1 Timothy 3:15
But if I tarry long, that you may know how you ought to behave yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God…
Speaking of that enormous mountain peak known as the Matterhorn, which is the universal admiration of Alpine travellers, a writer says that the materials of which it is composed are remarkable, and he goes on to gives the following description: "Few architects would like to build with them. The slope of the rocks to the north-west is covered two feet deep with their ruins, a mass of loose and slaty shale, of a dull red brick colour, which yields beneath the feet like ashes, so that, in running down, you step one yard and slide three. The rock is indeed hard beneath, but still disposed in thin courses of these cloven shales, so finely laid that they look in places more like a heap of crushed autumn leaves than a rock, and the first sensation is one of unmitigated surprise, as if the mountain were upheld by miracle; but surprise becomes more intelligent reverence for the Great Builder when we find, in the middle of the mass of these dead leaves, a course of living rock, of quartz as white as the snow that encircles it, and harder than a bed of steel. It is only one of a thousand iron bands that knit the strength of the mighty mountain. Through the buttress and the wall alike the courses of its varied masonry are seen in their successive order, smooth and true as if laid by line and plummet, but of thickness and strength continually varying, and with silver cornices glittering along the edge of each, led by the snowy winds and carved by the sunshine." Now, all this suggests a parable. The Church of God, that glorious mountain of His habitation, is apparently built of very frail materials. The saints are, to all appearance, more like "a heap of crushed autumn leaves than a rock," and beneath the feet of tyrants and persecutors they seem to yield like ashes; and yet the Church defies the storm and towers aloft, the obelisk of the truth, the eternal pillar of almighty grace. Faith, with eagle gaze, perceives the thousand iron bands which prevent the disintegration of the mass, and the central foundation harder than a bed of steel upon which the colossal fabric rests. The Church abideth for ever: infinite love, faithfulness, and power sustain her, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against her.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.