Do To Others


     "Inasmuch as ye have done it [or did it not] unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."                                                                 

  ST, June 25, 1894 

July 2, 1894 Duty of the Rich Man to His Neighbor.

     The following clipping will show the way in which some of those who have great possessions recklessly squander means for the gratification of pride and ambition, and forget that they must also give an account to God for the intrusted talents he has given them:    

     One of the most significant economic events in some time was the Astor-Willing wedding in Philadelphia last week. To use one of Dr. Holmes' expressions, the impression which its descriptions left upon the mind was not that it was brilliant with gold, but heavy with bullion. Here are a few sentences from the account of it in one of our New York papers; "The Willing mansion was changed to a palace of roses. . . . No bride or bridesmaids ever wore more expensive dresses. . . . The day's ceremonies may be estimated to have cost between $25,000 and $30,000. . . . Probably never before have bridal gifts been so numerous and costly. . . . The tiara of diamonds which was the groom's gift to the bride is probably unsurpassed by any in America. . . . The elder Mr. Astor's gift to his daughter-in-law was a double bowknot of diamonds, from which is hanging a huge brilliant, and a diamond necklace and crescent of diamonds and sapphires four inches long. The present of the groom's mother was five diamond stars, each as large as a silver half dollar, inclosed in a massive box of solid silver, and eight silver dishes, each about three feet long, modeled after her own service. . . .    

     "The wedding presents represented $2,000,000. So much then for the day. Now as to the young people's start in life: Preceding their trip to Europe, Mr. Astor and his bride will spend about three weeks cruising in Mr. William Astor's yacht Nourmahal, in Florida waters. Despite the fact that her furnishings were scarcely worn and almost new, the boat was refurnished out and out with the most costly and magnificent furniture that money could secure. The complement of officers is fifty-two men, not including servants and personal attendants. It takes from $8,000 to $10,000 per month to keep her in service, besides the cost of food and wines." Twenty-five thousand dollars for the day's ceremony, two million dollars worth of presents, a cruise in a half-idle yacht costing ten thousand dollars per month to maintain. When we read this we are reminded of Thackeray's description of the extravagance of the prince regent during the Napoleonic wars. If he had been a manufacturing town, or populous rural district, or an army of five thousand men, he would not have cost more. The nation gave him more money, and more and more. The sum is past counting.    

     Looked at soberly, the sums lavished upon our American commoners are as disgraceful to our institutions as were the squanderings of the prince regent to those of England. If the scandal is less, it is because the disastrous concentration of hereditary wealth has as yet awakened less serious thought among us than the disastrous concentration of hereditary power had awakened in England. In the case of the Astors, quite as much as of the prince regent, the enormous sums expended are the gift of the nation, obtained without compensating services on the part of the recipients. The burden upon the labor of the country is as great, the benefit of the comfort or culture or character of the recipients is as small.    

     The Lord Jehovah is the Benefactor of the universe. He is of tender compassion, full of goodness, and his love is toward suffering humanity. The Psalmist says: "The eyes of all wait upon Thee; and Thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing." The only begotten Son of God, who was the exalted Commander of heaven, who received the adoration of the angels, though he was rich, yet for our sakes he left the royal throne, departed from the heavenly courts, laid aside his royal robes, and for our sakes became poor, that we through his poverty might be rich. He announced his mission in Nazareth, saying: "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." Did Christ make a mistake in not seeking for worldly popularity, in not making a great display?  

     In the clipping presented in this article the question of why there is so much suffering in the world is in a great part answered. Why is there so much hunger, nakedness, ignorance, and degradation?--It is because the word of God is disregarded, the law of God is transgressed. The Lord Jesus, who knew the value of man, gave his life to redeem him from the slavery of sin and Satan. He has lifted his voice in warning to the sons of men. He says: "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Men are not careful to be the doers of the words of Christ; and this is why so much sin, misery, and want prevail in the world. He says again: "No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body more than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air; for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin; and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?"  ST, July 2, 1894