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bing out the ears. This is in accordance with the free spirit of Christianity; and Christians in all Western nations have found that the Lord's Day so observed, has brought infinite gains to our civilization. So proportional giving should not be urged in
. a mechanical or legal manner. We should not proceed on the view that the giving of one-tenth or of any other proportion discharges our obligations to God. Upon the contrary we should recognize that we have been redeemed by the life blood of Jesus and all that we have and are belong to Him. We should further recognize that there may be persons so suffering from poverty and sickness that they cannot give even a tenth of the pittance which falls to them, but must be aided by the rest of us. We are sure that the observance of the Lord's Day and the observance of tithing in this free spirit, with exceptions in cases of necessity and in cases of mercy, will contribute very largely and swiftly to the uplift and salvation of China.
THE MEANING OF INCOME.
One's income is not the entire amount of money which he receives on the one side, nor is it on the other side the amount of money which he has left after he supports himself and his family. One's income is the amount which he earns.
. For instance, if one is a merchant, his income is the difference between what he sells the goods for and what he pays for them. If one is employing other people to aid him, buying material, making goods and selling them, then his income is the difference between what he receives for his goods and what he pays for the material and to the other workmen. If all the members of the family are earning money, then the earnings of all the members of the family, less the expenses involved in securing these earnings, constitute the income. In a word this income consists of one's earnings; and this income should be divided and some portion given for the support and extension of the Gospel and for works of charity and love, and the remainder of it kept for the use of a man and his family.
WHAT SHOULD THE PROPORTION BE ?
I would not lay down a hard and fast mechanical rule which does violence to the spirit of Jesus. Certainly the same liberal exceptions on the grounds of necessity and mercy should be made as obtain in the observance of the Lord's Day. We are sure that the New Testament enjoins systematic giving, i.e., giving on the first day of each week, and proportional giving, i.e., giving as the Lord has prospered one. We believe that the giving under the new dispensation of the followers of Jesus, who gave His life for us, ought not to fall below the gifts under the old dispensation. The Christian ought not to be stingier than the Jew. Just here we are met by the suggestion that the Old Testament system of tithing is not adapted to our modern and complex age, that it is very difficult for men to deterinine just what their income is. Moreover, some maintain, in the use of their tithe it is difficult for them to draw the line between gifts to parents and to other relations who have a legitimate claim upon them and gifts to the church. In this matter we hold that the Christian should first set aside a fixed proportion of his income for the Lord and should support his family, including such parents and other members of the household as have a legitimate claim upon him, out of the balance. However much effort may be required to ascertain how much one's income is, this knowledge of one's income is essential not only upon Christian but upon financial grounds.
IS TITHING PRACTICABLE IN CHINA ?
I have been asked many times whether it is wise to insist upon the Chinese church meinbers setting aside a fixed proportion of their income for the upbuilding of the kingdom of heaven on earth. I am assured that many of our Chinese are not able to give anything for the support of the Gospel. The answers to this objection are as follows: (1) The Chinese people must learn to give for the extension of the Gospel if Christianity is ever to become the religion of this empire. Surely Western nations will not continue forever to send missionaries and money to China, and the Chinese must learn to help themselves and to build up a Chinese church throughout the empire. (2) The necessities of the poorest Christians may excuse them from giving even a tenth of their very small earnings for the first two or three years after conversion, while at the same time the prosperity of older Christians may lead them to give more than a tenth. We are sure that many of our richest members ought to give a much larger per cent. of their income than the poorest members can give. (3) The poorest Christians who are genuinely converted, will not remain in physical destitution for many years. Industry and thrift,
which Christianity enjoins, together with the blessing of God, will lift these poorest Christians into a comfortable support within a few years; and the Christian church can well afford and is very willing to wait for these poorest members to escape from their distress before urging thein to give even a tithe of their income. (4) The real opponents to tithing in all lands are not the poor people but the rich people. When tithing is presented in the spirit in which Christ presents it, and with exceptions in all cases of necessity, the poor people will be found generously responding to the appeal as soon as it is possible for them to do so. It is the people in comfortable conditions and the rich people who, in the name of the poor, refuse to give a tithe.
THE DUTY OF THE CHINESE CHURCH.
