Project Gutenberg's A Christian Directory (Part 4 of 4), by Richard Baxter

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Title: A Christian Directory (Part 4 of 4)
       The Practical Works of Richard Baxter

Author: Richard Baxter

Release Date: October 17, 2013 [EBook #43967]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


Produced by Colin Bell, Chris Pinfield and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at

Transcriber's Note:

The text of Part IV of A Christian Directory has been transcribed from pages 737 to 948 of Volume I of Richard Baxter's Practical Works, as lithographed from the 1846 edition.

The greater part comprises 34 chapters that mostly address duties to rulers and to neighbours. These are followed by a "Moral Prognostication" on the future of the churches, and by a "Reformed Liturgy" that Baxter proposed. A table of contents has been inserted to assist the reader.

In the Liturgy all sub-headings, commentary and instructions to the Minister have been italicised and indented. The Liturgy includes a large number of sidenotes citing relevant biblical passages. In the interests of legibility these have been consolidated into footnotes at the end of each paragraph.

Inconsistencies in hyphenation, and apparent typographical errors, have been corrected. The anchors for footnotes 5 and 8, in chapter I, have been inserted after consulting another edition of the text.


Table of Contents

To the reader 737
I. General rules for an upright conversation. 737
II. Memorandums to civil rulers for the interest of Christ, the church, and men's salvation. 741
III. Directions for subjects concerning their duty to their rulers. 744
IV. Directions to lawyers about their duty to God. 769
V. The duty of physicians. 771
VI. Directions to schoolmasters about their duty for their children's souls. 773
VII. Directions for soldiers, about their duty in point of conscience. 774
VIII. Advice against murder. 778
IX. Directions for the forgiving of enemies, and those that injure us; against wrath, and malice, and revenge, and persecution. 782
X. Cases resolved about forgiving injuries and debts, and about self-defence, and seeking right by law or otherwise. 785
XI. Special directions to escape the guilt of persecuting. Determining also the case about liberty in matters of religion. 790
XII. Directions against scandal as given. 800
XIII. Directions against scandal taken, or an aptness to receive hurt, by the words or deeds of others. 807
XIV Directions against soul murder, and partaking of other men's sins. 810
XV. General directions for the furthering of the salvation of others. 813
XVI. Special directions for christian conference, exhortation, and reproof. 814
XVII. Directions for keeping peace with all men. 819
XVIII. Directions against all theft and fraud, or injurious getting and keeping that which is another's, or desiring it. 823
XIX. General directions and particular cases of conscience, about contracts in general, and about buying and selling, borrowing and lending, usury, &c. in particular. 827
XX. Directions against oppression. 846
XXI. Cases about, and directions against, prodigality and sinful wastefulness. 851
XXII. Cases and directions against injurious law-suits, witnessing, and judgment. 855
XXIII. Cases of conscience, and directions against backbiting, slandering, and evil speaking. 858
XXIV. Cases and directions against censoriousness and unwarrantable judging. 861
XXV. Cases and directions about trusts and secrets. 861
XXVI. Directions against selfishness as it is contrary to the love of our neighbour. 868
XXVII. Cases and directions for loving our neighbour as ourselves. 870
XXVIII. Special cases and directions for love to godly persons as such. 873
XXIX. Cases and directions for loving and doing good to enemies. 883
XXX. Cases and directions about works of charity. 885
XXXI. Cases and directions about confessing sins and injuries to others. 895
XXXII. Cases and directions about satisfaction and restitution. 896
XXXIII. Cases and directions about our obtaining pardon from God. 899
XXXIV. Cases and directions about self-judging. 901

A moral prognostication.
To the reader. 905
Of what must be expected in the churches of christendom, till the golden age returns, or till the time of true reformation and unity. 906
Of the changes that will be in christendom in the golden age, and time of true reformation and unity. 914
Consectary. 920

The reformed liturgy.
The ordinary public worship on the Lord's day. 922
The order of celebrating the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ. 930
The celebration of the sacrament of baptism. 934
Of catechising, and the approbation of those that are to be admitted to the Lord's supper. 936
Of the celebration of matrimony. 937
The visitation of the sick, and their communion. 938
The order of solemnizing the burial of the dead. 938
Of extraordinary days of humiliation and thanksgiving, and anniversary festivals. 939
Of prayer and thanksgiving for particular members of the church. 939
Of pastoral discipline, public confession, absolution, and exclusion from the holy communion of the church. 941
Appendix: prayers to be used at discretion. 945



Think not by the title of this part, that I am doing the same work which I lately revoked in my "Political Aphorisms;" though I concluded that book to be quasi non scriptum, I told you I recanted not the doctrine of it, which is for the empire of God, and the interest of government, order, and honesty in the world. This is no place to give you the reasons of my revocation, besides that it offended my superiors, and exercised the tongues of some in places, where other matters would be more profitable: pass by all that concerneth our particular states and times, and you may know by that what principles of policy I judge divine. And experience teacheth me, that it is best for men of my profession, to meddle with no more, but to leave it to the Contzeu's, the Arnisæus's, and other Jesuits, to promote their cause by voluminous politics. The pope's false-named church is a kingdom, and his ministers may write of politics more congruously, and (it seems) with less offence, than we. Saith the "Geographia Nubiensis" aptly, "There is a certain king dwelling at Rome called the pope," &c. when he goeth to describe him. Nothing well suits with our function, but the pure doctrine of salvation; let statesmen and lawyers mind the rest.

Two things I must apologize for in this part. 1. That it is maimed by defect of those directions to princes, nobles, parliament men, and other magistrates, on whose duty the happiness of kingdoms, churches, and the world dependeth. To which I answer, That those must teach them whom they will hear; while my reason and experience forbid me, as an unacceptable person, to speak to them without a special invitation, I can bear the censures of strangers, who knew not them or me. I am not so proud as to expect that men so much above me, should stoop to read any directions of mine; much less to think me fit to teach them. Every one may reprove a poor servant, or a beggar (it is part of their privilege). But great men must not be so much as admonished by any but themselves, and such as they will hear. At least nothing is a duty which a man hath reason to think is like to do much more harm than good. And my own judgment is much against pragmatical, presumptuous preachers, who are over-forward to meddle with their governors, or their affairs, and think that God sendeth them to reprove persons and things that are strange to them, and above them; and vent their distastes upon uncertain reports, or without a call.

2. And I expect both to be blamed and misunderstood, for what I here say in the confutation of Master Richard Hooker's "Political Principles," and my own citation of Bishop Bilson, and such others. But they must observe, 1. That it is not all in Master Hooker's first and eighth book, which I gainsay; but the principle of the people's being the fountain of authority, or that kings receive their office itself from them, with the consequents hereof. How far the people have, in any countries, the power of electing the persons, families, or forms of government, or how far nature giveth them propriety, and the consequents of this, I meddle not with at all. 2. Nor do I choose Master Hooker out of any envy to his name and honour, but I confess I do it, to let men know truly whose principles these are. And if any (causelessly) question, whether the eighth (imperfect) book be in those passages his own, let them remember that the sum of all that I confute, is in his first book, which is old, and highly honoured, by——you know whom. And I will do him the honour, and myself the dishonour, to confess, that I think the far greater number of casuists and authors of politics, papists, and protestants, are on his side, and fewest on mine: but truth is truth.

On the subjects' duty I am larger, because, if they will not hear, at least I may boldly and freely instruct them.

If in the latter part there be any useful cases of conscience left out, it is because I could not remember them. Farewell.



Solomon saith, Prov. x. 9, "He that walketh uprightly walketh surely." And perfection and uprightness are the characters of Job, Job i. 1, 8; ii. 3. And in the Scripture to be upright or righteous, and to walk uprightly, and to do righteously, are the titles of those that are acceptable to God. And by uprightness is meant not only sincerity as opposed to hypocrisy; but also rectitude of heart and life, as opposed to crookedness or sin; and this as it is found in various degrees: of which we use to call the lowest degree that is saving by the name of sincerity, and the highest by the name of perfection.

Concerning uprightness of life, I shall, I. Briefly tell you some of those blessings that should make us all in love with it, and, II. Give you some necessary rules of practice.

1. Uprightness of heart and life is a certain fruit of the Spirit of grace, and consequently a mark of our union with Christ, and a proof of our acceptableness with God. "My defence is of God, who saveth the [738] upright in heart," Psal. vii. 10. "For the righteous Lord loveth righteousness, and his countenance doth behold the upright," Psal. xi. 7. It is a title that God himself assumeth; "Good and upright is the Lord," Psal. xxv. 8. "To show that the Lord is upright, he is my Rock, and no unrighteousness is in him," Psal. xcii. 15. And God calleth himself the Maker, the Director, the Protector, and the Lover of the upright. "God made man upright," Eccl. vii. 29. "The Lord knoweth the way of the righteous," Psal. i. 6. "What man is he that feareth the Lord? him will he teach in the way that he shall choose," Psal. xxv. 12. "He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous; he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly," Prov. ii. 7.

2. The upright are the pillars of human society, that keep up truth and justice in the world: without whom it would be but a company of liars, deceivers, robbers, and enemies, that live in constant rapine and hostility. There were no trust to be put in one another, further than self-interest did oblige men. "Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart," Psal. xv. 1, 2. Therefore the wicked, and the enemies of peace, and destroyers of societies, are still described as enemies to the upright. "For lo, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart. If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?" Psal. xi. 2, 3. "The just and upright man is laughed to scorn," Job xii. 4. "The wicked have drawn out the sword to slay such as be of upright conversation," Psal. xxxvii. 14. And indeed it is for the upright's sake that societies are preserved by God, as Sodom might have been for ten Lots. At least they are under the protection of omnipotency themselves. "He that walketh righteously and speaketh uprightly, he that despiseth the gain of oppression, that shaketh his hand from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ear from hearing of blood, that shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; he shall dwell on high, his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure. Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off," Isa. xxxiii. 15, 16. "The upright shall have good things in possession," Prov. xxviii. 10. "The house of the wicked shall be overthrown; but the tabernacle of the upright shall flourish," Prov. xiv. 11.

3. Uprightness affordeth peace of conscience, and quietness and holy security to the soul. This was Paul's rejoicing, the testimony of his conscience, that "in simplicity and godly sincerity he had had his conversation in the world, and not in fleshly wisdom," 2 Cor. i. 12. And this was David's comfort: "For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God; for all his judgments were before me, and as for his statutes, I did not depart from them. I was also upright before him, and have kept myself from mine iniquity. Therefore hath the Lord recompensed me according to my righteousness;—with the merciful thou wilt show thyself merciful, and with the upright thou wilt show thyself upright," 2 Sam. xxii. 22-24. Yea, peace is too little; exceeding joy is the portion, and most beseeming condition of the upright. "Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous, and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart," Psal. xxxii. 11. "Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous, for praise is comely for the upright," Psal. xxxiii. 1. "The righteous shall be glad in the Lord, and trust in him, and all the upright in heart shall glory," Psal. lxiv. 10. "Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart," Psal. xcvii. 11. The Spirit that sanctifieth them, will comfort them.

4. As the upright, so their upright life and duties are specially delightful and acceptable to God, Prov. xv. 8. The prayer of the upright is his delight, Psal. xv. 2. Therefore God blesseth their duties to them, and they are comforted and strengthened by experience of success. "The way of the Lord is strength to the upright, but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity," Prov. x. 29. "Do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly," Micah ii. 7.

5. No carnal policies, no worldly might, no help of friends, nor any other human means, doth put a man in so safe a state, as uprightness of heart and life. To walk uprightly, is to walk surely, because such walk with God, and in his way, and under his favour, and his promise; and if God be not sufficient security for us, there is none. "Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name; the upright shall dwell in thy presence," Psal. cxl. 13. "The integrity of the upright shall guide them, but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them. The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them, but transgressors shall be taken in their own naughtiness," Prov. xi. 3, 6.

6. Lastly, the failings and weaknesses of the upright are pardoned, and therefore they shall certainly be saved, Rom. vii. 24, 25; viii. 1. The upright may say in all their weaknesses as Solomon; "I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness; as for me, in the uprightness of my heart, I have willingly offered all these things," 1 Chron. xxix. 17. "God will do good to them that are good, and to them that are upright in their hearts," Psal. cxxv. 4. The upright love him, Cant. i. 4, and are loved by him. "No good thing will he withhold from them," Psal. lxxxiv. 11. The way to right comforting the mind of man, is to show to him his uprightness, Job xxxiii. 23. "And whoso walketh uprightly shall be saved," Prov. xxviii. 18. "For the high way of the upright is to depart from evil; and he that keepeth his way, preserveth his soul," Prov. xvi. 17. I conclude with Psal. xxxvii. 37, "Mark the upright man, and behold the just, for the end of that man is peace."

II. The true rules of an upright life are these that follow.

1. He that will walk uprightly must be absolutely devoted and subjected unto God: he must have a God, and the true God, and but one God; not notionally only, but in sincerity and reality: he must have a God whose word shall be an absolute law to him; a God that shall command himself, his time, his estate, and all that he hath, or that he can do; a God whose will must be his will, and may do with him what he please; and who is more to him than all the world; whose love will satisfy him as better than life, and whose approbation is his sufficient encouragement and reward.[1]

2. His hope must be set upon heaven as the only felicity of his soul: he must look for his reward and the end of all his labours and patience in another world; and not with the hypocrite, dream of a felicity that is made up first of worldly things, and then of heaven, when he can keep the world no longer. He that cannot, that doth not in heart, quit [739] all the world for a heavenly treasure, and venture his all upon the promise of better things hereafter, and forsaking all, take Christ and everlasting happiness for his portion, cannot be upright in heart or life.[2]

3. He must have an infallible teacher (which is only Christ) and the encouragement of pardoning grace when he faileth, that he sink not by despair; and therefore he must live by faith on a Mediator. And he must have the fixed principle of a nature renewed by the Spirit of Christ.[3]

4. He that will walk uprightly, must have a certain, just, infallible rule; and must hold to that, and must try all by it; and this is only the word of God. The teachings of men must be valued as helps to understand this word; and the judgments of our teachers, and those that are wiser than ourselves, must be of great authority with us in subordination to the Scripture. But neither the learned, nor the godly, nor the great, must be our rule in co-ordination with the word of God.[4]

5. He that will walk uprightly, must have both a solid and a large understanding, to know things truly as they are, and to see all particulars which must be taken notice of, in all the cases which he must determine, and all the actions which his integrity is concerned in.[5] 1. There is no walking uprightly in the dark. Zeal will cause you to go apace; but not at all to go right, if judgment guide it not. Erroneous zeal will make you to do evil with double violence, and with blasphemous fathering your sins on God, and with impenitence and justification of your sin. This made Paul mad in persecuting the church. Prov. xv. 21, "Folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom; but a man of understanding walketh uprightly." No man can do that well which he understandeth not well. Therefore you must study and take unwearied pains for knowledge; wisdom never grew up with idleness, though the conceit of wisdom doth no where more prosper. This age hath told us to what dangerous precipices men will be carried by an ignorant zeal. 2. And the understanding must be large, or it cannot be solid; when many particulars are concerned in an action, the overlooking of some may spoil the work. Narrow-minded men are turned as the weathercock, with the wind of the times, or of every temptation; and they seldom avoid one sin, but by falling into another. It is prudence that must manage an upright life: and prudence seeth all that must be seen, and putteth every circumstance into the balance; for want of which, much mischief may be done, while you seem to be doing the greatest good.[6] "The prudent man looketh well to his going," Prov. xiv. 15. "See therefore that ye walk circumspectly, (at a hair's breadth,) not as fools, but as wise."

6. But because you will object, that, alas, few even of the upright, have wits so strong as to be fit for this, I add, that he that will walk uprightly, must in the great essential parts of religion have this foresaid knowledge of his own, and in the rest at least he must have the conduct of the wise. And therefore, 1. He must be wise in the great matters of his salvation, though he be weak in other things. 2. And he must labour to be truly acquainted who are indeed wise men, that are meet to be his guides: and he must have recourse to such in cases of conscience, as a sick man to his physician. It is a great mercy to be so far wise, as to know a wise man from a fool, and a counsellor from a deceiver.[7]

7. He that will walk uprightly must be the master of his passion; not stupid, but calm and sober. Though some passion is needful to excite the understanding to its duty, yet that which is inordinate doth powerfully deceive the mind. Men are very apt to be confident of what they passionately apprehend; and passionate judgments are frequently mistaken, and ever to be suspected; it being exceeding difficult to entertain any passion which shall not in some measure pervert our reason; which is one great reason why the most confident are ordinarily the most erroneous and blind. Be sure therefore whenever you are injured, or passion any way engaged, to set a double guard upon your judgments.[8]

8. He that will walk uprightly, must not only difference between simple good and evil, but between a greater good and a less; for most sin in the world consisteth in preferring a lesser good before a greater. He must still keep the balance in his hand, and compare good with good; otherwise he will make himself a religion of sin, and prefer sacrifice before mercy; and will hinder the gospel and men's salvation for a ceremony, and violate the bonds of love and faithfulness for every opinion which he calleth truth; and will tithe mint and cummin, while he neglecteth the great things of the law. When a lesser good is preferred before a greater, it is a sin, and the common way of sinning. It is not then a duty when it is inconsistent with a greater good.[9]

9. He must ever have a conjunct respect to the command and the end: the good of some actions is but little discernible any where, but in the command; and others are evidently good because of the good they tend to. We must neither do evil and break a law, that good may come by it; nor yet pretend obedience to do mischief, as if God had made his laws for destruction of the church or men's souls, and not for edification.[10]

10. He must keep in union with the universal church, and prefer its interest before the interest of any party whatsoever, and do nothing that tendeth to its hurt.[11]

11. He must love his neighbour as himself, and do as he would be done by, and love his enemies and forgive wrongs; and bear their defamations as his own.[12]

12. He must be impartial, and not lose his judgment and charity in the opinion or interest of a party or sect: nor think all right that is held or done by those that he best liketh; nor all wrong that is held or done by those that are his adversaries. But judge of the words and deeds of those that are against him, as if they had been said or done by those of his own side: else he will live in slandering, backbiting, and gross unrighteousness.[13]

[740] 13. He must be deliberate in judging of things and persons; not rash or hasty in believing reports or receiving opinions; not judging of truths by the first appearance, but search into the naked evidence: nor judging of persons by prejudice, fame, and common talk.[14]

14. He must be willing to receive and obey the truth at the dearest rate, especially of laborious study, and a self-denying life; not taking all to be truth that costeth men dear, nor yet thinking that truth indeed can be over-prized.[15]

15. He must be humble and self-suspicious, and come to Christ's school as a little child; and not have a proud overvaluing of himself and his own understanding. The proud and selfish are blind and cross, and have usually some opinions or interests of their own, that lie cross to duty, and to other men's good.[16]

16. He must have an eye to posterity, and not only to the present time or age; and to other nations, and not only to the country where he liveth. Many things seem necessary for some present strait or work that we would do (which in the next age may be of mischievous effects); especially in ecclesiastical and political professions, covenants and impositions, we must look further than our present needs. And many things seem necessary for a local, narrow interest, which those at a distance will otherwise esteem.[17]

17. He that will walk uprightly must be able to bear the displeasure of all the world, when the interest of truth requireth it; yea, to be rejected of learned and good men themselves; and account man's favour no better than it is; not to despise it as it is a means to any good, but to be quite above it as to his own interest. Not that uprightness doth use to make a man despised by the upright; but that it may bring him under their censure in some particulars, which are not commonly received or understood to be of God.[18]

18. He must make it a great part of the work of his life to kill all those carnal desires, which the sensual make it their work and felicity to please; that appetite, sense and lust, and self-will may not be the constant perverters of his life; as a fool in a dropsy studieth to please his thirst, and a wise man to cure it.[19]

19. He must live a life of constant and skilful watchfulness, apprehending himself in continual danger; and knowing his particular corruptions, temptations, and remedies. He must have a tender conscience, and keep as far as possible from temptation, and take heed of unnecessary approaches or delightful thoughts of sin. Oh what strong resolutions, what sound knowledge, have the near-baits of sensuality (meat, drink, lust, and pleasures) overcome! Never think yourselves safe among near-temptations, and opportunities of sinning.[20]

20. Live as those that are going to the grave; die daily, and look on this world as if you did look on it out of the world to which you go. Let faith as constantly behold the world unseen, as your eye seeth this. Death and eternity make men wise: we easily confess and repent of many things when we come to die, which no counsels or sermons could make us penitently confess before. Death will answer a thousand objections and temptations, and prove many vanities to be sin, which you thought the preacher did not prove: dying men are not drawn to drunkenness, filthiness, or time-wasting sports; nor flattered into folly by sensual baits; nor do they then fear the face or threats of persecutors. As it is from another world that we must fetch the motives, so also the defensative of an upright life. And oh happy are they that faithfully practise these rules of uprightness![21]

Though it be my judgment that much more of the doctrine of politics or civil government belongeth to theology,[22] than those men understand, who make kings and laws to be mere human creatures, yet to deliver my reader from the fear lest I should meddle with matters that belong not to my calling, and my book from that reproach, I shall overpass all these points, which else I should have treated of, as useful to practise in governing and obeying. 1. Of man as sociable, and of communities and societies, and the reason of them, of their original, and the obligation on the members. 2. Of a city, and of civility. 3. Of a republic in general. (1.) Of its institution, (2.) Of its constitution, and of its parts. (3.) Of its species. (4.) Of the difference between it, 1. And a community in general. 2. A family. 3. A village. 4. A city. 5. A church. 6. An accidental meeting. (5.) Of its administrations. (6.) Of the relation between God's government and man's, and God's law and man's, and of their difference; and between man's judging and God's judging. Nay, I will not only gratify you, by passing over this and much more in the theory, but also as to the practical part, I shall pass over, 1. The directions for supreme governors. 2. And for inferior magistrates towards God, and their superiors, and the people. 3. And the determination of the question, How far magistrates have to do in matters of religion? Whether they be christian or heathen? 4. How far they should grant or not grant liberty of conscience, (as it is called,) viz. of judging, professing, and practising in matters of religion; with other such matters belonging to government: and all the controversies about titles and supremacy, conservations, forfeitures, decays, dangers, remedies, and restorations, which belong either to politicians, lawyers, or divines; all these I pretermit, save only that I shall venture to leave a few brief memorandums with civil governors (instead of directions) for securing the interest of Christ, and the church, and men's salvation; yet assuring the reader that I omit none of this out of any contempt of the matter, or of magistracy, or as if I thought them not worthy of all our prayers and assistance, or thought their office of small concernment to the welfare of the world and of the church; but for those reasons, which all may know that know me and the government under which we live, and which I must not tell to others.

[1]   Psal. lxxiii. 25; lxiii. 3; 1 Cor. iv. 3, 4; Phil. iii. 8, 9, 18, 19; Psal. iv. 7, 8; Luke xii. 4; Matt. vi. 1-3.

[2]   Luke xiv. 26, 27, 33, 34; xviii. 22; Matt. vi. 19, 20; 1 John ii. 15; Phil. iii. 18, 21.

[3]   John xii. 16; xv. 1, &c.; iii. 5, 6; Rom. viii. 8, 9.

[4]   2 Tim. iii. 15; Isa. viii. 20; 1 Thess. v. 12; Isa. xxxiii. 21; Jam. iv. 12; Heb. viii. 10, 16; Neh. ix. 13, 14; Psal. xix. 7; cxix. 1-3.

[5]   Prov. i. 5; x. 23; xvii. 27; iii. 4; Psal. cxi. 10; Eph. i. 10; Acts xxvi. 18; Col. i. 9; ii. 2; 2 Tim. ii. 7; 1 Cor. xiv. 5, 20.

[6]   Luke xxiv. 45; Matt. xv. 16; Eph. v. 17; 1 Tim. i. 7; Prov. viii. 5; John xii. 40; 2 Pet. ii. 12; Rom. iii. 11; Matt. xiii. 19, 23; Isa. lii. 13; Hos. xiv. 9; Prov. xiv. 15, 18; xviii. 15; xxii. 3; viii. 12; Eph. v. 15; Psal. ci. 2.

[7]   Psal. cxix. 98; Prov. i. 6-8; xii. 15, 18; xiii. 1, 14, 20; xv. 2, 7, 12, 31; xxii. 17; xxv. 12; Eccl. xii. 11; Dan. xii. 3, 10; Matt. xxiv. 45; Psal. xxxvii 30; Eccl. ii. 13; Isa. xxxiii. 6; Matt. xii. 42; Luke i. 17; xxi. 15; Acts vi. 3; 2 Pet. iii. 15; Mal. ii. 6, 7; 1 Thess. v. 12, 13; Heb. xiii. 7, 17; Tit. i. 9, 13; ii. 1, 8; 2 Tim. iv. 3.

[8]   Prov. xiv. 29; Col. iii. 8.

[9]   Matt. ix. 13; xii. 7; Psal. xl. 6; li. 16; 1 Sam. xv. 22.

[10]   2 Cor. x. 8; xiii. 10; Rom. xv. 2; xiv. 9; 1 Cor. xiv. 26; 2 Cor. xii. 19; Rom. iii. 8.

[11]   Eph. iv. 12, &c.; 1 Cor. xii.

[12]   Matt. xxii. 39; v. 43, 44; vii. 12.

[13]   Jam. iii. 15-18; Gal. ii. 13, 14; Deut. xxv. 16; 1 Cor. vi. 9.

[14]   Matt. vii. 1, 2; John vii. 24; Rom. xiv. 10, 13; 1 Pet. i. 17.

[15]   Luke xiv. 26, 33; xii. 4; Prov. xxiii. 23.

[16]   Matt. xviii. 3; Prov. xxvi. 12, 16; xxviii. xx; 1 Cor. iii. 18; Prov. iii. 7.

[17]   Judg. viii. 27; 1 Cor. vii. 35; 1 Kings xiv. 16; xv. 26; Deut. xxix. 22; Exod. xii. 26; Josh. iv. 6, 22; xxii. 24, 25.

[18]   1 Cor. iv. 3, 4; John v. 44; Luke xiv. 26; Gal. ii. 13, 14; Acts xi. 2, 3.

[19]   Col. iii. 4, 5; Rom. vi. 1, &c.; xiii. 12, 13; viii. 13.

[20]   Matt. xxiv. 42; xxv. 13; Mark xiii. 37; 1 Thess. v. 6; 1 Pet. iv. 7; 1 Cor. xvi. 15; Matt. vi. 13; xxvi. 41.

[21]   Eccl. vii. 2-6; 2 Cor. iv. 16; v. 1, 7, 8; Luke xii. 17-20; xvi. 20, &c.; Matt. xxv. 3-8; Acts vii. 56, 60.

[22]   Among the Jews it was all one to be a lawyer and a divine; but not to be a lawyer and a priest.




Mem. I. Remember that your power is from God, and therefore for God, and not against God, Rom. xiii. 2-4. You are his ministers, and can have no power except it be given you from above, John xix. 11. Remember therefore that as constables are your officers and subjects, so you are the officers and subjects of God and the Redeemer; and are infinitely more below him than the lowest subject is below you; and that you owe him more obedience than can be due to you; and therefore should study his laws, (in nature and Scripture,) and make them your daily meditation and delight, Josh. i. 3-5; Psal. i. 2, 3; Deut. xvii. 18-20. And remember how strict a judgment you must undergo when you must give account of your stewardship, and the greater your dignities and mercies have been, if they are abused by ungodliness, the greater will be your punishment, Luke xvi. 2; xii. 48.[23]

Mem. II. Remember therefore and watch most carefully that you never own or espouse any interest which is adverse to the will or interest of Christ; and that you never fall out with his interest or his ordinances; and that no temptation ever persuade you that the interest of Christ, and the gospel, and the church, is an enemy to you, or against your real interest; and that you keep not up suspicions against them: but see that you devote yourselves and your power wholly to his will and service, and make all your interest stand in a pure subservience to him, as it stands in a real dependence on him.[24]

Mem. III. Remember that, under God, your end is the public good; therefore desire nothing to yourselves, nor do any thing to others, which is really against your end.

Mem. IV. Remember therefore that all your laws are to be but subservient to the laws of God, to promote the obedience of them with your subjects, and never to be either contrary to them, nor co-ordinate, or independent on them; but as the by-laws of corporations are in respect to the laws and will of the sovereign power, which have all their life and power therefrom.

Mem. V. Let none persuade you that you are such terrestrial animals that have nothing to do with the heavenly concernments of your subjects; for if once men think that the end of your office is only the bodily prosperity of the people, and the end of the ministry is the good of their souls, it will tempt them to prefer a minister before you, as they prefer their souls before their bodies; and they that are taught to contemn these earthly things, will be ready to think they must contemn your office; seeing no means, as such, can be better than the end. There is no such thing as a temporal happiness to any people, but what tendeth to the happiness of their souls; and must be thereby measured, and thence be estimated. Though ministers are more immediately employed about the soul, yet your office is ultimately for the happiness of souls, as well as theirs; though bodily things (rewards or punishments) are the means, by which you may promote it; which ministers, as such, may not meddle with. Therefore you are custodes utriusque tabulæ, and must bend the force of all your government to the saving of the people's souls. And as to the objection from heathen governors, distinguish between the office, and an aptitude to exercise it: the office consisteth, 1. In an obligation to do the duty; 2. And in authority to do it. Both these a heathen ruler hath (else the omission were a duty, and not a sin). But it is the aptitude to do the duty of his place which a heathen wanteth; and he wanteth it culpably; and therefore the omission is his sin; even as it is the sin of an insufficient minister that he doth not preach. For the question is of the like nature, and will have the like solution: Whether an ignorant minister be bound to preach, who is unable or heretical? It is aptitude that he wanteth, and neither authority nor obligation, if he be really a minister; but he is obliged in this order, first to get abilities, and then to preach: so is it in the present case.[25]

Mem. VI. Encourage and strengthen a learned, holy, self-denying, serious, laborious ministry; as knowing, that the same Lord hath commissioned them in the institution of their office, who instituted yours; and that it is such men that are suited to the work, for which their office was appointed; and that souls are precious; and those that are the guides and physicians of souls, can never be too well furnished, nor too diligent. And the church hath no where prospered on earth, but in the prosperity of the abilities, holiness, and diligence of their pastors: God hath always built by such, and the devil hath pulled down by pulling down such.

Mem. VII. Remember that the people that are seriously religious, that love, and worship, and obey the Lord, with all their heart, are the best of your subjects, and the honour of your dominions: see therefore that serious godliness be every where encouraged, and that the profane and ignorant rabble be never encouraged in their enmity and opposition to it: and that true fanaticism, hypocrisy, and schism, be so prudently discountenanced and suppressed, that none may have encouragement to set themselves against godliness, under the slander or pretension of such names. If christianity be better than heathenism, those christians then are they that must be countenanced, who go further in holiness, and charity, and justice, than heathens do, rather than those that go no further (besides opinions and formalities) than a Cato, a Plato, or Socrates have done. If all religion were a deceit, it were fit to be banished, and atheism professed, and men confess themselves to be but brutes. But if there be a God, there must be a religion; and if we must be religious, we must sure be so in seriousness, and not in hypocrisy and jest. It being no such small, contemptible matter, to be turned into dissembling compliment.[26]

[742] Mem. VIII. Endeavour the unity and concord of all the churches and christians that are under your government, and that upon the terms which all Christ's churches have sometime been united in; that is, In the Holy Scriptures implicitly, as the general rule; in the ancient creeds explicitly, as the sum of our credenda; and in the Lord's prayer, as the summary of our expetenda; and in the decalogue, as the summary of our agenda; supposing, that we live in peaceable obedience to our governors, whose laws must rule us not only in things civil, but in the ordering of those circumstances of worship and discipline, which God hath left to their determination.

Mem. IX. Let all things in God's worship be done to edification, decently, and in order, and the body honour God, as well as the soul; but yet see that the ornaments or garments of religion be never used against the substance; but that holiness, unity, charity, and peace, have alway the precedency.

Mem. X. Let the fear of sinning against God be cherished in all, and let there be a tenderness for such as are over-scrupulous and fearful in some smaller things: and let not things be ordered so, as shall most tend to the advantage of debauched consciences, that dare say or do any thing for their carnal ends. For they are truest to their governors, that are truest to their God; and when it is the wrath of God and hell that a man is afraid of, it is pity he should be too eagerly spurred on. The unconscionable sort will be true to their governors, no longer than it serves their interest; therefore conscientiousness should be encouraged.[27]

Mem. XI. If the clergy, or most religious people, offend, let their punishment be such as falleth only on themselves, and reacheth not Christ, nor the gospel, nor the church. Punish not Christ for his servants' failings, nor the gospel for them that sin against it; nor the souls of the people, for their pastors' faults; but see that the interest of Christ and men's souls be still secured.[28]

Mem. XII. If the dissensions of lawyers or statesmen make factions in the commonwealth, let not the fault be laid on religion, though some divines fall into either faction. When the difference is not in divinity, but in law cases, blame not religion for that, which it hath no hand in: and watch against Satan, who alway laboureth to make civil factions or differences tend to the dishonour of religion, and the detriment of the church and gospel.

