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The Widow's Two Mites.

The Widow's Two Mites.

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Published by glennpease
STEPHEN OLIN, D.D., LL.D.,



And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people
cast money into the treasury : and many that were rich cast in much.
And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites,
which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and
^ith unto them, Verily I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast
more in than all they which have cast into the treasury. For all they
did cast in of their abundance, but she of her want did cast in all that
she had, even all her living. — Mark, xii., 41-44.
STEPHEN OLIN, D.D., LL.D.,



And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people
cast money into the treasury : and many that were rich cast in much.
And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites,
which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and
^ith unto them, Verily I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast
more in than all they which have cast into the treasury. For all they
did cast in of their abundance, but she of her want did cast in all that
she had, even all her living. — Mark, xii., 41-44.

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Published by: glennpease on Oct 18, 2013
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THE WIDOW'S TWO MITES.STEPHE OLI, D.D., LL.D.,And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the peoplecast money into the treasury : and many that were rich cast in much.And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites,which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and^ith unto them, Verily I say unto you, that this poor widow hath castmore in than all they which have cast into the treasury. For all theydid cast in of their abundance, but she of her want did cast in all thatshe had, even all her living. — Mark, xii., 41-44.Since it has become so customary to solicit and to makepecuniary contributions for religious objects, conscientiousChristians have come to feel the greatest solicitude to per-form this duty on strictly Christian principles, and their at-tention has been drawn much more than formerly to an ex-amination of these principles. It is not always easy to de-termine the reason why the prosecution of the divine plans isleft dependent on such means and agencies as they are. Itwas not so at the beginning. Then much more was accom-plished by miraculous interpositions. The apostles and early248 THE widow's two mites.preachers, for example, were miraculously endowed with aknowledge of all the languages of the people to whom theybore the Gospel. ow we are subjected to the laboriousand tedious process of studying the Gentile languages, of translating and printing books, of establishing schools, &c.Then the apostles were forbidden even to " take money intheir purse, or to take two coats apiece ;" their supplies camefrom the people to whom they preached, or from some sourcenot particularly mentioned. It would be as easy now as it
 
was then for God to provide in this way for the exigenciesof his cause. He who deposited money in the mouth of afish to pay the tribute to Csesar's tax-gatherer, could openmines richer than those of Mexico for the support and spreadof his religion. He could open the hearts of kings, or of theheathen themselves, to defray the cost of converting all na-tions. Why does a merciful God lay burdens on his people,often poor, to accomplish his work, rather than follow outthe original plan ? This I suppose to be the reason of thechange : there was, at the first, no Church to be honored andprofited by doing this great work for Christ. ow there is,and it is for the promotion of our piety, and happiness, andsanctification, and the strength of our moral energies, thatthe day of miracles has given place to a day ef sacrifice, andfaith, and love. It may not always be easy to perceive theutility of the duties to which we are thus called, but I think it is usually obvious enough. All our labors and gifts areso much fruit by which God is glorified, and so much spirit-ual discipline to train us for holiness and heaven. (The mis-sionary to China an example for the utility of the study of tongues.)If it be true that God, for the good of his Church, makes itthe great instrument of promoting his designs on the earth,we must expect to be called out more and more to this work.'We are to meet it as a great abiding duty, and it is of thehighest importance to understand the true grounds of ourTHE widow's two MITES. 249duty — the true principle and spirit of this feature of the di-vine economy. I know of no portion of holy Scripture betteradapted to instruct us on this point than the beautiful nar-rative I have chosen for ray theme.1 . It is manifest that the value of the poor widow's gift tothe Lord's treasury did not depend on the amount. In thatview it was not more, but less than all. In God's plan, how-
 
ever, little or much may be equally effectual. He makes thegreatest events turn on the smallest. The widow's oil fedthe prophet, for whom, previously, the ravens had broughtfood. God, on one occasion, would not allow a large armyto conquer. He may choose as he will — may work by muchor little, many or few.The spirit of the gift gave it its value with God. Theaction is like the motive in quality, and God estimates itsvalue also by the motive. This gift of " two mites" as fullyrecognized God's right as would the gift by a king of hiskingdom. It was more than all the rich men gave, becauseit more fully recognized this right. Men claim all they havefor their own. They forget that they are stewards. This isthe great evil, and may exist with equal force in rich orpoor. Wherever it exists, and to whatever extent, it is theantagonist of religion. It is, indeed, the very germ of athe-ism. If God has not a perfect right to us and ours — a rightto use us at his will — to take away as well as to give at hispleasure, then we and our possessions are not his — he is notour Creator and lawgiver. So far as we are concerned, heis not God. ever had God's claim a more perfect and heartyrecognition th^ in this poor widow's gift. She conceded itto the utmost, and her gift was the greatest and the most ac-ceptable of all brought to the treasury of the temple. God'sright may be fully recognized in giving a part, and holdingthe rest at his disposal ; but here the recognition was perfectand manifest.2. The widow's gift was a great act of faith, which is of L 2250 THE widow's two mites.inestimable value. God loves to be trusted. He loves to seemanifested a filial and fearless reliance on his promises, prov-idence, and grace. This imparts unspeakable excellence to

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