Church Fathers: Post-Nicene Fathers Vol 10: 30.01.04 Duties of Clergy Bk I Pt 3

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Church Fathers: Post-Nicene Fathers Vol 10: 30.01.04 Duties of Clergy Bk I Pt 3

TOPIC: Post-Nicene Fathers Vol 10 (Other Topics in this Collection)
SUBJECT: 30.01.04 Duties of Clergy Bk I Pt 3

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Chapter XXV.

A reason is given why this book did not open with a discussion of the above-mentioned virtues. It is also concisely pointed out that the same virtues existed in the ancient fathers.

116. Perhaps, as the different classes of duties are derived from these four virtues, some one may say that they ought to have been described first of all. But it would have been artificial to have given a definition of duty at the outset,hyperlink and then to have gone on to divide it up into various classes. We have avoided what is artificial, and have put forward the examples of the fathers of old. These certainly offer us no uncertainty as regards our understanding them, and give us no room for subtlety in our discussion of them. Let the life of the fathers, then, be for us a mirror of virtue, not a mere collection of shrewd and clever acts. Let us show reverence in following them, not mere cleverness in discussing them.

117. Prudence held the first place in holy Abraham. For of him the Scriptures say: "Abraham believed God, and that was counted to him for righteousness;"hyperlink for no one is prudent who knows not God. Again: "The fool hath said, There is no God;"hyperlink for a wise man would not say so. How is he wise who looks not for his Maker, but says to a stone: "Thou art my father"?hyperlink Who says to the devil as the Manichaean does: "Thou art the author of my being"?hyperlink How is Ariushyperlink wise, who prefers an imperfect and inferior creator to one who is a true and perfect one? How can Marcionhyperlink or Eunomiushyperlink be wise, who prefer to have an evil rather than a good God? And how can he be wise who does not fear his God? For: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."hyperlink Elsewhere, too, it stands: "The wise turn not aside from the mouth of the Lord, but come near Him in their confession of His greatness."hyperlink So when the Scripture says: "It was counted to him for righteousness," that brought to him the grace of another virtue.

118. The chief amongst ourselves have stated that prudence lies in the knowledge of the truth. But who of them all excelled Abraham, David, or Solomon in this? Then they go on to say that justice has regard to the whole community of the human race. So David said: "He hath dispersed abroad and given to the poor, His righteousness remaineth for over."hyperlink The just man has pity, the just man lends. The whole world of riches lies at the feet of the wise and the just. The just man regards what belongs to all as his own, and his own as common property. The man just accuses himself rather than others. For he is just who does not spare himself, and who does not suffer his secret actions to be concealed. See now how just Abraham was! In his old age he begat a son according to promise, and when the Lord demanded him for sacrifice he did not think he ought to refuse him, although he was his only son.hyperlink

119. Note here all these four virtues in one act. It was wise to believe God, and not to put love for his son before the commands of his Creator. It was just to give back what had been received. It was brave to restrain natural feelings by reason. The father led the victim; the son asked where it was: the father's feelings were hardly tried, but were not overcome. The son said again: "My father," and thus pierced his father's heart, though without weakening his devotion to God. The fourth virtue, temperance, too, was there. Being just he preserved due measure in his piety, and order in all he had to carry out. And so in bringing what was needed for the sacrifice, in lighting the fire, in binding his son, in drawing the knife, in performing the sacrifice in due order; thus he merited as his reward that he might keep his son.

120. Is there greater wisdom than holy Jacob's, who saw God face to face and won a blessing?hyperlink Can there be higher justice than his in dividing with his brother what he had acquired, and offering it as a gift?hyperlink What greater fortitude than his in striving with God?hyperlink What moderation so true as his, who acted with such moderation as regards time and place, as to prefer to hide his daughter's shame rather than to avenge himself?hyperlink For being set in the midst of foes, he thought it better to gain their affections than to concentrate their hate on himself.

121. How wise also was Noah, who built the whole of the ark!hyperlink How just again! For he alone, preserved of all to be the father of the human race, was made a survivor of past generations, and the author of one to come; he was born, too, rather for the world and the universe than for himself. How brave he was to overcome the flood! how temperate to endure it! When he had entered the ark, with what moderation he passed the time! When he sent forth the raven and the dove, when he received them on their return, when he took the opportunity of leaving the ark, with what moderation did he make use of these occasions!