Mem. XIII. Take those that are covetous, ambitious, or selfish, and seek for preferment, to be the unfittest to be consulted with in the matters of religion, and the unfittest to be trusted with the charge of souls. And let the humble, mortified, self-denying men, be taken as fitter pastors for the churches.

Mem. XIV. Side not with any faction of contentious pastors, to the oppression of the rest, when the difference is in tolerable things; but rather drive them on to unity, upon condescending and forbearing terms: for there will else be no end; but the faction which you side with, will break into more factions, and the church will receive damage by the loss of the oppressed party, and by the division much more. What lamentable work the contentions of the bishops have made in the churches, in all ages, since the primitive times, all history doth too openly declare. And how much a holy, prudent, peaceable magistrate can do, to keep peace among them, more than will be done if their own impetuosity be left unrestrained, it is easy to observe; especially if he keep the sword in his own hand, and trust it not in the hands of churchmen, especially of one faction to the oppression of the rest.[29]

Mem. XV. Believe not the accusations that are brought against the faithful ministers of Christ, till they are proved; and judge not them, or any of his servants, upon the reports of adversaries, till they have spoken for themselves; for the common corruption of depraved nature, doth engage all the ungodly in such an enmity against holiness, that there is little truth or righteousness to be expected from wicked and malicious lips, for any holy cause or person. And if such persons find but entertainment and encouragement, their malice will abound, and [743] their calumnies will be impudent; which is the sense of Prov. xxix. 12, "If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked." The example of Saul and Doeg is but such as would be ordinary, if rulers would but hearken to such calumniators.[30]

Mem. XVI. When the case is doubtful about using punishments and severities against the scrupulous in the matters of religion, remember your general directions, and see what influence they must have into such particulars; as, That the very work and end of your office is, that under your government the people may live quietly and peaceably in godliness and honesty, 1 Tim. ii. 2. And that rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil; and for the praise of them that do good; and ministers of God to us for good; and revengers to execute wrath upon them that do evil, Rom. xiii. 3, 4. And remember the danger of persecution, as described Matt, xviii. 6, 10, 14; 1 Thess. ii. 15, 16; 2 Chron. xxxvi. 14-17. And that he that doubteth of things indifferent is damned if he do them, because he doth them not of faith, Rom. xiv. 23. And remember whom and what it is that God himself forgiveth and forbeareth. And always difference the infirmities of serious conscionable christians, from the wickedness of unconscionable and ungodly men. Yet not extenuating the wickedness of any, because of his hypocritical profession of religion.[31]

Mem. XVII. Remember that you must be examples of holiness to the people; and shun all those sins which you would have them shun, and be eminent in all those virtues which you would commend unto them.[32] This is not only necessary to the happiness of those under you, but also for the saving of yourselves. As Paul saith to Timothy, "Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine, continue in them;[33] for in doing this, thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee," 1 Tim. iv. 16. So may I say to rulers, Take heed to yourselves, and unto government, and continue herein; for in doing this, you will save yourselves, and those you govern. They that are good are likest to do good; but the wicked will do wickedly, Dan. xii. 10.

The chief means for rulers to become thus holy and exemplary is, 1. To hearken to the doctrine and counsel of the word of the Lord, and to meditate in it day and night, Josh. i. 3, 4; Deut. xvii. 18-20. And to have faithful, holy, and self-denying teachers, 2 Chron. xx. 20. 2. To beware of the company and counsels of the wicked. "Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne shall be established in righteousness," Prov. xxv. 4, 5. 3. To watch most carefully against the special temptations of their great places, especially against sensuality and pride, and preferring their own honour, and interest, and will, before the honour, and interest, and will, of Jesus Christ. "Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning! Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!" Eccl. x. 16, 17. "It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness; for the throne is established by righteousness," Prov. xvi. 12. 4. To remember always the end of holiness. How sure a way it is to glory hereafter, and to leave a sweet and glorious name and memorial upon earth; when wickedness is the certain way to shame on earth, and misery for ever![34]

Mem. XVIII. Rulers should not be contented to do good at home, and to be the joy and blessing of their own subjects; but also set their hearts to the promoting of faith, and holiness, and concord, throughout the churches of the world; and to improve their interests in princes and states, by amicable correspondencies and treaties to these ends; that they may be blessings to the utmost extent of their capacities. As Constantine interceded with the Persian king, to forbear the persecuting of christians in his dominion,[35] &c. But I shall presume to speak no further to my superiors; in the golden age these memorandums will be practised.

I will only annex Erasmus's image of a good prince, and of a bad, recited by Alstedius Encyclop. lib. xxiii. Polit. c. 3. p. 173, 174.

The Image of a Good Prince, out of Erasmus.

"If you will draw the picture of a good prince, delineate some celestial wight, liker to God than to a man; absolute in all perfections of virtue; given for the good of all; yea, sent from heaven for the relief of mortal men's affairs; which being (oculatissimum) most discerning, looketh to all! To whom nothing is more regarded, nothing more sweet, than the commonwealth; who hath more than a fatherly affection unto all. To whom every one's life is dearer than his own; who night and day is doing and endeavouring nothing else, but that it may be very well with all; who hath rewards in readiness for all that are good; and pardon for the bad, if so be they will betake them to a better course; that so freely desireth to deserve well of his subjects, that if it be needful, he will not stick to preserve their safety by his own peril; that taketh his country's commodity to be his own gain; that always watcheth, that others may sleep quietly; that leaveth himself no quiet vacancy, that his country may live in quiet vacancy, or peace; that afflicteth himself with successive cares, that his subjects may enjoy tranquillity. To conclude, on whose virtue it is, that the public happiness doth depend."

The Image of a Bad Prince. Ibid.

"If you would set forth a bad prince to the eye, you must paint some savage, horrid beast, made up of such monstrosities as a dragon, a wolf, a lion, a viper, a bear, &c. every way armed, with six hundred eyes; every way toothed; every way terrible; with hooked talons; of an insatiable paunch; fed with men's bowels; drunk with man's blood; that [744] watcheth to prey upon the lives and fortunes of all the people; troublesome to all, but specially to the good; a fatal evil to the world; which all curse and hate, who wish well to the commonwealth; which can neither be endured, because of his cruelty, nor yet taken away without the great calamity of the world, because wickedness is armed with guards and riches."

[23]   Finis ad quem rex principaliter intendere debet in seipso et in subditis, est æterna beatitudo, quæ in visione Dei consistit. Et quia ista visio est perfectissimum bonum maxime movere debet regem et quemecunque dominum, ut hunc finem subditi consequantur. Lib. de Regim. Principum Thomæ adscript. Grot. de Imper. Sum. Pot. p. 9. Even Aristotle could say, Polit. vii. c. 1, 2. et eadem fine, that each man's active and contemplative life, is the end of government, and not only the public peace; and that is the best life which conduceth most to our consideration of God, and that is the worst, which calleth us off from considering and worshipping him. Vide Grot. de Imper. sum. Pot. p. 10. Quam multa injuste fieri possunt, quæ nemo possit reprehendere. Cicero de fin. Read Plutarch's Precepts of Policy, and that old men should be rulers.

[24]   Read often Psal. ii. and ci.

[25]   Read Bilson of Subject. p. 129. to the end of the second part, specially p. 140-142. The laws of Charles the Great. And Grotius de Imperio Sum. Pot. circa Sacra. c. 1. et per totum.

[26]   Jul. Capitolin. saith of the Antonines, That they would not be saluted by filthy persons. And Lampridus of Alexander Severus, that, Nisi honestos et bonæ famæ homines ad salutationem non admisit. Jussitque ut nemo ingrediatur, nisi qui se innocentem novit: per præconem edixit, ut nemo salutaret principem qui se furem esse nosset, ne aliquando detectus capitali supplicio subderetur. Read Sebastian. Foxius de Regno Regisque institutione. Even Crœsus, Dionysius, and Julian were liberal to philosophers, and ambitious of their converse. Vera civitatis fœlicitas est, ut Dei sit amans et amata Deo; illum sibi regem, se illius populum agnoscat. August. de Civit. Dei, 1. v. c. 14.

[27]   Aug. Ep. Bonifac. Omnes reges qui populo Dei non prohibuerunt nec everterunt quæ contra Dei præcepta fuerunt instituta, culpantur. Qui prohibuerunt et everterunt, super aliorum merita, laudantur.

[28]   When Hunnerichus the Arian Vandal king, was resolved to banish, imprison, and otherwise persecute the orthodox bishops and pastors, he first trieth them by threatenings and divers cruelties, and after appointeth a public disputation; where his bishops and officers, having no better pretence, cruelly beat the people and pastors, and then falsely tell the king, That by tumult and clamour they avoided disputing. And at last he calleth together all the pastors that were met for the disputation, and, to insnare them, putteth an oath upon them, That after the king's death, they would take his son for their king; and that they would send no letters beyond sea. This oath divided the orthodox among themselves. For one part of the bishops and pastors said, If we refuse a lawful oath, our people will say that we forsake them, and the dissolution of the churches will be imputed to us. The other part perceiving the snare, were fain to pretend Christ's command, "Swear not at all." The king having separated them, and the officers took all their names, sendeth them all to prison. To those that took the oath, they said, Because that contrary to the command of the gospel, you would swear, you shall see your cities and churches no more, but be sent into the country to till the ground; but so that you presume not to sing psalms, or pray, or carry a book, or baptize, or ordain, or absolve. To those that refused the oath, they said, Because you desired not the reign of the king's son, and therefore refused the oath; you shall be banished to the isle of Corsica, to cut wood for the ships. Victor. Utic. p. (mihi) 456, 457. Generalis Jesuitarum ex nimio absoluti imperii amore, delaturas in scrinia sua admittit, iisque credit, non audito eo qui accusatur: quod injustitiæ genus ab ethnicis ipsis improbatur. Imperando non bonis regibus se facit similem, qui senatum magni fecerunt; sed tyrannos mavult imitari, e. g. Tarquinium superbum, qui ante omnia conatus est debilitare senatus numerum et authoritatem, ut omnia suo libitu facere posset; similiter generalis cum assistentibus suis odit synodos generales, omniaque experitur, ne tales instituantur conventus, quibus rerum gestarum reddere rationem necesse habeat.—Generalis Jesuiticus in eligendis officialibus non curat quod sit cujusque talentum aut dotes eminentiores, sed quam bene secum aut cum provinciali suo conformetur. Quæ causa est cur homines viles et abjecti animi officiis præponantur, qui a superioribus duci se sinant ut nervis alienis mobile lignum. Mariana de Reform. Jesuit. cap. 13, 15, 16, 18. In Arcan. Jesuit. p. 131, 132. Recit. in Apolog. Giraldi. Nulla est latronum societas in qua justicia non plus loci habeat, quam in societate nostra, &c.—ubi non modo scientia et ignorantia in æquo sunt, sed etiam scientia impedimento est, quo minus quis consequatur præmia humano ac divino jure debita. Marian. Aphor. 84. c. 12, &c. 14. 89. Aphor. 87, &c. The rest is worth the reading, as a warning from a Jesuit to the governors of state and church. Aphor. 80. c. 11. Superiores societatis nostræ sunt homines indigni, qui officiis præsint, cum generalis metuat ac sublatos velit, quorum eminentes sunt virtutes. Boni quam mali ei suspectiores sunt. This, and abundance more, saith Mariana, a Jesuit of ninety-six years of age, learned in Hebrew, Chaldee, Syriac, Greek, and Latin, of his own society.

[29]   Lamprid. numbers it with Alexander Mam. Severus's good works. Judæis privilegia reservavit; christianos esse passus est. Nam illo tempore crudelius Arianorum episcopi, presbyteri, clerici, quam rex et Vandali sæviebant. Id. p. 468.

[30]   Justitiæ munus primum est, ut ne cui quis noceat nisi lacessitus injuria. Cicero. Prov. xxii. 7; xxviii. 16; Psal. cxix. 23; Prov. xxv. 2. Leg. Epist. M. Ciceronis ad fratrem.

[31]   Quis mihi imponat necessitatem vel credendi quod nolim, vel quod velim non credendi. Lactant. lib. 5. c. 13.

[32]   Laert. in Solon, reciteth one of his sayings, Populi rector prius se quam populum recte instituere debet: si principes et majores secundum leges vixerint, unaquæque civitas optime rege peterit, p. 31.

[33]   Or spend thy time in them. Dr. Hammond.

[34]   Luke xviii. 22, 24; Deut. xvii. 20; Prov. xxix. 14; xxii. 29; xvi. 13; xxxi. 3, 4; 2 Chron. xxxii. 25; xx. 16; Ezek. xxviii. 2, 5, 17; Luke xii. 19, 20; xvi. 19, 20, 25. It is a sad observation of Acosta, lib. v. c. 9. p. 474. Ac reipsa ceutoque usu observatum est, eas Indorum nationes plures ac graviores superstitionis diabolicæ species teuuisse, in quibus regum ac reipublicæ maxime potentia et peritia excelluit. Contra qui tenuiorem fortunam minusque reipublicæ accommodata sortiti sunt, in his multo idololatria parcior est: usque adeo ut nonnullas Indorum gentes omni idolorum religione vacare, quidam pro certo confirment. Ex bonæ fidei scriptoribus super alias innumeras, hæc præcipua capitur utilitas; quod non alia res æque vel bonorum regum animos ad res cum laude gerendas accendit, vel tyrannorum cupiditates cohibet, ac refrænat, dum utrique cernunt horum literis suam vitam omnem, mox in totius orbis, imo sæculorum omnium theatrum producendam. Et quicquid in abdito nunc vel patrant, vel adscito fuco prætexunt, vel metu dissimulari cogunt, verius quam ignorari, paulo post clarissimam in lucem sub oculis omnium traducendum: quam jam metu pariter ac spe libera posteritas, nec ullo corrupta studio, magno consensu recte factis applaudet, parique libertate his diversa explodet, exibilabitque. Erasm. Præfat. in Sueton.

[35]   Euseb. in vita Const.



Being now to speak of the duties which I must practise, and to those of my own rank, I shall do it with some more freedom, confidence, and expectation of regard and practice.

Direct. I. Though I shall pass by most of the theory, and especially of the controversial points in politics, and not presume to play the lawyer's part; yet I must advise you to understand so much of the cause, and nature, and end of government, as is necessary to direct you in your obedience, and to preserve you from all temptations to rebellion. Especially take heed of those mistakes which confound sovereignty and subjection, and which delude the people with a conceit, that they are the original of power, and may intrust it as they please; and call their rulers to account, and take the forfeiture, and recall their trust, &c. It is not to flatter kings, but to give God his due, that I shall caution you against these mistakes of popularity. And first, I shall briefly lay down the truth, and then answer some few of the chief objections.

Prop. I. That there be government in genere, and obedience thereto, is determined even in nature, by the God of nature, in making man a sociable creature, and each man insufficient for himself, and in making republics necessary to the welfare and safety of individuals, and government necessary to these republics.[36] This therefore is not left to the people's wills; though some odd cases may be imagined, in which some individual persons may live out of a commonwealth, and not be obliged to live under civil government; yet that exception doth but confirm the general rule: even as all men ordinarily are bound to live in communion with some particular church, and know their own pastor, though yet some few may be excepted, as some ambassadors, travellers, seamen, soldiers, banished men, &c. So here, the obligation to live under government, lieth upon the generality of the world, though some few may be excepted.

Prop. II. Rulers therefore are God's officers, placed under him in his kingdom, as he is the universal, absolute Sovereign of the world; and they receive their power from God, who is the only original of power. Not only their strength from his strength, but their authority or governing power, (which is jus regendi,) from his supreme authority; as mayors and bailiffs in corporations receive their power from the king. Rom. xiii. 1-3, "There is no power, but of God; the powers that be, are ordained of God."

Prop. III. This governing power in genere, is not an empty name, but in the very institution containeth in it those things materially which are absolutely necessary to the end of government.

Prop. IV. Yet God hath left that which is commonly called, the specification of government; and some lower parts of the matter, and manner of exercise, undetermined; as also the individual persons or families that shall rule. In these three therefore it is that communities interpose. 1. Whether the sovereignty shall be in one, or two, or ten, or how many, and how divided for their exercise, God hath not determined. 2. Nor hath he determined of every particular, whether the power shall extend to this, or that, or the other thing, or not? Nor whether it shall be exercised thus or thus, by standing courts, or temporary judges, &c. 3. Nor hath he named the person or family that shall rule.[37]

Prop. V. Though these in the constitution are determined of by explicit or implicit contract or consent, between the ruler and the community, yet by none of these three can the people be truly and properly said to give the ruler his power of government. Not by the first or last; for both those do but determine who shall be the recipient of that power; whether one or more, and who individually. Not the second, for that is but a limiting, or bounding, or regulating the governing power, that it be not exercised to their hurt; the bounding and regulating of their power, is not the giving them power. The people having the strength, cannot be ruled against their concordant wills: and therefore, if they contract with their governors, that they will be ruled thus and thus, or not at all, this is not to give them power. Yet propriety they have, and there they may be givers. So that this bounding, or regulating, and choosing the form, and persons, and giving of their propriety, is all that they have to do. And the choosing of the family or person, is not at all a giving the power. They are but sine quibus non to that; they do but open the door to let in the governor; they do but name the family or man, to whom God, and not they, shall give the power.

As, when God hath already determined what authority the husband shall have over the wife, the wife by choosing him to be her husband, giveth him not his power, but only chooseth the man, to whom God giveth it by his standing law: though about the disposing of her estate, she may limit him by precontracts; but if she contract against his government, it is a contradiction and null. Nor if he abuse his power, doth it at all fall into her hands.

If the king by charter give power to a corporation to choose their mayor, or other officer, they do but nominate the persons that shall receive it, but it is the king's charter, and not they, that give him the power.

If a soldier voluntarily list himself under the king's general, or other commanders, he doth but choose the man that shall command him, but it is the king's commission that giveth him the power to command those that voluntarily so list themselves. And if the authority be abused or forfeited, it is not into the soldiers' hands, but into the king's.

Prop. VI. The constituting consent or contract of ancestors obligeth all their posterity, if they will have any of the protection or other benefit of government, to stand to the constitution; else governments [745] should be so unsettled and mutable, as to be uncapable of their proper end.

Prop. VII. God hath neither in nature or Scripture, estated this power of government, in whole or in part, upon the people of a mere community, (much less on subjects,) whether noble or ignoble, learned or unlearned, the part of the community, or the whole body, real or representative.[38] The people as such, have not this power, either to use or to give; but the absolute Sovereign of all the world, doth communicate the sovereign power in every kingdom, or other sort of commonwealth, from himself immediately; I say, immediately: not without the mediation of an instrument signifying his will; for the law of nature and Scripture are his instrument, and the charter of authority; nor yet so immediately, as without any kind of medium; for the consent and nomination of the community before expressed, may be conditio sine qua non, so far as aforesaid; but it is so immediately from God, as that there is no immediate recipient, to receive the power first from God, and convey it to the sovereign.

Prop. VIII. The natural power of individual persons over themselves, is tota specie different from this political or civil power. And it is not the individual's resignation of this natural power of self-disposal, unto one or more, which is the efficient cause of sovereignty or civil power.[39]

Prop. IX. If you take the word law properly, for the expression of a ruler's will obliging the governed, or making their duty; and not improperly, for mere contracts between the sovereign and the people; then it is clear in the definition itself, that neither subjects, nor the community, as such, have any legislative power. Neither nature nor Scripture hath given the people a power of making laws, either by themselves, or with the sovereign; either the sole power, or a part of it. But the very nature of government requireth, that the whole legislative power, that is, the power of making governing laws, belong to the summa majestas, or sovereign alone. (Unless when the summa potestas is in many hands, you compare the partakers among themselves, and call one party the sovereign, as having more of the sovereignty than the rest.) For those that are no governors at all, cannot perform the chief act of government, which is the making of governing laws; but the people are no governors at all, either as a community, or as subjects; so that you may easily perceive, that all the arguments for a natural democracy, are built upon false suppositions; and wherever the people have any part in the sovereignty, it is by the after constitution, and not by nature; and that kings receive not their power from the people's gift, (who never had it themselves to use or give,) but from God alone.

Prop. X. Though God have not made a universal determination for any one sort of government, against the rest, (whether monarchy, aristocracy, or democracy,) because that is best for one people, which may be worse for others, yet ordinarily monarchy is accounted better than aristocracy, and aristocracy better than democracy. So much briefly of the original of power.

Object. I. But, saith worthy Mr. Richard Hooker, Eccl. Polit. lib. i. sect. 10. p. 21,[40] "That which we spake of the power of government, must here be applied to the power of making laws, whereby to govern; which power, God hath over all, and by the natural law, whereto he hath made all subject, the lawful power of making laws to command whole politic societies of men, belongeth so properly to the same entire societies, that for any prince or potentate of what kind soever upon earth, to exercise the same of himself, and not either by express commission immediately and personally received from God, or else by authority derived at first from their consent, upon whose persons they impose laws, it is no better than mere tyranny. Laws they are not therefore, which public approbation hath not made so."

Answ. Because the authority of this famous divine is with his party so great, I shall adventure to say something, lest his words do the more harm; but not by confident opposition, but humble proposal and submission of my judgment to superiors and wiser men, as being conscious of my own inferiority and infirmity. I take all this to be an assertion no where by him proved (and by me elsewhere disproved fully). Laws are the effects and signs of the ruler's will; and instruments of government. Legislation is the first part of government; and if the whole body are naturally governors, the pars imperans and pars subdita are confounded. If the most absolute monarch can make no laws, then disobeying them were no fault. It is enough that their power be derived from God immediately, though the persons be chosen by men. Their authority is not derived from the people's consent, but from God, by their consent, as a bare condition sine qua non. What if a community say all to their elected king, "We take not ourselves to have any governing power to give or use, but we only choose you or your family to that office which God hath instituted, who in that institution giveth you the power upon our choice;" can any man prove, that such a king hath no power, but is a tyrant; because the people disclaim the giving of the power; when indeed they do their duty? Remember that in all this we speak not of the government of this or that particular kingdom, but of kingdoms and other commonwealths indefinitely.[41]

Object. II. But, saith he, lib. viii. p. 192, "Unto me it seemeth almost out of doubt and controversy, that every independent multitude before any certain form of regimen established, hath under God supreme authority, full dominion over itself,"—

Answ. If by dominion were meant propriety, every individual hath it; but for governing power, it seemeth as clear to me, that your independent multitude hath no civil power of government at all; but only a power to choose them governors; while they have no governors, they have no governing power, for that maketh a governor.

Object. III. Ibid. "A man who is lord of himself, may be made another's servant," &c.

Answ. 1. He may hire out himself to labour for another; because he hath so far the power of himself, and his labour is his own, which he may sell for wages; but in a family, that the master be the governor to see God's laws obeyed by his servants, is of divine appointment, and this governing power [746] the servant giveth not to his master, but only maketh himself the object of it. 2. The power that nature giveth a man over himself, is tota specie distinct from civil government; (as Dr. Hammond hath well showed against I. G.) An individual person hath not that power of his own life as the king hath. He may not put himself to death, for that which the king may put him to death for. 3. If this were true, that every individual, by self-resignation, might give a king his power over him; yet a posse ad esse non valet consequentia; and that it is not so is proved, in that God the universal Sovereign hath prevented them, by determining himself, of his own officers, and giving them their power in the same charter by which he enableth the people to choose them. Therefore it is no better reasoning than to say, If all the persons in London subjected themselves to the lord mayor, he would thereby receive his power from them, when the king hath prevented that already, by giving him the power himself in his charter; and leaving only the choice of the person to them; and that under the direction of the rules which he hath given them.[42]

Object. IV. But saith he, lib. viii. p. 193, "In kingdoms of this quality, (as this we live in,) the highest governor hath indeed universal dominion, but with dependency upon that whole entire body over the several parts whereof he hath dominion; so that it standeth for an axiom in this case, The king is major singulis, universis minor."

Answ. If you had included himself, it is certain that he cannot be greater than the whole, because he cannot be greater than himself. But seeing you speak of the whole in contradistinction from him, I answer, that indeed in genere causæ finalis, the sovereign is universis minor, that is, the whole kingdom is naturally more worth than one, and their felicity a greater good; or else the bonum publicum, or salus populi, could not be the end of government; but this is nothing to our case; for we are speaking of governing power as a means to this end; and so in genere causæ efficientis, the sovereign (yea, and his lowest officer) hath more authority or jus regendi than all the people as such (for they all as such have none at all); even as the church is of more worth than the pastor, and yet the pastor alone hath more authority to administer the sacraments, and to govern the people, than all the flock hath; for they have none either to use or give, (whatever some say to the contrary,) but only choose him to whom God will give it.[43]

Object. V. Saith the reverend author, lib. viii. p. 194, "Neither can any man with reason think, but that the first institution of kings, (a sufficient consideration wherefore their power should always depend on that from which it did always flow,) by original influence of power from the body into the king, is the cause of kings' dependency in power upon the body: by dependency we mean subordination and subjection."

Answ. 1. But if their institution in genere was of God, and that give them their power, and it never flowed from the body at all, then all your superstructure falleth with your ground-work. 2. And here you seem plainly to confound all kingdoms by turning the pars imperans into the pars subdita, and vice versa; if the king be subject, how are they his subjects? I will not infer what this will lead them to do, when they are taught that kings are in subordination and subjection to them. Sad experience hath showed us what this very principle would effect.

Object. VI. Ibid.[44] "A manifest token of which dependency may be this; as there is no more certain argument, that lands are held under any as lords, than if we see that such lands in defect of heirs fall unto them by escheat; in like manner it doth follow rightly that seeing dominion when there is none to inherit it, returneth unto the body, therefore they which before were inheritors of it, did hold it in dependence on the body; so that by comparing the body with the head as touching power, it seemeth always to reside in both; fundamentally and radically in one, in the other derivatively; in one the habit, in the other the act of power."

Answ. Power no more falleth to the multitude by escheat, than the power of the pastor falls to the church, or the power of the physician to the hospital, or the power of the schoolmaster to the scholars; that is, not at all. When all the heirs are dead, they are an ungoverned community, that have power to choose a governor, but no power to govern, neither (as you distinguish it) in habit nor in act, originally nor derivatively. As it is with a corporation when the mayor is dead, the power falleth not to the people.

Therefore there is no good ground given for your following question, "May a body politic then at all times withdraw in whole or in part the influence of dominion which passeth from it, if inconveniences do grow thereby?" Though you answer this question soberly yourself, it is easy to see how the multitude may be tempted to answer it on your grounds, especially if they think your inconvenience turn into a necessity; and what use they will make of your next words, "It must be presumed that supreme governors will not in such cases oppose themselves, and be stiff in detaining that, the use whereof is with public detriment." A strange presumption.

Object. VII. "The axioms of our regal government are these, Lex facit regem; the king's grant of any favour made contrary to law is void; Rex nihil potest nisi quod jure potest."

Answ. If lex be taken improperly for the constituting contract between prince and people, and if your facit have respect only to the species and person, and not the substance of the power itself, then I contradict you not. But if lex be taken properly for authoritativa constitutio debiti, or the signification of the sovereign's will to oblige the subject, then lex non facit regem, sed rex legem.[45]

Object. VIII. Lib. viii. p. 210, "When all which the wisdom of all sorts can do is done for the devising of laws in the church, it is the general consent of all that giveth them the form and vigour of laws; without which they could be no more to us than the counsels of physicians to the sick. Well might they seem as wholesome admonitions and instructions, but laws could they never be, without consent of the whole church to be guided by them, whereunto both nature and the practice of the church of God set down in Scripture, is found every way so fully consonant, that God himself would not impose, [747] no not his own laws upon his people, by the hand of Moses, without their free and open consent."

Answ. 1. Wisdom doth but prepare laws, and governing power enacteth them, and giveth them their form; but the whole body hath no such governing power, therefore they give them not their form.[46] 2. The people's consent to God's laws gave them not their form or authority; this opinion I have elsewhere confuted, against a more erroneous author. Their consent to God's laws was required indeed, as naturally necessary to their obedience, but not as necessary to the being or obligation of the law. Can you think that it had been no sin in them to have disobeyed God's laws, unless they had first consented to them? Then all the world might escape sin and damnation, by denying consent to the laws of God. 3. This doctrine will teach men that we have no church laws;[47] for the whole church never signified their consent. Millions of the poorer sort have no voices in choosing parliament men or convocations; and this will teach the minor dissenting part, to think themselves disobliged for want of consenting; and will give every dissenting part or person a negative voice to all church laws. 4. A single bishop hath a governing power over his particular church, and they are bound to obey him, Heb. xiii. 7, 17. And if the governing power of one pastor be not suspended for want of the consent of any or all the people, then much less the governing power of king and parliament.

Object. IX. Lib. viii. p. 220. "It is a thing even undoubtedly natural, that all free and independent societies should themselves make their own laws; and that this power should belong to the whole, not to any certain part of a politic body——."

Answ. This is oft affirmed, but no proof at all of it; in many nations the representatives of the whole body have the legislative power, or part of it. But that is from the special constitution of that particular commonwealth, and not from nature, nor common to all nations. All that naturally belongeth to the people as such, was but to choose their law-makers, and secure their liberties, and not to make laws themselves, by themselves, or mere representers.

Object. X. Lib. viii. p. 221. "For of this thing no man doubteth, namely, that in all societies, companies, and corporations, what severally each shall be bound unto, it must be with all their assents ratified. Against all equity it were, that a man should suffer detriment at the hands of men, for not observing that which he never did, either by himself or by others, mediately agree to——."

Answ. I am one that more than doubt of that which you say no man doubteth of. Do you not so much as except God's laws, and all those that only do enforce them, or drive men to obey them? As men are obliged to obey God, whether they consent or not; so are they to obey the laws of their sovereigns, though they never consented to them, no nor to their sovereignty, as long as they are members of that commonwealth, to the government whereof the sovereign is lawfully called, millions of dissenters may be bound to obey, till they quit the society.

Object. XI. Lib. viii. p. 221. "If magistrates be heads of the church, they are of necessity christians."

Answ. That can never be proved. A constitutive head indeed must be a christian, and more, even a pastor to a particular church, and Christ to the universal. This headship our kings disclaim; but a head of the church, that is, over the church, or a coercive governor of it, the king would be if he were no christian. As one that is no physician may be head over all the physicians in his kingdom; or though he be no philosopher, or artist, he may be head over all the philosophers and artists; and in all their causes have the supreme coercive power; so would the king over all protestants if he were no protestant, and over all christians if he were no christian. But you think, that he that is no member of the church cannot be the head of it. I answer, not a constitutive, essential head as the pastor is; but he may be the head over it, and have all the coercive power over it. What if the king be not a member of many corporations in his kingdom? Yet as he is head of the kingdom, he is head of, or over them, as they are parts of it.

Object. XII. Lib. viii. p. 218, 223, 224. "What power the king hath, he hath it by law: the bounds and limits of it are known; the entire community giveth order," &c. p. 223. "As for them that exercise power altogether against order, although the kind of power which they have may be of God, yet is their exercise thereof against God, and therefore not of God, otherwise than by permission, as all injustice is." p. 224. "Usurpers of power, whereby we do not mean them that by violence have aspired unto places of highest authority, but them that use more authority than they did ever receive in form and manner before mentioned. Such usurpers thereof as in the exercise of their power, do more than they have been authorized to do, cannot in conscience bind any man to obedience."

Answ. It is true that no man can exercise more power than he hath: the power that we speak of being ἐξουσία, jus regendi, it is impossible to use more authority than they have; though they may command beyond and without authority. And it is true, that where a man hath no authority or right to command, he cannot directly bind obedience. But yet a ruler may exercise more power than man ever gave him, and oblige men to obedience thereby. God giveth them power to govern for his glory, according to his laws, and to promote obedience to those laws of God (in nature and Scripture) by subordinate laws of their own. And all this the sovereign may do, if the people, at the choice of him or his family, should only say, We take you for our sovereign ruler: for then he may do all that true reason or Scripture make the work of a sovereign ruler, even govern the people by all such just means as tend to the public good and their everlasting happiness: and yet that people that should do no more but choose persons or families to govern them, and set them no bounds, do give no power to those they choose, but determine of the persons that shall have power from God. Yet it is granted you, that if the person or family chosen, contract with them to govern only with such and such limitations, they have bound themselves by their own contract; and thus both specifications of government and degrees of power come in by men. But always distinguish, 1. Between the people's giving away their propriety, (in [748] their goods, labours, &c. which they may do,) and giving authority, or governing power (which they have not to give). 2. Between their naming the persons that shall receive it from the universal King, and giving it themselves. 3. Between bounding and limiting power, and giving power. 4. And between a sovereign's binding himself by contract, and being bound by the authority of others.[48] If they be limited by contracts, which are commonly called the constitutive or fundamental laws, it is their own consent and contract that effectively obligeth and limiteth them; of which indeed the people's will may be the occasion, when they resolve that they will be governed on no other terms: but if the contract limit them not, but they be chosen simply to be the summæ potestates, without naming any particular powers either by concession or restraint, then as to ruling they are absolute as to men, and limited only by God, from whose highest power they can never be exempt, who in nature and Scripture restraineth them from all that is impious and unjust, against his laws and honour, or against the public happiness and safety. And here also remember, that if any shall imagine that God restraineth a magistrate when it is not so, and that the commands of their governors are contrary to the word of God, when it is no such matter, their error will not justify their disobedience.

