Lectionary Readings for Sunday, March 20th, 2022
Book of Judgement Chapter 8
1. HEAR my words, O man, and be considerate of the justice of thy Creator.
2. These are my exhibits which I place before thee, that thou shalt not err:
3. And thou be a rich man, and adorn a city by donating unto it a park, with statuary and pleasure-walks, hoping to glorify thyself thereby, and be praised by men; therein thyself burieth thyself in the first resurrection. And the act lowereth thy grade instead of raising it.
4. For in whatsoever thou givest, thou shalt consider, first, the lowest of the low, whether they have bread to eat, and a place to sleep: And the sick, whether they have attendance and good provision.
5. And thou be a rich man and contribute a house for the orphans or for the helpless and aged who cannot help themselves, it raiseth thee in grade.
6. But so far as thou doeth this for the applause of men, thou detracteth from the rate of thy beneficence.
7. Neither doth such a good work help thee more than the poor man helpeth his own grade by assisting one poor orphan.
8. For thy resurrection dependeth not on the quantity thou givest, but as to whether thou givest according to what thou hast. Of which matter thou shalt judge thyself.
9. For he who giveth a penny may be raised up more by so doing, than he that giveth ten times ten thousand.
10. A certain rich man, being converted from the desires of earth, went about casting his money freely in the streets, and in giving to whosoever asked him therefor.
11. And some gathered it up, and fed and clothed themselves; others took of it, and went and got drunk, and became worse than before.
12. The measure of righteousness of that man’s behavior was not in giving what he had to the poor, but in the good and evil that came of it, being weighed, as to which outbalanced the other.
13. And where he lowered the grade of them that received this money, or where he lowered a greater number than he raised, there his act of casting the money away was a judgment against him.
14. He who giveth, saying: Here, thou beggar! doeth a good corporeal act, but an evil spiritual act. He lifteth up with one hand, but knocketh down wih the other. Such an act detracteth from the grade of that man.
15. A certain rich man, being converted to do good works, went and built a score of soup-houses to feed the poor gratuitously.
16. And all the poor people of that town went therein and were fed. But the next year, behold, there were twice as many poor. And the rich man built another score of soup-houses, and they were all fed.
17. But the next year, there were still twice as many poor people to feed; but the rich man had exhausted his means, and could feed none at all.
18. Judgment is therefore rendered against that man for his supposed beneficence.
19. For, whilst he did a little corporeal good, he did a great spiritual wrong, because he lowered the grade of manhood and womanhood in those that he fed. His benevolence promoted dependence.
20. A rich man founded a place of labor for the poor, who had nothing to eat and nowhere to sleep. And he said unto them:
21. The Creator hath given you hands to work with; come ye, be men and women.
22. And they went and worked and earned their living.
23. Judgment is rendered in favor of that man, for he raised the spiritual grade of the poor. This is a beneficence that extendeth into heaven.
24. Let thy charity be to the sick and helpless, but be thou wise in directing the able-bodied to help themselves.
25. For all charity tendeth to lower the self-respect of the receiver, and casteth him lower in the grades in heaven.
26. Certain ones depend on alms, not having either sickness nor yet strong bodies. Nevertheless, were they aroused, they could support themselves.
27. When thou givest them regularly, they depend on thee. These become beggars in the lowest grades in heaven.
28. That which thou givest them accounteth against thine own grade. Better is it for thee and for them, that thou arouse them from their degradation.
29. To do this tenderly and mercifully, is a great virtue; to do it cruelly, is a great crime.
30. Consider not so much what thou shalt do to raise thine own grade, but what thou canst do to raise the grade of those within thy reach.
31. Remember, all men and women are thy brothers and sisters, and thou shalt labor to make them make themselves a glory unto the Creator.