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liberality; to save for the sake of having something to give to the cause of the Lord? Is it not worth all the care which economy requires ?
3. But perhaps I have not suggested the true cause of the inability. If, however, the apologist will allow me the liberty of a little survey and criticism, I think I can ascertain why he cannot afford it. And first I will scan his person. O, I see why you cannot afford it! You wear your money.
You have got so much of your earnings or income on your person, that it is no wonder that you cannot afford to give. Why, there is one article worn over the shoulders, that cost one hundred dollars, or more. Now I do not say, take it off ; but I do say,
that while it is on, you have no right to plead, “ I cannot afford it,” for you wear a proof that you can afford it. Next I will enter the house. The size and situation of it is perhaps unnecessarily expensive; and then the furniture ! Here the wonder ceases—the mystery is explained. I see plainly enough why you can. not afford it.
Now, again I say, I am not one of those who would have you sell off your furniture and move out of the house you occupy, for God has given us “ richly all things to enjoy;" but while you live in the manner you do, pray do not plead that
you cannot afford it when one asks you to give to the cause of some charity. Now the table is set. The service
Distant China has contributed of its
is very fine.
porcelain, and Potosi of the product of its mines to enrich it. What a display of silver ! I see why you cannot afford it. You have melted the dollars by which you could have afforded it, into plate. Noiv, either send that back to the mint again, or else do not send away the agent for that Christian institution emptyhanded. The dinner is spread. Many and rich are the dishes. I do not complain. Only when you have such a table before
dare not to say that you cannot afford the money which shall purchase and send a little of the bread of life to the destitute and perishing. Then follows the — wines, I should say. Well, what is the harm? Even the temperance pledge excepts wine. No harm. Only do not say again “ I cannot afford it,” to him who comes to plead before you the cause of the orphan, the ignorant, the unevangelized. Or, if you excuse yourself, tell the whole truth-say; "For my wine, I cannot afford it.” There drives up a carriage. It is in fine style; one servant on the box, and one behind—a noble span. Yet the gentleman and lady who ride in that carriage, when one comes and tells them of the
heathen who are groping their way in the dark to eternity, haughtily, perhaps, reply that they have nothing to give. O no, they cannot give, for they must ride in state. But here is another who dresses and lives very plainly; yet he cannot afford it. Why, what is the matter? O, his money is in the stocks, and he cannot touch the principal; and there are his children for whom he must make a liberal provision. Friend, hear me: you can afford it, if you
will If you have not the ability, you can acquire it. You can earn more; or you can save more.
You can spend less. You can afford it out of your
furniture your dress, your table, your equipage—or, perhaps, over and above it all. You can afford it, and you ought to afford it. You must afford it. Come, now, and resolve that you will. Say no more, “I cannot afford it,” but “ I will afford it.” You can afford to indulge yourself when you wish to take your pleasure—to gratify your children. And can you not afford to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, and to send the balm of life abroad into a diseased and dying world ? It is very strange! Are you a Christian? As for me, “ I cannot afford not to give"there is so much gain in giving—so much loss in not giving, that if I cannot afford any thing else, I must afford this. Some say they are too poor to give, but I am too poor not to give; and, moreover, I can no longer afford to give so little as heretofore I have given. Indeed, I must sow more bountifully, for I want to reap also bountifully. This parsimony in the use of seed money is poor policy.
26. An Example of Liberality.
I am going to give an example of liberality. But where do you think I am going to take it from, and what persons hold up as an example of liberality ? Not Christians, though there were in the apostolic age of Christianity notable examples of liberality, many disciples literally doing as did their Master, impoverishing themselves for his cause; and though since that time there have been others, and are now not a few of a kindred spirit. The example I propose to give is taken from the history of the Jews. Some will wonder that I go to the Jews for an example of liberality. But I wish, for my part, that Christians were only as generous as the Jews once were, whatever they may be
The case to which I refer is related in Exodus, chapter 35. The tabernacle was to be erected and furnished; and for this purpose various and very precious materials were requisite. He who gave his people bread and water by miracle, could have miraculously furnished all that was necessary for the tabernacle, just as he can now convert the heaThen without the help of men and means. But he did not choose to do it, as now he does not choose to save the world without employing human instrumentality. God does not every thing which he is able to do. Some people seem to think that they are un.
der no obligation to attempt any thing which God can do without them.
The plan adopted for obtaining the materials was this. Moses, in a full assembly of the people, gave the following notice: “This is the thing which tho Lord commanded, saying, Take ye from among you an offering unto the Lord; whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, an offering of the Lord; gold, and silver, and brass," &c. This was all the agency that was employed for the collection of all those costly materials. How in contrast stands this to our necessarily numerous, expensive, and laborious agencies ! Here was a simple notice given; a bare statement made that such and such things were wanted. Nor were the people called on to give on the spot, or to pledge their donations. They were not taken unawares, and hurried into an exercise of liberality. Time was given them for consideration. After the notice the congregation was dismissed. Nor was it made the absolute duty of the people to give. A command was indeed issued on the subject, but indi. viduals were left free to give or not, as they pleased. “Whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it." And it appears from Exodus, 25 : 2, where the subject is first introduced, that Moses was not to receive any offering that was not given willingly and cheer. fully. “Of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart, ye shall take my offering."
By the way, may' not this be a rule which should