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larger one. In adjusting civil taxes, it is true, there is no practicable rule, but an assessment of a certain rate on each man's property, though it often operates very unequally. But in a church, an attempt to adopt this method of determining the duty of Christians to contribute their property for the cause of God, would be highly injurious to the piety and harmony of the members. It would create a large amount of perplexing and unprofitable business for the church meetings; it would subject to scrutiny the private concerns of each member, and would engender strife and reproaches. Some would complain, that they were taxed too heavily, and that others were exempted from their proper share of the burden.

We make these remarks, because we think, that sober and scriptural views on the subject before us are greatly needed. There is a tendency in the sweeping “ ultraismof our times, to invade the churches, and to erect an inquisition over the feelings and opinions of their members. We would have our churches maintain a strict, scriptural discipline; but it must be directed to those points of faith and practice which are within the proper jurisdiction of the church. Beyond this line, is the sacred domain of private conscience, within which every man is responsible to God alone. No human power must invade that sanctuary, and presume to claim cognizance over a man's thoughts, and feelings, and actions.

Among the duties of a Christian, which, as we believe, are beyond the scrutiny of a church, is that of pecuniary liberality. He is bound to employ his money and all his influence for the cause of God, but of the manner and degree, he alone is a competent judge,—just as he only can decide how often and at what times he ought to pray and to read the Scriptures. These are duties, which, to be acceptable to God, must spring from the heart, and which will Aow spontaneously from holy affections.

Mr. Church is, on the whole, judicious, in his remarks on these points, though he states a little too strongly, perhaps, the duty to “sacrifice upon the altar of beneficence much more than a tenth of all our income.”---(p. 171.) We should prefer to state the general duty to be, to give as much as the cause of religion and charity requires, and as our other duties permit. These elements of the calculation vary with the providence of God, and the results must differ. A church, for example, which is about to build a house of worship, needs a special

effort on the part of its members. In a severe winter, the wants of the poor are uncommonly great. There is, in numberless ways, a demand for liberality, at one time, which does not exist at another; and, of course, the contributions of Christians ought to correspond with these varying exigences. In like manner, their ability to contribute money varies with circumstances; and he, who, this year, ought to give one fifth, perhaps, of his income, may not be able, the next, to contribute a twentieth part. Some persons, too, ought to bestow one half, or three fourths, or even more, of their earnings, while others ought not to contribute one per centum of their income. There are, also, different modes of employing property for benevolent purposes.

Some

persons devote time, which is more valuable than money. The Sunday school teacher, or the tract distributor, or the philanthropist who searches for poverty and suffering in the obscure lanes of the city, makes a far greater sacrifice than the rich man, who, without any personal labor, pours thousands of dollars into the treasury of some benevolent society. Many expenses, too, which seem to be personal, are really contributions to the cause of God. The minister who spends hundreds of dollars in his preparatory education, or to purchase books for his library, or to maintain the hospitality to which his station subjects him, or in professional journeys, may have little left to give, in direct contributions; but he, in fact, gives more than many of bis wealthiest parishioners. One man may pay very little for missions, but he may display a princely liberality in furnishing the means of educating young candidates for the ministry. Another person may make a slender contribution for the support of the theological seminary, but he may be privately maintaining and educating, at his own expense, some helpless orphan child.

These facts prove how impossible it is, to bring within any fixed and obvious rule the charitable and religious donations, which God requires of Christians. He has left the duty to the enlightened consciences of his people; and it is a better regulation, --more in harmony with his moral government,better adjusted to the diversity of conditions and tastes among men,—that each should be guided, in determining the amount and selecting the objects of his liberality, by his own judgment and the impulses of his own heart.

We are fully aware of the truth, --so forcibly stated by Mr. Church, in various passages of his book, and exbibited, with great vigor, though, we think, with some declamatory exaggeration, by Mr. Harris, in his " Mammon,"—that there is a melancholy want of liberality among many Christians, and that not a few, who profess to love the Saviour, seem to be total strangers to the spirit of him, who, though he was rich, for our sakes became poor, that we, through his poverty, might be rich. There is, too often, a love of money,—a feverish eagerness to be rich,—a sordid parsimony, which it is difficult to regard as existing in a heart that has ever felt the love of Christ. We have seen and lamented cases of this kind; but we do not believe, that a remedy is to be sought in church censures. There

There may be instances, in which persons may so clearly display the passion for money, and may so unjustly refuse to sustain their due share in the expenses of the church, as to call for the edge of a holy discipline, to sever the slight tie which binds to the church these real votaries of the world. But the cases are rare, in which the proofs of this guilt are sufficiently clear to justify an exclusion; and, indeed, a person, who would deserve expulsion for his avarice, would generally be so defective in other points of his moral character, as to furnish much additional evidence of his unworthiness.

