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Friday, May 18, 2012

The Shepherd of Hermas: The Second Mandate

...Be sincere and be innocent, and you will be like little children who do not know the evil that destroys the life of man. First, speak evil of no one, and do not enjoy listening to someone who does. Otherwise you, the listener, will be responsible for the sin of the one speaking evil, if you believe the slander which you have heard, for by believing it you yourself will hold a grudge against your brother. In this way you will become responsible for the sin of the one who speaks the evil. Slander is evil; it is a restless demon, never at peace but always at home with dissension. So avoid it, and you will always have success with everyone. Clothe yourself with reverence, in which there is no evil cause for offense, but all things are smooth and joyful. Work at that which is good, and out of your own labor, which GOD gives you, give generously to all who are in need, not debating to whom you will give and to whom you will not. Give to all, for GOD wishes that from HIS OWN gifts, gifts that should be given to all. So, those who receive are accountable to GOD regarding why and for what purpose they receive; for those in distress who receive will not be judged, but those who receive under false pretenses will pay the penalty. Therefore, the one who gives is innocent, for as he received from the LORD a ministry to carry out, he carried it out sincerely, not worrying about to whom to give or not to give. This ministry, then, when sincerely carried out, becomes glorious in GOD's sight. Therefore the one who serves GOD sincerely in this manner will live. ... --The Shepherd of Hermas, Mandate 2 (mid second century AD)

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