If you try to take the fruits of Christianity without its roots, the fruits will wither

I THINK back to many discussions in my early life when we all agreed that if you try to take the fruits of Christianity without its roots, the fruits will wither.

Margaret Thatcher (1925–)

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Kepier Hospital (1333) near Durham. © Graeme and Lesley Cranston, Geograph. Used under licence.

Kepier Hospital near Durham, founded and endowed by the dramatic figure of Bishop Ranulph Flambard (the first prisoner to escape from the Tower of London) for the care of the poor in 1112. Photo © Graeme and Lesley Cranston, Geograph. Used under licence. Click for original.

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The Emperor Julian (331/332 – 26 June 363), who abandoned Christianity in favour of paganism, tried to make his freshly-minted public charities in the image of the private charities of the Orthodox Church that he so despised.

AND finally, Julian established in different provinces [pagan] monasteries, nunneries, and hospitals for the sick, for orphans, and for foreigners without distinction of religion, appropriated to them considerable sums from the public treasury, and at the same time, though fruitlessly, invited voluntary contributions.

He made the noteworthy concession, that the heathens did not help even their own brethren in faith; while the Jews never begged, and “the godless Galileans,” as he malignantly styled the Christians, supplied not only their own, but even the heathen poor, and thus aided the worst of causes by a good practice.

But of course all these attempts to regenerate heathenism by foreign elements were utterly futile.

They were like galvanizing a decaying corpse, or grafting fresh scions on a dead trunk, sowing good seed on a rock, or pouring new wine into old bottles, bursting the bottles and wasting the wine.

Philip Schaff (1819-1893), “History of the Christian Church” Vol. III (CCEL).

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BLESSED is the man who has not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, and has not stood in the way of sinners, and has not sat in the seat of evil men.

But his pleasure is in the law of the Lord; and in his law will he meditate day and night.

And he shall be as a tree planted by the brooks of waters, which shall yield its fruit in its season, and its leaf shall not fall; and whatsoever he shall do shall be prospered.

Psalm 1:1-3.

More on Kepier Hospital at British History.

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