rather the menial than the master

Those too whom you consider as the rich, who add park to park, shutting out the poor beyond their bounding-line, and stretching ever further their limitless estates ; who possess the mighty mass of silver and gold, treasuries of wealth, whether in builded heap or buried store, these too, trembling amidst their riches, are torn by the workings of anxiety, lest the robber dispossess them, lest the assassin assail them, lest the jealousy of richer men molest them with fraudulent suits. Their food is not in peace, nor their slumbers. See he is sighing amidst a banquet, drinking from gems; and though the soft couch receive his body, exhausted with feasting, in its embosoming depth, he lies sleepless amid the down; not aware, wretched man! that his are torments in disguise, that he is held captive by his gold, and is rather the menial than the master of his wealth and riches. And, oh hateful blindness of mind, and profound darkness of an insane cupidity ! when he might disburden and uplift himself from his load, still he does but brood over his tormenting wealth, still obstinately cling to his penal gatherings. No bounty thence to clients, no sharing with the needy; and they call that money their own, which they keep immured with solicitous pains, as though it were another’s, and from which they impart neither to their friends nor to their children any thing, nor even to themselves. In such sort only are they possessors, that they keep others from the possession ; and oh strange abuse of names! they call that ‘goods’ which they use for nought but evil.

Saint Caecilius Cyprian (200-2b5 CE), The treatises of S. Caecilius Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, and Martyr. Trans. Charles Thornton, Ed. John Henry Newman. J.H. Parker Publishing, 1839, pp.9-10


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