Though I have answered these passages of this reverend author, it is not to draw any to undervalue his learned writings, but to set right the reader in the principles of his obedience, on which the practice doth so much depend.

And I confess, that other authors of politics say as much as Mr. Hooker saith, both papists and protestants; but not all, nor I think the soundest: I will instance now in Alstedius only, (an excellent person, but in this mistaken,) who saith, Encyclop. lib. xxiii. Polit. cap. 3. p. 178. Populus universus dignior et potior est tum magistratu tum ephoris.—Hinc recte docent Doct. Politici, populum obtinere regnum et jura majestatis proprietate et dominio: principem et ephoros usu et administratione (whereas the people have not the regnum vel jura majestatis any way at all).—Si administratores officium suum facere nolint, si impia, et iniqua mandent, si contra dilectionem Dei et proximi agant, populus propriæ salutis curam arripiet, imperium male utentibus abrogabit, et in locum eorum alios substituet.—Porro ephori validiora ipso rege imperia obtinent: principem enim constituunt et deponunt; id quod amplissimum est præeminentiæ argumentum. Atque hæc prærogative mutuis pactis stabilitur.—Interim princeps summam potestatem obtinere dicitur, quatenus ephori administrationem imperii, et cumulum potestatis ipsi committunt. Denique optimatum universorum potestas non est infinita et absoluta, sed certis veluti rhetris et clathris definita, utpote non ad propriam libidinem, sed ad utilitatem et salutem populi alligata. Hinc illorum munia sunt regem designare, constituere, inaugurare, constitutum consiliis et auxiliis juvare; sine consensu et approbatione principis, quamdiu ille suum officium facit, nihil in reipublicæ negotiis suscipere: nonnunquam conventum inscio principe agere, necessitate reipublicæ exigente.—Populum contra omnis generis turbatores et violatores defendere.—I suppose Mr. Hooker's principles and Alstedius's were much the same. I will not venture to recite the conclusion, cap. 12. p. 199. R. 5. de resistendo Tyranno.

Many other authors go the same way, and say that people have the majestas realis (both papists, and protestants, and heathens). But I suppose that what I have said against Hooker will serve to show the weakness of their grounds: though it is none of my purpose to contradict either Hooker or any other, so far as they open the odiousness of the sin of tyranny, (which at this day keepeth out the gospel from the far greatest part of the world, and is the greatest enemy to the kingdom of Christ,) nor yet as they plead for the just liberties of the people; but I am not for their authority.

Direct. II. Begin with an absolute, universal, resolved obedience to God, your Creator and Redeemer, who is your sovereign King, and will be your final, righteous Judge. As he that is no loyal subject to the king, can never well obey his officers; so he that subjecteth not his soul to the original power of his Creator, can never well obey the derivative power of earthly governors.

Object. But, you may say, experience teacheth us, that many ungodly people are obedient to their superiors as well as others. I answer, materially they are, but not formally, and from a right principle, and to right ends: as a rebel against the king, may obey a justice of peace for his own ends, as long as he will let him alone, or take his part; but not formally, as he is the king's officer; so ungodly men may flatter princes and magistrates for their own ends, or on some low and by-account, but not sincerely as the officers of God. He is not like to be truly obedient to man, that is so foolish, dishonest, and impious, as to rebel against his Maker; nor to obey that authority which he first denieth, in its original and first efficient cause. Whatever Satan and his servants may say, and however some hypocrites may contradict in their practices the religion which they profess, yet nothing is more certain, than that the most serious, godly christians, are the best subjects upon earth; as their principles themselves will easily demonstrate.

Direct. III. Having begun with God, obey your governors as the officers of God, with an obedience ultimately divine.[49] All things must be done in holiness by the holy. That is, God must be discerned, obeyed, and intended in all; and therefore in magistrates in a special manner. In two respects magistrates are obeyed, or rather flattered, by the ungodly; first, as they are men that are able to do them corporal good or hurt: as a horse, or dog, or other brute will follow you for his belly, and loveth to be where he fareth best. Secondly, as the head of his party, and encourager of him in his evil way, when he meets with rulers that will be so bad. Wicked men love wicked magistrates for being the servants of Satan; but faithful men must honour and obey a magistrate, as an officer of God; even a magistrate as a magistrate, and not only as holy, is an officer of the Lord of all. Therefore the fifth commandment is as the hinge of the two tables; many of the ancients thought that it was the last commandment of the first table, and the moderns think it is the first commandment of the last table; for it commandeth our duty to the noblest sort of men; but not merely as men, but as the officers of [749] God. They debase magistrates that look at them merely as those that master other men, as the strongest beast doth by the weaker: nothing will make you sincere and constant in your honouring and obeying them, but taking them as the officers of God, and remembering by whose commission they rule, and whose work they do; that "they are the ministers of God to us for good," Rom. xiii. 1-5. If you do not this, 1. You wrong God, whose servants they are; for he that despiseth, despiseth not man but God. 2. You wrong the magistrate, as much as you should do an ambassador, if you took him to be the messenger of some Jack Straw, or some fellow that signifieth no more than his personal worth importeth. 3. And you wrong yourselves; for while you neglect the interest and authority of God in your rulers, you forfeit the acceptance, protection, and reward of God. Subjects as well as servants must learn that great lesson, Col. iii. 23-25, "Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as to the Lord, and not unto men: knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance, for ye serve the Lord Christ: but he that doth wrong shall receive for the wrong, which he hath done; and there is no respect of persons." So Eph. vi. 5-8. Magistrates are as truly God's officers as preachers: and therefore as he that heareth preachers heareth him, so he that obeyeth rulers obeyeth him: the exceptions are but the like in both cases: it is not every thing that we must receive from preachers; nor every thing that we must do at the command of rulers; but both in their proper place and work, must be regarded as the officers of God; and not as men that have no higher authority than their own to bear them out.

Direct. IV. Let no vices of the person cause you to forget the dignity of his office, The authority of a sinful ruler is of God, and must accordingly be obeyed: of this read Bishop Bilson at large in his excellent treatise of Christian Subjection; against the papists that excommunicate and depose princes whom they account heretics, or favourers of them. Those sins which will damn a man's soul, and deprive him of heaven, will not deprive him of his kingdom, nor disoblige the subjects from their obedience. An infidel, or an ungodly christian, (that is, a hypocrite,) is capable of being a prince, as well as being a parent, husband, master; and the apostle hath taught all, as well as servants, their duty to such. 1 Pet. ii. 18-21, "Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; and not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward; for this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God, endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it if when you are buffeted for your faults, you take it patiently? but if when ye do well and suffer for it ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God; for even hereunto were ye called." Though it be a rare mercy to have godly rulers, and a great judgment to have ungodly ones, it is such as must be borne.[50]

Direct. V. Do not either divulge or aggravate the vices of your governors to their dishonour; for their honour is necessary to the public good. If they have not care of their own honour, yet their subjects must have a care of it. If once they be dishonoured, they will the more easily be contemned, hated, and disobeyed. Therefore the dishonouring of the rulers tendeth to the dissolution of the government, and ruin of the commonwealth. Only in two cases did the ancient christians aggravate the wickedness of their governors. 1. In case they were such cruel monsters as Nero, who lived to the misery of mankind. 2. In case they were not only open enemies of the church of Christ, but their honour stood in competition with the honour of christianity, piety, and honesty, as in Julian's case; I confess against Nero and Julian both living and dead, (and many like them,) the tongues and pens of wise and sober persons have been very free; but the fifth commandment is not to be forgotten, "Honour thy father and mother;" and 1 Pet. ii. 17, "Fear God, honour the king;"[51] though you must not call evil good, yet you may conceal and hide evil: Ham was cursed for opening his father's nakedness. Though you must flatter none in their sins, nor hinder their repentance, but further it by all righteous means, yet must you speak honourably of your rulers, and endeavour to breed an honourable esteem of them in the people's minds; and not as some, that think they do well, if they can secretly make their rulers seem odious, by opening and aggravating their faults.

Direct. VI. Subdue your passions, that no injuries which you may suffer by them, may disturb your reason, and make you dishonour them by way of revenge. If you may not revenge yourselves on private men, much less on magistrates; and the tongue may be an unjust revenger, as well as the hand. Passion will provoke you to be telling all men, Thus and thus I was used, and to persuade you that it is no sin to tell the truth of what you suffered: but remember, that the public good, and the honour of God's officers, are of greater value, than the righting of a particular person that is injured. Many a discontented person hath set kingdoms on fire, by divulging the faults of governors for the righting of themselves.

Object. But shall cruel and unrighteous or persecuting men do mischief, and not hear of it, nor be humbled for it?

Answ. 1. Preachers of the gospel, and others that have opportunity, may privately tell them of it, to bring them to repentance, (if they will endure it,) without dishonouring them by making it public. 2. Historians will tell posterity of it, to their perpetual infamy (if repentance and well-doing recover not their honour).[52] Flatterers abuse the living, but truth will dishonour their wickedness when they are dead: for it is God's own decree, "That the memory of the just is blessed, but the name of the wicked shall rot," Prov. x. 7. 3. And God himself will fully be avenged upon the impenitent for ever, having told you, "That it were better for him that offendeth one of his little ones, that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea."[53] And is not all this enough, without the revenge of your passionate tongues? To speak evil of dignities, and despise dominion, and bring railing accusations, are the sins of the old licentious heretics. Christ left us his example, not to revile the meanest, when we are reviled, 1 Pet. ii. 23. If you believe, that God will justify the innocent, and avenge them speedily, Luke xviii. 7, 8, what need you be so forward to justify and avenge yourselves?

Object. If God will have their names to rot, and spoken evil of when they are dead, why may I not do it while they are alive?

Answ. There is a great deal of difference between [750] a true historian and a self-avenger in the reason of the thing, and in the effects: to dishonour bad rulers while they live, doth tend to excite the people to rebellion, and to disable them to govern; but for truth to be spoken of them when they are dead, doth only lay an odium upon the sin, and is a warning to others, that they follow them not in evil: and this no wicked prince was ever so great and powerful as to prevent; for it is a part of God's resolved judgment. Yet must historians so open the faults of the person, as not to bring the office into contempt, but preserve the reverence due to the authority and place of governors.[54]

Direct. VII. By all means overcome a selfish mind, and get such a holy and a public spirit, as more regardeth God's honour, and the public interest, than your own. It is selfishness that is the great rebel and enemy of God, and of the king, and of our neighbour. A selfish, private spirit careth not what the commonwealth suffereth, if he himself may be a gainer by it. To revenge himself, or to rise up to some higher place, or increase his riches, he will betray and ruin his king, his country, and his nearest friends. A selfish, ambitious, covetous man, is faithful to no man, longer than he serveth his ends; nor is he any further to be trusted, than his own interest will allow. Self-denial, and a public spirit, are necessary to every faithful subject.

Direct. VIII. Wish not evil to your governors in your secret thoughts; but if any such thought would enter into your hearts, reject it with abhorrence. Eccles. x. 20, "Curse not the king, no, not in thy thoughts; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber; for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter." A feverish, misguided zeal for religion, and a passionate discontent for personal injuries, do make many greatly guilty in this point; they would be much pleased, if God would show some grievous judgment upon persecutors; and take no warning by Christ's rebukes of James and John, but secretly are wishing for fire from heaven, not knowing what manner of spirit they are of. They cherish such thoughts as are pleasing to them, though they dare not utter them in words. And he that dare wish hurt, is in danger of being drawn by temptation to do hurt.

Object. But may we not pray for the cutting off of persecutors? And may we not give God thanks for it, if he do it himself, without any sinful means of ours?

Answ. 1. Every ruler that casteth down one sect or party of christians, and setteth up another, (perhaps as true to the interest of christianity as they,) is not to be prayed against, and his destruction wished by the suffering party. 2. If he be a persecutor of christianity and piety itself, as heathens and infidels are, yet if his government do more good than his persecution doth harm, you may not so much as wish his downfall. 3. If he were a Nero, or a Julian, you must pray first for his conversion; and if that may not be, then next for his restraint, and never for his destruction, but on supposition that neither of the former may be attained (which you cannot say). 4. You must pray for the deliverance of the persecuted church, and leave the way and means to God, and not prescribe to him. Hurtful desires and prayers are seldom of God. 5. You may freelier rejoice afterwards, than desire it before: because when a Julian is cut off, you know that God's righteous will is accomplished; when before you knew not that it was his will: yet after, it is the deliverance of the church, and not the hurt of a persecutor as such, that you must give thanks for: be very suspicious here, lest partiality and passion blind you.[55]

Direct. IX. Learn how to suffer; and know what use God can make of your sufferings, and think not better of prosperity, and worse of suffering, than you have cause.[56] It is a carnal, unbelieving heart, that maketh so great a matter of poverty, imprisonment, banishment, or death, as if they were undone, if they suffer for Christ, or be sent to heaven before the time; as if kingdoms must be disturbed to save you from suffering: this better beseems an infidel or a worldling, that takes his earthly prosperity for his portion, and thinks he hath no other to win or lose. Do you not know what the church hath gained by suffering? how pure it hath been when the fire of persecution hath refined it? and how prosperity hath been the very thing that hath polluted it, and shattered it all to pieces; by letting in all the ungodly world into the visible communion of the saints, and by setting the bishops on contending for superiority, and overtopping emperors and kings? Many thousands that would be excellent persons in adversity, cannot bear a high or prosperous state, but their brains are turned, and pride and contention maketh them the scorn of the adversaries that observe them.

Direct. X. Trust God, and live by faith; and then you will find no need of rebellious or any sinful means. Do you believe, that both the hearts and lives of kings, and all their affairs, are in the hands of God? If not, you are atheists. If you do, then do you not think that God is fitter than you to dispose of them? He that believeth, will not make haste. Deliverance from persecutions must be prayed and waited for, and not snatched by violence, as a hungry dog will snatch the meat out of his master's hands, and bite his fingers. Do you believe, "That all shall work together for good to them that love God?" Rom. viii. 28. And do you believe, that the godly are more than conquerors; when they are killed all day, and counted as sheep unto the slaughter? ver. 32-35. And do you believe, that it is cause of exceeding joy, when for the sake of righteousness you are hated and persecuted, and all manner of evil is falsely spoken of you? Matt. v. 10-12. If you do not, you believe not Christ; if you do, will you strive by sinful means against your own good, and happiness, and joy? Will you desire to conquer, when you may be more than conquerors? Certainly, the use of sinful means doth come from secret unbelief and diffidence. Learn to trust God, and you will easily be subject to your governors.

Direct XI. Look not for too great matters in the world: take it but for that wilderness which is the way to the promised land of rest. And then you [751] will not count it strange to meet with hard usage and sufferings from almost all. "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial, which is to try you, as if some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice in that ye are partakers of the sufferings of Christ," 1 Pet. iv. 12, 13. Are you content with God and heaven for your portion? If not, how are you christians? if you are, you have small temptation to rebel or use unlawful means for earthly privileges.[57] Paul saith, he "took pleasure in persecutions," 2 Cor. xii. 10. Learn you to do so, and you will easily bear them.

Direct. XII. Abhor the popular spirit of envy, which maketh the poor, for the most part, think odiously of the rich and their superiors; because they have that which they had rather have themselves. I have long observed it, that the poor labouring people are very apt to speak of the rich, as sober men speak of drunkards; as if their very estates, and dignity, and greatness, were a vice.[58] And it is very much to flatter their own conscience, and delude themselves with ungrounded hopes of heaven. When they have not the spirit of regeneration and holiness, to witness their title to eternal life, they think their poverty will serve the turn; and they will ordinarily say, that they hope God will not punish them in another world, because they have had their part in this: but they will easily believe, that almost all rich and great men go to hell; and when they read Luke xvi. of the rich man and Lazarus, they think they are the Lazaruses, and read it as if God would save men merely for being poor, and damn men for being great and rich; when yet they would themselves be as rich and great, if they knew how to attain it. They think that they are the maintainers of the commonwealth, and the rich are the caterpillars of it, that live upon their labours, like drones in the hive, or mice and vermin that eat the honey, which the poor labouring bees have long been gathering. For they are unacquainted with the labours and cares of their governors, and sensible only of their own. This envious spirit exceedingly disposeth the poor to discontents, and tumults, and rebellions; but it is not of God, James iii. 15-17.

Direct. XIII. Keep not company with envious murmurers at government; for their words fret like a canker, and their sin is of an infecting kind. What a multitude were drawn into the rebellion of Korah, who, no doubt, were provoked by the leader's discontented words.[59] It seemeth they were for popularity. "Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them: wherefore then lift you up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord?—Is it a small thing that thou hast brought us up out of a land that floweth with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness; except thou make thyself altogether a prince over us?—Wilt thou put out the eyes of these men?" Numb. xvi. 3, 13, 14. What confidence, and what fair pretences are here! so probable and plausible to the people, that it is no wonder that multitudes were carried to rebellion by it! Though God disowned them by a dreadful judgment, and showed whom he had chosen to be the governors of his people.

Direct. XIV. Keep humble, and take heed of pride. The humble are ready to obey and yield, and not only to be subject to magistrates, but to all men, even voluntarily to be subject to them that cannot constrain them. "Be all of you subject one to another," 1 Pet. v. 5. It is no hard matter for a twig to bow, and for a humble soul to yield and obey another, in any thing that is lawful. But the proud take subjection for vassalage, and obedience for slavery, and say, Who is lord over us? our tongues are our own: what lord shall control us? Will we be made slaves to such and such?[60] "Only from pride cometh contention," Prov. xiii. 10. By causing impatience, it causeth disobedience and sedition.

Direct. XV. Meddle not uncalled with the matters of superiors, and take not upon you to censure their actions, whom you have neither ability, fitness, or authority to censure. How commonly will every tradesman and labourer at his work, be censuring the counsels and government of the king; and speaking of things, which they never had means sufficiently to understand! Unless you had been upon the place, and heard all the debates and consultations, and understood all the circumstances and reasons of the business, how can you imagine that at so great a distance you are competent judges? Fear God, and judge not that you be not judged.[61] If busy-bodies and meddlers with other men's matters, among equals, are condemned, 2 Thess. iii. 11; 1 Tim. v. 13; 1 Pet. iv. 15; much more when they meddle, and that censoriously, with the matters of their governors. If you would please God, know and keep your places, as soldiers in an army, which is their comely order and their strength.

Direct. XVI. Consider the great temptations of the rich and great; and pity them that stand in so dangerous a station, instead of murmuring at them, or envying their greatness. You little know what you should be yourselves, if you were in their places, and the world, and the flesh, had so great a stroke at you, as they have at them. He that can swim in calmer water, may be carried down a violent stream. It is harder for that bird to fly, that hath many pound weights tied to keep her down, than that which hath but a straw to carry to her nest. It is harder mounting heaven-wards with lordships and kingdoms, than with your less impediments. Why do you not pity them that stand on the top of barren mountains, in the stroke of every storm and wind, when you dwell in the quiet, fruitful vales? Do you envy them that must go to heaven, as a camel through a needle's eye, if ever they come there? And are you discontented, that you are not in their condition? Will you rebel and fight to make your salvation as difficult as theirs? Are you so unthankful to God for your safer station, that you murmur at it, and long to be in the more dangerous place?

Direct. XVII. Pray constantly and heartily for the spiritual and corporal welfare of your governors. And you have reason to believe, that God who hath commanded you to put up such prayers, will not suffer them to be wholly lost, but will answer them some way to the benefit of them that perform the duty, 1 Tim. ii. 1-3. And the very performance of it will do us much good of itself; for it will keep the heart well disposed to our governors, and keep out all sinful desires of their hurt; or control them and cast them out, if they come in: prayer is the exercise of love and good desires; and exercise increaseth and confirmeth habits. If any ill wishes against your governors should steal into your minds, the next time you pray for them, conscience will accuse [752] you of hypocrisy, and either the sinful desires will corrupt or end your prayers, or else your prayers will cast out those ill desires. Certainly the faithful, fervent prayers of the righteous, do prevail much with God: and things would go better than they do in the world, if we prayed for rulers as heartily as we ought.

Object. For all the prayers of the church, five parts of six of the world are yet idolaters, heathens, infidels, and Mahometans; and for all the prayers of the reformed churches, most of the christian part of the world are drowned in popery, or gross ignorance and superstition, and the poor Greek churches have Mahometan or tyrannical governors, and carnal, proud, usurping prelates domineer over the Roman church; and there are but three protestant kings on the whole earth! And among the Israelites themselves, who have priests and prophets to pray for their princes, a good king was so rare, that when you have named five or six over Judah, (and never a one after the division over Israel,) you scarce know where to find the rest. What good then do your prayers for kings and magistrates?

Answ. 1. As I said before, they keep the hearts of subjects in an obedient, holy frame. 2. Were it not for prayers, those few good ones would be fewer, or worse than they are; and the bad ones might be worse, or at least do more hurt to the church than they now do. 3. It is not to be expected, that all should be granted in kind that believers pray for; for then not only kings, but all the world should be converted and saved; for we should pray for every one. But God who knoweth best how to distribute his mercies, and to honour himself, and refine his church by the malice and persecution of his enemies, will make his people's prayers a means of that measure of good which he will do for rulers, and by them in the world; and that is enough to encourage us to pray. 4. And indeed, if when proud, ungodly worldlings have sold their souls by wicked means, to climb up into places of power, and command, and domineer over others, the prayers of the faithful should presently convert and save them all, because they are governors; this would seem to charge God with respect of persons, and defect of justice, and would drown the world in wickedness, treasons, bloodshed, and confusion, by encouraging men by flatteries, or treacheries, or murders, to usurp such places, in which they may both gratify their lusts, and after save their souls, while the godly are obliged to pray them into heaven. It is no such hearing of prayers for governors which God hath promised. 5. And yet, I must observe, that most christians are so cold and formal in their prayers for the rulers of the world, and of the church, that we have great reason to impute the unhappiness of governors very much to their neglect; almost all men are taken up so much with their own concernments, that they put off the public concernments of the world, and of the church and state, with a few customary, heartless words; and understand not the meaning of the three first petitions of the Lord's prayer, and the reason of their precedency, or put them not up with that feeling as they do the other three. If we could once observe, that the generality of christians were more earnest and importunate with God, for the hallowing of his name through all the world, and the coming of his kingdom, and the obeying of his will in earth, as it is in heaven, and the conversion of the kings and kingdoms of the world, than for any of their personal concernments, I should take it for a better prognostic of the happiness of kings and kingdoms, than any that hath yet appeared in our days. And those that are taken up with the expectations of Christ's visible reign on earth, would find it a more lawful and comfortable way, to promote his government thus by his own appointed officers, than to rebel against kings, and seek to pull them down, on pretence of setting up him that hath appointed them, whose kingdom (personally) is not of this world.[62]

Direct. XVIII. When you are tempted to dishonourable thoughts of your governors, look over the face of all the earth, and compare your case with the nations of the world; and then your murmurings may be turned into thankfulness for so great a mercy. What cause hath God to difference us from other nations, and give us any more than an equal proportion of mercy with the rest of the world? Have we deserved to have a christian king, when five parts of the world have rulers that are heathens and Mahometans? Have we deserved to have a protestant king, when all the world hath but two more? How happy were the world, if it were so with all nations, as it is with us! Remember how unthankfulness forfeiteth our happiness.

Direct. XIX. Consider as well the benefits which you receive by governors, as the sufferings which you undergo; and especially consider of the common benefits, and value them above your own. He that knoweth what man is, and what the world is, and what the temptations of great men are, and what he himself deserveth, and what need the best have of affliction, and what good they may get by the right improvement of it, will never wonder nor grudge to have his earthly mercies mixed with crosses, and to find some salt or sourness in the sauce of his pleasant dishes. For the most luscious is not of best concoction. And he that will more observe his few afflictions, than his many benefits, hath much more selfish tenderness of the flesh, than ingenuous thankfulness to his Benefactor. It is for your good that rulers are the ministers of God, Rom. xiii. 3-5. Perhaps you will think it strange, that I say to you (what I have oft said) that I think there are not very many rulers, no, not tyrants and persecutors, so bad, but that the godly that live under them, do receive from their government more good than hurt; and (though it must be confessed, that better governors would do better, yet) almost the worst are better than none. And none are more beholden to God for magistrates, than the godly are, however none suffer so much by them in most places of the world.[63] My reason is, 1. Because the multitude of the needy, and the dissolute prodigals, if they were all ungoverned, would tear out the throats of the more wealthy and industrious; and as robbers use men in their houses, and on the highway, so would such persons use all about them, and turn all into a constant war. And hereby all honest industry would be [753] overthrown, while the fruit of men's labours were all at the mercy of every one that is stronger than the owner; and a robber can take away all in a night, which you have been labouring for many years, or may set all on fire over your heads; and more persons would be killed in these wars by those that sought their goods, than tyrants and persecutors use to kill (unless they be of the most cruel sort of all). 2. And it is plain, that in most countries, the universal enmity of corrupted nature to serious godliness would inflame the rabble, if they were but ungoverned, to commit more murders and cruelties upon the godly, than most of the persecutors in the world have committed. Yet I deny not, in most places there are a sober sort of men of the middle rank that will hear reason, and are more equal to religion than the highest or the lowest usually are. But suppose these sober men were the more numerous, yet is the vulgar rabble the more violent, and if rulers restrained them not, would leave few of the faithful alive on earth. As many volumes as are written of the martyrs, who have suffered by persecutors, I think they saved the lives of many more than they murdered. Though this is no thanks to them, it is a mercy to others. As many as Queen Mary martyred, they had been far more if she had but turned the rabble loose upon them and never meddled with them by authority. I do not think Nero or Dioclesian martyred near so many, as the people turned loose upon them would have done. Much more was Julian a protector of the church from the popular rage, though, in comparison of a Constantine or a Theodosius, he was a plague. If you will but consider thus the benefits of your common protection, your thankfulness for rulers would overcome your murmurings. In some places, and at some times, perhaps the people would favour the gospel, and flock after Christ, if rulers hindered them not; but that would not be the ordinary case, and their unconstancy is so great, that what they built up one day in their zeal, the next day they would pull down in fury.

Direct. XX. Think not that any change of the form of government, would cure that which is caused by the people's sin, or the common pravity of human nature. Some think they can contrive such forms of government, as that rulers shall be able to do no hurt: but either they will disable them to do good, or else their engine is but glass, and will fail or break when it comes to execution. Men that are themselves so bad and unhumbled, as not to know how bad they are, and how bad mankind is, are still laying the blame upon the form of government when any thing is amiss, and think by a change to find a cure. As if when an army is infected with the plague, or composed of cowards, the change of the general, or form of government, would prove a cure. But if a monarch be faulty, in an aristocracy you will but have many faulty governors for one; and in a democracy a multitude of tyrants.[64]

Direct. XXI. Set yourselves much more to study your duty to your governors, than the duty of your governors to you; as knowing, that both your temporal and eternal happiness depend much more upon yourselves, than upon them.[65] God doth not call you to study other men's duties so much as your own. If your rulers sin, you shall not answer for it; but if you sin yourselves, you shall. If you should live under the Turk, that would oppress and persecute you, your souls shall speed never the worse for this; it is not you, but he that should be damned for it. If you say, But it is we that should be oppressed by it; I answer, 1. How small are temporal things to a true believer, in comparison of eternal things! Have not you a greater hurt to fear, than the killing of your bodies by men? Luke xii. 4. 2. And even for this life, do you not believe that your lives and liberties are in the power of God, and that he can relieve you from the oppression of all the world, by less than a word, even by his will? If you believe not this, you are atheists; if you do, you must needs perceive that it concerneth you more to care for your duty to your governors, than for theirs to you; and not so much to regard what you receive, as what you do; nor how you are used by others, as how you behave yourselves to them. Be much more afraid lest you should be guilty of murmuring, dishonouring, disobeying, flattering, not praying for your governors, than lest you suffer any thing unjustly from them. 1 Pet. iv. 13-17, "Let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evil-doer, or as a busybody in other men's matters; yet if any man suffer as a christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God on this behalf.—If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, ye are happy." Live so, that all your adversaries may be forced to say, as it was said of Daniel, "We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God," Dan. vi. 5. Let none be able justly to punish you as drunkards, or thieves, or slanderers, or fornicators, or perjured, or deceivers, or rebellious, or seditious; and then never fear any suffering for the sake of Christ or righteousness. Yea, though you suffer as Christ himself did, under a false accusation of disloyalty, fear not the suffering nor the infamy, as long as you are free from the guilt. See that all be well at home, and that you be not faulty against God or your governors, and then you may boldly commit yourselves to God, 1 Pet. ii. 23, 24.

Direct. XXII. The more religious any are, the more obedient should they be in all things lawful. Excel others in loyalty, as well as in piety. Religion is so far from being a just pretence of rebellion, that it is the only effectual bond of sincere subjection and obedience.

Direct. XXIII. Therefore believe not them that would exempt the clergy from subjection to the civil powers. As none should know the law of God so well as they, so none should be more obedient to kings and states, when the law of God so evidently commandeth it. Of this read "Bilson of Christian Subjection" (who besides many others, saith enough of this). The arguments of the papists from the supposed incapacity of princes, would exempt physicians, and others arts and sciences, from under their government, as well as the clergy.

Direct. XXIV. Abase not magistrates so far, as to think their office and power extend not to matters of religion and the worship of God. Were they only for the low and contemptible matters of this world, their office would be contemptible and low. To help you out in this, I shall answer some of the commonest doubts.

Quest. I. Is the civil magistrate judge in controversies of faith or worship?

Who shall be judge in points of faith and worship?

[754] Answ. It hath many a time grieved me to hear so easy a question frequently propounded, and pitifully answered, by such as the public good required to have had more understanding in such things. In a word, judgment is public or private. The private judgment, which is nothing but a rational discerning of truth and duty, in order to our own choice and practice, belongeth to every rational person. The public judgment is ever in order to execution. Now the execution is of two sorts, 1. By the sword. 2. By God's word applied to the case and person. One is upon the body or estate; the other is upon the conscience of the person, or of the church, to bring him to repentance, or to bind him to avoid communion with the church, and the church to avoid communion with him.[66] And thus public judgment is civil or ecclesiastical; coercive and violent in the execution; or only upon consenters and volunteers. In the first, the magistrate is the only judge, and the pastors in the second. About faith or worship, if the question be, Who shall be protected as orthodox, and who shall be punished by the sword as heretical, idolatrous, or irreligious? here the magistrate is the only judge. If the question be, Who shall be admitted to church communion as orthodox, or ejected and excommunicated as heretical or profane? here the pastors are the proper judges. This is the truth, and this is enough to end all the voluminous wranglings upon the question, Who shall be judge? and to answer the cavils of the papists against the power of princes in matters of religion. It is pity that such gross and silly sophisms, in a case that a child may answer, should debase christian princes, and take away their chief power, and give it to a proud and wrangling clergy, to persecute and divide the church with.[67]

Of the oath of supremacy.

Quest. II. May our oath of supremacy be lawfully taken, wherein the king is pronounced supreme governor in all causes ecclesiastical as well as civil?

Answ. There is no reason of scruple to him that understandeth, 1. That the title causes ecclesiastical is taken from the ancient usurpation of the pope and his prelates, who brought much of the magistrate's work into their courts, under the name of causes ecclesiastical. 2. That our canons, and many declarations of our princes, have expounded it fully, by disclaiming all proper pastoral power. 3. That by governor is meant only one that governeth coercively, or by sword; so that it is no more than to swear That in all causes ecclesiastical, so far as coercive government is required, it belongeth not to pope or prelates under him; but to the king and his officers or courts alone: or, That the king is chief in governing by the sword in causes ecclesiastical as well as civil. So that if you put spiritual instead of ecclesiastical, the word is taken materially, and not formally; not that the king is chief in the spiritual government, by the keys of excommunication and absolution, but that he is chief in the coercive government about spiritual matters, as before explained.[68]

Quest. III. Is not this to confound the church and state, and to give the pastor's power to the magistrate?

