault,we never need care about anybody else. You know there is not a man that stands at all prominent, but what any fool in theworld canset afloat some bad tale against him. It is a great deal easier to set a story afloat than to stop it. If you want truthto go round the world you must hire an express train to pull it; but if you want a lie to go round the world, it will fly:it is as light as a feather, and a breath will carry it. It is well said in the old proverb, "A lie will go round the worldwhile truth is pulling its boots on." Nevertheless, it does not injure us; for if light as feather it travels as fast, itseffectis just about as tremendous as the effect of down, when it is blown against the walls of a castle; it produces no damagewhatever, on account of its lightness and littleness. Fear not, Christian. Let slander fly, let envy send forth its forkedtongue, let it hiss at you, your bow shall abide in strength. Oh! shielded warrior, remain quiet, fear no ill; but, like theeagle in its lofty eyrie, look thou down upon the fowlers in the plain, turn thy bold eye upon them and say, "Shoot ye may,butyour shots will not reach half-way to the pinnacle where I stand. Waste your powder upon me if ye will; I am beyond yourreach." Then clap your wings, mount to heaven, and there laugh them to scorn, for ye have made your refuge God, and shallfind a most secure abode.
III. The third thing in our text is THE SECRET STRENGTH. "The arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mightyGod of Jacob." First, notice, concerning his strength, that it was real strength. It says, "the arms of his hands," not his hands only. You know some people can do a great deal with their hands,but then it is often fictitious power; there is no might in the arm-there is no muscle; but of Joseph it is said; "the arms of his hands weremade strong. It was real potency, true muscle, real sinew, real nerve. It was not simply sleight of hand-the power ofmoving his finger very swiftly-but the arms of his hands were made strong. Now that strength which God gives to his Josephs is real strength; it is not a boasted valor,a fiction, a thing of which men talk, an airy dream, an unsubstantial unreality, but it is real strength. I should not liketo have a combat with one of God's Josephs. I should find their blows veryheavy. I fear a Christian's strokes more than any other man's for he has bone and sinew, and smites hard. Let the foesof the church expect a hard struggle if they attack an heir of life. Mightier than giants are men of the race of heaven; shouldthey once arouse themselves to battle they could laugh at the spear and the habergeon. But they are a patient generation,enduring ills without resenting them suffering scorn without reviling the scoffer. Their triumph is to come when their enemiesshall receive the vengeance due; then shall it be seen by an assembled world that the "little flock" were men of highestate, and the "offscouring of all things" were verily men of real strength and dignity.
Even though the world perceive it not, the favored Joseph has real strength, not in his hands only, but in his arms-real might,real power. O ye foes of God, ye think God's people are despicable and powerless; but know that they have true strength fromthe omnipotence of their Father, a might substantial and divine. Your own shall melt away, and droop and die, like the snowupon the low mountain top, when the sun shines upon it, it melteth into water; but our vigor shallabide like the snow on the summit of the Alps, undiminished for ages. It is real strength.
Then observe that the strength of God's Joseph is divine strength. His arms were made strong by God. Why does one of God's ministers preach the gospel powerfully? Because God gives him assistance.Why does Joseph stand against temptation? Because God gives him aid. The strength of a Christian is divine strength. My brethren,I am more and more persuaded every day that the sinner has no power of himself, except that which is given him from above.I know that if Iwere to stand with my foot upon the golden threshold of heaven's portal, if I could put this thumb upon the latch, I couldnot open that door, after having gone so far towards heaven, unless I had still supernatural power communicated to me in thatmoment. If I had a stone to lift, to work my own salvation, without God's help to do that, I must be lost, even though itwere so little. There is naught that we can do without the power of God. All true strength is divine. As the light comethfromthe sun, as the shower from heaven; so doth spiritual strength come from the Father lights, with whom there is neithervariableness nor shadow of a turning.
Again: I would have you notice in the text in what a blessedly familiar way God gives this strength to Joseph. It say, "the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob."Thus it represents God as putting his hands on Joseph's hands, placing his arms on Joseph's arms. In old times, when everyboy had to be trained up to archery, if his father were worth so many pounds a year, you might see the father putting hishands on his boy's handsand pulling the bow for him, saying, "there, my son, in this manner draw the bow." So the text represents God as puttinghis hand on the hand of Joseph, and laying his broad arm along the arm of his chosen child, that he might be made strong.Like as a father teacheth his children; so the Lord teaches them that fear him. He puts his arms upon them. As Elijah laidwith his mouth upon the child's mouth, with his hand upon the child's hand, with his foot upon the child's foot, so does "Godput hismouth to his children's mouth, his hand to his ministers' hand, his foot to his people's foot; and so he makes us strong.Marvelous condescension! Ye stars of glory, have ye ever witnessed such stoops of love? God Almighty, Eternal, Omnipotent,stoops from his throne and lays his hand upon the child's hand, stretching his arm upon the arm of Joseph, that he may bemade strong.