Chapter XXVI.

In investigating the truth the philosophers have broken through their own rules. Moses, however, showed himself more wise than they. The greater the dignity of wisdom, the more earnestly must we strive to gain it. Nature herself urges us all to do this.

122. It is said, therefore, that in investigating the truth, we must observe what is seemly. We ought to look for what is true with the greatest care. We must not put forward falsehood for truth, nor hide the truth in darkness, nor fill the mind with idle, involved, or doubtful matters. What so unseemly as to worship a wooden thing, which men themselves have made? What shows such darkness as to discuss subjects connected with geometry and astronomy (which they approve of), to measure the depths of space, to shut up heaven and earth within the limits of fixed numbers, to leave aside the grounds of salvation and to seek for error?

123. Moses, learned as he was in all the wisdom of the Egyptians,hyperlink did not approve of those things, but thought that kind of wisdom both harmful and foolish. Turning away therefrom, he sought God with all the desire of his heart, and thus saw, questioned, heard Him when He spoke.hyperlink Who is more wise than he whom God taught, and who brought to nought all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and all the powers of their craft by the might of his works? He did not treat things unknown as well known, and so rashly accept them. Yet these philosophers, though they do not consider it contrary to nature, nor shameful for themselves to worship, and to ask help from an idol which knows nothing, teach us that these two things mentioned in the words just spoken, which are in accordance both with nature and with virtue, ought to be avoided.

124. The loftier the virtue of wisdom is, the more I say we ought to strive for it, so that we may be able to attain to it. And that we may have no ideas which are contrary to nature, or are disgraceful, or unfitting, we ought to give two things, that is, time and care, to considering matters for the sake of investigating them. For there is nothing in which man excels all other living creatures more than in the fact that he has reason, seeks out the origin of things, thinks that the Author of his being should be searched out. For in His hand is our life and death; He rules this world by His nod. And to Him we know that we must give a reason for our actions. For there is nothing which is more of a help to a good life than to believe that He will be our judge, Whom hidden things do not escape, and unseemly things offend, and good deeds delight.

125. In all men, then, there lies, in accordance with human nature, a desire to search out the truth, which leads us on to have a longing for knowledge and learning, and infuses into us a wish to seek after it. To excel in this seems a noble thing to mankind; but there are only few who attain to it. And they, by deep thought, by careful deliberation, spend no little labour so as to be able to attain to that blessed and virtuous life, and to approach its likeness in their actions. "For not he that saith to Me Lord. Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth those things that I say."hyperlink To have a desire for knowledge without actions to correspond-well! I do not know whether that carries anything more with it.

Chapter XXVII.

The first source of duty is prudence, from whence spring three other virtues; and they cannot be separated or torn asunder, since they are mutually connected one with the other.

126. The first source of duty, then, is prudence.hyperlink For what is more of a duty than to give to the Creator all one's devotion and reverence? This source, however, is drawn off into other virtues. For justice cannot exist without prudence, since it demands no small amount of prudence to see whether a thing is just or unjust. A mistake on either side is very serious. "For he that says a just man is unjust, or an unjust man is just, is accursed with God. Wherefore does justicehyperlink abound unto the wicked?"hyperlink says Solomon. Nor, on the other hand, can prudence exist without justice, for piety towards God is the beginning of understanding. On which we notice that this is a borrowed rather than an original idea among the worldly wise, for piety is the foundation of all virtues.

127. But the piety of justicehyperlink is first directed towards God; secondly, towards one's country; next, towards parents;hyperlink lastly, towards all. This, too, is in accordance with the guidance of nature. From the beginning of life, when understanding first begins to be infused into us, we love life as the gift of God, we love our country and our parents; lastly, our companions, with whom we like to associate. Hence arises true love, which prefers others to self, and seeks not its own, wherein lies the pre-eminence of justice.

128. It is ingrained in all living creatures,hyperlink first of all, to preserve their own safety, to guard against what is harmful, to strive for what is advantageous. They seek food and converts, whereby they may protect themselves from dangers, storms, and sun,-all which is a mark of prudence. Next we find that all the different creatures are by nature wont to herd together, at first with fellows of their own class and sort, then also with others. So we see oxen delighted to be in herds, horses in droves, and especially like with like, stags, also, in company with stags and often with men. And what should I say on their desire to have young, and on their offspring, or even on their passions, wherein the likeness of justice is conspicuous?

