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the shame of dying publickly? Vain imagination! What can these wretches propose by falling into the hands of the living God sooner than they need to do, if they lived as long as God would let them live ? But what can more resemble madness, than to believe that Christ died for such as repent, and believe the gospel ; and yet to distrust he died for me, who am so sorry for my fins, That I would give the world (if it were mine) I never had offended God; willing rather to lose all the world than commit the like any more, and to purchase the favour of God with my blood, rather than that his displeasure should rise against me? Let them, who can say this is not repenting and believing, say what is fo; and yet this is the case of many unhappy souls. And what can be liker to distraction, than to believe and repent, to forrow and amend; and yet conclude ourselves vessels of wrath under God's vengeance ?
VI. I have already shewn how far and by what means His pedes , anyone injures his neighbour in his foul and body: fions. now in the next place I shall declare in what manner a man may be wronged in his polēsions ; of which his
wife may properly be said to be the chief: and
therefore I shall proceed to thew the heinousness of a breach of the seventh COMMANDMENT, where it is faid, Thou shalt not commit adultery. Because
This act of injustice of enticing a man's wife from her The inti- · husband's bed is doing wrong not only to the
man, but to his wife also; forasmuch as she is greatest in. thereby robbed of her innocency, and deluded injuflice. to the high road of eternal perdition, by bringing her into the guilt of both lust and perjury : and, not to To the wo- mention the discredit, which such a blemish throws upon
her character, it most certainly chills
to rob him of the love and faithfulness which is
cing a man's wife the
To the man.
whelming him (if it be found out) with the most anxious pains of jealoufy? Besides, the world is so unjust, as even to add to his sorrow, by reproaching the injured man with fcorn and contempt, only because he is injured: And what can it be called less than theft and robbery, should the injured husband be burthened with the providing for a fpurious offspring of his wife's adulterous practices? for such a child would take from the legitimate: and therefore it cannot ever be satisfied without a restoration to the defrauded family of as much as such a provision has taken from it. And here it would be proper to remark, that, under the Jewish law, the adulterous were to be stoned to death; because it is presumed, that no man can ever make the most ira sufficient satisfaction for fo great an injury to the reparable. foul and body of his neighbour. Other ill consequences of this vice are, that it propagates fickness and infirmities, both upon men’s felves and their posterities; that it is destructive of human fociety, and of the public welfare; that it separates the nearest relations; lays the ground of inextricable confusions, and implacable diffenfions, in families; and oftentimes occasions public contentions, murders, and seditions: fo that hardly from any other cause have issued greater and more tragical events. And this should warn those, who continue now in this crime, that they repent: for though the Jewish law is abrogated, yet God's justice is still the fame: his knowledge penetrates the most secret parts, and he will call men into judgment, and punish them with death eternal for unrepented adulteries, which must be lamented with a whole life of penitential exercises.
Secondly, we must not injure our neighbour in his goods, that is to fay, in none of his poffefsions, whether houses, land, money, cattle, or any thing that is his property and right; by endeavouring to hurt, damage, or to defraud, or any ways get any of them for our own use; which includes both malice and covetousness,
The malice of this injustice appears, where no interest or profit can follow to the person who takes pleasure. Malicious to hurt, damage, or destroy the goods of a neigh- injufirice. bour whom he hates: an action, which most nearly resem
In his goods.
bles, the continual practice of the devil, to undo others without doing himself any good: but much exceeding him in wickedness, forasmuch
as he only envies creatures of another nature, whereas the malicious man persecutes those of his own nature. And Its covetousness is most notorious, which will be better
understood when considered under the distinct injuflice. heads of oppression, theft, and deceit. For Oppreffion is an open violence, and force againstourneigh
bour's goods, and a fin condemned by all ; and Oppreffion.
