Sacred Texts  Christianity  Early Church Fathers  Index  Previous  Next 

Commandment Second.

On Avoiding Evil-Speaking, and on Giving Alms in Simplicity.

He said to me, “Be simple and guileless, and you will be as the children who know not the wickedness that ruins the life of men. First, then, speak evil of no one, nor listen with pleasure to any one who speaks evil of another. But if you listen, you will partake of the sin of him who speaks evil, if you believe the slander which you hear; 154 for believing it, you will also have something to say against your brother. Thus, then, will you be guilty of the sin of him who slanders. For slander is evil 155 and an unsteady demon. It never abides in peace, but always remains in discord. Keep yourself from it, and you will always be at peace with all. Put on a holiness in which there is no wicked cause of offence, but all deeds that are equable and joyful. Practise goodness; and from the rewards of your labours, which God gives you, give to all the needy in simplicity, not hesitating as to whom you are to give or not to give. Give to all, for God wishes His gifts to be shared amongst all. They who receive, will render an account to God why and for what they have received. For the afflicted who receive will not be condemned, 156 but they who receive on false pretences will suffer punishment. He, then, who gives is guiltless. For as he received from the Lord, so has he accomplished his service in simplicity, not hesitating as to whom he should give and to whom he should not give. This service, then, if accomplished in simplicity, is glorious with God. He, therefore, who thus ministers in simplicity, will live to God. 157 Keep therefore these commandments, as I have given them to you, that your repentance and the repentance of your house may be found in simplicity, and your heart 158 may be pure and stainless.”



If … brother. [Jas. iv. 11.] And if you believe the slanderer, you will also be guilty of sin, in that you have belived one who speaks evil of your brother.—Vat. For if you give your assent to the detractor, and believe what is said of one in his absence, you also will be like to him, and acting ruinously towards your brother, and you are guilty of the same sin as the person who slanders.—Pal.


For slander is ruinous.—Vat. For it is wicked to slander any one.—Pal.


For … condemned, omitted in Vat.


This service … God. And he has accomplished this service to God simply and gloriously.—Vat. [Rom. xii. 8.]


The Vat. adds: and a blessing may fall on your house.

Next: Commandment Third. On Avoiding Falsehood, and on the Repentance of Hermas for His Dissimulation.