129. It is clear, then, that these and the remaining virtues are related to one another. For courage, which in war preserves one's country from the barbarians, or at home defends the weak, or comrades from robbers, is full of justice; and to know on what plan to defend and to give help, how to make use of opportunities of time and place, is the part of prudence and moderation, and temperance itself cannot observe due measure without prudence. To know a fit opportunity, and to make return according to what is right, belongs to justice. In all these, too, large-heartedness is necessary, and fortitude of mind, and often of body, so that we may carry out what we wish.

Chapter XXVIII.

A community rests upon justice and good-will. Two parts of the former, revenge and private possession, are not recognized by Christians. What the Stoics say about common property and mutual help has been borrowed from the sacred writings. The greatness of the glory of justice, and what hinders access to it.

130. Justice,hyperlink then, has to do with the society of the human race, and the community at large. For that which holds society together is divided into two parts,-justice and good-will, which also is called liberality and kindness. Justice seems to me the loftier, liberality the more pleasing, of the two. The one gives judgment, the other shows goodness.

131. But that very thing is excluded with us which philosophers think to be the office of justice. For they say that the first expression of justice is, to hurt no one, except when driven to it by wrongs received. Thisis put aside by the authority of the Gospel. For the Scripture wills that the Spirit of the Son of Man should be in us, Who came to give grace, not to bring harm.hyperlink

132. Next they considered it consonant with justice that one should treat common, that is, public property as public, and private as private. But this is not even in accord with nature, for nature has poured forth all things for all men for common use. God has ordered all things to be produced, so that there should be food in common to all, and that the earth should be a common possession for all. Nature, therefore, has produced a common right for all, but greed has made it a right for a few. Here, too, we are told that the Stoics taught that all things which are produced on the earth are created for the use of men, but that men are born for the sake of men, so that mutually one may be of advantage to another.hyperlink

133. But whence have they got such ideas but out of the holy Scriptures? For Moses wrote that God said: "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth."hyperlink And David said: "Thou hast put all things under his feet; all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field, the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea."hyperlink So these philosophers have learnt from our writings that all things were made subject to man, and, therefore, they think that all things were produced also for man's sake.

134. That man was made for the sake of man we find stated also in the books of Moses, when the Lord says: "It is not good that man should be alone, let us make him an helpmeet for him."hyperlink Thus the woman was given to the man to help him. She should bear him children, that one man might always be a help to another. Again, before the woman was formed, it was said of Adam: "There was not found an help-meet for him."hyperlink For one man could not have proper help but from another. Amongst all the living creatures, therefore, there was none meet for him, or, to put it plainly, none to be his helper. Hence a woman was looked for to help him.

135. Thus, in accordance with the will of God and the union of nature, we ought to be of mutual help one to the other, and to vie with each other in doing duties, to lay all our advantages as it were before all, and (to use the words of Scripture) to bring help one to the other from a feeling of devotion or of duty, by giving money, or by doing something, at any rate in some way or other; so that the charm of human fellowship may ever grow sweeter amongst us, and none may ever be recalled from their duty by the fear of danger, but rather account all things, whether good or evil, as their own concern.hyperlink Thus holy Moses feared not to undertake terrible wars for his people's sake, nor was he afraid of the arms of the mightiest kings, nor yet was he frightened at the savagery of barbarian nations. He put on one side the thought of his own safety so as to give freedom to the people.

136. Great, then, is the glory of justice; for she, existing rather for the good of others than of self, is an aid to the bonds of union and fellowship amongst us. She holds so high a place that she has all things laid under her authority, and further can bring help to others and supply money; nor does she refuse her services, but even undergoes dangers for others.

137. Who would not gladly climb and hold the heights of this virtue, were it not that greed weakens and lessens the power of such a virtue?hyperlink For as long as we want to add to our possessions and to heap up money, to take into our possession fresh lands, and to be the richest of all, we have cast aside the form of justice and have lost the blessing of kindness towards all. How can he be just that tries to take from another what he wants for himself?

