A Metaphrase Of The Book Of Ecclesiastes by Gregory Thaumaturgus
Chapter XI. Moreover, it is a righteous thing to give to the needy of thy bread√†
Moreover, it is a righteous thing to give (to the needy) of thy bread, and of those things which are necessary for the support of man's life. For though thou seemest forthwith to waste it upon some persons, as if thou didst cast thy bread upon the water, yet in the progress of time thy kindness shall be seen to be not unprofitable for thee. Also give liberally, and give a portion of thy means to many; for thou knowest not what the coming day doeth. The clouds, again, do not keep back their plenteous rains, but discharge their showers upon the earth. Nor does a tree stand for ever; but even though men may spare it, it shall be overturned by the wind at any rate. But many desire also to know beforehand what is to come from the heavens; and there have been those who, scrutinizing the clouds and waiting for the wind, have had nought to do with reaping and winnowing, putting their trust in vanity, and being all incapable of knowing aught of what may come from God in the future; just as men cannot tell what the woman with child shall bring forth. But sow thou in season, and thus reap thy fruits whenever the time for that comes on. For it is not manifest what shall be better than those among all natural things. Would, indeed, that all things turned out well! Truly, when a man considers with himself that the sun is good, and that this life is sweet, and that it is a pleasant thing to have many years wherein one can delight himself continually, and that death is a terror and an endless evil, and a thing that brings us to nought, he thinks that he ought to enjoy himself in all the present and apparent pleasures of life. And he gives this counsel also to the young, that they should use to the uttermost the season of their youth, by giving up their minds to all manner of pleasure, and indulge their passions, and do all that seemeth good in their own eyes, and look upon that which delighteth, and avert themselves from that which is not so. But to such a man I shall say this much: Senseless art thou, my friend, in that thou dost not look for the judgment that shall come from God upon all these things. And profligacy and licentiousness are evil, and the filthy wantonness of our bodies carries death in it. For folly attends on youth, and folly leads to destruction.