15. Almsgiving

“J. T.” We are truly sorry to find the minds of Christian men occupied with such a question, as the mode in which we should lay up our offerings for the poor, whether by a box sent round, after communion, or set up at the door. It seems to us a very simple matter indeed, if only we take Scripture as our guide. We read in the first epistle to the Corinthians the following plain directions, “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.” Now, it may perhaps be said, that this passage had reference to a certain local matter, and forms no sort of warrant for assemblies of Christians everywhere taking up collections every Lord's day. Yes; but are there not poor saints now as there were then? And if so, are we not to follow the rule here laid down by the Holy Ghost, in order to meet their need? We suppose this will hardly be called in question. But how are we to do it? Is it by a box laid on the table, sent round in the meeting, or fixed at the door? Scripture is totally silent on the point. It simply says, “Let every one of you lay by him in store.” It does not say where or how; but that “every one” was to do it and to do it according as God had prospered him a rule, we fear, but little attended to. Now, if the Holy Ghost has not laid down any rule in reference to the mode of collecting for the poor, why should we 3 What right have we to urge this, that, or the other method of doing the thing, when the inspired apostle is totally silent in the matter? And is it not, dear friend, truly deplorable to find Christian men splitting hairs and making crotchets respecting things which Scripture, in its characteristic breadth and largeness, leaves undecided? What principle is there involved? You inquire, “Is it right to be occupied with pounds, shillings, and pence at the Lord's Table?” We reply, the Holy Ghost has thought proper to occupy Himself with such, inasmuch as the poor saints require such. We believe it to be most suitable and seasonable that, when our hearts have been fed and comforted at the table of our Lord, the streams of benevolence should flow for the help and refreshment of the Lord's poor. Would that they flowed more copiously!