Charity and Good Works (pt. 53)
v Doctrinal Series v
Dead charity is the charity of those whose faith is dead; since the charity is such as the faith is. … That the faith of those who are without works is dead, appears from the Epistle of James (2:17, 20).
Furthermore, faith is dead in those who do not believe in God; but believe in living and dead men, and who worship images as holy in themselves, as the gentiles formerly did. The offerings of those who are in such a faith, which for the sake of salvation they bestow upon their miracle-working images, as they call them, including these offerings among works of charity, are precisely like the gold and silver that are put in the urns and monuments of the dead; they are even like the meat given to Cerberus, or the fee paid to Charon for ferriage to the Elysian fields.
But the charity of those who believe that there is no God, but only nature instead, is neither spurious, hypocritical, nor dead; it is no charity at all, because it is not joined to any faith, and cannot be called charity, since the quality of charity is determined by faith. Such charity, viewed from heaven, is like bread made of ashes, a cake made of fishes’ scales, or fruit made of wax.
To be continued . . .