Acts 10:4
Cornelius stared at him in fear and asked, "What is it, Lord?" The angel answered, "Your prayers and gifts to the poor have ascended as a memorial offering before God.
Beneficence Known to GodActs 10:4
Beneficence Recompensed by GodH. T. Williams.Acts 10:4
Beneficence, a Christian ObligationCawdray.Acts 10:4
Beneficence, GodlikeCiceroActs 10:4
Devotion and BeneficenceActs 10:4
Giving and PrayingN. T. AnecdotesActs 10:4
Giving as an Act of WorshipW. F. Beatty, D. D.Acts 10:4
Prayer and AlmsgivingActs 10:4
Prayer and GiftsC. H. Spurgeon.Acts 10:4
Prayers and AlmsJ. Mede.Acts 10:4
Praying and AlmsgivingDean Goulburn.Acts 10:4
The Best AlmsgivingA. J. C. Hare.Acts 10:4
Piety, its Place, its Associations, and its RewardW. Clarkson Acts 10:1-8
The Pious CenturionE. Johnson Acts 10:1-8
The Spirit of God in the Gentile World. CaesareaR.A. Redford Acts 10:1-8
A Good Man's ConversionC. S. Robinson, D. D.Acts 10:1-48
Broadening FoundationsP.C. Barker Acts 10:1-48
CorneliusW. M. Taylor, D. D.Acts 10:1-48
CorneliusJames Owens.Acts 10:1-48
CorneliusW. Hay Aitken, M. A.Acts 10:1-48
CorneliusPreacher's MonthlyActs 10:1-48
Cornelius of CaesareaG. M. Grant, B. D.Acts 10:1-48
Cornelius the Truth SeekerC. H. Payne, D. D.Acts 10:1-48
Cornelius, a Monument of the Omnipotence of GraceK. Gerok.Acts 10:1-48
Cornelius, an Example of PietyJ. T. Woodhouse.Acts 10:1-48
Cornelius, the Truth SeekerJ. G. Hughes.Acts 10:1-48
Cornelius: a Model for VolunteersG. Venables, M. A.Acts 10:1-48
Cornelius; Or, New Departures in ReligionJ. Clifford, D. D.Acts 10:1-48
DreamsG. H. James.Acts 10:1-48
Family DevotionC. H. Spurgeon.Acts 10:1-48
Peter's VisionR. T. Stevenson.Acts 10:1-48
Peter's VisionD. J. Burrell D. D.Acts 10:1-48
The Character and Conversion of CorneliusR. P. Buddicom, M. A.Acts 10:1-48
The Character of CorneliusG. Spence, D. C. L.Acts 10:1-48
The Conversion of the GentilesJ. Parker, D. D.Acts 10:1-48
The Providential Guidance of the ChurchDean Alford.Acts 10:1-48
The Supernatural PreparationD. Thomas, D. D.Acts 10:1-48
Devout HeathenR. Tuck Acts 10:2, 22
To correct the tendency to limit the operations of Divine grace to particular sections, classes, or nations, the Scriptures record instances of true devoutness and sincere piety both before and outside the Abrahamic covenant. The comforting and inspiring truth of the Divine call and election man has too often changed into a doctrine of Divine favoritism, involving the sovereign and groundless choice of some, and the consequent repudiation and hopeless condition of many. We should ever seek to hold the truth which God is pleased to reveal with a jealousy of ourselves, lest we should unduly apply it to the disadvantage of others. Our God has said, "All souls are mine;" he maketh "his sun to rise upon the evil and upon the good." And if he claims the right to judge all mankind, he must have given them all knowledge, opportunities, and measures of grace. While fully realizing that the only book revelation has been made to the Jew and the Christian, and that the great revelation of God to man has been made in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that this revelation is the key to, and the completion of, all others, we need not refuse to admit that God has had gracious access to the minds and hearts of heathen peoples, and has guided, in measures that seemed wise, their gropings and seekings after him. One of the remarkable cases is that of Cornelius the Roman centurion, a man declared to be of pious character, and to have won the Divine acceptance. As illustrating the above statements, mention may be made of Melchizedek, Balsam, Araunah, etc. Accepting the fact that there may be genuine religion among the heathen, we may ask by what signs may we hopefully recognize it, and then turn to the story of Cornelius for aid in making answer.