Answ. Not at all; it is but to say that there may be need of the use both of the word and sword against the same persons, for the same offence; and the magistrate only must use one, and the pastors the other. An heretical preacher may be silenced by the king upon pain of banishment, and silenced by the church upon pain of excommunication. And what confusion is there in this?

Quest. IV. But hath not the king power in cases of church discipline, and excommunication itself?

Answ. There is a magistrate's discipline, and a pastoral discipline. Discipline by the sword, is the magistrate's work; discipline by the word is the pastor's work. And there is a coercive excommunication, and a pastoral excommunication. To command upon pain of corporal punishment, that a heretic or impenitent, wicked man shall forbear the sacred ordinances and privileges, a magistrate may do; but to command it only upon divine and spiritual penalties, belongeth to the pastors of the church. The magistrate hath power over their very pastoral work, though he have not power in it, so as to do it himself. Suppose but all the physicians of the nation to be of divine institution, with their colleges and hospitals, and in the similitude you will see all the difficulties resolved, and the next question fully answered.[69]

Quest. V. Seeing the king, and the pastors of the church, may command and judge to several ends in the same cause, suppose they should differ, which of them should the church obey?

Answ. Distinguish here, 1. Between a right judgment and a wrong. 2. Between the matter in question; which is either, 1. Proper in its primary state to the magistrate. 2. Or proper primarily to the pastor. 3. Or common to both (though in several sorts of judgment). And so I answer the question thus.

1. If it be a matter wherein God himself hath first determined, and his officers do but judge in subordination to his law, and declare his will, then we must obey him that speaketh according to the word of God, if we can truly discern it; and not him that we know goeth contrary to God.[70] As if the magistrate should forbid communion with Arians or heretics, and the pastors command us to hold communion with them as no heretics; here the magistrate is to be obeyed (because God is to be obeyed) before the pastors, though it be in a matter of faith and worship. If you say, Thus you make all the people judges; I answer you, And so you must make them such private judges, to discern their own duty, and so must every man; or else you must rule them as beasts or madmen, and prove that there is no heaven or hell for any in the world but kings and pastors; or, at least, that the people shall be saved or damned for nothing, but obeying or not obeying their governors; and if you could prove that, you are never the nearer reconciling the contradictory commands of those governors.

2. But if the matter be not fore-determined by God, but left to man; then, 1. If it be the magistrate's proper work, we must obey the magistrate only. 2. If it be about the pastor's proper work, the pastor is to be obeyed; though the magistrate [755] gainsay it, so be it he proceed according to the general rules of his instructions, and the matter be of weight. As if the magistrate and the pastors of the church do command different translations or expositions of the Bible to be used, or one forbiddeth and another commandeth the same individual person to be baptized, or receive the sacrament of the Lord's supper, or to be esteemed a member of the church; if the people know not which of them judgeth right, it seemeth to me they should first obey their pastors, because it is only in matters intimately pertaining to their office. I speak only of formal obedience, and that of the people only, for, materially, prudence may require us rather to do as the magistrate commandeth, quod, non quia, to avoid a greater evil. And it is always supposed that we patiently bear the magistrate's penalties, when we obey not his commands. 3. But in points common to them both, the case is more difficult. But here you must further distinguish, first, between points equally common, and points unequally common; secondly, between determinations of good, or bad, or indifferent consequence as to the main end and interest of God and souls. 1. In points equally common to both, the magistrate is to be obeyed against the pastors; because he is more properly a commanding governor, and they are but the guides or governors of volunteers; and because, in such cases, the pastors themselves should obey the magistrate; and therefore the people should first obey him.[71] 2. Much more in points unequally common, which the magistrate is more concerned in than the pastors, the magistrate is undoubtedly to be first obeyed. Of both, there might instances be given about the circumstantials or adjuncts of God's worship. As the place of public worship, the situation, form, bells, fonts, pulpits, seats, precedency in seats, tables, cups, and other utensils; church bounds by parishes, church ornaments, gestures, habits, some councils, and their order, with other such like; in all which, cæteris paribus, for my part I would rather obey the laws of the king, than the canons of the bishops, if they should disagree. 3. But in cases common to both, in which the pastor's office is more nearly and fully concerned than the magistrate's, the case is more difficult: as at what hour the church shall assemble; what part of Scripture shall be read; what text the minister shall preach on; how long prayer, or sermon, or other church exercises shall be; what prayers the minister shall use; in what method he shall preach; and what doctrine he shall deliver, and the people hear; with many such like. These do most nearly belong to the pastoral office, to judge of as well as to execute; but yet in some cases the magistrate may interpose his authority. And herein, 1. If the one party do determine clearly to the necessary preservation of religion, and the other to the ruin of it, the disparity of consequents maketh a great disparity in the case; for here God himself hath predetermined, who commandeth that "all be done to edification." As for instance, if a christian magistrate ordain, that no assembly shall consist of above forty or a hundred persons, when there are so many preachers and places of meeting, that it is no detriment to men's souls; and especially, when the danger of infection, or other evil, warranteth it, then I would obey that command of the magistrate, though the pastors of the church were against it, and commanded fuller meetings. But if a Julian should command the same thing, on purpose to wear out the christian religion, and when it tendeth to the ruin of men's souls, (as when preachers are so few, that either more must meet together, or most must be untaught, and excluded from God's worship,) here I would rather obey the pastors that command the contrary, because they do but deliver the command of God, who determineth consequently of the necessary means, when he determineth of the end. But if the consequents of the magistrate's and the pastor's commands should be equally indifferent, and neither of them discernibly good or bad, the difficulty then would be at the highest, and such as I shall not here presume to determine.[72]

No doubt but the king is the supreme governor over all the schools, and physicians, and hospitals in the land, that is, he is the supreme in the civil coercive government: he is supreme magistrate over divines, physicians, and schoolmasters; but not the supreme divine, physician, or schoolmaster. When there is any work for the office of the magistrate, that is, for the sword, among any of them, it belongeth only to him, and not at all to them: but when there is any work for the divine, the physician, the schoolmaster, or if you will, for the shoemaker, the tailor, the watchmaker, this belongeth not to the king to do, or give particular commands for: but yet it is all to be done under his government; and on special causes he may make laws to force them all to do their several works aright, and to restrain them from abuses. As (to clear the case in hand) the king is informed that physicians take too great fees of their patients, that some through ignorance, and some through covetousness, give ill compounded medicines and pernicious drugs: no doubt but the king, by the advice of understanding men, may forbid the use of such drugs as are found pernicious to his subjects, and may regulate not only the fees, but the compositions and attendances of physicians. But if he should command, that a man in a fever, or dropsy, or consumption, shall have no medicine, but this or that, and so oft, and in such or such a dose, and with such or such a diet; and the physicians, whom my reason bindeth me to trust, (and perhaps my own experience also,) do tell me that all these things are bad for me, and different tempers and accidents require different remedies, and that I am like to die, or hazard my health, if I obey not them contrary to the king's commands, here I should rather obey my physicians: partly, because else I should sin against God, who commandeth me the preservation of my life; and partly, because this matter more belongeth to the physician, than to the magistrate. Mr. Richard Hooker, Eccles. Polit. lib. viii. p. 223, 224, giveth you the reason more fully.[73]

Direct. XXV. Give not the magistrate's power to any other; whether to the people, on pretence of [756] their majestatis realis, (as they call it,) or the pope, or prelates, or pastors of the church, upon pretence of authority from Christ, or of the distinction of ecclesiastical government and civil. The people's pretensions to natural authority, or real majesty, or collation of power, I have confuted before, and more elsewhere. The pope's, prelate's, and pastor's power of the sword in causes ecclesiastical, is disproved so fully by Bishop Bilson ubi supra, and many more, that it is needless to say much more of it.[74] All protestants, so far as I know, are agreed that no bishop or pastor hath any power of the sword, that is, of coercion, or force upon men's bodies, liberties, or estates, except as magistrates derived from their sovereign. Their spiritual power is only upon consenters, in the use of God's word upon the conscience, either generally in preaching, or with personal application in discipline. No courts or commands can compel any to appear or submit, nor lay the mulct of a penny upon any, but by their own consent, or the magistrate's authority. But this the papists will few of them confess: for if once the sword were taken from them, the world would quickly see that their church had the hearts of few of those multitudes, whom by fire and sword they forced to seem their members; or at least, that, when the windows were opened, the light would quickly deliver poor souls from the servitude of those men of darkness. For then few would fear the unrighteous excommunication of mere usurpers.[75] It is a manifold usurpation by which their kingdom is upheld. (For a kingdom it is rather to be called than a church.) 1. They usurp the power of the keys or ecclesiastical government over all the world, and make themselves pastors of those churches, which they have nothing to do to govern. Their excommunications of princes or people, in other lands or churches that never took them for their pastors, is a usurpation the more odious, by how much the power usurped is more holy, and the performance in so large a parish as the whole world, is naturally impossible to the Roman usurper. 2. Under the name of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, they usurp the magistrate's coercive power in such causes as they call ecclesiastical. 3. Yea, and they claim an immunity to their clergy from the civil government, as if they were no subjects of the king, or the king had not power to punish his offending subjects. 4. In ordine ad spiritualia, they claim yet more of the magistrate's power. 5. And one part of them give the pope directly in temporals a power over kings and kingdoms. 6. Their most eminent divines do ordinarily maintain, that the pope may excommunicate kings and interdict kingdoms, and that an excommunicated king is no king, and may be killed. It is an article of their religion, determined of in one of their approved general councils, (Later. sub. Innoc. III. can. 3,) That if temporal lords will not exterminate heretics from their lands, (such as the Albigenses, that denied transubstantiation, mentioned can. 2,) the pope may give their dominions to others, and absolve their vassals from their fealty. And when some of late would have so far salved their honour, as to invalidate the authority of that council, they will not endure it, but have strenuously vindicated it; and indeed whatever it be to us, with them it is already enrolled among the approved general councils. Between the Erastians, who would have no government but by magistrates, and papists, who give the magistrate's power to the pope and his prelates, the truth is in the middle; that the pastors have a nunciative and directive power from Christ, and a discipline to exercise by the word alone, or volunteers; much like the power of a philosopher in his school, or a physician in his hospital, supposing them to be by divine right.

Direct. XXVI. Refuse not to swear allegiance to your lawful sovereign. Though oaths are fearful, and not to be taken without weighty cause, yet are they not to be refused when the cause is weighty, as here it is. Must the sovereign be sworn to do his office for you, and must he undertake so hard and perilous a charge for you, which he is no way able to go through, if his subjects be not faithful to him? And shall those subjects refuse to promise and swear fidelity? This is against all reason and equity.

Direct. XXVII. Think not that either the pope, or any power in the world, can dispense with this your oath, or absolve you from the bond of it, or save you from the punishment due from God, to the perjured and perfidious. Of this see what I have written before against perjury.

Direct. XXVIII. Do nothing that tendeth to bring the sacred bonds of oaths into an irreligious contempt, or to make men take the horrid crime of perjury to be a little sin. Sovereigns have no sufficient security of the fidelity of their subjects, or of their lives, or kingdoms; if once oaths and covenants be made light of, and men can play fast and loose with the bonds of God, which lie upon them. He is virtually a traitor to princes and states, who would bring perjury and perfidiousness into credit, and teacheth men to violate oaths and vows. For there is no keeping up human societies and governments, where there is no trust to be put in one another. And there is no trust to be put in that man, that maketh no conscience of an oath or vow.[76]

Direct. XXIX. Be ready to your power to defend your governors, against all treasons, conspiracies, and rebellions.[77] For this is a great part of the duty of your relation. The wisdom and goodness necessary to government, is much personal in the governors themselves; but the strength (without which laws cannot be executed, nor the people preserved) is in the people, and the prince's interest in them; therefore if you withdraw your help in time of need, you desert and betray your rulers, whom you should defend. If you say, it is they that are your protectors. I answer, true; but by yourselves. They protect you by wisdom, council, and authority, and you must protect them by obedience and strength. Would you have them protect you rather by mercenaries or foreigners? If not, you must be willing to do your parts, and not think it enough in treasons, [757] invasions, or rebellions, to sit still and save yourselves, and let him that can lay hold on the crown, possess it. What prince would be the governor of a people, that he knew would forsake him in his need?

Direct. XXX. Murmur not at the payment of those necessary tributes, by which the common safety must be preserved, and the due honour of your governors kept up. Sordid covetousness hath been the ruin of many a commonwealth. When every one is shifting for himself, and saving his own, and murmuring at the charge by which their safety must be defended, as if kings could fight for them, without men and money; this selfishness is the most pernicious enemy to government, and to the common good. Tribute and honour must be paid to whom it doth belong. Rom. xiii. 6, 7, "For they are God's ministers, attending continually on this very thing." And none of your goods or cabins will be saved, if by your covetousness the ship should perish.

Direct. XXXI. Resist not, where you cannot actually obey: and let no appearance of probable good that might come to yourselves, or the church, by any unlawful means, (as treason, sedition, or rebellion,) ever tempt you to it. For evil must not be done that good may come by it: and all evil means are but palliate and deceitful cures, that seem to help a little while, but will leave the malady more perilous at last, than it was before. As it is possible, that lying or perjury might be used to the seeming service of a governor at the time, which yet would prepare for his after danger, by teaching men perfidiousness; even so rebellions and treasons may seem at present to be very conducible to the ends of a people or party that think themselves oppressed; but in the end it will leave them much worse than it found them.[78]

Object. But if we must let rulers destroy us at their pleasure, the gospel will be rooted out of the earth: when they know that we hold it unlawful to resist them, they will be imboldened to destroy us, and sport themselves in our blood; as the papists did by the poor Albigenses, &c.

Answ. All this did signify something if there were no God, that can easilier restrain and destroy them at his pleasure, than they can destroy or injure you. But if there be a God, and all the world is in his hand, and with a word he can speak them all into dust; and if this God be engaged to protect you, and hath told you, that the very hairs of your head are numbered, and more regardeth his honour, and gospel, and church, than you do, and accounteth his servants as the apple of his eye, and hath promised to hear them and avenge them speedily, and forbid them to avenge themselves; then it is but atheistical distrust of God, to save yourselves by sinful means, as if God either could not or would not do it: thus he that saveth his life shall lose it. Do you believe that you are in the hands of Christ, and that men cannot touch you but by his permission; and that he will turn all your sufferings to your exceeding benefit? And yet will you venture on sin and hell to escape such sufferings from men? Wolves, and bears, and lions, that fight most for themselves, are hated and destroyed by all; so that there are but few of them in the land. But though a hundred sheep will run before a little dog, the master of them taketh care for their preservation. And little children that cannot go out of the way from a horse or cart, every one is afraid of hurting. If christians behaved themselves with that eminent love, and lowliness, and meekness, and patience, and harmlessness, as their Lord hath taught them and required, perhaps the very cruelty and malice of their enemies would abate and relent; and "when a man's ways please God, he would make his enemies to be at peace with him;"[79] but if not, their fury would but hasten us to our joy and glory. Yet note, that I speak all this only against rebellion, and unlawful arms and acts.

Direct. XXXII. Obey inferior magistrates according to the authority derived to them from the supreme, but never against the supreme, from whom it is derived. The same reasons which oblige you to obey the personal commands of the king, do bind you also to obey the lowest constable, or other officer: for they are necessary instruments of the sovereign power, and if you obey not them, the obedience of the sovereign signifieth almost nothing. But no man is bound to obey them beyond the measure of their authority; much less against those that give them their authority.

Direct. XXXIII. No human power is at all to be obeyed against God: for they have no power, but what they receive from God; and all that is from him, is for him. He giveth no power against himself; he is the first efficient, the chief dirigent, and ultimate final cause of all.[80] It is no act of authority, but resistance of his authority, which contradicteth his law, and is against him. All human laws are subservient to his laws, and not co-ordinate, much less superior. Therefore they are ipso facto null, or have no obligation, which are against him: yet is not the office itself null, when it is in some things thus abused; nor the magistrate's power null, as to other things. No man must commit the least sin against God, to please the greatest prince on earth, or to avoid the greatest corporal suffering.[81] "Fear not them that can kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do; but fear him, who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell: yea, I say unto you, fear him," Luke xii. 4. "Whether we ought to obey God rather than men, judge ye," Acts v. 29. "Not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him that is invisible.—Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance," &c. Heb. xi. 27, 35. "Be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image," &c. Dan. iii. 18.

Object. If we are not obliged to obey, we are not obliged to suffer; for the law obligeth primarily to obedience, and only secondarily ad pœnam, for want of obedience. Therefore where there is no primary obligation to obedience, there is no secondary obligation to punishment.

Answ. The word obligation, being metaphorical, must in controversy be explained by its proper terms. The law doth first constituere debitum obedientiæ, et propter inobedientiam debitum pœnæ. Here then you must distinguish, 1. Between obligation in foro conscientiæ, and in foro humano. 2. Between an obligation ad pœnam by that law of man, and an obligation ad patiendum by another divine law. And so the answer is this: first, If the higher powers, e. g. [758] forbid the apostles to preach upon pain of death or scourging, the dueness both of the obedience and the penalty, is really null, in point of conscience; however in foro humano they are both due; that is, so falsely reputed in that court: therefore the apostles are bound to preach notwithstanding the prohibition, and so far as God alloweth they may resist the penalty, that is, by flying: for properly there is neither debitum obedientiæ nec pœnæ. Secondly, But then God himself obligeth them not to "resist the higher powers," Rom. xiii. 1-3, and "in their patience to possess their souls." So that from this command of God, there is a true obligation ad patiendum, to patient suffering and non-resistance, though from the law of man against their preaching, there was no true obligation aut ad obedientiam, aut ad pœnam. This is the true resolution of this sophism.

Direct. XXXIV. It is one of the most needful duties to governors, for those that have a call and opportunity, (as their pastors,) to tell them wisely and submissively of those sins which are the greatest enemies to their souls; and not the smallest enemies to their government, and the public peace.[82] All christians will confess, that sin is the only forfeiture of God's protection, and the cause of his displeasure, and consequently the only danger to the soul, and the greatest enemy to the land. And that the sins of rulers, whether personal, or in their government, have a far more dangerous influence upon the public state, than the sins of other men. Yea, the very sins which upon true repentance may be pardoned as to the everlasting punishment, may yet be unpardoned as to the public ruin of a state: as the sad instance of Manasseh showeth. 2 Kings xxiii. 26, "Notwithstanding the Lord turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath, wherewith his anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations that Manasseh had provoked him withal." Chap. xxiv. 3, 4, "Surely at the commandment of the Lord came this upon Judah, to remove them out of his sight for the sins of Manasseh according to all that he did; and also for the innocent blood that he shed, (for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood,) which the Lord would not pardon." And yet this was after Josiah had reformed. So Solomon's sin did cause the rending of the ten tribes from his son's kingdom: yea, the bearing with the high places, was a provoking sin in kings, that otherwise were upright. Therefore sin being the fire in the thatch, the quenching of it must needs be an act of duty and fidelity to governors; and those that tempt them to it, or soothe and flatter them in it, are the greatest enemies they have. But yet it is not every man that must reprove a governor, but those that have a call and opportunity; nor must it be done by them imperiously, or reproachfully, or publicly to their dishonour, but privately, humbly, and with love, honour, reverence, and submissiveness.

Object. But great men have great spirits, and are impatient of reproof, and I am not bound to that which will do no good, but ruin me.

Answ. 1. It is an abuse of your superiors, to censure them to be so proud and brutish, as not to consider that they are the subjects of God, and have souls to save or lose, as well as others: will you judge so hardly of them before trial, as if they were far worse and foolisher than the poor, and take this abuse of them to be an excuse for your other sin? No doubt there are good rulers in the world, that will say to Christ's ministers, as the Prince Elector Palatine did to Pitiscus, charging him to tell him plainly of his faults, when he chose him to be the Pastor Aulicus.[83]

2. How know you beforehand what success your words will have? Hath the word of God well managed no power? yea, to make even bad men good? Can you love your rulers, and yet give up their souls in despair, and all for fear of suffering by them?

3. What if you do suffer in the doing of your duty? Have you not learned to serve God upon such terms as those? Or do you think it will prove it to be no duty, because it will bring suffering on you? These reasons savour not of faith.

Direct. XXXV. Think not that it is unlawful to obey in every thing which is unlawfully commanded. It may in many cases be the subject's duty, to obey the magistrate who sinfully commandeth him. For all the magistrate's sins in commanding, do not enter into the matter or substance of the thing commanded: if a prince command me to do the greatest duty, in an ill design, to some selfish end, it is his sin so to command; but yet that command must be obeyed (to better ends). Nay, the matter of the command may be sinful in the commander, and not in the obeyer. If I be commanded without any just reason to hunt a feather, it is his sin that causelessly commandeth me so to lose my time; and yet it may be my sin to disobey it, while the thing is lawful; else servants and children must prove all to be needful, as well as lawful, which is commanded them before they must obey. Or the command may at the same time be evil by accident, and the obedience good by accident, and per se. Very good accidents, consequence, or effects, may belong to our obedience, when the accidents of the command itself are evil. I could give you abundance of instances of these things.

Direct. XXXVI. Yet is not all to be obeyed that is evil but by accident, nor all to be disobeyed that is so: but the accidents must be compared; and if the obedience will do more good than harm, we must obey; if it will evidently do more harm than good, we must not do it. Most of the sins in the world are evil by accident only, and not in the simple act denuded of its accidents, circumstances, or consequents. You may not sell poison to him that you know would poison himself with it, though to sell poison of itself be lawful. Though it be lawful simply to lend a sword, yet not to a traitor that you know would kill the king with it, no nor to one that would kill his father, his neighbour, or himself. A command would not excuse such an act from sin.[84] He was slain by David, that killed Saul at his own command, and if [759] he had but lent him his sword to do it, it had been his sin. Yet some evil accidents may be weighed down by greater evils, which would evidently follow upon the not doing of the thing commanded.

Direct. XXXVII. In the question, whether human laws bind conscience, the doubt is not of that nature, as to have necessary influence upon your practice. For all agree, that they bind the subject to obedience, and that God's law bindeth us to obey them. And if God's law bind us to obey man's law, and so to disobey them be materially a sin against God's law, this is as much as is needful to resolve you in respect of practice: no doubt, man's law hath no primitive obliging power at all, but a derivative from God, and under him; and what is it to bind the conscience (an improper speech) but to bind the person to judge it his duty, (conscire,) and so to do it. And no doubt but he is bound to judge it his duty, that that is immediately by human law, and remotely by divine law, and so the contrary to be a sin proximately against man, and ultimately against God. This is plain, and the rest is but logomachy.

Direct. XXXVIII. The question is much harder, whether the violation of every human penal law be a sin against God, though a man submit to the penalty. (And the desert of every sin is death.) Master Richard Hooker's last book unhappily ended, before he gave us the full reason of his judgment in this case, these being the last words: "Howbeit, too rigorous it were, that the breach of every human law should be a deadly sin: a mean there is between those extremities, if so be we can find it out—."[85] Amesius hath diligently discussed it, and many others. The reason for the affirmative is, because God bindeth us to obey all the lawful commands of our governors; and suffering the penalty, is not obeying; the penalty being not the primary intention of the lawgiver, but the duty; and the penalty only to enforce the duty: and though the suffering of it satisfy man, it satisfieth not God, whose law we break by disobeying. Those that are for the negative, say, That God binding us but to obey the magistrate, and his law binding but aut ad obedientiam, aut ad pœnam, I fulfil his will, if I either do or suffer: if I obey not, I please him by satisfying for my disobedience. And it is none of his will, that my choosing the penalty should be my sin or damnation. To this it is replied, That the law bindeth ad pœnam, but on supposition of disobedience; and that disobedience is forbidden of God: and the penalty satisfieth not God, though it satisfy man. The other rejoins, That it satisfieth God, in that it satisfieth man; because God's law is but to give force to man's, according to the nature of it. If this hold, then no disobedience at all is a sin in him that suffereth the penalty. In so hard a case, because more distinction is necessary to the explication, than most readers are willing to be troubled with, I shall now give you but this brief decision.[86] There are some penalties which fulfil the magistrate's own will as much as obedience, which indeed have more of the nature of a commutation, than of penalty: (as he that watcheth not or mendeth not the highways, shall pay so much to hire another to do it: he that shooteth not so oft in a year, shall pay so much: he that eateth flesh in Lent, shall pay so much to the poor: he that repaireth not his hedges, shall pay so much:) and so in most amercements, and divers penal laws; in which we have reason to judge, that the penalty satisfieth the lawgiver fully, and that he leaveth it to our choice. In these cases I think we need not afflict ourselves with the conscience or fear of sinning against God. But there are other penal laws, in which the penalty is not desired for itself, and is supposed to be but an imperfect satisfaction to the lawgiver's will, and that he doth not freely leave us to our choice, but had rather we obeyed than suffered; only he imposeth no greater a penalty, either because there is no greater in his power, or some inconvenience prohibiteth; in this case I should fear my disobedience were a sin, though I suffered the penalty. (Still supposing it an act that he had power to command me.)

Direct. XXXIX. Take heed of the pernicious design of those atheistical politicians, that would make the world believe, that all that is excellent among men, is at enmity with monarchy, yea, and government itself; and take heed on the other side, that the most excellent things be not turned against it by abuse.

Here I have two dangers to advertise you to beware: the first is of some Machiavelian, pernicious principles, and the second of some erroneous, unchristian practices.

For the first, there are two sorts of atheistical politicians guilty of them. The first sort are some atheistical flatterers, that to engage monarchs against all that is good, would make them believe that all that is good is against them and their interest. By which means, while their design is to steal the help of princes, to cast out all that is good from the world, they are most pernicious underminers of monarchy itself. For what readier way to set all the world against it, than to make them believe that it standeth at enmity to all that is good. These secret enemies would set up a leviathan to be the butt of common enmity and opposition.

The other sort are the professed enemies of monarchy, who in their zeal for popular government, do bring in all that is excellent, as if it were adverse to monarchy. 1. They would (both) set it at enmity with politicians. 2. With lawyers. 3. With history. 4. With learning. 5. With divines. 6. With all christian religion. 7. And with humanity itself.

Object. I. The painters of the leviathan scorn all politics, as ignorant of the power of monarchs, except the atheistical inventions of their own brains. And the adversaries of monarchy say, The reading of politics will satisfy men against monarchy; for in them you ordinarily find that the majestas realis is in the people, and the majestas personalis in the prince; that the prince receiveth all his power from the people, to whom it is first given, and to whom it may be forfeited and escheat: with much more of the like, as is to be seen in politicians of all religions.

Answ. 1. It is not all politics that go upon those principles: and one mistake in writers is no disgrace to the true doctrine of politics, which may be vindicated from such mistakes. 2. As almost all authors of politics take monarchy for a lawful species of government, so most or very many (especially of the moderns) do take it to be the most excellent sort of unmixed government. Therefore they are no enemies to it.

Object. II. For lawyers, they say, That, 1. Civilians set up reason so high, that they dangerously measure the power of monarchs by it; insomuch, that the most famous pair of zealous and learned defenders of monarchy, Barclay and Grotius, do assign many cases, in which it is lawful to resist princes by arms, and more than so.[87] 2. And the common lawyers, they say, are all for the law, and ready to say as Hooker, Lex facit regem; and what power the king hath, he hath it by law, The bounds are known, p. 218. He is singulis major, et universis minor, &c.

[760] Answ. 1. Sure the Roman civil laws were not against monarchy, when monarchs made so many of them. And what power reason truly hath, it hath from God, whom none can over-top; and that which reason is abused unjustly to defend, may be well contradicted by reason indeed. 2. And what power the laws of the land have, they have by the king's consent and act: and it is strange impudence to pretend, that his own laws are against him. If any misinterpret them, he may be confuted.

Object. III. For historians, say they, Be but well-versed in ancient history, Greek and Roman, and you shall find them speak so ill of monarchy, and so much for popularity, and liberty, and magnifying so much the defenders of the people's liberty against monarchs, that it will secretly steal the dislike of monarchy, and the love of popular liberty into your minds.[88]

Answ. It must be considered in what times and places the ancient Greek and Roman historians did live.[89] They that lived where popular government was in force and credit, wrote according to the time and government which they lived under; yet do they extol the virtues and heroic acts of monarchs, and often speak of the vulgar giddiness and unconstancy. And for my part, I think he that readeth in them those popular tumults, irrationalities, furies, unconstancies, cruelties, which even in Rome and Athens they committed, and all historians record, will rather find his heart much alienated from such democratical confusions. And the historians of other times and places do write as much for monarchy, as they did for democracy.

Object. IV. Some of them revile at Aristotle and all universities, and say, That while multitudes must be tasters and pretenders to the learning which they never can thoroughly attain, they read many dangerous books, and receive false notions; and these half-witted men are the disturbers of all societies. Do you not see, say they, that the two strongest kingdoms in the world, are kept up by keeping the subjects ignorant. The Greek and Latin empires were ruined by the contention of men that did pretend to learning. The Turk keepeth all in quiet by suppressing it: and the pope confineth it almost all to his instruments in government, and keepeth the common people in ignorance; which keepeth them from matter of quarrel and disobedience.[90]

Answ. I hope you will not say, that Rome or Athens of old did take this course. And we will not deny, but men of knowledge are more subject to debates, and questionings, and quarrels about right and wrong, than men of utter ignorance are. Beasts fall not out about crowns or kingdoms, as men do. Dogs and swine will not scramble for gold, as men will do, if you cast it among them: and it is easier to keep swine or sheep, than men; and yet it is not better to be swine or sheep, than men; nor to be governors of beasts, than men. Dead men are quieter than the living, and blind men will submit to be led more easily than those that see; and yet it is not better to be a king of brutes, or blind men, or dead men, than of the living that have their sight. A king of men that have many disagreements, is better than a king of beasts that all agree. And yet true knowledge tendeth to concord, and to the surest and constantest obedience.

Object. V. But their chief calumniations are against divines. They say, That divines make a trade of religion; and under pretence of divine laws, and conscience, and ecclesiastical discipline, they subjugate both prince and people to their will, and set up courts which they call ecclesiastical, and keep the people in dependence on their dictates, and teach them to disobey upon pretence that God is against the matter of their obedience; and also by contending for their opinions, or for superiority and domination over one another, they fill kingdoms with quarrels, and break them into sects and factions, and are the chief disturbers of the public peace.[91]

Answ. We cannot deny that carnal, ignorant, worldly, proud, unholy pastors, have been and are the great calamity of the churches: but that is no more disgrace to their office, or to divinity, than it is to philosophy or reason, that philosophers have been ignorant, erroneous, divided, and contentious; nor than it is to government, that kings and other rulers have been imperfect, bad, contentious, and filled the world with wars and bloodshed. Nay, I rather think that this is a proof of the excellency of divinity: as the reason of the aforesaid imperfections and faultiness of philosophers and rulers, is because that philosophy and government are things so excellent, that the corrupt, imperfect nature of man, will not reach so high, as to qualify any man to manage them, otherwise than with great defectiveness; so also divinity, and the pastoral office, are things so excellent and sublime, that the nature of lapsed man will not reach to a capacity of being perfect in them. So that the faultiness of the nature of man, compared with the excellency of the things to be known and practised by divines, is the cause of all these faults that they complain of; and nature's vitiosity, if any thing, must be blamed. Certainly, the pastoral office hath men as free from ignorance, worldliness, pride, and unquietness, as any calling in the world. To charge the faults of nature upon that profession, which only discovereth, but never caused them, yea, which would heal them, if they are to be healed on earth, judge whether this dealing be not foolish and injurious, and what will be the consequents if such unreasonable persons may be heard. And therefore, though leviathan and his spawn, among all that is good, bring down divines, and the zealots for democracy have gloried of their new forms of commonwealths, as inconsistent with a clergy, their glory is their shame to all but infidels. Let them help us to take down and cure the ignorance, pride, carnality, worldliness, and contentiousness of the clergy, and we will be thankful to them; but to quarrel with the best of men for the common pravity of nature, and to reproach the most excellent science and function, because depraved nature cannot attain or manage them in perfection, this is but to play the professed enemies of mankind.

Object. VI. These atheists or infidels also do spit their venom against christianity and godliness itself, and would make princes believe, that the principles of it are contrary to their interest, and to government and peace: and they fetch their cavils, 1. From the Scripture's contemptuous expressions of worldly wealth and greatness. 2. From its prohibition of revenge and maintaining our own right. 3. From the [761] setting it above all human laws; and by its authority and obscurity, filling the minds of men with scrupulosity. 4. From the divisions which religion occasioneth in the world: and, 5. From the testimonies of the several sects against each other. I shall answer them particularly, though but briefly.

