Not found in the Old Testament, but repeatedly in the New. The Mosaic legislation ( Leviticus 25:35 ; Deuteronomy 15:7 ) tended to promote a spirit of charity, and to prevent the occurrence of destitution among the people. Such passages as these, Psalms 41:1 ; 112:9 ; Proverbs 14:31 ; Isaiah 10:2 ; Amos 2:7 ; Jeremiah 5:28 ; Ezekiel 22:29 , would also naturally foster the same benevolent spirit.
In the time of our Lord begging was common ( Mark 10:46 ; Acts 3:2 ). The Pharisees were very ostentatious in their almsgivings ( Matthew 6:2 ). The spirit by which the Christian ought to be actuated in this duty is set forth in 1 John 3:17 . A regard to the state of the poor and needy is enjoined as a Christian duty ( Luke 3:11 ; 6:30 ; Matthew 6:1 ; Acts 9:36 ; Acts 10:2 Acts 10:4 ), a duty which was not neglected by the early Christians ( Luke 14:13 ; Acts 20:35 ; Galatians 2:10 ; Romans 15:25-27 ; 1 Corinthians 16:1-4 ). They cared not only for the poor among themselves, but contributed also to the necessities of those at a distance ( Acts 11:29 ; 24:17 ; 2 co. 9:12 ). Our Lord and his attendants showed an example also in this ( John 13:29 ).
In modern times the "poor-laws" have introduced an element which modifies considerably the form in which we may discharge this Christian duty.