The stone Which the builders refused is become the Head-stone of the corner.
'The Stone which the builders refused,' saith the Prophet David. 'This is the Stone which ye builders refused,' saith the Apostle Peter. And saith if of Christ our Saviour, Hic est Lapis, 'He is the Stone.' And saith it to Caiphas and the rest that went for builders. We know then who this Stone is, and who these builders be, to begin with.
And in the very same place, the Apostle telleth us farther what is meant by 'refused,' and what by 'made head of the corner.' Quem Deus, 'whom ye' denied and 'crucified;'--that was His refusing, And then, Quem Deus, 'whom God' hath raised again from the dead;--that was His making Caput anguli. 'Refused' when? Three days ago. 'Made Head,' When? This very day, for Hic est dies followeth straight within a verse, 'This is the day.' Which day? there is not one of the Fathers that I have read, but interpret it of Easter-day.
[270/271] And so we have brought the test, and the time together. We know who is 'the Stone,' Christ; Who 'the builders,' Caiphas and those with him. When 'refused?' In His Passion. When 'made head?' at His Resurrection, that is this day, which day is therefore at the twenty-seventh verse said to be, constitutus dies solenis, 'made a solemn feast day,' in condensis, on which the Church to stand 'thick and full, even up to the very corners of the altar.'
This I take it is a good warrant for our Church, to make this Psalm a select choice Psalm for this day, as peculiar and pertinent to the feast itself. And a good warrant for us so to apply it. It is the Holy Ghost's own application by the mouth of St. Peter, we may boldly make it ours.
But though this be the chief sense, yet it is not the only, the chief it is for 'the spirit of prophecy,' is in it, which 'is the testimony of Jesus.' Yet not the only, for according to the letter we cannot deny, but that originally it was meant of David. He was a stone too, and in his time refused, yet after raised by God to the highest place, even to be king over his people. The Chaldee Paraphrast, the oldest we have, is enough for this; thus he turneth the verse. alm &c. 'The Child Whom the chiefest men oppugned, He of all the son of Ishai, was made Ruler of Israel.' A second sense then it hath, of David.
And by analogy it will bear a third, and it will sort with ours, or with any Prince, in like manner banded against, and sought to be put by as he; and yet after brought by God to the same place that David was. To any such it will well agree, and be truly verified of him, and rightly applied to him. And I confess, I chose it the rather for this third. Because, as this year falleth out, upon one day, and Hic est dies, 'This is the day,' we have in one a memorial of two benefits; 1. of our Saviour's exalting by His resurrection, 2. and of our Sovereign's exalting, and making head of this kingdom. Both lighting together, we were, as we thought, so to remember the one, that we left not the other out. And this text will serve for both. Both may in one be set before us, and so we rejoice and render thanks to God for both; for the Lord Christ, and for the Lord's Christ under one.
[271/272] Three senses then there are in the text, and to do it right, we to touch them all three. 1. Christ in prophecy; 2. David in history; 3. Our own in analogy. But we will give Christ the precedence. Both for His Person--He 'is David's Lord.' and the Head of all Head-stones; it is meet He have primatum in omnibus, 'He in all things have the pre-eminence'- and, for that the truth of the text never was so verified in any as in Him. We may truly say, none ever was so verified in any as in Him. We may truly say, none ever so low cast down, none ever so high lift up again as He. Others refused, but none like Him; and their heads exalted, but nothing in comparison of His. 1. First then of Christ's; 2. after, of David's briefly; 3. and last, of our own.
To apply it to Christ. 'The stone' is the ground of all. Two things befall it, two things as contrary as may be. 1. 'Refused,' cast away; 2. then, called for again, and 'made Head of the building.' So two parts there are, to the eye. 1. The refusing, 2. and the raising, which are His two estates, Him humiliation, and His exaltation.
In either of these you may observe two degrees. A quibus and quosque, 'by whom' and 'how far.' By whom 'refused?' We weigh the word ædificantes; not by men unskilful, but by workmen, 'builders' professed; it is so much the more.
How far? We weigh the word reprobaverunt, usque ad reprobari, 'even to a reprobation.' It is not improbaverunt, 'disliked,' as not fit for some eminent place, but reprobaverunt, 'utterly reprobate' for any place at all.
Again, exalted by whom? The next words are, a Domino, 'by God,' as good a Builder, no better than the best of them; which makes amends for the former.
And how far? Placed by Him, not in any part of the building, but in the part most in the eye, 'the corner,' and in the highest place of it, 'the very Head.'
So rejected, and that by the builders, and to the lowest estate; and from the lowest estate exalted in Caput anguli, to the chiefest place of all, and that by God Himself. This for Christ.
