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for reaching the world falls in very strangely with the Divine purpose in opening it to Protestant Christian effort ; and that this twofold movement of Providence binds the church to respond to the Divine call by filling the treasury of the Lord to overflowing now, unless she can give a valid reason for delaying?
But Christ has made his providential demand for the means requisite for the spread of the Gospel as clear and as binding as possible upon the church of the present day, by suddenly furnishing her with all the wealth needed.
These remarkable revolutions of the past thirty years have been so numerous and so silent that even the best ecclesiastical statisticians and financiers scarcely understand the full meaning of the rich church with its vast income which so often enters into their calculations. De Quincey, in some curious investigations in his “Biographical Essays” has shown that the dowry which Mary Arden, the mother of Shakespeare, brought to his father, John Shakespeare, the estate amounting at the lowest calculation to £100 and at the highest to £224, and the rent amounting at the lowest to £8 and at the highest to £14,—was really a very respectable fortune. In these days, and that even after taking into account the difference in values so greatly in favor of three centuries ago, such an income would be considered but a beggarly one for the most unskilful boot-black. Only fifty years ago, when Coleridge refused a half-share in The Morning Post & Courier, with the emphatic declaration, that he would not give up his country life with the lazy reading of old folios for two thousand times the income it offered; he added, " In short, beyond £350 a year I regard money as a real evil.” Yet this would barely meet the wants of some first-class mechanics of the present day. Manifold causes have been at work in producing an almost fabulous increase in the wealth of the Protestant nations in the present quarter-century. One of these is found in the fact that fire furnishes the nervous power, and iron and steel the muscles, of our modern civilization. The industrial arts have thus been revolutionized. In
eat Britain alone the working power of the machinery already employed five years ago was estimated to be equivalent to 400,000,000 men,* or to twice that of the adult working population of the globe. In the United States the working power created in the same manner cannot be much, if any, less. This increase of productive power is the source of an immense revenue. Another cause may be found in the commerce which has increased so immensely in consequence of this enlarged productive power, and which has made the world largely tributary to the leading Protestant nationalities. A third cause is to be found in those striking providences which seem to indicate the purpose of God to give the world to Protestant Christendom; among which may be enumerated those which in a century have increased the subjects of the British empire from 13,000,000 to 200,000,000, raised Prussia from the position of an insignificant state to a first place on the map of Europe, and established on these western shores our great republic with its 40,000,000 of free people, mostly Christian and Protestant; and those which have given into the hands of the leading Protestant nations the great gold fields of the world, California and Australia, which had been kept concealed from all men until God's chosen instruments for his work had been prepared and his time for its accomplishment had fully come. The increase of wealth resulting from these and other causes bas almost ontrun accurate statistics, and even imagination. So far as we have been able to ascertain by somewhat careful inquiry, an income of half a million dollars is more common on this side of the ocean now than was an income of fifty thousand thirty years ago. Three centuries ago, the ransom of the Inca, Atahuallpa, paid to that Spanish robber and butcher, Pizarro, turned the brain of all Europe by its magnitude; yet it was less than the annual income which has been returned to the revenue officers by some of our merchant princes of New York as the reward of legitimate business. The increase of national wealth in the aggregate bas kept pace with that of individual wealth. The sum of values in the nation in 1850 was $7,000,000,000; in 1860, $16,000,000,000; at the present time, according to the estimate of Special Commissioner
* See Tithes and Offerings, page 345. The figures are taken by Mr. B. from The Benefactor, the organ of the British Systematic Beneficence Society.
Wells, * $23,000,000,000, and, according to that of Judge Kelly, member of Congress from Pennsylvania, $13,000,000,000. The increase in twenty years, during five of which there was expended in civil war at least $10,000,000,000, has therefore been somewhere from three to six fold. The gross product of the industry of the country for 1869, which may represent its gross annual income, apart from the annual increase of aggregate values just referred to, Mr. Wells esti. mates at $6,825,000,000. He proceeds, however, at once to show that this is an under rather than an over estimate ;" and in doing this gives data drawn from the wages of the lowest of the working classes, which indicate that $8,000,000,000 would be a very moderate estimate. These statistics show that the product of the industry of the nation last year equalled or surpassed the entire value of all its property nineteen years before. A like marvellous increase has taken place in the wealth of Great Britain, as might readily be shown by statistics.