I. The first sign is BELIEF IN GOD, as distinguished from the gods. The conception of one supreme Being is more common among the heathen than we are wont to admit. It is often lost sight of by the prominence that is given to subordinate divinities, and the elaborate worship rendered to them. It is often sadly limited and deteriorated by the notion of a second being, who is regarded as a rival of the supreme Being, and energetically destroying his work. Polytheism and dualism represent the two evil tendencies of man's religious nature; but we may reasonably hope that not a few of the heathen have, like Cornelius, risen above the prevailing sentiments, and held firmly their faith in one supreme God. And we must, in all charity, assume that there may be a personal trust of heart on the living God, when the intellectual conceptions of him, and of his relations with men, are very imperfect and unworthy. To be acceptable, a man's religion must include faith in one God; and we must remember that this was the first great fact and truth revealed to men, and, however men may have blotted it over in their souls, they have not blotted it out.

II. The second sign is SUCH APPREHENSION OF GOD AS BRINGS FEAR. The Bible use of the word "fear" should be carefully explained. It is the word which most suitably expresses the proper attitude of men towards God. It includes awe, reverence, worship, and obedience, and may be best illustrated by the feelings entertained by a good child towards a good and noble parent. The sense of Divine authority should make us fear to do wrong, and the sense of Divine holiness should make us fear to approach unpreparedly his presence or to take his Name in vain. "Fear," as an equivalent for "worship," needs explanation, and, rightly explained, it will be seen that it is the very essence of religion, so far as religion affects man's feeling. Wrong senses of the term fear may be considered. Fear which crushes hope and keeps us from God must be wrong; as is also fear that makes us unwilling to accept the grace he offers.

III. The third sign is SUCH APPREHENSION OF GOD AS LEADS TO PRAYER. Not merely to prayer as a sudden act, forced on by calamity or distress, but to prayer as the daily expression of the cherished spirit of dependence on God - a daily leaning on God and waiting for him, which is indicated by the description of Cornelius as a" devout man." Miss Cobbe strikingly says, "Our belief in the personality of God is in a peculiar manner allied to the moral side of religion. In proportion as that moral side is developed in us, so, we may almost say, is the clearness of our conviction that it is indeed a living God who rules the world, and no mere creative intelligence. Now, this moral side comes out only in its full luminousness in prayer. Prayer is in its essence the approach of the finite and fallible moral agent to its infinite moral Lord, to whom it is conscious of erring allegiance, and to whom it comes for forgiveness and strength. In such prayer all the moral life bursts into vivid consciousness. In prayer there comes to us the true revelation of the personality of God." Illustrate by the characteristic feature of the converted Saul of Tarsus, "Behold, he prayeth!"

IV. The fourth sign we may speak of as the RESULTS OF TRUE RELIGION IN PRACTICAL CHARITIES. These are signs, because they are the natural and necessary fruitage and expression of true piety. Right ideas of God tone our relations with our fellow-men, so that we can be "kind even to the unthankful and the unholy" Cornelius is marked as one who "gave much alms to the people." The more internal features of true piety are, of necessity, beyond our reading; but our Lord taught us that by men's fruits in conduct we might know them, and that, if there is ever the Divine life in souls, it will force its way out into practical charities and goodness of conduct. When, therefore, we find those we call "heathen" exhibiting Christian virtues, we may reasonably hope that there is a right-heartedness towards God of which these are the expressions. By the story of Cornelius we are taught that God may make more or less open responses to such devout and prayerful souls by visions, revelations, or inward communications, witnessing thus their acceptance, and guiding the open soul to righteousness and truth. It is true for all the world that "if any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine." While this subject needs to be treated with great prudence, and strongly dogmatic statements should be avoided, we may gain from it some relief from the pressure of our questioning as to the salvability of the heathen, and we may conceive how the heathen state may become a moral preparation for Christianity. It is an important feature of modern missionary enterprise that those who preach Christ's gospel seek to find points of contact in the heathen mind and religious sentiments, and expect to discover that God has been beforehand with them, preparing men's hearts to receive the wonderful message of Divine salvation by a Divine sacrifice. -R.T.

Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.
I. THE CONJUNCTION OF ALMS DEEDS WITH PRAYER. Cornelius joined them, and he is therefore commended for "a devout man and one that feared God," and God graciously accepted them. Therefore our Saviour (Matthew 6:1-5) joins the precepts of alms and prayer together. It was also the ordinance of the Church in the apostles' times, that the first day of the week, which was the time of public prayer, should be the time also of alms (1 Corinthians 16:1). Which institution seems to be derived from the commandment of God in the law twice repeated (Exodus 23:15; Deuteronomy 16:16). The Primitive Church after the apostles followed the same precedent, and our own Reformed Church asks God "to accept our alms, and receive our prayers."

II. THE POWER AND EFFICACY WHICH PRAYER AND ALMS HAVE WITH GOD. God is said to remember our prayers when He grants them, our alms and good deeds when He rewards them, or, in a word, when He answers either of them with a blessing; as on the contrary He is said to remember iniquity when He sends some judgment for it (1 Samuel 1:19; Nehemiah 5:19).

1. Prayer. What is it that prayer hath not obtained? It hath shut and opened heaven and made the sun and moon to stand still. It is the key that openeth all God's treasures. For spiritual blessings, Cornelius we see obtained thereby illumination and instruction in God's saving truth (see James 1:5; Jeremiah 31:18-20; Psalm 32:5, 6). Prayer also obtaineth corporal blessings. When heaven was shut and it rained not, Elijah prayed for rain, and it rained. Hannah prayed for a son, and she conceived. If we be sick, "the prayer of faith shall heal the sick." Nehemiah prayed that he might find favour in the sight of King Artaxerxes (Nehemiah 1:11), and found it (Nehemiah 2:4). But some man will say, If prayer have such power and efficacy, how comes it to pass that many even godly men oft pray and yet speed not? I answer —(1) We pray not as we ought, either —

(a)We pray not heartily or constantly (Luke 18:1).

(b)We rely not upon God (James 1:6).

(c)We make not God's glory the end of what we ask (James 4:3).

(d)We may ask something that crosseth the rule of Divine providence and justice.(2) We are indisposed for God to grant our request.(a) When some sin unrepented of lies at the door and keeps God's blessing out (Psalm 50:16; Proverbs 28:9; Joshua 7:10-12). Or —(b) We appear before the Lord empty; we do not as Cornelius did, send up prayers and alms together; we should have two strings to our bow when we have but one. For how can we look that God should hear us in our need, when we turn away our face from our brother in his need?(3) Add to all these reasons of displeasure a reason of favour, because we ask that which He knows would be hurtful for us. As, therefore, a wife and loving father will not give his child a knife or some other hurtful thing, though it cries never so much unto him for it: so does God deal with His children.(4) Moreover, we must know and believe that God often hears our prayers when we think he doth not.(a) When He changes the means, but brings the end we desire another way to pass (2 Corinthians 12:7-9).(b) When He defers it till some other time when He thinks best (Daniel 9:1; 2 Chronicles 36:22; Revelation 6:10, 11).(c) When He gives us instead thereof something which is as good or better.

2. Alms. Not thy prayer only, saith the angel, but thine alms also are come up for a remembrance. For alms is a kind of prayer, namely, a visible one, and such an one as prevails as strongly with God for a blessing as any other (Psalm 41:1-3; Proverbs 19:17; Proverbs 28:27; Proverbs 11:25; Ecclesiastes 11:1). These are for corporal blessings, and of this life. But hear also for spiritual blessings, and those of the life to come (Psalm 112:9; Luke 16:9; 1 Timothy 6:17; Matthew 25:34, 35).

