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for their families, on $200 or $300 a year, if usage; the bookcase with its Greek and Hebrew they had even as much as that. Yet has it and English classics within five feet of the ever come into the head of one in five hundred cooking stove, the space between sacred to to inquire whether these families have now sermon-writing and the wife's occasional arbread to eat and a roof over them, although ticles for the magazines. In three years they among them are numbered gray, weather-beaten moved into the half-finished dwelling, which scholars and worn-out women of refinement and circumstances never allowed them to complete. culture?
The time came when they wept to be back One minister I knew left Amherst with high in the plain house, coarsely dressed, but free honors. In scientific studies the faculty con- of the wasting anxiety where next week's bread sidered him the peer of Mitchell and Silliman, was to come from, or whether they could keep classmates if I remember. He wished to go as a roof overhead from month to month, missionary to China, but his health breaking The difficulties of first settling were over, from hard study he was sent west as home mis- the farmers began to drive around in smart sionary in the Wabash Valley. There he re- carriages, make improvements and subscribe gained some health by such rude treatment as for a railroad. The old minister was too strict riding thirty miles a day, preaching at night and for their notions about such things as Sundaysleeping on the floor in settler's cabin after a keeping and horse-racing. When under stress supper of corn pone and milk. He preached of duty he preached on the obligations of week-days and Sundays on his circuit, which Christians to give as they prospered to foreign did not allow services oftener than once a fort- missions and grasshopper sufferers and the night, the stations were so separated. Presby- charities of the church, it broke that church's terians rode circuit then as well as Methodists. back. In two weeks a committee waited on When his strength would bear this life no him to say they would relieve him from further longer he started a seminary, his wife, from ministry to that church. He was getting old the finest school in Beacon Hill, Boston, teach- with hard work and trouble, bowed meekly to ing her French and drawing classes with her the pain of seeing his unselfish labors so lightly baby at her feet, for they had no servant. esteemed, and never suffered one of his family Schools were needed west, and he taught and to say a hasty word against the decision. The preached by turns, his boys always taking best frank Scotch members protested warmly against rank in college by their thorough preparation the change, but he soothed the feeling, and and discipline.
welcomed the young minister from the East After fifteen years of this life, a small legacy with his bride in wedding freshness. falling in allowed him to take his family from A sharp winter left the youngest, brightest the ague-smitten region to a homestead in the girl in consumption, and the child turned her northwest. Here he felt he could preach and face to the wall and made haste to die. Other be useful, gaining full health and relieving the sickness and accident and losses of every sort church of much of his support by working a brought the burden heavier on the toiling farm after the old ministerial fashion. He shoulders. The slender wife had borne her went on the unbroken prairie, fenced his land, part heroically, working without help for fambuilt his house, and gathered a small church. ily and hired men, walking miles after her He was literally the hardest worker I ever day's work to watch by a sick neighbor, or knew-up at four o'clock and in the field till attend a prayer-meeting when her husband he could no longer see, the only signal for his was too sick to rise. She wore calico to church coming in; studying commentary and Greek season after season, and denied herself every Testament while his farm hands took their comfort to send the only daughter left a few nooning, studying his sermon over plough and terms to better schools. The daughter studied reaper, and coming in to write it. The first her Latin and German nights after she was in
years the church paid nothing for preach- bed, and drove reaper or cut the corn when ing, being in Ohio phrase "poor as skim pov- help was scarce and the father down with har. erty,” in the grip of high taxes and interest on vest fever. The mother even taught the distheir unpaid farms, and harvests ruined by trict school in summer, doing her own housefloods one year and drought the next. After- work mornings, noons and nights; but when ward they gave him $50 or $60 a year, the by every sacrifice her heart could compass the Home Missionary Society sending $150. girl was well started away from home, her own
The family lived first in a building 16 by 24, system took terrible revenge, and for eighteen meant for a granary, after the new settler's years made her life torture with neuralgia of
the worst kind. She was a woman who carried great endurance in a frail form, and there was no giving up in her case to disease that would have left most women useless. Church, prayermeeting, society, for most of those years were forbidden, for the hourly maddening pain that seized her wrung cries from her resolute lips. Speechless weeks together, fasting from food and drink for days to escape the torture of moving her mouth, reduced to a weight of eighty pounds, the woman would go about caring for her family while strength lasted, stopping to wrestle with pain that whitened her face like that of a corpse, and after the agony go on with the mending or sweeping as before.
