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Friday, May 25, 2012

The Shepherd of Hermas: The Eighth Mandate

...the creatures of GOD are twofold, because self-control is also twofold. For in some things it is necessary to exercise self-control, but in some things it is not necessary. ...

...Be self-controlled regarding evil, and do not do it, but do not be self-controlled regarding good, but do it. For if you exercise self-control regarding what is good, with the result that you not do it, you commit a major sin. But if you exercise self-control regarding evil, so as not to do it, you achieve great righteousness. Exercise self-control, therefore, over all evil and that which is good. ...

...Adultery and fornication, lawless drunkeness, wicked luxury, many kinds of food and extravagance of wealth and boasting and snobbery and arrogance, and lying and slander and hypocrisy, malice and all blasphemy. These actions are the most wicked of all in the life of men. So, the servant of GOD must exercise self-control over these works, for the one who does not exercise self-control over these is not able to live to GOD. Listen also, therefore, to the things that follow them. ...theft, lying, robbery, perjury, greed, lust, deceit, vanity, pretentiousness, and whatever else is like these. Don't you think that these things are evil? Indeed to the servants of GOD, they are very evil. ...In all these things the one who serves GOD must exercise self-control. Exercise self-control, therefore, over all these things, that you may live to GOD and be enrolled with those who do exercise self-control over them. ...

...things with respect to which you must not exercise self-control, but do them. Do not exercise self-control over the good, but do it. ...Hear...about the works of the good things, which you must do and toward which you must not exercise self-control. First of all, there is faith, fear of the LORD, harmony, words of righteousness, truth, patience, nothing is better than these in the life of men. If anyone keeps these things and does not exercise self-control over them, he will be blessed in his life. Next hear the things that follow these: serving widows, looking after orphans and those in need, delivering GOD's servants from distress, being hospitable (for the practice of hospitality results in doing good, I presume), opposing no one, being quiet, becoming more humble than all other men, respecting the elderly, practicing righteousness, preserving brotherhood, enduring insults, being patient, bearing no grudges, encouraging those who are sick at heart, not throwing out those who have stumbled but returning and encouraging them, admonishing sinners, not oppressing debtors and those in need, and whatever else is like these. ...walk in them...and do not exercise self-control over them, and you will live to GOD.

So keep this commandment; if you do good and do not exercise self-control in this respect, you will live to GOD; indeed, all who do so will live to GOD. And again, if you do not do evil and do exercise self-control over it, you will live to GOD, indeed, all who keep these commandments and walk in them will live to GOD. ... --The Shepherd of Hermas, Mandate 8 (mid second century AD)

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