And David is a stone, and so is ours, and so is every good prince, lapsi Israel, as Jacob in his testament calleth them. And builders there be, such as by office should, but many times do not their office, no more than Caiaphas here. Reprobaverunt is, [272/ 273] when 'they devise to put Him by, Whom God would exalt;' and factus Caput, when God for all that doth them right, and brings them to their place, the Throne Royal. And this was the day when God so brought David, as appeareth by the twenty-fourth verse. And hic est dies, 'this is the day' when He brought His Majesty to be head of this kingdom. Of these in their order.
'The Stone which the builders refused, &c.' The estate of mankind, as they are in society, either of Church or kingdom, is in divers terms set forth to us in Scripture; sometimes of a flock, sometimes of husbandry, otherwhile of a building. You are 'His flock;'- divers times in the Psalms. 'You are God's husbandry, you are God's building.'--both in one verse. Now, the style of this text runs in terms of this last, of Building or Architecture. For here are builders, and here is stone, and a coin or corner, and a top or turret over it.
Of this spiritual building we are all stones, and which is strange, we are all builders too. To be built, and to build, both stones, in regard of them whom God hath set over us, who are to frame us, and we so to suffer them. Builders, in regard of ourselves first: then, such as are committed to us, by bond either of duty or charity, every one being, as St. Chrysostom saith well, de subditâ sibi plebe quasi domum Deo struere, 'of those under his charge, to make God a house.' As 'stones,' it is said to us by St. Peter, superædificamini, 'be ye built up,' or framed. As 'builders;' it is said to us first by St. Jude, 'Build yourselves in your most holy faith.' Then by St. Paul. 'Edify ye,' or 'build ye one another.' 'Be built,' by obedience and conformity; 'Build yourselves' by increase in virtue and good works. 'Build one another' by good example, and wholesome exhortation. The short is, this is to be our study, all: if we be but ourselves, every one in himself and of himself to build God an oratory. If we have a household, of them to build Him a chapel. If a larger circuit, then a Church. If a country or kingdom, then as 'basilica,' or Metropolitan Church, which is properly the prince's building.
This in the text, the builders here were in hand with, as a Basilica; for it was the frame of the Jews' government, but is applied to all states in general. For Jewry was the scene or [273/274] stage whereon the errors or virtues of all governments were represented to all posterity.
Four words there be in the text: 1. Ædificantes, 'builders.' 2. Lapis, 'Stone.' 3. Angulus, 'a Corner,' and 4. Caput, 'the Head.' From the first word, Ædificantes, this we have; that states would not be as tents, set up, and taken down, and removable. They would be buildings, to stand steady and fixed. Nothing so opposed unto a state, as not to stand.
2. From the second, Lapis; that this building would be, not of clay, and wood, or, as we call them, paper walls; but stone-work, as strong, as defensible, as little subject to concussion, or combustion, as might be.
3. From the two parts specified, first, Anguli; this stone-work is not a wall forthright, to part in sunder, or to keep out, but it consists of divers sides: those sides meet in one angle where, if they meet knit well, all the better will the building be.
4. Caput. And they will knit the better, if they have a good 'head.' For where they meet, no place so much in danger of weather going in, and making the sides fly off, if it want a covering. A head it would have to cover it; it is a special defence, and besides, it is a sovereign beauty to the whole building.
And that head would not be of plaister to crumble away, or of wood, to warp or rot with the weather; or of lead, to bow or bend, and to crack; but of stone, and the principalest stone that could be. The chief part it is, the head; the chief care and consultation would be, what stone meet for that place, for indeed it is all in all.
That is the consolation here. Here is Christ, what say you to Him? He is 'a Stone.' 2. 'A building Stone.' 3. 'A corner Stone.' 4. 'A head Stone.' 'A stone:' so the Prophets term him. And so the Apostles, Peter [and] Paul. 1.In His birth: Daniel's 'stone cut forth without hands.' 2. In His Passion: Zechariah's stone, graven and cut full of eyes all over. 3. In His Resurrection: Esay's stone, laid in Sion, Qui crediderit non confundetur, 'he that believeth in Him then, will not be confounded.' saith St. Peter, Hic est Lapis. He is the stone of our faith, saith St. Peter, Lapis erat Christus. And Petra erat Christus, saith St. Paul. pp.274/ 275. He is the 'Stone' of our Sacraments; the Water of our baptism, and of our spiritual drink, both issue from Him. 'A Stone,' first for His nature, of the earth as stones are, out of Abraham's quarry, saith Esay, to shew His humanity. And out of katètera tÁj gÁj, 'the very lowest part of the earth,' saith the Apostle, to shew His humility. Indeed, nothing so subject to contempt, to be trodden on, to be spurned aside as it. And such was His condition, Vermis non homo, and Lapis, non homo. 'A Worm or a Stone, and no man.'
