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.
Then Peter said, etc. Introduction. The whole scene suggestive on the subject of the state of man. The contrast between the man lying in squalid misery at the gate of the temple and the splendors of the religious edifice. What was that religion which could bear to see such sights daily, and had no message for the poor? All gospels must be tried by this test: preach them to the poor. The men who wrought the miracle had learnt to cast themselves on God for the things of this world. They were as poor as the beggar, yet rich in the gifts of God. They had access to the Church's offerings, yet, with a very unpriest-like self-denial, could say they had nothing. At the gate of the temple, at the hour of prayer, learn this great lesson of Divine endowment and prosperity.
I. A great example of PERSONAL, WEALTH. "Such as I have." What was it? The Holy Ghost filling all the nature. Consider the two men, Peter and John. What wealth of knowledge, insight, power over the souls of others! Even in external aspects, the results upon the life of the world traceable to these two names, immeasurable; yet they were both fishermen of Galilee. What they had had been given them by God. The endowment which enabled them to heal one whom the world could not lift up. Surely an infinitely greater gift to be able to work such works than any of those distinctions of literary genius or artistic skill which the world so extravagantly rewards. Such wealth is ours as believers, in greater or less degree - a wealth which no man can take from us, which grows by prayer and effort, which cannot die with us; "their works do follow them." The Church should seek this wealth of the Spirit, not, as the false Church has done, the wealth that perishes, lest the money should perish with it.
II. An impressive illustration of GOD'S METHOD OF LIFTING UP THE WOUND from its ruin. Show that both Church and State have failed. The temple may have beautiful gates, but be full of hideous idolatry and shame. The State may abound in silver and gold, and yet present to the eye such lamentable pictures of helplessness, revealing its own impotence, as the poor mendicant, daily passed by at the most public place and the most sacred place of the city. The present aspect of both the professedly religions world and the social condition of our great populations demand a confession of man's inability to produce a really happy society. Here there is:
1. The Name of Jesus Christ proclaimed as the new power that is wanted, as a redemption of the world from sin, setting spiritual life at the root of all other life, healing the miseries of men with compassion and wonderful works, promising the entire renovation both of body and soul in another world.
2. The true Church holds the lever in its hand by which the world shall be lifted up. We want the two apostles, the Petrine spirit of faith, the Johannine spirit of love. We must speak clearly and without reserve, in the Name of Christ, not in the name of ecclesiastical power and ritualistic display, to the poorest, and without greed of filthy lucre; and we must prepare to put forth such energy and gifts as we have, all alike, and in the spirit of fellowship; then we shall fill the world with praise, and the lame man shall leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing (see Isaiah 35., as a prediction of the Church's power over the world). The message is individual to the rich and to the poor, "Rise up and walk." No life is true life which is not blessed of God. - R.
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.