Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Singular Advantages of Poverty


This is a section taken from the Puritan writer James Meikle's book Solitude Sweetended.

"In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him." (Ecclesiastes 7:14)
Poverty calls to the exercise of certain graces
, which Christians in opulence cannot so properly be actually engaged in; though every saint has the essence of every grace. The rich cannot depend on God for their daily bread, in the same manner that the needy do. And when the poor, in their pinching straits, and repeated trials and disappointments—are enabled to let patience have her perfect work, to a full resignation to, and approbation of the disposal of providence in their lot, and have a sweet recumbency on the faithfulness and kindness of a reconciled God; thereby he is glorified, and their souls enriched for a world to come.

Again, the saints in poverty have a sweet display of a special providence towards them, and the small things, and petty sums they receive, have a relish to them, above the vast and yearly incomes of the rich; because these come as it were from the immediate hand of God, are the answer of their prayers, and the fruit of their faith. As in an indigent state needs daily return, so faith is daily necessary; and the daily actings of faith on an all-sufficient God, of all Christian graces glorifies God most, putting honor on all his perfections, on his truth and faithfulness, his power and immutability, his wisdom and mercy! And the soul that in the highest degree glorifies God in time, shall be glorified in a higher degree in heaven; for the seeds now sown with weeping, shall yield sheaves of comfort then, and the happy reapers shall rejoice forever.


It matters not how much we suffer here—if God may thereby be more glorified on earth, and we more glorified in heaven. If, then, poverty with the divine blessing, promotes this noble end, can any deny its singular advantages? If the soul goes out towards God, has the world crucified to him, and is crucified to the world; if he esteems the heavenly bliss a sufficient portion, and looks not at the things that are seen; if he commits all to God; if he welcomes every cross that comes from God; if he approves of that lot which God appoints, and in everything depends, confides on God, for himself and his children; and if he has his little allowance, (for he does not wish for much,) insured in the bank of heaven—while the great sums amassed by worldly-minded men and misers, are often in a short time so entirely consumed—is he a loser by poverty?


Finally, though God leads me through a terrible wilderness, and feeds me in the wilderness in a manner which the rich know not, since it is to humble me, and prove me, and do me good at my latter end, even to do me good world without end—why should I complain?

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    "For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus
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