Matt. 5:38-42 (Part 5)

HERMAS: Practice goodness; and from the rewards of your labors, which God gives you, give to all the needy in simplicity, not hesitating as to whom you are to give or not to give. Give to all, for God wishes His gifts to be shared amongst all. They who receive, will render an account to God why and for what they have received. For the afflicted who receive will not be condemned, but they who receive on false pretenses will suffer punishment. He, then, who gives is guiltless. For as he received from the Lord, so has he accomplished his service in simplicity, not hesitating as to whom he should give and to whom he should not give. This service, then, if accomplished in simplicity, is glorious with God. He, therefore, who thus ministers in simplicity, will live to God. Keep therefore these commandments, as I have given them to you, that your repentance and the repentance of your house may be found in simplicity, and your heart may be pure and stainless. The Shepherd of Hermas, 2.20.

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA: Alms are to be given, but with judgment, and to the deserving, that we may obtain a recompense from the Most High. But woe to those who have and who take under false pretenses, or who are able to help themselves and want to take from others. For he who has, and, to carry out false pretenses or out of laziness, takes, shall be condemned. Fragments, 2.578.

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA: “Make to yourself friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, that, when you fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations;” showing that by nature all property which a man possesses in his own power is not his own. And from this unrighteousness it is permitted to work a righteous and saving thing, to refresh some one of those who have an everlasting habitation with the Father.

See then, first, that He has not commanded you to be solicited or to wait to be importuned, but yourself to seek those who are to be benefited and are worthy disciples of the Savior. Excellent, accordingly, also is the apostle’s saying, “For the Lord loves a cheerful giver;” who delights in giving, and does not spare, sowing so that he may also thus reap, without murmuring, and disputing, and regret, and communicating, which is pure beneficence. But better than this is the saying spoken by the Lord in another place, “Give to every one that asks you.” For truly such is God’s delight in giving. And this saying is above all divinity, not to wait to be asked, but to inquire oneself who deserves to receive kindness. . . .

How then does man give these things? For I will give not only to friends, but to the friends of friends. And who is it that is the friend of God? Don't judge who is worthy or who is unworthy. For it is possible you may be mistaken in your opinion. As in the uncertainty of ignorance it is better to do good to the undeserving for the sake of the deserving, than by guarding against those that are less good to fail to meet in with the good. For though sparing, and aiming at testing, who will receive meritoriously or not, it is possible for you to neglect some that are loved by God; the penalty for which is the punishment of eternal fire. But by offering to all in turn that need, you must of necessity by all means find some one of those who have power with God to save. “Do not judge, then, that you will not be judged. With what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again; good measure, pressed and shaken, and running over, shall be given to you.” Who is the Rich Man that Shall be Saved? 2.600- 601.

CYPRIAN: That alms are to be denied to none, also in the same place: “Give to every one that asks you; and from him who would wish to borrow, do not turn away.” Also in the same place: “'If you will enter into life, keep the commandments.'

“He says, 'Which?'

“Jesus said to him, 'Do not kill, do not commit adultery, do not bear false witness, honor your father and mother: and, love your neighbor as yourself.'

“The young man said to Him, 'All these things I have observed: what do I yet lack?'

“Jesus said to him, 'If you will be perfect, go and sell all what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.'” The Treatises of Cyprian, 5.532.

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