"> '); Prevailing Intercessory Prayer : Stevenson: The Generosity of the Members

The Generosity of Harms' Members

 William Stevenson

He has found his straightforward asking of God abundantly sufficient? When a man makes that discovery, who can blame him for using it? He has one or two pretty certain sources of income. Each of the 11,000 annual communicants lays a gift on the communion-table, as the custom is. This is called the Beichtpfennig, and in most churches is so small a coin that it would be puzzling to reckon it in our money. Suppose that it were a groschen in Hermannsburg, that would raise 370 crowns; the Consistory grants him a share of the regular missionary collection; that amounts to another 200. Among uncertain sources are the mission collections, which average from 2000 to 3000 crowns. But these added together do not make one-tenth part of the amount. The congregation is liberal. There are plain yeomen who have handed him 500 crowns. There are persons who have stripped themselves of all to give.

But he has no control over these people. No one will be so bold as to assert that because a clergyman is full of missionary zeal, and has a happy way of inspiring the interest of others, that his people will give up all they have to his schemes. The reverse happens every day. If there are persons who give so largely in that particular community, it is but reasonable to say that it is God who moves their hearts to this liberality. If it is found that their giving is in accurate proportion to a need of which they can have no precise information, it is not only more reverent and scriptural, but more rational, to say that they have been guided invisibly by God, than that they did it by chance, which is equivalent to confessing our inability to know how it was done. And if there has been a child of God praying all the while for this very blessing to his Father who seeth in secret, is it not rational to go back a step farther, and connect the giving with the prayer!