SSUN2-91

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Chapter 91

Sin against the Divine order of the ninth commandment

91,1. Secondly, this commandment itself expresses the wise limitation of the right to collect and produce quite obviously and palpably. If we place the relative primordial property from the first point of observation adjacent to it, the ninth commandment points precisely to this by expressly forbidding to have a desire for what is the other's.

91,2. So what is the other? The other is that the Lord have created just as much ground on the earth for the sole maintenance of man as there is given to him by his measure of natural law, derived from his needs. Anyone who collects and manufactures more than this measure, in fact, even in the first degree, sins against this commandment, for in this commandment even the yearning desire is already shown to be criminal.

91,3. In the second degree, the lazy sins against this commandment, who is too lazy to exercise his original right of collecting, but only with the desire to gain possession of what another constitutionally collected and manufactured.

91,4. We see from this that one can thus make oneself guilty against this commandment in a twofold manner, namely firstly, by an exaggerated want of collecting and processing, and secondly, by omitting it altogether. For both cases, however, the command is the same as the wise restriction. In the first case it restricts exaggerated collecting and processing greed, in the second case laziness, with the intention of finding the just middle road; because it expresses nothing else than the respect united with love for the natural needs of the neighbor.

91,5. But one can oppose here and say that there are presently many rich and wealthy people who, with all their wealth and riches, do not possess a square foot of country property. They have come into a wealth of money through lucky trading speculation or inheritance and now live on their legal interest. What to do about these? Is their property according to the Divine right of natural law or not? For by their possession of money they do not restrict human property by refusing to buy anything anywhere, but they lend their money to good places against the legal interest; or they make other permissible exchange transactions and thereby increase their capital share by many thousands of guilders annually, where they do not need the hundredth part of their annual income for their good food, according to the right of natural need. But they are not uncommonly very just, sometimes even charitable people. Do these too, fail against our ninth commandment?

91,6. I say here: It does not matter, whatever it is, for a person to possess beyond his need, or to have too much money or too much land. It is all the same. For if I have so much money that I can buy myself a few square miles of land as estate property, that is just as much as if I had really made so much land for this money. On the contrary, it is even worse and much more contrary to Divine order. For whoever possessedso much land property, would necessarily have to be able to provide a living for a few thousand people, since he personally would not be able to handle such a large land property.

91,7. But consider a man who does not have property, but so much money that he could almost buy a kingdom with it. He can manage this money profitably only in the strictest case, or he needs at the most some accounting assistants, who will receive from him, in comparison with his income, a very moderate salary, often hardly enough to satisfy their needs, especially if they have a family.

91,8. But no such money-owner can excuse himself with the way he has made the money, whether by speculation, by winning a lottery, or by inheritance. In any case, he stands before God like a receiver next to a thieve. How, you may ask?

91,9. What does becoming rich through lucky speculation means? That is, and means, nothing other than acquiring for himself the legitimate merit of many usuriously, thereby depriving many of the legitimate merit and appropriating it for himself. In this case, a man who has become rich through lucky speculation, is a barbarous thief. In lottery winnings, he is the same, because he acquires what is to be used by many, for himself. In the case of an inheritance, however, he is a stooge who also takes possession of the unlawful property of his ancestors, who could only claim it by the two aforementioned ways.


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