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viii. 4, 5, &c. 'hear this, 0 ye that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail Mic. ii. 1, 2. they covet fields, and take them by violence.' iii. 2, 3. "who pluck the skin off from them
Fourthly, injury. Exod. xxi, 33. if an ox or an ass fall therein—.' v. 35, 36. “if one man's ox hurt another's ... or if it be known that the ox hath used to push in times past,' &c. xxii. 5, 6. "if a man shall cause a field or vineyard to be eaten,' &c.
Fifthly, man-stealing. Exod. xxi. 16. he that stealeth a man, or selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.' Deut. xxiv. 7. “if a man be found stealing any of his brethren,' &c. 1. Tim. i. 10. men-stealers.'
Under commutative justice are included all transactions of purchase and sale, of letting and hire, of lending and borrowing, of keeping and restoring deposits.
Transactions of sale and purchase. Lev. xix. 36. * just balances, just weights-, xxv. 14. if thou sell ought unto thy neighbour, or buyest ought of thy neighbour's hand, ye shall not oppress one another.' Prov. xvi. 11. 6a just weight and balance are Jehovah's; all the weights of the bag are his work.'
To justice in matters of sale and purchase, are opposed various frauds. Prov. xi. 26. he that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him.' Ezek. xxviii. 16. áby the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence- So also when counterfeit or adulterated goods are sold for genuine. Amos viii. 6. that we may sell the refuse of the wheat.' Or when false weights and measures are employed. Lev. xix. 35. “ye shall do
no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure.' Deut. xxv. 13-15. thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small - Prov xi. 1. ca false balance is abomination to Jehovah.' xx. 10. divers weights and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to Jehovah.' See also v. 23. Hos. xii. 7. he is a merchant, the balances of deceit are in his hand.' Amos viii. 5. making the ephah small.? Mic. vi. 11.
shall I count them pure with the wicked balances ?? Or when the buyer, on his part, uses dishonest artifices in the conclusion of a bargain. Prov. xx. 14. it is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer.'
Transactions of letting or hire. Lev. xix. 13. the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning. Exod. xxii. 15. if it be an hired thing it came for his hire.' Deut. xxiv. 14. 15. “thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is
poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in the land within thy gates.? Mal. iii. 5. "against those that oppress the hireling in his wages.'
James v. 4. 'behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth.'
Lending and borrowing. Deut. xv. 7, &c. if there be
among you a poor man of one of thy brethren .., thou shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need in that which he wanteth.' Psal. xxxvii. 26. he is ever merciful, and lendeth.' , cxii. 5. 'a good man showeth favour, and lendeth. Matt. v. 42. from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.' Luke vi. 35. lend, hoping for nothing again. Prov. xix. 17. he that hath pity upon the poor,
lendeth to Jehovah.' The case of loans to such as are not poor is different. Exod. xxii. 14. if a man borrow aught of his neighbour, and it be hurt, or die,' &c Psal. xxxvii. 21. the wicked borroweth and payeth not again.
In loans, justice is violated by the exaction of immoderate interest; under which denomination all interest is included, which is taken from the poor.
Exod. xxii. 25. if thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer.' Lev. xxv. 35, 36. if thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee, then thou shalt relieve him; yea, though he be a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with thee : take thou no usury of him, or increase ; but fear thy God, that thy brother may live with thee. This is the meaning of the command in Deut. xxiii. 19. thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother, usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury.'
As however much difference of opinion exists with regard to usury, and as the discussion belongs.properly to this place, we will consider briefly what is to be determined on the subject. It is the opinion of most, that usury is not in all cases unlawful, but that its legality or illegality is determined by the purpose for which it is exacted, the rate of interest, and the party by whom it is to be paid ; that with regard to the party, it may be lawfully received from any one possessed of sufficient property for payment; that the rate of interest should be such as is consistent with equity at least, if not with charity; and that in exacting it we should have a view not to our own interests exclusively, but also to those of our neighbour. Where these con
ditions are observed, they maintain that usury is
perfectly allowable ; nor is it without reason that these limitations are added, since without these there is scarcely any species of compact or commercial intercourse which can be considered as lawsul. That usury is in itself equally justifiable with any other kind of civil contract, is evident from the following considerations ;* first, that if it were in itself reprehensible, God would not have permitted the Israelites to lend upon usury to strangers, Deut. xxiii. 20. especially as he elsewhere commands them to do, no hurt to the stranger, but on the contrary to assist him with
every kind of good office, especially in case of poverty. Secondly, if it be lawful to receive profit for the use of cattle, lands, houses, and the like, why not of money also ? which, when borrowed, as it often is, not from necessity, but for purposes of gain, is apt to be more profitable to the borrower than to the lender. It is true that God prohibited the Israelites from lending upon usury on the produce of their land; but this was for a reason purely ceremonial, in like manner as he forbad them to sell their land in perpetuity, Lev. xxv. 23. Under the gospel, therefore, that usury only is to be condemned which is taken from the poor, or of which the sole object is gain, and which is exacted without a regard to charity and justice; even as any other species of lucrative commerce carried on in the same spirit would be equally reprehensible, and equally entitled to the Hebrew name :70.5, signifying a bite. This therefore is the usury prohibited Exod. xxii. 25. • if thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer.' Lev. xxv. 35–37. as above. These are the earliest passages in which the subject occurs ; they ought therefore to be considered as illustrating by anticipation those which come after, and the exception contained in them as applying equally to all other occasions on which usury is mentioned: Deut. xxiii. 19. as above. Psal. xv. 5. he that putteth not out his money to usury .... shall never be moved.' Prov. xxviii. 8. he that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor.' Ezek. xviii. 8. he that hath not given forth upon usury, neither hath taken any increase, that hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity-.'
* Usury, so much as is permitted by the magistrate, and demanded with common equity, is neither against the word of God, nor the rule of charity; as hath been often discussed by men of eminent learning and judgment.' Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, Prose Works, II. 24.
Justice as regards the safe custody of property, is concerned in the demand or restitution of pledges, and of deposits in trust ; on which subject see Exod. xxii. 7. if a man shall deliver unto his neighbour money or stuff to keep,' &c. See also v. 10, 11. Exek. xviii. 7. hath not oppressed any, but hath restored to the debtor his pledge. Under what limitations a pledge may be received from a poor man, is seen Exod. xxii. 26. if thou at all take thy neighbour's raiment to pledge,' &c. Deut. xxiv. 6. no man shall take the upper or nether millstone to pledge.' The same chapter enjoins a regard to humanity in the taking of pledges, v. 10. “thou shalt not go into his house to fetch his pledge.
Thus far of commutative justice. Under the same head may be classed moderation, which consists in