THE OUTWARD CONCERNS OF THE CHURCH

We begin with the least, or the more out-
ward, of your duties — that which pertains
to the house in which you worship. It is
your duty to aid in keeping all that pertains
to it in convenient and respectable order.

If you are an earnest Christian, and a
good church member, you will have an eye
on the outward condition of the church. You
will desire to worship in a decent and re-
spectable sanctuary. Anything unfinished,
neglected, and out of order about it, will
distress you. You will labor to have every-
thing in order, neat, and convenient. The
finish and the furniture of the church you
will wish to have chaste, neat, tasty, appro-
priate, and solemn, and you will do your
part to have it so.

Even a good house-woman feels uncom-
fortable when the affairs of the house are out
of place. A good mechanic is distressed
when his place of work is out of order. A
good farmer is uneasy while any derange-
ment of affairs exists on his farm, and about
his buildings. Much more will a good
church member be restless and unhappy,
while neglect and disorder reign around the
church where he worships.

Let not such outward matters be regarded
as small and unimportant. The outward
affairs of the church are what the body is to
the man. A sound and clean soul demands
a sound and cleanly body. Say not that the
soul need not care for a sore hand, a lame
foot, a bleared eye, a crooked, crippled,
bruised, and blemished body. In like man-
ner say not that a pious congregation need
not be distressed about broken fences and
gates, an unpainted church, a leaking roof,
a rickety steeple, broken window-panes, a
dusty floor, worn-out altar carpets and pulpit
cushions, soiled Bible and Hymn-book. Out-
ward things are important in their place,
and they do affect a congregation — for good
if kept in order, for evil if neglected.

The more you reflect on it, the more clearly
will you see that the interests of religion are
crippled and hindered by disorder and neg-
lect in the outward concerns of a church.
These defects may seem small matters, and
wholly dissociated from what is inward and
spiritual; but the earnest church member
will easily see that they are evils which, for
the honor of religion, he ought not willingly
permit to exist. He will always be ready to
do his part toward keeping the church in
which he worships in pleasant order, to
make it a place to be desired, and a suitable
abode for the high and lofty One who con-
descends to dwell among men in an earthly
sanctuary.

III.

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