He that by usury and unjust gain increases his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor.
A matter-of-fact Englishman, writing about the uselessness of abstract preaching, says that, during ten years' residence in a country parish, he became well acquainted with the characteristic temptations, failings, tricks and vices, and crimes of the people, and he longed to hear something from the pulpit calculated to meet the emergencies of the case. Ten long years the drowsy pulpit poured forth its dull platitudes; the clergyman never coming down from the clouds long enough to let the dishonest, the cruel, and the dissipated understand that they know nothing practically concerning the imitation of Christ until they have asked themselves how He would have acted if He had vegetables to sell or horses to drive. Wealth, in days of undefiled English, meant well-being, and is now used to describe money — money more than all beside; and worth, or worthiness, has degenerated into a term to express how much of "filthy lucre" that one has contrived to get hold of. The cool contempt of money which some old cynics and philosophers expressed was little more than affectation. Had they been lucky enough to have any, their estimate of it might have been different. A man of wealth, who behaves himself properly, and puts on no airs, is as much to be respected as his poorest neighbours. Let this be remembered, however, it must be wealth honestly come by. When greed of gain has secured a lodgment in the heart, it imperiously demands satisfaction. In countries where civilisation is unknown it turns freebooter, and leagues with bands of kindred spirits; while in Christian lands it puts on more respectable shapes, not so shocking to the casual observer. The rude robber stops his victim on the highway, and holds midnight revels on the spoil; and the cunning accountant defrauds his creditors, and rides in his carriage. Does a just God see much difference between them? Christian integrity will, in the end, always receive its merited reward. Instead of worldly maxims, based on low and unworthy principles, let the solemn question of our Lord keep us from evil ways — "What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?"
(John N. Norton.)
Parallel VersesKJV: He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor.