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men possess. And I was exceeding angry when I heard their cry according to these words; and I rebuked the nobles and magistrates and said to them : Do you every one exact usury of your brethren ? The thing you do is not good ; why walk you not in the fear of our God, that we be not exposed to the reproaches of the Gentiles, our enemies ? Restore ye to them this day, their fields, and their vineyards, and their olive yards, and their houses ; and the hundredth part of the money, and of the corn, the wine, and the oil, which you were wont to exact from them, give it rather for them.
To review the text now quoted : Christ our Lord commands by the mouth of the evangelist, Lake VI. Lend, hoping for nothing thereby. From which St. Augustin justly infers : “If you lend your money to a man from whom you hope to receive more than you gave, you are an usurer, and therefore reprehensible, not praiseworthy." Therefore the very hope, or expectation, of receiving any thing whatever, over or above the sum lent, constitutes the lender au usurer, a violater of the law, and contemner of the example of the Merciful Redeemer, who loves his enemies, who is kind to the unthankfnl and to the evil, who maketh his sun to rise upon the good and bad, and raineth upon the just and the unjust.
The Lord God, Deut. XXIII. declares : Thou shalt not lend to thy brother money at usury, nor corn, nor anything else. And St. Ambrose, in his commentary, proclaims: “The food is usury ; the cloth is usury ; whatever is added to the capital, it is usury ; whatever name you give it, it is usury.”
The Psalmist, Ps. XIV. pronounces that the usurer shall not dwell on the holy mountain of God.
The prophet Ezech. XVIII. declares that the man who hath not lent upon usury, nor taken any increase, is a just man, and that he will surely live. And that the man who giveth upon nsury and that taketh an iucrease shall not live ; that he will surely die; that his blood shall be upon him. Therefore, to lend upon usury, or take any increase, any thing over and above the capital lent, brings death upon the lender, not that death which is common and natural to all the children of Adam, but the eternal death of the soul.
Again, the same prophet, Ezech. XXII. declares that oppression of the poor and stranger, and the exaction of usury or increase, was one of the hideous crimes that brought down the wrath of God upon the ancient Israelites, his own favorite people, and moved him to disperse them among the nations.However, no divine chastisement or admonition would correct them: for we find them again, on their return from the captivity, involved in the same crimes; being as oppressive to the poor and as usurious as they had been previously.
Universal Dictionary. “In England, the laws of the Saxon and Norman kings were most rigorous against usurers, or lenders at interest: Edward the Confessor forbade usurers to reside in any part of his kingdom, and decreed that the property of all persons convicted of the practice of excessive usury, (fænus,) be confiscated, and they themselves be outlawed : for usury is the root of all evils ; Aeg. Edw.Con. C. 37. If they were not convicted, they were permitted to dispose of their poperty during life, but after death, it was confiscated, if it could be proved that they lent money to usury within a year before their death. If a Clergyman were an usurer, his property would not be confiscated, but distributed on charitable purposes. A person charged with the act or practice of usury, was deemed, at that time, an usurer. To lend money in hope of gain, was usury. Excessive usury was called fænus : Est usura suos quisqnis tradit mihi nummos spe lucri : fænus duplex usura vocatur.”
Blackstone, Comm. book 2, page 458. “The school divines have branded the practice of taking interest as a sin against the law of God, both natural and revealed. And the Canon Law proscribed the taking any, even the least, increase for the loan of money, as mortal sin.”
Williom Cobbett, Hist. Reform. par. 402, saith : “Seeing that to lend money at interest, that is to say, to receive money for the use of money, was, and is, contrary to the principles of the Catholic Church ; among Christians, such a thing was never heard of before that which is impudently called the Reformation. Indeed, no such thing was ever attempted to be justified until the savage, Henry VIII. cast off the supremacy of the Pope. Jews did it, but then Jews had no civil rights. In degraded wretches like these, usury, that is, receiving money for the use of money, was justly tolerated, for the same cause that incest is tolerated among dogs.”
