Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.
I. GOD IS NO RESPECTER OF PERSONS, BUT AS A MATTER OF FACT POOR MEN STAND FOREMOST IN THE GREAT HUMAN LINE. Weigh what Dives has done for the world, and what the penniless. Because Peter and John, though they had not a penny in their purses, had something to give to that poor man, and to all poor men, and gave it, we are here to-day, and the great world lives. He was the poorest of the poor who brought that gift to us. "Foxes have holes," etc.; and by hands as poor the gift has been distributed. Perhaps the most heavenly men and women living are among the poorest. The men who have drawn forth the great inventions, poems, thoughts which have blessed mankind have seldom enriched themselves by their toils. They have loved their work too well for that. The world is not bountiful to genius and to love. And thank God it is not: genius lives on a nobler nourishment, and love has a nobler hire. Socrates, Paul, Epictetus, Dante, Luther, Milton found it so. And yet that we may not idolise poverty the world's most glorious psalms came forth from one of the most splendid and prosperous monarchies of the world. But David knew want before he came to wealth, and perhaps his best work was done in his most struggling days. Still there are eminent instances of the noblest service to humanity from those in the loftiest station to rebuke the supposition that any class has a monopoly of the highest ministries. Sokya-Mouni was a prince, and few out of Christianity have done such work for man as his; and our own great Alfred did, perhaps, the noblest life-work that was ever done by one man for his generation from the height of a throne. The poor may be bigots as well as the rich. St. Giles is as contemptuous as St. James, and God rebukes them both.
II. WHAT ARE SILVER AND GOLD COMPARED WITH THE RICH ENDOWMENT OF FACULTY WITH WHICH GOD HAS BLESSED OUR RACE? Which of you now, moaning over your poverty, would exchange for the wealth of Dives, your sight, hearing, or soundness of limb? It would do us good, when we make our plaint against providence, if God compelled us to make the exchange awhile, and try how we liked a splendid paralysis, a gilded blindness or deafness, a park big enough for a province and a shrivelled limb. What cries would rise to heaven for poverty again! Take this healed man, as he clings to Peter and John, half afraid of a relapse, and suggest that he go back to his cripple's lair with a mountain of gold for his store. Faculty is the true wealth of man. There is many a poor workman trudging to his work at sunrise who has a joy in beholding the pomp and glow of the eastern heavens, hearing the lark's glad carol, and bathing his brow in the clear air such as Dives would give any price to enjoy.
III. IF IT IS A GOD-LIKE GIFT TO BESTOW HEALTH ON A CRIPPLED BODY, WHAT MUST IT BE TO GIVE HEALTH TO A CRIPPLED SOUL? The healing of bodily disease was but the mere fringe of the work of Christ and His apostles. The real disease that paralyses man underlies all that. Sin makes disease the first form of death in every bodily organ. You know why there are so many bleared eyes, bloated faces, shaking hands, and limping feet; and Christ knows too, and He knows also that the only way, in the long run and on a large scale, to heal sick bodies is to save sick souls. And He who can do this for you gives you a boon of which gold and silver yield no measures.
(J. B. Brown, B. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.