The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Father George Howe’s Homily Notes on Romans 13:8 On the Payment of Debts

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 30, 2017

Owe no man anything. Rom. 13:8.

1. There is one debt we can never fully pay the debt of charity.

2. All other debts we must try to discharge. Owe no man anything.

3. Too often neglected is this precept of the Apostle.

We must pay our debts:

i. When goods are bought, the price of them belongs to the seller. He parts with them, on the understanding we pay
him their value.

ii. To refuse payment is an unjust keeping of what belongs to another.

a. Now, all unjust keeping is forbidden by the 7th Commandment.

b. It is always sinful, therefore, to some degree.

c. Hence, we must pay our debts.

iii. Under this heading come wages, loans, interest, rent, etc.

a. They are all real debts of justice.

b. But how often is there unnecessary delay in paying them.

iv. We must economize, so as to be able to meet our liabilities!

Evils of delay:

i. Inconvenience and loss to creditors.

a. Tradesmen have goods to buy, for resale.

b. These they must pay for.

c. But how do it, if their own dues be withheld ?

d. All know the inconvenience of want of money,

ii. Sometimes such delay may spell ruin.

a. Tradespeople being thus unable to pay their way, further goods are refused them.

b. What responsibility in us, to place them in such a position!

iii. Necessity of having to make restitution, founded on

a. The Natural Law, implanted in the heart.

b. The Divine Law of God: Ex. 22:5; Mt 22:21.

c. The Civil Law of nations.

d. Duty most strictly binding, where possible.

e. Duty oftentimes as difficult as it is essential, e.g., through human respect, fear of detection, etc.

iv. Ill-feeling between neighbours:

a. Men thus defrauded naturally resent the evil.

b. Ill-feeling may then spring up, which

1. May deepen into hatred, and

2. Lead to detraction, calumny, etc.

c. Thus is scandal produced.

v. Scorn and ridicule brought on Religion : for,

a. Too often “Good church-goers are bad debtpayers.”

b. Too often they run into debt for mere luxuries.

c. Too often they borrow, without prospect of being able to repay ;

d. Too often they take offence, when asked to settle accounts!

e. All this is opposed to simple honesty and truemReligion. Hence the contempt into which Religion is brought.


i. Ever show real honesty in all your dealings with others.

ii. Be thoughtful to pay your just debts within reason able time.

iii. If bound to restitution, make it at once. Conscience cannot rest till this be done. Better still

iv. Avoid the difficulty of restitution, by avoiding the cause of it.

v. All this will be easy, if we make Christian charity our guide.


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