The Duty of Considering the Poor
Psalm 41:1-13
Blessed is he that considers the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.…

It requires wisdom to understand the constitution of things, but the more a man understands the more he will approve. The inequalities of mankind, and the consequent state and condition of the poor, is one of those subjects which most of all perplex the mind. Such inequality is an undoubted fact, and has ever and everywhere been so. But when a good man beholds this, and sees his own affluence and the other's indigence, he will reason that the Divine intent was that he should supply his brother's need. The inequality of nature should be rectified by religion. Now, let the rich think that what they give to the poor is thrown away, or given to them who can make no return. For to the poor, under God, the rich owe all their wealth. They are the workers and producers of the wealth which the rich only consume. Is society composed only of the noble and opulent? Did you ever hear, or read, of one that was so composed? It could not subsist for a week. As the members of it would not work, they could not eat. Of what value were your estates in the country, if the poor did not cultivate them? Of what account the riches of the nobleman, or the gentleman, if they must want the comforts, the conveniences, and even the necessaries of life? "The king himself is served by the field;" and, without the labours of the husbandman, must starve in his palace, surrounded by his courtiers and guards. The world depends, for subsistence, on the plough, the sickle, and the flail! Mankind, in short, constitute one vast body, to the support of which every member contributes his share; and by all of them together, as by so many greater and lesser wheels in a machine, the business of the public is carried on, its necessities are served, and its very existence is upholden. From hence it appears that the inequality of mankind is not the effect of chance, but the ordinance of Heaven, by whose appointment, as manifested in the constitution of the universe, some must command, while others obey; some must labour, while others direct their labours; some must be rich, while others are poor. The Scripture inculcates the same important truth, and the inference to be deduced from it — "The poor shall never cease," etc. (Deuteronomy 15:11). Such is the method directed by Heaven of balancing the account between the different orders of men. What, then, will be the first consideration of a rich man when he sees a poor man? If he have a clear head, and a good heart, will he not reason in some such manner as this?" God has given the earth for the support of all. While I abound, why does this man want? Plainly, that we may bear one another's burdens; that my abundance may supply his need, may alleviate his distress, may help to sustain the affliction under which he groans: that I may take off his load of woe, and he take off the superfluity of my wealth; that so the stream, now broken and turbid, may again find its level, and flow pure and tranquil. If I do not act thus, may not the poor justly complain, and would not the fault be mine?" And if the rich man refuse to help the poor, it is but natural to ask whence came this inequality? It was not from the rich man's merit or the poet's demerit. It has been permitted that the poor may learn resignation, and the rich be taught charity, and the right employment of the good things vouchsafed to them. "It is more blessed to give than to receive;" let the rich remember this, and the end of their being made rich is answered. And let the rich man remember, too, that had it pleased God, he would have been poor, and it may please Him that he shall he so. He then will need that which now he is recommended to give. Such changes do occur. But whether in your case they do or not, if your riches do not leave you, yet in a little while you must leave them. Death waits to strip you of them all. They wilt only avail you then as you have employed them well now. In the Gospel we must seek full information as to this duty. Our blessed Lord became poor to make us rich, and has thus for ever obliged us to consider the poor. But how are we to obey these precepts? Let charity rule in the heart, and it will not need to be told how much it should give. But for rules take these: —

1. Let each lay aside a due proportion of his income for charities.

2. Practise economy with a view to charity; retrench expenditure on luxury and indulgence for this end.

3. Then, in giving, give work rather than money where the poor would work if they could. Where they would not, let them be made to work. Such is true kindness to them.

(G. Horns.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: {To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.} Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.

WEB: Blessed is he who considers the poor. Yahweh will deliver him in the day of evil.

The Blessedness of the Benevolent
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