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“Gregory of Nyssa Oratio Contra Usurarios”
Excerpts from Gregory's sermon against those who lend money with interest.
Click here to read at earlychurchtexts.com in the original Greek (with dictionary lookup links). The English translation is by the Revd Andrew Maguire, the Early Church Texts webmaster. Further extracts are given through the link above.
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Gregory of Nyssa
.... You to whom this is addressed, whoever you are,
as a human being, show contempt for roguish ways. Love people, not riches.
Keep on resisting this sin.
Say to usury, once so dear to you, the utterance of John the Baptist, "Get
away from me, 'you brood of vipers'" (Mt 3.7). You are the ruin of those who
take and hold you. You bring a brief moment of pleasure, but as time goes by
your poison is noxious to the soul. You block the way that leads to life and
close the gates of the kingdom. Having briefly delighted the eye and been a
topic of conversation you are the cause of endless woe. When you have
uttered these words say farewell to profit and usury and commit yourself to love of the poor: "Do not turn your back on the
one who wants to borrow from you" (Mt 5.42). Because of poverty
somebody is sitting at your door, pleading with you; at a loss he flees for
refuge to your wealth, hoping that you might bring relief to his need.
But you do just the opposite: you should be an ally, but you become an
enemy, for you do not help him so that he can be freed both from the
distress which is pressing on him and his indebtedness to you. Rather, you sow evils
for this man who has come on hard times, strip the naked, injure the
wounded, and pile care upon care and woe upon woe. Whoever receives money
through usury takes a pledge of
poverty and under the pretence of a good deed brings ruin on someone's home.
You might perforce give wine out of charity to someone who is sick with a
raging fever, if he is overcome with thirst and asks you for a drink. It
brings him relief for a while when he takes the cup, but after a little
while it makes his fever strong and ten times worse. In the same way if you
give money laden with poverty to a poor man you are not relieving his
distress but adding to his misfortune.
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Sermon on usury Greek
Against lending money with interest
Gregory of Nyssa in Greek with English Translation
Migne Greek Text
Patrologiae Graecae Cursus Completus
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