The farm was sold, and they came east-the father deaf and infirm and beaten down with trouble. The daughter, most sadly widowed within two years of her marriage, lost her little all in the Chicago fire, and took care of the family with her own support. She was able to buy a cottage where the mother could be in reach of a doctor and the young brothers at school; but it took seven years out of her life at the work that feeds on nerve and brain. Part of her mother's gift fell to her share, and she found work as a writer. You may have read her articles, written, with portfolio resting on her sleeping baby in her lap, between nine and two at night, when other care was done for the day, or pencilled on the lounge when she could not sit up for the ache of an overdone frame. She could not be sure of work away from the city, and so the family joined her east. Then the struggle began.
Figure to yourself the rents and expense of living near the city, with six people, old, invalid or too young to help, to be kept in any comfort by the uncertain earnings of a boy and this young woman, half the time disabled with nervous disease aggravated by her writing at pressure. The shrewd eoonomy, the unselfish sharing of burdens and of the common purse, with handy tastes quick to make the most of everything, made life bearable, and gave the full flavor of their few pleasures.
The hot summer of 1878 the family were seized with the malaria fever that raged about the city. One rose tottering to care for those who were helpless. The winter that followed need not be dwelt upon; the weeks when brain and hand refused her bidding any longer; when they humbly prayed for death to relieve the mother's agonies the cold thin house made worse; the brother living at home to give all his earnings to the family, starting by starlight
every morning for his mile walk to the station and nineteen miles by train to the city, ten hours at work in the fetid office, and back in the evening. No wonder he had hemorrhage next spring, that followed season after season till he died. The sister would have died to join him if she might, they had been so near in tastes, had struggled so hard and borne so much together that no one could ever know or understand again.
The western presbytery to which her father had belonged kindly sent the parents to the Ministers' House at Perth Amboy, for they were past working for anybody. There for the first time in thirty years, free from harassing cares and in thorough comfort and rest, the scourge of the mother's disease has abated. She still suffers daily and acutely, and speech is still a privilege, but God in mercy has stayed his east wind in the time of his rough wind.
It will be necessary to assure some people, comfortably ignorant of what goes on in the world about them, that this story of a minister's family is true, wholly and in detail. The straits to which careful families are brought by failing strength and means are unknown to their next neighbors, and old pastors and teachers fare worst of all. I do not count the fortunate dead, overwrought and early released from their labors, but there are too many pastors' wives insane or living in torment of chronic neuralgia, that avenging angel of overwork and care. Theirs forever is the struggle between straitened means and limitless demands on sympathies, strength, purse and appearances, from the country minister's wife doing her own washing with a three weeks baby, to the city pastor's wife I met fagged and worn out trying to find a cloak for her baby cheap enough to suit her purse, because she had not time to make one, and every dollar of the $1800 salary was strained to meet the demands of a society which expected them to live as if they had $5000. I saw the private note-book of an old beneficiary of the Ministers' House at Perth Amboy not long ago. He and his invalid wife had lived on $300 a year a long time, and of this $30 a year went in charities and mission funds. When their son died, and the administrator made way with the little property coming to them, there was nothing but the Board of Relief between these aged servants of the church and the poorhouse. Who makes a point to know if such poor ministers are provided for, or by what shift and suffering they make out to live ?
EFFECTS OF SCANTY FUNDS. a man of such sterling worth, We cannot
afford to lose such as he. At its last meeting the Board of Educa
Yours in the gospel, tion felt constrained to decline two applications for aid, which, being made for candi
The committee of presbytery adds condates in the preparatory department, classed cerning the same person: them as "special cases," but which seemed
I have met him; and from what I have seen, deserving of acceptance. The main reason
and through others have learned of him, I feel
that, if spared and enabled to enter the minisfor the declinature was the lack of funds.
try, he will prove an efficient and useful worker With a debt of $15,000 to be cancelled and
in the Lord's vineyard. the prospect of numerous recommendations
The second is a young man, nineteen of young men in the higher stages of study,
years old, who "has returned to his studies it was felt to be injudicious to undertake to
at W— College in the preparatory deaid those in the academic course, however worthy and however needy. Yet, on the
partment.” Of him his pastor writes : other hand, the possibility of so discourag. oughly enlisted in the work of the Master.