138. The desire to gain power also enervateshyperlink the perfect strength and beauty of justice. For how can he, who attempts to bring others under his own power, come forward on behalf of others? And how can a man help the weak against the strong, when he himself aspires to great power at the cost of liberty?

Chapter XXIX.

Justice should be observed even in war and with enemies. This is proved by the example of Moses and Elisha. The ancient writers learnt in turn from the Hebrews to call their enemies by a gentler term. Lastly, the foundation of justice rests on faith, and its symmetry is perfect in the Church.

139. How great a thing justice is can be gathered from the fact that there is no place, nor person, nor time, with which it has nothing to do. It must even be preserved in all dealings with enemies.hyperlink For instance, if the day or the spot for a battle has been agreed upon with them, it would be considered an act against justice to occupy the spot beforehand, or to anticipate the time. For there is some difference whether one is overcome in some battle by a severe engagement, or by superior skill, or by a mere chance. But a deeper vengeance is taken on fiercer foes, and on those that are false as well as on those who have done greater wrongs, as was the case with the Midianites.hyperlink For they had made many of the Jewish people to sin through their women; for which reason the anger of the Lord was poured out upon the people of our fathers. Thus it came about that Moses when victorious allowed none of them to live. On the other hand, Joshua did not attack the Gibeonites, who had tried the people of our fathers with guile rather than with war, but punished them by laying on them a law of bondage.hyperlink Elisha again would not allow the king of Israel to slay the Syrians when he wished to do so. He had brought them into the city, when they were besieging him, after he had struck them with instantaneous blindness, so that they could not see where they were going, For he said: "Thou shall not smite those whom thou hast not taken captive with thy spear and with thy sword. Set before them bread and water, that they may eat and drink and return and go to their own home."hyperlink Incited by their kind treatment they should show forth to the world the kindness they had received. "Thus" (we read) "there came no more the bands of Syria into the land of Israel."hyperlink

140. If, then, justice is binding, even in war, how much more ought we to observe it in time of peace. Such favour the prophet showed to those who came to seize him. We read that the king of Syria had sent his army to lie in wait for him, for he had learnt that it was Elisha who had made known to all his plans and consultations. And Gehazi the prophet's servant, seeing the army, began to fear that his life was in danger. But the prophet said to him: "Fear not, for they that be with us are more than they that be with them."hyperlink And when the prophet asked that the eyes of his servant might be opened, they were opened. Then Gehazi saw the whole mountain full of horses and chariots round about Elisha. As they came down to him the prophet says: "Smite, O God, the army of Syria with blindness." And this prayer being granted, he says to the Syrians: "Follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom ye seek." Then saw they Elisha, whom they were endeavouring to lay hold of, and seeing him they could not hold him fast.hyperlink It is clear from this that faith and justice should be observed even in war; and that it could not but be a disgraceful thing if faith were violated.

141. So also the ancients used to give their foes a less harsh name, and called them strangers.hyperlink For enemies used to be called strangers after the customs of old. This too we can say they adopted from our writings; for the Hebrews used to call their foes "allophyllos," that is, when put into Latin, "alienigenas" (of another race). For so we read in the first book of Kings: "It came to pass in those days that they of another race put themselves in array against Israel."hyperlink

142. The foundation of justice therefore is faith,hyperlink for the hearts of the just dwell on faith, and the just man that accuses himself builds justice on faith, for his justice becomes plain when he confesses the truth. So the Lord saith through Isaiah: "Behold, I lay a stone for a foundation in Sion."hyperlink This means Christ as the foundation of the Church. For Christ is the object of faith to all; but the Church is as it were the outward form of justice, she is the common right of all. For all in common she prays, for all in common she works, in the temptations of all she is tried. So he who denies himself is indeed a just man, is indeed worthy of Christ. For this reason Paul has made Christ to be the foundation, so that we may build upon Him the works of justice,hyperlink whilst faith is the foundation. In our works, then, if they are evil, there appears unrighteousness; if they are good, justice.

Chapter XXX.

On kindness and its several parts, namely, good-will and liberality. How they are to be combined. What else is further needed for any one to show liberality in a praiseworthy manner.

