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“ But you are cast down.” “Yes, but I am not destroyed.” “But you are poor.” “Yes, but I make many rich." 6. Make many rich! But you ought to do something for yourself. Now you have nothing." "That is true, yet I possess all things."
Now these two expressions of St. Paul, “making many rich,” and “possessing all things,” are the key to that particular turn of thought that we find in the passage I have just read as a text. In alluding to the fact that he was permitted to preach the gospel of Christ, and to make known to mankind its unsearchable treasure, he feels himself in the position of one who is bringing to the view of men wealth that they will never be able to exhaust. It is just like a man who had gone over a tract of country, and discovered in it mines of gold, such as have lately been discovered in Australia, alone, wandering over barren hills, and visiting valleys and gulleys and creeks, and marking millions upon millions of treasure-hidden treasureand then came back to a colony of poor struggling people, and gathered them round him, and asked one man, " What are you worth ?” and he points to a few ill-fed cattle ;
What are you worth ?” and he shows the tools of his craft; and another man, worth?”' and he shows simply the hands with which he can labour. This man knows that he has it in his power, simply by his word; by telling them what he knows, to make the fortune of every man there, and put them in the
way of being rich for themselves and for their posterity, if they will only avail themselves of the information he is about to give them. A man in such circumstances would feel himself amazingly lifted up with a feeling of honour and delight and importance; and precisely in this position does Paul feel himself in the midst of a poor and ill-provided for race of souls. He looks out upon mankind
66 What are you
as he finds them, with all their life before them, their long, long, long life, a life that will never end: he asks them round and round what they have laid up, what they have prepared, what they have to look to, how much they are really worth for the great issues of the life that is to come ; and finding them as a whole and as a rule poor and miserable, unprovided for and unfortunate, and knowing that he has got the "pearl of great price," the treasure that will make every man rich, the treasure that will make each soul in itself unutterably wealthy, he feels, Unto me,
who am less than the least of all saints is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ." He feels that in preaching Christ he was preaching upsearchable riches, putting them in the way of being wealthy beyond all count; and he feels the honour of thus being permitted to make the fortunes of perishing souls, an honour so great that it casts him down in his own eyes so low that he really does not know how to speak of himself. He uses in this passage the most peculiar expression. One would have thought that it would have been strong enough for him to say, " the least of all saints;" but the impetuosity of his own feeling of littleness under so great a glory was such that instead of contenting himself with talking good Greek, and saying that he was the least of all saints, he commits just the same breach of the ordinary propriety of speech as if he had said in English, “I am the leaster of all saints." He goes quite beyond ordinary usage that he may get a stronger expression than words could well give. “I am the leaster of all saints," or as our translators have most beautifully rendered it, “I am less than the least of all saints." He at one time compared himself with sinners, and he was willing to put his name at the head of them. “Of whom I am chief;" but
as to saints, he wished to put his name at the foot of them. “I am less than the least of all saints."
The particular subject on which I mean to dwell for a little time, and while I do, I earnestly ask you to pray to God that as we are speaking and thinking of Christ, we may all find him to the joy of our own souls—the subject I
now speak upon is the unsearchable treasure. That treasure is Christ. He is the wealth of a man. Christ makes any man rich-rich for this world, and for the world that is to come, rich living, rich dying, rich while the body lies in the grave, rich when the resurrection is come, rich to all eternity. He only is wealthy who has the one "pearl of great price," the ever-blessed Redeemer of mankind. Now most of you are quite ready, doubtless, to admit that our real wealth does lie in Christ, that it is in him only true riches are to be found. But then the question is, whom does this treasure enrich ? Whom does the treasure of Australia enrich ? Does it enrich you who have heard about it, and read about it, and believe that it is there? No. Does it enrich the man that intends some time or other to go and search for it? No. Does it enrich him that thinks he can do better without it? Does it enrich any man who started out to seek it, and meant to find it, but in consequence of hardships and difficulties in the way, turned back again ? Does it enrich any one who actually got to the spot, and began to dig and labour until he was weary, and laboured again and found nothing, and went on labouring a little while, and then lost heart and forsook the work ? No. Whom then does it enrich ? The man that seeks it until he finds it. And who is to be the wealthier for Christ? Who is to be happier for Christ? Who is to lift up his head crowned gloriously and royally because of Christ? Is it you who have heard
you. Is it
there is a Christ, and read that there is a Christ, and believed that there is a Christ, but go no further? Not
you who mean some time or other, when you have nothing better to do, to turn and seek Christ? Not you; you are no richer for Christ yet. Is it you
who once or twice actually thought you would begin to seek him, and did make a little progress in that way, but soon turned back again ? Not you. Is it you who went a little further, and forsook some of your sins, and prayed somewhat, and for a little while consorted with the people of God, and began to walk in holy ways ? Not you, not you. There is not a soul who hears me really richer because of Christ, really blessed with the treasure that no power can take away, the treasure that moth and rust cannot corrupt, that thieves cannot break through and steal—there are none possessed of this treasure, but those who have sought the Lord Christ as the Saviour of their souls, and gone on seeking; who have trusted in Jesus as their only atonement, and gone on trusting; who have cried to Christ as their only refuge in the hour of danger, and have gone on crying until their love of the world, their evil conscience, their fear of condemnation, all departed in the embrace of their Saviour. And what took possession of their heart instead of these? A new and indescribable sense of possession and of comfort, of wealth and of satisfaction, so that they could say in themselves, “ This is the record that God hath given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life.” He that hath the Son, who actually has sought Christ and has found him, and now holds fast and possesses a part, a lot, and interest in the Lord Jesus, knows "He is my Saviour, I am his child : he loveth me,
I love him. The life that I now live I live not by my own natural impulse, for it is a life contrary to that; I live not by my own natural will, for it
is a life contrary to that; I live not by my own force of resolution, for it is a life above that. The life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” And Christ being formed in the heart the hope of glory and the image of God, makes the new creature and the new life; and he in whom Christ thus dwelleth-to him is Christ a treasure. To you that believe he is precious.
Christ thus sought, believed in, possessed, and retained, is riches of merit. The universal conscience of man feels that we have done wrong. Every man knows that he has done things that ought never to be done, that he has left undone things that ought to be done. Then the conscience of man also feels that there is a just and good government above us, a government that deals with every one according to strict right. The idea of a government, that without atonement, without reparation, would pass over every breach of law, is utterly untenable. Every man feels that a government that would promiscuously pardon all faults, would be just the same as a government that had no law at all. You know that any government in this city that would pardon every breach of law, would bring the whole city to ruin in a year; such a government would bring a kingdom, and even the whole world to ruin; and if there were such a government over the universe, that, without heeding justice, would pass over every breach of right, there would be peace nowhere, purity nowhere. Every man feels that if there is a good God above us, that God cannot look upon sin, and will not forgive sin, without meeting justice strictly in the very act of forgiving; will
er iniquity in any such way as would make it seem that right and wrong were all the same to him. The conscience of man all the world over feels that if he is to draw near to an offended Majesty above him, he must