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True Righteousness

Lactantius | July 17

Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. —Isaiah 3:10

“No one is poor in God's sight except the unrighteous. No one is rich except those filled with virtue.”


Although righteousness unites all the virtues, two in particular can never be separated from it— piety and equity…. If piety is knowing God and the culmination of knowing God is wor­shiping Him, then obviously those who don’t know God don’t know righteousness. For how can we know righteousness if we don’t know its source?…

The other part of justice is equity. Obviously I’m not talking about the equity of judging well (although this is praiseworthy), but of making oneself equal to others…. For God, who produces and gives breath to people, desired that all should be equally matched. He has placed the same life conditions on everyone; He has given everyone wisdom. No one is prevent­ed from receiving His heavenly bene­fits. For He gives light, water, food, and the most pleasant rest of sleep to everyone. In the same way, He grants everyone equity and virtue. In His eyes, no one is a slave and no one is a master. For, if we all have the same Father, by an equal right we are all His children. No one is poor in God’s sight except the unrighteous. No one is rich except those filled with virtue.

All Scripture references are taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version. Excerpts from the early Church Fathers are in the public domain, but were organized and arranged for daily reading in Day by Day with the Early Church Fathers, © 1999 by Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, Massachusetts. (No longer in print). Used by permission and in accordance with sections 3.3, 3.4, and 3.5 of Hendrickson’s “Rights and Permissions”. All rights reserved.

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