“Thank God!” exclaimed Mr. Maxwell softly. Norman was pale. The rest were looking at Virginia. She had more to say.
“Dear friends,” she went on, and there was a sadness in her voice that made an impression on the rest that deepened when they thought it over afterwards, “I do not want any of you to credit me with an act of great generosity. I have come to know lately that the money which I have called my own is not mine, but God’s. If I, as steward of His, see some wise way to invest His money, it is not an occasion for vainglory or thanks from any one simply because I have proved in my administration of the funds He has asked me to use for His glory. I have been thinking of this very plan for some time. The fact is, dear friends, that in our coming fight with the whiskey power in Raymond—and it has only just begun—we shall need the news to champion the Christian side. You all know that all the other papers are for the saloon. As long as the saloon exists, the work of rescuing dying souls at the Rectangle is carried on at a terrible disadvantage. What can Mr. Gray do with his gospel meetings when half his converts are drinking people, daily tempted and enticed by the saloon on every corner? It would be giving up to the enemy to allow the news to fail. I have great confidence in Mr. Norman’s ability. I have not seen his plans, but I have the same confidence that he has in making the paper succeed if it is carried forward on a large enough scale. I cannot believe that Christian intelligence in journalism will be inferior to un-Christian intelligence, even when it comes to making the paper pay financially. So that is my reason for putting this money—God’s, not mine—into this powerful agent for doing as Jesus would do. If we can keep such a paper going for one year, I shall be willing to see that amount of money used in that experiment. Do not thank me. Do not consider my doing it a wonderful thing. What have I done with God’s money all these years but gratify my own selfish personal desires? What can I do with the rest of it but try to make some reparation for what I have stolen from God? That is the way I look at it now. I believe it is what Jesus would do.”
Over the lecture-room swept that unseen yet distinctly felt wave of Divine Presence. No one spoke for a while. Mr. Maxwell standing there, where the faces lifted their intense gaze into his, felt what he had already felt—a strange setting back out of the nineteenth century into the first, when the disciples had all things in common, and a spirit of fellowship must have flowed freely between them such as the First Church of Raymond had never before known. How much had his church membership known of this fellowship in daily interests before this little company had begun to do as they believed Jesus would do? It was with difficulty that he thought of his present age and surroundings. The same thought was present with all the rest, also.