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Alms - (Easton's Bible Dictionary)

Not found in the Old Testament, but repeatedly in the New. The Mosaic legislation (Lev. 25:35; Deut. 15:7) tended to promote a spirit of charity, and to prevent the occurrence of destitution among the people. Such passages as these, Ps. 41:1; 112:9; Prov. 14:31; Isa. 10:2; Amos 2:7; Jer. 5:28; Ezek. 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 (Matt. 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; Matt. 6:1; Acts 9:36; 10:2, 4), a duty which was not neglected by the early Christians (Luke 14:13; Acts 20:35; Gal. 2:10; Rom. 15:25-27; 1 Cor. 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 Cor. 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.

Alms - (Webster's 1828 Dictionary)

'ALMS, 'amz. [Eng. almesse; L. eleemosyna; Gr. to pity.]

Any thing given gratuitously to relieve the poor, as money, food, or clothing, otherwise called charity.

A lame man was laid daily to ask an alms. Acts 3.

Cornelius gave much alms to the people. Acts 10.

Tenure by free alms, or frank-almoign, in England, is that by which the possessor is bound to pray for the soul of the donor, whether dead or alive; a tenure by which most of the ancient monasteries and religious houses in England held their lands, as do the parochial clergy, and many ecclesiastical and eleemosynary establishments at this day. Land thus held was free from all rent or other service.

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