Page images
PDF
EPUB

with him who is the receiver. The calls are not, in fact, so many as you imagine. I asked a wealthy lady once, who thought she gave a great deal away in charity, to keep an accurate account for one year of all she gave away, particularly to the religious charities; (which are those that are most complained of;) and I predicted that she would find, at the close of the year, that her donations had been less than she imagined. She did so, and at the end of the year came to me and said she was perfectly ashamed to find that she had spent so much and given so little. She found that the calls were not “ so very many."

2. If the calls are so many, yet do not make that a reason for refusing them all. I fear that some do. But surely that the calls are so many, is no reason that you should not comply with some of them. It is only a reason why you should not comply with all. Meet one-half of them generously, if you cannot meet them all. You acknowledge that there ought to be some calls, when you complain that they are so many

3. If the calls are many, are they more than the wants ? Ought they not to be as many ? Would you have the calls fewer than the wants? That would never do ;--then some wants would never be supplied. Besides, you should consider who makes or permits the wants--and therefore the calls to be 80 many, lest your complaint cast a reflection ou God. If the calls are so many too many, and we

.

must dispense with some, which shall they be? Widows and orphans, and the poor generally, you dare not, as you fear God, except from your

charities. Will

you

refuse the call of the Bible agent, or the Tract agent? Will you withhold from Foreign Missions, or from Home Missions, or from both ? Or will you say, “We will contribute to send out and support missionaries both at home and abroad, but we will not aid in their education ? Let them get that as they can. Let them make their way through the academy, the college, and the theological seminary as they can. And let Sunday schools establish and support themselves; and temperance agents see, since they are so much in favor of abstinence, if they cannot get along without the staff of life.” For my part, I do not know what calls to except, and therefore I judge the safer way to be to receive none.

4. If the calls are many, the expenditures are more; and we not only spend, but waste, in more ways than we give.

5. If the calls you receive are so many, suppose, in order to avoid them, that

you
make some.

Turn agent for some society, and

you

shall see how much more pleasant it is to make calls than to receive them. We will excuse you from contributing, if you will solicit. But that you would not like at all. “ You cannot bear begging. It is the most unpleasant thing in the world to apply to people for money." Very well; if you decline this branch of the alternative, then do not complain of the other. If you will not turn out and make the calls, you must sit still and receive them. It is the easier part; and you ought to be good natured when you receive one of these calls—aye, and even grateful to the man who comes to you, that he affords you another opportunity of offering one of the sacrifices with which God is well pleased, without going out of your way to do it. Others must go about to do good, but you can sit still and do good.

6. If the calls are so many, this importunity will not last long Not more than seventy or eighty years

does it ever continue. If it is an annoyance, you can bear it a few years. In eternity you will never receive these or any other calls. I knew several rich men whose last calls were made on them in 1833.

Do these calls pester you? They bless others. Yonder is a poor woman reading the Bible which your money paid for.

And there is another weeping over a Tract which she owes to your donation. And there is a third blessing the good people that support domestic missions: and there is a heathen mother, who perhaps would have immolated her child, if your contribution had not helped to send her the Gospel. Do you

hear that

young man? How well he preaches! You assisted to educate him. Dear friend, do not complain, but welcome

every call; treat all the agents with civility, and do as much as you any way can for the various benevo. lent objects; for “the time is short,” and all the regret which your liberality will occasion you I will consent to suffer.

25. "I Can't Afford It."

This is another of the common excuses for not giving. A person, being applied to in behalf of this or that good object, says, “ I approve the object. It ought to be encouraged, and I am sorry I cannot aid it. But so it is. The calls on me are so many, and my means are so limited, I cannot afford it." Now it

may be he is mistaken. Perhaps he can afford it. The heart is very deceitful. But admitting that he cannot afford it, as is often the case, yet does this excuse him ? Is the want of ability a sufficient apology? By no means. There is another thing to be considered—the cause of his inability. Why can he not afford it? We must go back one step, and inquire how it comes to pass that he is so destitute of means as to be unable to give to this and that good object. What if he has not the ability, provided he might have it ? Now as it regards the cause of the inability

cuse.

more, and

1. Perhaps he does not earn as much as he might. In that case, his not being able to afford it is no ex

All he has to do is to earn a little then he can afford it. Let only his idle hours be fewer—let him but work a little longer, or a little harder, and there will be no difficulty. And why should not a man earn to give, as well as earn to eat, drink, and put on ? Are these last more blessed than giving ? Why should you not put forth a little extra effort, if it be necessary to enable you to promote the cause of humanity and religion? We see that this man is the author of his inability, and therefore it is no excuse. He could afford it if he would but take certain simple and obvious measures to

do so.

2. Perhaps the case may be that he does not save as much as he might. He is not idle, but he is prodigal. He earns enough, but he does not economi.cally use it. Now a penny saved is equal to a penny earned; and it is all one to the treasury of charity whether that which it receives comes of economy or of industry. The person of whom I now speak, earns it, but he does not save it. Hence his inabil. ity. His income is more than sufficient for the comfortable subsistence of himself and those dependent on him, yet he is so inconsiderate in his expenditures. wastes so much, that he has nothing left to give. Now, I would ask if it is not worth while to practice economy for the sake of being able to exercise

« PreviousContinue »