A system of religious pauperism
(John Angell James)
"Even while we were with you, we gave you this rule:
'Whoever does not work should not eat!' Yet we hear
that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work
and wasting time meddling in other people's business.
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we appeal to
such people--no, we command them: Settle down and
get to work! Earn your own living!" 2 Thesal. 3:10-12
The poor should be conspicuous for their industry, and
should not eat the bread of idleness. The poor have no
right, therefore, to expect, that in consequence of their
association with a Christian church, they are in any
measure released from the obligation of the most
unwearied industry. They are not to be supported
in idleness, nor ought they to look for any financial
allowance, while they are able to provide for themselves
and their family.
The religion of Jesus Christ was never intended to
establish a system of religious pauperism. It is to
be feared, that many have entered into Christian
fellowship on purpose to obtain its funds! This is a
dreadful case, wherever it occurs, and should make
all the poor members of our churches tremble at
the most distant approximation to such a crime!
The only times in which Christians should feel that
they have claims upon the funds of the church, are
when sickness or old age has incapacitated them for
labor; or when the produce of their industry is too
scanty to procure the necessities of life.