Isaiah 28:16
So this is what the Lord GOD says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; the one who believes will never be shaken.
Christ the CornerstoneW.M. Statham Isaiah 28:16
The Sure FoundationR. Tuck Isaiah 28:16
The Infatuation of SinW. Clarkson Isaiah 28:14, 15, 18-20
Incongruous ScorningIsaiah 28:14-22
Isaiah's ResponseSir E. Strachey, Bart.Isaiah 28:14-22
Jehovah Pronounces JudgmentE. Johnson Isaiah 28:14-22
Refuges of LiesN. D. Hillis, D. D.Isaiah 28:14-22
ScornersIsaiah 28:14-22
Scornful RulersIsaiah 28:14-22
A Foundation of RockJ. A. Davies, B. D.Isaiah 28:16-17
A Stone of ProofJ. Parker, D. D.Isaiah 28:16-17
Building on the RockIsaiah 28:16-17
Christ the One Solid FoundationH. W. Beecher.Isaiah 28:16-17
Foundation StonesJ. A. Alexander.Isaiah 28:16-17
God's FoundationJ. T. Murrish.Isaiah 28:16-17
God's Foundation for ManProf . J. Orr, D. D.Isaiah 28:16-17
God's Foundation for the Stability of His ChurchJ. Sherman.Isaiah 28:16-17
Human Systems no Foundation for the SoulJ. A. Davies, B. D.Isaiah 28:16-17
Is This Prophecy MessianicProf. Driver, D. D.Isaiah 28:16-17
Jesus Christ a StoneNye's AnecdotesIsaiah 28:16-17
Jesus Christ the Only FoundationS. Davies, M. A.Isaiah 28:16-17
Jesus Christ the Tested FoundationProf. J. Orr, D. D.Isaiah 28:16-17
The Characteristic of Our TimesG. Calthrop, M. A.Isaiah 28:16-17
The Element of PermanencyProf. Driver, D. D.Isaiah 28:16-17
The Equanimity of FaithH. Christopherson.Isaiah 28:16-17
The Equanimity of the BelieverH. Melvill, B. D.Isaiah 28:16-17
The Establishing Power of FaithA. L. R. Foote.Isaiah 28:16-17
The Foundation of GodA. Maclaren, D. D.Isaiah 28:16-17
The Foundation Stone of the ChurchS. Warren, LL. D.Isaiah 28:16-17
The Ground of a Sinner's HopeA. Ross, M. A.Isaiah 28:16-17
The Objective Ground of FaithA. L. R. Foote.Isaiah 28:16-17
The Quieting Antidote to HasteWayland Hoyt, D. D.Isaiah 28:16-17
The Stability of Christian Faith and HopeD. Thomas, D. D.Isaiah 28:16-17
The Stone Laid in ZionProf. S. R. Driver, D. D.Isaiah 28:16-17
The Sure FoundationW. Hancock, B. D.Isaiah 28:16-17
The Sure FoundationProf . J. Orr, D. D.Isaiah 28:16-17
The Tried FoundationW. M. Bunting.Isaiah 28:16-17
The Tried StoneW. H. Hutchings, M. A.Isaiah 28:16-17
The Tried StoneH. Clare.Isaiah 28:16-17
The Well-Tested Friend of HumanityD. Thomas, D. D.Isaiah 28:16-17
True CharacterHomilistIsaiah 28:16-17
UnhastingA. Cowe, M. A.Isaiah 28:16-17
The Judgments of GodW. Clarkson Isaiah 28:16-22

Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a Stone, a tried Stone, a precious Corner-stone, a sure Foundation. This stone we all know to be Christ, concerning whom all the prophets did testify. It is historically true that the Stone was laid in Zion, and what we have to treat of is the house. Here is the Foundation. Firm, as the eternal Rock, with its roots in God's own everlasting nature. The Foundation is not created; it is. God sends forth his Son to be the Savior of men. This foundation is laid deep in toil and tears, in humility and indignity. It is laid in the agony and bloody sweat, the cross and Passion. Yet there it is. None can move it. Nor can any soul of man find other foundation. This Foundation is designated in three ways.

I. IT IS A TRIED STONE. We are reminded of tried things. The Word of the Lord is a tried Word. Already prophets speak of the Christ as the tried Stone. The vision they have of him is not of a great Teacher simply, but of a Divine Redeemer, upon whose mighty work all generations of men may rest for redemption and life. The centuries have rolled away, and now history endorses prophecy. Generations of departed salute have testified that Christ is a Friend that loveth at all times - a Rock that no waters of sorrow, not even the waterfloods of death, can move.

II. IT IS A PRECIOUS CORNERSTONE. Yes; here the weight of the building has to come, the Cornerstone. Precious; for there is this description everywhere given of the Christ: "Beside me there is no Savior." He is the Pearl of great price. He is the Church's one Foundation. Precious in himself, as holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners. Precious, because of the living temple of redeemed souls which he supports. Precious in the Father's eyes, in the eyes of angels, and of all the great multitude of the redeemed.

III. A SURE FOUNDATION. That is what we all want in religion - certainty. We cannot do with a mere philosophic "quest." We want "rest." We do not want an ornate religion; we want rather to be able to say, "I know in whom I have believed." When the mind is palsied with doubt, when the heart is quaking with fear, then we experience the deepest misery possible to man; for the sky above us is soon lost to view if the rock beneath us is not firm and true. Heaven goes when faith goes. God himself declares, "Behold, I lay in Zion... a sure Foundation." - W.M.S.

Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone.
The prophet borrows his figure from the huge and costly foundation stones upon which the temple rested (1 Kings 5:17); and the thought which he desires to enforce is that in Zion there is an element of permanency, a constitutional fabric capable of resisting all shocks.

(Prof. S. R. Driver, D. D.)

The force of the figure in this verse is much enhanced by the statements of modern travellers in relation to the immense stones still remaining at the foundation of ancient walls.

(J. A. Alexander.)

to which Isaiah here looks is, of course, the theocracy centred at Zion, and represented by the Davidic dynasty, the continuance of which had been promised long since by Nathan to David (2 Samuel 7:13; cf. 23:5; 1 Kings 11:36). As the people of Israel, in Isaiah's view, is indestructible, so is the dynasty, which, since it was established, became the centre and pivot of the national life.

(Prof. Driver, D. D.)

? — The element of security to which the prophet appeals is opposed to the plan of an Egyptian alliance, and hence must be something not pointing entirely to a distant future, but having some reference to present needs. But it is true that a Messianic reference is included in the terms of the prophecy, as it was included similarly in the promise of permanency to David's dynasty.

(Prof. Driver, D. D.)

(Festival of St. Simon and St. Jude): — It is the first chapter out of the six which form the "Book of Woes" (Delitzsch). The Messianic prophecy, though full of consolation, "turns its dark side" — for it has one — to the scoffing magnates of Jerusalem (ver. 14). The zeal of the prophet, manifested in this lesson, against vice and unbelief, may have led to its selection for this festival of St. Simon and St. Jude. The Church has combined them together — these two apostles — in one commemoration, perhaps, among other reasons, because they shared in an especial degree the same spirit of zeal. St. Simon was called the Zealot, it may be, because the quality of zeal was very marked in his temperament; and St. Jude has the name Thaddaeus, probably for the same reason. At any rate, his Epistle is one of denunciation — a "Book of Woes" against ungodly persons.


1. No one person can satisfy the "majestically unique description" but Christ. The Divine purpose is spoken of as if already accomplished. Behold, I "have laid" in Zion. It was eternally decreed. It is the acme and explanation of Israel's election and history.

2. It was no new figure. Isaiah himself had spoken of Jehovah as "a stone of stumbling" (Isaiah 8:14). We must go back to Jacob's parting blessing upon his sons to find the same figure in patriarchal days (Genesis 49:24). Joseph's history was a picture of the rejecting of "the stone" and of its final triumph. The Psalmist foretold the same vicissitude (Psalm 118:22). Our Lord alluded to "the stone" as signifying Himself (Matthew 21:42). St. Peter, when brought before the council, denounced the Jews for setting at nought this "stone" (Acts 4:11). The same apostle quotes the text in his first Epistle (chap. 2:6) with a variance, and St. Paul a portion of it (Romans 9:33).

3. The frequency of its use or reference shows some especial fitness in the designation. At once the ideas of solidity and strength suggest themselves. Other ideas are connected with "the stone" as a figure of our Lord, by Zechariah. It is "a stone of seven eyes," meaning doubtless that the seven gifts of the Spirit rested upon Him, and setting Him before us as a Being full of light and knowledge.


1. A "tried" stone. We miss this in the quotation of the text in the New Testament. Both St. Peter and St. Paul cite the LXX, which omits it, and cite it freely, one of them blending it with another prophecy. The word "tried" may be interpreted also "trial stone" or "stone of probation." Both interpretations are true of Jesus Christ. Christ was tried and "tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin," and through His sufferings was not only proved, but "approved of God" (Acts 2:22). He is also a stone which puts others to the test, like the Lydian stone, which was said to distinguish the genuine metal and to detect the presence of alloy — to separate the true from the false (Luke 2:34). Throughout our Lord's life we see, as He came in contact with men, this discerning of spirits, but especially during His Passion.