A stone will endure much sorrow, nothing more. And who did every suffer like him? or, in His suffering, who more patient, or still, stone-like, than He?
But the chief virtue of a stone is, that it is firm and sure; and so is He. Ye may trust Him, you may build on Him, He will not fail you. What ye lay on Him is sure. David may have sure footing and rest 'his feet,' Moses, 'his hands,' Jacob 'his head' on this 'stone.' This is it He hath His denomination from. He who trusts in Him, nothing, 'not the gates of hell, will prevail against him.' Trustiness, with non confundetur, the chief virtue of a stone, of Christ, and of those who are head-stones by, and under Him.
But there are stones that lie scattered, that will neither head well nor bed well, as they say, not meet to build withal; meet for nothing but to hurl, and to do hurt with. But Christ is a Stone to do good with, to build with. Lapis ad ædificationem. And He loveth not to scatter, or be by Himself; 'His delight is to be with the sons of men,' and to grow with them into one frame of building.
'A corner stone.' Of all the places in the building, that one special place liketh Him, where the sides meet--there He is. To join together, 'to make two one,' He loveth it above all; stretching Himself to both walls, that both may rest on Him.
And lastly, Lapis primarius, 'a headstone.' For there He should be, there is His right place, and it will never be well with the building, till He be in that place, till Christ be Akroggwniaioj, Caput in omni prcuratione, 'the highest and chiefest end of all.' This He is, and in the end this He will be; if not by men, yet by God.
[275/276] But now we have to do with men, and we are to put it to voices, their voices with whom He lived, what they think of Christ for Caput anguli? It is returned, Quem reprobaverunt; He is 'refused.' Will ye hear it from themselves? Nolumus Hunc regnare, 'We will not have Him King.' Not in that place, no head in any wise.
But a quibus, who were these? 'These were foolish people,' that knew not the virtue or value of a stone; no heed to be taken what they cry. We will get us with Jeremy to men of skill, that know what stone is for every place, professed builders by their trade. But these also were no better conceited of Him than the other; for 'do any of the rulers make any account of Him?' as who say, None of them neither, the very builders refuse Him too.
Well, we will make the best of it. It may be, not for the head, but there be more places than that; if not allow Him there, yet He may be in some else. Improbaverunt it may be, but not reprobaverunt, 'disallowed,' but not 'cast aside quite.' We ask then, how far? Will ye put Him up the second time, and to see the quousque in kind, will ye put up Barabbas with Him? Non hunc, sed Barabbam. So it went, that was their verdict. Now by this time it is reprobaverunt, as flat as may be, a refuse indeed, and that with a foul indignity.
But these were but the vulgar again. What say the builders to this? He of them that took himself for a very Vitruvius, such a workman as he said all the rest understood nothing at all, the master-builder, Caiaphas, he was flat, expedit, 'it was expedient He should die,' be cast aside into the heap of rubbish, be put out of the building clean. This is His doom.
Now, lay these together. To be refused is not so much; it may be, it is of such as are ignorant. But to be 'refused' of 'builders,' and those the chief, is much, for they are presumed to be skilful. Again, to be disliked for the chief place, not so much; if not for that, he may be for another. But to be utterly reprobate, that is, not refused for the head, nor refused for the corner, but refused simply for any room at all; not in the top, no not in the bottom; not in the corner, no not in any rank of the building; that is as much as may be. And this was Christ's lot.
[276/277] Yet this was all but in words, nothing was done to Him. But there is a reprobation in deed, and that is yet far worse. Before they cast Him aside, this poor Stone, they hacked and hewed it, and mangled it piteously; they showed their malice even in that too. Cælaverunt sculpturam Ejus, saith the Prophet, their tools walked on Him, 'they graved Him,' and cut Him with a witness, and made Him full of eyes on every side. What skilled that? What disgrace, or what sorrow is done to a stone? The stone feels it not, The cry of non Hunc, or the edge of the graving tool, affect it nothing. True: but He was Lapis vivus, 'a living Stone,' as Peter calleth Him, a Stone that has life, life and sense, and felt all; felt His graving, the edge and point both; felt His despising, the scorn and malice both; of the twain, this the more, but both He felt. When 'they made furrows on His back, with the scourges;' when 'they platted the crown of thorns, and made it sit close to His head;' when 'they dug His hands and feet,' He felt all. He endured it patiently, tanquam lapis; but He felt it sensibly, tanquam vivus. Had quick sense of His pain ingraving, had lively apprehension of His contempt in refusing.
