Church Fathers on Riches and Giving

Well time has passed, and I've left the Apocrypha far behind. Suffice to say, it was highly interesting and profitable. Read it.

Now, as I'm reading the Apostolic fathers, I'm intrigued once again to see the huge, no enormous emphasis that the Early Church put on almsgiving and works of charity to the poor. The quote from Tobit that I quoted previously was used by St. Clement of Rome in a sermon. In addition, I found these sections about giving to the poor.

"If thou hast ought passing through thy hands, thou shalt give a ransom for thy sins. Thou shalt not hesitate to give, neither shalt thou murmur when giving; for thou shalt know who is the good paymaster of thy reward. Thou shalt not turn away from him that is in want, but shalt make thy brother partaker in all things, and shalt not say that anything is thine own. For if ye are fellow-partakers in that which is imperishable, how much rather in the things which are perishable?" -The Didache or Teaching of the Apostles

"'But the white and round stones, which did not fit into the building, who are they, lady?' She answered and said to me, 'how long art thou foolish and stupid, and enquirest everything, and understandest nothing? These are they that have faith, but have also riches of this world. When tribulation cometh, they deny their Lord by reason of their riches and their business affairs...their wealth, which leadeth their souls astray, shall be cut away, then will they be useful for God. For just as the round stone, unless it be cut away, and lose some portion of itself, cannot become square, so also they that are rich in this world, unless their riches be cut away, cannot become useful to the Lord.'" -The Shepherd of Hermas

"Now then hear me and be at peace among yourselves, and have regard one to another, and assist one another, and do not partake of the creatures of God alone in abundance, but share them also with those that are in want. For some men through their much eating bring weakness on the flesh, and injure their flesh: whereas the flesh of those who have nought to eat is injured by their not having sufficient nourishment, and their body is ruined. This exclusiveness therefore is hurtful to you that have and do not share with them that are in want. Look ye to the judgment that cometh. Ye then that have more than enough, seek out them that are hungry, while the tower is still unfinished; for after the tower is finished, ye will desire to do good, and will find no place for it. Look ye therefore, ye that exult in your wealth, lest they that are in want shall moan, and their moaning shall go up unto the Lord, and ye with your good things be shut outside the door of the tower." - The Shepherd of Hermas

Comments

Jnorm888 said…
Thanks for posting this. Yeah, I found this interesting too when I first found out about it some 10 to 12 years ago. I was told that John Wesly had a similar teaching about giving to the poor.

I could be wrong about that, but that's what I heard.


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