2. A "precious cornerstone." St. Peter says, "elect, precious" — chosen, that is, of God, and precious both in itself and in relation to the building of which it was the cornerstone. A cornerstone is the stone of junction, where the walls meet. The expression in its highest sense may indicate the union between the Divine and human natures in the One Person of the Word; or, in a less elevated sense, it may refer to the union of Jews and Gentiles in the one Body of Christ (Ephesians 2:15).

3. A "sure foundation." A foundation stone implies a building — implies here the Church, and the "cornerstone" does the same (Ephesians 2:20, ἀκρογωνιαῖος) — the stone at the extreme corner. The image is somewhat different — the one points to the base, the other to the extreme angle of the building. Christ is "Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last" (Revelation 22:13). There is no contradiction between the statement that the Church is "built upon the foundation of the apostles," and that "no other foundation can be laid" "than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 3:11). Christ is, St. explains, "Fundamentum fundamentorum." We are built upon the apostles, because through the apostles we are built upon Christ. He is a "sure" foundation, so that the gates of hell, though they may war against, yet can they not overcome the Church. The foundation is "most surely laid" by "the Lord God Himself."


1. As Christ is the foundation stone, so each Christian is a stone built upon Him, and deriving his spiritual life from Him. St. Peter speaks of Christ as a "living stone." The apostle passes here from the metaphor to the reality. "Dead as a stone" is a common saying; but the stone which the builders rejected came forth from the tomb, not only living, but life giving. Each Christian, "baptized into one body," and living in fellowship with Christ, is a living stone from contact with Him (1 Peter 2:5). See, then, that we are living in union with Christ.

2. We are not only built upon Christ, but are cemented together with other stones in the walls of the "spiritual house." We are members of a Divine society, and not isolated Christians. Hence love of the brethren is a duty which devolves upon every Christian — union with them as well as with Christ, as we are cemented together by the Spirit of the Lord.

3. Though living stones differ from ordinary stones in that the latter have no wills or powers of motion, but are simply passive in the hands of the quarryman or mason; yet the living stone depends for its vitality upon the absolute surrender of the will into the hands of God, so that it may be hewn and shaped and polished, by the trials of this life, as the Master. Builder thinks best.

(W. H. Hutchings, M. A.)


1. A stone.(1) To convey the idea of stability. The hopes of God's people in all ages were to have the most substantial foundation to rest upon.(2) Because of the ides of its durability. It has endured through all ages to the present day, and it will endure to the end of time.(3) Life is also attributed by the apostles to this stone.

2. "A tried stone." Completely, adapted to answer all the ends for which it is laid.

3. "A precious cornerstone." Examine its excellences. What Solomon said of true wisdom is strictly applicable here — "it is more precious than rubles." "Precious" for the situation which it occupies; because it is the bond which unites the Church of God in all ages. The patriarchal, the Levitical, the Christian Churches are all one in Christ Jesus. All the people of God, however denominated — wherever placed — in whatever age or circumstances — feel the uniting power of this cornerstone. And it binds and unites the Church militant and the Church triumphant.

4. To complete and give greater interest and solidity to the hopes of His people, it is called "a sure foundation." Observe by whom it is laid. Not by mortal hands, but by the Founder of the universe. "Sure!" How vain have been all the assaults of infidelity.

II. IT IS NECESSARY THAT WE SHOULD ASCERTAIN OUR CHARACTERS, and see by those tests which God has furnished, whether we have built on this foundation. Christians are related to Christ after the analogy of stones to the foundation. And what does this imply?

1. Separation from all other purposes. Those who are thus separated are —

2. Appropriated to the especial purpose for which this stone is laid in Zion, namely, the building of a spiritual house. The manner in which Solomon's temple was built, was a type of the manner in which this building is to be erected. Each stone was previously squared and polished before it was placed in its permanent situation. It is expressly said of these stones, that they were made ready before they were brought thither; so that no sound of either hammer or axe was heard in the house. This is to teach us that every living stone, to occupy a place in the celestial temple, must be hewn out of nature's quarry, by the ministration of God's Word, by Christian communion, etc., and squared and polished before it is placed in the temple.

3. These stones are themselves endued with spiritual life. By their conjunction with Christ, they obtain a spiritual, celestial life. Do you ask, what is the ultimate design of all this? It is that all the stones may be brought together, and form a fit habitation for Deity Himself (Ephesians 2:19-22).

III. THE PRINCIPLE BY WHICH WE COME TO THIS LIVING STONE, are attached to the building, and become partakers of the privileges. "He that believeth." What is the believing here spoken of! We must look at the analogy. It is the resting of the soul on the foundation God has laid.


(S. Warren, LL. D.)


1. It is a stone; for solidity, stability, and durableness.

2. A tried stone.(1) His obedience was tried, and it appeared upon trial that it was perfect and universal. His meekness was tried by the abusive treatment He met with from men. His patience and resignation to the Divine will were tried, when the bitter cup of the wrath of God was put into His hand. His love to His Father and His zeal for His honour were tried, and they were found an unquenchable flame, that glowed, without once languishing, through the whole of His life. His love to men — to sinners, to enemies, was tried; tried to the uttermost; it was put to the trial whether His own life or theirs was most dear to Him. In short, this stone was thoroughly tried by God and man, and it still remained firm without a flaw. Jesus also has been tried under the capacity of a Saviour, by millions and millions of depraved, wretched, ruined creatures, who have always found Him perfectly able, and as perfectly willing, to save to the very uttermost all that come unto God through Him.(2) It may be rendered, "a stone of trial"; or, a "trying stone"; this is the true touchstone of men's characters. Only propose Jesus Christ to them as a Saviour, and according as they receive or reject Him, you may know their true character, and their everlasting doom. This touchstone has discovered many glittering virtues to be but dross. The Pharisees and scribes had a high character among the Jews for piety, till this trying stone was applied to them; and then it appeared what they were. This test made strange discoveries also in the heathen world. Many of the sages of Greece and Rome had a high reputation for wisdom and virtue. But when this stone was pointed out to them as the only foundation of their hopes, they rejected it with proud disdain, and thought it much more safe to depend upon their own virtue and merit, than upon the virtue and merit of one that was crucified like a malefactor. And thus it appeared they were not truly good and virtuous. Let this touchstone be applied likewise to the men of this generation, and it will discover a great many counterfeits. As this is a trying-stone with regard to men's present characters, so it will be also as to their final doom and everlasting state.

3. This is a precious stone.

4. This stone is a sure foundation. "Such (says Mr. Hervey) as no pressure can shake; equal, more than equal to every weight; even to sin, the heaviest load in the world. The Rock of Ages, such as never has failed, never will fail those humble penitents who cast their Burden upon the Lord Redeemer; who roll all their guilt, and fix their whole hopes upon this immovable basis." The foundation is sure, because it is of Divine appointment.

5. This is a cornerstone. Jesus Christ may be called a cornerstone, to signify His peculiar importance in this spiritual building.

II. THIS STONE IS A FOUNDATION. Jesus Christ must lie at the bottom of all, or the superstructure cannot stand. To join our own righteousness with His in our justification, is to form a foundation of solid stone, and hay, straw, and stubble, blended together.


1. Have you ever seen the utter insufficiency of every other foundation? You will never build upon Christ, while you can build anywhere else with hopes of safety.

2. Have you ever been sensible of the preciousness, the excellency, and the stability of this Divine foundation? If you have ever built upon Christ, it has Been at once an act of the last necessity, and of the most free choice.

3. Where is your habitual dependence? Is it upon Jesus Christ alone? Or is it upon something else?

4. Have you been formed into proper stones for this spiritual kingdom?

(S. Davies, M. A.)

I. THE LORD DECLARES THAT HE HAS LAID THIS GREAT FOUNDATION. "Behold, I lay in Zion a foundation." Here, as in many other parts of Scripture, the great work of the salvation of sinners is traced up to its fountainhead.


III. THE LORD SETS FORTH THE BLESSEDNESS OF THOSE WHO BUILD UPON IT. "He that believeth shall not make haste."

(W. Hancock, B. D.)

In the preceding context the prophet speaks of unsafe refuges. To bring sinners to the apprehension of the Saviour, God announces the declaration of the text.