And these very two words in the text lapidem and reprobaverunt, set out unto us both parts of His Passion fully. As if He had been stone, so laid they on Him; as if He had been a reprobate, so poured they all disgrace upon Him. And even as a stone He was in His Passion. For as the stones give against weather, so was there not to be seen upon Him a bloody sweat? Did He not give, as it were, of Himself, against the tempest came? And when it came, was it not so strange, even that which this living Stone suffered, as the dead stones that had no life, as if they had had life and compassion of His case, rent in sunder with it. Lapidem then is true.
And for reprobaverunt, that is as true. For how could they have entreated a reprobate worse than they entreated Him? In His thirst, in His prayer, in the very pangs of death, what words of scorn and spiteful opprobry! What deeds of malice and wretched indignity! Of Himself it is said, and by way of exaggeration, 'He humbled Himself to death, the death of the cross.' [277/278] Of them it may be no less, reprobaverunt ad mortem, mortem crucis, 'they rejected Him to death, the death of reprobates; the death whereunto a curse is annexed, the death of the cross.' And never gave Him over, till they brought Him, Lapis ad lapidem, into a grave of stone, and rolled a stone upon Him, and there left Him.
It is the feast of the Passover, we now pass over to His other estate, His exaltation ad Caput anguli. Were it not strange the stone should be rolled away, and this stone should be dug up again, and set up in the antes, the place most conspicious, that is, made a corner-stone; and that in the very top, the highest part of all, that is, made a Head-stone? Were not this a strange pass-over from death to life, from lowest reprobation to highest approbation, from basest reproach to greatest glory?
But seeing builders, we see, may be deceived, and that in capite, as we find here, and that, though Caiphas be one of them, and a stone may have wrong; would it not be well, we called to scrutiny again? Is there any builder yet left before whom we may bring the matter? Yes, there is. 'Every house is built of some man,' saith the Apostle, but 'He That is the Builder of all is God.' He That set up this great vaulted work of Heaven over our heads, That 'laid the corner-stone' of the earth, He is a builder. But 'He That laid His chamber-beams in the waters,' et appendit terram super nihilum, 'hangs this great mass, no man knows upon what;' He That beginneth at the top, and builds downwards, heaven first, and then earth, as He did; He passeth all ours, He is a skilfull Builder indeed. Is He of the same mind? Offer Christ to His probation. He will reprobare reprobantes, 'condemn them who so refuse Him,' and all will turn quite contrary. St. Peter saith it; He was £podedokimasme/uoj, 'reprobate' with men, but eutimoj, 'chosen'of God, exoudeuwwme/oj, 'nothing worth' with them but e"utimoj, 'precious' with Him. Meet to be in the building; no, no building meet to be without Him. And in the building, if any part more object to the sight than other, there. And in that, if any place higher than another, there. In ædificio, angulo ædificii, capite anguli; 'in the building, the corner of the building, the head of the corner;' [278/279] that is, in the highest place, of the chiefest part of all. This He thought Him, and as He thought Him, so He made Him; and made Him so this day, the day of His resurrection. Whom they cast down, God lift up from the grave; Whom they vilified; He glorified; glorified, and made Him Caput anguli, 'the Head of the corner.'
How 'of the corner?' The corner is the place where two walls meet, and there be many twos in this building. The two walls of nations, Jews and Gentiles; the two of conditions, bond and free; the two of sex, male and female; the great two which this day we celebrate, of the quick and the dead; above all, the greatest two of all, Heaven and earth.
The two first meet in Him: there was a partition, but He down with it, et fecit utraque unum. So that there is neither 'Jew nor Greek, neither bond nor free, neither male nor female, but all one in Christ Jesus,' yea, the quick and the dead both live to Him. And all these, so many combinations, as in the centre, meet in Him; and He, in the midst of all, draws all and knits all in one holy faith, and blessed hope of His coming; one mutual unfeigned love towards each other. Ex te angulus, well said Zachary.
And as unity is in the angle, so order is under the Head. As all one in Him, so He is Head of all. Head of the Jews,--Jesus in their tongue, Head of the Gentiles,--Christ in their tongue. Head of the Church, 'Head of all principality and power.' Therefore this day, 'Christ That died rose again, that He might be Lord both of quick and dead.' And of the great angle of all, consisting of Heaven and earth, and He made Head of both.
