Christ Jesus! Not the Building

by Frank Jones

“Nothing at all is recorded of Archie Brown’s pleasure in the fabric of the new building. His great interest lay elsewhere as is illustrated from an incident from about this time, which he has recorded in his own words:

Some little while since, preaching in the country, a good brother said he should like to show us over the chapel before preaching. He took us up in the gallery and asked us to look at it from there. Then he took us into the pulpit, that we might view it from that position. Then he asked us to note that every pew was cushioned with a cushion of the same color; and he also drew our attention to the fact that there were such nice brass rings and rails at the end of the pew for umbrellas. I stood it as long as I could, and said to him, ‘Well, brother, I have seen a few chapels in my time. Now you have pointed out the beauties of your sanctuary, may I ask you one or two questions which really I am more interested in? How many drunkards did you have saved here last year?’ Oh, my dear Mr Brown, we are a most respectable people.’ I said, ‘Have you had many harlots gathered in here?’ I thought he would have fainted. ‘Do you get many outsiders, ragged customers, in here?’ He said, ‘My dear Mr Brown, again I can assure you we have a most respectable congregation.’ I said, ‘My dear brother, I say in all love, I think my Master cares far more for drunkards and harlots and outsiders being saved in this chapel than he cares about your red cushions and brass rails.’ The glory of a place of worship, after all, is just this -- the ingathering of the outcasts to Jesus Christ.” (Murray, Iain. Archibald Brown, Banner of Truth, 66-67)