I. THE IMPORTANCE WHICH GOD ATTACHES TO THE DECLARATION which He was about to make. He introduces it with the solemn asseveration, "Therefore, thus saith the Lord." This is further apparent from the solemn manner in which He calls the minds of all to it. "Behold, I lay." He thus summons the attention of men and angels. It can be no trivial matter to which the infinitely wise God thus summons the attention of all. The truth is, He is about to erect a stately temple, unspeakably more glorious than either of the temples that stood once on Mount Moriah. They were only types and obscure shadows of this splendid structure. It is a temple which shall be built up forever. The stones of it are lively stones, being the immortal souls of men. It shall be filled with the glory of the God of the whole earth. Never shall "Ichabod, the glory is departed," be written upon its walls. But to employ another figure of the same signification, God is about to build a glorious city. But what is meant by the temple and city? They refer to the Church of the living God, which is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone. The words have also a reference to sinners of mankind. God may be viewed as laying the foundation stone of a gracious plan for redeeming them from sin and hell.

II. IT IS GOD WHO HAS LAID THE FOUNDATION IN ZION. "I lay." None else had sufficient knowledge to discover a safe and suitable method of acceptance. Besides, He alone had it in His power to lay such a foundation. Here is matter of comfort. Had it been laid by another, how could we have had the same evidence that it was safe? Might it not have been disallowed by God? But since it is the doing of the Lord,. who may. prohibit, us from building upon it? and who shall cast any reflection upon its security? Here a question suggests itself, and it is, When was this foundation laid? God speaks of it as if He was laying it at the time when He used these words. But it will be remembered that there is no succession of time with God. It was laid in decree from all eternity. The saints of the former dispensations sought it and relied upon it for safety. But again, this foundation was laid, in the fulness of time, by Christ's coming into the world, and offering Himself a sacrifice for sin.

III. THIS STONE IS LAID IN ZION, — in the Church. Christ is the foundation upon which it is built. Without His mission and death no Church could have been erected. And from Him proceeded all the ordinances and institutions by which the blessings of redemption are communicated to her members. From Him likewise proceeds all the invisible grace which is necessary to gather, edify, and purify a Church. Again, it is in the ordinances and assemblies of the Church that He is chiefly to be found.

IV. THE STONE LAID FOR A FOUNDATION HAS BEEN TRIED. Though Christ had not been tried, the fact that He was God as well as man would have been sufficient to warrant our strongest confidence in Him. But in what respects was Christ tried and proved?

1. Like Adam, His innocence was tried. His temper was severely tested. it was tried by His disciples.

2. Christ's confidence in the promises made to Him was greatly tried. God had promised that to Him would be the gathering of the people, and that the heathen and the uttermost parts of the earth would be given Him for His possession; but, instead of witnessing the fulfilment of these promises, He was rejected and despised of men; and His retinue often amounted to no more than twelve fishermen; and yet He continued to trust that all would be accomplished in due time.

3. His qualifications to act the part of our Saviour have likewise been proven.(1) His mercy has been tried. It has been proven by all who have applied to Him for deliverances of any kind; and they have always found it very tender.(2) Christ's readiness to hear prayer has been tried.(3) His power has been likewise proved. He has completely demonstrated His ability to save. What comfort is here for the awakened! In coming to Christ for peace and salvation, they incur no risk.


1. It is easy to see some reasons why He is called precious.(1) He is precious to God on account of the ineffable love that subsists between Him and the Son, who is His delight.(2) He is precious to the Father, likewise, on account of the work of redemption which the Father gave Him to do, and which He cheerfully undertook and faithfully performed.(3) To believers He possesses transcendent excellence on account of the nature and perfections of Deity with which He is invested, and because He is a suitable and compassionate Saviour.

2. But why is He also termed a cornerstone? This seems intended to teach us that Christ must be all in all in the work of our salvation.


1. God has laid Him for a foundation, and the foundation of the Lord standeth sure.

2. That Christ is a sure foundation is evident from the fact that He stood His trial.

3. It is manifest also, from the many promises and oaths made to Himself, and to His people, through Him.

4. In addition to all other grounds of security, be it remembered, that while our first representative was a creature, the second is the Lord from heaven, the Creator.

VII. HE THAT BELIEVETH ON CHRIST SHALL NOT MAKE HASTE. This mode of expression is evidently borrowed from the idea of a house about to fall — the inmates making haste to get away from under it. When an unexpected inundation has sapped away the sand or earth on which the house was built, then there is a running to and fro: everyone tries to secure his own safety, and to give warning to his relatives. And confusion and haste far greater than this will attend those who now cover themselves with lies and falsehood. There are three seasons of this haste — the season of death, the season of the resurrection, and the season of judgment. These are times of the greatest alarm and confusion to all who stumble upon the stone laid in Zion; but the case is very different with him that trusteth in the Lord.

(A. Ross, M. A.)

I. MAN NEEDS A FOUNDATION ON WHICH TO BUILD HIS HOPES FOR TIME AND FOR ETERNITY. Because of his nature, the nature of sin, the character of God; man's duties and responsibilities; the faculties and capabilities of his immortal soul.

II. MAN CANNOT LAY A SUFFICIENT FOUNDATION. The history of the world shows that humanity has ever been trying to do this. The various systems of religion. Human reason has been deified. Reliance on God's abstract mercy. Correct creeds, good works — all fail in the time of man's necessity.

III. GOD HAS LAID A FOUNDATION. While men and angels would have failed, God gave His Son, foundation for pardon, purity, peace, heaven.


1. By persecution — Church and individual.

2. By trust — all classes, all times, under all circumstances, in life and in death.

V. THE ASSURANCE OF THE TEXT. "Shall not make haste." No guilt too deep for pardon; no trial and temptation too great for consoling grace; nothing beyond the power of Christ.

(J. T. Murrish.)

I. THE FOUNDATION. Christ. In a very deep sense Jesus Christ is the foundation of the whole of the Divine dealings with us; and historically, since the day on which He appeared on earth, He has more and more manifestly and completely been the foundation of the whole of the history of the world. But passing these aspects, let us rather fix upon those which are more immediately in the prophet's mind. Jesus Christ is the foundation laid for all men's security against every tempest or assault. We may look at the same thought under somewhat different aspects.

1. He is the foundation for all our thinking and opinions, for all our belief and our knowledge. In Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom, and whatsoever of solid fact men can grasp in their thinking in regard of all the most important things with which they come into relation, is to be found in the life and death of Jesus Christ, and in the truths which that reveals. He is the foundation of all our knowledge of God, of all our true knowledge of ourselves, of all our true knowledge of duty, of all our true knowledge of the relations between the present and the future, between man and God. And in His life, in the history of His death and resurrection, is the only foundation for any real knowledge of the awful mysteries that lie beyond the grave. Certitude is in Him.

2. He is the foundation of all restful love.

3. He is the foundation for all noble and pure living. He is the fixed pattern to which it may be conformed. Otherwise man's notions of what is virtuous and good are much at the mercy of conventional variations of opinion.

4. As the one sufficient motive for holy and beauteous living, He is the foundation. "If ye love Me, keep My commandments." They that find the reason and the motive for goodness and purity in Christ's love to them and their answering love to Christ, will build a far fairer fabric of a life than any others, let them toil at the building as they may.

II. THE TRIED PRECIOUSNESS OF THE FOUNDATION. Because it is a tested stone, it therefore is a precious stone. There are two kinds of testing — the testing from the assaults of enemies, and the testing by the building upon it of friends. And both these methods of proof have been applied, and it has stood the test.

III. THE PROCESS OF BUILDING. The metaphor seems to be abandoned in the last words of our text, but it is only apparently so. "He that believeth shall not make haste." The act of building is simple faith in Jesus Christ.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

This passage represents in a word just very much the contrast between God's way and man's way of doing things. Man, according to his natural ideas, is all for doing things by his own efforts. What he has and what he does he must and shall produce from himself. He must invent, he must devise, he must judge, he must plan, he must execute, and God is to be ignored. His science is to be a science from which God is excluded, and His name is not to be mentioned. His social theories are to be social theories rounded off and complete in themselves, and God is not to be allowed to touch them. His moral life is to be built up upon its own foundations, and God is not to be called in for help. God's way of doing things is the very opposite of this. In His way of doing things men also are called upon to put forth all the efforts they can, but it is in building up on the foundations He has laid for them, not in laying a foundation for themselves. He calls on them to put forth their efforts in doing, what they can do, and not in attempting to do what they never can accomplish.

(Prof . J. Orr, D. D.)

I. If history teaches us anything, it is surely this — that MAN NEEDS GOD TO LAY HIS FOUNDATION FOR HIM, and that he cannot dispense with God's help.

1. In the matter of thought man is laid under this very peculiar condition — that, on the one hand he needs a foundation of certainty in regard to the great questions and subjects of existence, — those great questions on which men's minds have tortured and perplexed themselves in all ages — the questions of God, the soul, and the hereafter, on which to build up his life; and, on the other hand, he cannot give himself this certainty. Men need a foundation of assurance on these great questions in order that their individual lives, their institutions, their societies even, may be built upon a strong and stable basis. "I dare say you feel as I do," says one of the speakers in a conversation with , "how very hard, or almost impossible, is the attainment of any certainty about questions such as these in the present life. And yet I should deem him a coward who did not prove what is said about them to the uttermost, or whose heart failed him before he had examined them on every side. For he should persevere till he has achieved one of two things, either he should discover or be taught the truth about them; or, if this is impossible, I would have him take the best and most irrefragable of human theories, and let this be the raft upon which he sails through life — not without risk, as I admit, if he cannot find some word of God which will more safely and surely carry him."