One more thought, and I have done. The strength was covenant strength, for it is said, "The arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob." Now, wherever you read of the God of Jacob in the Bible, you may know that that respects God's covenant with Jacob. Ah!I love to talk about God's everlasting covenant. Some of the Arminians cannot bear it, but I love a covenant salvation-a covenantnot made with my father, not between meand God, but between Christ and God. Christ made the covenant to pay a price, and God made the covenant that he shouldhave the people. Christ has paid the price and ratified the covenant; and I am quite sure that God will fulfil his part ofit, by giving every elect vessel of mercy into the hands of Jesus. But, beloved, all the power, all the grace, all the blessings,all the mercies, all the comforts, all the things we have, we have through the covenant. If there were no covenant; if wecouldrend the everlasting charter up; if the king of hell could cut it with his knife, as the king of Israel did the roll ofBaruck, then we should fail indeed; for we have no strength, except that which is promised in the covenant. Covenant mercies,covenant grace, covenant promises, covenant blessings, covenant help, covenant everything-the Christian must receive, if hewould enter into heaven.
Now, Christian, the archers have sorely grieved you, and shot at you, and wounded you; but your bow abides in strength, andthe arms of your hands are made strong. But do you know, O believer, that you are like your Master in this?
IV. That is our fourth point-A GLORIOUS PARALLEL. "From thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel." Jesus Christ was servedjust the same; the shepherd, the stone of Israel, passed through similar trials; he was shot at by the archers, he was grievedand wounded, but his bow abode in strength; his arms were made strong by the God of Jacob, and now every blessing rests "uponthe crown of the head of him who was separated from his brethren." I shall not detain you long,but I have a few things to tell you; first about Christ as the shepherd, and then about Christ the stone.
Christ came into the world as a shepherd. As soon as he made his appearance, the Scribes and Pharisees said, "Ah! we havebeen the shepherds until this hour; now we shall be driven from our honors, we shall lose all our dignity, and our authority."Consequently, they always shot at him. As for the people, they were a fickle herd; I believe that many of them respected andadmired Christ, though, doubtless, the vast majority hated him, for wherever he went he was a popularpreacher; the multitude always thronged him and crowded round him, crying, "Hosanna." I think, if you had walked up tothe top of that hill of Calvary, and asked one of those men who cried out, "Crucify him, crucify him," "What do you say thatfor? Is he a bad man?" "No," he would have said, "he went about doing good." "Then why do you say 'crucify him?'" "BecauseRabbi Simeon gave me a shekel to help the clamor." So the multitude were much won by the money and influence of the priests.Butthey were glad to hear Christ after all. It was the shepherds that hated him, because he took away their traffic, becausehe turned the buyers and sellers out of the temple, diminished their dignity and ignored their pretensions; therefore, theycould not endure him. But the Shepherd of Israel mounted higher and higher; he gathered his sheep, carried the lambs in hisbosom; and he now stands acknowledged as the great shepherd of the sheep, who shall gather them into one flock and lead themtoheaven. Rowland Hill tells a curious tale, in his "Village Dialogues," about a certain Mr. Tiplash, a very fine intellectualpreacher, who, in one of his flights of oratory, said, "O Virtue, thou art so fair and lovely, if thou wert to come down uponearth, all men would love thee," with a few more pretty, beautiful things. Mr. Blunt, and honest preacher, who was in theneighborhood, was asked to preach in the afternoon, and he supplemented the worthy gentleman's remarks, by saying, "O Virtue,thou didst come on earth, in all thy purity and loveliness; but instead of being beloved and admired, the archers sorelyshot at thee and grieved thee; they took thee, Virtue, and hung thy quivering limbs upon a cross; when thou didst hang theredying they hissed at thee, they mocked thee, they scorned thee; when thou didst ask for water they gave thee vinegar to drink,mingled with gall; yea, when thou diedst thou hadst a tomb from charity, and that tomb, sealed by enmity and hatred." TheShepherd of Israel was despised, incarnate virtue was hated and abhorred; therefore fear not, Christians, take courage;for if your Master passed through it, surely you must.
To conclude: the text calls Christ the stone of Israel. I have heard a story-I cannot tell whether it is true or not-out ofsome of the Jewish rabbis; it is a tale, concerning the text, "The stone which the builders refused, the same is become theheadstone of the corner." It is said that when Solomon's temple was building, all the stones were brought from the quarryready cut and fashioned, and there were to be put. Amongst the stones was a very curious one; it seemedof no describable shape, it appeared unfit for any portion of the building. They tried it at this wall, but it would notfit; they tried it in another, but it could not be accommodated; so, vexed and angry, they threw it away. The temple was somany years building, that this stone became covered with moss, and grass grew around it. Everybody passing by laughed at thestone; they said Solomon was wise, and doubtless all the other stones were right; but as for that block, they might as wellsendit back to the quarry, for they were quite sure it was meant for nothing. Year after year rolled on, and the poor stonewas still despised, the builders constantly refused it. The eventful day came when the temple was to be finished and opened,and the multitude was assembled to see the grand sight. The builders said, "Where is the top-stone? Where is the pinnacle?"They little thought where the crowning marble was, until some one said, "Perhaps that stone which the builders refused ismeant tobe the top-stone." They then took it, and hoisted it to the top of the house; and as it reached the summit they foundit well adapted to the place. Loud hosannas made the welkin ring, as the stone which the builders refused, thus became theheadstone of the corner. So is it with Christ Jesus. The builders cast him away. He was a plebeian; he was of poor extraction;he was a man acquainted with sinners, who walked in poverty and meanness; hence the worldly-wise despised him. But when Godshallgather together, in one, all things that are in heaven and that are in earth, then Christ shall be the glorious consummationof all things.
"Christ reigns in heaven the topmost stone,
And well deserves the praise."
He shall be exalted; he shall be honored; his name shall endure as long as the sun, and all nations shall be blessed in him,yea, all generations shall call him blessed.