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النشر الإلكتروني

his name above one of its portals, and was refused. Its dome was surmounted by a colossal statue of Diana, which caught the sunlight of each morning on a golden shield.

In the neighborhood of this temple and within hearing of its elaborate worship, dwelt a humble body of believers in Christ. They were “a feeble folk like the cronies.” To them the apostle writes : Be of good courage! ye are the living parts of a grander sanctuary, whose glory shall endure when the walls of the temple of great Diana shall have crumbled to dust. For ye are "built upon the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom each several building, fitly framed together, groweth into a holy Temple in the Lord.”

In this passage we have a fine illustration of Paul's singular power of condensation. Here is ecclesiology in a nutshell. The text naturally falls apart; and in its five particulars we have a comprehensive monograph of the philosophy of the Church as a spiritual house, “a house not made with hands."

Christ the Cornerstone.- A few years ago the engineers of the Palestine Exploration Fund, by sinking shafts and opening galleries along the walls of the ancient Temple, came upon its primitive foundations seventy feet below the surface of the ground. At its lowest angle they found a stone four feet thick and fourteen broad, which they re

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garded, not without reason, as the primitive cornerstone. To their minds it was not improbable that this was the very stone which Isaiah had in mind when he uttered the Messianic prophecy, “Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone." known as "the binder," because of its obvious relation to the connecting walls. And this is precisely the relation of Christ to his Church; in whom "each several building is fitly framed together.”

The change from the whole building” to “each several building” in the Revised Version brings out the fact of unity in diversity. The Church is made up of denominations, as a building is composed of its several parts; but observe, each of the several parts rests on Christ.

So the Cornerstone becomes a touchstone of denominational legitimacy. The fact that any denomination calls itself "Christian" is of little or no significance. The question is, Does it accept Christ as Prophet, Priest and King? Does it receive salvation from him as the only Priest, its creed from him as the only Prophet, and its order's from him as the only King? If it be "broader" than Christ, it cannot rest upon him.

And Christ is also made the touchstone of ecclesiastical unity. We hear much sentimental vaporing, in these days, about the union of Christians, Jews, Moslems, Unitarians, et cetera, in one great fellowship; and this is alleged to be in pursuance of the prayer of Jesus "that they may all be one." It is, in truth, the very opposite of the spirit of Christ. He had no thought in his sacerdotal prayer of any possible union of friends and foes, but of such only as believe in him. He did not pray "that they may all be one"; but he did pray thus: “That they may all be one even as thou, Father, art in me and I in thee; that they also may be in us.” The basis of union, therefore, as marked out by the Master, is a vital and sympathetic oneness which finds its analogy in the hypostatic union of the Son with the Father and which rests on a cordial and absolute acceptance of Him as the only-begotten Son of God.

The purpose of the Church is to establish the kingdom of Jesus Christ on earth. To this end its ministry was ordained and commissioned: "Go ye into all the world and declare the evangel." This is the message of the Gospel—“Christ and him crucified.” Nothing else?

Nothing else ? Nothing else. Whatever the preacher's theme, it must serve as a thoroughfare leading to Christ. "Jews ask for signs and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, unto Jews a stumbling-block, and unto Gentiles foolishness; but unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power

of God and the wisdom of God.” No man can be a truly ordained and authenticated minister of Christ who does not make it his supreme business to magnify Christ's name and to exalt it above every other which is named in heaven or on earth; as he himself said, "I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto myself.''

And by the same token no man is a true and sincere member of the Christian Church whose life is not hid with Christ in God. The Christian religion is purely, in its last reduction, a personal relation with Christ. The Christian accepts him as his sacrifice for sin, abides in him as the branch abides in the vine, imitates him in the building of character, follows him in the path of daily duty, and is so vitally joined with him that he can say,

“My Lord, my life, my sacrifice,

My Saviour and my all!" The foundation of the Church is “the apostles and prophets”-a phrase used to designate the Scripture. In the Old Testament the prophets pointed forward to Christ; in the New Testament the apostles make record of his atonement as an accomplished fact; and the twofold Book is a complete revelation of the divine word and will.

I wonder whether those who are engaged in undermining the popular faith in the Scriptures are aware of what they are doing? "If the founda

? tions be destroyed, what can the righteous do ?”

The creed of the Church is derived solely from the Scriptures as the Word of God. The only Christ we have is the Christ there revealed to us. He said, "Search the Scriptures, .. for these are they which testify of me.” To impair their credibility is, therefore, to impugn the veracity of

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the only historic witnesses to the religion of Christ. If the truth of the Scriptures could be successfully assailed, we should be left mourning, like the Magdalene at the empty tomb: “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb and we know not where they have laid him.”

The moral code of the Church is also derived from the Scriptures. It is briefly contained in two great ethical symbols, to wit, the Decalogue and the Sermon on the Mount, to which must be added the personal example of Jesus as the Ideal Man. If the integrity of the Scriptures were to be destroyed, our Christian morality would have no better basis than that of the Hindus and Mohammedans. John Knox spoke truly when, being admonished of the wrath of Queen Mary, as he was going to Holyrood, with a blue Genevan cloak over his shoulder and a Bible under his arm, he

, replied, "All hell cannot prevail against the man that hath in his left hand a candle to illuminate his right!" But suppose that candle be put out, what then?

The very franchise of the Church's life is derived from the Scriptures. It has no other raison d'être. Its sole business is to propagate the Word for the conversion of the world; as it is written, “My word . . . shall not return unto me void; but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” We are asked derisively, “Is Christianity, then, a religion of a book ?" It is certainly the religion of

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