alms /ˈɑ(l)mz, ||ˈɑmz/
Alms n. sing. & pl. Anything given gratuitously to relieve the poor, as money, food, or clothing; a gift of charity.
A devout man . . . which gave much alms to the people. --Acts x. 2.
Alms are but the vehicles of prayer. --Dryden.
Tenure by free alms. See Frankalmoign.
Note: ☞ This word alms is singular in its form (almesse), and is sometimes so used; as, “asked an alms.” --Acts iii. 3. “Received an alms.” --Shak. It is now, however, commonly a collective or plural noun. It is much used in composition, as almsgiver, almsgiving, alms bag, alms chest, etc.
n : voluntary contributions to aid the poor [syn: alms-giving,
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.