WHAT 1st & 2ND CENTURY CHURCH FATHERS HAD TO SAY ABOUT

 

WORKS

 

 

 Some of the quotations below refer to money gifts, but can also be applied to working toward helping in other ways.

 

 

 

 Clement of Rome about 96 AD wrote in 55:2, "We know many among us who have given [sold] themselves into bondage in order that they might ransom others.  Many delivered themselves into slavery and taking their price provided food for others." 

 

 

Aristides, a Christian from Athens wrote the earliest surviving explanation of Christianity and addressed it to the emperor Hadrian about AD 125.  In his Apology 15 he said:  "They love one another.  They do not overlook the widow, and they save the orphan.  He who has, ministers ungrudgingly to him who does not have.  When they see strangers, they take him under their own roof....

 

"And if they hear that some are condemned or imprisoned on account of the name of their Lord, they contribute for those condemned and send to them what they need....And if there is any that is a slave or a poor man, they fast two or three days, and what they were going to set before themselves they send to them, considering themselves to give good cheer even as they were called to good

cheer. 

 

 

 

In the Epistle to Diagnetus by an unknown writer, 10:4,5: "But whoever takes upon himself the burden of his neighbor - he who wills to benefit another who is worse off in respect of those things where he is better off, who taking the things which he has received from God distributed them to those who are in need - this one becomes a god to the ones who receive.  He is an imitator of God."

 

 

 

Lucian of Samosata, a pagan author of satires, was born about 120 AD, and wrote in The Death of Peregrinus 12-13:  "At dawn there were to be seen waiting at the prison aged widows and orphan children, and their [church] officials even slept inside with him....Varied meals were brought in, and their sacred words were spoken....They exhibit extraordinary haste whenever one of them becomes such a public victim, for in no time they lavish their all....For these poor devils have altogether convinced themselves that they will be immortal and will live for all time; for which reason they despise death....Therefore they despise all things equally and consider them a common possession."

 

 

 

Hermas of Rome, wrote in the early 2nd century, Similitudes V.ii.7, 8:  "On that day in which you fast, you shall taste nothing except bread and water.  Of the foods which you were going to eat, reckon how much the food of that day when you fast was going to cost, and give the amount to a widow or orphan or one in need.

 

 

 

"Therefore instead of fields, purchase afflicted souls, as each is able.  And visit widows and orphans and do not neglect them....For the Master made you rich for this purpose that you might perform these ministries for him." 

 

 

 

Justin, who lived about 150 AD, said in his Apology I, 67:  "We always remember one another.  Those who have, provide for all those in want....for the orphans and widows, those who are in want on account of sickness or some other cause, those who are on bonds and strangers who are sojourning."

 

 

 

Barnabus, who lived about 190 AD, said in his writings 4:10:  "You are not to retire by yourself and live alone as if you were already righteous, but you are to come together in one place and seek the common good."

 

 

 

Sextus lived about 190 AD wrote in Sentences 47; 217:  "Kindness to men on behalf of God is the only suitable sacrifice to God.  God does not hear the prayer of the one who does not hear men in need."