2. It is the same in regard to moral life. Men seek to build up their own moral life and the morality of their societies on a basis which shall be independent of religion; but how little they succeed, how abortive have been their efforts, all history might again be cited to prove. God lays the foundation of the true moral life in that new nature He bestows on us in Christ, in the light and power that are imparted to us through Him, and without this divinely laid foundation the builders build in vain.

3. Is it otherwise with religion, with the relation of man to God, and the state and standing of men before God? Here, too, men have ever been found, and are found still, putting forth painful efforts to secure their own peace; going about, as Paul said, to establish their own righteousness, not knowing that Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth. Yet how hollow, and temporary, and uncertain is the peace gained by all such efforts; how far removed from the glorious certainty of reconciliation and acceptance with God which the Gospel of Jesus can impart!

II. It is the great central assertion of the Christian faith THAT GOD HAS LAID FOR MANKIND SUCH A FOUNDATION AS IT NEEDS, and that this foundation has been laid in Jesus Christ. With Christ's coming into the world a new era began in the history of the world, a new direction was given to the thoughts of men, a new revelation of God was made to them, a new gospel of sonship was preached to them, a new light was thrown on human nature, human needs, and human destiny, new hopes and prospects were opened up for humanity. On this foundation the race has gone on building up ever since. But there are those who tell us that this is passing away — that this may have done for the past, but will not do for the future; that this foundation stone is becoming obsolete, and that men must have done with it, and leave it behind. They must, in obedience to truth and the advance in the world's ideas, part with it. Well, the text itself does not anticipate that this stone laid by God, being planted there, will remain there without being put to test and trial. It is not a stone which God is to lay, and no one dispute the laying of it — which God is to lay, and no one refuse to build upon it — which God is to lay, and no one contest its right to be there.

III. THIS SUBJECT HAS A RELATION TO THE PREACHER. We are told in the text that it is God who is laying, and has laid, this foundation stone on which everything is to be built up. It is the preacher's function to unite himself with this great purpose of God. His function is to exhibit and commend this foundation stone. It is the preacher's duty to clear it of the human rubbish which from time to time may have been heaped upon it; to stand upon it himself, and to induce others to stand upon it too, and to rear their life, their work, everything, upon this foundation.

IV. BUT THE TEXT BESIDES HAS A RELATION TO THE HEARER. It is a matter of infinite importance for hearers of the Gospel to recognise the preciousness and importance of this stone which God has laid; for us all that we should ourselves come to this stone and build our lives and hopes upon it. How great the comfort to those in spiritual darkness and perplexity to know that it is not left to them to lay the foundation stone of their spiritual peace; but that God has laid it for them, and that all they have to do is to build on that sure and tried foundation! Jesus Himself has identified Himself with this stone, and has warned us that men cannot come into collision with Him and not suffer grievous spiritual harm.

(Prof . J. Orr, D. D.)

1. This foundation was planned in the eternal counsels of Jehovah.

2. It was actually laid in the incarnation and sufferings of Jesus Christ.

3. It is proclaimed in the preaching of the Gospel

(J. Sherman.)




1. He measures it by the law of rectitude. He lave "judgment" to the line, etc.

2. He tests it by the dispensation of His government. "Hail shall sweep away," etc. Truly, "other foundation can no man lay," etc.


A tried stone.
"A tried stone," literally, a stone of proof; and that may be regarded in either of two senses or in both.

1. It is a stone of proof, because it stands every test that can be applied to it. Praise no stone until you have tested it. Laud no doctrine until you have tried it in the marketplace, in the sick chamber, in the valley of the shadow of the deepest distress; then come forward and say what the stone was worth. When you hear the last patented religion praised, pay no heed to the trivial eulogium; it is a patent that has not been put to the proof; it has done nothing for the world; it has no long, noble, dignified history behind it; it glitters, but it has not been proved in life's long night of pain and restlessness and sorrow. Herein it is true that antiquity signifies experience, uses that can be employed for purposes of inference and solid deduction. In this sense Jesus Christ was a stone of proof: He was tried morning, noon, and night, in the cold and in the heat, in all the variation of life's changeful scene; and this is the record which is made of Him by those who have followed Him throughout. "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever," — most precious when most needed, strongest when the enemy is most importunate, completest in all attribute, faculty, and grace when hell gathers itself up for final tremendous onslaught upon His dignity and worth. Is it too much to ask that those who have tested Christ and known Him to be s stone of proof should say so publicly, privately, quietly, emphatically, and gratefully?

2. Then, the second sense in which the test would hold good would be that Jesus Christ tries every character. Not only is Jesus Christ Himself tried, but He tries every man. Therefore many have left Him. He tries whether the heart is giving itself in full consecration to His service, or whether it is trifling with the occasion, yielding to the spirit of compromise and concession. In the Church there is but one badge, one symbol, one password; it is not genius, learning, intellectual capacity, profound acquisition in difficult subjects, — it is the Cross. Therefore so few men understand Christianity. He is a Christian who has no self; he has denied himself; he has said "No" to himself. This is a conquest which is only won in solitude; this is a victory of which a man need not speak, because his whole life tells the tale in simplest eloquence.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

I. JESUS CHRIST IS THE FOUNDATION STONE OF THAT SYSTEM OF DOCTRINE WHICH GOD HAS REVEALED IN HIS WORD. In every age of the world too many have been found who employ all their time in laying the foundation, without being able to build thereupon with any pleasure to themselves or advantage to others. And the reason is, rather than build on the "Rock of Ages," they are for associating with the foundation, stones which are only designed for the superstructure. Now, the foundation is to be laid of mere grace, in the atonement of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. This is the chief doctrine of Christianity, and is the basement of all the others. This foundation is impregnable.

II. JESUS CHRIST IS A TRIED FOUNDATION STONE. The word "tried" bears three meanings in Holy Scripture. Sometimes it means to elect or choose, sometimes to prove or put to the test, and sometimes to approve. Answerably to these views, Jesus Christ was, from eternity, "chosen of God" to be the basis of the Christian system, the foundation of individual faith, and the "cornerstone" of His believing people in their collective and corporate character. In these capacities He has been openly, solemnly, severely experimented and put to the test. And the result of the whole has been His complete approval.

1. He has been "tried," in point of true and faithful attachment to all the great interests which we have mentioned, by the sufferings to which He subjected Himself in support of them.

2. He has been "tried" in reference to the strength and security of the fabric, by the unfailing success of all attempts to build upon it.

3. He has been "tried" by the entire failure of all attempts to undermine the foundation or shake the building.

(H. Clare.)

This is historically true and verifiable. In science we have a process called verification. A law of nature, however strong the induction by which it is supported may seem to be, is not regarded as scientifically or perfectly established till it is brought to the test of verification — that is, until men by experiment or new experience have put it to the trial, and found that their induction holds the field. And so in a sense we may say it has been with Jesus Christ. This stone has been tested by time, and we have now centuries of verification to fall back upon. In many ways, in nearly all possible ways, this stone has been tested, and it has come victoriously out of them all. It has been tried by the upheavals of society in times of the greatest social and political convulsion. It has been tried by the fires of persecution; for often have the rage and enmity of man done their worst against it. It has been tried by error and corruption — by the faithlessness of the builders themselves, who sought to remove it from its place, and put some other stone in its stead. It has been tried in the fires of controversy, and by the corroding influences of scepticism. All that the intellect or wit of man could do has been employed to destroy it. It has been tested in a negative respect by the failure of men to find an adequate substitute for it. Men have tried from the beginning to remove this stone, and find a substitute for it. They have sought for substitutes in science, in philosophy, in culture, but they have not been able to find them. I could quote the confessions of many of our leaders of modern unbelief who think they see the old foundations going, but who sorrowfully confess that they have nothing adequate to put in the place of Christianity, or to restore to man the hopes of which they have deprived him. Finally, this stone has been tested in the most effectual way of all by men actually coming to it, and trying whether it will bear the weight they need to lean on it. And who that has thus tried the religion of Jesus experimentally has not found that it can do all, or more than all, for them that their highest spiritual life requires?

(Prof. J. Orr, D. D.)


1. He is the foundation of Christianity as a theological and religious system.

(1)Of all Christian doctrine.

(2)Of all the authentic institutions of Christianity. He is the foundation of all the public worship of Almighty God.

(3)So He is the pillar and ground of the morality of the Christian system.

2. He is the foundation of personal confidence and salvation.

3. He is the "cornerstone" of the general Church — of His people in their associated character.

(1)As the "cornerstone" of His Church He sustains to it a natural relation.

(2)He unites the various parts of the building.