Now, after making all proper deductions from these figures on account of the greater plenty and diminished value of gold, the great depreciation of our currency below the gold standard (the whole reducing a dollar to about half its former value), and not overlooking the doubling of our population meanwhile, nor the increasing tendency of surplus wealth to become concentrated in immense masses and in few hands, the question arises with overwhelming force, Why has God so flooded the Protestant nations with wealth, and done it in these same twenty-five years in which he has been making openings for the Gospel into all nations and bringing Protestant Christendom to stand foremost at all these openings? It cannot be claimed with a shadow of justice or even a show of plausibility that this vastly enlarged income is required for increased expenses of living. Nor can it be claimed with any greater show of justice that either the Scriptures or human experience warrants the hoarding up of these vast sums in private coffers. Mr. Lewis Tappan, well known once as a Christian merchant, and later as secretary of one of the benevolent societies of the country, in his little tract, “Is it Right to be Rich ?”* gives a forcible exhibition of the teachings of the Scriptures on this subject, in connection with many striking corroborative facts, drawn from his extended observation and experience. We commend the tract to every reader, not, of course, indorsing all its statements. Yet how dangerous this unscriptural hoarding of millions is to the possessors of great wealth and to their families any one may learn by observation. In short, nothing can be clearer than that the Head of the church has not placed this vast wealth, just at this juncture, in the hands of Christians as his stewards, for the purpose of allowing them to indulge in enervating luxuries without stint, or for the purpose of giving them opportunity to pamper their families through their millions of stored and rusting treasure. If there is any meaning in this wondrous chain of providences, taken together and in connection with the truths of God's absolute ownership of every thing and the Christian's stewardship, that ineaning must be this, that Christ does not purpose that the thousands of millions of the race for whom his blood has been shed shall perish without the Gospel, and that, moreover, he has rolled upon the church of this very time the responsibility of furnishing the entire pecuniary means requisite for the work in its completeness at home and abroad, the world over. He who has the authority given him by the Father to call for the gold at any time, calls now. Can the church, and especially its opulent members, give a valid reason for not furnishing the Lord's treasury with all that is needed now ?
* For the estimates of Mr. Wells, see Reports of the Special Commissioner of the Revenue, for 1868 and 1869.
The Word of God and the signs of the times manifestly discountenance the so-prevalent mission creed of the church, that the world's conversion is a work belonging to the indefinite future. The Word shows is that even the law laid down for the Jew, if enforced upon Christians, would call forth from the burglar-proof and benevolence-proof safes all the needed treasures for carrying out the Great Commission now; making it thereby doubly clear that with the application of the higher law and motives of the new dispensation there conld be no lack of means for the immediate completion of the work for the
* Is it Right to be Rich? By Lewis Tappan. New York: Anson D. F. Ran. dolph & Co. 1869.
world. The Signs of the Times leave no open question as to present.duty; since they inake the present call of Christ as clear as the facts of the existence of a lost world and of the church as his agent to bear to it the Gospel. Now what have Christians to offer as against this Divine claim? Absolntely nothing but the insane rage for laying up treasure upon earth, upon which Christ set the mark of reprobation in laying down the very constitution of his kingdom! For, what is this remorseless devotion of body and soul and life to money-getting and money-hoarding, whether in the church or out of it, but that worship of Mammon which Christ taught his disciples could not coexist with the service of God? No such plea will stand the test of the judgment. Taking the whole Protestant Church; or simply that portion limited by the Englishspeaking peoples; or even coming down to the church of the United States, we believe there is the requisite treasure in her possession to-day for carrying forward the great work to its completion. Salvation is ready, the world is ready, Christ is calling, and only the church waits; and waits without a shadow of justification for such a course before God or man!
2. Assuming as proved the authority of the Head of the church, and the fact of his present great demand upon his people, the duty of the church in enforcing his call upon those in her communion next requires our consideration.
Christ has the authority and makes the demand; it belongs to his church to interpret the Divine word and providence, and in her teachers and authorities to press his claims upon her communion. The problem, when all the elements, divine and human, spiritual and material, are taken into account, becomes as truly one of supply and demand, as any of those furnished by our earthly political economy. In other words, the supply of pecuniary ineans must, under God, depend upon the quantity and quality of the enforcement by the proper agent of present duty, as shown by the present Divine demand; so that any defect in the enforcement will not fail to result in a corresponding deficiency in the supply.
The church of this day is making her presentation of God's claims upon those in her communion. If the results thus far reached in this discussion are in accordance with truth and