He is a member of our church, and thoring these young men and putting them back
His father is in reduced circumstances, and, as to lose their services altogether, when
owing to the fact that he lost a leg in the last they seemed to be just the men most needed
war, he is able to do nothing more than act as on many a field that is calling loudly for
janitor in our court-house. If ever there was laborers, was a thing greatly deprecated. a case for the Board to make an exception of, After much debate over the matter, it was this is one. If he does not receive aid, he will decided that the cases of these young men
be obliged to return home.
Yours sincerely, be presented to the public in Tue CHURCH, if so be the knowledge of them might enlist
There was a case full as deserving as special assistance. They are as follows, and
either of these, which was declined at the both from the West.
previous meeting, for which we have made The first is spoken of as
particular application in the hope of suca very worthy young man, twenty-two years cess; and in all probability there will be odd, who has maintained his religious integrity more to come. amid very unfavorable surroundings. He is And here, be it remembered, we speak industrious, studious and economical. He has only of the so-called “special cases a great desire to preach, and at different times, present uncommon claims upon the Board's under the direction of the session, has exer
consideration. There are others submitted cised his gifts to universal acceptance. His
to us which appear to offer no special reason parents are poor and really somewhat dependent on him for support; but they are willing
for making them an exception. These are to struggle on without his aid, so that his great
passed by with the hope that by some means desire to serve in the ministry may be gratified.
within reach or by effort of their own they He has been teaching for the last four or five may work their way into college, and thus winters, and is more than an average scholar. give proof of their earnestness and ability. He is a ruling elder in the Church, an The cases which we accept are such as tesearnest, devoted Christian and a brother be
tify of real worth and are in danger of loved. He is already in attendance at
being lost to us without aid rendered. University, and went there under the impression that there would be no doubt about the
Now, if there is any class of laborers promised aid. His case is an extraordinary
that our church particularly needs at this one, in my opinion, and there should be no time, it is those who are earnest in Christ's hesitancy on the part of the Board concerning service, and know by experience what hard
ship or privation means, and are not afraid obliged to do the same this season, even to face these for his sake. There are hun- after having reduced the scholarships to the dreds of churches that are pining and dis- low figure of $100. Will not the pastors solving for want of such men to minister to and stated supplies give this subject a full them; and yet our congregations which and candid consideration ? give largely for home and foreign missions are withholding from the Board of Education the means that shall fit the very men
UNEMPLOYED MINISTERS. they are calling for to enter upon mission The question as to the best method of work. There is an inconsistency here which utilizing our educated and capable yet unrequires only a little thought in order to be employed talents in the ministry is now rectified.
enlisting much thought and discussion By way of illustrating the fact here stated throughout several denominations. The we here tabulate a few
Methodists, of course, have the advantage SPECIMENS OF DISPROPORTIONATE CONTRI
in this particular, as theirs is a system which BUTIONS,
assigns to every man his place, and keeps without naming the churches. Our compar- every man at work. But with Presbyterians ison is between the sums given to the Home and Congregationalists and Baptists and and Foreign Boards on the one hand and even Episcopalians the case is different, and those given to the Board of Education, it is among these that the discussion is going which is to furnish the men for their mis- on, for here is where the occasion for the sions to no small degree. The specimens question most prevails. In these denominaare taken at random from the lists of two
tions the union of ministers and people de large synods.
pends upon the free independent choice of
the people. There is wide search, rapid Foreign Board, Education. $173 $117
trial, and the major vote decides the call. 130 130
Many parties have to be satisfied. Often135 157
4 times opinions clash. Rivalries about par490 478
24 ticular favorites are started. In consequence, 236 248
the case remains in suspense often for months, 1623 1908
and occasionally for years. Meanwhile the 206 154
spiritual interests of the church suffer, and 1023
worthy men, who might most profitably be
employed, are allowed to remain compara1401 2532
tively idle and expectant.