III. THE REASONS WHY GOD REQUIRES THEM AND WHY THEY ARE SO PLEASING UNTO HIM: which reasons when they are known, will be also strong motives.

1. Prayer. The reasons why God requires this are these —(1) That we might acknowledge the property He hath in the gifts He bestows upon us: otherwise we would forget in what tenure we hold them.(2) That we might be acquainted with God (Job 22:21). Now acquaintance we know grows amongst men by conversing together. So by accustoming to speak to God in prayer we grow acquainted with Him.(3) That our hearts may be kept in order. For to come often into the presence of God breeds an holy awe, and makes us to call our sins to remembrance with sorrow. Men are afraid to offend those into whose presence they must often come to ask and sue for favours; and if they have offended, the first thing they do will be to sue for pardon.

2. Alms. We are to offer alms —(1) To testify our acknowledgment of whom we received and of whom we hold what we have. For as by prayer we ask God's creatures before we can enjoy them; so when we have them there is another homage due for them, namely, of thanksgiving, without which the use of the creature which God gives us is unclean and unlawful to us (1 Timothy 4:4). Now our thanksgiving to God must express itself in work and deed; that is, we must yield Him a rent and tribute of what we enjoy by His favour and blessing; which if we do not, we lose our tenure. This rent is two fold: either that which is offered unto God for the maintenance of His worship and ministers; or that which is given for the relief of the poor, the orphan, and the widow, which is called alms.(2) That we might not forget God (Matthew 6:19, 20; Luke 12:33). The proper evil of abundance is to forget God and our dependence upon Him, the remedy whereof most genuine and natural is to pay Him a rent of what we have.

(J. Mede.)


1. Its nature — the ascent of the mind to God. When the soul lays aside the thoughts of all things else and converses only with God, then it prays.(1) When we speak to so glorious a Majesty we ought to begin by confessing our unworthiness (Ezra 9:6-9; Psalm 51:1-5; Daniel 9:3-5).(2) And as we are to confess our sins so we are to beg for mercy.(3) And as we must desire of God what we want, so must we praise Him for what we have (Psalm 107:8).

2. The reasons why it is acceptable to God.(1) In praying we come as near as we can to the principal end of our creation, which was to enjoy communion with God.(2). Hereby we acknowledge His supremacy over and propriety in the world, by paying daily homage and tribute of thanks.(3) Especially we give Him the glory due to His Name which is the ultimate end of His, and ought to be of all our actions (Psalm 50:23; Psalm 24:1).

3. How to perform it acceptably.(1) You must know that it is a duty of that weight and moment that it is not to be undertaken without due preparation beforehand.(a) Lay aside all earthly thoughts.(b) Bethink yourselves of the mercies for which you should pray and those for which you should give thanks.(c) Get your hearts possessed with a sense of God's transcendent excellency.(2) Having thus prepared yourselves set upon the work itself: and while praying —(a) Remember what you are doing and carry yourselves with that reverence which becomes sinful creatures (Hebrews 12:28, 29).(b) Be sure to observe the wise man's counsel (Ecclesiastes 5:2; Isaiah 66:1; Genesis 18:27-32).(c) Have a great care to keep your thoughts and affections together (1 Corinthians 14:15).(d) Pray in faith, desiring nothing but in the name of Christ (John 16:23).(3) After prayer — that it may be accepted and answered —(a) Recollect yourselves and consider the sins you have confessed that you may avoid them, and what mercies you have begged that you may expect them (Mark 11:24; James 1:5, 6).(b) Trust in Christ for the acceptance and answer of your prayers (Mark 11:24).

4. Its advantages.(1) Such solemn addresses to the Most High will refine and enlarge your conceptions of Him, and so you will be more and more acquainted with Him, and in and through Christ ingratiate yourselves with Him (Job 22:21).(2) This will also be an excellent means to keep our hearts in a continual awe of Him.(3) This is the most powerful way to prevent all evil and secure all good. If we lack wisdom, by prayer we may get it (James 1:5). If we be sick, by prayer we may be recovered (James 5:15). If our sins be many and great, by prayer they may be pardoned (Psalm 32:5, 6). If our graces be weak, by prayer they may be strengthened (2 Corinthians 12:8, 9).