(3)He supports the system. "On this rock will I build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

(4)He is the ornament and glory of the Church, fitly, neatly, gracefully, beautifully "framed together in Him, it groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord," and shall finally be presented "a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing."


(W. M. Bunting.)

Man's destiny depends upon his character. In it are the germs of Paradise and the elements of Tophet. It is our blessedness to know that He who came to give the world a new and holy character is no empirical or charlatanic reformer, but one who has been thoroughly "tried" in the glorious work.

I. HE HAS BEEN "TRIED" BY THE MISSION HE UNDERTOOK. He came here to give such a knowledge of the nature, the love, the relations, and the claims of God as would effect a moral restoration of the world. Salvation consisteth in the knowledge of God. But in His God-revealing mission, how was He tried? His love, the root of all excellence, was tried in its two great branches of piety and philanthropy. In prosecuting His Divine undertaking He became so completely the victim of human and hellish malignity that He seemed to be forsaken of His Father. Was not this trying to His piety? — trying to His loving confidence in the everlasting Father? Yet He bore the test. He was tried in His philanthropy also. What had He to gain for Himself for His amazing self-sacrifice? Nothing but the Cross. And yet these sufferings, instead of cooling the ardour or dimming the lustre of this heavenly fire, made it more intense and more radiant.


1. The scrutiny of His contemporaneous enemies has done so. He lived His public life under a system of keen-eyed and vigilant espionage. The eye of malignant scrutiny glared on Him at every turn. Every test that could be invented was applied in order to convict Him of wrong. But how triumphantly He passed through the ordeal! Even Pilate, who, overborne by public clamour, pronounced the sentence, confessed belief in His innocence by washing his hands in the open court. The day of Pentecost brought new and resistless testimony to His rectitude.

2. The scrutiny of His succeeding enemies has done so. He has had keen-eyed enemies from Celsus, the Epicurean who wrote his "Logos Alethes," down to the hostile critics of the present day. Strauss of Germany, and Renan of France, men of signal ability and high attainments, stand prominently amongst those who have submitted Christ to the most crucial of hostile criticism in order to prove Him unworthy of the unbounded faith of man as the Son of God and the Saviour of the world. But who that has read the works of Neander, Rothe, Tholuck, Ullmann, Dorner, Lange, Hengstenberg, including not a few able French and English authors who have answered those hostile critics, does not feel that Christ has stood well the severest of these tests?

III. HE HAS BEEN "TRIED" BY THE INFLUENCE HE HAS EXERTED ON HUMANITY. If every tree is to be judged by its fruits, it is natural to ask, what has been the fruit of Christ's history upon the world? And here we may raise two questions —

1. What has been His influence upon His faithful followers? Ask them if Christ has been to them according to His Word. We fear not the reply. Those of His followers who have studied Him most profoundly, and followed Him most loyally, have ever uttered with the greatest emphasis, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."

2. What has been His general influence upon the world? Has His influence been as unique as His personal character revealed in the Evangelists? Undoubtedly, yes. And this wide, ever-growing influence is, on the whole, salutary. It has always been in favour of the highest intelligence, liberty, morality, social order, and true progress. He stands today, in the mind of humanity, more powerful and more glorious than ever! Why this? One reason is, His character answers to the highest ideal of moral excellence that rises to the souls of men.Another reason is, His spirit gives to man the highest life. Conclusion: The subject suggests —

1. An encouragement to Christians. Our religion is no experiment. We are resting on one for our guidance and happiness who has borne the test of ages.

2. A warning to infidels.(1) In the light of the thoughts we have propounded does not your opposition to Christ appear impious?(2) To oppose Him is to set yourself against the heavens, against omnipotence itself. To oppose Him is futile.(3) It is inhuman. In opposing Him you are sinning against the interest of your species. Who has helped your race as Jesus has?

3. An invitation to all. Your character is your spiritual house, your spiritual world, that in which you will spend an existence either of misery or of bliss. The only true foundation of that house is Christ.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

When the men of Ely contemplated building their cathedral they distrusted the loose, unstable fen country; and in order to have a foundation they dug deep into the fenny soil, and laid stones and mortar and cement there in great abundance, and upon this foundation they reared their noble cathedral. It stood decade after decade, but of late years it showed signs of settling down, and men tried to remedy its precarious condition without full success. But lately they made a most important discovery, so we have read. They dug deep through the concrete foundation that had been laid of yore, and there, some twenty feet beneath it, they found rock, rock which had always been there, but which the builders had not known or found. And today works are on foot to unite the cathedral with the rock. When this has been done they know the cathedral will stand.

(J. A. Davies, B. D.)

There have been systems offered to men as the basis of life; but time has tested them, and they have been "found wanting." Men had not gone deep enough. Positivism, secularism, humanitarianism, and such systems fail because they do not go deep enough. They do not reach, nor build upon, the rock. And men have made foundations for themselves other than those that are laid, but find these cannot bear the weight of all the years. Time has told against their foundations; and they must dig down through them, dig deeper, and unite their lives to the "Rock of Ages." Down through the man-laid, deceptive foundations of self-righteousness, self-will, and self-sufficiency, or of a profession of faith that has no substance in it, or of worldly and intellectual possessions, right down through these they must dig until they reach the rock, and there by faith they must fix and fasten their lives upon Christ.

(J. A. Davies, B. D.)

I would rather have a mere shanty of deal boards, if it was safe on s rock, than I would have the most pretentious building if it only rested on quicksand.

( John Wesley.)

Macaulay once imagined that in some far distant day a "traveller from New Zealand might, in the midst of a vast solitude, take his stand on a broken arch of London Bridge to sketch the ruins of St. Paul's." Such may happen. Neither London, nor St. Paul s, nor aught that is human on the earth is proof against the mouldering breath of time. How blessed the knowledge, how soul-inspiring the assurance that He on whom we are building our all for eternity will remain "the same yesterday, today, and forever."

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

Men who stand on any other foundation than the Rock, Christ Jesus, are like birds who build their nests in trees by the side of rivers. The bird sings in the branches and the river sings below, but all the while the waters are undermining the soil about the roots, till in some unsuspected hour, the tree falls with a crash into the stream, and then the nest is sunk, the home is gone, and the bird is a wanderer. But birds that hide their young in the clefts of the rock are undisturbed, and after every winter coming again, they find their nests awaiting them, and all their life-long brood in the same places, undisturbed by stream or storm.

(H. W. Beecher.)

Nye's Anecdotes.
Two Jews, one recently converted to Christ, the other strongly opposed to and incensed against his brother because of his renunciation of Judaism, were walking together in warm debate. Being much angered, the opponent of Christ said to his companion, "As for your Jesus of Nazareth, I think no more of Him than of this stone that is in our path." Grieved, but not disheartened, the disciple of Christ said, as he picked up the stone and held it in his hand, "And I, too, think of Jesus Christ as a stone; but to me He is the Foundation stone laid in Zion, the Elect stone, the Tried stone, the precious Cornerstone. But to you, my brother," he added in deep sorrow, "Jesus is a Stone of stumbling and a Rock of offence, that may fall in judgment upon you, even as I build upon Him in safety and mercy."

(Nye's Anecdotes.)

He that believeth shall not make haste.
If you observe attentively the works of God you will perceive what may be called a leisurely growth. But this ill accords with our natural inclinations. We would fain be at once what we can only become by degrees. Neither is such a remark limited in its application to matters which are wholly terrestrial. It may be said to hold good in a still greater degree when spiritual concerns are brought under review. But God, who precisely knows what is most for our advantage, has determined against any sudden transition. Many of the most brilliant promises of the Bible are made to those who "wait upon the Lord."

I. THE CHRISTIAN THRIVES BETTER FROM NOT BEING PERMITTED TO MAKE HASTE IN ACQUIREMENTS. The passage is directed against anything of hurry or bustle. It does not so much declare that the believer can never advance rapidly, as that he shall never move with that agitated step which betokens insecurity. It does not denote a sluggish pace to be unavoidable, but simply implies that what is hasty and sudden will not be allowed. And s little reflection will convince you of the advantages which result from such an arrangement. It holds good in almost everything, that what is done hastily is seldom done well. In mental acquirements the more especially, that which is speedy is likely to be showy rather than solid — so that what is gained in time is lost in strength. The case is just the same in regard of religion. Where the Spirit of God actually, and in good earnest, takes a man in hand, it will not allow him to make haste through the preliminaries of righteousness; he shall be brought down to the dust, so as to abhor himself for his countless iniquities; he shall be reduced to the position of one who is thoroughly conscious that, unless God interfere, he must eternally perish. And it will ordinarily be after this process that the Gospel in all its beauty is expanded before him. This is for the advantage of the believer. Take the experience of Christians, and you will find that where progress has been most rapid, the commencement has been most arduous. And neither is it only at the beginning that the Christian thrives better from not being allowed to "make haste." Take him at any other stage of his course, and you will find that he advances rapidly by walking slowly. Suppose him under affliction, then patience must have its perfect work.

