Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
Source: Reginald, monk of Durham, younger contemporary and colleague of St. Godric, The Life of St. Godric (a twelfth-century British merchant), written before St. Godric’s death in 1170.
He chose not to follow the life of a husbandman, but rather to study, learn and exercise the rudiment of more subtle conceptions. For this reason, aspiring to the merchant’s trade, he began to follow the chapman’s [peddler’s] way of life, first learning how to gain in small bargains and things of insignificant price; and to gain from things of greater expense.
Thus aspiring ever higher and higher, and yearning upward with his whole heart, at length his great labors and cares bore much fruit of worldly gain. For he labored not only as a merchant but also as a shipman to Denmark and Flanders and Scotland; in all which lands he found certain rare, and therefore more precious, wares, which he carried to other parts wherein he knew them to be least familiar, and coveted by the inhabitants beyond the price of gold itself; wherefore he exchanged these wares for others coveted by men of other lands; and thus chaffered [bargained] most freely and assiduously. Hence he made great profit in all his bargains, and gathered much wealth in the sweat of his brow; for he sold dear in one place the wares which he had bought elsewhere at a small price. [But later] he began to yearn for solitude, and to hold his merchandise in less esteem than heretofore.
And now he had lived sixteen years as a merchant, and began to think of spending on charity, to God’s honor and service, the goods which he had so laboriously acquired. He therefore took the cross as a pilgrim to Jerusalem.
Godric was now already firmly disposed to give himself...
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