Verse 17

Here is, I. The duty of charity described. It includes two things:—1. Compassion, which is the inward principle of charity in the heart; it is to have pity on the poor. Those that have not a penny for the poor, yet may have pity for them, a charitable concern and sympathy; and, if a man give all his goods to feed the poor and have not this charity in his heart, it is nothing, 1 Cor. 13:3. We must draw out our souls to the hungry, Isa. 58:10. 2. Bounty and liberality. We must not only pity the poor, but give, according to their necessity and our ability, Jas. 2:15, 16. That which he has given. Margin, His deed. It is charity to do for the poor, as well as to give; and thus, if they have their limbs and senses, they may be charitable to one another.

II. The encouragement of charity. 1. A very kind construction shall be put upon it. What is given to the poor, or done for them, God will place it to account as lent to him, lent upon interest (so the word signifies); he takes it kindly, as if it were done to himself, and he would have us take the comfort of it and to be as well pleased as ever any usurer was when he had let out a sum of money into good hands. 2. A very rich recompence shall be made for it: He will pay him again, in temporal, spiritual, and eternal blessings. Almsgiving is the surest and safest way of thriving.