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CHAPTER 11

ATTRIBUTES OF HOLINESS—IMPARTIALITY

God is no respecter of persons. This does not mean that He regards the righteous and the wicked with the same degree of favor. But it does mean that He loves a poor man who is truly pious, just as much as He does a millionaire or a king who serves Him no better. In the ranks of an army, in time of war, are men from every position in life; but there are for all the same duties and the same dangers. The road to preferment is open to all alike. What is true, in theory at least, in the army, is true in fact in the Church of Jesus Christ. The same spirit of obedience and self-renunciation is required of all.

So whosoever of you he be, that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple”—Luke 14:3

was not spoken to those only who have not much to forsake. It applies with equal force to the prince as to the pauper.

In proportion as we become holy we become partakers of the mind that was in Christ. A holy person will not claim, and accept any privilege in the house of God which is conceded to him on account of his wealth, but is denied to his poor but equally deserving brother, To him there is a depth of meaning in the words of our Saviour;

How can ye believe which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that cometh from God only?”—John 5:44

He is “a companion”—an equal—“of all them that fear God,” (Ps. 119: 6), and he does not accept any honor bestowed upon him on account of the superior worldly advantages he may enjoy.

Consequently a holy person should not buy or rent a seat in a house of worship. To do this would be to give his sanction to a practice which shuts the poor out of the house of God, and which introduces into the Church an aristocracy based on money.

Christ says,

The poor have the Gospel preached to them.”—Matt. 11:5

This is the standing miracle of the Gospel. False religions seek their votaries among the rich and powerful. The Gospel was made for the poor. It is adapted to their capacities and their wants. If the rich receive it they must come down to a level with the poor. They must lay aside their “gold and pearls and costly array” and be clothed upon with humility. In all ages the greatest triumphs of the Gospel have been won among the poor. Paul, writing to the saints at Corinth, one of the proudest cities of his times, said,

Ye see your calling; brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called; but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are.”—I Cor. 1:26-28.

John Wesley commenced his wonderful career among the poor, and his followers were mainly of this class. Were the churches holy, their houses of worship would be open for the poor just as freely as for the rich, and there would be one communion for all; as there is one God and Father of us. An individual who is holy cannot consistently belong to a Church that despises the poor. But if grading a congregation according to its wealth—giving to the one, who is able and willing to pay the most, the best seat, irrespective of his Christian, or even moral character, and giving the poor seats by themselves, is not manifesting contempt for the poor, we know not how it can be manifested in the house of God. True holiness would correct all this. It honors those whom God honors. It would make trouble, for those professing holiness:—to refuse to give their sanction to the selling of the right to hear the Gospel. But this is the nature of holiness—to make trouble wherever it comes in contact with sin. Light has no communion with darkness, and where one prevails it is to the exclusion of the other.

God has nowhere promised that holy men should enjoy exemption from troubles. But they are promised a final and glorious deliverance.

If you steadfastly refuse to show respect of persons in judgment, you may bring upon yourself persecution; but in no other way can you keep clear in your soul. There is a sterling integrity about holiness, which refuses to be swerved from righteous judgment by any apprehension of danger or expectation of reward. It chooses to

suffer affliction with the people of God, rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.”—Heb. 11:25

Job says, “The cause which I knew not I searched out.” He did not accept the popular voice as his verdict. He examined carefully, weighed impartially the evidence, and gave a just decision.

Thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbor.”—Lev. 19:15

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