The evils thus arising are setting persons
13 on the devise for some expedient by which 815
25 they may be abated. Some propose the esAnd so we might go on extending the list tablishment of a contract bureau or intellithrough several columns. This purview gence office where pulpit supplies may be shows plainly that the relative importance enrolled and sought. The difficulty here is of the Board of Education to the other two that the field to be supplied is too large, and boards, and we might add the Freedmen's the qualifications of the candidates and their Board also, is not rightly estimated; and fitness for particular places cannot be easily shall we infer from this that like pains are ascertained and guaranteed. Others pronot taken to set it forth? Of course equal pose the appointment of a number of judiamounts are not expected, not desired; but cious superintendents or quasi bishops for the standard set by the Assembly is in all different localities whose business it shall be these cases not observed. The result is that to ascertain the several points needful, and last year we were obliged to shut down the assist in putting the right man into the right gates early in the season, and we may be place. Others insist that the business be
longs by right to the bodies holding the committee, and none be invited to supply episcopate in their several denominations, the pulpit except under their joint apwhether it be individual bishops or ecclesi- proval. astical bodies like the presbytery or synod 3. That every candidate shall have a fair or classis. But the great obstacle to be en- opportunity of making his qualifications countered in every instance is the independ- known to the church. ent spirit of the churches. They resent The effect of such measures would be to control or even interference, and prefer to exclude questionable men from entering and take their own course. The result often- fortifying themselves in a church, and to times is that, owing to bad taste or lack of secure to our worthy unemployed brethren discernment, sterling worth is rejected and a fair chance of occupying vacant fields shallow display carries the day. Still fur- through the recommendation of their brethther, in the competition which ensues modest ren. Though these measures may not acmen feel they have no place or chance, and complish all that could be desired, they keep themselves aloof. So many an excel- would be helpful toward it. The care of lent laborer continues a W. C. If ever a the presbytery would then be brought to condition of things demanded from our ec- bear on every vacant church and its own clesiastical bodies earnest consideration and preferences be at the same time respected. the wisdom which is profitable to direct, Moreover, the Board will be enabled to give this does.
additional assurance to the young men whom But what has all this to do with the it seeks to enlist in the gospel service that, Board of Education ? Much in many ways. it worthy, they will be cared for and aided In these unemployed ministers it encounters by their brethren in their efforts to secure a a strong objection in the minds of the peo- field of labor. ple against further efforts to multiply ministers. Again, it does not like to see any whom it has aided in educating compelled
A RECOMMENDATION. by unwarrantable neglect to fail in render- In the September number of the Homiletic ing the church remunerative services. Still Review there is an article on the importance further, it does not like to hear calls for of ministers cultivating the voice, which we more men from vacant churches and unoc- commend to the careful study of all cancupied fields when there are so many ready didates for the ministry as well as of minand willing and able to do good work suf- isters themselves. This week there came a fering from lack of employment. There- minister into our office, who told us that he fore it feels strongly impelled to unite with had been desirous of getting a supply for his the many who are pondering and discuss- pulpit during his absence, with some thought ing this subject in pressing it upon the can- that if acceptable to the people he might did and time-taking attention of ecclesiasti- resign in the other’s favor; and to this effect cal bodies.
he had engaged three of his brethren sucWill it be regarded as presumption if we cessively, but all three failed of winning the offer a suggestion or two on this point ? people simply from lack of ability to make
1. That every presbytery, in discharging themselves distinctly heard. Were we asked its duty of care and control over its con- for one of the main causes why so many stituent churches and ministers, appoint a excellent men get to be, and remain, W. C.'s committee of the most judicious members of so long, we would say it is from lack of a its body to co-operate with the committees sufficient and clearly-articulated utterance. of vacant churches appointed to select a An audience does not like to be taxed in pastor or stated supply, and that such co- listening to a preacher, and many will not operation shall be obligatory upon all. tolerate the exaction long. To avoid such
2. That all applications of candidates for an obstacle to success we advise all to get the vacant pulpit shall be sent to this joint and read that article in the Homiletic