1. The nature of this duty — the supplying of others' necessities to the utmost of our power whatever they may be — feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick, relieving the afflicted, being kind and liberal to all.

2. Its reasonableness.(1) God, as He is the Maker, so is He the Owner of all things, and therefore we can have nothing but what we receive from Him. He is the Landlord, you His tenant, and He requires you to pay Him rent to be employed in His immediate service, or else for the relief of His poorer servants (Matthew 26:11).(2) He has imposed this duty to make you always mindful of your obligations to Him. A confluence of earthly enjoyments is apt to make us forget Him (Hosea 13:6; Deuteronomy 32:15-18). Hence Agur feared riches (Proverbs 30:8, 9).(3) God requires this duty because this is the means whereby He has provided for persons who are destitute of other maintenance (Malachi 3:8; Proverbs 3:27). Seeing, therefore, God has strictly required this duty, and there being such reasons for it, it cannot but be acceptable to Him, and its neglect displeasing. What we do to the poor He regards as done to Himself (Matthew 25:40-45; Proverbs 14:31).

3. The manner in which it is to be performed.(1) Purely out of obedience to God, for His sake who first gave.(2) Universally — to everyone in need, i.e., not to our own friends only, nor only when we are in a good humour, or applied to, or likely to get credit.(3) Not reluctantly (Deuteronomy 15:10; 2 Corinthians 9:7; Romans 12:8; Acts 20:35).(4) Proportionably to what God has given us (1 Corinthians 16:2).(5) Sincerely, and not to gain applause.

III. THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE TWO. Both went up to heaven together. There can be no true piety towards God that is not accompanied with charity towards our neighbour. This applies to all acts of piety. No man can fear, honour, obey, or trust in God who is not kind to his brother. As for its principal act — prayer — the teaching of Scripture is plain that it will not be accepted if severed from alms. Hence Christ joins the two (Matthew 6:1-6), and Paul (1 Corinthians 16:1, 2), and Moses (Exodus 23:15; Deuteronomy 16:16, 17).

(Bp. Beveridge.)

1. Alms are the correlative of prayers, branches from a common stem — the moral law, which enjoins love to God and love to man. The man who really prays fulfils the first branch; the effectual fervent prayer of the righteous man, such as was Cornelius, is the expression of man's duty to God. It is called "incense" partly from its reaching the Throne of Grace, as incense soars to the sky; partly from its spiritual fragrance and acceptability. And the man who acts in the true spirit of almsgiving equally fulfils the second branch. The act passes further than our neighbour; it comes before God as a memorial and finds also in the fragrant, soaring incense its Scriptural emblem (Philippians 4:18).

2. Thus prayer and almsgiving are coordinate, which alone lends a value to the latter. We have been suspicious of it as though we heard a legal ring instead of genuine gospel coin, a means of justification by the law, instead of faith in Christ. But almsgiving need be no more a work of human merit than prayer. Neither can justify the sinner; that is the prerogative of Christ's atonement. But both "come up for a memorial before God" when offered in faith, even in such imperfect faith as that of Cornelius.

3. But as it is not every so-called prayer, so it is not every alms of which this can be predicated. In both the act has become detached from the spirit which alone can render it acceptable. Prayer is performed merely because conscience or She usages of society exact it. And alms are extorted reluctantly with the feeling that any petition for them is an importunity of which we would willingly be rid. In such cases neither are acceptable.