143. Now we can go on to speak of kindness, which breaks up into two parts, goodwill and liberality. Kindness to exist in perfection must consist of these two qualities. It is not enough just to wish well; we must also do well. Nor, again, is it enough to do well, unless this springs from a good source even from a good, will. "For God loveth a cheerful giver."hyperlink If we act unwillingly, what is our reward? Wherefore the Apostle, speaking generally, says: "If I do this thing willingly, I have a reward, but if unwillingly, a dispensation is given unto me."hyperlink In the Gospel, also, we have received many rules of just liberality.

144. It is thus a glorious thing to wish well, and to give freely, with the one desire to do good and not to do harm. For if we were to think it our duty to give the means to an extravagant man to live extravagantly, or to an adulterer to pay for his adultery, it would not be an act of kindness, for there would be no good-will in it. We should be doing harm, not good, to another if we gave him money to aid him in plotting against his country, or in attempting to get together at our expense some abandoned men to attack the Church. Nor, again, does it look like liberality to help one who presses very hardly on widows and orphans, or attempts to seize on their property with any show of violence.

145. It is no sign of a liberal spirithyperlink to extort from one what we give to another, or to gain money unjustly, and then to think it can be well spent, unless we act as Zacchaeushyperlink did, and restore fourfold what we have taken from him whom we have robbed, and make up for such heathenish crimes by the zeal of our faith and by true Christian labour. Our liberality must have some sure foundation.

146. The first thing necessary is to do kindness in good faith, and not to act falsely when the offering is made. Never let us say we are doing more, when we are really doing less. What need is there to speak at all? In a promise a cheat lies hid. It is in our power to give what we like. Cheating shatters the foundation, and so destroys the work. Did Peter grow angry only so far as to desire that Ananias and his wife should be slain?hyperlink Certainly not. He wished that others, through knowing their example, should not perish.

147. Nor is it a real act of liberality if thou givest for the sake of boasting about it, rather than for mercy's sake. Thy inner feelings give the name to thy acts. As it comes forth from thee, so will others regard it. See what a true judge thou hast! He consults with thee how to take up thy work, and first of all he questions thy mind. "Let not," he says, "thy left hand know what thy right hand doth."hyperlink This does not refer to our actual bodies, but means: Let not him who is of one mind with thee, not even thy brother, know what thou doest, lest thou shouldst lose the fruit of thy reward hereafter by seeking here thy price in boastfulness. But that liberality is real where a man hides what he does in silence, and secretly assists the needs of individuals, whom the mouth of the poor, and not his own lips, praises.

148. Perfect liberality is proved by its good faith, the case it helps, the time and place when and where it is shown. But first we must always see that we help those of the household of faith.hyperlink It is a serious fault if a believer is in want, and thou knowest it, or if thou knowest that he is without means, that he is hungry, that he suffer distress, especially if he is ashamed of his need. It is a great fault if he is overwhelmed by the imprisonment or false accusation of his family, and thou dost not come to his help. If he is in prison, and-upright though he is-has to suffer pain and punishment for some debt (for though we ought to show mercy to all, yet we ought to show it especially to an upright man); if in the time of his trouble he obtains nothing from thee; if in the time of danger, when he is carried off to die, thy money seems more to thee than the life of a dying man; what a sin is that to thee! Wherefore Job says beautifully: "Let the blessing of him that was ready to perish come upon me."hyperlink

149. God, indeed, is not a respecter of persons, for He knows all things. And we, indeed, ought to show mercy to all. But as many try to get help on false pretences, and make out that they are miserably off; therefore where the case is plain and the person well known, and no time is to be lost, mercy ought to be shown more readily. For the Lord is not exacting to demand the utmost. Blessed, indeed, is he who forsakes all and follows Him, but blessed also is he who does what he can to the best of his powers with what he has. The Lord preferred the two mites of the widow to all the gifts of the rich, for she gave all that she had, but they only gave a small part out of all their abundance.hyperlink It is the intention, therefore, that makes the gift valuable or poor, and gives to things their value. The Lord does not want us to give away all our goods at once, but to impart them little by little; unless, indeed, our case is like that of Elisha, who killed his oxen, and fed the people on what he had, so that no household cares might hold him back, and that he might give up all things, and devote himself to the prophetic teaching.hyperlink

150. True liberality also must be tested in this way:hyperlink that we despise not our nearest relatives, if we know they are in want. For it is better for thee to help thy kindred who feel the shame of asking help from others, or of going to another to beg assistance in their need. Not, however, that they should become rich on what thou couldst otherwise give to the poor. It is the facts of the case we must consider, and not personal feeling. Thou didst not dedicate thyself to the Lord on purpose to make thy family rich, but that thou mightest win eternal life by the fruit of good works, and atone for thy sins by showing mercy. They think perhaps that they are asking but little, but they demand the price thou shouldst pay for thy sins. They attempt to take away the fruits of thy life, and think they are acting rightly.hyperlink And one accuses thee because thou hast not made him rich, when all the time he wished to cheat thee of the reward of eternal life.

