Corner Stones Psalm 144:12

Our daughters as cornerstones hewn [cut or shaped] after the fashion of a palace.—Psa_144:12.

Have you ever watched masons building a house? If you have you will have noticed that the stones which formed the angles of the walls of the building were stones specially shaped and dressed for the purpose. The other stones in the wall were often irregular. They sloped away towards the back and the space was filled in with smaller stones and mortar, but the corner stones were rectangular, their sides were squared. The mason took special care also in laying them. He made sure that they were resting firmly and evenly, for he knew that on them depended the uprightness and the straightness of the walls of the whole building.

The Bible has a great deal to say about corner stones, for the corner stones of a building were to the Hebrews almost sacred. The corner stones of the foundation of a house were laid with religious rites; and that is no doubt why, today, we have a ceremony at the laying of the foundation stone of a church or other great building.

Now, when the writer of this part of the 144th Psalm wanted to find something to compare with ideal youths and young women he chose strong, healthy young plants or saplings to represent the youths; but when he came to the young women shaped as cornerstones.

Some people tell us that the corner stones he meant were finer than the stones we have been describing. They were ornamental pillars, such as are found in temples or palaces. Other people go even further and say that the writer was thinking of caryatides—those carved female figures which you may have seen in pictures of Greek art, acting as pillars and holding up the arch or cornice of a building.

It seems to me that it doesn’t matter much which of these was meant, for they all have two things in common, and these are the two things that every girl should be.

1. They were supports.—The old-fashioned idea about a girl or woman was that she ought to be weak and helpless and clinging. She ought to be like a plant with tendrils—unable to stand up without a support. Fortunately that type of girl is almost extinct. Girls of today pride themselves upon being able to stand alone and look after themselves. “We can stand up for ourselves,” they say.

Now, it seems to me that standing up for oneself and looking after oneself is only one step in the right direction. Girls will need to take another step if they want to reach the ideal woman God meant. For God created woman to be a helpmeet. He sent her into the world to be a support to the world’s weak things, to be a helper and a healer and a consoler. He meant woman to be the foundation stone of all that was noble and lovable. He meant her to be like those grand stones of which I was reading the other day—the foundation stones of the palaces of the wonderful city of Venice.

These foundation stones were brought hundreds of years ago over the Adriatic to Venice. They were brought with much risk and labor in little rowing and sailing boats. They are magnificent strong blocks of stone so perfectly and smoothly chiseled that each lies close to its neighbor and no water can enter between. They lie most of them below the level of the water and only the topmost rows are in the light, but on them are reared those gorgeous palaces of brick and marble which make Venice the beautiful city it is.

Just so does the world of home rest on woman’s love. Girls, you are the homemakers, not of the future only, but of the present. You can all be its foundation stones. You can, in a thousand loving ways, be its pillars, its supports.

2. Then the corner stones were beautiful.—All girls, all women should be, and can he beautiful. The older they grow the more beautiful they should become. That does not sound very possible, for you hear older folk lamenting that their hair is turning grey and their wrinkles are growing deeper, and their eyes are getting dim. Now I want to ask you what is the rarest kind of beauty in the world? It is the beauty of a beautiful old lady. There are plenty of pretty young girls, but an old lady with a beautiful face is one of the rarest, as she is one of the loveliest, things on God’s earth.

Girls, you may not be lovely in youth, but you can grow lovelier each year, until, if God spares you, you are one day that rarity—a beautiful old lady.

I know a girl who at school was quite plain-looking and ordinary. Nobody thought of looking at her twice. She has been grown-up for nearly twenty years, and today her face is so sweet that those who catch a glimpse of it look again, not twice, but many times. She herself does not know how lovely she is; she is not a bit conceited. But everybody else knows it and remarks on it.

How has she changed from a plain-looking girl to a beautiful woman? I can tell you. When she was about twenty a great sorrow came to her. For a little she felt as if her happiness in life were ended, as if there were nothing more to live for. But one day she resolved that she would try to make others happy instead. She would live for that. And she has done it. And that is the whole secret. Her beautiful, kind, unselfish soul shines through her features and transforms them.

And her secret is the secret of beautiful old ladies, because by the time you reach fifty or sixty straight noses and cupid mouths don’t count. By that time your face will show the real you. If you have been impatient or discontented or mean or greedy it will be written there for everyone to behold. On the other hand, if you care, your face will tell another tale—the tale of the love and the unselfishness and the patience and the courage which have made you through the years a helper and a support. Only thus can you become like the corner stone of the text—a pillar fit for the palace of the King of kings.