This old adage still reverberates among Anglo-Saxon religious reformers, bishops, mendicant friars, dramatists, playwrights, and authors. For example, John Wycliffe (1380), Alexander Barclay (1509), Thomas Wilson (1572), Richard Brome (1641), Arthur Murphy (1763), Charles Dickens (1850).
The trouble is that too often charity not only begins but ends at home. 4
Warns American missionary Frank Charles Laubach:
We have made the slogan “Charity begins at home” a part of our religion — although it was invented by a Roman pagan, and is directly contrary to the story of the Good Samaritan. Charity begins where the need is greatest and the crisis is most dangerous.5
Bare Selfishness has always prospered in Europe (and brought about much of its prosperity), from the classic to the modern age.
It may be said further, that “Black magic reigns over Europe as an allpowerful, though unrecognised, autocrat,” its chief conscious adherents and practical servants being found in the Roman Church, and its unconscious practitioners in the Protestant. The whole body of the socalled “privileged” classes of society in Europe and America is honeycombed with unconscious black magic, or sorcery of the vilest character.
Here is a small collection of self-justifying alibis from old Europe:
Well-regulated charity begins at home.1
I am my own nearest kin. 2
My tunic is nearer to me than my cloak.3
My leg is further than my knee.4
Near is my coat, but nearer is my skin.5
Every man reaps his own field.6
He sings for himself.7
He eats his bread from his pocket.8
Self first, then your next best friend.9
But nowadays each loving naught but pelf,
Counts on his fingers what’ll enrich himself.10
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