Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation.@Isaiah 28:16
illustration
Building of the Temple of Jerusalem
Jean Fouquet, circa 1470

John Pierpont, 1839. This hymn was written for the laying of the cornerstone of the Suffolk Street Chapel, Boston, Massachusetts, May 23, 1839; it was published in Airs of Palestine and Other Poems (Boston: 1840).

Nuremberg alt. from Johann R. Ahle, 1664 (🔊 pdf nwc).

portrait
John Pierpont (1785-1866)

On this stone now laid with prayer,
Let Thy church rise, strong and fair;
Ever, Lord, Thy name be known,
Where we lay this cornerstone.

Let Thy holy Child, who came
Man from error to reclaim,
And for sinners to atone,
With Thee, bless this cornerstone.

Let the Spirit from above,
That once hovered like a dove
O’er the Jordan, hither flown
Hover o’er this cornerstone.

In the sinner’s troubled breast,
In the heart by care oppressed,
Let the seeds of truth be sown,
Where we’ve laid this cornerstone.

Open wide, O God, Thy door,
For the outcast and the poor,
Who can call no house their own,
Where we lay this cornerstone.

By wise master builders squared,
Here be living stones prepared
For the temple near Thy throne,
Jesus Christ its cornerstone.