151. So far we have given our advice, now let us look for our authority. First, then, no one ought to be ashamed of becoming poor after being rich, if this happens because he gives freely to the poor; for Christ became poor when He was rich, that through His poverty He might enrich all."hyperlink He has given us a rule to follow, so that we may give a good account of our reduced inheritance; whoever has stayed the hunger of the poor has lightened his distress. "Herein I give my advice," says the Apostle, "for this is expedient for you, that ye should be followers of Christ."hyperlink Advice is given to the good, but warnings restrain the wrong-doers. Again he says, as though to the good: "For ye have begun not only to do, but also to be willing, a year ago."hyperlink Both of these, and not only one, is the mark of perfection. Thus he teaches that liberality without good-will, and good-will without liberality, are neither of them perfect. Wherefore he also urges us on to perfection, saying:hyperlink "Now, therefore, perform the doing of it; that as the will to do it was ready enough in you, so also there may be the will to accomplish it out of that which ye have. For if the will be ready, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. But not so that others should have plenty, and ye should be in want: but let there be equality,-your abundance must now serve for their want, that their abundance may serve for your want; that there may be equality, as it is written: "He that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack."hyperlink

152. We notice how the Apostle includes both good-will and liberality, as well as the manner, the fruits of right giving, and the persons concerned. The manner certainly, for he gave advice to those not perfect: For only the imperfect suffer anxiety. But if any priest or other cleric, being unwilling to burden the Church,hyperlink does not give away all that he has, but does honourably what his office demands, he does not seem to me to be imperfect. I think also that the Apostle here spoke not of anxiety of mind, but rather of domestic troubles.

153. And I think it was with reference to the persons concerned that he said: "that your abundance might serve for their want, and their abundance for your want." This means, that the abundance of the people might arouse them to good works, so as to supply the want of food of others; whilst the spiritual abundance of these latter might assist the want of spiritual merits among the people themselves, and so win them a blessing.

154. Wherefore he gave them an excellent example: "He that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack." That example is a great encouragement to all men to show mercy. For he that possesses much gold has nothing over, for all in this world is as nothing; and he that has little has no lack, for what he loses is nothing already. The whole matter is without loss, for the whole of it is lost already.

155. We can also rightly understand it thus. He that has much, although he does not give away, has nothing over. For however much he gets, he always is in want, because he longs for more. And he who has little has no lack, for it does not cost much to feed the poor. In like manner, too, the poor person that gives spiritual blessings in return for money, although he has much grace, has nothing over. For grace does not burden the mind, but lightens it.

156. It can further be taken in this way: Thou, O man, hast nothing over! For how much hast thou really received, though it may seem much to thee? John, than whom none was greater among those born of woman, yet was less than he who is least in the kingdom of heaven.hyperlink

157. Or once more. The grace of God is never superabundant, humanly speaking, for it is spiritual. Who can measure its greatness or its breadth, which one cannot see? Faith, if it were as a grain of mustard seed, can transplant mountains-and more than a grain is not granted thee. If grace dwelt fully in thee, wouldst thou not have to fear lest thy mind should begin to be elated at so great a gift? For there are many who have fallen more terribly, from spiritual heights, than if they had never received grace at all from the Lord. And he who has little has no lack, for it is not tangible so as to be divided; and what seems little to him that has is much to him that lacks.

158. In giving we must also take into consideration age and weakness; sometimes, also, that natural feeling of shame, which indicates good birth. One ought to give more to the old who can no longer supply themselves with food by labour. So, too, weakness of body must be assisted, and that readily. Again, if any one after being rich has fallen into want, we must assist, especially if he has lost what he had from no sin of his own, but owing to robbery or banishment or false accusation.

