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WEALTH OF THE SAINTS
While in this body of flesh accompanied with the frailties of our first parents, with our heritage of death ever present in mind, and a law in our members waring against the law of our mind, how easy it is for us to fall into the spirit of the world, and under value or fail to appreciate the riches which the “little flock” have as an inheritance through Christ, our head. The inestimable value of our riches through Him was aptly illustrated by a friend in a letter lately received. The illustration was something as follows:
Not long since, having become involved in debt, our creditor secured a judgment against us, and we were cast into prison. A friend of ours understanding the situation we were in, bought the claim against us and set us at liberty. Not long after he informed us, that having become acquainted with the location of a certain rich gold mine, and on inquiry finding that it could be purchased for one hundred thousand dollars, and he having just that amount, purchased it, knowing that when developed it would be worth as many and more millions, offered to make us (there were several of us), equal partners with himself, except that he would manage and be at the head of the concern, if we would put in all we had.
This was an offer of such uncommon, unheard of liberality, that it was almost bewildering in its nature, and with embarrassment we cast about to see if we could find anything of value to offer.
Finally we were compelled to admit that we were actually penniless, and all we had, (and that was not worth mentioning) was a few filthy rags, and that it was because of our extreme destitution that we were unable to pay the debt that caused the imprisonment, from which he had gained our release; whereupon he informed us that our riches consisted in our personal worth.
That he had paid for the mine, and now what was needed was willing, capable persons, who would put in their all of time and talent, and sacrifice every other interest to the development of the resources of this mine; that none would be more likely to be faithful and true than those who felt that they owed a debt of gratitude to the head of the concern, and none more capable, nor more acceptable.
At first it seemed too good to be true, and it was with some difficulty that we could bring ourselves to believe that he was really in earnest. We plead that we were indeed so poor that we could not clothe ourselves in proper attire to associate with a person of such wealth and dignity as himself.
In reply he said, that as for wealth, we should be wealthy like himself, and as for the apparel, he would clothe us with proper garments from his own wardrobe when the time came for us to be recognized as partners.
But an important pre-requisite was that we were first to go through a systematic course of education and training in order to fit us to be partners in a concern of such magnitude and significance, adding that the training would involve an acquaintance with the various elements of nature, earth, air, fire, water, &c., and that becoming acquainted with these, great danger and suffering would be incurred; but after that, the whole business would be to superintend the work, and would be most pleasant and profitable. We agreed to the terms and they were signed and sealed in the presence of witnesses.
In this parable, as it may be called, we can see the picture of man’s poverty, bankrupt and in prison. Christ’s love and sympathy for a lost race, and the price he paid for the mine, all he had, and the conditions of co-partnership with him; a giving up and sacrificing all we have.
In the offer of partnership, though to be preceded by disciplinary education and trial, even so as by fire, we see the conditions of our high calling held out to view.
But few will accept such conditions; but few will share in such glory.
But we are persuaded that the “sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us, For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” Rom. 8:18,19.
J. C. SUNDERLIN.
— April, 1882 —