Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Christopher Sauer on Going to Law

The following account is included in the 1899 A History of The German Baptist Brethren written by Martin Grove Brumbaugh. While readers of Brethren history will find various spellings of Christopher Sauer's name, Brumbaugh uses "Sower."

No man ever appealed to Elder Sower in vain. Once a man from a distance came to Sower in great distress, and begged him to loan him a sum of money. This Elder Sower gladly did. In the near future this man by chance attended divine service and heard Elder Sower preach. His theme was non-resistance, and he dwelt upon the evils of going to law.

The man took advantage of the sermon to benefit himself. He called on Elder Sower and said, "Mr. Sower I heard you preach that if any man should take that is thine, ask it not again. Is that your sentiment?" "Yes;" was the answer, "that is not only my sentiment but it is the Divine injunction of our Lord, as you will find recorded in his blessed Word." "Then I tell you," said the man, "that I owe you that money yet and unless you sue me for it, I shall never pay it."

"I am sorry," said the pious old elder, "but if you say so, I cannot help it. Sue you I will not. If you have made up your mind not to pay me unless I sue you, I will cancel the account now."
"Well, I shall not pay you." The man went his way and Elder Sower cancelled the account.

Years went by. One morning the man rode to the door of Sower's house, dismounted, and entered. "Good morning, Mr. Sower," said the man. "I have brought you your money."

"My money! Why I thought you resolved not to pay me unless I sued you!" "I did so resolve, but that money has been a constant source of trouble to me. I cannot rest till the debt is paid."

"But," said Elder Sower, "I cancelled the account, forgave you the obligation, and have therefore no right to take it of you now."

The man insisted upon paying the debt, counted the amount with interest and laid it down upon the desk in Sower's office. Sower now saw that the man was really penitent and anxious to honor the religious principle of non-resistance and so adviced the man to take the money and give it to certain poor people whom he named.

Source: History of the Brethren, Brumbaugh