II. EXAMINE CERTAIN OF THE COMFORTS AND ENJOYMENTS WHICH ARE ENSURED TO THE BELIEVER BY THE PROMISE THAT HE "SHALL NOT MAKE HASTE." We reckon as chief amongst these that he has a Protector always at hand, so that in seasons of emergency he need not run to and fro in search of succour. "God is our refuge and strength; a very present help in trouble." The believer has nothing to hasten from, for he is shielded against every assault; he has nothing to hasten to, for he is already enclosed within a rampart of security. It is only by bartering away or forgetting my rights or my duties as a Christian that I can possibly make what is termed a false step. The believer ought to take no step without prayer; and if he ask God's counsel, he shall not go wrong. Then, in respect of the termination of life, the believer may feel it far better to depart and be with the Lord. He may sometimes be tempted to long for the time when the earthly house shall be taken down, in order to be. rebuilt for eternity; but he cannot forget that his times are in God's hands; that it would not be good for him to die whilst his heavenly Father sees it fit that he should live; and thus he keeps down what is impatient in desire, and makes not haste to be emancipated from the flesh. He longs, moreover, for the final triumph of Christianity, the time "when the kingdoms of the world shall become the kingdoms of the Lord and His Christ." But there will be mixed with this longing no fraction of impatience

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

Is not this making haste, this restless hurrying, turning, questioning a quite precise picture of too many modern thoughts and lives? How many people are waveringly making haste about doctrine, duty, etc. But our Scripture is the quieting antidote.

I. FAITH'S OBJECT. "He that believeth"; but he must have somewhat or someone as the object of belief. Notice faith's object as disclosed in our Scripture.

1. An object given of God.

2. An object sure.

3. Tried or tested.

4. Precious, worthy.

II. THE RESULT OF FAITH. "Shall not" worryingly, nervously "make haste."

1. As to doctrine, Christ is the truth.

2. As to the forgiveness of sins, Christ's word is pledged.

3. As to the issue of things, the helm is grasped by the pierced hand.

4. As to death, the risen Christ is death's master.

(Wayland Hoyt, D. D.)

1. Two things are necessary to give stability to a man.(1) A principle of faith within his own mind.(2) An objective ground of faith, real or imaginary. The man thus believes in something. In itself it may be unreal, but to him it is a reality. Therefore he follows after it with constancy. Take away his belief in this something and he is immediately at sea, without compass or rudder, the sport of the winds and waves. And precisely in proportion to the grandeur and the durability of that on which his faith rests, and to the simplicity and entireness of his faith itself, will he be found to be steadfast and immovable, full of energy, full of hope, full of perseverance. I appeal to the history of the race. Look at all those who have been remarkable for strength and stability of character, and who swayed by the magic of their firmness the minds of others. They all believed in something: in their mission, or in their destiny, or in their wisdom, or in the power of truth, or in the progress of the race, or in the constancy of nature, or in the future of their country, or in the revelation of God. Faith it was that upheld them from first to last, that imparted a consistency and a unity to all they did, and invested them with a kind of awe as beings of another and higher order. Now, this being the case, you can easily see of what importance it is that the objective ground of faith should be something that is real, true, Divine; something that has substance in it, so that I feel I have hold of it, and am not grasping a shadow; something that lives out of myself altogether, so that I can feel independent of the ever varying phases of my own mind; something that is itself secure, and beyond the possibility of danger, so that I can feel the most perfect confidence in it.

2. And now comes the question than which none can be more intensely interesting, at least to the earnest, awakened, thoughtful mind — Where is this objective ground of faith to be found? Here is the answer, and mark from whom it comes, "Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone." Well may it be added, "He that believeth shall not make haste." His faith will partake of the stability of the foundation on which it rests. So far as his safety is concerned that is secure. And then, so far as his own feeling or persuasion of his safety is concerned, if his faith is simple it will impart stability not merely to his state, but to his mind. It will bring an assured peace to his soul. Here, then, is the foundation. Examine it.(1) See how strong it is; there is not one element of weakness about it. It is all Divine.(2) And see how broad it is. There is room for thee to build, my brother.(3) See how accessible it is. So near, that one step will place thee on it. A single step, and thou art on the rock!(4) See how it bears the stamp of the Divine approbation-The Father laid it; the Father has further signified His approbation of the Living Stone, by making Him the headstone of the comer. And what satisfied the Father's justice may well satisfy thy conscience. Well, here is the foundation If thou believest not, surely thou shalt not be established.

(A. L. R. Foote.)

(with Isaiah 7:9): —

I. The first aspect in which these words may be viewed, namely, in reference TO ONE'S FIRST ESTABLISHMENT IN THE PEACE OF THE GOSPEL

II. A second aspect in which they admit of being viewed is IN REFERENCE TO ONE'S CONTINUED ESTABLISHMENT IN THAT PLACE. I do not believe there is anything in the Gospel itself viewed as a system, or any. thing in sovereignty viewed as a principle of the Divine procedure, or anything in the believer's condition in this world viewed as a state of discipline, that renders it impossible for him, on the whole, to retain undiminished the peace in which he was first established; that necessitates his falling away in any measure from that assurance into which his early, simple, affectionate faith introduced him. The secret of anyone's declension in this respect is afforded us here, "If ye believe not," — continue not, that is, to believe; for faith is a life, a habit, — "surely ye shall not be established," continue, that is, to be established. As faith decays, so also will your feeling of stability, of security, be impaired. On the contrary, "He that believeth" — lives habitually in the exercise of faith "shall not make haste," shall ever maintain a calm, undisturbed repose.

III. There yet remains a third aspect in which these passages may be viewed, namely, IN REFERENCE TO DUTY, OR THE WORK OF SANCTIFICATION GENERALLY. We live in a world of temptation. Do we need some mighty principle of steadfastness? What is that principle? It is faith; faith resting on Christ, and drawing strength and stability from Him; faith realising the love of God, and enjoying it actually in the soul; faith looking beyond this present scene of things, and bringing near to us another and more attractive scene. I must feel that the grasp of the eternal God is upon me. Let us have a faith like this, and under its influence we shall act our part in life, however difficult it may be —

1. With calmness; for we shall do nothing rashly — we shall learn to wait.

2. With dignity; for we shall do all things as in God's sight, and under His protection; and we shall be raised immeasurably above the petty schemes and the little meannesses of the people of the world.

3. With consistency; for having once entered on what we deem the path of truth and duty, we will follow it out.

(A. L. R. Foote.)

The Hebrew word for the "making haste," means quite as accurately the being ashamed, or, the being confounded. Accordingly, when St. Paul is arguing with the Romans he sets forth Christ as the foundation. stone promised by Isaiah, affirming that "whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed"; and when St. Peter is exhorting the strangers, he counsels them to build themselves up "as lively stones" on the redemption provided in the Gospel, quoting the verse from the prophet as if it stood thus, — "He that believeth on Him shall not be confounded." There is wonderful significance in this ambiguity, or, rather, interchangeableness of meaning. This will be our subject — the deliberateness, and, therefore, the solidity of all those who are "God's building."

1. It has really passed into a truism, as regards temporal and common affairs, that haste is dangerous, and that slowness, for the most part, is sureness. If there be one attribute in the works of the Creator Himself more universal than any other it is that of doing things by degrees, and never despising in His own government "the day of small things." Now take the case of the Christian on the highway of the Gospel. No doubt there is one sense in which he travels with the utmost velocity. In the sense of mortality we are all "making haste." But we limit you to the moral pilgrimage of the soul going towards Heaven, with its perfection, whether of holiness or of happiness, and we are reminded by the very character of a "believer" named in the text that we must avoid hurry, or bustle, or impatience. Faith in its own nature consents to travel slowly, and agrees to the interval between the being "justified" and the being "glorified." There would remain no one behind to be the "salt of the earth" if every new convert "made haste" from the mercy seat of repentance to the land of the palm and the crown.

2. Now we turn to the "making haste" considered rather as an affliction than as an error, and the "not making haste" rather as a privilege than as a duty. There is quite as much of a promise as there is of a counsel in the words we are considering, more especially if you couple them with the New Testament paraphrase about the being "ashamed" and the being "confounded." It is not only wrong to be impatient and neglect the duties of the passing moment, it is, moreover, very distressing and very costly. What is the reason why some person of your acquaintance never seems to be at ease in other people's company, carrying an appearance of perpetual flutter, and the crimson mounting to the face for no reason at all? That is often a symptom of ill-health; but the ill-health is generally the excess of self-consciousness — a morbid suspicion that everyone is observing and pronouncing upon me. It is a great affliction, and very often beyond very much control; but we merely give it you as a sign of self-absorption and a token that there is not enough to depend upon in one's self when the features and the manners of your friend seem to be always "making haste." Apply that doctrine higher up, to the moral and spiritual nature, and you will come at the reasons for instability, for fickleness, for sudden panic, and for half the disorders of the Christian life.