Now then, will you lay these together? There can come to a stone no greater dignity, than there to be in the head. To any stone no greater dignity, than there to be in the head. To any stone; but it is much increased by that circumstance, that it is not only lapis barely, but Lapis Quem reprobaverunt, that now is there in the head, not any stone, but a Stone so refused as we heard, for such a Stone there to be; from that terminus a quo, to come to this terminus ad quem; from so base an estate, there to be, that is a great increase to it.
And thirdly, by such a Person, a Builder so matchless, there to be, that is yet a degree higher; and this triplicity [279/280] exalted much His exaltation. That by God, and not God's suffering but His doing, and that factum mirabile, 'His wonderful doing,' it came to pass; as indeed, wonderful it is to see, that which all the world now seeth, Christ, That for the present was so strangely dejected, since to be so exceedingly glorified. So many knees to bow to Him, so many tongues to confess Him, His Name to be above all names, heaven and earth to be full of the majesty of His glory.
Now, from these words, Caput, anguli, that which we learn morally is, to make much of the two virtues commended to us in these words; 1. virtis anguli; 2. and anguli sub Capite.
First, the virtue of two walls united in one angle, that is, unity. For Christ will not be Caput maceriæ, 'of a party-wall,' but of an angle joined. He is not of their spirit that, so they may be head, care not though it be never so broken a wall.
Secondly, not every unity, but unitas ordinata, that hath, or is under a head. For it is not cujusvis anguli, but anguli cui Caput; 'not of every angle, but of angle the unity whereof is neither in the tail, nor in the sides, but in the head;' that is, commended to us, as unity against division, so ordered against confusion. They that can be content to corner well, but would be acephali, 'head-less,' have no head, please Him not. No more do they that would join, but would be poly-cephali, having a consistory of heads, 'many heads,' as many as the beast of Babylon. For sure it is, an angle can have no more heads but one. To love an angle well, but an angle that hath an head, and but one head.. To love a head well, but a head, not of a single wall, but of an angle. Both these, and both to be regarded. They be Zacahary's two staves, 'bands' and 'beauty,' which uphold all government; break one, and the other will not long be unbroken. The head without unity, unity without the head; either without other will not long hold.
Both then, but especially unity, for that cometh in here, not necessarily as doth the head, but extraordinarily. And therefore, extraordinary regard to be had of it. For I was thinking why he should here in this second part say, that 'He was made Head of the corner?' Why should it not suffice to have said, factus est Caput, and no more? Or if [280/281] factus est Caput ædificii? To have said, 'He was made the Head,' at least-wise 'made the Head of the whole building?' Why must anguli be added? What needed any mention of the corner? No occasion was given, no mention was made of it in His refusing; the word 'Head' would have served fully, to have set His exaltation forth. Some matter there was, that this word must come in. And sure no other, but to shew Christ's special delight and love of that place. At His rising this day, stetit in medio, and here. He is come to His place again; for stetit in medio, and Caput anguli, come both to one. Therefore, that like love, like special regard be had by us of that place, and of the virtue of that place, unity; that it be sought and preserved carefully, that the sides fly not off, the well knitting is the very strength of the whole building.
By Bede it is rendered as a reason why the Jewish builders refused our Saviour Christ for the heaed-place, quia in uno pariete stare amabant. 'They could endure no corner, they must stand alone upon their own single wall,' be of themselves; not join with Gentile, or Samaritan. And Christ they endured not, because they thought, if He had been Head, He would have inclined that way. Alias oves oportet Me adducere: alias they could not abide. But sure, a purpose there must be alias oves adducendi, 'of bringing in others,' of joining a corner, or else we do not facere secundum exemplar, build not according to Christ's pattern; our fashion of fabric is not like His. They that think to make Christ Head of a single wall are deceived, it will not be. They that say, So the Head, all is well, it skills not for the corner, err too. He is Twuiiaioj, 'a Corner-stone' first, and then 'Akrogwuiaioj, 'a Head-stone' after. And they that had rather be a front in a wall, than in a meaner place sub lapide angulari; and they that stand upon their own partition, and will not endure to hear of any joining, care not what become of angulus, if it were strucken out, 'the same mind is not in them,' in neither of them, 'which was in Christ Jesus.' His mind we see. He looks to the angle, as to the head; and to the head, as to the angle. And they build best that build likest Him: 'wisdom is justified of all her children.'
And last, the duty of the whole second part, and so, this [281/282] day's duty. When the head-stone is brought forth and reared, as to-day it was, we are to prosecute it with Hosannah, and Benedictus qui venit, as it straightway followeth in the Psalm, with acclamation of 'Grace, grace unto it.' For so saith the Prophet, Lapis primarius would be laid with rejoicing. Rejoicing, as in His regard that has obtained His due, so even in the buildings, that has got such a Head; such and so gracious a Head as could endure thus to be refused by them, and yet admit, yea even those who so refused Him, if the fault be not in themselves, to be stones in His building for all that, and to be members of the body whereof He is the Head.
