Monday, September 12, 2016

Browne: alms: charity or self-interest

Monday, September 12, 2016
    For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission flowing from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you.
    —2 Corinthians 9:12-14 (ESV)
    If we are directed only by our particular natures, and regulate our inclinations by no higher rule than that of our reasons, we are but moralists; Divinity will still call us heathens. Therefore this great work of charity must have other motives, ends, and impulsions. I give no alms to satisfy the hunger of my brother, but to fulfil and accomplish the will and command of my God; I draw not my purse for his sake that demands it, but his that enjoined it; I relieve no man upon the rhetoric of his miseries, nor to content mine own commiserating disposition, for this is still but moral charity, and an act that oweth more to passion than reason.
    ... Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682), Religio Medici [1643], W. Murison, ed., Cambridge University Press, 1922, II.2, p. 85-86 (see the book)
    See also 2 Cor. 9:12-14; Matt. 5:42; 2 Cor. 10:5; Heb. 13:16; 1 John 3:17
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, I hear Your word and obey with my alms.
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