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51

Of charity in lending money, and justice in repaying. Of alms, and of being surety.

[1] He that sheweth mercy, lendeth to his neighbour: and he that is stronger in hand, keepeth the commandments. [2] Lend to thy neighbour in the time of his need, and pay thou thy neighbour again in due time. [3] Reap thy word, and deal faithfully with him: and thou shalt always find that which is necessary for thee. [4] Many have looked upon a thing lent as a thing found, and have given trouble to them that helped them. [5] Till they receive, they kiss the hands of the lender, and in promises they humble their voice:

[1] And he that is stronger in hand: That is, he that is hearty and bountiful in lending to his neighbour in his necessity.

[6] But when they should repay, they will ask time, and will return tedious and murmuring words, and will complain of the time: [7] And if he be able to pay, he will stand off, he will scarce pay one half, and will count it as if he had found it: [8] But if not, he will defraud him of his money, and he shall get him for an enemy without cause: [9] And he will pay him with reproaches and curses, and instead of honour and good turn will repay him injuries. [10] Many have refused to lend, not out of wickedness, but they were afraid to be defrauded without cause.

[11] But yet towards the poor be thou more hearty, and delay not to shew him mercy. [12] Help the poor because of the commandment: and send him not away empty handed because of his poverty. [13] Lose thy money for thy brother and thy friend: and hide it not under a stone to be lost. [14] Place thy treasure in the commandments of the most High, and it shall bring thee more profit than gold. [15] Shut up alms in the heart of the poor, and it shall obtain help for thee against all evil.

[16] Better than the shield of the mighty, and better than the spear: [17] It shall fight for thee against thy enemy. [18] A good man is surety for his neighbour: and he that hath lost shame, will leave him to himself. [19] Forget not the kindness of thy surety: for he hath given his life for thee. [20] The sinner and the unclean fleeth from his surety.

[21] A sinner attributeth to himself the goods of his surety: and he that is of an unthankful mind will leave him that delivered him. [22] A man is surety for his neighbour: and when he hath lost all shame, he shall forsake him. [23] Evil suretyship hath undone many of good estate, and hath tossed them as a wave of the sea. [24] It hath made powerful men to go from place to place round about, and they have wandered in strange countries. [25] A sinner that transgresseth the commandment of the Lord, shall fall into an evil suretyship: and he that undertaketh many things, shall fall into judgment.

[26] Recover thy neighbour according to thy power, and take heed to thyself that thou fall not. [27] The chief thing for man' s life is water and bread, and clothing, and a house to cover shame. [28] Better is the poor man' s fare under a roof of boards, than sumptuous cheer abroad in another man' s house. [29] Be contented with little instead of much, and thou shalt not hear the reproach of going abroad. [30] It is a miserable life to go as a guest from house to house: for where a man is a stranger, he shall not deal confidently, nor open his mouth.

[31] He shall entertain and feed, and give drink to the unthankful, and moreover he shall hear bitter words. [32] Go, stranger, and furnish the table, and give others to eat what thou hast in thy hand. [33] Give place to the honourable presence of my friends: for I want my house, my brother being to be lodged with me. [34] These things are grievous to a man of understanding: the upbraiding of houseroom, and the reproaching of the lender.

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