The treacherous ones promise, if we will but look, to remove every want, to quench all thirst, to bring satisfaction and sufficiency; and this they do to every man in the beginning, confirming promise to a certain point in their increase, and then, as soon as their pile rises, in place of contentment and refreshment they bring on an intolerable fever-thirst; and beyond sufficiency, they extend their limit, create a desire to amass more, and, with this, fear and anxiety far in excess of the new gain.
Then, truly, they bring no peace, but more care, more trouble, than a man had in the first place when he was without them. And therefore Tullius says, in that book on Paradoxes, when execrating riches: “I at no time firmly believed the money of those men, or magnificent mansions, or riches, or lordships, or voluptuous joys, with which especially they are shackled, to be amongst things good or desirable, since I saw certain men in the abundance of them especially desire those wherein they abounded; because at no time is the thirst of cupidity quenched; not only are they tormented by the desire for the increase of those things which they possess, but also they have torment in the fear of losing them.” And all these are the words of Tullius, and even thus they stand in that book which has been mentioned.
And, as a stronger witness to this imperfection, hear Boethius, speaking in his book of Consolation: “If the Goddess of Riches were to expand and multiply riches till they were as numerous as the sands thrown up by the sea when tost by the tempest, or countless as the stars that shine, still Man would weep.”
And because still further testimony is needful to reduce this to a proof, note how much Solomon and his father David exclaim against them, how much against them is Seneca, especially when writing to Lucilius, how much Horace, how much Juvenal, and, briefly, how much every writer, every poet, and how much Divine Scripture. All Truthful cries aloud against these false enticers to sin, full of all defect. Call to mind also, in aid of faith, what your own eyes have seen, what is the life of those men who follow after riches, how far they live securely when they have piled them up, what their contentment is, how peacefully they rest.
What else daily endangers and destroys cities, countries, individual persons, so much as the fresh heaping up of wealth in the possession of some man? His accumulation wakens new desires, to the fulfilment of which it is not possible to attain without injury to some one.
And what else does the Law, both Canonical and Civil, intend to rectify except cupidity or avarice, which grows with its heaps of riches, and which the Law seeks to resist or prevent. Truly, the Canonical and the Civil Law make it sufficiently clear, if the first sections of their written word are read. How evident it is, nay, I say it is most evident, that these riches are, in their increase, entirely imperfect; when, being amassed, naught else but imperfection can possibly spring forth from them. And this is what the text says.