Page images

And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord's: it is holy unto the Lord.' - Lev. xxvii. 30.

• Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.' Mal. iii. 10.

"I devote the contents of this box to the building and repairing of churches and schoolrooms; the support of conductrices, and the purchase of bibles and pious books ; in short, to any thing connected with divine worship, or the extension of the knowledge of our Redeemer's kingdom.

My parishioners are at liberty to recall from this tithe any present that either generosity, or the supposition that I expected it, may have induced them to make me.

*The second box contains Tithes for useful

Purposes. “I have written the following passages in it :

• Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year. And thou shalt eat before the Lord thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy-wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds, and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the Lord thy God always. And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the Lord thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the Lord thy God hath blessed thee: then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the Lord thy God shall choose : and thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth : and thou shalt eat there before the Lord thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou and thine household, and the Levite that is within thy gates ; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee.' Deut. xiv. 22 - 27.

"Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the Lord empty.' - Deut. xvi. 16.

“I employ this tithe for a variety of purposes :

1. For the improvement of the roads to the churches and schools.

“2. For the schoolmasters' salaries. “3. For all works of public utility.

“4. For the little expenses incurred by my becoming godfather.

665. For Sunday dinners to my poor people of the other villages. [My parishioners might add to this catalogue.]

[ocr errors]

“6. For the churchwardens. [For whether they do their duty voluntarily from love to God, or make a claim upon me, I always pay them well.]

7. For expenses incurred among the peasantry of Belmont, Foudai, and Zolbach.

“8. For what the poor of Waldbach spend, by inviting the poor of the other villages to come and see them.

“9. For the repairing of injuries.

The third box contains tithes for the poor. [That is, it contains the third tithe every three years, or the thirtieth every year.]

"I have written there the following texts : • At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates. And the Levite (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee), and the stranger and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied ; that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest.' — Deut. xiv. 28, 29.

' And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest. And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard ; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the Lord your God.' - Levit. xix. 9, 10.

"I devote the contents of this box to the service of the poor; to the compensation of losses occasioned by fire ;* to wood, flannel, and bread, for those who stand in need, &c. &c.”

It must not be supposed from this statement that Oberlin's benevolence was, however, confined to the Ban de la Roche, for the knowledge of several pious and excellent institutions had reached the secluded valley before it spread to the rest of France. One of the first that attracted his attention, as I have observed in a previous chapter, was the Missionary Society. No sooner had he learned that there were pious Christians who left their homes to convey to the benighted heathen the promises of the Gospel, than he parted with all his plate, with the exception of one silver spoon,t and contributed the proceeds of the sale to that noble undertaking, as he rightly designated it, only regretting that he was unable to send more.

* Oberlin one year devoted part of the contents of this box to the purchase of a large fire engine, as well as of a small one that could be easily transported to the mountainous districts.

+ Oberlin bequeathed this silver spoon to the Missionary Institution at Basle!

He was indeed himself actuated by the genuine missionary spirit; and, in the early part of his ministry, he for some time hesitated whether he should not accept an invitation to undertake a station in Pennsylvania. For two years a pastor had in vain been sought to fill the vacant post.

When informed of this circumstance, Oberlin, considering it to be the duty of a minister of Christ to repair whither others were unable to go, and thinking that the Ban de la Roche might be more easily provided for, than so distant a charge, expressed his readiness to set off. His wife participated in his sentiments, but whilst they were waiting for more specific directions, the war broke out between England and America, and prevented their departure. From that time he rejected every station that offered, showing himself to be proof against repeated and urgent solicitations. “Some persons,” said he one day, "think it a merit in me to have refused more considerable cures than

but you,” continued he, addressing himself to a military gentleman, who had been expressing his surprise that he had not accepted the charge of larger parishes, “if your general had given you a post to defend, would you quit it without positive orders ? ” On being answered in the negative-Well,” said he, “God has

this ;

« PreviousContinue »