How different is the estimate that faith makes of riches, honours, and comforts from that made by the world and the flesh! The world has no idea of riches but such as consist in gold and silver, in houses, lands, or other tangible property; no thought of honour, but such as man has to bestow; and no notion of comfort, except in "fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind."
But the soul that is anointed by an "unction from the Holy One," takes a different estimate of these matters, and feels that the only true riches are those of God's grace in the heart, that the only real honour is that which cometh from God, and that the only solid comfort is that which is imparted by the Holy Ghost to a broken and contrite spirit. Now, just in proportion as we have the Spirit of God, shall we take faith's estimate of riches, honour, and comfort; and just so much as we are imbued with the spirit of the world, shall we take the world's estimate of these things.
When the eye of the world looked on the Apostles, it viewed them as a company of poor ignorant men, a set of wild enthusiasts, that travelled about the country preaching concerning one Jesus, who, they said, had been crucified, and was risen from the dead. The natural eye saw no beauty, no power, no glory in the truths they brought forth; nor did it see that the poor perishing tabernacles of these outcast men contained in them a heavenly treasure; and that they would one day shine as the stars for ever and ever, whilst those who despised their word would sink into endless woe.
The spirit of the world, and the views that the flesh takes are not altered now. Nature ever remains the same, and can never understand or love the things of eternity; it can only look to, and can only rest upon, the poor perishing things of time and sense. By this test, therefore, we may in a measure try our state. What, for instance, are our daily and hourly feelings about the things of time and sense, and what about the things of eternity? Which of the two press with more power on our minds, which occupy more of our thoughts, which are laid up more warmly in our affections? And just in proportion as the solemn things of eternity, or the things of time and sense, occupy our mind; just so much as our hearts are fixed upon heaven or earth; just so much as we are living to God, or to ourselves, in the same degree is the strength of our faith, and the depth of the work of grace upon our conscience.