159. Perchance some one may say: A blind man sits here in one place, and people pass him by, whilst a strong young man often has something given him. That is true; for he comes over people by his importunity. That is not because in their judgment he deserves it, but because they are wearied by his begging. For the Lord speaks in the Gospel of him who had already closed iris door; how that when one knocks at his door very violently, he rises and gives what is wanted, because of his importunity.hyperlink

Chapter XXXI.

A kindness received should be returned with a freer hand. This is shown by the example of the earth. A passage from Solomon about feasting is adduced to prove the same, and is expounded later in a spiritual sense.

160. It is also righthyperlink that more regard should be paid to him who has conferred some benefit or girl upon thee, if he ever is reduced to want. For what is so contrary to one's duty as not to return what one has received? Nor do I think that a return of equal value should be made, but a greater. One ought to make up for the enjoyment of a kindness one has received from another, to such an extent as to help that person. even to putting an end to his needs. For not to be the better in returning than in conferring a kindness, is to be the inferior; for he who was the first to give was the first in point of time, and also first in showing a kind disposition.

161. Wherefore we must imitate the nature of the earthhyperlink in this respect, which is wont to return the seed she has received, multiplied a thousand-fold. And so it is written: "As a field is the foolish man, and as a vineyard is the man without sense. If thou leavest him, he will be made desolate."hyperlink As a field also is the wise man, so as to return the seed given him in fuller measure, as though it had been lent to him on interest. The earth either produces fruits of its own accord, or pays back and restores, what it was entrusted with, in fruitful abundance. In both these ways a return is due from thee, when thou enterest upon the use of thy father's possession, that thou mayest not be left to lie as an unfruitful field. It may be that a man can make an excuse for not giving anything, but how can he excuse himself for not returning what was given? It is hardly right not to give anything; it is certainly not right to make no return for kindness done to oneself.hyperlink

162. Therefore Solomon says well: "When thou sittest to eat at the table of a ruler consider diligently what is before thee, and put forth thine hand, knowing that it behoves thee to make such preparations. But if thou art insatiable, be not desirous of his dainties, for they have but a deceptive life."hyperlink I have written these words as I wish that we all should follow them. It is a good thing to do a service, but he who knows not how to return one is very hard. The earth herself supplies an example of kindliness. She provides fruits of her own accord, which thou didst not sow; she also returns many-fold what she has received. It is not right for thee to deny knowledge of money paid in to thee, and how can it be right to let a service done go without notice? In the book of Proverbs also it is said: that the repayment of kindness has such great power with God, that through it, even in the day of destruction, a man may find grace, though his sins outweigh all else.hyperlink And why need I bring forward other examples when the Lord Himself promises in the Gospel a fuller reward to the merits of the saints, and exhorts us to do good works, saying: "Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven; give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, shaken together and running over, shall men give into your bosom."hyperlink

163. But the feasting that Solomon speaks of has not to do with common food only, but it is to be understood as having to do with good works. For how can the soul be feasted in better wise than on good works; or what can so easily fill the mind of the just as the knowledge of a good work done? What pleasanter food is there than to do the will of God? The Lord has told us that He had this food alone in abundance, as it is written in the Gospel, saying: "My food is to do the will of My Father which is in heaven."hyperlink

164. In this food let us delight of which the prophet says: "Delight thou in the Lord."hyperlink In this food they delight, who have with wonderful knowledge learnt to take in the higher delights; who can know what that delight is which is pure and which can be understood by the mind. Let us therefore eat the bread of wisdom, and let us be filled with the word of God. For the life of man made in the image of God consists not in bread alone, but in every word that cometh from God.hyperlink About the cup, too, holy Job says, plainly enough: "As the earth waiteth for the rain, so did they for my words."hyperlink


138 Ib. I. 2, §7.

139 Gen. xv. 6.

140 Ps. xiv. [xiii.] 1.

141 Jer. ii. 27.

142 Manes, the founder of Manicheism, living about a.d. 250. He taught that there were two original principles absolutely opposed one to the other. On the one side God, from Whom nothing but good can go forth; on the other original evil-the author of all matter-which therefore is evil too. Man was formed by this evil spirit. For, whilst man's soul is an emanation from the good God, man's body in which the soul is imprisoned was framed of material elements. Hence the Manichaean is here represented addressing the devil as his father, the author of his earthly existence.

