TO MY FRIENDS IN ORANGE CITY
Dear Friends: - - I read in THE VOLKSVRIEND (of which I am a faithful reader and in which I sometimes write an article) that you are intending to celebrate.
As far as my prose is concerned, this will not be in learned style, for the gifts for this are wanting. So it will be plain, but the learned gentlemen will understand this. I am not worried about it, because of the gifts that God gives to man are varied; one receives more, than other less. Otherwise it would not look so well. Therefore preachers, who are given less gifts, do not have to be concerned; as long as they, in the integrity of their hearts, are working for the honor of God's name and to the salvation of sinners.
I read then, as already said, in DE VOLKSVRIEND, that you are intending to celebrate the 25 th year existence of your Dutch settlement on September 19. Of course with a celebration like this much merry making goes on, but I do hope that the celebration will be to God's honor and to the benefit of your fellow man, and that you will acknowledge God thankfully for the mercies that He shown to you. For it is likely that many of you were poor twenty-five years ago (in worldly notions), and who are now prosperous; and possibly some of you who had very little influence, now have capital that has increased from ten to a hundred-fold. Therefore you are obliged to grateful. And now the expectation is that you will use your capital profitably for yourselves as well as for others. For it possible to be rich in money and goods, and yet to be poor.
One thing I missed in your program: the existence of DE VOLKSVRIEND and its editor was not mentioned at all. I cannot be present with you, but I would like to say a short word -–for a long speech I cannot give, and also my strength would not allow it. And yet I would like to share with you a few thoughts that came to me, and if you are agreeable to it, you might use them.
Be reminded of the fact that you have in the editor of DE VOLKSVRIEND a man, who, although he does not publish a church magazine, is active in the spiritual as well as physical areas: for Church and School and all such things. Please take care that he does not have to do his work under strain.
“What,” you say, “to do his work under a strain?”
Yes, surely; you can make it very difficult for him.
“But, “ you say, “he is rewarded for his labor.”
That is true; but your ministers are also paid for their work, although people exist who, if they have something against the minister, do not pay their share, and that way you can sadden the minister and also the editor. If you do not pay your subscription, do you really see how much that deprives him of his livelihood?
Probably there are always people who complain. The minister is this and that. Some might say: The Minister is too thin in his preaching, especially if he has bought or sold a lot of land, so that the minister becomes rich. it is possible that this can occur, but you should know that when you with draw your share from his salary, you withdraw it from the congregation. Whether the minister is rich or poor, or whether his sermons are thin, he always should receive his salary.
But to return to the editor. Do not try him. It is true; he works for money, but it is not his main purpose. The work that he is doing he counts as his duty and divine calling. It is also his joy and life. And should you oppose his difficult task? Think a little about his many-sided tasks: divided denominations; ultra-orthodox; liberals, anarchists and good citizens; abstainers and drunkards. He speaks to those who want to establish a little kingdom of the Netherlands here and to those who reject everything Dutch. He has to deal with yes-men and fault-finders. Let us not mention anymore, for there always are people who oppose everything that is conducive to peace and truth. As one who knows him very well, I know that he is intent to promote your well-being, in mind and heart. So, my friends, those are kindly disposed to him, be a help and support to him, like Aaron and Hur. Promote his well-being, in body and soul, and seek always the best for him and for your entire settlement.
And, further, be glad with the joyful, and weep with the weeping. Farewell!
F. Van Driele
Grand Rapids , Mich.