Sirach 14:5Ben Sira, Ecclesiasticus
3 Riches are inappropriate for a small-minded person; and of what use is wealth to a miser? 4 What he denies himself he collects for others; and others will live in luxury on his goods. 5 If one is mean to himself, to whom will he be generous? He will not enjoy his own riches. 6 No one is worse than one who is grudging to himself; this is the punishment for his meanness. 7 If ever he does good, it is by mistake; and in the end he reveals his meanness.
Augustine City of God 21.27On the City of God Against the Pagans
For they suppose that by giving to the poor a small fraction of the wealth they acquire by extortion and spoliation they can propitiate Christ, so that they may with impunity commit the most damnable sins, in the persuasion that they have bought from Him a license to transgress, or rather do buy a daily indulgence. And if they for one crime have distributed all their goods to Christ's needy members, that could profit them nothing unless they desisted from all similar actions, and attained charity which works no evil He therefore who does almsdeeds proportioned to his sins must first begin with himself. For it is not reasonable that a man who exercises charity towards his neighbor should not do so towards himself, since he hears the Lord saying, You shall love your neighbor as yourself, and again, Have compassion on your soul, and please God. He then who has not compassion on his own soul that he may please God, how can he be said to do almsdeeds proportioned to his sins? To the same purpose is that written, He who is bad to himself, to whom can he be good? We ought therefore to do alms that we may be heard when we pray that our past sins may be forgiven, not that while we continue in them we may think to provide ourselves with a license for wickedness by almsdeeds.
Notes and References
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