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It is a saying among the Messenians,
Pylos before Pylos, and Pylos still you'll find;

but it may much better be said against the usurers,

Use before use, and use still more you'll find.

So that they laugh at those natural philosophers who hold [p. 417] that nothing can be made of nothing and of that which has no existence; but with them usury is made and engendered of that which neither is nor ever was. They think the taking to farm the customs and other public tributes, which the laws nevertheless permit, to be a shame and reproach; and yet themselves on the contrary, in opposition to all the laws in the world, make men pay tribute for what they lend upon interest; or rather, if truth may be spoken, do in the very letting out their money to use, basely deceive their debtor. For the poor debtor, who receives less than he acknowledges in his obligation, is falsely and dishonestly cheated. And the Persians indeed repute lying to be a sin only in a second degree, but to be in debt they repute to be in the first; forasmuch as lying frequently attends those that owe. Now there are not in the whole world any people who are oftener guilty of lying than usurers, nor that practise more unfaithfulness in their day-books, in which they set down that they have delivered such a sum of money to such a person, to whom they have not given nigh so much. And the moving cause of their lying is pure avarice, not want or poverty, but an insatiable desire of always having more, the end of which is neither pleasurable nor profitable to themselves, but ruinous and destructive to those whom they injure. For they neither cultivate the lands of which they deprive their debtors, nor inhabit the houses out of which they eject them, nor eat at the tables which they take away from them, nor wear the clothes of which they strip them. But first one is destroyed, and then a second soon follows, being drawn on and allured by the former. For the mischief spreads like wildfire, still consuming, and yet still increasing by the destruction and ruin of those that fall into it, whom it devours one after another. And the usurer who maintains this fire, blowing and kindling it to the undoing of so many people, reaps no other advantage [p. 418] from it but only that he now and then takes his book of accounts, and reads in it how many poor debtors he has caused to sell what they had, how many he has dispossessed of their lands and livings, whence his money came which he is always turning, winding, and increasing.

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