4. If either is to come up as a memorial before God it must be offered not on a casual impulse, the mere inspiration of a happy moment, but on principle. As regards prayer this is acknowledged. No one thinks he has acquitted himself of his duty unless he has prayed systematically. No one could satisfy his conscience by lifting up his heart to God only when he found himself in a happy frame. For —(1) The duty which is left to a convenient season is sure to find no season convenient: he who is apt to defer sailing till wind, weather, and tide are all in his favour is apt to end in not sailing at all.(2) Prayer is not simply the duty of the individual soul, but an act of homage to God: thus they must be offered systematically. All this is conceded as regards prayer, but as regards almsgiving how different the view generally taken. Instead of recognising a certain proportion of his income as being due to God, the modern Christian abandons himself for the most part to appeals, and helps those objects only when his sympathies are stirred. A charity sermon awakens a kindly interest, or there are cases of distress personally known, and he responds without the slightest idea of the proportion his alms bear to his resources.

5. Modern almsgiving being thus for the most part the result of impulse rather than principle, has adjusted itself to the sentiments of the majority. Money must be had for benevolence; and as it is not to be had upon principle, it must be had by an appeal to sensibilities, or even by more questionable methods. Inducements to give are held out by the showy oratory of the public meeting, the little dissipation of the bazaar, or the luxury of the public dinner. The least objectionable form is the charity sermon. But even this is not the true way. If the standard of Christian sentiment and practice at all resemble that of early days this would be unnecessary (1 Corinthians 16:1). The Primitive Church acted on this precept, and a trace of their practice is found in that office of the Holy Communion called the offertory. In the course of the liturgy, or service of communion, offerings of money, food, or clothing, were made by the congregation, which went to the poor, the bishop, the fabric of the church, and the subordinate clergy respectively. tell us that the Christians never entered church without giving alms; so deeply were the minds of our fathers imbued with the connection between alms and prayer. Now without enforcing the same form we may surely say that the methodical principle is as binding as ever.

6. All that is necessary in order to this is a little time, trouble, and moral courage. Let us settle what proportion of our income is due to works of piety or charity. The proportion will vary as it is subtracted from a very narrow income or a very large one; but that being settled, all that follows may be done with a small expenditure of time. A private account is opened showing on the one side all our receipts and on the other our charitable expenditure. This is examined periodically, and should it appear that the expenditure comes up to the proportion we have determined upon, well and good; should it exceed (a rare occurrence) the excess may be balanced by retrenchment; should it fall short it should be made a point of conscience to make it up at once. If everyone would act thus the resources of deserving charities would never fail.

7. But benefits of a much higher kind would accrue to the giver. It would greatly contribute to that peace of mind which is so essential an element of spiritual progress. And again the very satisfactoriness of the process would lead to a further advance in the same direction. He who has conscientiously given one-twentieth this year may be urged to give one-tenth next. The appetite for Christian liberality will grow when it is healthily indulged instead of being morbidly stimulated. And that wretched feeling that every fresh appeal is an exaction would cease.

8. The offerings made to God out of this treasury, if made with faith in His name are represented as memorials of us in heaven. The beautiful act of the woman in Simon's house was rewarded in a similar manner. Do you desire that your name should be known in heaven? Aspire with devout prayers and seek Christ with devout sympathies in His representatives. Multiply acts of faith and love, and these will keep alive remembrance of you in the heavenly court, where no remembrance is without a requital. Cornelius was recompensed by the visit of an angel and an apostle, the glad tidings, and the gift of the Holy Ghost.

(Dean Goulburn.)


1. It will be a sufficient answer to say that love, faith, and obedience are the graces chiefly exercised. We cannot worship whom we do not love, in whom we do not believe, or whom we refuse to obey. All these graces are implied in praise, thanksgiving, confession, supplication, and intercession, and where they exist we have all the essential conditions of acceptable worship.

2. But external acts are required as well as internal conditions. Under the Old Testament the offering of sacrifices, etc.; under the New, the sacraments together with such other forms as may be expressive of this required inward state.

3. That we may not hide our light under bushel — that we may give tangible form to our love, faith, and obedience; that God may be publicly glorified, and that those about us may be benefited, we are required to worship Him in the use of external and visible forms.

II. ARE THESE ESSENTIAL CONDITIONS OF WORSHIP EVER FOUND IN ALMSGIVING? Giving is a most natural expression of these graces. They are implied in the word "memorial" — that which brings to remembrance (Leviticus 2:2-16). The same Greek word in the Septuagint. Observe: All giving is not worship. If it is not unto God, if done grudgingly, if done with low conceptions of the duty, it may be offensive.