The Chinese church should not introduce the loose theory of grace and the spirit of Antinomianism which las infected Protestant Christianity in Western lands and led many Western churches to inagnify emotional states and neglect the consecration of the will. Giving, in many of these Western churches, is not systematic and in proportion to receipts, but spasmodic and according to impulse. Surely it is not an impossible task to lead our church members in China to see the necessity of contributing money in order to build up self-supporting, selfrespecting, independent churches in China and especially in order to extend the Gospel to the other parts of the empire. Surely Chinese Christians will recognize the fairness of giving some proportion of their income to the Lord who has given His life for them.
THE EFFECT OF TITHING UPON BUSINESS.
If we adopt a good principle in religion, this principle will also effect our career in business; and if we adopt bad principles in religion, they also will affect our daily lives. Financial failures in business are due either to laziness or to carelessness in attending to our affairs, or to eagerness to get rich leading us to engage in speculation or take undue risks in business, or else these financial failures are due to carelessness and extrayagance in spending the money which we receive. . The adoption of system and of self-denial in spending money, such as tithing enjoins, will also lead to the adoption of system and devotion to detail duties in making money. The same conscientiousness which leads a Christian in spending his money first to find out how much his income is and then to set aside a tenth of this income for the Lord will lead him to conscientiousness and system and industry in the making of money. Probably in China, as in America, more people become bankrupt through carelessness and extravagance in spending money than through dishonesty in making it. Such people do not think that their expenditures are extravagant, but their financial failure is due to the fact that their expenditures are out of proportion to their income. All business men know that the foundations of fortunes are laid not so frequently nor so fully through large earnings as through self-denial in spending inoney. No fortune can be built up save by preserving a reasonable and a constant margin between income and expenditure. To give one-tenth to the Lord demands systematic and constant self-denial. It is an almost unfailing cure of extravagance or disproportionate expenditure. The Christian who conscientiously sets aside a tenth of his earnings for the Lord will conscientiously use the remaining nine-tenths of his earnings; and nine-tenths conscientiously used will build up one's fortune more rapidly than ten-tenths used in a haphazard and self-indulgent manner. So surely, therefore, as the Christian refuses to deny himself and set aside a proportion of his income for benevolent purposes, so surely is he laying the foundation of carelessness, of self-indulgence, and of extravagance and making improbable the accumulation of a fortune,
THE MARGIN THE KEY TO FORTUNE.
The growth of a fortune depends not upon one's earnings alone nor upon one's expenditures alone, but upon the preservation of the margin between the two. Tithing teaches the doctrine of the margin and inaugurates it in the life of every tither. Nine-tenths in the hands of a man who has learned the doctrine of the margin are more than ten-tenths in the hands of the same man before he has become obedient to that law.
RICH POOR MEN.
Many a Chinese has become systematic in his business and has learned to practice self-denial sufficiently to set aside a proportion of his income and keep it for himself. In case such
a man does not overreach himself in his laste to be rich lie will reap the external reward of the tither, but lie will miss the spiritual blessing which comes from setting aside a proportion of his income for the building up of the kingdom of heaven upon earth. It is possible to accumulate money by observing the first half of the principle of tithing, namely, the doctrine of the inargin. There are rich men living who, throughout their future lives, will be poorer than the beggars upon the streets, because they have observed only the first half of the law of titling, namely, systematic self-denial. The first half of the principle of tithing makes the rich poor man. The cure for material poverty which arises through self-indulgence and extravagance on the one side and for the spiritual poverty which arises froin selfishness and greed upon the other side is found through business men entering into partnership with God and filling up that which remains behind of the sacrifices of Christ.
Above all there is a divine providence in human affairs. God is determined that every one of His children shall at least have the invitation to come home. But He cannot carry forward the great evangelistic, medical, and educational enterprises necessary for the redemption of the races of earth without immense sums of money. Hence He not only calls ministers and missionaries to peculiar tasks, but He calls all His children to fellowship and partnership with Himself. We are all God's stewards, and each one must give an account of his stewardship. If we are faithful to the five talents committed to our care we shall find them becoming ten. God wants men whom He can trust to use wealth for the kingdom, and He pours money into every such man's lap, unless He desires to use that man for some service even higher than faithful stewardship in the use of money.
A WIDOW'S INSTRUCTION.
Many years ago a poor widow told her sons that they must learn to be generous, else they would become men of mean and little spirits. She enforced her teaching by putting into the hands of each child every Sunday morning a small amount of money for the support of the Gospel. Soon the children began to make the contribution from their own earnings.