_The Christian_ tells of a minister in Ohio, who in 1860 was engaged to
statedly supply a congregation who were in arrears for a whole year's
salary to their former pastor, and were only able to promise their
'supply' five dollars a Sunday till the old debt should be paid. At the
close of the year, only about two-thirds of this amount had been paid.
So it was not strange that their 'supply' soon found himself in arrears
for many things. That year the cost of his periodicals alone had
amounted to sixteen dollars. This he could not pay, and as none of them
could be stopped without payment of arrearages; the debt must continue
On New Year's day the minister was called to marry a couple, and gave
the fee, five dollars, to his wife saying, "I want you to get yourself a
dress with this." There was a kind of material much worn then, which she
had very much admired, a dress of which would cost four dollars. So she
went to the Mission periodical to find the address of the Mission
Secretary, thinking to send the extra dollar there. But as she glanced
over its pages and noticed the trials and straits of the missionaries,
and the embarrassment of the Board that year, her heart was touched and
she felt that they needed the money more than she did the dress, and
instead of the one she concluded to send the five dollars.
She went to her husband and read her letter to him. "O," said he, "I'm
afraid we are too poor to give so much." With a little feeling of
disappointment she said, "Well, give me the change and I will send what
I had intended at first." "No," said he, "you have given it, and I dare
not take it back."
And so with a prayer that God would accept and bless the gift she signed
her letter, "A Friend of Missions," thinking, as no one would know the
author, that was the last she would hear about it in this world.
The ladies of that congregation were accustomed to meet weekly at the
parsonage to sew for those in need. The next week a lady who was
visiting in the place came with her friends, and as she entered the
parlor she tossed a bundle into the lap of the minister's wife, saying,
"Mrs. ----, here is a present for you."
The present was a dress pattern of the same kind of material she had
intended to purchase. And as she thought to herself, "God has given me
this in place of what I have given," she was reminded of the words,
"Give, and it shall be given to you." But that was not the end.
A short time afterwards she received a letter from the Secretary of the
Board of Missions, enclosing a printed copy of her own letter, and
asking if she were the author of it; and added, "If so, a large-hearted
man in New York has authorized me to send you twenty-five dollars, with
a special request that you purchase a dress worth five dollars, and give
the rest to your husband and children." There was her five dollars back,
with four times as much more added to it.