The Affluent Poor
2 Corinthians 6:9-10
As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed;…

Note —

1. That the gospel is a system to enrich man. Some religious systems impoverish both mind and body. The enrichment of the gospel gives man a property in "all things." This spiritual wealth is inalienable, whereas the wealthiest carry not a fraction of all their possessions to the grave, Moral goodness is worth, everywhere and for ever.

2. The gospel enriches man through the agency of poor men. The poor can receive the gospel, and do indeed receive it to a greater extent than any other class. Heaven has placed no obstacle in the way of any class. But if the poor can receive it they can also propagate it. It came into the world through a poor man. "Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ," etc. He elected to carry on His work by poor fishermen. These He sent forth without "purse or scrip." The same order has been more or less observed up to the present day. Our great reformers, theologians, missionaries, and ministers have, with but few exceptions, sprung from the ranks of the poor. I infer from all this —

I. THE KIND OF INSTRUMENTALITY ON WHICH THE DIFFUSION OF GOD'S GOSPEL NECESSARILY DEPENDS. If the poor can propagate this system, then legislative enactments, worldly influence, high intellectual culture, may be dispensed with. But what of worldly wealth? All that money can do is to furnish machinery — temples, Bibles, and preachers; and these we have in abundance now. The necessary instrumentality is Christ-like thought, spirit, and life.

II. THAT NO CHRISTIAN MAN IS FREED FROM THE OBLIGATION TO DIFFUSE THE GOSPEL OF GOD. If the poor can promote the gospel, how much greater is the obligation of every higher grade in society!

1. The wealthy. Though wealth is not an indispensable qualification, it is undoubtedly a talent suited to augment man's power for this glorious mission.

2. Men of leisure. The poor are doomed to toil for the mere means of subsistence, and can scarcely snatch an hour for spiritual usefulness. How will those amongst us who "kill time" by idle amusements stand in the Last Judgment?

3. The educated.

III. THAT THERE IS NO GROUND FOR SELF-GRATULATION IN THE SUCCESS OF OUR EVANGELICAL EFFORTS. Had angels been employed we might have referred its triumphs to their brilliant talents. But finding that the poorest can achieve the grandest spiritual results, there is no alternative but to trace success in all cases to God.

IV. THAT THE HIGHEST HONOUR IS WITHIN THE REACH OF ALL. This is not to have lordly inheritance or a famous name, but to be the regenerator of souls.

V. THAT THERE IS GOOD REASON TO HOPE FOR THE UNIVERSAL DIFFUSION OF THE GOSPEL. The poor can spread it, and therefore the gospel is not dependent upon any class. And then, moreover, the poor have the largest amount of power; they have always been and still are the millions — the muscles of the world. My poor brother! repine not because of thy worldly lot. Luther was the son of a miner; Bunyan was a tinker, Carey a cobbler, Morison a last-maker; and Knibb, who smote slavery in Jamaica; Williams, who bore the gospel to the Coral Islands; Moffatt, the apostle of Africa, were the children of the sons of toil. Who was John Pounds, the originator of Ragged Schools? He earned his miserable pittance as one of the humblest cobblers in Portsmouth.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed;

WEB: as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and not killed;

Sorrowing, Yet Always Rejoicing
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