I was shown that there have been unhappy results from making urgent calls for means at our camp meetings. This matter has been pressed too hard. Many men of means would not have done anything had not their hearts been softened and melted under the influence of the testimonies borne to them. But the poor have been deeply affected and, in the sincerity of their souls, have pledged means which they had a heart to give, but which they were unable to pay. In most instances urgent calls for means have left a wrong impression upon some minds. Some have thought that money was the burden of our message. Many have gone to their homes blessed because they had donated to the cause of God. But there are better methods of raising means, by freewill offerings, than by urgent calls at our large gatherings. If all come up to the plan of systematic benevolence, and if our tract and missionary workers are faithful in their department of the work, the treasury will be well supplied without these urgent calls at our large gatherings.
But there has been a great neglect of duty. Many have withheld means which God claims as His, and in so doing they have committed robbery toward God. Their selfish hearts have not given the tenth of all their increase, which God claims. Neither have they come up to the yearly gatherings with their freewill offerings, their thank offerings, and their trespass offerings. Many have come before the Lord empty-handed. "Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed Me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed Thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now here with, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
Sin will rest upon us as a people if we do not make most
earnest efforts to ascertain those who have donated to the different enterprises who are too poor to give anything. All that they, in the liberality of their souls, have given should be returned to them with an additional gift to relieve their necessities. The raising of money has been carried to extremes. It has left a bad impression on many minds. Making urgent calls is not the best plan of raising means. There has been manifested an indifference to investigate the cases of the poor and make returns to them, that they should not suffer for the necessaries of life. A neglect of our duty in this respect, of becoming acquainted with the necessities of the needy and of relieving their pressing wants by returning means which has been given to advance the cause of God, would be on our part a neglect of our Saviour in the persons of His saints.