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fact, it must be affirmed of her presentation that it is utterly inadequate. We must go still, farther and affirm it fundamentally wrong in not starting out with God's full claim. The action of the General Assembly for 1869, found on pages 931-3 of the Minutes, illustrates this point. It confesses to the too patent fact of the failure of past plans, and the imperative necessity laid upon it "to arouse the whole church to a higher standard of Christian liberality, and to put in force some method by which liberal gifts shall be made to flow in from every part of the field;" but, nevertheless, it has no whisper of any indication of a Divine call for more than a moderate advance in the supply of pecuniary means for the cause of Christ; in fine, it scarcely ventures to hope for the increase demanded to maintain the present position of the work of the Boards. The method devised by the Assembly's committee (in accordance with the expressed need in the Minutes), for making the liberality at once more free and more general, involved the apportionment of the sum estimated to be required. for all the work of the Boards of the church for the current year among the various Synods, and, through these and the Presbyteries, among the churches. The whole sum apportioned, as expected to be raised, to the rich Synod of New York, with its 168 churches, its 23,000 communicants, and its untold millions of wealth, is $196,082. Is any thing more needed to show how far short the church comes of making God's full demand upon those in her communion, than the fact that this is the presentation of the Divine claim for the world's needs made by that branch of the church which in its liberality falls behind no other branch-which, in fact, may be shown by statistics of unquestioned fairness to be the leader in the generosity of its contributions for the foreign work?
What, then, is the response of the current year to this utterly inadequate presentation of God's demand for a lost world? What as compared with that of the past year? Once more by a single branch of the church may be illustrated the condition of the whole. From two appeals sent out to the membership through the religious journals, and coming from the two principal Boards, may be learned something of the present financial condition of what was the Old School branch 20
VOL. XLII.NO, II.
of the Presbyterian Church. The first appeal is from the Board of Foreign Missions, and comes from the pen of the worthy treasurer, Mr. Rankin. It runs thus:
"February 1, 1870-Total receipts from May 1...
Less receipts this year..
February 1, 1870-Cash payments to date (9 months)..
Increased payments this year....
Which would have been $9,000 larger if the average premium for gold had remained as during the preceding year.
The total receipts from churches, Sabbath-schools, legacies, and 'mis
cellaneous' for the year ending April 30, 1869, were... .$300,492 Deducting nine months' receipts as above, to February 1, 1870....... 142,556
required to make the receipts of this year equal to those of the last.
"It is not likely that this amount will be realized between this and the 1st of May. But the nearer it is approached, the less will be the legacy of debt transmitted by the existing Board of Foreign Missions to its successor.
"MISSION HOUSE, NEW YORK, Feb. 7, 1870."
The other bears date January 6, 1870, and is signed by Dr. Musgrave, Secretary of the Board of Domestic Missions. We extract the following paragraphs :—
"The receipts during the first ten months of the present fiscal year, viz.,— from March 1, 1869, to January 1, 1870,-as compared with the corresponding period of the preceding year, were less by twenty-eight thousand four hundred and thirty-five dollars and thirty-four cents!
"This is not all. Encouraged by the action of the General Assembly, Synods, and Presbyteries, and the assurance of many pastors that the churches would contribute more liberally than heretofore, the Board enlarged its operations and increased its liabilities. During the present year the appropriations to the first of January exceeded those of the corresponding period of the year preceding twenty-three thousand and eighty-four dollars. This increase in the liabilities of the Board, and diminution in its receipts, make an adverse difference in the present financial condition of the Board of fifty-one thousand five hundred and nineteen dollars and thirty-four cents !"
Let each judge of the prospects for himself. Altogether the worst feature in the case is the universality of this state of things. It is a fact that the supply of means is as deficient in measure as the enforcement of the demands of Christ is in
adequate. Each year calls for a louder cry over impending bankruptcy, in order to the annual extrication from financial difficulties.
Before taking leave of a theme of such profound practical importance, we pause to enumerate a few of the requisites to any right and adequate enforcement of the present pecuniary demand of God's cause, without due regard to which the supply can never, with reason, be expected to approximate to that demand.
