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Harmony Of The Law Volume 3 by Jean Calvin

Deuteronomy 24:19-22

19. When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, then shalt not go again to fetch it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow; that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hands.

19. Quum messueris messem in agro tuo, et oblitus fueris manipulum in agro, non reverteris ad eum tollendum: peregrino, pupillo, et viduae erit: ut benedicat tibi Jehova Deus tuus in omni opere manuum tuarum.

20. When then beatest thine olive-tree, thou shalt not go over the boughs again: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow.

20. Quum excusseris olivam tuam, non scrutaberis ramos post te: peregrino, pupillo, et viduae erit.

21. When thou gatherest the grapes of thy vineyard, thou shalt not glean it afterward: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow.

21. Quum vindemiabis vineam tuam, non colliges racemos post te: peregrino, pupillo, et viduae erunt.

22. And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bond-man in the land of Egypt: therefore I command thee to do this thing.

22. Memento quod servus fueris in terra AEgypti: idcirco praecipio tibi ut hoc facias.

God here inculcates liberality upon the possessors of land, when their fruits are gathered: for, when His bounty is exercised before our eyes, it invites us to imitate Him; and it is a sign of ingratitude, unkindly and maliciously, to withhold what we derive from His blessing. God does not indeed require that those who have abundance should so profusely give away their produce, as to despoil themselves by enriching others; and, in fact, Paul prescribes this as the measure of our alms, that their relief of the poor should not bring into distress the rich themselves, who kindly distribute. (2 Corinthians 8:13.) God, therefore, permits every one to reap his corn, to gather his vintage, and to enjoy his abundance; provided the rich, content with their own vintage and harvest, do not grudge the poor the gleaning of the grapes and corn. Not that He absolutely assigns to the poor whatever remains, so that they may seize it as their own; but that some small portion may flow gratuitously to them from the munificence of the rich. He mentions indeed by name the orphans, and widows, and strangers, yet undoubtedly He designates all the poor and needy, who have no fields of their own to sow or reap; for it will sometimes occur that orphans are by no means in want, but rather that they have the means of being liberal themselves; nor are widows and strangers always hungry; but I have explained elsewhere why these three classes are mentioned.

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