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11This Jesus is

‘the stone that was rejected by you, the builders;

it has become the cornerstone.’


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11. This is the stone. He confirmeth by testimony of Scripture that it is no new thing that the ringleaders 208208     “Praesules,” prelates. of the Church, which have glorious titles given them, and have the chief room in the temple of God, have, notwithstanding, wickedly rejected Christ. Therefore he citeth a place out of the 118th Psalm, (Psalm 118:22,) where David complaineth that he is rejected of the captains [leaders] of the people, and yet, notwithstanding, he boasteth that he was chosen of God to have the chief room. Moreover, he compareth the Church, or the state of the kingdom, by an usual metaphor to a building, he calleth those which have the government the masters of the work, 209209     “Architectos,” the architects. and he maketh himself the principal stone, whereon the whole building is stayed and grounded. For that is meant by the head of the corner. Therefore, this is David’s comfort, that howsoever the captains have rejected him, so that they would not grant him even the basest place, yet did not their wicked and ungodly endeavors hinder him from being extolled by God unto the highest degree of honor. But that was shadowed in David which God would have perfectly expressed in the Messias. Therefore Peter dealeth very aptly when as he citeth this testimony, as being spoken before of Christ, as they knew full well that it did agree properly to him. Now we know to what end Peter did cite the Psalm; to wit, lest the elders and priests being unadvisedly puffed up with their honor, should take to themselves authority and liberty to allow or disallow whatsoever they would. For it is evident that the stone refused by the chief builders is placed by God’s own hand in the chief place, that it may support the whole house.

Furthermore, this happeneth not once only, but it must be fulfilled daily; at least it must seem no new thing if the chief builders do even now reject Christ. Whereby the vain boasting of the Pope is plainly refuted, who maketh his boast of the bare title, that he may usurp whatsoever is Christ’s. Admit we grant to the Pope and his horned beasts that which they desire, to wit, that they are appointed to be ordinary pastors of the Church, they can go no farther at length than to be called chief builders with Annas and Caiaphas. And it is evident what account ought to be made of this title, which they think is sufficient to mix heaven and earth together. Now let us gather out of this place some things which are worth the noting. Forasmuch as they are called master-builders who have government of the Church, the name itself putteth them in mind of their duty. Therefore, let them give themselves wholly to the building of the temple of God. And because all men do not their duty faithfully as they ought, let them see what is the best manner of building aright, to wit, let them retain Christ for the foundation; that done, let them not mix straw and stubble in this building, but let them make the whole building of pure doctrine; as Paul teacheth in 1 Corinthians 3:12. Whereas God is said to have extolled Christ, who was rejected of the builders, this ought to comfort us, when as we see even the pastors of the Church, or, at least, those which are in great honor, wickedly rebel against Christ, that they may banish him. For we may safely set light by those visors which they object against us; so that we need not fear to give Christ that humor which God doth give to him. But if he wink for a time, yet doth he laugh at the boldness of his enemies from on high, whilst they rage and fret upon earth. Furthermore, though their conspiracies be strong and well guarded with all aids, yet must we always assure ourselves of this, that Christ’s honor shall remain safe and sound. And let the fruit of this confidence ensue also, that we be valiant and without fear in maintaining the kingdom of Christ, whereof God will be an invincible defender, as he himself affirmeth.

We have already spoken of Peter’s constancy, in that one simple man, having such envious judges, and yet having but one partner in the present danger, showeth no token at all of fear, but doth freely confess in that raging and furious company, that thing which he knew would be received with most contrary minds. And whereas he sharply upbraideth unto them that wickedness which they had committed, we must let [seek] from hence a rule of speech when we have to deal with the open enemies of the truth. For we must beware of two faults on this behalf, that we seem not to flatter by keeping silence or winking; for that were treacherous silence, whereby the truth should be betrayed. Again, that we be not puffed up with wantonness, or immoderate heat as men’s minds do oftentimes break out more than they ought in contention. Therefore, let us use gravity in this point, yet such as is moderate; let us chide freely, yet without all heat of railing. We see that Peter did observe this order. For at the first he giveth an honorable title; when he is once come to the matter he inveigheth sharply against them; neither could such ungodliness as theirs was be concealed. Those which shall follow this example shall not only have Peter to be their guide, but also the Spirit of God.




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