Then secondly, as God hath, so we to make Him Head. Actually we cannot, He is made to our hands, but in account we may; giving Him the highest place in all our respects, 'magnifying His name and His Word above all things.' 'His Word,' making it our chief ground; 'His Name,' and the glory of it, making it our chief end. That other considerations carry us not away, as these builders here it did, of Venient Romani, or I wot not what; but that ever, as the heathen lawyer said, it be potior ratio quæ facit pro religione, 'the best reason that maketh best for religion,' and for the good of the body of this Head, that is, the peace of His Church. And this for Lapis erat Christus.
But lapis erat David, is likewise true. Therefore, that we do King David no wrong, let us show how it fits him too; but briefly, because this is not his day. David was 'a stone.' The Jews say it was his nic-name or name of disgrace, that in scorn they called him so. For that all his credit, forsooth came by casting a stone, and hitting Goliath by chance right in the forehead; and so they twitted him with that name. They gave it him in scorn, but he bare it in earnest. For sure much sorrow he endured, had that property of 'a stone.' And nothing could remove him, or make him shrink from his trust in God, or from his allegiance to Saul, his liege-lord:--that qualify also.
And 'refused' he was, not as Christ, we must not look for that, neither in him nor in any. God forbid that any ever should be so refused as He. As Christ, none but Christ. No; but yet in his degree refused he was though. A hard time, [282/283] he had, and many hard terms, and hard usages he endured, for many years together; pursued and followed, and should have been no head, nay should have had no head if he had been gotten.
'Refused,' and by whom? Even by Saul all his life-time; and when Saul was dead, Abner 'refused'him, and set up another against him. And when he was out of his country in Gath, 'refused' there too by the princes of Achish. And even at home by his own brethren and father's house. Yea, Samuel himself had given it way, the head-place, from him to Eliab, and so 'refused' him, but for God. And these went then for the chief builders in Israel at that time. So the builders 'refused' him.
But after all this, all this notwithstanding, 'this stone became the Head,' that is, David got the crown, and was King at last. For 'head' is the King's name. So doth Samuel call the King; so doth Esay; so doth Osee. But especially so Daniel in express terms, Tu es caput aureum, speaking to the king, 'Thou art the head of gold.'
'Head,' and 'of the corner,' that is, as some interpret it, of Judah and Israel. But that is thought somewhat hard. For those two were not two kingdoms, nor ever so reckoned, till Rehoboam's time. And what, if David had not happened to have been first King of one tribe, and after all, should he have lost this name then? Should he not have been ¢kkrogwuiaioj? Shall no king be caput anguli, if he have but one entire kingdom? Shall not Solomon as well as David? No question but he shall.
The better part therefore think it good to give it that sense which never fails in any state, and which sundry times ye shall find pointed at by David himself, as in the one hundred and fifteenth Psalm before, and in the one hundred and thirty-fifth after. Yea, even here in this Psalm, in the beginning, Domus Israel, and Domus Aaron, 'the House of Israel,' and 'the House of Aaron,' that is, the two estates, civil and ecclesiastical, which maketh the main angle in every government. God Himself hath severed them, and made these two but to meet in one; not one to malign and consume the other. And the happy combining of these two is the strength of the head, and the strength of the whole building. If it [283/284] bear but upon one of them, it will certainly decay. It did so in Saul's time; he little regarded the Ark, and less the priests. David saw Saul's error, and in his Psalm, where he singeth Ne perdas to a commonwealth, promiseth to have equal care of both pillars, and to uphold them both.
The first book of Chronicles is sufficient to prove and persuade any, he dealt in both as chief over both. Not by right of priesthood, for none he had; and that of his prophecy is as cold. Others also did the like, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Ezekias, Josiah, that were no Prophets, nor ever so accounted.
In the law--it is Philo's note, both tables met in the fifth commandment which is the crown-commandment, as it were in an angle; which commandment is placed, saith he, èj eu mesorriJ 'as it were in the middle, or confines of both tables,' that of religion, and this other of justice civil; that with the right arm the Prince may support that, and with the left this, and so uphold both. And in the Gospel, Christ applieth this very verse to Himself, as Heir of the Vineyard. Heir He was not, but as King, not as Priest; He could not, for of that tribe He was not born, but was called to it as was Aaron.
Since then here we find both, and that David was both, it is no error I trust to call a Kingcaput anguli, no more is it to call him laipdem primarium, or angularem, choose ye whether. The Persian, by the light of nature, called the King Ahashuerosh, that is, 'Sovereign head.' The Grecian, by the same light, called the King Basile/a, that is, b£siu toà laoà , 'the base or corner stone of his people.'
Shall I add this? This word 'stone,' which is here affirmed of David in this verse, is in the New Testament, five several times, turned by the Syrian Translator, Cephas; thrice in the three Gospels, once in the Acts, and once in St. Peter. So that he did not think it strange to call King David Cephas. So Cephas, as well said of David as of Peter. And tu pasces as well said to David as pasce to Peter. And Zerrubbabel hath in his hand the line, as well as Joshua the High Priest, towards the building of the temple. The thing, the duty itself, and the bounds of it, let us lay forth and agree of as we can; but sure the name is not to be stood on, it cannot be denied him.
[284/285] And now to ourselves, to whom as 'this is the day which the Lord hath made,' touching Christ and His resurrection, so is it likewise the day He hath made the second time, by making on it his Majesty head of this kingdom, the very name whereof hath affinity, and carrieth an allusion to the term anguli in the sound of it.
And neither were your Majesty without your part of refusing in a kind, but did participate somewhat of it with David, though in a less degree. Good, and firm, and sure, though your right were as any stone, yet allegations were studied to subject it to question, yea to refusing. For did nobody ever see a project drawn, wherein some other stone was marked out to have been caput anguli. Yes, it is well known, titles were raised and set on foot, and books written to that end.
And they took themselves for no mean workmen that were the devisers of them, that both at home and abroad contrived it another way, and plotted to have put you by, and to have had some other head-stone of their own hewing out in your room.
Yea, to make your case yet more like to Christ's case, even the High Priest, he who claimeth Caiaphas' place, he and his crew had their hands in it. We may no less truly say to them than St. Peter said to Caiaphas; Quem vos, 'Whom ye' would have cast aside, if ye might have had your wills. And to that end had your first breves ready drawn and sent abroad, and others in a readiness to second them.
Yet for all their breves and bulls, this stone is the head for all that. Factus 'made,' he is, and made by God. For a Domino, God's doing it was evidently, that after so much plotting so many years together, at the very time God bowed the hearts of so many thousands, as it had been the heart of one man, to agree in one; as that all that foresaw it thought it had not been possible, and all that saw it confessed it admirable, and 'all men said, This has God done, for they saw evidently it was His work.' The head you were then made, and head not of one angle, as you were before caput anguli I hold a King to be though he have but one kingdom, but caput trinaguli, head now of three, even of the whole 'triangle.' So their [285/286] titles were dashed, their plots disappointed, and all their devices as the potter's clay. Yours it was of right, and God has brought you to it. So it is, and our eyes do see it, and our hearts do joy in it, and out tongues bless God for it; and here we are this day with all praise and thanks to acknowledge it, that so it is. It is a part of this day's duty, that so we should acknowledge it, and give Him thanks for it Who brought it to pass.
And may I not farther put you in mind of another making yet? And it is not impertinent neither, to this day especially. For after the first making or placing, look how many after-attempts are made to unmake or displace the head-stone again; so many times as it is heaved at to that end, and those attempts defeated, so many new placings, so many new makings, are we to reckon of. David was made head, not only when Saul and Abner sought to put him down, and were put down themselves, which was before he came to the crown; but even after he had it, had worn it long, when Absalom and Sheba refused him being their head, and cried, 'No part in David,' and so sought to set him besides the throne.
And builders there wanted not in that design: Absalom had Ahithophel and Amasa, two as principal master-builders, as then were any. When God brought David back to his seat again, and delivered him from them that sought to remove him from it, He did as good as place him in it anew. David himself saith so before, at the thirteenth verse. 'He was shrewdly lifted at, and ready to turn over; but God stayed him, and set him right in his seat again.' And in very deed the verse next before, the twenty-first, where he saith, 'God had heard him, and was become his Deliverer,' makes the writers to think this Psalm was indited rather for this second, than for his first placing.
Now a like second making we may well remember, and we cannot do it better than upon this day. This day, as we shall see, has an interest in it. That since your sitting in the seat of this kingdom, some there were, builders one would have taken them to be if he had seen them with their tools in their hands, as if they had been to have laid some foundation; where their meaning was, to undermine, and to cast [286/287]down foundations and all, yea, to have made a right stone of you, and blown you up among the stones, you and yours without any more ado.
