A wonderful, 1826 passage from Swiss pastor Felix Neff, quoted from “Evangelicalism Divided:”
[I]n this impure and dark world, this obscure quarry, whence the Great Builder is pleased to take some stones for his edifice, what shall we find, but work-yards for a season, where everything appears to be in a movement and disorder? What unshapen stones, what rubbish, what fragments!
How many things fit only for temporary service! How many arrangements merely provisional! How many mercenaries and foreigners are occupied in these quarries… How many dissentions among the laborers, how many conjectures and disputes about the final purposes of the Great Architect… which are known only to Himself! Shall we search in this chaos for the true church, the spiritual temple? Shall we endeavor to arrange, in one exact and uniform order, all those stones that we find in the various quarries opened in a thousand places in the world? Oh, how much wiser is the Master! While some are disputing about the excellence of this or the other department of the work; and while others are spending their strength in endeavoring to introduce perfect order, the wise Master-builder surveys, in silence, the vast scene of operations, chooses and marks the materials which he sees to be prepared amidst all this confusion, and causes them to be removed and placed in his heavenly edifice; assigning to every piece the place most proper for it, and for which he has designed it. Such, my beloved brethren, is the sublime idea which we ought to form of this universal church. Oh! How contemptible now will appear, in our eyes, those endless disputes which have at all times divided the believers, and continue to do so to the present day. Let us rather labor in the quarry where our work is assigned, to prepare as great a quantity of materials as possible; and especially, let us entreat the Lord to make us all lively stones fit for his building. Amen!