Behold a glorious testimony of three Protestant authorties for the orthodoxy of the English Church, previous to the Reformation. “Usurers were not permitted by the laws of Edward the Confessor, to reside in any part of the kingdom. They were outlawed and their property confiscated. To lend in the chope of gain was called usury.” “The practice of taking interest was deemed a sin against the divine law: and to charge any increase whatever, for the loan of money, was proscribed by the Canon Law.”. “To lend money at interest ; that is, to receive money for the use of money, was, and is, contrary to the Catholic principles ; and among Christians, such a thing was never heard of until the Reformation; it was never attempted to be justified, until the savage Henry VIII. cast off the Pope. The Jews did it, but then the Jews had no civil rights."
Therefore, usury, or the practice of interest, is not the seed originally sown in the field by Christ, the Lord, but the tares subsequently scattered by the savage Henry, after he had plunged himself and the nation into the guilt of schism. His pretense for the unchristian novelty, was the usual extortion of the Jews ; and, strange to say, the schismatic allowed his miserable people to adopt the same Jewish extortion : for he allowed them, by Statute, to exact 10 per cent. for the loan of money.
In 1692, another Protestant king, the Prince of Orange, improving on Harry's usury, devised the scheme of squandering the property of posterity; of mortgaging the taxes, for a loan.He invented what he called the Funds and National Debt.This is the scourge of scourges, the source of all the calamities—famine, pestilence, and dispersion of the people. Since the date of the Orange invention, 160 years are now elapsed ; and the debt is swelled so much, that all the specie in the whole world, if collected, would not liquidate it ; and what is more alarming, it continues to increase without any prospect of stopping. . The people that are ground down by the weight of taxes, and starved in the middle of plenty, receive, if they complain or petition, no other relief than an increase of armies and taxes. The debt begets popular convulsions, and these again engender additional burdens. So that, contrary to the laws of natural generation, the convulsions and taxes mutually generate one anothcr. Since all prospects of liquidating or sinking the debt are out of question, the national calamities and sores will increase in fury and violence, until the emaciated and exhausted nation finally sink in some direful crisis, either through explosion of the funds, or in some frantic paroxism of the starved members. Consistently with the usual action of the laws of nature upon diseased bodies, that fatal event cannot be far distant. The oceans of blood already spilt, the millions starved at home scattered and exposed to destitution and death upon foreign shores, by the government and fund-holders, cry to heaven for vengeance. He saith : To me be revenge ; I shall repay.One day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. During his trials and afflictions, the soothing and consoling words of the good neighbour make a happy impression upon the sinking patient : they inspire him with papatience and fortitude, and reignation to the will of Providence, who chastises the child whom he loves, and to look upon the sufferings of this world as transitory, not to be compared with the eternal glory that is prepared for him in the world to come. But what greatly aggravates the afflictions of the poor under the pressure of usury and paper money, they receive no consolation or sympathy from the public editors and writers ; whilst they are all loud and fervent in the praise of bankers, banks and dividends; and divert public attention from the real authors and causes of the domestic evils, to foreign rulers and people that had nothing at all to do in the matter. An instance of such base servility is seen in said Brownson's Quarterly Revier, page 452, October, 1851.
He saith : “The remote cause of the present frightful state of " the civilized world, is, no doubt, to be looked for in the pre“ varication of Adam; but the more proximate cause is the “revolution effected in European thought and practice, at the "epoch of the taking of Constantinople by the Turks, and the "revival of Greek studies and literature in Western Europe.
“But it is undeniable, that the revolution effected in the mid6 dle of the fifteenth century, was a reaction of ancient pagan“ism against Christianity. This reaction commenced in phi“ losophy, literature and art, and passed into the polical order “ under Louis XI. and Louis XII. of France, Henry VII. of
England, and Maximilian I., and Charles V., of Germany. “ From the political order, it passed into the religious order, " under Luther and Calvin.”
Behold two foul and false aspersions : First, that the Greek literature had been shamefully neglected by the ancient Catholics, until the dawn of new light in the sixteenth century; and second, that the revival of said literature in Western Europe, occasioned the frightful immorality that threatens the dissolution of civilized society. He should, in justice to his readers, specify the period in ecclesiastical history, when the Greek literature had been neglected. Perhaps the Basils and Gregories Nyssa and Nazien, or Cyrill of Alexandria, who wrote and spoke Greek in perfection ; or Jerome, or Damasus, or Gre