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of a Church. I would here offer a passing remark, lest I should be misunderstood. I do not believe that we can devote too much to give the house of God a dignity, and a grandeur, and a beauty of appearance, which may honour him, in whose name it is erected. The gathered gold of ages was expended in the building of the first house ever erected as the place for the name of the Lord of hosts; and gold and silver, and the richest devices of the artists, were made subservient to the solemnities of worship. But this may all be, and yet a Church be sunk into spiritual penury; while on the other hand, the richest things of the Spirit may belong to the Church unsightly in its form, and mean in its embellishments. Some of the Churches, raised to the highest eminence of spiritual riches, are to be found amidst the wilderness of the forest scenery, and far, far from the splendour of the city efforts. I have seen the house of God built of logs, which the axe of the worshipper hewed out of the sturdy oak or the lofty pine, and I have seen it when it had no ornament, where the rude and ungarnished pulpit served only to bear the Bible and the preacher, and yet
I have sometimes been where in a situation of this kind I have felt and known that God was present, and that there was a spirituality in the hearts of those who worshipped, which gave a richness and a splendour to which no gold, and no silver, and no embellishments can possibly compare. Oh no, not the number, not the wealth and standing, not the possessions of the worshippers, not the splendour of a Church, constitutes its riches in the sight of God.
And now I am prepared to answer the ques
tion, not negatively, as I have done, but positively as I may. What is it that constitutes a Church rich in the sight of God? It is the purity of the faith of those who compose it; it is in the fact that they are building alone for their salvation on that foundation, than which none other can be laid, Jesus Christ and him crucified. It is in the deep devotion of their hearts who compose the stated worshippers; it is in the purity and holiness of their lives, and in the consistency of their Christian walk and conversation ; it is in the affections of their hearts fixed on eternal things. When you see the members of a Church regular and systematic in their attendance, and devout in their demeanour in the house of God; when you see them anxious to embrace every opportunity of becoming wise unto salvation; when you behold them deeply engaged in the things of personal religion; when you find them active and zealous in whatever may advance the interest of the Redeemer's kingdom; when you see them adorning the doctrine of God their Saviour, and in a crooked and perverse generation seeking to keep themselves unspotted from the world; when Bible, Missionary, Tract, Sunday-school associations are fostered and encouraged; and thus, when superadded to personal piety, there is a noble and elevated standard in their benevolence, then may a Church be called rich in the sight of God; and then, no matter what its outward condition, whether prosperous or adverse, the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity looks down with complacency on the work of spirituality which himself hath wrought; and whether he writes it on marble or on pine, in gold or in humbler materials, he writes the character
of that Church in the noblest commendation which a Church ever received—“Thou art rich."
Lastly, I inquire, what is it that makes an individual rich in the sight of God? I need hardly say that it is not his wealth, he may have countless thousands; it is not his reputation, he may have attracted the applause of the multitude; it is not his standing in society, he may rank first among his fellows; it is nothing, absolutely nothing, which attaches itself to the outer man. From the habitation of his holiness God hath written the decree, “look not at this man's countenance, nor at the height of his stature, for God hath rejected him; for man looketh upon the outward appearance, but God judgeth of the heart.” No, my brethren, the individual who is rich in the sight of God, must bear about him the elements of a spiritual character. It is possible—nay it is the ordinary experience of menit is possible to be poor, miserably poor, in the midst of the greatest wealth which this world can accumulate upon its votary; it is possible, nay it is experience, to be rich in the midst of worldly poverty, for spiritual riches is a matter of the mind; poor in temporal possessions, rich in spiritual. If we would judge as the infinitely wise and holy God is wont to judge, we should esteem that man rich, who was rich in the faith, the love, the hope, the charity of the Gospel. I call that man rich, in whose heart rest the graces and the virtues of the Christian character; I call that man rich, who can appropriate to the comfort of his soul the promises of the Gospel ; I call that man rich, who in his vital faith and his holy regulated life, can come to God in the endearing character of a father, for all things are his, whether
life or death, or things present, or things to come. Yes, the real heart-changed follower of Christ is rich, because he enjoys a Father's bounty. Well hath the poet said yes, my friends, in reference to the real Christian it may be said with unqualified truth,
He looks abroad into the varied field of nature,
I call that man rich who has in reversion the wealth of the kingdom of heaven.
In this view of the subject, how grossly misapplied is the term rich, as it is commonly understood. Thou art the poor man who, though clothed in purple, art yet hovering on the very brink of perdition. Thou art poor, who hast never sought to fill thy coffers with the immeasurable riches of the grace of God; who, amidst all the prodigality of heavenly mercies, art suffering a dearth and famine of the word of God, the grace of Christ, and the communication of the Spirit. This,' this is poverty. But on the other hand, thou art rich, who art clothed in the vesture of a Saviour's righteousness and hast a title to a throne in heaven. Yes, my brethren, seek those riches which are enduring, and let nothing prevent you from striving to attain them with an energy which befits their value. In the comparison of this, let nothing weigh in mation; the wealth, and honours, and pleasures of the world, are less than the veriest feather, and no
your estimatter what may be your earthly condition, if you are rich in faith, and an heir of the kingdom. You may suffer persecution; you may be involved in tribulation ; you may be sunk in penury; yet the mightiest king of the mightiest kingdom may envy you your condition, if God shall pronounce of