Object. I. Say the infidel politicians, How can subjects have honourable thoughts of their superiors, when they believe that to be the word of God, which speaketh so contemptuously of them?[92] As Luke vi. 24, "Woe to you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation." Jam. v. 1-3, "Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you." Ver. 5, 6, "Ye have lived in pleasure on earth, and been wanton—Ye have condemned and killed the just."—Luke xii. 21. Chap. xvi. the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, is spoken to make men think of the rich as miserable, damned creatures. Ezek. xxi. 25, "Thou profane, wicked prince of Israel." Prov. xxv. 5, "Take away the wicked from before the king." Prov. xxix. 12, "If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked:" the contempt of greatness is made a part of the christian religion.

Answ. 1. As if there were no difference between the contempt of riches and worldly prosperity, and the contempt of government. He is blind that cannot see that riches and authority are not the same: yea, that the overvaluing of riches is the cause of seditions, and the disturbance of governments, when the contempt of them removeth the chief impediments of obedience and peace. 2. And may not governors be sufficiently honoured, unless they be exempted from the government of God? and unless their sin must go for virtue? and unless their duty, and their account, and the danger of their souls, be treacherously concealed from them? God will not flatter dust and ashes; great and small are alike to him. He is no respecter of persons: when you can save the greatest from death and judgment, then they may be excepted from all those duties which are needful to their preparation. 3. And is it not strange, that God should teach men to contemn the power which he himself ordaineth? and which is his own? Hath he set officers over us, for the work of government, and doth he teach us to despise them? There is no show of any such thing in Scripture: there are no principles in the world that highlier advance and honour magistracy, than the christian principles, unless you will make gods of them, as the Roman senate did of the Antonines, and other emperors.

Object. II. How can there be any government, when men must believe that they must not resist evil, but give place to wrath, and turn the other cheek to him that smiteth them, and give their coat to him that taketh away their cloak, and lend, asking for nothing again? Is not this to let thieves and violent, rapacious men rule all, and have their will, and go unpunished? What use is there then for courts or judges? And when Christ commandeth his disciples, that though the kings of the nations rule over them, and exercise authority, and are called benefactors, yet with them it shall not be so.[93]

Answ. These were the old cavils of Celsus, Porphyry, and Julian; but very impudent. As though love and patience were against peace and government. Christ commandeth nothing in all these words, but that we love our neighbour as ourselves, and love his soul above our wealth, and that we do as we would be done by, and use not private revenge, and take not up the magistrate's work: and is this doctrine against government? It is not magistrates, but ministers and private christians, whom he commandeth not to resist evil, and not to exercise lordship, as the civil rulers do. When it will do more hurt to the soul of another, than the benefit amounteth to, we must not seek our own right by law, nor must private men revenge themselves. All law-suits, and contentions, and hurting of others, which are inconsistent with loving them as ourselves, are forbidden in the gospel. And when was government ever disturbed by such principles and practices as these? Nay, when was it disturbed but for want of these? When was there any sedition, rebellion, or unlawful wars, but through self-love, and love of earthly things, and want of love to one another? How easily might princes rule men, that are thus ruled by love and patience!

Object. III. Christianity teacheth men to obey the Scriptures before their governors, and to obey no law that is contrary to the Bible; and when the Bible is so large, and hath so many passages hard to be understood, and easily perverted, some of these will be always interpreted against the laws of men; and then they are taught to fear no man against God, and to endure any pains or death, and to be unmoved by all the penalties which should enforce obedience; and to rejoice in this as a blessed martyrdom, to the face of kings; and those that punish them, are reproached as persecutors, and threatened with damnation, and made the vilest men on earth, and represented odious to all.[94]

Answ. The sum of all this objection is, That there is a God. For if that be not denied, no man can deny that he is the Universal Governor of the world; and that he hath his proper laws and judgment, and rewards and punishments, or that magistrates are his ministers, and have no power but from him; and consequently, that the commands, and threats, and promises of God, are a thousand-fold more to be regarded, than those of men.[95] He is a beast, and not a man, that feareth not God more than man, and that feareth not hell more than bodily sufferings: and for the Scriptures, 1. Are they any harder to be understood than the law of nature itself? Surely the characters of the will of God in natura rerum, are much more obscure than in the Scriptures. Hath God sent so great a messenger from heaven, to open to mankind the mysteries of his kingdom, and tell them what is in the other world, and bring life and immortality to light, and yet shall his revelation be accused as more obscure than nature itself is? If an angel had been sent from heaven to any of these infidels [762] by name, to tell them but the same that Scripture telleth us, sure they would not have reproached his message with such accusations. 2. And are not the laws of the land about smaller matters, more voluminous and difficult? And shall that be made a reproach to government? And for misinterpretation, it is the fault of human nature, that is ignorant and rash, and not of the Scriptures. Will you tell God, that you will not obey him, unless he will make his laws so, as no man can misinterpret them? When or where were there ever such laws? God will be God, and Judge of the world, whether you will or not; and he will not be an underling to men, nor set their laws above his own, to avoid your accusations. If there be another life of joy or misery, it is necessary that there be laws according to which those rewards and punishments are to be adjudged. And if rulers oppose those who are appointed to promote obedience to them, they must do it at their perils; for God will render to all according to their works.

Object. IV. Doth not experience tell the world, that christianity every where causeth divisions, and sets the world together by the ears? What a multitude of sects are there among us at this day; and every one thinketh that his salvation lieth upon his opinion! And how can princes govern men of so contrary minds, when the pleasing of one party is the losing of the rest? We have long seen that church divisions shake the safety of the state. If it were not that few that are called christians are such indeed, and serious in the religion which themselves profess, there were no quietness to be expected; for those that are most serious, are so full of scruples, and have consciences still objecting something or other against their obedience, and are so obstinate in their way, as thinking it is for their salvation, that all ages and nations have been fain to govern them by force as beasts, which they have called persecution.[96]

Answ. 1. There is no doctrine in the world so much for love, and peace, and concord as the doctrine of Christ is. What doth it so much urge and frequently inculcate? What doth it contain but love and peace from end to end? Love is the sum and end of the gospel, and the fulfilling of the law. To love God above all, and our neighbours as ourselves, and to do as we would be done by, is the epitome of the doctrine of Christ and his apostles. 2. And therefore christianity is only the occasion, and not the cause of the divisions of the earth. It is men's blindness and passions and carnal interests rebelling against the laws of God, which is the make-bate of the world, and filleth it with strife. The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits; it blesseth the peace-makers and the meek. But it is the rebellious wisdom from beneath, that is earthly, sensual, and devilish, which causeth envy and strife, and thereby confusion and every evil work, James iii. 15-17; Matt. v. 6-8. So that the true, genuine christian is the best subject and peaceablest man on earth. But seriousness is not enough to make a christian; a man may be passionately serious in an error; understanding must lead and seriousness follow. To be zealous in error is not to be zealous in christianity; for the error is contrary to christian verity. 3. As I said before, it is a testimony of the excellency of religion that it thus occasioneth contention. Dogs and swine do not contend for crowns and kingdoms, nor for sumptuous houses or apparel; nor do infants trouble the world or themselves with metaphysical, or logical, or mathematical disputes; idiots do not molest the world with controversies, nor fall thereby into sects and parties. Nor yet do wise and learned persons contend about chaff, or dust, or trifles. But as excellent things are matter of search, so are they matter of controversy, to the most excellent wits. The hypocritical christians that you speak of, who make God and their salvation give place to the unjust commands of men, are indeed no christians, as not taking Christ for their sovereign Lord; and it is not in any true honour of magistracy that they are so ductile, and will do any thing, but it is for themselves, and their carnal interest; and when that interest requireth it, they will betray their governors, as infidels will do. If you can reduce all the world to be infants, or idiots, or brutes, yea, or infidels, they will then trouble the state with no contentions for religion or matters of salvation. But if the governed must be brutified, what will the governors be? 4. All true christians are agreed in the substance of their religion; there is no division among them about the necessary points of faith or duty. Their agreement is far greater than their disagreement; which is but about some smaller matters, where differences are tolerable; therefore they may all be governed without any such violence as you mention. If the common articles of faith, and precepts of christian duty, be maintained, then that is upheld which all agree in; and rulers will not find it needful to oppress every party or opinion save one, among them that hold the common truths. Wise and sober christians lay not men's salvation upon every such controversy; nor do they hold or manage them unpeaceably to the wrong of church or state, nor with the violation of charity, peace, or justice. 5. Is there any of the sciences which afford not matter of controversy? If the laws of the land did yield no matter of controversy, lawyers and judges would have less of that work than now they have. And was there not greater diversity of opinions and worship among the heathens than ever was among christians? What a multitude of sects of philosophers and religions had they! And what a multitude of gods had they to worship! And the number of them still increased as oft as the senate pleased to make a god of the better sort of their emperors when they were dead. Indeed one emperor, (of the religion of some of these objectors,) Heliogabalus, bestirred himself with all his power to have reduced all religion to unity, that is, he would have all the worship brought to his god to whom he had been priest: saith Lampridius in his life, Dicebat Judæorum et Samaritanorum religiones et christianam devotionem, illuc transferendam, &c. And therefore he robbed, and maimed, and destroyed the other gods, id agens ne quis Romæ Deus nisi Heliogabalus coleretur. But as the effect of his monstrous, abominable filthiness of life was to be thrust into a [763] privy, killed, and dragged about the streets, and drowned in the Tiber; so the effect of his desired unity, was to bring that one god or temple into contempt, whereto he would confine all worship. The differences among christians are nothing in comparison of the differences among heathens.[97] The truth is, religion is such an illustrious, noble thing, that dissensions about it, like spots in the moon, are much more noted by the world, than about any lower, common matters. Men may raise controversies in philosophy, physic, astronomy, chronology, and yet it maketh no such noise, nor causeth much offence or hatred in the world; but the devil and corrupted nature have such an enmity against religion, that they are glad to pick any quarrel against it, and blame it for the imperfections of all that learn it, and should practise it. As if grammar should be accused for every error or fault that the boys are guilty of in learning it; or the law were to be accused for all the differences of lawyers, or contentions of the people; or physic were to be accused for all the differences or errors of physicians; or meat and drink were culpable because of men's excesses and diseases. There is no doctrine or practice in the world, by which true unity and concord can be maintained, but by seriousness in the true religion. And when all contention cometh for want of religion, it is impudence to blame religion for it, which is the only cure. If rulers will protect all that agree in that which is justly to be called the christian religion, both for doctrine and practice; and about their small and tolerable differences, will use no other violence but only to compel them to live in peace, and to suppress the seditious, and those that abuse and injure government or one another; they will find that christianity tendeth not to divisions, nor to the hinderance or disturbance of government or peace. It is passion, and pride, and selfishness that doth this, and not religion; therefore let these and not religion be restrained. But if they will resolve to suffer none to live in peace, but those that in every punctilio are all of one opinion, they must have but one subject that is sincere in his religion, (for no two will be in every thing of the same apprehension, no more than of the same complexion,) and all the rest must be worldly hypocrites, that while they are heartily true to no religion, will profess themselves of any religion which will serve their present turns; and these nominal christians will be ready to betray their rulers, or do any mischief which their carnal interest requireth.[98]

Object. V. What witness need we more than their own accusations of one another?[99] For the papists, how many volumes have the protestants written against them as enemies to all civil government; alleging even the decrees of their general councils, as Later. sub Innoc. III. Can. 3. And for the protestants, they are as deeply charged by the papists, as you may see in the "Image of both Churches," and "Philanax Anglicus," and abundance more. For Calvin and the presbyterians and puritans, let the prelates tell you how peaceable they are. And the papists and puritans say that the prelatists are of the same mind, and only for their own ends pretend to greater loyalty than others. There are no two among them more famous for defending government, than Hooker and Bilson. And what Hooker saith for popular power, his first and eighth books abundantly testify: and even Bishop Bilson himself defendeth the French and German protestant wars; and you may judge of his loyal doctrine by these words, p. 520, "Of Christian Subjection:" "If a prince should go about to subject his kingdom to a foreign realm, or change the form of the commonwealth from impery to tyranny, or neglect the laws established by common consent of prince and people, to execute his own pleasure; in these and other cases which might be named, if the nobles and commons join together to defend their ancient and accustomed liberty, regimen, and laws, they may not well be counted rebels."[100]

Answ. 1. If it be clear that christianity as to its principles, is more for love, and concord, and subjection, than any other rational doctrine in the world, then if any sect of christians shall indeed be found to contradict these principles, so far they contradict christianity: and will you blame religion because men contradict it? or blame Christ's doctrine because men disobey it? Indeed every sect that hath something of its own to make a sect, besides christian religion, which maketh men mere christians, may easily be guilty of such error as will corrupt the christian religion. And as a sect, they have a divided interest which may tempt them to dividing principles; but none more condemn such divisions than Christ. 2. And indeed, though a christian as such is a credible witness; yet a sect or faction as such, doth use to possess men with such an envious, calumniating disposition, that they are little to be believed when they accuse each other! This factious zeal is not from above, but is earthly, sensual, and devilish; and therefore where this is, no wonder if there be strife, and false accusing, and confusion, and every evil work. But as these are no competent witnesses, so whether or no they are favoured by Christ, you may judge if you will read but those three chapters, Matt. v. Rom. xii. James iii. I may say here as Bishop Bilson in the place which is accused, p. 521. "IT IS EASY FOR A RUNNING AND RANGING HEAD TO SIT AT HOME IN HIS CHAMBER AND CALL MEN REBELS, HIMSELF BEING THE RANKEST." 3. For the papists I can justify them from your accusation, [764] so far as they are christians; but as they are papists let him justify them that can. Indeed usurpation of government is the very essence of popery; for which all other christians blame them; and therefore there is small reason that christianity should be accused for them. 4. And for the protestants, both episcopal and disciplinarians, the sober and moderate of them speak of one another in no such language as you pretend. For the episcopal, I know of none but railing papists, that accuse them universally of any doctrines of rebellion: and for the practices of some particular men, it is not to be alleged against their doctrine. Do you think that Queen Elizabeth, to whom Bishop Bilson's book was dedicated, or King Charles, to whom Mr. Hooker's book was dedicated, took either of them to be teachers of rebellion? It is not every different opinion in politics that proveth men to be against subjection. He that can read such a book as Bilson's for "Christian Subjection against Antichristian Rebellion," and yet deny him to be a teacher of subjection, hath a very hard forehead. For the controversies, I shall say no more of them here, but what I have said before to Mr. Hooker. And as for Calvin and the disciplinarians, or puritans, as they are called, they subscribe all the confessions for magistracy, and take the same oaths of allegiance and supremacy, as others do; and they plead and write for them: so that for my part I know not of any difference in their doctrine. Hear what Bishop Andrews saith, (who was no rebel,) in his "Tortura Torti," p. 379, 380. Calvinus autem ut papam regem; ita regem papam non probavit; neque nos quod in papa detestamur, in rege approbamus; at et ille nobiscum, et nos cum illo sentimus, easdem esse in ecclesia christiana regis Jacobi partes, quæ Josiæ fuerunt in Judaica; nec nos ultra quicquam fieri ambimus—: that is, "But Calvin neither liked a pope-king, nor a king-pope; nor do we approve of that in the king, which we detest in the pope. But he with us, and we with him, do judge, that King James hath as much to do in the christian church, as Josias had in the Jewish church; and we go not about to get any more." And after, Sub primatus nomine, papatum novum rex non invehit in ecclesiam; sic enim statuit, ut non Aaroni pontifici, ita nec Jeroboamo regi, jus ullum esse conflatum a se vitulum populo proponendi, ut adoret, (id est,) non vel fidei novos articulos, vel cultus divini novas formulas procudendi: that is, "The king doth not bring into the church a new papacy, under the name of primacy; for thus he judgeth, (or determineth,) that neither Aaron the priest, nor Jeroboam the king, had any right to propose the calf which they had made, to the people to be adored; that is, neither to hammer (or make) new articles of faith, or new forms of divine worship." And p. 379, 380. Quos vero puritanos appellat, si regium primatum detestantur, detestandi ipsi. Profitentur enim, subscribunt, jurant indies; sed et illi quod faciunt ingenue faciunt, et societatem in hoc Torti, ipsumque adeo Tortum, tanquam mendacem hominem, (et alibi de aliis, et hic de se,) ac sycophantem egregium detestantur: that is, "And for those he calleth puritans, if they detest the king's supremacy, they are to be detested; for they daily profess, subscribe, and swear to it; and what they do, they do ingenuously; and they detest the society of Tortus in this, and Tortus himself, as a lying man, (elsewhere of others, and here of themselves,) and an egregious sycophant." By these testimonies judge what protestants think of one another in point of loyalty.

5. And why are not all the other christians taken into your enumeration? the Armenians, Abassins, and all the Greek churches? whom the papists so frequently reproach as flatterers or servile, because they still gave so much to their emperors. Have you any pretence for your accusation as against them? Unless perhaps from the tumults which Alexandria in its greatness was much addicted to, which is nothing to the doctrine of christianity, nor to the practice of all the rest.

Christianity is most for loyalty and subjection.

Having answered these cavils of the late atheistical or infidel politicians, I shall next show, though briefly, yet by plentiful evidence, that christianity and true godliness is the greatest strength of government, and bond of subjection, and means of peace, that ever was revealed to the world: which will appear in all these evidences following.

1. Christianity teacheth men to take the higher powers as ordained of God, and to obey them as God's ministers or officers, having an authority derived immediately from God; so that it advanceth the magistrate as God's officer, as much higher than infidels advance him, (who fetch his power no higher than force or choice,) as a servant of God is above a servant of men; which is more than a man is above a dog.[101]

2. Christianity telleth us that our obedience to magistrates is God's own command, and so that we must obey him by obeying them. And as obedience to a constable is more procured by the king's laws than by his own commands, so obedience to a king is far more effectually procured by God's laws than by his own. If God be more above a king, than a king is above a worm, the command of God must be a more powerful obligation upon every understanding person, than the king's. And what greater advantage can a king have in governing, than to have subjects whose consciences do feel themselves bound by God himself, to obey the king and all his officers.

Object. But this is still with exception, if it be not in things forbidden of God; and the subjects are made judges whether it be so or no.

Answ. And woe to that man that grudgeth that God must be obeyed before him; and would be himself a god to be obeyed in things which God is against! The subjects are made no public judges, but private discerners of their duties; and so you make them yourselves: or else they must not judge whether the king or a usurper were to be obeyed; or whether the word of a king or of a constable, if they be contradictory, is to be preferred. To judge what we must choose or refuse is proper to a rational creature: even brutes themselves will do something like it by instinct of nature, and will not do all things according to your will. You would have us obey a justice of peace no further than our loyalty to the king will give leave: and therefore there is greater reason that we should obey the higher powers no further than our loyalty to God will give leave.[102] But if men pretend God's commands for any thing which he commandeth not, magistrates bear not the sword in vain, and subjects are commanded by God not to resist. If they punish them rightfully, God will bear the rulers out in it; if they punish them wrongfully or persecute them for well doing, God will severely punish them, who so wronged his subjects, [765] and abused the authority which he committed to their trust.

3. The christian religion bindeth subjects to obedience upon sorer penalties than magistrates can inflict; even upon pain of God's displeasure, and everlasting damnation, Rom. xiii. 2, 3. And how great a help this is to government it is so easy to discern, that the simpler sort of atheists do persuade themselves, that kings devised religion to keep people in obedience with the fears of hell. Take away the fears of the life to come, and the punishment of God in hell upon the wicked, and the world will be turned into worse than a den of serpents and wild beasts; adulteries, and murders, and poisoning kings, and all abomination, will be freely committed, which wit or power can think to cover or bear out! Who will trust that man that believeth not that God doth judge and punish?

4. The christian religion doth encourage obedience and peace with the promise of the reward of endless happiness (cæteris paribus); heaven is more than any prince can give. If that will not move men, there is no greater thing to move them. Atheism and infidelity have no such motives.

5. Christianity teacheth subjects to obey not only good rulers but bad ones, even heathens themselves, and not to resist when we cannot obey. Whereas among heathens, princes ruled no longer than they pleased the soldiers or the people; so that Lampridius marvelled that Heliogabalus was no sooner butchered, but suffered to reign three years: Mirum fortasse cuipiam videatur Constantine venerabilis, quod hæc clades quam retuli loco principum fuerit; et quidem prope triennio, ita ut nemo inventus fuerit qui istum a gubernaculis Romanæ majestatis abduceret, cum Neroni, Vitellio, Caligulæ cæterisque hujusmodi nunquam tyrannicida defuerit.[103]

6. Christianity and godliness do not only restrain the outward acts, but rule the very hearts, and lay a charge upon the thoughts, which the power of princes cannot reach. It forbiddeth to curse the king in our bedchamber, or to have a thought or desire of evil against him; it quencheth the first sparks of disloyalty and disorder; and the rule of the outward man followeth the ordering of the heart; and therefore atheism, which leaveth the heart free and open to all desires and designs of rebellion, doth kindle that fire in the minds of men, which government cannot quench; it corrupteth the fountain; it breaketh the spring that should set all a going; it poisoneth the heart of commonwealths.[104]

7. Christianity and godliness teach men patience, that it may not seem strange to them to bear the cross, and suffer injuries from high and low; and therefore that impatience which is the beginning of all rebellion being repressed, it stayeth the distemper from going any further.

8. Christianity teacheth men self-denial as a great part of their religion;[105] and when selfishness is mortified, there is nothing left to be a principle of rebellion against God or our superiors. Selfishness is the very predominant principle of the ungodly; it is only for themselves that they obey when they do obey; no wonder therefore if the author of Leviathan allow men to do any thing when the saving of themselves requireth it. And so many selfish persons as there be in a kingdom, so many several interests are first sought, which for the most part stand cross to the interests of others: the godly have all one common centre; they unite in God, and therefore may be kept in concord; for God's will is a thing that may be fulfilled by all as well as one; but the selfish and ungodly are every one his own centre, and have no common centre to unite in, their interests being ordinarily cross and inconsistent.

9. Christianity teacheth men by most effectual arguments, to set light by the riches and honours of the world, and not to strive for superiority; but to mind higher things, and lay up our treasure in a better world, and to condescend to men of low degree. It forbiddeth men to exalt themselves lest they be brought low; and commandeth them to humble themselves that God may exalt them; and he that knoweth not that pride and covetousness are the great disquieters of the world, and the cause of contentions, and the ruin of states, knoweth nothing of these matters. Therefore if it were but by the great urging of humility and heavenly-mindedness, and the strict condemning of ambition and earthly-mindedness, christianity and godliness must needs be the greatest preservers of government, and of order, peace, and quietness in the world.[106]

10. Christianity teacheth men to live in the love of God and man. It maketh love the very heart, and life, and sum, and end of all other duties of religion. Faith itself is but the bellows to kindle in us the sacred flames of love. Love is the end of the gospel, and the fulfilling of the law. To love all saints with a special love, even with a pure heart and fervently, and to love all men heartily with a common love; to love our neighbour as ourselves; and to love our very enemies; this is the life which Christ requireth, upon the penalty of damnation; and if love thus prevail, what should disturb the government, peace, or order of the world?

11. Christianity teacheth men to be exact in justice, distributive and commutative; and to do to others as we would they should do to us: and where this is followed kings and states will have little to molest them, when gens sine justitia est sine remige navis in unda.

12. Christianity teacheth men to do good to all men as far as we are able, and to abound in good works, as that for which we are redeemed and new made; and if men will set themselves wholly to do good, and be hurtful and injurious to none, how easy will it be to govern such!

13. Christianity teacheth men to forbear and to forgive, as ever they will be forgiven of God, and the strong to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please themselves, but one another to their edification; not to be censorious, harsh, or cruel, nor to place the kingdom of God in meats, and drinks, and days, but in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost; to bear one another's burdens, and to restore them with the spirit of meekness that are overtaken in a fault, and to be peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and hypocrisy, and to speak evil of no man; and where this is obeyed, how quietly and easily may princes govern![107]

14. Christianity setteth before us the perfectest pattern of all this humility, meekness, contempt of worldly wealth and greatness, self-denial and obedience, that ever was given in the world. The eternal Son of God incarnate, would condescend to earth and flesh, and would obey his superiors after the flesh, in the repute of the world; and would pay [766] tribute, and never be drawn to any contempt of the governors of the world, though he suffered death under the false accusation of it. He that is a christian, endeavoureth to imitate his Lord: and can the imitation of Christ, or of his peaceable apostles, be injurious to governors? Could the world but lay by their serpentine enmity against the holy doctrine and practice of christianity, and not take themselves engaged to persecute it, nor dash themselves in pieces on the stone which they should build upon, nor by striving against it provoke it to fall on them and grind them to powder, they never need to complain of disturbances by christianity or godliness.[108]

15. Christianity and true godliness containeth, not only all those precepts that tend to peace and order in the world, but also strength, and willingness, and holy dispositions for the practising of such precepts. Other teachers can speak but to the ears, but Christ doth write his laws upon the heart; so that he maketh them such as he commandeth them to be: only this is the remnant of our unhappiness, that while he is performing the cure on us, we retain a remnant of our old diseases, and so his work is yet imperfect: and as sin in strength is it that setteth on fire the course of nature, so the relics of it will make some disturbance in the world, according to its degree; but nothing is more sure than that the godliest christian is the most orderly and loyal subject, and the best member (according to his parts and power) in the commonwealth; and that sin is the cause, and holiness the cure of all the disorders and calamities of the world.

16. Lastly, Consult with experience itself, and you will find, that all this which I have spoken, hath been ordinarily verified.[109] What heathenism tendeth to, you may see even in the Roman government (for there you will confess it was at the best). To read of the tumults, the cruelties, the popular unconstancy, faction, and injustice; how rudely the soldiers made their emperors, and how easily and barbarously they murdered them, and how few of them from the days of Christ till Constantine did die the common death of all men, and escape the hands of those that were their subjects; I think this will satisfy you, whither men's enmity to christianity tendeth: and then to observe how suddenly the case was altered, as soon as the emperors and subjects became christian (till in the declining of the Greek empire, some officers and courtiers who aspired to the crown did murder the emperors): and further to observe, that the rebellious doctrines and practices against governors, have been all introduced by factions and heresies, which forsook christianity so far before they incurred such guilt; and that it is either papal usurpation (which is in its nature an enemy to princes) that hath deposed and trampled upon emperors and kings, or else some mad enthusiastics that overrun religion and their wits, that at Munster, (and in England some lately,) by the advantage of their prosperity, have dared to do violence against sovereignty; but the more any men were christians and truly godly, the more they detested all such things; all this will tell you that the most serious and religious christians, are the best members of the civil societies upon earth.

II. Having done with the first part of my last direction, I shall say but this little of the second; let christians see that they be christians indeed, and abuse not that which is most excellent to be a cloak to that which is most vile. 1. In reading politics, swallow not all that every author writeth in conformity to the polity that he liveth under. What perverse things shall you read in the popish politics (Contzen, and abundance such)! What usurpation on principalities, and cruelties to christians, under the pretence of defending the church, and suppressing heresies!

2. Take heed in reading history that you suffer not the spirit of your author to infect you with any of that partiality which he expresseth to the cause which he espouseth. Consider in what times and places all your authors lived, and read them accordingly with the just allowance. The name of liberty was so precious, and the name of a king so odious to the Romans, Athenians, &c., that it is no wonder if their historians be unfriendly unto kings.

3. Abuse not learning itself to lift you up with self-conceitedness against governors! Learned men may be ignorant of polity; or at least unexperienced, and almost as unfit to judge, as of matters of war or navigation.

4. Take heed of giving the magistrate's power to the clergy, and setting up secular, coercive power under the name of the power of the keys: and it had been happy for the church if God had persuaded magistrates in all ages to have kept the sword in their own hands, and not have put it into the clergy's hands, to fulfil their wills by:[110] for, 1. By this means the clergy had escaped the odium of usurpation and domineering, by which atheistical politicians would make religion odious to magistrates for their sakes. 2. And by this means greater unity had been preserved in the church, while one faction is not armed with the sword to tread down the rest: for if divines contend only by dint of argument, when they have talked themselves and others aweary they will have done; but when they go to it with dint of sword, it so ill becometh them, that it seldom doth good, but the party often that trusteth least to their reason, must destroy the other, and make their cause good by iron arguments. 3. And then the Romish clergy had not been armed against princes to the terrible concussions of the christian world, which histories at large relate, if princes had not first lent them the sword which they turned against them. 4. And then church discipline would have been better understood, and have been more effectual; which is corrupted and turned to another thing, and so cast out, when the sword is used instead of the keys, under pretence of making it effectual: none but consenters are capable of church communion: no man can be a christian, or godly, or saved [767] against his will; and therefore consenters and volunteers only are capable of church discipline: as a sword will not make a sermon effectual, no more will it make discipline effectual: which is but the management of God's word to work upon the conscience. So far as men are to be driven by the sword to the use of means, or restrained from offering injury to religion, the magistrate himself is fittest to do it. It is noted by historians as the dishonour of Cyril of Alexandria, (though a famous bishop,) that he was the first bishop that like a magistrate used the sword there, and used violence against heretics and dissenters.

5. Above all, abuse not the name of religion for the resistance of your lawful governors: religion must be defended and propagated by no irreligious means. It is easy before you are aware, to catch the fever of such a passionate zeal as James and John had, when they would have had fire from heaven to consume the refusers and resisters of the gospel: and then you will think that any thing almost is lawful, which doth but seem necessary to the prosperity of religion. But no means but those of God's allowance do use to prosper, or bring home that which men expect: they may seem to do wonders for awhile, but they come to nothing in the latter end, and spoil the work, and leave all worse than it was before.

Direct. XL. Take heed of mistaking the nature of that liberty of the people, which is truly valuable and desirable, and of contending for an undesirable liberty in its stead.[111] It is desirable to have liberty to do good, and to possess our own, and enjoy God's mercies, and live in peace: but it is not desirable to have liberty to sin, and abuse one another, and hinder the gospel, and contemn our governors. Some mistake liberty for government itself; and think it is the people's liberty to be governors: and some mistake liberty for an exemption from government, and think they are most free, when they are most ungoverned, and may do what they list: but this is a misery, and not a mercy, and therefore was never purchased for us by Christ. Many desire servitude and calamity under the name of liberty: optima est reipublicæ forma, saith Seneca, ubi nulla libertas deest, nisi licentia pereundi. As Mr. R. Hooker saith, lib. viii. p. 195, "I am not of opinion, that simply in kings the most, but the best limited, power is best, both for them and the people: the most limited is that which may deal in fewest things: the best, that which in dealing is tied to the soundest, perfectest, and most indifferent rule, which rule is the law: I mean not only the law of nature and of God, but the national law consonant thereunto: happier that people whose law is their king in the greatest things, than that whose king is himself their law."

Yet no doubt but the lawgivers are as such, above the law as an authoritative instrument of government, but under it as a man is under the obligation of his own consent and word: it ruleth subjects in the former sense; it bindeth the summam potestatem in the latter.

Direct. XLI. When you have done all that you can in just obedience, look for your reward from God alone. Let it satisfy you that he knoweth and approveth your sincerity. You make it a holy work if you do it to please God; and you will be fixed and constant, if you take heaven for your reward (which is enough, and will not fail you); but you make it but a selfish, carnal work, if you do it only to please your governors, or get preferment, or escape some hurt which they may do you, and are subject only in flattery, or for fear of wrath, and not for conscience sake. And such obedience is uncertain and unconstant; for when you fail of your hopes, or think rulers deal unjustly or unthankfully with you, your subjection will be turned into passionate desires of revenge. Remember still the example of your Saviour, who suffered death as an enemy to Cæsar, when he had never failed of his duty so much as in one thought or word. And are you better than your Lord and Master? If God be all to you, and you have laid up all your hopes in heaven, it is then but little of your concernment (further than God is concerned in it) whether rulers do use you well or ill, and whether they interpret your actions rightly, or what they take you for, or how they call you; but it is your concernment that God account you loyal, and will judge you so, and justify you from men's accusations of disloyalty, and reward you with more than man can give you. Nothing is well done, especially of so high a nature as this, which is not done for God and heaven, and which the crown of glory is not the motive to.

I have purposely been the larger on this subject, because the times in which we live require it, both for the settling of some, and for the confuting the false accusations of others, who would persuade the world that our doctrine is not what it is; when through the sinful practices of some, the way of truth is evil spoken of, 2 Pet. ii. 2.

Tit. 2. A fuller resolution of the cases, 1. Whether the laws of men do bind the conscience? 2. Especially smaller and penal laws?

The word conscience signifieth either, 1. In general according to the notation of the word, The knowledge of our own matters; conscire; the knowledge of ourselves, our duties, our faults, our fears, our hopes, our diseases, &c. 2. Or more limitedly and narrowly, The knowledge of ourselves and our own matters in relation to God's law and judgment; Judicium hominis de seipso prout subjicitur judicio Dei, as Amesius defineth it.

