Early Church Quotes Regarding the Poor!

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St Paul Arrested“Share everything with your brother. Do not say, ‘It is private property.’ If you share what is everlasting, you should be that much more willing to share things which do not last.”

– The Didache, c. 90 AD, (Did. 4:8)

Christians “…they love one another, and from widows they do not turn away their esteem; and they deliver the orphan from him who treats him harshly. And he, who has, gives to him who has not, without boasting. And when they see a stranger, they take him in to their homes and rejoice over him as a very brother; for they do not call them brethren after the flesh, but brethren after the spirit and in God.”

– Aristides, early 2nd century (Apology 15)

“We who once took most pleasure in the means of increasing our wealth and property now bring what we have into a common fund and share with everyone in need.”

– Justin Martyr, 100-165 AD (1st Apology 14)

“And instead of the tithes which the law commanded, the Lord said to divide everything we have with the poor. And he said to love not only our neighbors but also our enemies, and to be givers and sharers not only with the good but also to be liberal givers toward those who take away our possessions.”

– Irenaeus, 130-200 AD (Against Heresies, Book IV, Chapter XIII, paragraph 3)

“Private property is the fruit of iniquity. I know that God has given us the use of goods, but only as far as is necessary; and he has determined that the use shall be common. The use of all things that are found in this world ought to be common to all men. Only the most manifest iniquity makes one say to another, ‘This belongs to me, that to you.’ Hence the origin of contention among men.”

– Clement of Alexandria, 150-215 AD

“It is absurd and disgraceful for one to live magnificently and luxuriously when so many are hungry…If one who takes the clothing off another is a thief, why give any other name to one who can clothe the naked and refuses to do so? The bread that you store up belongs to the hungry; the cloak that lies in your chest belongs to the naked; the gold that you have hidden in the ground belongs to the poor …How can I make you realize the misery of the poor? How can I make you understand that your wealth comes from their weeping?”

– Basil the Great, 320-379 AD

“The rich are in possession of the goods of the poor, even if they have acquired them honestly or inherited them legally.” “Not to enable the poor to share in our goods is to steal from them and deprive them of life. The goods we possess are not ours but theirs.” “When you are weary of praying and do not receive, consider how often you have heard a poor man calling, and have not listened to him.”

– John Chrysostom, 347-407 AD

“Give away these earthly things, and win that which is in heaven. Give that which you must leave, even against your will, that you may not lose things later. Lend your wealth to God, that you may be really rich. Concerning the way in which to lend it, Jesus next teaches us saying: ‘Sell your possessions, and give alms, provide yourselves with purses that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail’ … Worldly wealth has many foes … but no one can do damage to the wealth that is laid up above in heaven.”

– Cyril of Alexandria, 378-444 AD, (Commentary on Luke, Homily 91)

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