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From A.B. Earle - 1812-1895
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TOPIC: Christian Benefactors Misunderstood and Mistreated

TITLE: Misunderstood

Two brothers, cousins of the writer, owned and ran a cotton plantation each. They were much laughed at and even condemned by a thoughtless public for their needless economy and even stinginess. They wore hats until the brim left the crown. Their shoes were half soled repeatedly and clothes patched many times. The dishes had occupied the same places so long, as to wear holes in the tablecloth corresponding to their sizes. The old servant knew where to deposit the bread, meat and vegetable platter according to the dimensions of the apertures.

These two men never explained. And it was not for twelve or fifteen years that the public learned that a life sacrifice had been going on all this weary length of time, that should have commanded the highest admiration instead of the brutal laughter which had fallen from the jeering mouth.

These two young men were very much devoted to their father, who had become involved in an unfortunate business speculation as well as note endorsement, and his honor was at stake. His sons at once came to his rescue, and in the course of ten or twelve years paid the heavy debts, but did so by the bitter life struggles and severe economy we have mentioned.

They accepted the false judgment of being close and stingy; being cheered all the while with the consciousness that they were acting nobly, and saving their father from a crushing dishonor and financial ruin.

In a Southern city a man who resided there was generally regarded and pronounced a miser, when his heart and life were diametrically opposite.

He had been cast on the world as a poor ignorant boy, and had been made to know the bitterness and almost unexceptionable hopelessness of such a lot. He, however, through remarkable talent and energy, pulled through, and was known to be a maker and layer up of money. He dressed in the seediest of clothes and lived on the plainest of fare. And yet he possessed a fortune and was acquiring more. What could all this mean, thought the world, but that he was a miser! Do not misers all act this way?

So the children threw rocks at him, and, taught by a mistaken public opinion, cried out Miser!

And yet he was a philanthropist! Nor was that all. He was laying up money to educate and fit for life the children of the very city where they cast missiles at him, and called him miser!

We have seen a statue of him in the same community, with children in a marble group looking up to him and reaching to touch his outstretched hands; and as we gazed we thought of the years that this man had walked unknown, misunderstood and misjudged in this very city, while the young people used their hands then to cast stones at their benefactor, who, poorly dressed, walked unrecognized in their streets.

Some one once laughed in our presence at the humped back of an old Southern lady. Others heard the laugh. Finally the circumstance came to her ears. Her eyes at once filled with tears, and she said to a friend of the writer:

I was once as straight as an arrow when a young lady; but I have raised not only my own children but three sets of grandchildren, and my constant stooping over them to meet their wants, began and completed the stoop in my figure which I now cannot help.

The heart fairly ached as we heard of the speech, and thought of the unkindness and injustice of people quick to judge, ridicule and condemn in cases where they know literally nothing about the matter.

The word Misunderstood would make the truest of epitaphs on the tombstones of a company of people who have lived in every country, and died unknown in every age of the world.

A. B. Earle, From: Incidents Used In His Meetings, published in 1888.

A.B. Earle, American evangelist - Copied biographical notes, author unknown. --- Absalom Backus Earle, 1812-1895, American evangelist. A.B. Earle was born in Charlton, New York. He was converted at the age of 16 and began to preach two years later. The next three years were spent in study and preaching, until, at the age of 21, he was ordained at Amsterdam, New York. After pastoring there for five years, Earle felt led of the Lord to enter the evangelistic ministry. Fifty-eight years of his life were spent in holding meetings in the United States, every state, and Canada.

He compiled the following statistics: Number of series of meetings: 960. Number of services: 39,330. Miles traveled: 370,000. Total amount received for 64 years of ministry: $65,520.00. Conversions to Christ: 160,000. Men entering the ministry: 400. Earle authored the following books: Bringing in the Sheaves, Abiding Peace, Rest of Faith, The Human Will, The Work of An Evangelist, Evidences of Conversion, and Winning Souls. He died at his home in Newton, Massachusetts, on March 30, 1895, at the age of 83.

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