2. Conscience is taken, 1. Sometimes for the act of self-knowing. 2. Sometimes for the habit. 3. Sometimes for the faculty, that is, for the intellect itself, as it is a faculty of self-knowing. In all these senses it is taken properly. 4. And sometimes it is used (by custom) improperly, for the person himself, that doth conscire; or for his will (another faculty).

3. The conscience may be said to be bound, 1. Subjectively, as the subjectum quod, or the faculty obliged. 2. Or objectively, as conscire, the act of conscience, is the thing ad quod, to which we are obliged.

And upon those necessary distinctions I thus answer to the first question.

Prop. 1. The act or the habit of conscience is not capable of being the subject obliged; no more than any other act or duty: the act or duty is not bound, but the man to the act or duty.

2. The faculty or judgment is not capable of being the object, or materia ad quam, the thing to which we are bound. A man is not bound to be a man, or to have an intellect, but is made such.

3. The faculty of conscience (that is, the intellect) is not capable of being the immediate or nearest subjectum quod, or subject obliged. The reason is, Because the intellect of itself is not a free-working faculty, but acteth necessarily per modum naturæ further than it is under the empire of the will; and therefore intellectual and moral habits are by all men distinguished.

4. All legal or moral obligation falleth directly upon the will only: and so upon the person as a [768] voluntary agent; so that it is proper to say, The will is bound, and The person is bound.

5. Improperly and remotely it may be said, The intellect (or faculty of conscience) is bound, or the tongue, or hand, or foot is bound; as the man is bound to use them.

6. Though it be not proper to say, That the conscience is bound, it is proper to say, That the man is bound to the act and habit of conscience, or to the exercise of the faculty.

7. The common meaning of the phrase, that we are bound in conscience, or that conscience is bound, is that we are bound to a thing by God, or by a divine obligation, and that it is a sin against God to violate it; so that divines use here to take the word conscience in the narrower theological sense, as respect to God's law and judgment doth enter the definition of it.

8. Taking conscience in this narrower sense, to ask, Whether man's law as man's do bind us in conscience, is all one as to ask, Whether man be God.[112]

9. And taking conscience in the large or general sense, to ask, Whether man's laws bind us in conscience subjectively, is to ask, Whether they bind the understanding to know our duty to man? And the tenor of them will show that, while they bind us to an outward act, or from an outward act, it is the man that they bind to or from that act, and that is, as he is a rational, voluntary agent; so that a human obligation is laid upon the man, on the will, and on the intellect, by human laws.

10. And human laws, while they bind us to or from an outward act, do thereby bind us as rational free agents, knowingly to choose or refuse those acts; nor can a law which is a moral instrument any otherwise bind the hand, foot, or tongue, but by first binding us to choose or refuse it knowingly, that is, conscientiously, so that a human bond is certainly laid on the mind, soul, or conscience, taken in the larger sense.

11. Taking conscience in the stricter sense, as including essentially a relation to God's obligation, the full sense of the question plainly is but this, Whether it be a sin against God to break the laws of man? And thus plain men might easily understand it. And to this it must be answered, That it is in two respects a sin against God to break such laws or commands as rulers are authorized by God to make; 1. Because God commandeth us to obey our rulers: therefore he that (so) obeyeth them not, sinneth against a law of God. God obligeth us in general to obey them in all things which they are authorized by him to command; but their law determineth of the particular matter; therefore God obligeth us (in conscience of his law) to obey them in that particular. 2. Because by making them his officers, by his commission he hath given them a certain beam of authority, which is divine as derived from God; therefore they can command us by a power derived from God: therefore to disobey is to sin against a power derived from God. And thus the general case is very plain and easy, How man sinneth against God in disobeying the laws of man, and consequently how (in a tolerable sense of that phrase) it may be said, that man's laws do or do not bind the conscience, (or rather, bind us in point of conscience,) or by a divine obligation. Man is not God; and therefore, as man, of himself can lay no divine obligation on us. But man being God's officer, 1. His own law layeth on us an obligation derivatively divine (for it is no law which hath no obligation, and it is no authoritative obligation which is not derived from God). 2. And God's own law bindeth us to obey man's laws.

Quest. II. But is it a sin to break every penal law of man?

Answ. 1. You must remember that man's law is essentially the signification of man's will; and therefore obligeth no further than it truly signifieth the ruler's will.

2. That it is the act of a power derived from God; and therefore no further bindeth, than it is the exercise of such a power.

3. That it is given, 1. Finally for God's glory and pleasure, and for the common good (comprehending the honour of the ruler and the welfare of the society ruled). And therefore obligeth not when it is, (1.) Against God. (2.) Or against the common good. 2. And it is subordinate to God's own laws, (in nature and Scripture,) and therefore obligeth not to sin, or to the violation of God's law.[113]

4. You must note that laws are made for the government of societies as such universally; and so are fitted to the common case, for the common good. And it is not possible but that a law which prescribeth a duty which by accident is so to the most, should meet with some particular subject to whom the case is so circumstantiated as that the same act would be to him a sin: and to the same man it may be ordinarily a duty, and in an extraordinary case a sin. Thence it is that in some cases (as Lent fasts, marriages, &c.) rulers oft authorize some persons to grant dispensations in some certain cases: and hence it is said, that necessity hath no law.

Hereupon I conclude as followeth:

1. It is no sin to break a law which is no law, as being against God, or not authorized by him, (as of a usurper, &c.) See R. Hooker, Conclus. lib. viii.

2. It is no law so far as it is no signification of the true will of the ruler, whatever the words be: therefore so far it is no sin to break it.

3. The will of the ruler is to be judged of, not only by the words, but by the ends of government, and by the rules of humanity.

4. It being not possible that the ruler in his laws can foresee and name all exceptions, which may occur, it is to be supposed that it is his will that the nature of the thing shall be the notifier of his will, when it cometh to pass; and that if he were present, and this case fell out before him, which the sense and end of the law extendeth not to, he would say, This is an excepted case.

5. There is therefore a wide difference between a general law, and a personal, particular mandate; as of a parent to a child, or a master to a servant; for [769] this latter fully notifieth the will of the ruler in that very case, and to that very person. And therefore it cannot be said that here is any exception, or that it is not his will; but in a universal or general law, it is to be supposed that some particular excepted cases will fall out extraordinarily, though they cannot be named; and that in those cases, the ruler's will dispenseth with it.

6. Sometimes also the ruler doth by the mere neglect of pressing or executing his own laws, permit them to grow obsolete, and out of use; and sometimes he forbeareth the execution of them for some time, or to some sort of persons; and by so doing, doth notify that it was not his will that at such a time, and in such cases, they should oblige. I say not that all remissness of execution is such a sign; but sometimes it is: and the very word of the lawgiver may notify his dispensation or suspending will. As for instance, upon the burning of London, there were many laws (about coming to parish churches, and relief of the poor of the parish, and the like) that the people became uncapable of obeying; and it was to be supposed, that the ruler's will would have been to have excepted such cases if foreseen; and that they did dispense with them when they fell out.

7. Sometimes also the penalty of violating a law, is some such mulct or service, which the ruler intendeth as a commutation for the duty, so that he freely leaveth it to the choice of the subject which he will choose. And then it is no sin to pay the mulct, and omit the action; because it crosseth not the lawgiver's will.

8. Sometimes also the law may command this principally for some men's sake, which so little concerns others, that it should not extend to them at all, were it not lest the liberty of them should be an impediment to the obedience of others, and consequently of the common good. In which case, if those persons so little concerned, do but omit the action secretly, so as to be no scandal or public hurt, it seemeth that they have the implicit consent of the rulers.

9. Sometimes particular duties are commanded with this express exception, "Unless they have just and reasonable impediment." As for coming every Lord's day to church, &c.; which seemeth to imply, that (though in cases where the public good is concerned, the person himself shall not be judge, nor at all as to the penalty, yet that) in actions of an indifferent nature in themselves, this exception is still supposed to be implied, "unless we have just and reasonable impediments," of which in private cases, as to the crime, we may judge.

10. I need not mention the common, natural exceptions: as that laws bind not to a thing when it becometh naturally impossible; or cessante materia, rel capacitate subjecti obligati, &c.

11. Laws may change their sense in part by the change of the lawgiver; for the law is not formally to us his law that is dead and was once our ruler, but his that is alive and is now our ruler. If Henry the Eighth make a law about the outward acts of religion, (as for coming to church, &c.) and this remain unrepealed in King Edward's, Queen Mary's, Queen Elizabeth's, King James's days, &c., even till now; as we are not to think that the lawgivers had the same sense and will, so neither that the law hath the same sense and obligation; for if the general words be capable of several senses, we must not take it as binding to us in the sense it was made in, but in the sense of our present lawgivers or rulers, because it is their law.

12. Therefore if a law had a special reason for it at the first making, (as the law for using bows and arrows,) that reason ceasing, we are to suppose the will of the lawgiver to remit the obligation, if he urge not the execution, and renew not the law.

13. By these plain principles many particular difficulties may be easily resolved, which cannot be foreseen and named, e. g. the law against relieving a beggar bindeth not, when he is like to die if he be not relieved; or in such a case as after the burning of London, when there was no parish to bring him to. A law that is but for the ordering of men's charity, (to soul or body, by preaching or alms,) will not disoblige me from the duties of charity themselves, in cases where Scripture or nature proveth them to be imposed by God. A law for fasting will not bind me, when it would be destructive to my body; even on God's sabbaths duties of mercy were to be preferred to rest and sacrifices.

14. If God's own laws must be thus expounded, that When two duties come together, and both cannot be done, the lesser ceaseth at that time to be a duty, and the greater is to be preferred, man's laws must also be necessarily so expounded: and the rather, because man's laws may be contradictory, when God's never are so, rightly understood.

15. Where the subject is to obey, so far he must discern which of the laws inconsistent is to be preferred; but in the magistratical execution, the magistrate or judge must determine.

E. g. One law commandeth that all the needy poor be kept on the parish where they were born or last lived. Another law saith, that nonconformable ministers of the gospel, who take not the Oxford oath, shall not come within five miles of city or corporation, (though they were born there,) or any place where they have been preachers. In case of necessity what shall they do? Answ. Whither they shall go for relief, they must discern as well as they can; but whither they shall be carried or sent, the magistrate or constable must discern and judge.

Also whether he shall go with a constable that by one law bringeth him to a place, which by the other law he is forbid on pain of six months' imprisonment in the common gaol to come to? Answ. If he be not voluntary in it, it is not his fault: and if one bring him thither by force, and another imprison him for being there, he must patiently suffer it.

16. But out of such excepted cases, the laws of our rulers (as the commands of parents) do bind us as is afore explained; and it is a sin against God to violate them.

17. Yea, when the reason of the law reacheth not our particular case and person, yet when we have reason to judge, that it is the ruler's will that all be bound for the sake of some, and the common order and good will be hindered by our exemption, we must obey to our corporal detriment, to avoid the public detriment, and to promote the public good.

[36]   Nihil Deo qui omnem mundum hunc regit, acceptius, quam concilia cœcusque nominum quæ civitates appellantur. Cicero.

[37]   Grotius de Imper. Sum. Potest. c. i. p. 7, 8. Sunt qui objiciant reges quædam imperare non posse, nisi consensus ordinum accesserit: sed hi non vident quibus in locis id juris est, ibi summum imperium non esse penes reges, sed aut penes ordines, aut certe penes id corpus, quod rex et juncti constituunt, ut Bodinus, Suarezius, Victoria, aliique, aliunde demonstrarunt: certum summum imperium totum, et aliquid imperare non posse, ideo tantum quod alter vetet aut intercedat, plane sunt ἀσύστατα.

[38]   So foolish and bad is the multitude too often, that it made Aristippus hold it as probable, that a wise man should not endanger himself for his country, because wisdom is not to be cast away for the commodity of fools. Laert. in Aristip. But a wise man must be wise for others, and not only for himself.

[39]   It was one of the Roman laws of the twelve tables, Vendendi filium patri potestas esto. But this law rather giveth the father that power, than declareth it to be naturally in him. Nature alloweth him no other selling of him, than what is for his child's own good.

[40]   So p. 23. The same error of the original of power hath Acosta, 1. ii. c. 2. p. 208. with many other Jesuits and papists.

[41]   Bishop Andrews in Tortur. Tort. p. 385. Actuus homo non distinguit inter formam, atque authoritatem regiminis; forma de hominibus esse potest: de cœlo semper est authoritas. An rex sit supra leges, Vid. Seb. Fox. lib. ii. de Instit. Reg.

[42]   Dion Cass. saith, that when Euphates the philosopher would kill himself, Veniam dederat ei Adrianus citra ignominiam et infamiam, ut cicutam tum propter senectutem, tum etiam propter gravem morbum, bibere possit. In vita Adrian.

[43]   Against the people's being the givers of power, by conjoining all their own in one, in church or state, see Mr. D. Cawdry's Review of Mr. Hooker's Survey, p. 154, &c.

[44]   So lib. viii. p. 211, 218, 220.

[45]   Lib. viii. p. 195. Trita in scholis, neminem sibi imperare posse; neminem sibi legem posse dicere, a qua mutata voluntate nequeat recedere: summum ejus esse imperium qui ordinario jure derogare valeat. Et quibus evincitur jus summæ potestatis non limitari per legem positivum. Hinc et Augustinus dixit imperatorem non esse subjectum legibus suis.—Grotius de Imp. p. 149, 150.

[46]   Hanc video sapientissimorum fuisse sententiam. Legem nec hominum ingeniis excogitatam, nec scitum aliquod esse populorum; sed æternum quiddam, quod universum mundum regeret, imperandi prohibendique sapientia. Cicero de Leg.

[47]   How considerable a part of England is London! Yet in this convocation, which hath made the new changes in the liturgy and book of ordination, London had not one clerk of their choosing: for being to choose but two, they chose only Mr. Calamy and myself; who were neither of us accepted, or ever there. Now if your opinion be true; Quær. 1. Whether you make not this convocation's decrees to be but counsels to us? 2. Or at least whether the city of London, or the London ministers, be not made free from detriment, as not consenters? You will free them and me, especially from detriment for our not conforming to this convocation's acts as such; upon reasons which I do not own myself, as generally by you laid down.

[48]   Potestas maritalis est a Deo: applicatio ejus potestatis ad certam personam ex consensu venit quo tamen ipsum jus non datur. Nam si ex consensu daretur, posset consensu etiam dissolvi matrimonium, aut conveniri ne maritus fœminæ imperaret. Quod minime verum est. Imperatoria potestas non est penes electores: ergo nec ab ipsis datur; sed ab ipsis tamen certæ personæ applicatur. Jus vitæ et necis non est penes cives antequam in rempublicam coeant. Privatus enim jus vindictæ non habet: ab iisdem tamen applicatur ad cœtum aut personam aliquam. Grotius de Imperio, p. 270.

[49]   Greg. Nazianzen cited by Bilson of Subjection, p. 361. Thou reignest together with Christ; rulest with him; thy sword is from him; thou art the image of God.

[50]   Victor. Utic. saith of Victorianus proconsul of Carthage, that even to an Arian persecuting, usurping tyrant, Pro rebus sibi commissis semper fidelissimus habebatur; and the like of Sebastian and others, p. 460.

[51]   Mark vii. 10; x. 19.

[52]   Lamprid. saith of Alex. Severus that, Amavis literatos homines, vehementer eos etiam reformidans, nequid de se asperum scriberent. Universal. Histor. p. 132. Tiberius bellua luto et sanguine macerata; sui tegendi peritissimus artifex; totus tamen posteritatis oculis patuit, Deo hypocrisim detractione larvæ; plectente.

[53]   Matt. xviii. 6; Mark ix. 42; Luke xvii. 2; Jude 7-9.

[54]   Sext. Aurel. Victor, de Calig. De quo nescio an decuerit memoriæ prodi, nisi forte quia juvat de principibus nosse omnia, ut improbi saltem famæ metu talia declinent.

[55]   They are dangerous passages which Petrarch hath, though a good, learned, and moderate man. Dial. 49. Non tot passim essent domini nec tam late furerent, nisi populi insanirent et cuique civium pro se charior foret res privata quam publica; voluptas quam gloria, pecunia quam libertas, vita quam virtus—Et statim—Et sane si vel unum patria civem bonum habeat, malum dominum diutius non habebit. The meaning is too plain; abundance of the most learned writers have such passages which must be read with caution; though I would draw none to the other extreme. Petrarch's 68 Dial. and 85 Dial. de bono domino, is as smart as the former; but yet speaketh not all that contra reges, which he doth contra dominos. However he says that, Inter regem et tyrannum non discernunt Graii, &c.——So Sir Thomas More in his Poems: Regibus e multis regnum bene qui reget unum: vix tamen unus erit, si tamen unus erit. And that of Senec. Trag. ult. Tantum ut noceat, cupit esse potens.—

[56]   Bias interrogatus, quidnam esset difficile? Ferre, inquit, fortiter mutationem rerum in deterius. Laert. p. 55.

[57]   Phil. iii. 7, 8, 11, 12.

[58]   Univers. Hist. p. 140. Dicas imperatorem orbis Epictetum, Neronem mancipium: irrisum esse summo fastigio, cum servaret dignus, imperaret indignus; nullumque esse malum, quin aliqua boni gutta cordiatus.

[59]   Numb. xvi.

[60]   Psal. xii. 6, 7; Prov. xvi. 18; xix. 13.

[61]   Matt. vii. 1-3.

[62]   Object. Si id juris orbis obtineat status religionis erit instabilis; mutato regis animo religio mutabitur. Resp. Unicum hic solatium in Divina est providentia; omnium animos Deus in potestate sua habet; sed speciali quodam modo cor regis in manu Domini. Deus et per bonos et per malos reges opus suum operatur. Interdum tranquillitas, interdum tempestas ecclesiæ utilior. Nempe si pius est qui impepat, si diligens lector sacræ Scripturæ, si assiduus in precibus, si Ecclesiæ Catholicæ reverens, si peritos attente audiens, multum per ilium proficit veritas. Sin distorto est et corrupto judicio, pejus id ipsi cedit quam ecclesiæ. Nam ipsum grave manet judicium regis ecclesiæ, qui ecclesiam inultam non sinet. Grotius de Imper. p. 210. John xviii. 36.

[63]   Dicunt Stoici, sapientes non modo liberos esse verum et reges: cum sit regnum imperium nemini obnoxium, quod de sapientibus solis asseritur. Statuere enim oportere principem de bonis et malis; hæc autem malorum scire neminem. Similiter ad magistratus, et judicia et oratoriam solos illos idoneos, neminemque malorum. Laert. in Zenone.

[64]   Eam rempublicam optimam dicunt Stoici, quæ sit mixta ex regno et populari dominatu, optimorumque potentia. Laert. in Zenone.

[65]   Bad people make bad governors: in most places the people are so wilful and tenacious of their sinful customs, that the best rulers are not able to reform them. Yea many a ruler hath cast off his government, being wearied with mutinous and obstinate people. Plato would not meddle with government in Athens. Quia plebs altis institutis et moribus assueverat. Laert. in Platone. And many other philosophers that were fittest for government, refused it on the same account, through the disobedience of the people.

[66]   Of these things see my propositions of the difference of the magistrate's and pastor's power to Dr. Lud. Moul.

[67]   The Rex sacrorum among the Romans, was debarred from exercising any magistracy. Plut. Rom. Quest. 63.

[68]   See Bilson of Subject. p. 238, 256. Princes only be governors in things and causes ecclesiastical; that is, with the sword. But if you infer, ergo, Bishops be no governors in those things, meaning, no dispensers, guiders, nor directors of those things, your conclusion is larger, &c. So p. 256.

[69]   It was somewhat far that Carolus Magnus went to be actual guide of all in his chapel in reading even in all their stops, as it is at large declared by Abbas Usperg. Chron. pag. 181.

[70]   Bishop Bilson, pag. 313. We grant they must rather hazard their lives, than baptize princes which believe not, or distribute the Lord's mysteries to them that repent not, but give wilful and open signification of impiety, &c. Beda Hist. Eccles. lib. ii. c. 5, telleth us, that Melitus bishop of London, (with Justus,) was banished by the heirs of king Sabereth, because he would not give them the sacrament of the Lord's supper, which they would needs have before they were baptized.

[71]   Bishop Andrews in Tort. Tort. p. 383. Cohibeat Regem Diaconus, si cum indignus sit, idque palam constet, accedat tamen ad sacramentum: cohibeat et medicus si ad noxium quid vel insalubre manum admoveat: cohibeat et equiso inter equitandum adigat equum per locum præruptum, vel solebrosum, cui subsit periculum: etiamne medico? etiamne equisoni suo subjectus rex? Sed de majori potestate loquitur; sed ea, ad rem noxiam procul arcendam. Qua in re charitatis semper potestas est maxima. Here you see what church government is, and how kings are under it, and how not, in Bishop Andrews' sense.

[72]   Bilson, p. 399, saith, The election of bishops in those days belonged to the people, and not the prince, and though Valens by plain force placed Lucius there, yet might the people lawfully reject him as no bishop, and cleave to Peter their pastor.

[73]   Too many particular laws about little matters breed contention. Alex. Severus would have distinguished all orders of men by their apparel: sed hoc Ulpiano, et Paulo displicuit; dicentibus plurimum rixarum fore, si faciles essent homines ad injurias. And the emperor yielded to them. Lamprid. in Alex. Severus. Lipsius, ubi leges multæ, ibi lites multæ et vita moresque pravi. Non multæ leges bonos mores faciunt, sed paucæ fideliter servatæ.

[74]   N. B. Quæ habet Andrews Tort. Tort. p. 310. Quando et apud vos dictio juris exterior, clavis proprie non sit: eamque vos multis sæpe mandatis, qui liacorum in sorte sunt, exortes sane sacri ordinis universi.

[75]   Lege Epist. Caroli Calvi ad Papam inter Hinc mari Rhemensis Epistolas Cont. Papæ Usurpationes. Isidor. Hispal. sent. iii. cap. 51. Cognoscant principes seculi, Deo debere se rationem reddere propter ecclesiam quam a Christo tuendam suspiciunt. Nam sive augeatur pax et disciplina ecclesiæ per fideles principes, sive solvatur, ille ab eis rationem exigit, qui eorum potestati suam ecclesiam credidit. Leo Epist. ad Leonem Imp. Debes incunctantur advertere, regiam potestatem, tibi non solum ad mundi regimen, sed maxime ad ecclesiæ præsidium esse collatam. See the judgment of Jo. Parisiensis, Franciscus Victoria, and Widdrington in Grot. de Imper. pag. 23. Lege Lud. Molinæi Discourse of the Powers of the Cardinal Chigi.

[76]   Perjurii pœna divina exitium, humana dedecus. Cicero. Agesilaus sent thanks to his enemies for their perjury, as making then no question of their overthrow. Perjuri numinis contemptores. Plutarch. Theodosius execrabatur cum legisset superbiam dominantium, præcipue perfidos et ingratos. Paul. Diaconus, 1. 2.

[77]   See the instance of loyalty in Mascelzer against his own brother Gildo (a rebel). Paul. Diacon. lib. iii. initio.

[78]   Bilson of Subject, p. 236. Princes have no right to call or confirm preachers, but to receive such as be sent of God, and give them liberty for their preaching, and security for their persons: and if princes refuse so to do, God's labourers must go forward with that which is commanded them from heaven; not by disturbing princes from their thrones, nor invading their realms, as your holy father doth, and defendeth he may do; but by mildly submitting themselves to the powers on earth, and meekly suffering for the defence of the truth, what they shall inflict. So he.

[79]   Prov. xvi. 7.

[80]   Rom. xiii. 1-4; xi. 36.

[81]   Si aliquid; jusserit proconsul, aliud jubeat imperator, nunquid dubitatur, illo contempto, illi esse serviendum? Ergo si aliud imperator, aliud jubeat Deus, quid judicatur? Major potestas Deus: da veniam O imperator. August, de Verb. Domin. Matth. Serm. 6.

[82]   Vetus est verumque dictum, Miser est imperator cui vera reticentur. Grotius de Imp. p. 245. Principi consule non dulciora, sed optima; is one of Solon's sentences in Laert. de Solon. Therefore it is a horrid villany of the Jesuits, which is expressed in Secret. Instruct. in Arcanis Jesuit. p. 5-8, 11. To indulge great men and princes in those opinions and sins which please them, and to be on that side that their liberty requireth to keep their favour to the society. So Maffæinus, 1. iii. c. 11. in vita ipsius Loyolæ. Alexander Severus so greatly hated flatterers, that Lampridius saith, Siquis caput flexisset aut blandius aliquid dixisset, uti adulator, vel abjiciebatur, si loci ejus qualitas pateretur; vel ridebatur ingeuti cachinno, si ejus dignitas graviori subjacere non posset injuriæ Venit ad Attilam post victoriam Marullus poeta ejus temporis egregius, compositumque in adulationem carmen recitavit: in quo ubi Attila per interpretem cognovit se Deum et Divina stirpe ortum vanissime prædicari, aspernatus sacrilegæ adulationis impudentiam, cum autore carmen exuri jusserat. A qua severitate subinde temperavit, ne scriptores cæteri a laudibus ipsius celebrandis terrerentur. Callimach. Exp. in Attila, p. 353.

[83]   Melch. Adam. in vit. Barth. Pitisci.

[84]   It was one of the Roman laws of the twelve tables, Justa imperia sunto, iisque cives modeste ac sine recusatione parento.

[85]   Eccl. Polit. lib. viii. p. 224.

[86]   On second thoughts this case is fullier opened afterward.

[87]   Leg. quæ de Grotio post, p. 731.

[88]   So Hollingshed maketh parliaments so mighty as to take down the greatest kings, &c.

[89]   As Aug. Traj. the Antonines, &c. It is confessed that most historians write much for liberty against tyranny. But the heathens do it much more than the christians.

[90]   Langius saith, that in his own hearing, Jodocus Præses Senat. Mechlin. Magna contentione tuebatur, neminem posse vel unius legis intelligentiam consequi, qui quicquam sciret in bonis literis, et addebat, vix esse tres in orbe qui leges Cæsareas intelligerent.

[91]   Read Bishop Andrews Tort. Tort., Bishop Bilson of Christian Subjection, Robert Abbot, Jewel, Field, &c., who will fully show that true church power is no way injurious to kings. De regum authoritate, quod ex jure divino non sit Tortus probat: asseri enim scriptorum sententia communi: at nec omnium, nec optimorum. Andr. Tort. Tort. p. 384.

[92]   Just such occasions as papists bring against the reformers, did the heathens bring against the christians, as you may see in Eunapius in Ædesio. At egregii illi viri et bellicosi confusis perturbatisque rebus omnibus debellasse Deos incruentis quidem, sed ab avaritiæ crimine non puris manibus gloriabantur, sacrilegium et impietatis crimen laudi sibi assumentes, idem postea in sacra loca invexerunt Monachos, sic dictos homines quidem specie, sed vitam turpem porcorum more exigentes, qui in popatulo infinita et infanda scelere committebant, quibus tamen pietatis pars videbatur, sacri loci reverentiam proculcari. O partiality!

[93]   Rom. xii. 17, 19, 20; Luke vi. 28-30; Matt. v. 39-41; Luke xx. 25, 26.

[94]   Le Blanc in his Travels, p. 88, saith of some heathen kings, They are all jealous of our religion, holding, that the christians adore one God, great above the rest, that will not suffer any others; and that he sets a greater esteem and value upon innocent, poor, and simple people, than upon the rich, kings and princes; and that princes had need to preserve to themselves the affections and esteem of their subjects, to reign with greater ease.

[95]   So Bishop Bilson of Subject, p. 243. Princes be supreme; not in respect that all things be subject to their wills, which were plain tyranny, not christian authority: but that all persons within their realms are bound to obey their laws, or abide their pains. So p. 242.

[96]   The differences are oft among the lawyers which set the commonwealth on fire, and then they are charged on divines, e. g. Grotius de Imper. p. 55. Si arma in eos reges sumpta sunt in quos totum populi jus translatum erat, ac qui proinde non precario sed proprio jure imperabant, laudari salva pietate non possunt, quemcunque tandem prætextum aut eventum habuerint. Sin alicubi reges tales fuere qui pactis, sive positivis legibus, et senatus alicujus aut ordinum decretis astringerentur, in hos ut summum imperium non obtinent, arma ex optimatum tanquam superiorum sententia, sumi, justis de causis potuerint. Multi enim reges, etiam qui sanguinis jure succedunt, reges sunt nomine magis quam imperio—Sed fallit imperitos quod illam quotidianam et maxime in oculos incurrentem rerum administrationem, quæ sæpe in optimatum statu penes unum est, ab interiore reipublicæ constitutione non satis discernunt. Quod de regibus dixi, idem multo magis de iis acceptum volo, qui et re et nomine non reges sed principes fuere, h. e. non summi, sed primi. p. 54.

[97]   Jactavit caput inter præcisos phanaticos et genitalia sibi devinxit, &c. Lamprid.

[98]   Eunapius saith of his master Chrysanthius, that when Julian had made him, Primarium pontificem totius illius ditionis, in munere tamen suo non morose ac superbe se gessit; junioribus urgendo haud gravis (sicut plerique omnes in unum consentientes, callide ferventerque faciundum censebant); neque christianis molestus admodum: quippe tanta erat morum in eo lenitas atque simplicitas, ut per Lydiam propemodum ignorata fuerit sacrorum in pristinum restitutio. Eo factum est, ut cum priora aliter cecidissent, nihil innovatum neque mutatio insignis accepta videretur, sed præter expectationem cuncta placide sapirentur. Moderation in a heathen was his benefit.

[99]   Vestra doctrina est, nisi princeps vobis ex animo sit, quantumvis legitimus hæres sit, regno excludi, alium eligi posse. Posse dixi? immo oportere. Hæc Clementina vestra fuit. Bishop Andrews of the Papists, Tort. Tort. p. 327.

[100]   So p. 381, 382. "If others do but stand on their guard to keep their lives and families from the bloody rage of their enemies, seeking to put whole towns and provinces of them to the sword, against all law and reason, and to disturb the kingdoms in the minority of the right governors: or if they defend their ancient and christian liberties, covenanted and agreed on by those princes, to whom they first submitted themselves, and ever since confirmed and allowed by the kings that have succeeded: if in either of these two cases the godly require their right, and offer no wrong, impugn not their princes, but only save their own lives, you cry, Rebellious heretics, rebellious Calvinists, fury, frenzy, mutiny; and I know not what. You may pursue, depose, and murder princes, when the bishop of Rome biddeth you, and that without breach of duty, law, or conscience, to God or man, as you vaunt, though neither life nor limbs of yours be touched. We may not so much as beseech princes that we may be used like subjects, not like slaves; like men, not like beasts, that we may be convented by laws before judges, not murdered in corners by inquisitors. We may not so much as hide our heads, nor pull our necks out of the greedy jaws of that Romish wolf, but the foam of your unclean mouth is ready to call us by all the names you can devise." So far Bilson.

[101]   Rom. xv. 1-4.

[102]   Bishop Bilson ubi sup. p. 259. As bishops ought to discern which is truth before they teach; so must the people discern who teacheth right before they believe. Pag. 261, 262. Princes as well as others must yield obedience to bishops speaking the word of God; but if bishops pass their commission, and speak beside the word of God, what they list, both prince and people may despise them. See him further, p. 259-262, proving that all have a judicium discretionis.

[103]   Cicero saith, that every good man was in his heart, or as much as in him lay, one that killed Cæsar.

[104]   1 Pet. iv. 12.

[105]   Luke xiv. 9, 33.

[106]   Ungebantur reges non per dominum, sed qui cæteris crudeliores existerent, et paulo post ab unctoribus non pro veri examinatione, trucidabantar, aliis electis trucioribus. Gildas de exc. Brit.

[107]   Rom. xiv.; xv. 1; Gal. vi. 1-4; James iii. 15-17; Tit. iii. 2.

[108]   Luke xx. 18; Matt. xxi. 42, 44; Acts iv. 11; 1 Pet. ii. 7, 8; Zech. xii. 3.

[109]   Read the lives of all the philosophers, orators, and famous men of Greece or Rome, and try whether the christians or they were more for monarchy. Arcesilaus regum neminem magnopere coluit: quamobrem legatione ad Antigonum fungens pro patria, nihil obtinuit. Hesich. in Arces. It is one of Thales's sayings in Laert. Quid difficile? Regem vidisse tyrannum senem. Chrysippus videtur aspernator regum modice fuisse. Quod cum tam multa scripserit (libros 705.) nulli unquam regi quicquam adscripserit. Seneca saith (Traged. de Here. fur.) perilously, Victima haud ulla amplior potest, magisque opima mactari Jovi, Quam rex iniquus. Cicero pro Milon. Non se obstrinxit scelere siquis tyrannum occidat, quamvis familiarem. Et 5. Tusc. Nulla nobis cum tyrannis societas est, neque est contra naturam spoliare eum quem honestum est necare. Plura habet similia.

