HotFreeBooks.com
Sermons for the Times
by Charles Kingsley
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6
Home - Random Browse

And now, some of you may perhaps have been disappointed, some a little scornful, at my having used so many words about so small a matter, and talked of battles, legends, heroes of old time, all merely to induct you to help this Society with a paltry extra thirty pounds. Be it so. I shall be glad if you think so. If the matter be so small, it is the more easily done; if the sum be paltry, it is the more easily found. If my reasons are very huge and loud- sounding, and the result at which I aim very light, the result ought to follow all the more certainly; for believe me, my friends, the reasons are good ones, Scriptural ones, practical ones, and ought to produce the result. I give you the strongest arguments for showing your Christian, English public spirit; and then I ask you to show it in a very small matter. But be sure that to do what I ask of you to do to-day is just as much your duty, small as it may seem, as it would be, were you soldiers, to venture your lives in the cause of your native land. Duty, be it in a small matter or a great, is duty still; the command of Heaven, the eldest voice of God. And, believe me, my friends, that it is only they who are faithful in a few things who will be faithful over many things; only they who do their duty in everyday and trivial matters who will fulfil them on great occasions. We all honour and admire the heroes of Alma and Balaklava; we all trust in God that we should have done our duty also in their place. The best test of that, my friends, is, can we do our duty in our own place? Here the duty is undeniable, plain, easy. Here is a Society instituted for one purpose, which has, in order to exist, to appropriate the funds destined for quite a different purpose. Both purposes are excellent; but they are different. The Offertory money is meant for the sick, the widow, and the orphan; for those who cannot help themselves. The Provident Society is meant to encourage those who can help themselves to do so. Every farthing, therefore, taken from the Offertory money is taken from the widow and the orphan. I ask you whether this is right and just? I appeal, not merely to your prudence and good sense, in asking you to promote prudence and good sense among the poor by the Provident Society; I appeal to your honour and compassion, on behalf of the sick, the widow, and orphan, that they may have the full enjoyment of the funds intended for them. Again, I say, this may seem a small matter to you, and I may seem to be using too many words about it. Small? Nothing is small which affects not merely the temporal happiness, but the eternal welfare, of an immortal soul. My friends, my friends, if any one of you had to support yourself and your children on four, seven, or even (mighty sum!) ten shillings a week, it would not seem a small matter to you then. A few shillings more or less would be to you then a treasure won or lost; a matter to you of whether you should keep a house over your children's heads, whether you should keep shoes upon their feet, and clothes upon their backs; whether you should see them, as they grew up, tempted by want into theft or profligacy; whether you should rise in the morning free enough from the sickening load of anxiety, and the care which eats out the core of life, and makes men deaf and blind (as it does many a one) to all pleasant sights, and sounds, and thoughts, till the very sunlight seems blotted out of heaven by that black cloud of care—care—care— which rises with you in the morning, and dogs you at your work all day (even if you are happy enough to have work), and sits on your pillow all night long, ready to whisper in your ear each time you wake; 'Be anxious and troubled about many things! What wilt thou eat, and what wilt thou drink, and wherewithal wilt thou be clothed? For thou hast no Heavenly Father, none above who knowest that thou needest these things before thou askest Him.' Oh, my friends, if you had felt but for a single day, that terrible temptation, the temptation of poverty, and debt, and care, which leads so many a one to sell their souls for a few paltry pence, to them of as much value as pounds would be to you;—if, I say, you had once felt that temptation in all its weight, you would not merely sacrifice, as I ask you now to do, some superfluity, which you will never miss; you would, I do believe, if you had human hearts within you, be ready to sacrifice even the comforts of life to prevent him whose heart may be breaking slowly, not a hundred yards from your own door, (and more hearts break in this world than you fancy, my friends,) from passing through that same dark shadow of want, and care, and temptation where the Devil stands calling to the poor man all day long, 'Fall down, and worship me; and I will relieve those wants of thine which man neglects!'

I have no more to say. I leave the rest to your own good feeling, as townsmen of this ancient and honourable place,—remembering always who it was who said, 'Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto Me.'

THE END

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6
Home - Random Browse