(H. Christopherson.)


1. In what haste men are to accumulate wealth.

2. How eager to gain public recognition.

3. The same spirit of unwise haste has entered into the Christian Church, and exercises there a baneful influence.

II. The haste so conspicuous in modern society ARISES FROM SEVERAL CAUSES.

1. It may spring from ill-regulated ambition. Men are hurried on by impulse and passion, and reason oft yields to desire.

2. There is the haste of rivalry, due to the strain of competition.

3. There is the haste arising from the fear of poverty and the hardships that poverty brings.


1. The injurious effects physically are very obvious. The imperfect development, the impaired vitality of men are due in no small degree to the restless haste and the rapid pace of life. It has been said that nervous diseases, so common in our time and country, "scarcely exist among barbarians and semi-civilised people, and that the primary cause is civilisation, with all its recent accompaniments, the telegraph, the railway, and the periodical press, which continue to draw each year most severely on the nerves of all classes, and have intensified in ten thousand ways cerebral activity and worry." The same writer adds, "Our fathers in medicine of the last century, if they could be brought from their graves, would have to be told what we mean by nervousness." Doctors would render yet greater service to humanity if they were, at least occasionally, to ascend the pulpit, and taking as their text "Do thyself no harm," discourse to us from the stores of their experienced observation on the manifold and increasing bodily and mental maladies due to the overstrained activity and feverish haste of society.

2. The intellectual evils of haste are also many and serious. Through the ingenious but misleading theories thrown out in haste, with imperfect knowledge, investigators have been diverted from the right track, and discoveries delayed for many years. "Haste slowly" is wise counsel. In this age of doctrinal unrest, a much-needed counsel is: Be slow to part with the old faiths, be cautious in the acceptance of new doctrines. Close not your eyes to the light, but be ready to receive the truth from whatever quarter it may come. Remember, however, that all is not gold that glitters.

3. The moral evils of haste in the conduct of life also deserve earnest consideration.

(1)The loss of opportunity for religious meditation.

(2)The developed selfishness due to the ruling spirit of haste.In the common rush for the prizes and pleasures of life, the danger is that every man should think only of himself, and be careless of the claims and comfort of others.Conclusion —

1. Believing in God, you will not tremble for the safety of His ark.

2. You will not be in danger of adopting hastily unspiritual methods of doing Christ's work. Tempted to unbelieving haste in the conduct of religious work, let the example of Jesus be remembered.

(A. Cowe, M. A.)

There is a great diversity of opinion as to the character of the age in which we live. If one set of critics is to be credited, our world is rushing to perdition at an alarming pace. Other observers are sanguine and hopeful Considering that stir and activity are preferable to stagnation and torpor, these persons see much that is really encouraging in the conflict of opinion, and are inclined to expect the birth of a new and brighter era out of the throes of the period through which we are passing. Our day is one in which men emphatically "make haste." In the passage to which the text belongs, a contrast seems to be drawn between those persons who construct some refuge of their own to protect them from the ills of life, and those others who are willing to avail themselves of that well-built and well-founded house which the Lord God hath provided for them; and then the dismay and disappointment of the one party, when their expectations are found to deceive them, are contrasted with the calm security and confidence of the other. But, we will take up, from the surface of the text, this idea — that if a man believes in God, and trusts in God, and will consent to work on the lines which God has laid down, he will be saved from that restless, worldly agitation of mind which produces so frequently such calamitous results. Let us notice, in one or two particulars, how this desirable state of things will be brought about.

I. AS TO TEMPORAL MATTERS. I have been told, that as business life is constituted now, it is impossible for a man, if he would "hold his own," to act in entire accordance with the dictates of an enlightened conscience; that competition is so keen and risks so great, and the area of labour so crowded, that a man cannot make his footing good without resorting, at least in some matters, to tricks, and evasions, and subterfuges, and misrepresentations, which shock his moral sense, and which he cannot, without much difficulty, persuade himself at first to practise. Now why do men maintain that it is an impossible thing to obey conscience in matters of business! The root lies here — in the want of full belief in God. If I believed that God went partners with the devil in the management of the world, then it would be quite consistent for me to try to appease Satan by acknowledging his co-ordinate authority, and falling in with his ways. But if I believed that God was the Ruler of the universe, — that He was continually working and continually upholding the right, — I should be saved from these sad and painful deviations from the path of rectitude; because I should be perfectly satisfied, that he who did the right, at whatever cost, and left the matter in God's hands, would be sure to be borne harmless in the end. Much of the feverish restlessness of the present day arises from a real, but unavowed and perhaps unconscious distrust of the results of honest, conscientious work. The idea is too frequently entertained, that merely to work does not answer; and that work must be supplemented and made successful by something else. This feeling is, in its root, distrust of God.

II. We turn, now, to SPIRITUAL MATTERS. I know that, at a time like this, there must be discussion amongst young men on points affecting the very foundation of our holy religion. But I am not inclined to make the circumstance a subject of unmixed lamentation. "Easily gotten; soon parted with," — applies to religion as well as to other things. At the same time, I dread that discussion which never seems to get beyond discussion. The purpose for which we are placed in the world is not that we should be forever asking questions, and raising and solving doubts, — but that we should be living a life. But how can that be accomplished, unless we have fixed principles to start from? Do I wish to be a geometrician? I shall make very little progress if I am perpetually employed in discussing and settling, in arranging and rearranging my axioms and definitions. And how am I to be advancing with that life which is to be the seed plot of my eternity, if I go on, month after month, year after year, unable to settle anything? Contrast with this vacillation and incertitude the condition of the man who "believeth." When a strain comes upon him, he has not to run helplessly hither and thither, seeking for principles to sustain him in the hour of trial. He has got his principles, and they are ready for use. In other words, he believes in the living God, and therefore he does not "make haste."

III. THE MAN WHO BELIEVES IN A LIVING GOD WILL NOT BE FULL OF NERVOUS APPREHENSIONS ABOUT THE FUTURE OF CHRISTIANITY. Men may break themselves to pieces against the Rock of Ages, but the Rock itself will never move.

(G. Calthrop, M. A.)

Gibeon, Isaiah
Assyria, Jerusalem, Mount Perazim, Valley of Gibeon, Zion
Act, Angle-stone, Base, Behold, Believes, Believeth, Believing, Cause, Corner, Cornerstone, Corner-stone, Costly, Dismayed, Disturbed, Faith, Firmly, Foundation, Haste, Hastily, Lay, Laying, Placed, Placing, Precious, Says, Settled, Stone, Sure, Tested, Thus, Tried, Trusteth, Trusts, Value, Zion
1. The prophet threatens Ephraim for their pride and drunkenness
5. The residue shall be advanced in the kingdom of Christ
7. He rebukes their error
9. Their unwillingness to learn
14. And their security
16. Christ the sure foundation is promised
17. Their security shall be tried
23. They are incited to the consideration of God's providence

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Isaiah 28:16

     1240   God, the Rock
     2203   Christ, titles of
     4366   stones
     5269   cornerstone
     5317   foundation
     5403   masons
     5947   shame
     6231   rejection of God
     6663   freedom, of will
     7024   church, nature of
     7271   Zion, as symbol
     8023   faith, necessity
     8031   trust, importance
     8214   confidence, basis of

Isaiah 28:16-17

     7254   plumb-line

June 8. "Bread Corn is Bruised" (Isa. xxviii. 28).
"Bread corn is bruised" (Isa. xxviii. 28). The farmer does not gather timothy and blue grass, and break it with a heavy machine. But he takes great pains with the wheat. So God takes great pains with those who are to be of much use to Him. There is a nature in them that needs this discipline. Don't wonder if the bread corn is treated with the wise, discriminating care that will fit it for food. He knows the way He is taking, and there is infinite tenderness in the oversight He gives. He is watching
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

The Foundation of God
'Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.'--ISAIAH xxviii. 16. 'Therefore thus saith the Lord.' Then these great words are God's answer to something. And that something is the scornful defiance by the rulers of Israel of the prophet's threatenings. By their deeds, whether by their words or no, they said that they had made friends of their enemies, and that
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

God's Strange Work
'That He may do His work, His strange work; and bring to pass His act, His strange act.'--ISAIAH xxviii. 21. How the great events of one generation fall dead to another! There is something very pathetic in the oblivion that swallows up world- resounding deeds. Here the prophet selects two instances which to him are solemn and singular examples of divine judgment, and we have difficulty in finding out to what he refers. To him they seemed the most luminous illustrations he could find of the principle
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Man's Crown and God's
'In that day shall the Lord of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty.'--ISAIAH xxviii. 5. 'Thou shall also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord.'--ISAIAH lxii 3. Connection of first prophecy--destruction of Samaria. Its situation, crowning the hill with its walls and towers, its fertile 'fat valley,' the flagrant immorality and drunkenness of its inhabitants, and its final ruin, are all presented in the highly imaginative picture of its fall as being like the trampling
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Judgment of Drunkards and Mockers
'Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine! 2. Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one, which, as a tempest of hail, and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand. 3. The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet: 4. And the glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fat
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Husbandman and his Operations
'Give ye ear, and hear my voice; hearken, and hear my speech. 24. Doth the plowman plow all day to sow? doth he open and break the clods of his ground! 25. When lie hath made plain the face thereof, doth he not cast abroad the fitches, and scatter the cummin, and cast in the principal wheat and the appointed barley and the rie in their place? 26. For his God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him. 27. For the fitches are not threshed with a threshing instrument, neither is a cart wheel
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

