History of Leith, Edinburgh

April 27, 2012

Anonymous Gift to the Poor

Anonymous Gift to the Poor
One day last month Dr. Davidson received the following
letter from a firm of Edinburgh lawyers :
• DEAR SIR—At the request of a client, we enclose
our cheque in your favour for £]00 to be used by you
at the present time in the way you think best for the
poor of your parish. We are, yours faithfully,
Preaching on the following Sunday morning from the
text, “Let not thy left band know what thy right
hand doeth” (Matt. vi. 3), Dr. Davidson announced
how he had received this gift and remarked upon its
anonymity. “We-do not know,” he said, “whether
it comes from one of our own members, or from one of
our outside friends. But I am sure you will all approve
my making public mention of it this morning, for it is
a gift that may well lift up our hearts in gratitude and
praise to God, In acknowledging it on your behalf
and my own, I asked the lawyers to convey to the
anonymous donor our sincere appreciation of this
generous gift. For, although this congregation of
South Leith makes very ample provision for the poor,
the need caused by the present unemployment is so
exceptional, that our resources have, of late, been
wholly inadequate to cope with it. And in spite of a
very timely gift to the Poor Fund, received from one of
our members a few weeks ago, we were compelled to
cultivate a rigid economy in our response to the cry of
the needy. But I am glad to say that this handsome
gift has removed all our present anxieties and given
us new confidence in addressing ourselves to the alleviation
of the unspeakable poverty that exists in our
midst at this present time.”
In the further course of his sermon Dr. Davidson
stressed the importance of Christian benevolence in the
advancing of the cause and kingdom of our Lord.
“We are often told,” he said, “that this is an age of
advertising. Many voices assure us that if the Church
is to maintain and extend her influence she must not
neglect or despise this powerful and proved instrument.”
Personally he had little liking for cheap or
sensational advertisement, but surely this was the right
sort of advertising. In this matter of Christian benevolence
facts speak for themselves. And what are more
eloquent and convincing than facts ? Let us then realise
that one of the best answers to the sceptic or the scoffer
is the amazing benevolence of the Church of Christ.
Here also was a most valued weapon in the work of
evangelisation. “I have heard many opinions,” said
Dr. Davidson, “as to how the Church is to win the
masses of the people. I listened recently to one of the
most eminent authorities on art in our country telling
a great audience that if only we would beautify our
ecclesiastical edifices the Church would draw all men
unto her. I don’t believe it. But I do believe that
when the world sees a church whose beauty is her
benevolence, whose sincerity is proved by her spirit of
brotherly love, men and women will again come crowding
round her, as the multitude did at Pentecost, greatly
wondering, and be converted and blessed.”

source-South Leith Magazine 1932

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