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ving. She was theng. It was all that amount to two
A TREASURY ESTIMATE OF MONEY'S WORTH.
ST. MARK xii. 41-44. THERE was a certain poor widow whose estate, realty, I
1 personalty, in all, was limited in amount to two mites, which make a farthing. It was all that she had, even all her living. She was seen one day to come into the temple, by One who sat over against the treasury; by Him was seen to throw into the chest that sum total of her means. Others He beheld casting money into the treasury, and many that were rich casting in much. From the Mishna we learn that “ac-' cording to his pleasure any one might cast into the chests how little soever he would,”—anything not less, however, than two prutahs. Now the prutah, say the expositors, was the small Hebrew coin equal to the eighth part of an Italian as, the as being the twenty-fourth part of a silver denarius. Well, the rich cast in much. The poor widow cast in her two mites. Yet, by the estimate of Him who sat there over against the treasury and looked on,-an estimate emphasised and enforced with a “ Verily I say unto you,"—that poor widow had cast more in than all they which had 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.
She, of her want-úorephoews, as opposed to repio oeüua, abundance (2 Cor. viii. 14). “How kind,” somewhere exclaims Thomas Hood,“ are the poor to the poor! What are the best of our gifts, the parings of our superfluities, or even the “ royal
and noble benefaction’ written up in letters of gold, to the generous donations of the humbler Samaritans, who having so little themselves are yet so willing to share it with those who have less ?" And approvingly he quotes the saying, that the charity which Plenty spares to Poverty is human and earthly ; but it becomes Divine and heavenly when Poverty gives to Want.
Dr. Wendell Holmes is studious, in his narrative of the Maiden Sisters, to include mention, honourable and right honourable mention, of the “kindly woman, herself a poor widow," who, on a given day of a certain year, “sent a fractional pudding from her own table to the Maiden Sisters.” The poor widow, fighting hard to feed and clothe and educate her children, had not forgotten the poorer ancient maidens. “I remembered it the other day, as I stood by her place of rest, and I felt sure that it was remembered elsewhere. I know there are prettier words than 'pudding, but I can't help it; the pudding went upon the record, I feel sure, with the mite which was cast into the treasury by that other poor widow whose deed the world shall remember for ever."
Pregnant in import, though packed into a parenthesis, is what the Electra of Sophocles says
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It was of far more importance on the poor widow's account, observes a thoughtful preacher, that she should cast into the treasury of God two mites, than that the contributions for the repairs of the temple should be increased by such a trifle : “It was a noble act—a great sacrifice.”] The fourth part of an as ! exclaims an eloquent French divine: strange arithmetic according to which a very tiny piece of copper is of more value than a handful of silver. And yet it is the true arithmetic, rational arithmetic. No object whatever has in itself a peculiar, fixed, unalterable value ; to appraise it aright, one must examine how far it fulfils its purpose, remplit sa destina
1 Sermons by H. J. Bevis: On Entertaining Strangers.