The New Zealand Evangelist
Arthur, The Money-Lender
Arthur, The Money-Lender.
“What are you crying for?” said Arthur to a little ragged boy that he overtook on his way home from the village school. There was something in the kind of crying that led Arthur to think that there was some serious cause for it.
“I'm hungry,” said the boy, “and I can't get nothing to eat.”
He do'nt go to our school, or he would have said, get anything to eat. But Arthur did not stop to criticise his language.
“Why do'nt your mother give you something to eat?”
“She hasn't anything for herself, and she is sick, and can't get up.”
“Where is your father?”
“I haven't any. He was drownded away off at sea.”
“Drowned, you should say;” and then he was sorry he had said so, for it looked as though he did not feel for his troubles.
“Where do you live?”
“Down there,” pointing to a miserable hut in a distant lane.
“Come with me, and I'll get you something.”—Arthur turned back, and the boy followed him. He had a few pence in his pocket, as it proved, to buy a loaf of bread. He gave it to the boy, and told him page 12 he would go home with him. The boy took the loaf, and though he did not break it, he looked at it so wistfully, that Arthur took his knife and cut off a piece and gave it to him to eat; he ate in a manner that showed that he had not deceived Arthur when he told him he was hungry. The tears came into Arthur's eyes as he saw him swallow the dry bread with such eagerness. He remembered, with some self-reproach, that he had sometimes complained when he had nothing but bread and butter for tea. On their way to the boy's home, Arthur learned that the family had moved into the place about a week before; that his mother was taken sick the day after they came, and was unable to leave her bed; that there were two children younger than himself; that their last food was eaten the day before; that his mother had sent him, out to beg for the first time in his life; that the first person he asked told him beggars would be put in jail, so he was returning home when Arthur overtook him and asked what he was crying for.
Arthur went in, and saw a good looking woman on the bed, with two children, crying, by her side. As he opened the door, he heard the oldest say, “Do mamma, give me something to eat.” They stopped crying when Arthur and the boy came in. The boy ran to the bed, and gave his mother the loaf, and pointing to Arthur, said, “He bought it for me.”
“Thank you,” said the woman, “may God bless you, and give you the bread of eternal life.”
The eldest little girl jumped up and down in her joy, and the youngest tried to seize the loaf, and struggled hard to do so, but did not speak. Seeing that the widow's hands were weak, Arthur took the loaf, and cut off a piece for the youngest first, and then for the girl and the boy. He then gave the loaf to the widow. She ate a small piece, and then closed her eyes, and seemed to be engaged in silent prayer.
She must be one of the Lord's poor, thought Ar-page 13thur. I'll go and get something else for you as quick as I can, said Arthur, and he departed.
He went to Mrs. B.'s, who lived near, and told her the story, and she immediately sent some milk, and bread, and tea, and sugar, and butter, and sent word, she would come herself as soon as she got the baby asleep.
Arthur had half-a-crown at home, which he wished to give to the poor woman. His father gave it to him for watching sheep, and told him that he must not spend it, but put it out at interest, or trade with it, so as to make something. He knew his father would not let him give it away, for he was not a Christian, and thought of little else than of saving and making money. Arthur's mother died when he was an infant, but with her last breath she gave him to God.
When Arthur was five years old he was sent to school, to a pious teacher, who cared for his soul; and knowing that he had no teacher at home, she took unusual pains to instruct him in the principles of religious truth. The Holy Spirit helped her efforts, and before he was eight years of age there was reason to hope that he had been born again.
Arthur was now in his tenth year. He considered how he should help the poor widow, and at length hit upon a plan which proved successful.
His father was very desirous that he should begin to act for himself in business matters, such as making bargains. He did not wish him to ask his advice in so doing, but to go by his own judgment.—After the business was done, he would show him whether it was wise or not; but never censured him, lest he should discourage him from acting on his own responsibility.
In view of these facts Arthur formed his plan.
“Father, may I lend my half-crown?”
“To some spendthrift, boy?”
“I won't lend it without good security.”
The father was pleased that his son had the idea of good security in his head; he would not inquire page 14 what it was for; he wished Arthur to decide that himself. He told him to lend it, but to be careful not to lose it.
“I'll be sure about that,” said Arthur.
Arthur took his half-crown, and ran to the poor widow and gave it to her, and came away before she had time to thank him.
At night his father asked him if he had put out his money.
“Yes, papa,” said Arthur.
“Who did you lend it to?”
“I gave it to a starving widow in Mr. H.'s house.”
There was a frown gathering on his father's brow as he said, “Do you call that lending? Did you ask my permission to lend it? Have I a son that will deceive me?”
“No papa,” said Arthur, “I did lend it.” He opened his Bible, that he had ready, with his finger on the place, “He that giveth to the poor lendeth to the Lord.” “I lent it to the Lord, and I call that written promise good security.”
“Lent it to the Lord! He will never pay you.”
“Yes, he will; it says he will repay again.”
“I thought you had more sense,” said his father; but this was not said in an angry tone. The truth was, the old man was pleased with the ingenuity, as he called it, of his boy. He did not wish to discourage that. So he took out his purse, and handed Arthur half-a-crown. “Here, the Lord will never pay; I must, or you will never see your money again.”
“Thank you, papa,” said Arthur. “In my way of thinking,” said Arthur to himself, “the Lord has paid me, and much sooner than I expected too: I didn't hardly expect that he would pay me in money. The hearts of all men are in his hand, and the gold and silver are his; he has disposed my father to pay it to me. I'll lend it again.”page 15
Arthur kept up the habit of lending his spare money to the Lord all his days, and he was always satisfied that he was paid fourfold.
A very safe way of lending money, is that of lending it to the Lord.