even those that practise it in some of its very criminal branches, where the halter is not about their necks, will
cry aloud against it. For no state nor condition of men are secure from it. Many rich, honourable and powerful, both nations, princes and subjects, have been deprived of their rights, liberties, and estates, by violence; and gifts, bribes, grandeur and authority have too often corrupted or over-awed a judge, and taken place of justice; in which case, all persons concerned, as well the lawyer that pleads, as he that gives sentence, are guilty of oppression. Again, whoever takes advantage of a poor man's needs, and extorts too great a usury from him, under a pretence to supply his pressing necessities; or a griping landlord, who puts his tenants on the rack; or those that are in any wise intrusted with assessing, taxing, and rating their neighbours, and not only do it without justice and mercy, but too frequently lay hold of such opportunities to gratify some private pique or resentment; these or any other extortioners exercise but different branches of the fin of oppression. But Let them remember the danger they risk; for the Lord
has declared by the mouth of his prophet, that he
who hath oppressed the poor, and hath spoiled by against it. violence, shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him. Therefore take the advice of Solomon, who exhorts us not to rob the poor, because he is poor ; neither to oppress the afflicted in the gate. For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them.
VII. The second sort of this injustice is theft; Of theft. which is an unlawful taking, using, or keeping
our neighbour's property, either by force or fraud. The extent of this fin is wide and deep, and discovers itself in defrauding our creditors, or with-holding what is our duty to pay or return, and in taking from our neighbour what he already possesses ; fo that all debts, stealing, deceit, or breach of trust, and deceit in traffick, are to be considered as parts of theft. For Hewholends to one man, and gives him credit for
money or commodities, or accepts of security for what he lends to another, acquires a right to be justly what we repaid according to contract: the debtor hath on- owe. ly a right to use what he borrows for his present convenience or necessity; but the property remains in the hands of the creditor, who hath the same right to it, as when it was in his own custody: which obliges us to borrow no more than we have a fair prospect of repaying; unless he that Not intendcredits us knows our inability, and is willing to ing to pay. run the hazard of the loss. Because whoever engages himfelf in debt, beyond what he can reafonably hope to repay, takes that from his creditor, upon promise of payment, which he knows he is never likely to restore him ; which is, at least, as high an injustice, as if he had taken it by force or on the highway. What then shall we say of those, who refuse and deny it, or take indirect courses either to abate, or avoid the payment of their lawful debts ? This is not only to deprive a creditor of the present use and poffeffion of his money, but of his property too.
The same is to be faid of borrowing upon false or insufficient securities, such as bad mortgages, counterfeit
Borrowing pawns, or insolvent bondsmen; for he who takes on bad up his neighbour's goods or money upon such fe- Securities. curities, as he knows are incapable of repaying him, doth as manifestly wrong him, as if he had taken them by stealth or violence. Whence, as our debts are our creditors rights, if we would be just debtors, we must neither reckon what we owe to be our own, nor so dispose of it, as to put it out of our power to restore it to the true proprietors; for in fo doing we rob and injure our creditor. And
They ought to be no less careful to repay it upon the due
demand, or according to contract. Because as it is Of putting of payments unjust to deprive a creditor of his money, so it is when due. unjust to deprive him of the use and posseflion of it, any longer than he consents and agrees to it; wherefore, such debtors as put off their payments without their creditors confent, when it is in their power to discharge them, or put them upon
fruitless attendances, and make advantages of their money against their consent, and beyond their contracts and agreements, fall into a degree of injustice, next to that of robbing and despoiling them of it; consequently, by an indispensable rule of justice, every debtor is obliged rather to strip himself of all, and cast himself on the providence of God, than by denying his debts, or indirectly shifting the payment of them, to feather his nest with the spoil of his neighbour's property. Therefore, when, by refusing to pay what we owe, we
force our creditors upon costly or troublesome suits law-fus,
to recover their own; or by pleading protections, protections, or sheltering ourselves in a prison, we avoid being and frauds. forced to it by law; or, by fraudulent breakings, we necessitate them to compound our debts, and accept a part
for the whole; whichfoever of these ways we take, I say, to deprive our creditors of their rights, we are inexcu*fably dishonest. It may be, that by these or such-like knavish evasions we may force them to acquit and discharge us; yet we cannot force God, in whose book of accounts our debts are recorded, as well as in theirs : and it concerns us fadly to consider, that there is nothing can cancel them there, but only a full reftitution; and that, if they are not cancelled there, all the tricks and evasions in the world will never be able to secure us from a dismal reckoning, and a more dismal execution at the bar of divine justice. The fame justice, which obliges men to what has been al
ready faid concerning debts of their own contractNot difcharging ing, calls upon every one to discharge those debts bonds.
also, which either through friendship for the debtor, or on any other acccount, they have made their own by be