[110]   See Bilson of Subject, p. 525, 526. Proving from Chrysostom, Hilary, Origen, that pastors may use no force or terror, but only persuasion, to recover their wandering sheep. Bilson, ibid. p. 541. Parliaments have been kept by the king and his barons, the clergy wholly excluded, and yet their acts and statutes good: and when the bishops were present, their voices from the Conquest to this day were never negative. By God's law you have nothing to do with making laws for kingdoms and commonwealths: you may teach, you may not command: persuasion is your part, compulsion is the prince's, &c. Thus Bishop Bilson. So p. 358.

[111]   1 Pet. ii. 16; Gal. v. 13; 2 Pet. ii. 19; Gal. iv. 26; 2 Cor. iii. 17.

[112]   Having spoken of this controversy, in my "Life of Faith," as an easy thing, in which I thought we were really agreed, while we seemed to differ, which I called a pitiful case, some brethren (who say nothing against the truth of what I said) are offended at me as speaking too confidently, and calling that so easy which Bishop Sanderson and so many others did make a greater matter of; I retract the words, if they be unsuitable either to the matter or the readers: but as to the matter and the truth of the words, I desire the reader but to consider how easy a case Mr. P. maketh of it, Eccl. Pol. and how heinous a matter he maketh of our supposed dissent: and if after all this it shall appear, that the nonconformists do not at all differ from Hooker, Bilson, and the generality of the conformists in this point, let him that is willing to be represented as odious and intolerable to rulers and to mankind, for that in which we do not differ, proceed to backbite me for saying that it is a pitiful case; and pretending that we are agreed.

[113]   It is not Mr. Humphrey alone that hath written that laws bind not in conscience to obedience which are against the public good. The greatest casuists say the same, excepting the case of scandal: he that would see this in them may choose but these two special authors, Bapt. Fragos. de Regimine Reipublicæ, and Greg. Sayrus in his Clavis Regia, and in them he shall find enough more cited. Though I think some further cautions would make it more satisfactory.



Gentlemen, you need not meet these directions with the usual censures or suspicions, that divines are busying themselves with the matters of your calling, which belong not to them, and which they do not understand; you shall see that I will as much forbear such matters as you can well desire. If your calling be not to be sanctified by serving God in it, [770] and regulating it by his law, it is then neither honourable nor desirable. But if it be, permit me very briefly so far to direct you.[114]

Direct. I. Take the whole frame of polity together, and study each part in its proper place, and know it in its due relation to the rest; that is, understand first the doctrine of polity and laws in genere, and next the universal polity and laws of God in specie; and then study human polity and laws, as they stand in their due subordination to the polity and laws of God, as the by-laws of corporations do to the general laws of the land.

He that understandeth not what polity and law is in genere, is unlike to understand what divine or human polity or law is in specie; he that knoweth not what government is, and what a community, and what a politic society is, will hardly know what a commonwealth or church is: and he that knoweth not what a commonwealth is in genere, what is its end, and what its constitutive parts, and what the efficient causes, and what a law, and judgment, and execution is, will study but unhappily the constitution or laws of the kingdom which he liveth in.

And he that understandeth not the divine dominium et imperium, as founded in creation, (and refounded in redemption,) and man's subjection to his absolute Lord, and the universal laws which he hath given in nature and Scripture to the world, can never have any true understanding of the polity or laws of any kingdom in particular; no more than he can well understand the true state of a corporation, or the power of a mayor, or justice, or constable, who knoweth nothing of the state of the kingdom, or of the king, or of his laws. What ridiculous discourses would such a man make of his local polity or laws! He knoweth nothing worth the knowing, who knoweth not that all kings and states have no power but what is derived from God, and subservient to him; and are all his officers, much more below him, than their justices and officers are to them; and that their laws are of no force against the laws of God, whether of natural or supernatural revelation. And therefore it is most easy to see, that he that will be a good lawyer must first be a divine; and that the atheists that deride or slight divinity, do but play the fools in all their independent broken studies. A man may be a good divine that is no lawyer, but he can be no good lawyer that understandeth not theology. Therefore let the government and laws of God have the first and chiefest place in your studies, and in all your observation and regard.

1. Because it is the ground of human government, and the fountain of man's power and laws.

2. Because the divine polity is also the end of human policy; man's laws being ultimately to promote our obedience to the laws of God, and the honour of his government.

3. Because God's laws are the measure and bound of human laws; against which no man can have power.

4. Because God's rewards and punishments are incomparably more regardable than man's; eternal joy or misery being so much more considerable than temporal peace or suffering; therefore though it be a dishonour to lawyers to be ignorant of languages, history, and other needful parts of learning, yet it is much more their dishonour to be ignorant of the universal government and laws of God.[115]

Direct. II. Be sure that you make not the getting of money to be your principal end in the exercise of your function; but the promoting of justice, for the righting of the just, and the public good; and therein the pleasing of the most righteous God.[116] For your work can be to you no better than your end. A base end doth debase your work. I deny not, but your competent gain and maintenance may be your lower end, but the promoting of justice must be your higher end, and sought before it. The question is not, Whether you seek to live by your calling; for so may the best; nor yet, Whether you intend the promoting of justice; for so may the worst (in some degree). But the question is, Which of these you prefer? and which you first and principally intend? He that looketh chiefly at his worldly gain, must take that gain instead of God's reward, and look for no more than he chiefly intended; for that is formally no good work, which is not intended chiefly to please God, and God doth not reward the servants of the world; nor can any man rationally imagine, that he should reward a man with happiness hereafter, for seeking after riches here. And if you say that you look for no reward but riches, you must look for a punishment worse than poverty; for the neglecting of God and your ultimate end, is a sin that deserveth the privation of all which you neglect; and leaveth not your actions in a state of innocent indifferency.

Direct. III. Be not counsellors or advocates against God, that is, against justice, truth, or innocency. A bad cause would have no patrons, if there were no bad or ignorant lawyers. It is a dear-bought fee, which is got by sinning; especially by such a wilful, aggravated sin, as the deliberate pleading for iniquity, or opposing of the truth.[117] Judas's gain and Ahithophel's counsel will be too hot at last for conscience, and sooner drive them to hang themselves in the review, than afford them any true content: as St. James saith to them that he calleth to weep and howl for their approaching misery, "Your riches are corrupted, and your garments moth-eaten, your gold and silver is cankered, and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire: ye have heaped treasure together for the last days." Whatever you say or do against truth, and innocency, and justice, you do it against God himself. And is it not a sad case that among professed christians, there is no cause so bad but can find an advocate for a fee? I speak not against just counsel to a man that hath a bad cause (to tell him it is bad, and persuade him to disown it); nor do I speak against you for pleading against excessive penalties or damages; for so far your cause is good, though the main cause of your client was bad; but he that speaketh or counselleth another for the defence of sin, or the wronging of the innocent, or the defrauding another of his right, and will open his mouth to the injury of the just, for a [771] little money, or for a friend, must try whether that money or friend will save him from the vengeance of the universal Judge (unless faith and true repentance, which will cause confession and restitution, do prevent it).

The Romans called them thieves, that by fraud, or plea, or judgment got unlawful gain, and deprived others of their right.

Lampridius saith of Alexander Severus, Tanti eum stomachi fuisse in eos judices qui furtorum fama laborassent, etiamsi damnati non essent, ut si eos casu aliquo videret, commotione animi stomachi choleram evomeret, toto vultu inardescente, ita ut nihil posset loqui. And afterwards, Severissimus judex contra fures, appellans eosdem quotidianorum scelerum reos, et solos hostes inimicosque reipublicæ. Adding this instance, Eum notarium, qui falsum causæ brevem in consilio imperatorio retulisset, incisis digitorum nervis, ita ut nunquam posset scribere, deportavit. And that he caused Turinus one of his courtiers to be tied in the market-place to a stake, and choked to death with smoke, for taking men's money on pretence of furthering their suits with the emperor; Præcone dicente, Fumo punitur, qui vendidit fumum. He strictly prohibited buying of offices, saying, Necesse est ut qui emit, vendat: Ego vere nin patiar mercatores potestatum: quos si patiar, damnare non possum. The frowns or favour of man, or the love of money, will prove at last a poor defence against his justice whom by injustice you offend.[118]

The poet could say,

Justum et tenacem propositi virum,
Non civium ardor prava jubentium
Non vultus instantis tyranni,
Mente quatit solida:——Horat.

But if men would first be just, it would not be so hard to bring them to do justly; saith Plautus,

Justa autem ab injustis petere insipientia est:
Quippe illi iniqui jus ignorant neque tenent.

Direct. IV. Make the cause of the innocent as it were your own; and suffer it not to miscarry through your slothfulness and neglect.[119] He is a lover of money more than justice, that will sweat in the cause of the rich that pay him well, and will slubber over and starve the cause of the poor, because he getteth little by them. Whatever your place obligeth you to do, let it be done diligently and with your might; both in your getting abilities, and in using them. Scævola was wont to say, (ut lib. Pandect. 42. tit. refer.) Jus civile vigilantibus scriptum est, non dormientibus. Saith Austin, Ignorantia judicis plerumque est calamitas innocentis. And as you look every labourer that you hire should be laborious in your work, and your physician should be diligent in his employment for your health; so is it as just that you be diligent for them whose cause you undertake, and where God who is the lover of justice doth require it.

Direct. V. Be acquainted with the temptations which most endanger you in your place, and go continually armed against them with the true remedies, and with christian faith, and watchfulness, and resolution. You will keep your innocency, and consequently your God, if you see to it that you love nothing better than that which you should keep. No man will chaffer away his commodity for any thing which he judgeth to be worse and less useful to him. Know well how little friends or wealth will do you in comparison of God, and you will not hear them when they speak against God, Luke xiv. 26; xvii. 33. When one of his friends was importunate with P. Rutilius to do him an unjust courtesy, and angrily said, "What use have I of thy friendship, if thou wilt not grant my request?" He answered him, "And what use have I of thy friendship, if for thy sake I must be urged to do unjustly?" It is a grave saying of Plutarch, Pulchrum quidem est justitia regnum adipisci: pulchrum etiam regno justitiam anteponere: nam virtus alterum ita illustrem reddidit, ut regno dignus judicaretur; alterum ita magnum ut id contemneret. Plut. in Lycurg. et Numa. But especially remember who hath said, "What shall it profit a man to win all the world, and lose his soul?" And that temptations surprise you not, be deliberate and take time, and be not too hasty in owning or opposing a cause or person, till you are well informed; as Seneca saith of anger, so say I here, Dandum semper est tempus: veritatem enim dies aperit. Potest pœna dilata exigi; cum non potest exacta revocari. It is more than a shame to say, I was mistaken, when you have done another man wrong by your temerity.[120]

[114]   Legum mihi placet autoritas; sed earum usus hominum nequitia depravatur: itaque piguit perdiscere, quo inhoneste uti nollem, et honeste vix possem, etsi vellem. Petrarch. in vita sua.

[115]   Male se rectum putat, qui regulam summæ rectitudinis ignorat. Ambros. de Offic.

[116]   It was an ill time when Petr. Bless. said, "Officium officialium est hodie jura confundere, lites suscitare, transactiones rescindere, dilationes innectere, supprimere veritatem, fovere mendacium, quæstum sequi, æquitatem vendere, inhiare actionibus, versutias concinnare."

[117]   Bias fertur in causis orandis summus atque vehementissimus fuisse, bonam tamen in partem dicendi vim exercere solitum. Laert. p. 53. Justum est homines justitiam diligere; non autem justitiam propter homines postponere. Gregor. Reg. Justitia non novit patrem, vel matrem; veritatem novit; personam non novit; Deum imitatur.—Cassian. Plutarch saith, that Callicratidas being offered a great sum of money (of which he had great need to pay his seamen) if he would do an unjust act, refused: to whom saith Cleander his counsellor, "Ego profecto hæc accepissem, si fuissem Callicratidas." He answered, "Ego accepissem, si fuissem Cleander."

[118]   Facile est justitiam homini justissimo.

[119]   Vix potest negligere, qui novit æquitatem: nec facile erroris vitio fordescit, quem doctrina purgaverit. Cassiodor.

[120]   Chilon in Laert. p. 43. (mihi) saith, Sibi non esse conscium in tota vita ingratitudinis: una tamen re se modice moveri, quod cum semel inter amicos illi judicandum esset, neque contra jus agere aliquid vellet, persuaserit amico judicium a se provocaret, ut si nimirum utrumque et legem et amicum servaret. This was his injustice of which he repented.



Neither is it my purpose to give any occasion to the learned men of this honourable profession, to say that I intermeddle in the mysteries of their art. I shall only tell them, and that very briefly, what God and conscience will expect from them.

Direct. I. Be sure that the saving of men's lives and health, be first and chiefly in your intention, before any gain or honour of your own. I know you may lawfully have respect both to your maintenance and honour; but in a second place only, as a far less good than the lives of men. If money be your ultimate end, you debase your profession, which, as exercised by you, can be no more to your honour or comfort than your own intention carrieth it. It is more the end than the means that ennobleth or debaseth men; if gain be the thing which you chiefly seek, the matter is not very great (to you) whether you seek it by medicining men or beasts, or by lower means than either of them. To others indeed it may be a very great benefit, whose lives you have been a means to save; but to yourselves it will be no greater than your intention maketh it. If the honouring and pleasing God, and the public good, and the saving of men's lives, be really first and highest in your desires, then it is God that you serve in your profession; otherwise you do but serve yourselves. And take heed lest you here deceive yourselves, by thinking that the good of others is your end, and dearer to you than your gain, because your reason telleth you it is better and ought to be preferred: for God and the public good are not every man's end, that can speak highly of them, and say they should be so. If most of the world do practically prefer their carnal prosperity even before their souls, while they speak [772] of the world as disgracefully as others, and call it vanity; how much more easily may you deceive yourselves, in preferring your gain before men's lives, while your tongue can speak contemptuously of gain!

Direct. II. Be ready to help the poor as well as the rich; differencing them no further than the public good requireth you to do. Let not the health or lives of men be neglected, because they have no money to give you: many poor people perish for want of means, because they are discouraged from going to physicians, through the emptiness of their purses; in such a case you must not only help them gratis, but also appoint the cheapest medicines for them.

Direct. III. Adventure not unnecessarily on things beyond your skill, but in difficult cases persuade your patients to use the help of abler physicians, if there be any to be had, though it be against your own commodity. So far should you be from envying the greater esteem and practice of abler men, and from all unworthy aspersions or detraction, that you should do your best to persuade all your patients to seek their counsels, whenever the danger of their lives or health requireth it. For their lives are of greater value than your gain. So abstruse and conjectural is the business of your profession, that it requireth very high accomplishments to be a physician indeed. If there concur not, 1. A natural strength of reason and sagacity; 2. And a great deal of study, reading, and acquaintance with the way of excellent men; 3. And considerable experience of your own, to ripen all this; you have cause to be very fearful and cautelous in your practice, lest you sacrifice men's lives to your ignorance and temerity. And one man that hath all these accomplishments in a high degree, may do more good than a hundred smatterers: and when you are conscious of a defect in any of these, should not reason and conscience command you to persuade the sick to seek out to those that are abler than yourselves? Should men's lives be hazarded, that you may get by it a little sordid gain? It is so great a doubt whether the ignorant, unexperienced sort of physicians, do cure or hurt more, that it hath brought the vulgar in many countries into a contempt of physicians.[121]

Direct. IV. Depend on God for your direction and success. Earnestly crave his help and blessing in all your undertakings. Without this all your labour is in vain. How easy is it for you to overlook some one thing among a multitude that must be seen, about the causes and cure of diseases; unless God shall open it to you, and give you a clear discerning, and a universal observation! And when twenty considerable things are noted, a man's life may be lost, for want of your discerning one point more. What need have you of the help of God, to bring the fittest remedies to your memory! and much more to bless them when they are administered! as the experience of your daily practice may inform you (where atheism hath not made men fools).

Direct. V. Let your continual observation of the fragility of the flesh, and of man's mortality, make you more spiritual than other men, and more industrious in preparing for the life to come, and greater contemners of the vanities of this world. He that is so frequently among the sick, and a spectator of the dead and dying, is utterly unexcusable if he be himself unprepared for his sickness or for death. If the heart be not made better, when you almost dwell in the house of mourning, it is a bad and deplorate heart indeed. It is strange that physicians should be so much suspected of atheism as commonly they are; and religio medici should be a word that signifieth irreligiousness: sure this conceit was taken up in some more irreligious age or country; for I have oft been very thankful to God, in observing the contrary, even how many excellent, pious physicians there have been in most countries where the purity of religion hath appeared, and how much they promoted the work of reformation; (such as Crato, Platerus, Erastus, and abundance more that I might name;) and in this land and age, I must needs bear witness, that I have known as many physicians religious proportionably as of any one profession, except the preachers of the gospel. But as no men are more desperately wicked, than those that are wicked after pious education, and under the most powerful means of their reformation; so it is very like that those physicians that are not truly good are very bad; because they are bad against so much light, and so many warnings; and from some of these it is like this censorious proverb came. And indeed man's nature is so apt to be affected with things that are unusual, and to lose all sense of things that are grown common, that no men have more need to watch their hearts, and be afraid of being hardened, than those that are continually under the most quickening helps and warnings. For it is very easy to grow customary and senseless under them; and then the danger is, that there are no better means remaining, to quicken such a stupid, hardened heart. Whereas those that enjoy such helps but seldom, are not so apt to lose the sense and benefit of them. The sight of a sick or dying man, doth usually much awaken those that have such sights but seldom; but who are more hardened than soldiers and seamen, that live continually as among the dead? When they have twice or thrice seen the field covered with men's carcasses, they usually grow more obdurate than any others. And this is it that physicians are in danger of, and should most carefully avoid. But certainly an atheistical or ungodly physician, is unexcusably blind. To say, as some do, that they study nature so much, that they are carried away from God; is as if you should say, they study the work so much, that they forget the workman; or, they look so much on the book, that they overlook the sense; or, that they study medicine so much, that they forget both the patient and his health. To look into nature and not see God, is as to see the creatures, and not the light by which we see them; or to see the trees and houses, and not to see the earth that beareth them. For God is the creating, conserving, dirigent, final Cause of all. Of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things; He is all in all. And if they know not that they are the subjects of this God, and have immortal souls, they are ill proficients in the study of nature, that know no better the nature of man. To boast of their acquisitions in other sciences, while they know not what a man is, or what they are themselves, is little to the honour of their understandings. You that live still as in the sight of death, should live as in the sight of another world, and excel others in spiritual wisdom, and holiness, and sobriety, as your advantages by these quickening helps excel.

Direct. VI. Exercise your compassion and charity to men's souls, as well as to their bodies; and speak to your patients such words as tend to prepare them [773] for their change. You have excellent opportunities, if you have hearts to take them. If ever men will hear, it is when they are sick; and if ever they will be humbled and serious, it is when the approach of death constraineth them. They will hear that counsel now with patience, which they would have despised in their health. A few serious words about the danger of an unregenerate state, and the necessity of holiness, and the use of a Saviour, and the everlasting state of souls, for aught you know, may be blest to their conversion and salvation. And it is much more comfortable for you to save a soul, than cure the body. Think not to excuse yourselves by saying, It is the pastor's duty; for though it be theirs ex officio, it is yours also ex charitate. Charity bindeth every man, as he hath opportunity, to do good to all; and especially the greatest good. And God giveth you opportunity, by casting them in your way; the priest and Levite that passed by the wounded man, were more to be blamed for not relieving him, than those that never went that way, and therefore saw him not, Luke x. 32. And many a man will send for the physician, that will not send for the pastor: and many a one will hear a physician that will despise the pastor. As they reverence their landlords, because they hold their estates from them, so do they the physician, because they think they can do much to save their lives. And alas, in too many places the pastors either mind not such work, or are insufficient for it; or else stand at odds and distance from the people; so that there is but too much need of your charitable help. Remember therefore, that he that "converteth a sinner from the error of his way, shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins," James v. 20. Remember that you are to speak to one that is going into another world, and must be saved now or never! And that all that ever must be done for his salvation must be presently done, or it will be too late. Pity human nature, and harden not your hearts against a man in his extreme necessity. O speak a few serious words for his conversion (if he be one that needs them) before his soul be past your help, in the world from which there is no return.

[121]   As overvaluing men's own understandings in religion, is the ruin of souls and churches; so overvaluing men's raw, unexperienced apprehensions in physic costeth multitudes their lives. I know not whether a few able, judicious, experienced physicians cure more or the rest kill more.



Passing by all your grammatical employment, I shall only leave you these brief directions, for the higher and more noble exercises of your profession.

Direct. I. Determine first rightly of your end; and then let it be continually in your eye, and let all your endeavours be directed in order to the attainment of it. If your end be chiefly your own commodity or reputation, the means will be distorted accordingly, and your labours perverted, and your calling corrupted, and embased, (to yourselves,) by your perverse intentions. See therefore, 1. That your ultimate end be the pleasing and glorifying of God. 2. And this by promoting the public good, by fitting youth for public service. And, 3. Forming their minds to the love and service of their Maker. 4. And furthering their salvation, and their welfare in the world. These noble designs will lift up your minds, to an industrious and cheerful performance of your duties! He that seeketh great and heavenly things, will do it with great resolution and alacrity; when any drowsy, creeping pace, and deceitful, superficial labours, will satisfy him that hath poor and selfish ends. As God will not accept your labours as any service of his, if your ends be wrong, so he useth not to give so large a blessing to such men's labours as to others.

Direct. II. Understand the excellency of your calling, and what fair opportunities you have to promote those noble ends; and also how great a charge you undertake; that so you may be kept from sloth and superficialness, and may be quickened to a diligent discharge of your undertaken trust. 1. You have not a charge of sheep or oxen, but of rational creatures. 2. You have not the care of their bodies, but of their minds; you are not to teach them a trade to live by only in the world, but to inform their minds with the knowledge of their Maker, and to cultivate their wits, and advance their reason, and fit them for the most man-like conversations. 3. You have them not (as pastors) when they are hardened in sin by prejudice and long custom; but you have the tenderest twigs to bow, and the most tractable age to tame; you have paper to write on (not wholly white, but that) which hath the fewest blots and lines to be expunged. 4. You have them not as volunteers, but as obliged to obey you, and under the correction of the rod; which with tender age is a great advantage. 5. You have them not only for your auditors in a general lecture, (as preachers have them at a sermon,) but in your nearest converse, where you may teach them as particularly as you please, and examine their profiting, and call them daily to account. 6. You have them not once a week, (as preachers have them,) but all the week long, from day to day, and from morning until night. 7. You have them at that age, which doth believe their teachers, and take all upon trust, before they are grown up to self-conceitedness, and to contradict and quarrel with their teachers (as with their pastors they very ordinarily do). All these are great advantages to your ends.

Direct. III. Labour to take pleasure in your work, and make it as a recreation, and take heed of a weary or diverted mind. 1. To this end consider often what is said above; think on the excellency of your ends, and of the worth of souls, and of the greatness of your advantages. 2. Take all your scholars as committed to your charge by Jesus Christ; as if he had said to you, Take these whom I have so dearly bought, and train them up for my church and service.[122] 3. Remember what good one scholar may do, when he cometh to be ripe for the service of the church or commonwealth! How many souls some of them may be a means to save! Or if they be but fitted for a private life, what blessings may they be to their families and neighbours! And remember what a joyful thing it will be, to see them in heaven with Christ for ever! How cheerfully should such excellent things be sought! If you take pleasure in your work, it will not only be an ease and happiness to yourselves, but greatly further your diligence and success. But when men have a base esteem of their employment, and look at children as so many swine or sheep, or have some higher matters in their eye, and make their schools but the way to some preferment, or more desired life, then usually they do their work deceitfully, and any thing will serve the turn, because they are weary of it, and because their hearts are somewhere else.

Direct. IV. Seeing it is divinity that teacheth [774] them the beginning and the end of all their other studies, let it never be omitted or slightly slubbered over, and thrust into a corner; but give it the precedency, and teach it them with greater care and diligence, than any other part of learning; especially teach them the catechism and the holy Scriptures. If you think that this is no part of your work, few wise men will choose such teachers for their children. If you say as some sectaries, that children should not be taught to speak holy words, till they are more capable to understand the sense, because it is hypocrisy, or taking the name of God in vain; I have answered this before, and showed that words being the signs, must be learned in order to the understanding of the sense, or thing that is signified; and that this is not to use such words in vain, how holy soever, but to the proper end for which they are appointed. Both in divine and human learning, the memories of children must first be furnished in order to the furnishing of their understandings afterwards. And this is a chief point of the master's skill, that time be not lost, nor labour frustrated. For the memories of children are as capacious as men's of riper age; and therefore they should be stored early, with that which will be useful to them afterwards: but till they come to some maturity of age, their judgments are not ripe for information about any high or difficult points. Therefore teach them betimes the words of catechisms and some chapters of the Bible; and teach them the meaning by degrees as they are capable. And make them perceive that you take this for the best of all their learning.

Direct. V. Besides the forms of catechism, which you teach them, speak often to them some serious words, about their souls, and the life to come, in such a plain, familiar manner, as tendeth most to the awakening of their consciences, and making them perceive how greatly what you say concerneth them. A little such familiar serious discourse, in an interlocutory way, may go to their hearts, and never be forgotten; when mere forms alone are lifeless and unprofitable. Abundance of good might be done on children, if parents and schoolmasters did well perform their parts in this.

Direct. VI. Take strict account of their spending the Lord's day! how they hear, and what they remember; and how they spend the rest of the day. For the right spending of that day, is of great importance to their souls! And a custom of play and idleness on that day, doth usually debauch them, and prepare them for much worse. Though they are from under your eye on the Lord's day, yet if on Monday they be called to account, it will leave an awe upon them in your absence.

Direct. VII. Pray with them, and for them. If God give not the increase by the dews of heaven, and shine not on your labours, your planting and watering will be all in vain. Therefore prayer is as suitable a means as teaching, to do them good; and they must go together. He that hath a heart to pray earnestly for his scholars, shall certainly have himself most comfort in his labours; and it is likely that he shall do most good to them.

Direct. VIII. Watch over them, by one another, when they are behind your backs, at their sports or converse with each other. For it is abundance of wickedness that children use to learn and practise, which never cometh to their masters' ears; especially in some great and public schools. They that came thither to learn sobriety and piety of their masters, do oftentimes learn profaneness, and ribaldry, and cursing, and swearing, and scorning, deriding, and reviling one another, of their ungracious school-fellows. And those lessons are so easily learnt, that there are few children but are infected with some such debauchery, though their parents and masters watch against it; and perhaps it never cometh to their knowledge. So also for gaming and robbing orchards, and fighting with one another, and reading play-books and romances, and lying, and abundance other vices which must be carefully watched against.

Direct. IX. Correct them more sharply for sins against God, than for their dulness and failing at their books. Though negligence in their learning is not to be indulged, yet smart should teach them especially to take heed of sinning; that they may understand that sin is the greatest evil.

Direct. X. Especially curb or cashier the leaders of impiety and rebellion, who corrupt the rest. There are few great schools but have some that are notoriously debauched; that glory in their wickedness; that in filthy talking, and fighting, and cursing, and reviling words, are the infecters of the rest. And usually they are some of the bigger sort, that are the greatest fighters, and master the rest, and by domineering over them, and abusing them, force them both to follow them in their sin and to conceal it. The correcting of such, or expelling them if incorrigible, is of great necessity to preserve the rest; for if they are suffered the rest will be secretly infected and undone, before the master is aware. This causeth many that have a care of their children's souls, to be very fearful of sending them to great and public schools, and rather choose private schools that are freer from that danger; it being almost of as great concernment to children, what their companions be, as what their master is.

[122]   Many of the greatest divines have given God great thanks for their schoolmasters, and left their names on record with honour, as Calvin did by Corderius, Beza by Melchior Volmarius, &c.



Though it is likely that few soldiers will read what I shall write for them, yet for the sake of those few that will, I will do as John Baptist did, and give them some few necessary directions, and not omit them as some do, as if they were a hopeless sort of men.

Direct. I. Be careful to make your peace with God, and live in a continual readiness to die. This being the great duty of every rational man, you cannot deny it to be especially yours, whose calling setteth you so frequently in the face of death. Though some garrison soldiers are so seldom, if ever, put to fight, that they live more securely than most other men, yet a soldier, as such, being by his place engaged to fight, I must fit my directions to the ordinary condition and expectation of men in that employment. It is a most irrational and worse than beastly negligence, for any man to live carelessly in an unpreparedness for death, considering how certain it is, and how uncertain the time, and how unconceivably great is the change which it inferreth: but for a soldier to be unready to die, who hath such special reason to expect it, and who listeth himself into a state which is so near it, this is to live and fight like beasts, and to be soldiers before you understand what it is to be a christian or a man. First, therefore, make sure that your souls are regenerate and reconciled unto God by Christ; and that when you die, you have a part in heaven; and that you are not yet in the state of sin and nature: an unrenewed unsanctified soul is sure to go to hell, by [775] what death or in what cause soever he dieth. If such a man be a soldier, he must be a coward or a madman; if he will run upon death, when he knoweth not whither it will send him, yea, when hell is certainly the next step, he is worse than mad: but if he know and consider the terribleness of such a change, it must needs make him tremble when he thinks of dying. He can be no good soldier that dare not die; and who can expect that he should dare to die, who must be damned when he dieth? Reason may command a man to venture upon death; but no reason will allow him to venture upon hell. I never knew but two sorts of valiant soldiers: the one was boys, and brutish, ignorant sots, who had no sense of the concernments of their souls; and the other (who only were truly valiant) were those that had made such preparations for eternity, as, at least, persuaded them that it should go well with them when they died. And many a debauched soldier I have known, whose conscience hath made them cowards, and shift or run away when they should venture upon death, because they knew they were unready to die, and were more afraid of hell than of the enemy. He that is fit to be a martyr, is the fittest man to be a soldier: he that is regenerate, and hath laid up his treasure and his hopes in heaven, and so hath overcome the fears of death, may be bold as a lion, and ready for any thing, and fearless in the greatest perils. For what should he fear, who hath escaped hell, and God's displeasure, and hath conquered the king of terrors? But fear is the duty and most rational temper of a guilty soul; and the more fearless such are, the more foolish and more miserable.

Direct. II. Be sure you have a warrantable cause and call. In a bad cause it is a dreadful thing to conquer, or to be conquered. If you conquer, you are a murderer of all that you kill; if you are conquered and die in the prosecution of your sin, I need not tell you what you may expect. I know we are here upon a difficulty which must be tenderly handled: if we make the sovereign power to be the absolute and only judge, whether the soldier's cause and call be good; then it would follow, that it is the duty of all the christian subjects of the Turk, to fight against Christianity as such, and to destroy all christians when the Turk commandeth it; and that all the subjects of other lands are bound to invade this or other such christian kingdoms, and destroy their kings, whenever their popish or malicious princes or states shall command them; which being intolerable consequences, prove the antecedent to be intolerable. And yet on the other side, if subjects must be the judges of their cause and call, the prince shall not be served, nor the common good secured, till the interest of the subjects will allow them to discern the goodness of the cause. Between these two intolerable consequents, it is hard to meet with a just discovery of the mean. Most run into one of the extremes, which they take to be the less, and think that there is no other avoiding of the other. The grand errors in this, and a hundred like cases, come from not distinguishing aright the case de esse, from the case de apparere, or cognoscere, and not first determining the former, as it ought, before the latter be determined. Either the cause which subjects are commanded to fight in, is really lawful to them, or it is not. (Say not here importunely, Who shall judge? For we are now but upon the question de esse.) If it be not lawful in itself, but be mere robbery or murder, then come to the case of evidence; either this evil is to the subject discernible by just means, or not: if it be, I am not able for my part to justify him from the sin, if he do it, no more than to have justified the three witnesses, Dan. iii. if they had bowed down to the golden calf, or Dan. vi. if he had forborne prayer, or the apostles, if they had forborne preaching, or the soldiers for apprehending and crucifying Christ, when their superiors commanded them. For God is first to be obeyed and feared. But if the evil of the cause be such, as the subject cannot by just and ordinary means discern, then must he come next to examine his call; and a volunteer unnecessarily he may not be in a doubtful cause: it is so heinous a sin to murder men, that no man should unnecessarily venture upon that which may prove to be murder for aught he knoweth. But if you ask what call may make such a doubtful action necessary, I answer, It must be such as warranteth it, either from the end of the action, or from the authority of the commander, or both. And from the end of the action, the case may be made clear, That if a king should do wrong to a foreign enemy, and should have the worse cause, yet if the revenge which that enemy seeketh would be the destruction of the king and country, or religion, it is lawful and a duty to fight in the defence of them. And if the king should be the assailant, or beginner, that which is an offensive war in him (for which he himself must answer) may be but a defensive war in the commanded subjects, and they be innocent: even on the highway, if I see a stranger provoke another by giving him the first blow, yet I may be bound to save his life from the fury of the avenging party. But whether, or how far, the bare command of a sovereign may warrant the subjects to venture in a doubtful cause, (supposing the thing lawful in itself, though they are doubtful,) requireth so much to be said to it, which civil governors may possibly think me too bold to meddle with, that I think it safest to pass it by; only saying, that there are some cases in which the ruler is the only competent judge, and the doubts of the subject are so unreasonable, that they will not excuse the sin of his disobedience; and also, that the degree of the doubt is oft very considerable in the case. But suppose the cause of the war be really lawful in itself, and yet the subject is in doubt of it, yea, or thinketh otherwise; then is he in the case, as other erroneous consciences are, that is, entangled in a necessity of sinning, till he be undeceived, in case his rulers command his service. But which would be the greater sin, to do it or not, the ends and circumstances may do much to determine; but doubtless in true necessity to save the king and state, subjects may be compelled to fight in a just cause, notwithstanding that they mistake it for unjust; and if the subject have a private discerning judgment, so far as he is a voluntary agent, yet the sovereign hath a public determining judgment, when a neglecter is to be forced to his duty. Even as a man that thinketh it unlawful to maintain his wife and children, may be compelled lawfully to do it.