The first and fundamental requisite to the full enforcement of the Divine claim is a more complete, general, constant, and forcible exhibition of the scriptural doctrine of the stewardship of the church under Christ, the absolute owner of all things. In the full and correct conception and reception of this truth is laid that solid foundation of principle in its application to the use of property, without which there may indeed be impulsive, spasmodic distribution, but never the intelligent, systematic, liberal, dutiful Christian giving which the word of God evidently contemplates. Having to do in this day with such grand and awful issues, the lesson of Christian beneficence deserves a place next to those first words in the home which bear to the tender conscience and the retentive memory of the little ones of the household the dawning knowledge of salvation by the crucified Jesus; claims a place only second to that of the way of life in the more elaborate unfoldings of the Scriptures, doctrinal and practical, in the Sabbath-school and Bible class; and in the exhibitions of truth and duty from the pulpit demands for itself a place no less important than that which God has given to love to our neighbor in the Decalogue. The obligation to respond in full to every call of the Head of the church must somehow be made plain beyond possible misunderstanding, and that speedily. It must be acknowledged that there are times when the professed people of God have need of the sweet and encouraging words of warning to the angel of the church atPhiladelphia, but the present is rather a time when many of them need to have thundered in their ears the awful message to the angel of the church at Laodicea. Giving to God's cause has long enough been regarded as something Christians
might neglect or not according to inclination; God's right and his claim ought now to be enforced, and enforced with increasing point and power till the truth shall become a fire in every covetous man's bones. Said Christ when upon earth, "How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of heaven." There is to-day a large and increasing class who need something more than honeyed or even plain words if they are ever to be reached by the truth and saved from their idolatry. There died recently in New York city, according to one of our prominent religious journals, a man who had amassed a fortune of $11,000,000. He was a church member in excellent standing, but died the awful death of an Altamont, reproaching his minister who was present, not only with having failed to warn him against his sin of covetousness, but even with having encouraged him in it. We hope there is some mistake about this, but it is high time that such men, who hold GOD'S MONEY, should, for their own good as well as for the good of the world, be made to understand that fact and the infinite peril of practically denying it, if there is any language that can make them understand it and impress upon them their peril. In short, we cannot but feel that the church is called upon to bring to bear without delay her united wisdom, under the teaching of the Holy Ghost, upon the solution of the pressing problems as to method and means furnished by the necessity for the widest, most complete, and most forcible presentation possible of the true relation of the Christian and his property to Christ the Lord of all.
The second requisite to the full enforcement of God's claim, is that the church be aroused to an adequate sense of her duty to the world. After the inward principle of beneficence must come the outward call for its exercise in deeds of practical Christian giving. The divine agency for such awakening of the people of God is to be found, according to our Presbyterian theory, in the ministry, to whom the great commission was pre-eminently addressed, and in the entire ministry. The infinite importance of the work of giving the Gospel to all the lost world, the imperative divine demand to fill the treasury for this purpose without delay, the awful responsibility of having the conduct of all the Christian stewardship and the sal
vation of a thousand million souls resting, under God, upon their interpretation and enforcement of the Divine word and ways, must first be impressed upon that ministry, and so impressed that, with the weeping prophet, they shall be ready to exclaim, in view of the message intrusted to them, "His word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay." Our reading is a mistaken one, if the signs of the times do not demand that all the ministry, under most solemn sense of this absolutely overwhelming weight of responsibility, should give a very large proportion of their time to the work of making clear to the people who hold Christ's treasures, this present pressing call from God for the immediate evangelization of the world at home and abroad. By aid of maps of the world the abodes of these dying myriads must be made as familiar to every churchgoer as is the dining-room or the dormitory in his home; by help of missionaries, and all accessary agencies for communicating mission intelligence, the Sabbath pulpit must make every adherent of a pure Christianity as familiar with the progress of the work at home and abroad, and the present needs of the Lord's treasury, as he is with the prospects and requirements of his own daily business; and by every consideration of humanity and religion to be brought from God's word and his world, and that can rouse the intellect, the conscience, the heart, the imagination of man, the whole soul of every Christian must be so roused that there shall be no possibility, either in the perplexing and absorbing anxieties of business or in the luxurious ease of the fashionable home, of getting for an instant beyond the reach of the awful wail of that thousand millions of souls perpetually hanging over the bottomless pit!
A third requisite to the enforcement of the full Divine claim, and the last we mention, is that appropriate channels be furnished for regular and frequent response to the call of God's word and providence. The order is, first the principle fixed in the heart, next the call for its exercise made imperative, and then the opportunity furnished at the right moment and in the right way for its proper exercise. Ilere is found the place for all the machinery of systematic Christian giving.
We are of those who believe that the only true basis for any