How The Lord Paid Back The $5.
Mr. H., missionary, was appealed to by a poor man who seemed almost
distracted. He had a wife and five children; one of them ill; had been
sick himself for three months, and owed rent for the whole of that time.
The landlord had served him with a writ of ejectment, and he could get
no other tenement, unless he could pay five dollars on the rent. He had
applied to a well-known society in Brooklyn; but they were entirely out
of funds and gave him a note to the missionary, hoping he might have or
find the desired help. But missionaries' pockets are more often
depleted, than those of benevolent organizations, and the one in
question was fain to take the applicant to a friend, whom we shall call
The poor man told his story, asked the five dollars only as a loan, and,
having an order for the painting of two signs, said he should be paid
for them when done, and could return the loan the next Saturday, one
week from that time.
Mr. Q. saw, at once, that the utter destitution of the family, and the
need of _everything_, would prevent the man returning the money, however
much he might wish to, and so refused to lend it. The case was urged,
but without avail; and the missionary sent the man away, promising to
see him again that night or on Monday. After his departure, the
following conversation passed between the gentlemen:
Q.--"Now, H., I don't take any stock in that man. Can you not see that
his paying that money back, is a simple impossibility?"
H.--"Well, perhaps so; but the question with me in such cases, is this:
What is duty? Admit that he cannot pay it, or even that he will not try;
is it not better to relieve his desperate need, than to have him perhaps
turn criminal and prey upon society? He _must_ leave the house he is in;
he _cannot_ get another without the money, and he is desperate; feels
that five dollars he must have, by fair means or foul. Moreover, think
of his wife and children, leaving him out of the question. Now let us
open this little Bible, and see what meets our eye first."
Q.--"Oh, pshaw! You know I do not believe in that kind of thing! Do you
go to the Bible for everything?"
H.--"Why not? Can we have any better guide?"
Q.--"Oh! well, I don't work that way. Now about that man and his money.
I will toss up a penny with you, whether I lend or not."
H.--"No you won't! You know I don't believe in chance, but in the Lord.
And would you sooner rest your decision on a gambler's test, than on
God's promise? Now just let us open the book."
Q.--"Well; what do you see?"
H.--"'The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again; but the righteous
sheweth mercy, and lendeth.'" 37th Psalm, 21st verse.
As there was no hunting up of passages, nor leaves turned down to open
easily, the coincidence was impressive, as well as amusing, and H.,
following it up, said, "Lend him the money, and if he does not pay you
next Saturday night, I will."
It was so agreed upon, and, when the man called on the missionary on
Monday morning, he was sent to Q. for the relief.
The week passed on, as they all pass, weighted and freighted with human
ills; some capable of alleviation, some not; but of the former, a full
share had come under the notice and care of the missionary, and Saturday
found him stepping into the Fulton street prayer-meeting, N.Y., for
fresh encouragement and benediction on his labors.
At its close, a gentleman said to him, "Mr. H., I have known you by
sight for years; know your work; but have never given you anything; and
I promised myself the next time I saw you, I would do so. Have you any
special need of five dollars now? If so, and you will step to the bank
with me, you shall have it." Instantly it flashed through the mind of H.
that this was the day when, either the borrower or he, must pay his
friend. It may be supposed that he went to the bank with alacrity. Going
back to B. and meeting the friend, he learned that neither man nor money
had appeared, and at once tendered the five dollars, telling the story
of the Lord's care in the matter.
Q. was so interested in this manner of obtaining supplies, that he
refused to take the money, and instructed H. to use it in the Lord's
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