"Do you wish for an answer to this question, my dear children? Are you really anxious to do what you can for the souls of those who ever heard of a Savior? Do you long to assist in sending to them the word of God and christian teachers? You can do something towards it, and perhaps more than you suppose. Now what can you do? Think for a moment. Do you ever have any money? I dare say you have sometimes: very likely not a large sum: you may have but a few pence; or, if a very poor child, may have only a half-penny, and even that not very often. Only suppose that .Jesus Christ were upon earth at this time, and were to say to you, ‘Will you give me that half-penny?' Would you refuse to do so? I think not: and if you would give it to him, surely you will give it to promote his cause. He will then look upon it as given to himself, if you give it from love to him. "I do not think he will not accept so small an offering. He will receive it, and will love you and bless you, and perhaps when he sees you are a good steward of so small a sum, he will entrust you with more." - American Messenger, (the organ of the Tract Society-printed by its funds.)
The scriptures inform us that, "If a man would give all the substance of his house for love it would utterly be condemned." - Cant. viii. 7: but the Tract society teaches a very different doctrine. Half a penny will, in their estimation, purchase the love of God. And they represent the love of God as a mere commodity in the market, and the agents of their society as merchantmen, to vend it in large or small quantities to suit purchasers. And poor, starving children are swindled out of their last half-penny, under the notion that it will not only procure for themselves the love of God, but also for the heathen the salvation of their souls; as though the heathen could be redeemed with such corruptible things as silver and gold.
We look around in vain to find examples of such cool, calculating knavery among infidels, skeptics and heathen, as the pious leaders of these popular institutions evince at every step. To work up the feelings of poor ignorant children to the giving point, the most base and dishonorable tricks are played upon their credulity. "Do you ever have any money?" That is the great sine que non. "You may have but a few pence, or if a very poor child, may only have a halfpenny." Even the half-penny of the very poor child is coveted by the purse-proud religious aristocracy of the present corrupted age, and their wits are taxed to contrive some plausible means by which to rob the very poor child of his last half-penny. "Suppose that Jesus Christ were upon earth at this time and were to say to you, Will you give me that half-penny? would you refuse to do so ?" Thus endeavoring to inveigle the poor child with the notion that the Savior of sinners, if he were upon the earth, would be engaged in begging half-pennies from very poor children! Here is an implied libel, a base slander upon the Son of God! Did Jesus while in the flesh ever ask for money from the rich or from the poor? Never: nor has he ever authorized any one to beg for him. God has told us in his word of his independence, and that if he were hungry he would not tell us; and he hates robbery for burnt offerings. But suppose it were even as stated, that Jesus would, if opportunity served him, beg the poor child's half penny away from him, would that authorize any mortal to beg money for him without his special orders? By no means. Yet these greedy dogs, as Isaiah calls them, have constituted themselves receivers in his name, and assure the very poor child that Christ will look upon the half-penny as given to himself if it be given into their hands, and he will love and bless the poor child for giving it; and as a still greater inducement to urge the very poor child to give the only half-penny, they will suggest to the child that the giving of so small a sum may be the means of inducing Christ to entrust him as a steward with larger amounts of money, to be disposed of in the same way.
The above is a fair specimen of the religion of the popular religious institutions of this century. "Be astonished, O heavens, at this! and be horribly afraid, and be ye very desolate, saith the Lord." - Jer. ii. 12. All this is done under the cloak of religion, and is done under the plausible pretext of doing something for the heathen! But in what dark corner of the earth shall a people be found to whom the cognomen more properly belongs than to the leading spirits of the tract societies, and their kindred swindling institutions? It is difficult for us to determine which are the more ignorant of God and salvation by grace, this description of money beggars, or those from whom they beg. The beggars, however, manifest more shrewdness than those from whom they filch the lucre; for having begged millions from the public, they are enabled to so appropriate their plunder as to fare sumptuously every day.
If there remained in them one particle of sincerity, one drop of the milk of human kindness, one spark of moral honesty, would they - could they allow themselves to roll in luxury, and possess their thousands if they really believed the Lord required the last half-penny from very poor children, to enable him to save the perishing heathen from the quenchless fires of hell?
New Vernon, N. Y.,
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 2