And master-builders they had amongst them, so they will needs be accounted, that encouraged their hearts, and strengthened their hands to the work. And that they might do, there was no seal to hinder it; but disclose it that they might not, for fear of breaking a seal, there was a seal for that. And thus did thye ædificare ad gehennam, 'edify their followers to hellward,' to set them forward and send them to their own place. That day which God undid that wretched design, and brought their mischief upon their own heads, that day did God make you caput trianguli the second time. That day that He brought you back, if not from death itself, yet from death's door, from the very gates of destruction, that day was a very Easter-day to you, thought it were in November. And, èj eu parabolÁ, 'after a sort,' a very resurrection; as very a resurrection as Isaac's was, which the Apostle there speaketh of. That day, the destroying Angel, I am sure, passed over you, and so it was truly the Feast of the Passover. Fit therefore to be remembered this day,--hic est dies, 'this is the day' of the Passover, this is Easter-day, the day of the Resurrection.
But to return to the first making of all. By the true course of the year, this month, being the very month, this day being the very day of that, of the first laying of this head-stone, we are as before in Christo Domino, so again here in christo Domini, to prosecute it with David's cry of Hosanna, and Benedictus; and with Zacahry's acclamation of 'Grace, grace unto it,' even to this head-stone. `Grace,' in their eyes and hearts to whom He so made you. But above all, the grace of all graces, that you may make Him ever your Akrogwuiaioj, 'your stone of chief trust,' and your mark of highest regard, in all your counsels and purposes, That so made you; and seek to reduce the disjecta latera, 'the sides and walls flying off,' of this great building for which the world itself was built, His Church, and reduce them to one angle, the greatest service than can be done Him on earth.
And so, He that this day made you head, so make you, and so keep you long, [287/288] and many days! He that refused them who refused you, refused them with reprobation, still may He so do, toties quoties, to their continual confusion; that the head over the triangle, and the triangle under the head. May many years stand fast and flourish, in all peace, plenty and prosperity, health, honour and happiness! And after all, He that hath crowned you here with two crowns already, crown you also with the third of glory and immortality in His heavenly kingdom!
I have now done. Only I would move one thing, and it shall well agree with that hath been said of the corner-stone, and it shall serve to further our duty of thanks, and be a good closing up of the whole. Many ways was Christ, our blessed Saviour, a 'Corner-stone;' among others, especially in this, saith St. Hierome: Quando agnum cim pane conjunxit, finiens unum, inchoans alterum, utrumque perficiens in Semetipso. One chief corner-point of His was, 'when He joined the Lamb of the Passover and the Bread of the Eucharist, ending the one and beginning the other, recapitulating both Lamb and Bread into Himself;' making that Sacrament, by the very institution of it, to be as it were the very corner-stone of both the Testaments.
No act then more fit for this feast, the feast of the Passover than that act which is itself the passage over from the Old Testament to the New. No way better to express our thanks for this Corner-stone, than by the Holy Eucharist, which itself is the corner-stone of the Law and the Gospel.
And there is in it a perfect representation of the substance of this verse and text set before our eyes. Wherein two poor elements of no great value in themselves, but that they might well be refused, are exalted by God to the estate of a divine mystery, even of the highest mystery in the Church of Christ.
And a kind of resurrection there is in them, and therefore fit for the day of the Resurrection, as ever in Christ's Church Easter-day hath pleaded a special property in them. Sown as it were, in weakness and dishonour; and, after they be consecrated, rising again in honour and power.
And that, a great honour and power, not only to represent but to exhibit that it representeth, nor to set before us, or [288/289] remember us of, but even to serve us for a corner-stone. First uniting us to Christ the 'Head,' whereby we grow into one frame of building, into one body mystical, with Him. And again, uniting us also as living stones, or lively members, omnes in id ipsum, one to another, and all together in one, by mutual love and charity. Qui comedit de hoc Pane, et bibit de hoc Calice, manet in Me, et Ego in illo. 'He that eateth of this Bread, and drinketh of this Cup abideth in Me, and I in Him.' This is our corner with Him. And again, Unum corpus omnes sumus, qui de uno pane participamus, 'All we that partake of one bread or cup, grow all into one body mystical.' There is our corner, either with the other. By the same means expressing our thanks for it, and by the same possessing ourselves of it; sealing up both ways our duty to God for making Christ the Lord our greatest and chiefest, and for making His anointed this day, under Him, either in their several degrees, our ¢krogwuiaioj, 'our chief or head corner stone.' For which, together with all other His benefits, but especially as the time calleth to us, for these two, Christ's rising and our Sovereign's raising to His royal place, render we, as we are bound to God the Father, &c.