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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol VIII:
Pseudo-Clementine Literature.: Chapter XXVI

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XXVI.—What is Philanthropy.

Then I answered, “Do you not think, then, that even the stranger-receiver was philanthropic, who did good to a stranger whom she did not know?”  Then Peter said, “Compassionate, indeed, I can call her, but I dare not call her philanthropic, just as I cannot call a mother philoteknic, for she is prevailed on to have an affection for them by her pangs, and by her rearing of them.  As the lover also is gratified by the company and enjoyment of his mistress, and the friend by return of friendship, so also the compassionate man by misfortune.  However the compassionate man is near to the philanthropic, in that he is impelled, apart from hunting after the receipt of anything, to do the kindness.  But he is not yet philanthropic.”  Then I said, “By what deeds, then, can any one be philanthropic?”  And Peter answered, “Since I see that you are eager to hear what is the work of philanthropy, I shall not object to telling you.  He is the philanthropic man who does good even to p. 298 his enemies.  And that it is so, listen:  Philanthropy is masculo-feminine; and the feminine part of it is called compassion, and the male part is named love to our neighbour.  But every man is neighbour to every man, and not merely this man or that; for the good and the bad, the friend and the enemy, are alike men.  It behoves, therefore, him who practises philanthropy to be an imitator of God, doing good to the righteous and the unrighteous, as God Himself vouchsafes His sun and His heavens to all in the present world.  But if you will do good to the good, but not to the evil, or even will punish them, you undertake to do the work of a judge, you do not strive to hold by philanthropy.”

Next: Chapter XXVII