1. It lifts the whole department of Christian duty to a higher plane. It removes it from the region of beggary. It no longer treats God as if He was some Lazarus seeking the crumbs that otherwise we would give to the dogs.

2. It makes giving a joyous service.

3. It makes giving a means of grace.

(W. F. Beatty, D. D.)

N. T. Anecdotes.
The venerable Father Sewall, of Maine, once entered a meeting in behalf of foreign missions, just as the collectors of the contributions were resuming their seats. The chairman of the meeting requested him to lead in prayer. The old gentleman stood, hesitatingly, as if he had not heard the request. It was repeated in a louder voice; but there was no response. It was observed, however, that Mr. Sewall was fumbling in his pockets, and presently he produced a piece of money, which he deposited in the contribution box. The chairman, thinking he had not been understood, said loudly, "I didn't ask you to give, Father Sewall; I asked you to pray." "Oh, yes," he replied, "I heard you, but I can't pray till I have given something."

(N. T. Anecdotes.)

A coloured Presbyterian deacon was in the habit of shutting his eyes, while he sang with great unction, "Fly abroad, thou mighty gospel!" and not seeing the contribution plate. "Oh, yes!" said the plate bearer; "but you just give something to make it fly."

A poor man who had a large family gave them a very comfortable support while he was in health. He broke his leg, and was laid up for some weeks. As he would be for some time destitute of the means of grace, it was proposed to hold a prayer meeting at his house. The meeting was led by Deacon Brown. A loud knock at the door interrupted the service. A tall, lank, blue-frocked youngster stood at the door with an ox goad in his hand, and asked to see Deacon Brown. "Father could not attend this meeting," he said; "but he sent his prayers, and they are out in the cart." They were brought in, in the shape of potatoes, beef, pork, and corn. The meeting broke up without the benediction. Nor did the poor fellow suffer during his whole confinement. The substantial prayers of the donors became means of grace."

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

S. Carlo Borromeo, the great patron of idle almsgiving, came hither (the palace and church buildings of Caprarolo) to see it when it was completed, and complained that so much money had not been given to the poor instead. "I have let them have it all little by little," said Alessandro Farnese, "but I have made them earn it by the sweat of their brows."

(A. J. C. Hare.)

Men resemble the gods in nothing so much as in doing good.


A poor Irishwoman went to a venerable priest in Boston, and asked him to forward to Ireland her help for the famine sufferers. "How much can you spare?" asked the priest. "I have a hundred dollars saved," she said, "and I can spare that." The priest reasoned with her, saying that her gift was too great for her means, but she was firm in her purpose. It would do her good to know teat she had helped; she could rest happier thinking of the poor families she had saved from hunger and death. The priest received her money with moistened eyes. "Now, what is your name?" he asked, "that I may have it published." "My name?" said the brave soul, counting over her money; "don't mind that, sir. Just send them the help — and God will know my name."

A poor man came one day to Michael Feneberg, the pastor of Seeg, in Bavaria, and bogged three crowns, that he might finish his journey. It was all that Feneberg had; but as he besought him earnestly in the name of Jesus, in the name of Jesus he gave it. Immediately afterwards he found himself in great outward need, and seeing no way of relief, he prayed, "Lord, I lent Thee three crowns; Thou hast not yet returned them, and Thou knowest how I need them. Lord, I pray Thee give them back." The same day brought a messenger with a money letter, which Gossner, his assistant, reached over to him, saying, "Here, father, is what you expended." It contained two hundred thalers, or about one hundred and fifty dollars, which the poor traveller had begged from a rich man for the vicar; and the childlike old man, in joyful amazement, cried out, "Ah, Lord, one dare ask nothing of Thee, for straightway, Thou makest one feel so much ashamed."

(H. T. Williams.)

As the moon doth show her light to the world which she receiveth from the sun; so we ought to bestow the benefits received of God to the profit of our neighbour.


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