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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol I:
BARNABAS: Chapter III.—The fasts of the Jews...

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter III.—The fasts of the Jews are not true fasts, nor acceptable to God.

He says then to them again concerning these things, “Why do ye fast to Me as on this day, saith the Lord, that your voice should be heard with a cry? I have not chosen this fast, saith the Lord, that a man should humble his soul. Nor, though ye bend your neck like a ring, and put upon you sackcloth and ashes, will ye call it an acceptable fast.” 1464 To us He saith, “Behold, this is the fast that I have chosen, saith the Lord, not that a man should humble his soul, but that he should loose every band of iniquity, untie the fastenings of harsh agreements, restore to liberty them that are bruised, tear in pieces every unjust engagement, feed the hungry with thy bread, clothe the naked when thou seest him, bring the homeless into thy house, not despise the humble if thou behold him, and not [turn away] from the members of thine own family. Then shall thy dawn break forth, and thy healing shall quickly spring up, and righteousness shall go forth before thee, and the glory of God shall encompass thee; and then thou shalt call, and God shall hear thee; whilst thou art yet speaking, He shall say, Behold, I am with thee; if thou take away from thee the chain [binding others], and the stretching forth of the hands 1465 [to swear falsely], and words of murmuring, and give cheerfully thy bread to the hungry, and show compassion to the soul that has been humbled.” 1466 To this end, therefore, brethren, He is long-suffering, foreseeing how the people whom He has prepared shall with guilelessness believe in His Beloved. For He revealed all these things to us beforehand, that we should not rush forward as rash acceptors of their laws. 1467



Isa. 58:4, 5.


The original here is χειροτονίαν, from the LXX. Hefele remarks, that it may refer to the stretching forth of the hands, either to swear falsely, or to mock and insult one’s neighbour.


Isa. lviii. 6-10.


The Greek is here unintelligible: the Latin has, “that we should not rush on, as if proselytes to their law.”

Next: Chapter IV.—Antichrist is at hand:...

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