We hesitate, therefore, to adopt the broad principle stated by Mr. Church :

"May Heaven forbid, that we should be terrified from enforcing wholesome discipline against those who will not submit to the spirit of our Saviour's precepts, in proportioning their gratuities to the extent of their meaus! Without such discipline, our prayers and alms will be ineffectual, and the arm of our power will fall enervated and flaccid at our side.”

We doubt the possibility of carrying into effect this principle, without more injury than benefit to the cause of benevolence. It would, as we have shown, be exceedingly difficult, to adjust any rule to the varying cases of church members; and no rule could be applied, in practice, without a vexatious and unauthorized intrusion into a man's domestic and personal concerns. The Saviour's plan is the only safe and stable one. He has placed the duty of liberality on the basis of gratitude and love to him. If there be enlightened and warm piety, there will be a free surrender of property for bis service; but if the heart is cold and worldly, no ecclesiastical legislation can so srnite the rock as to draw forth the copious and fertilizing waters.

”—p. 187.

This topic connects itself with another, which is discussed by Mr. Church ;—the manner of raising funds for benevolent purposes. He makes some just remarks on the difficulties and inexpediency of employing so much agency as is now necessary to collect money. It is, indeed, an evil, that so many persons are obliged to expend time and money, in soliciting funds from the churches. Mr. Church proposes a different course :

“This is, for the churches to make out their own gratuities, with only so much foreign aid as may be necessary to enable them to distribute them judiciously, to inspire them with motives to a consistent liberality, or occasionally, perhaps, to assist them in making the collection itself. Such appears to have been the course of the primitive churches. The apostles brought objects of beneficence to their view,—either in person or by letter,-urged upon them the motives to liberality, and sometimes sent brethren to assist in collecting their bounty. At other times, they were doubtless left to make up their bounty without foreign aid.”—p. 312.

These suggestions are worthy of attention. Every church ought to consider itself as a society, constituted by the Saviour, not merely for the personal comfort of its members, but for combined action, in the promotion of his cause on earth. Each pastor is an agent for the Saviour, within his own church and congregation. It ought not to be necessary, that agents should visit the churches to solicit donations for the great and regular enterprises of the church. The claims of missions, education, the distribution of bibles and tracts, and various other operations, ought to be sufficiently understood by the pastor and by the church to produce regular contributions, without any foreign agency, except the magazines, religious papers, reports and other documents, which convey information respecting the plans, wants, successes and trials, of the respective enterprises. Special objects of benevolence must be presented by individual agents; but these objects ought to be as few as possible. They are usually of a local character, and ought, for the most part, to be sustained by the churches and individuals who are immediately connected with them.

Mr. Church proposes a plan for collecting, regularly, the contributions of the churches :

“We should, no doubt, find it to our advantage, to improve upon the apostle's hint, to make our collections on the first day of the week. The provision of a chest, like that which Jehoiada placed beside the altar, to receive the pious gratuities of the people, who came into the temple, added to the present furniture of the Christian sanctuary, to receive the portion in money or written pledges, which

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each member of the church may have consecrated to God from the income of the week, that thus his alms might go up with his prayers, however it might be regarded by the fastidious and unthinking, would seem to be the most natural and appropriate method that could be devised for bringing our offerings into the store-house.”

P. 313.

After quoting the words of Paul to the church at Corinth (1 Cor. 16:1, 2),—“Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week, let every one of you lay by him in store as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come,”—Mr. Church adds :

“ Now, why do not these instructions, concerning the manner of collecting pious and charitable offerings, contain the force of law upon the Christian church? They had first been given to the churches of Galatia, which was a province of considerable extent, and are now repeated to the church of Corinth. Hence, they must have been generally acted upon by the primitive churches. They were delivered in the same tone of authority, for which all the apostolic decrees are distinguished; they settle principles founded in reason,—that gratuities should often be repeated, and should be proportioned to the various success of those by whom they are presenied; and why they are not more generally followed by the Christian church of the present age, in making her pious collections, does indeed appear singular. Thus, the Scriptures concur with the dictates of common sense, in rendering it obligatory upon Christians to bring with their weekly prayers to the sanctuary, their weekly gratuities, to improve the character and condition of a lost world. Let the churches adopt such a method of collecting the funds of benevolence, and much of the present trouble and expense of agencies would be superseded, while each would be continually pouring forth its rill to swell the river of mercy, which is destined to flow to all lands.”—Pp. 317, 318.

We think, that the apostle's meaning is not exactly represented in this extract. He refers to a contribution for one particular object, i. e., for the relief of the suffering Christians ; but he does not announce a general law, which is to govern all the donations of the churches. Paul does not, moreover, direct, that each member shall bring bis donation, every Sabbath, and deposite it in one common treasury ; but “let every one of you lay by him in store ;” nay tuviò, at home. (Wahl, in ver. napo.) In domo sua, ut Franco Galli, chez lui ;" i. e., in his own house, like the French, at home. (Rosenmüller.) Each one, then, was to lay by, at home, on the first day of the week, such a proportion of his weekly earnings as he might think proper; in order, that when the

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