143 The father of Arianism, born a.d. 256, was condemned at the Council of Nicaea a.d. 325. He denied that Christ was "of one substance with the Father;" but held Him to be a kind of secondary God, created out of nothing before the world. But he considered Him to be the creator of the world.

144 Marcion flourished between the years a.d. 140-190. He also taught the existence of more than one Principle, and held that man was created by an inferior Being.

145 Eunomius was the leader of the extreme Arian party, flourishing c. a.d. 360. He maintained the absolute unlikeness of the Son to the Father not only in substance but even in will. Hence his party were called Anomoeans (anomoioj, unlike). In baptizing they also applied no water to the lower part of the body, asserting that it was created by an evil spirit, thus with Marcion recognizing the dual Principle. Theodoret, who is the authority for this latter and some other charges against the Eunomians, says, however. that he is speaking from hearsay, not of his own knowledge. Hoer. Fab. IV. 3.

146 Ps. cxi. [cx.] 10.

147 Prov. xxiv. 7 [LXX.].

148 Ps. cxii. [cxi.] 9.

149 Gen. xxii. 3.

150 Gen. xxxii. 29, Gen. xxxii. 30.

151 Gen. xxxiii. 8.

152 Gen. xxxii. 24-26.

153 Gen. xxxiv. 5.

154 Gen. vi. 14.

155 Acts vii. 22.

156 Ex. iii. 4.

157 S. Matt. vii. 21.

158 Cic. de Off. I. 6.

159 Some mss. have "injustitioe," others "pecunioe," which seems to be a correction to bring it into harmony with the LXX: "inati uphrce xrhmata afroni."

160 Prov. xvii. 15 [LXX.].

161 Cic. de Off. I. 7.

162 Summa Theol. II. 2, q. 101. St. Thomas Aquinas agrees in making piety a part of justice, and a gift of the Holy Spirit, but places parents before instead of after our country.

163 Cic. de Off. I. 4.

164 Cis. de Off. I. I 7.

165 S. Luke ix. 56.

166 Cic. de Off. I. 9.

167 Gen. i. 26.

168 Ps. viii. 7, Ps. viii. 8.

169 Gen. ii. 18.

170 Gen. ii. 20.

171 Cic. de Off. I. 9, §30.

172 Cic. de Off. I. 7, §24.

173 Cic. de Off. I. 8, §26.

174 Cic. de Off. I. 11, §34.

175 Num. xxxi.

176 Josh. ix.

177 2 [4] Kings vi. 22.

178 2 [4] Kings vi. 23.

179 2 [4] Kings vi. 16.

180 2 [4] Kings vi. 8-23.

181 Cic. de Off. I. 12.

182 1 Sam. [1 Kings] iv. 1.

183 Cic. de Off. I. 7, §23.

184 Isa. xxviii. 16.

185 1 Cor. iii. 11.

186 2 Cor. ix. 7.

187 1 Cor. ix. 17.

188 Cic. de Off. I, 14, §43.

189 S. Luke xix. 8.

190 Acts v. 11.

191 S. Mat. vi. 3.

192 Gal. vi. 10.

193 Job xxix. 13.

194 S. Luke xxi. 3, Luke xxi. 4.

195 1 [3] Kings xix. 20.

196 Cic. de Off. I. 17, §58.

197 "Et se juste facere putant." These words are omitted in many mss.

198 2 Cor. viii. 9.

199 2 Cor. viii. 10.

200 2 Cor. viii. 10.

201 2 Cor. viii. 11-15.

202 Ex. xvi. 18.

203 St. Ambrose, allowing clergy to retain some of their patrimony so as not to burden the Church, is less strict than St. Augustine, who would have them give up everything and live in common. Serm. 355.

204 S. Matt. xi. 11.

205 S. Luke xi. 8.

206 Cic. de Off. I. 15, §47.

207 Cic. de Off. I. 15, §48.

208 Prov. xxiv. 30 [LXX].

209 Cic. de Off. I. 15, §48.

210 Prov. xxiii. 1 [LXX.].

211 Allusion is made to Ecclus. iii. 31.

212 S. Luke vi. 37, Luke vi. 38.

213 S. John iv. 34.

214 Ps. xxxvii. 4.

215 S. Matt. iv. 4.

216 Job. xxix. 23.