A Crown Op Pride or a Crown of Glory
'The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet; 4. And the glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fat valley, shall be a fading flower, and as the hasty fruit before the summer; which when he that looketh upon it seeth, while it is yet in his hand he eateth it up. 5. In that day shall the Lord of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people.'--ISAIAH xxviii. 3-5. The reference is probably to Samaria as a chief city of
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Bed and Its Covering
Now, I think it may be readily granted, that man's body is, after all, only a picture of his inner being: just what the body needs materially, that the soul needs spiritually. The soul, then, needs two things. It requires rest, which is pictured to us in sleep. The soul needs a bed upon which it may repose quietly and take its ease. And, again, the soul needs covering, for as a naked body would be both uncomfortable, unseemly, and dangerous; much more would the naked soul be unhappy, noxious to the
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 5: 1859

The Extent of Messiah's Spiritual Kingdom
The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ, and He shall reign for ever and ever! T he Kingdom of our Lord in the heart, and in the world, is frequently compared to a building or house, of which He Himself is both the Foundation and the Architect (Isaiah 28:16 and 54:11, 12) . A building advances by degrees (I Corinthians 3:9; Ephesians 2:20-22) , and while it is in an unfinished state, a stranger cannot, by viewing its present appearance, form an accurate judgment
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 2

Of Predestination
Eph. i. 11.--"In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will."--Rom. ix. 22, 23.--"What if God, willing to show his wrath and to make his power known, endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction, and that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy which he had afore prepared unto glory." In the creation of the world, it pleased the Lord,
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

Samaria. Sychem.
"The country of Samaria lies in the middle, between Judea and Galilee. For it begins at a town called Ginea, lying in the Great plain, and ends at the Toparchy of the Acrabateni: the nature of it nothing differing from Judea," &c. [Acrabata was distant from Jerusalem, the space of a day's journey northwards.] Samaria, under the first Temple, was the name of a city,--under the second, of a country. Its metropolis at that time was Sychem; "A place destined to revenges": and which the Jews, as it seems,
John Lightfoot—From the Talmud and Hebraica

Self-Righteousness Insufficient.
1 "Where are the mourners, [1] (saith the Lord) "That wait and tremble at my word, "That walk in darkness all the day? "Come, make my name your trust and stay. 2 ["No works nor duties of your own "Can for the smallest sin atone; "The robes [2] that nature may provide "Will not your least pollutions hide. 3 "The softest couch that nature knows "Can give the conscience no repose: "Look to my righteousness, and live; "Comfort and peace are mine to give.] 4 "Ye sons of pride that kindle coals "With your
Isaac Watts—Hymns and Spiritual Songs

Letter xxxvi (Circa A. D. 1131) to the Same Hildebert, who had not yet Acknowledged the Lord Innocent as Pope.
To the Same Hildebert, Who Had Not Yet Acknowledged the Lord Innocent as Pope. He exhorts him to recognise Innocent, now an exile in France, owing to the schism of Peter Leonis, as the rightful Pontiff. To the great prelate, most exalted in renown, Hildebert, by the grace of God Archbishop of Tours, Bernard, called Abbot of Clairvaux, sends greeting, and prays that he may walk in the Spirit, and spiritually discern all things. 1. To address you in the words of the prophet, Consolation is hid from
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux—Some Letters of Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux

Of the Scriptures
Eph. ii. 20.--"And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone." Believers are "the temple of the living God," in which he dwells and walks, 2 Cor. vi. 16. Every one of them is a little sanctuary and temple to his Majesty, "sanctify the Lord of hosts in your hearts." Though he be "the high and lofty One that inhabits eternity," yet he is pleased to come down to this poor cottage of a creature's heart, and dwell in it. Is not this
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

He Does Battle for the Faith; He Restores Peace among those who were at Variance; He Takes in Hand to Build a Stone Church.
57. (32). There was a certain clerk in Lismore whose life, as it is said, was good, but his faith not so. He was a man of some knowledge in his own eyes, and dared to say that in the Eucharist there is only a sacrament and not the fact[718] of the sacrament, that is, mere sanctification and not the truth of the Body. On this subject he was often addressed by Malachy in secret, but in vain; and finally he was called before a public assembly, the laity however being excluded, in order that if it were
H. J. Lawlor—St. Bernard of Clairvaux's Life of St. Malachy of Armagh

How to Make Use of Christ for Steadfastness, in a Time when Truth is Oppressed and Borne Down.
When enemies are prevailing, and the way of truth is evil spoken of, many faint, and many turn aside, and do not plead for truth, nor stand up for the interest of Christ, in their hour and power of darkness: many are overcome with base fear, and either side with the workers of iniquity, or are not valiant for the truth, but being faint-hearted, turn back. Now the thoughts of this may put some who desire to stand fast, and to own him and his cause in a day of trial, to enquire how they shall make
John Brown (of Wamphray)—Christ The Way, The Truth, and The Life

Of Orders.
Of this sacrament the Church of Christ knows nothing; it was invented by the church of the Pope. It not only has no promise of grace, anywhere declared, but not a word is said about it in the whole of the New Testament. Now it is ridiculous to set up as a sacrament of God that which can nowhere be proved to have been instituted by God. Not that I consider that a rite practised for so many ages is to be condemned; but I would not have human inventions established in sacred things, nor should it be
Martin Luther—First Principles of the Reformation

The Knowledge that God Is, Combined with the Knowledge that He is to be Worshipped.
John iv. 24.--"God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." There are two common notions engraven on the hearts of all men by nature,--that God is, and that he must be worshipped, and these two live and die together, they are clear, or blotted together. According as the apprehension of God is clear, and distinct, and more deeply engraven on the soul, so is this notion of man's duty of worshipping God clear and imprinted on the soul, and whenever the actions
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

"Come unto Me, all Ye that Labour, and are Wearied," &C.
Matth. xi. 28.--"Come unto me, all ye that labour, and are wearied," &c. It is the great misery of Christians in this life, that they have such poor, narrow, and limited spirits, that are not fit to receive the truth of the gospel in its full comprehension; from whence manifold misapprehensions in judgment, and stumbling in practice proceed. The beauty and life of things consist in their entire union with one another, and in the conjunction of all their parts. Therefore it would not be a fit way
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

An Address to the Regenerate, Founded on the Preceding Discourses.
James I. 18. James I. 18. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures. I INTEND the words which I have now been reading, only as an introduction to that address to the sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty, with which I am now to conclude these lectures; and therefore shall not enter into any critical discussion, either of them, or of the context. I hope God has made the series of these discourses, in some measure, useful to those
Philip Doddridge—Practical Discourses on Regeneration

Of the Necessity of Divine Influences to Produce Regeneration in the Soul.
Titus iii. 5, 6. Titus iii. 5, 6. Not by works of righteousness, which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour. IF my business were to explain and illustrate this scripture at large, it would yield an ample field for accurate criticism and useful discourse, and more especially would lead us into a variety of practical remarks, on which it would be pleasant
Philip Doddridge—Practical Discourses on Regeneration

The Justice of God
The next attribute is God's justice. All God's attributes are identical, and are the same with his essence. Though he has several attributes whereby he is made known to us, yet he has but one essence. A cedar tree may have several branches, yet it is but one cedar. So there are several attributes of God whereby we conceive of him, but only one entire essence. Well, then, concerning God's justice. Deut 32:4. Just and right is he.' Job 37:23. Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

The Mercy of God
The next attribute is God's goodness or mercy. Mercy is the result and effect of God's goodness. Psa 33:5. So then this is the next attribute, God's goodness or mercy. The most learned of the heathens thought they gave their god Jupiter two golden characters when they styled him good and great. Both these meet in God, goodness and greatness, majesty and mercy. God is essentially good in himself and relatively good to us. They are both put together in Psa 119:98. Thou art good, and doest good.' This
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

The Knowledge of God
'The Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.' I Sam 2:2. Glorious things are spoken of God; he transcends our thoughts, and the praises of angels. God's glory lies chiefly in his attributes, which are the several beams by which the divine nature shines forth. Among other of his orient excellencies, this is not the least, The Lord is a God of knowledge; or as the Hebrew word is, A God of knowledges.' Through the bright mirror of his own essence, he has a full idea and cognisance
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

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