Thursday, January 31, 2013

Didache

Some interesting passages in the Didache, a late first century or early second century non-canonical document:

"Happy is he who gives according to the commandment, for he is guiltless. Woe to him who receives; for if one receives who has need, he is guiltless; but he who receives not having need shall pay the penalty, why he received and for what. And coming into confinement, he shall be examined concerning the things which he has done, and he shall not escape from there until he pays back the last penny. And also concerning this, it has been said, Let your alms sweat in your hands, until you know to whom you should give." (chapter 1)

- Appears to say the one receiving the gift should be needy.  He should pay back what he has taken if he didn't really need it.  Don't rush into giving... make sure you know who it is you're giving to.  Make sure they're really needy.

"And the second commandment of the Teaching; You shall not commit murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not commit pederasty, you shall not commit fornication, you shall not steal, you shall not practice magic, you shall not practice witchcraft, you shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill that which is born." (chapter 2)

- An interesting one here is in regard to killing a child not yet born (abortion).

"Rather, be meek, since the meek shall inherit the earth."  (chapter 3)

- Same wording of part of the Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew 5:5.  Some contend that the sermon on the mount is not directly applicable to believers today as it was written to Jews while the kingdom was being set up by Jesus.  Does this suggest otherwise?

"And the way of death is this: First of all it is evil and accursed: murders, adultery, lust, fornication, thefts, idolatries, magic arts, witchcrafts, rape, false witness, hypocrisy, double-heartedness, deceit, haughtiness, depravity, self-will, greediness, filthy talking, jealousy, over-confidence, loftiness, boastfulness; persecutors of the good, hating truth, loving a lie, not knowing a reward for righteousness, not cleaving to good nor to righteous judgment, watching not for that which is good, but for that which is evil; from whom meekness and endurance are far, loving vanities, pursuing revenge, not pitying a poor man, not laboring for the afflicted, not knowing Him Who made them, murderers of children, destroyers of the handiwork of God, turning away from him who is in want, afflicting him who is distressed, advocates of the rich, lawless judges of the poor, utter sinners. Be delivered, children, from all these." (chapter 5)

- Not pitying a poor man, not laboring for the afflicted, turning away from him who is in want... what you don't do for the poor matters.

"But before the baptism let the baptizer fast, and the baptized, and whoever else can; but you shall order the baptized to fast one or two days before." (chapter 7)

- Interesting how baptism is linked here to fasting.

"But let not your fasts be with the hypocrites, for they fast on the second and fifth day of the week. Rather, fast on the fourth day and the Preparation (Friday). Do not pray like the hypocrites, but rather as the Lord commanded in His Gospel, like this: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily (needful) bread, and forgive us our debt as we also forgive our debtors. And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one (or, evil); for Thine is the power and the glory for ever.. Pray this three times each day." (chapter 8)

- The Lord's prayer with a twist: pray this three times a day.
"But let no one eat or drink of your Eucharist, unless they have been baptized into the name of the Lord; for concerning this also the Lord has said, "Give not that which is holy to the dogs."  [Prayer after Communion.]  But after you are filled, give thanks this way..." (chapters 9-10)

- The Eucharist or part of the Eucharist "ceremony" appears to be a (filling) meal.

"Thou, Master almighty, didst create all things for Thy name's sake; You gavest food and drink to men for enjoyment, that they might give thanks to Thee; but to us You didst freely give spiritual food and drink and life eternal through Thy Servant." (chapter 10)

- We have been given food and drink so we enjoy them and this is so that we give thanks to God.

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