Benevolence Sermon Illustrations

Benevolence Sermon Illustrations

A Benevolent Judge

The celebrated Anthony Domat, author of a treatise on the civil laws, was promoted to the office of judge of the provincial court of Clermont, in the territory of Auvergne, in the south of France. In this court he presided, with general applause, for twenty-four years. One day a poor widow brought an action against the Baron de Nairac, her landlord, for turning her out of her mill, which was the poor creature's sole dependence. M. Domat heard the cause, and finding by the evidence that she had ignorantly broken a covenant in the lease which gave her landlord the power of re-entry, he recommended mercy to the baron for a poor but honest tenant, who had not wilfully transgressed, or done him any material injury. Nairac being inexorable, the judge was compelled to pronounce an ejectment, with the penalty mentioned in the lease and costs of suit; but he could not pronounce the decree without tears. When an order of seizure, both of person and effects was added, the poor widow exclaimed, "O merciful and righteous God, be thou a friend to the widow and her helpless orphans!" and immediately fainted away. The compassionate judge assisted in raising the unfortunate woman, and after enquiring into her character, number of children, and other circumstances, generously presented her with one hundred louis d'ors, the amount of the damages and costs, which he prevailed upon the baron to accept as a full compensation, and to let the widow again enter upon her mill. The poor widow anxiously enquired of M. Domat when he would require payment, that she might lay up accordingly. "When my conscience (he replied) shall tell me that I have done an improper act."

Pope Pius IX

An advocate, the father of a large family, fell into ill health, and soon afterwards into want. Pius IX., hearing of this, sent a messenger with a letter to the advocate, but he was at first refused admittance, on the ground that the physician had enjoined the utmost quiet. On the messenger explaining from whom he came he was admitted, and, on the letter being opened, what was the surprise of the family on finding within 300 scudi (£62), with the words, "For the advocate ...—Pius IX.," in the pontiff's own handwriting.

Dr. Glynn was remarkable for many acts of kindness to poor persons. He had attended a sick family in the fens near Cambridge for a considerable time, and had never thought of any recompense for his skill and trouble but the satisfaction of being able to do good. One day he heard a noise on the college staircase, and his servant brought him word that the poor woman from the fens waited upon him with a magpie, of which she begged his acceptance. This at first a little discomposed the doctor. Of all presents, a magpie was the least acceptable to him, as he had a hundred loose things about his rooms, which the bird, if admitted, was likely to make free with. However, his good nature soon returned: he considered the woman's intention, and ordered her to be shown in. "I am obliged to you for thinking of me, good woman," said he, "but you must excuse my not taking your bird, as it would occasion me a great deal of trouble." "Pray, doctor," answered the woman, "do, pray, be pleased to have it. My husband, my son, and myself have been long consulting together in what way we could show our thankfulness to you, and we could think of nothing better than to give you our favourite bird. We would not part with it to any other person upon earth. We shall be sadly hurt if you refuse our present." "Well, well, my good woman," said Dr. Glynn, "if that is the case, I must have the bird; but do you, as you say you are so fond of it, take it back again, and keep it for me, and I will allow you eighteenpence a week for the care of it. I shall have the pleasure of seeing it every time I come." This allowance Dr. G. punctually paid as long as the bird lived.

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