So that it is apparent, that sometimes the sovereign's cause may be good, and yet an erroneous conscience may make the soldiers' cause bad, if they are volunteers, who run unnecessarily upon that which they take for robbery and murder; and yet that the higher powers may force even such mistakers to defend their country, and their governors, in a case of true necessity. And it is manifest that sometimes the cause of the ruler may be bad, and yet the cause of the soldier good; and that sometimes the cause may be bad and sinful to them both, and sometimes good and lawful unto both.

Direct. III. When you are doubtful whether your cause and call be good, it is (ordinarily) safest to sit still, and not to venture in so dangerous a case, without [776] great deliberation and sufficient evidence to satisfy your consciences. Neander might well say of Solon's law, which punished them that took not one part or other in a civil war or sedition, Admirabilis autem illa atque plane incredibilis, quæ honoribus abdicat eum, qui orta seditione nullam factionem secutus sit.[123] No doubt, he is a culpable neuter that will not defend his governors and his country, when he hath a call; but it is so dreadful a thing to be guilty of the blood and calamities of an unjust war, that a wise man will rather be abused as a neuter, than run himself into the danger of such a case.

Direct. IV. When necessity forceth you to go forth in a just war, do it with such humiliation and unwillingness as beseemeth one that is a patient, a spectator, and an actor, in one of the sorest of God's temporal judgments. Go not to kill men, as if you went to a cock-fight, or a bear-baiting. Make not a sport of a common calamity; be not insensible of the displeasure of God, expressed in so great a judgment. What a sad condition is it to yourselves, to be employed in destroying others! If they be good, how sad a thought is it, that you must kill them! If they are wicked, how sad is it that by killing them you cut off all their hopes of mercy, and send them suddenly to hell! How sad an employment is it, to spoil and undo the poor inhabitants where you come! to cast them into terrors, to deprive them of that which they have long been labouring for! to prepare for famine, and be like a consuming pestilence where you come! Were it but to see such desolations, it should melt you into compassion; much more to be the executioners yourselves. How unsuitable a work is it to the grace of love! Though I doubt not but it is a service which the love of God, our country, and our rulers, may sometimes justify and command, yet (as to the rulers and masters of the business) it must be a very clear and great necessity that can warrant a war. And, as to the soldiers, they must needs go with great regret, to kill men by thousands, whom they love as themselves. He that loveth his neighbour as himself, and blesseth, and doth good to his persecuting enemy, will take it heavily to be employed in killing him, even when necessity maketh it his duty. But the greatest calamity of war is the perniciousness of it to men's souls. Armies are commonly that to the soul, as a city infected with the plague is to the body; the very nurseries and academies of pride, and cruelty, and drunkenness, and whoredom, and robbery, and licentiousness; and the bane of piety, and common civility, and humanity. Not that every soldier cometh to this pass; the hottest pestilence killeth not all; but oh how hard is it to keep up a life of faith and godliness in an army! The greatness of their business, and of their fears and cares, doth so wholly take up their minds and talk, that there is scarce any room found for the matters of their souls, though unspeakably greater. They have seldom leisure to hear a sermon, and less to pray. The Lord's day is usually taken up in matters that concern their lives, and therefore can pretend necessity; so that it must be a very resolute, confirmed, vigilant person, that is not alienated from God. And then it is a course of life, which giveth great opportunity to the tempter, and advantage to temptations, both to errors in judgment, and viciousness of heart and life; he that never tried it can hardly conceive how difficult it is to keep up piety and innocency in an army. If you will suppose that there is no difference in the cause, or the ends and accidents, I take it to be much more desirable to serve God in a prison, than in an army; and that the condition of a prisoner hath far less in it to tempt the foolish, or to afflict the wise, than a military. (Excepting those whose life in garrisons and lingering wars, doth little differ from a state of peace.) I am not simply against the lawfulness of war; (nor as I conceive, Erasmus himself, though he saw the sinfulness of that sort of men; and use to speak truly of the horrid wickedness and misery of them that thirst for blood, or rush on wars without necessity;) but it must be a very extraordinary army, that is not constituted of wolves and tigers, and is not unto common honesty and piety the same that a stews or whorehouse is to chastity. And oh how much sweeter is the work of an honest physician that saveth men's lives, than of a soldier, whose virtue is shown in destroying them! or a carpenter's, or mason's, that adorneth cities with comely buildings, than a soldier's that consumeth them by fire![124]

Direct. V. Be sure first that your cause be better than your lives, and then resolve to venture your lives for them. It is the hazarding of your lives, which in your calling you undertake; and therefore be not unprepared for it; but reckon upon the worst, and be ready to undergo whatever you undertake. A soldier's life is unfit for one that dare not die. A coward is one of the most pernicious murderers; he verifieth Christ's saying in another sense, "he that saveth his life shall lose it." While men stand to it, it is usually but few that die; because they quickly daunt the enemy, and keep him on the defensive part; but when once they rout, and run away, they are slain on heaps, and fall like leaves in a windy autumn. Every coward that pursueth them is imboldened by their fear, and dare run them through, or shoot them behind, that durst not so near have looked them in the face; and maketh it his sport to kill a fugitive, or one that layeth down his weapons, that would fly himself from a daring presence. Your cowardly fear betrayeth the cause of your king and country; it betrayeth the lives of your fellow-soldiers, while the running of a few affrighted dastards, lets in ruin upon all the rest; and it casteth away your own lives, which you think to save. If you will be soldiers, resolve to conquer or to die. It is not so much skill or strength that conquereth, as boldness. It is fear that loseth the day, and fearlessness that winneth it. The army that standeth to it, getteth the victory, though they fight never so weakly; for if you will not run the enemy will. And if the lives of a few be lost by courage, it usually saveth the lives of many (though wisdom still is needful in the conduct). And if the cause be not worth your lives, you should not meddle with it.

Direct. VI. Resolve upon an absolute obedience to your commanders, in all things consistent with your obedience to God, and the sovereign power. Disobedience is no where more intolerable than in an army; where it is often unfit for a soldier to know the reason of his commands; and where self-conceitedness and wilfulness are inconsistent with [777] their common safety, and the lives of many may pay for the disobedience of a few. If you cannot obey, undertake not to be soldiers.

Direct. VII. Especially detest all murmurings, mutinies, sidings, and rebellions. For these are to an army like violent fevers to the body, or like a fire in a city, and would make an army the greatest plague to their king and country. How many emperors, kings, and commanders have lost their dignities and lives, by the fury of mutinous, enraged soldiers! And how many kingdoms and other commonwealths have been thus overthrown, and betrayed into the enemy's hands! And how many thousands and millions of soldiers have thereby lost their lives! In your discontents and murmuring passions, you may quickly set the house on fire over your heads, and when you feel your misery repent too late. Passion may begin that which fruitless penitence must end. The leaders of mutinies may easily have many fair pretences to inflame an army into discontents: they may aggravate many seeming injuries; they may represent their commanders as odious and unworthy, by putting an ill appearance on their actions: but in the end it will appear, that it was their own advancement which they secretly aimed at, and the destruction of the present government, or the soldiers' ruin, which is like to be the effect. A mutinous army is likest hell of any thing I know among God's creatures, and next hell, there is scarce a worse place for their commanders to be in.

Direct. VIII. Use not your power or liberty to the robbing, or oppressing, or injury of any. Though military thieves and oppressors may escape the gallows more than others, they shall come as soon to hell as any. If you plunder, and spoil, and tyrannize over the poor people, under pretence of supplying your own wants, there is a God in heaven that will hear their cries, and will avenge them speedily, though you seem to go scot-free for a time. You may take a pride in domineering over others, and making yourselves lords by violence of other men's estates, and when you see none that will question you for it, you may take that which you have most mind to. But the poor and oppressed have a just Defender, who hath a severer punishment for you than the sword or gallows! And though he take you not in the very fact, and his sentence is not presently executed, yet be certain of it, that your day is coming.

Direct. IX. Take heed lest custom, and the frequency of God's judgments, do harden your hearts into a reprobate stupidity. Many a man that formerly by the sight of a corpse, or the groanings of the sick, was awakened to serious thoughts of his latter end, when he cometh into an army, and hath often seen the dead lie scattered on the earth, and hath often escaped death himself, groweth utterly senseless, and taketh blockishness to be valour, and custom maketh such warnings to be of no effect. You can scarce name a more strange and lamentable proof of the maddening and hardening nature of sin! that men should be most senseless, when they are in the greatest danger! and least fear God, when they are among his dreadful judgments! and least hear his voice, when his calls are loudest! and live as if they should not die, when they look death so often in the face, and see so many dead before them! That they should be most regardless of their endless life, when they are nearest it; and sense itself hath such notable advantage to tell them of all this! What a monstrous kind of sottish stupidity is this! Think whither the soul is gone, when you see the carcass on the earth; and think where your own must be for ever.

Direct. X. Take heed of falling into drunkenness and sensuality, though temptations and liberty be never so great. It is too common with soldiers, because they are oft put to thirst and wants, to think they may lawfully pour it in, when they come at it, without moderation or restraint: even as many poor men take a gluttonous meal for no sin, because they have so many days of hunger; so is it with such soldiers in their drink: till drunkenness first have wounded their consciences, and afterwards grow common, till it have debauched and seared them; and then they have drowned religion and reason, and are turned sottish, miserable brutes.

Direct. XI. If necessity deprive you of the benefits of God's public or stated worship, see that you labour to repair that loss, by double diligence in those spiritual duties, which yet you have opportunity for. If you must march or watch on the Lord's days, redeem your other time the more. If you cannot hear sermons, be not without some profitable book, and often read it; and let your meditations be holy, and your discourses edifying. For these you have opportunities, if you have hearts.

Direct. XII. Take heed that command or successes do not puff you up and make you overvalue yourselves, and incline you to rebel against your governors. What lamentable effects hath England lately seen of this! A silly, half-witted soldier, if he be but made a captain, doth carry it as if he were wiser than the preachers, or the judge! as if his dignity had added to his wit! When victories have laid the power at men's feet, and they think now that none is able to control them, how few are they that abuse not such success to their undoing, and are not conquered by the pride of their own hearts, when they have conquered others! How ordinarily do they mis-expound the providence of God, and think he hath put the government into their hands, because they have the strength; and from the histories of former successful rebels, and the fairness of their opportunity, encourage themselves to rebel, and think they do but what is their duty! How easily do they justify themselves in those unlawful deeds, which impartial by-standers see the evil of! And how easily do they quiet their consciences, when they have but power enough to raise up flatterers, and to stop the mouth of wholesome reprehension! How lamentably doth prosperity make them drunk, and sudden advancement overturn their brains! And their greatness, together with their pride and fury, preserveth them from the accesses of wisdom, and of sober men, that so their malady may have no remedy: and there, like a drunken man, they rave awhile, and speak big words, and lay about them, and glory in the honour of a pestilence, that they can kill men; and we must not speak to them, till their heads are settled, and they come to themselves, and that is not usually till the hand of God have laid them lower than it found them, and then perhaps they will again hear reason; unless pride hath left their souls as desperate as at last it doth their bodies or estates. The experience of this age may stand on record, as a teacher to future generations, what power there is in great successes, to conquer both reason, religion, righteousness, professions, vows, and all obligations to God and man, by puffing up the heart with pride, and thereby making the understanding drunken.

[123]   Neander in Chron. p. 104.

[124]   And though I ignore not that it is a much more fashionable and celebrated practice in young gentlemen to kill men, than to cure them; and that mistaken mortals think it to be the noblest exercise of virtue, to destroy the noblest workmanship of nature, (and indeed in some few cases, the requisiteness and danger of destructive valour, may make its actions become a virtuous patriot,) yet when I consider the character given of our great Master and Exemplar, that he went about doing good, and healing all manner of sicknesses—I cannot but think such an employment worthy of the very noblest of his disciples. Mr. Boyle's Experiment. Philos. p. 303, 304.




Tit. 1. Advice against Murder.

Though murder be a sin which human nature and interest do so powerfully rise up against, that one would think besides the laws of nature, and the fear of temporal punishment, there should need no other argument against it; and though it be a sin which is not frequently committed, except by soldiers; yet because man's corrupted heart is liable to it, and because one sin of such a heinous nature may be more mischievous than many small infirmities, I shall not wholly pass by this sin, which falls in order here before me. I shall give men no other advice against it, than only to open to them, 1. The causes; 2. The greatness; and 3. The consequents of the sin.

I. The causes of murder, are either the nearest, or the more radical and remote. The opening of the nearest sort of causes, will be but to tell you, how many ways of murdering the world is used to! And when you know the cause the contrary to it is the prevention. Avoid these causes, and you avoid the sin.

1. The greatest cause of the cruellest murders is unlawful wars. All that a man killeth in an unlawful war, he murdereth; and all that the army killeth, he that setteth them at work by command or counsel, is guilty of himself. And therefore, how dreadful a thing is an unrighteous war! And how much have men need to look about them, and try every other lawful way, and suffer long, before they venture upon war! It is the skill and glory of a soldier, when he can kill more than other men. He studieth it; he maketh it the matter of his greatest care, and valour, and endeavour; he goeth through very great difficulties to accomplish it; this is not like a sudden or involuntary act. Thieves and robbers kill single persons; but soldiers murder thousands at a time: and because there is none at present to judge them for it, they wash their hands as if they were innocent, and sleep as quietly as if the avenger of blood would never come. Oh what devils are those counsellors and incendiaries to princes and states, who stir them up to unlawful wars!

2. Another cause and way of murder, is by the pride and tyranny of men in power; when they do it easily, because they can do it; when their will and interest is their rule, and their passion seemeth a sufficient warrant for their injustice. It is not only Neros, Tiberiuses, Domitians, &c. that are guilty of this crying crime; but oh! what man that careth for his soul, had not rather be tormented a thousand years, than have the blood-guiltiness of a famous, applauded Alexander, or Cæsar, or Tamerlane, to answer for! So dangerous a thing is it to have power to do mischief, that Uriah may fall by a David's guilt, and Crispus may be killed by his father Constantine. Oh what abundance of horrid murders do the histories of almost all empires and kingdoms of the world afford us! The maps of the affairs of Greeks and Romans, of Tartarians, Turks, Russians, Germans, of heathens and infidels, of papists and too many protestants, are drawn out with too many purple lines, and their histories written in letters of blood. What write the christians of the infidels, the orthodox of the Arians, (Romans, or Goths, or Vandals,) or the most impartial historians of the mock-catholics of Rome, but "blood, blood, blood." How proudly and loftily doth a tyrant look, when he telleth the oppressed innocent that displeaseth him, "Sirrah, I will make you know my power! Take him, imprison him, rack him, hang him!" Or as Pilate to Christ, John xix. 10, "Knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?" "I will make you know that your life is in my hand: heat the furnace seven times hotter," Dan. iii. Alas, poor worm! hast thou power to kill? So hath a toad, or adder, or mad dog, or pestilence, when God permitteth it. Hast thou power to kill? But hast thou power also to keep thyself alive? and to keep thy corpse from rottenness and dust? and to keep thy soul from paying for it in hell? or to keep thy conscience from worrying thee for it to all eternity? With how trembling a heart and ghastly look wilt thou at last hear of this, which now thou gloriest in! The bones and dust of the oppressed innocents, will be as great and honourable as thine; and their souls perhaps in rest and joy, when thine is tormented by infernal furies. When thou art in Nebuchadnezzar's glory, what a mercy were it to thee, if thou mightest be turned out among the beasts, to prevent thy being turned out among the devils! If killing and destroying be the glory of thy greatness, the devils are more honourable than thou; and as thou agreest with them in thy work and glory, so shalt thou in the reward.

3. Another most heinous cause of murder is, a malignant enmity against the godly, and a persecuting, destructive zeal. What a multitude of innocents hath this consumed! And what innumerable companies of holy souls are still crying for vengeance on these persecutors! The enmity began immediately upon the fall, between the woman's and the serpent's seed. It showed itself presently in the two first men that were born into the world. A malignant envy against the accepted sacrifice of Abel, was able to make his brother to be his murderer. And it is usual with the devil, to cast some bone of carnal interest also between them, to heighten the malignant enmity. Wicked men are all covetous, voluptuous, and proud; and the doctrine and practice of the godly, doth contradict them and condemn them: and they usually espouse some wicked interest, or engage themselves in some service of the devil, which the servants of Christ are bound in their several places and callings to resist. And then not only this resistance, though it be but by the humblest words or actions, yea, the very conceit that they are not for their interest and way, doth instigate the befooled world to persecution. And thus an Ishmael and an Isaac, an Esau and a Jacob, a Saul and a David, cannot live together in peace; Gal. iv. 29, "But as then he that was born after the flesh, persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now." Saul's interest maketh him think it just to persecute David; and religiously he blesseth those that furthered him; 1 Sam. xxiii. 21, "Blessed be ye of the Lord, for ye have compassion on me." He justifieth himself in murdering the priests, because he thought that they helped David against him; and Doeg seemeth but a dutiful subject, in executing his bloody command, 1 Sam. xxii. And Shimei thought he might boldly curse him, 2 Sam. xvi. 7, 8. And he could scarce have charged him with more odious sin, than to be "A bloody man, and a man of Belial." If the prophet speak against Jeroboam's political religion, he will say, "Lay hold on him," 1 Kings xiii. 4. Even Asa will be raging wrathful, and imprison the prophet that reprehendeth his sin, 2 Chron. xvi. 10. Ahab will feed Micaiah in a prison with the bread and water of affliction, if he contradict him, 1 Kings xxii. 27. And even Jerusalem killed the prophets, and stoned them which were sent to gather them under the gracious wing of Christ, Matt. xxiii. 37. "Which [779] of the prophets did they not persecute?" Acts vii. 52. And if you consider but what streams of blood since the death of Christ and his apostles, have been shed for the sake of Christ and righteousness, it will make you wonder, that so much cruelty can consist with humanity, and men and devils should be so like. The same man, as Paul, as soon as he ceaseth to shed the blood of others, must look in the same way to lose his own. How many thousands were murdered by heathen Rome in the ten persecutions! and how many by the Arian emperors and kings! and how many by more orthodox princes in their particular distastes! And yet how far hath the pretended vicar of Christ outdone them all! How many hundred thousands of the Albigenses, Waldenses, and Bohemians, hath the papal rage consumed! Two hundred thousand the Irish murdered in a little space, to outgo the thirty or forty thousand which the French massacre made an end of! The sacrifices offered by their fury in the flames, in the Marian persecution here in England, were nothing to what one day hath done in other parts. What volumes can contain the particular histories of them? What a shambles was their inquisition in the Low Countries! And what is the employment of it still? So that a doubting man would be inclined to think, that papal Rome is the murderous Babylon, that doth but consider, "How drunken she is with the blood of the saints, and the martyrs of Jesus; and that the blood of saints will be found in her, in her day of trial," Rev. xvii. 6; xviii. 24. If we should look over all the rest of the world, and reckon up the torments and murders of the innocent, (in Japan, and most parts of the world, wherever Christianity came,) it may increase your wonder, that devils and men are still so like. Yea, though there be as loud a testimony in human nature against this bloodiness, as almost any sin whatsoever; and though the names of persecutors always stink to following generations, how proudly soever they carried it for a time; and though one would think a persecutor should need no cure but his own pride, that his name may not be left as Pilate's in the creed, to be odious in the mouths of the ages that come after him; yet for all this, so deep is the enmity, so potent is the devil, so blinding a thing is sin, and interest, and passion, that still one generation of persecutors doth succeed the others; and they kill the present saints, while they honour the dead ones, and build them monuments, and say, "If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the prophets' blood." Read well Matt. xxiii. 29, to the end. What a sea of righteous blood hath malignity and persecuting zeal drawn out!

4. Another cause of murder is, rash and unrighteous judgment; when judges are ignorant, or partial, or perverted by passion, or prejudice, or respect of persons: but though many an innocent hath suffered this way, I hope among christians, this is one of the rarest causes.

5. Another way of murder is by oppression and uncharitableness; when the poor are kept destitute of necessaries to preserve their lives: though few of them die directly of famine, yet thousands of them die of those sicknesses which they contract by unwholesome food. And all those are guilty of their death, either that cause it by oppression, or that relieve them not when they are able and obliged to it, James v. 1-5.

6. Another way and cause of murder is, by thieves and robbers, that do it to possess themselves of that which is another man's: when riotousness or idleness hath consumed what they had themselves, and sloth and pride will not suffer them to labour, nor sensuality suffer them to endure want, then they will have it by right or wrong, whatever it cost them. God's laws or man's, the gallows or hell, shall not deter them; but have it they will, though they rob and murder, and are hanged and damned for it. Alas! how dear a purchase do they make! How much easier are their greatest wants, than the wrath of God, and the pains of hell!

7. Another cause of murder is, guilt and shame. When wicked people have done some great disgraceful sin, which will utterly shame them or undo them if it be known, they are tempted to murder them that know it, to conceal the crime and save themselves. Thus many a whoremonger hath murdered her that he hath committed fornication with; and many a whore hath murdered her child (before the birth or after) to prevent the shame. But how madly do they forget the day, when both the one and the other will be brought to light! And the righteous Judge will make them know, that all their wicked shifts will be their confusion, because there is no hiding them from him.

8. Another cause is, furious anger, which mastereth reason, and for the present makes them mad; and drunkenness, which doth the same. Many a one hath killed another in his fury or his drink; so dangerous is it to suffer reason to lose its power, and to use ourselves to a Bedlam course! And so necessary is it, to get a sober, meek, and quiet spirit, and mortify and master these turbulent and beastly vices.

9. Another cause of murder is, malice and revenge. When men's own wrongs or sufferings are so great a matter to them, and they have so little learned to bear them, that they hate that man that is the cause of them, and boil with a revengeful desire of his ruin. And this sin hath in it so much of the devil, that those that are once addicted to it, are almost wholly at his command. He maketh witches of some, and murderers of others, and wretches of all! who set themselves in the place of God, and will do justice as they call it for themselves, as if God were not just enough to do it. And so sweet is revenge to their furious nature, (as the damning of men is to the devil,) that revenged they will be, though they lose their souls by it; and the impotency and baseness of their spirits is such, that they say, Flesh and blood is unable to bear it.

10. Another cause of murder is, a wicked impatience with near relations, and a hatred of those that should be most dearly loved. Thus many men and women have murdered their wives and husbands, when either adulterous lust hath given up their hearts to another, or a cross, impatient, discontented mind, hath made them seem intolerable burdens to each other; and then the devil that destroyed their love and brought them thus far, will be their teacher in the rest, and show them how to ease themselves, till he hath led them to the gallows, and to hell. How necessary is it to keep in the way of duty, and abhor and suppress the beginnings of sin!

11. And sometimes covetousness hath caused murder, when one man desireth another man's estate. Thus Ahab came by Naboth's vineyards to his cost. And many a one desireth the death of another, whose estate must fall to him at the other's death. Thus many a child in heart is guilty of the murder of his parents, though he actually commit it not; yea, a secret gladness when they are dead, doth show the guilt of some such desires while they were living; and the very abatement of such moderate mourning, as natural affection should procure, (because the estate is thereby come to them as the heirs,) doth show that such are far from innocent. Many a Judas for covetousness hath betrayed another; many [780] a false witness for covetousness hath sold another's life; many a thief for covetousness hath taken away another's life, to get his money; and many a covetous landlord hath longed for his tenant's death, and been glad to hear of it; and many a covetous soldier hath made a trade of killing men for money. So true is it, "That the love of money is the root of all evil;" and therefore is one cause of this.

12. And ambition is too common a cause of murder, among the great ones of the world. How many have despatched others out of the world, because they stood in the way of their advancement! For a long time together it was the ordinary way of rising, and dying, to the Roman and Greek emperors; for one to procure the murder of the emperor, that he might usurp his seat, and then to be so murdered by another himself; and every soldier that looked for preferment by the change, was ready to be an instrument in the fact. And thus hath even the Roman seat of his mock-holiness, for a long time and oft received its successors, by the poison or other murdering of the possessors of the desired place. And alas, how many thousands hath that see devoured to defend its universal empire, under the name of the spiritual headship of the church! How many unlawful wars have they raised or cherished, even against christian emperors and kings! How many thousands have been massacred! how many assassinated, as Henry the Third, and Henry the Fourth, of France! besides those that fires and inquisitions have consumed: and all these have been the flames of pride. Yea, when their fellow-sectaries in Munster, and in England, (the anabaptists and seekers,) have catched some of their proud disease, it hath worked in the same way of blood and cruelty.

But besides these twelve great sins, which are the nearest cause of murder, there are many more which are yet greater, and deeper in nature, which are the roots of all; especially these:

1. The first cause is, the want of true belief of the word of God, and the judgment and punishment to come, and the want of the knowledge of God himself: atheism and infidelity.

2. Hence cometh the want of the true fear of God, and subjection to his holy laws.

3. The predominance of selfishness in all the unsanctified, is the radical inclination to murder, and all the injustice that is committed.

4. And the want of charity, or loving our neighbour as ourselves, doth bring men near to the execution, and leaveth little inward restraint.

By all this you may see how this sin must be prevented. (And let not any man think it a needless work. Thousands have been guilty of murder that once thought themselves as far from it as you.) 1. The soul must be possessed with the knowledge of God, and the true belief of his word and judgment. 2. Hereby it must be possessed of the fear of God, and subjection to him. 3. And the love of God must mortify the power of selfishness. 4. And also must possess us with a true love to our neighbours, yea, and enemies for his sake. 5. And the twelve forementioned causes of murder will be thus destroyed at the root.

II. And some further help it will be to understand the greatness of this sin. Consider therefore, 1. It is an unlawful destroying, not only a creature of God, but one of his noblest creatures upon earth! even one that beareth (at least, the natural) image of God. Gen. ix. 5, 6, "And surely, your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it; and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God made he man." Yea, God will not only have the beast slain that killeth a man, but also forbiddeth there the eating of blood, verse 4, that man might not be accustomed to cruelty.

2. It is the opening a door to confusion, and all calamity in the world; for if one man may kill another without the sentence of the magistrate, another may kill him; and the world will be like mastiffs or mad dogs, turned all loose on one another, kill that kill can.

3. If it be a wicked man that is killed, it is the sending of a soul to hell, and cutting off his time of repentance, and his hopes. If it be a godly man, it is a depriving of the world of the blessing of a profitable member, and all that are about him of the benefits of his goodness, and God of the service, which he was here to have performed. These are enough to infer the dreadful consequents to the murderer, which are such as these.

III. 1. It is a sin which bringeth so great a guilt, that if it be repented of, and pardoned, yet conscience very hardly doth ever attain to peace and quietness in this world; and if it be unpardoned, it is enough to make a man his own executioner and tormentor.

2. It is a sin that seldom escapeth vengeance in this life: if the law of the land take not away their lives, as God appointeth, Gen. ix. 6, God useth to follow them with his extraordinary plagues, and causeth their sin to find them out; so that the bloodthirsty man doth seldom live out half his days. The treatises purposely written on this subject, and the experience of all ages, do give us very wonderful narratives of God's judgments, in the detecting of murderers and bringing them to punishment. They go about awhile like Cain, with a terrified conscience, afraid of every one they see, till seasonable vengeance give them their reward, or rather send them to the place where they must receive it.

3. For it is eternal torment, under the wrath of God, which is the final punishment which they must expect (if very great repentance, and the blood of Christ, do not prevent it). There are few I think that by shame and terror of conscience, are not brought to such a repentance for it, as Cain and Judas had, or as a man that hath brought calamity on himself; and therefore wish they had never done it, because of their own unhappiness thereby (except those persecutors or murderers that are hardened by error, pride, or power); but this will not prevent the vengeance of God in their damnation: it must be a deep repentance proceeding from the love of God and man, and the hatred of sin, and sense of God's displeasure for it, which is only found in sanctified souls! And alas, how few murderers ever have the grace to manifest any such renovation and repentance!

Tit. 2. Advice against Self-murder.

Though self-murder be a sin which nature hath as strongly inclined man against, as any sin in the world that I remember, and therefore I shall say but little of it; yet experience telleth us, that it is a sin that some persons are in danger of, and therefore I shall not pass it by.

The prevention of it lieth in the avoiding of these following causes of it.

Direct. I. The commonest cause is prevailing melancholy, which is near to madness; therefore to prevent this sad disease, or to cure it if contracted, and to watch them in the mean time, is the chief prevention of this sin. Though there be much more hope of the salvation of such, as want the use of their understandings, because so far it may be called [781] involuntary, yet it is a very dreadful case, especially so far as reason remaineth in any power. But it is not more natural for a man in a fever to thirst and rave, than for melancholy, at the height, to incline men to make away themselves. For the disease will let them feel nothing but misery and despair, and say nothing, but, I am forsaken, miserable, and undone! And not only maketh them weary of their lives, (even while they are afraid to die,) but the devil hath some great advantage by it, to urge them to do it; so that if they pass over a bridge, he urgeth them to leap into the water; if they see a knife, they are presently urged to kill themselves with it; and feel, as if it were, something within them importunately provoking them, and saying, Do it, do it now; and giving them no rest. Insomuch, that many of them contrive it, and cast about secretly how they may accomplish it.

Though the cure of these poor people belong as much to others' care as to their own, yet so far as they yet can use their reason, they must be warned, 1. To abhor all these suggestions, and give them not room a moment in their minds.

And, 2. To avoid all occasions of the sin, and not to be near a knife, a river, or any instrument which the devil would have them use in the execution.

And, 3. To open their case to others, and tell them all, that they may help to their preservation.

4. And especially to be willing to use the means, both physic, and satisfying counsel, which tend to cure their disease. And if there be any rooted cause in the mind that was antecedent to the melancholy, it must be carefully looked to in the cure.

Direct. II. Take heed of worldly trouble and discontent; for this also is a common cause. Either it suddenly casteth men into melancholy, or without it of itself overturneth their reason, so far as to make them violently despatch themselves; especially, if it fall out in a mind where there is a mixture of these two causes: 1. Unmortified love to any creature. 2. And an impotent and passionate mind; their discontent doth cause such unquietness, that they will furiously go to hell for ease. Mortify therefore first your worldly lusts, and set not too much by any earthly thing: if you did not foolishly overvalue yourselves, or your credit, or your wealth or friends, there would be nothing to feed your discontent: make no greater a matter of the world than it deserveth, and you will make no such great matter of your sufferings.

And, 2. Mortify your turbulent passions, and give not way to Bedlam fury to overcome your reason. Go to Christ, to beg and learn to be meek and lowly in spirit, and then your troubled minds will have rest, Matt. xi. 28, 29. Passionate women, and such other feeble-spirited persons, that are easily troubled and hardly quieted and pleased, have great cause to bend their greatest endeavours to the curing of this impotent temper of mind, and procuring from God such strengthening grace, as may restore their reason to its power.

Direct. III. And sometimes sudden passion itself, without any longer discontent, hath caused men to make away themselves. Mortify therefore and watch over such distracting passions.

Direct. IV. Take heed of running into the guilt of any heinous sin. For though you may feel no hurt from it at the present, when conscience is awakened, it is so disquieting a thing, that it maketh many a one hang himself. Some grievous sins are so tormenting to the conscience, that they give many no rest, till they have brought them to Judas's or Ahithophel's end. Especially take heed of sinning against conscience, and of yielding to that for fear of men, which God and conscience charge you to forbear. For the case of many a hundred as well as Spira, may tell you into what calamity this may cast you. If man be the master of your religion, you have no religion; for what is religion, but the subjection of the soul to God, especially in the matters of his worship; and if God be subjected to man, he is taken for no-god. When you worship a god that is inferior to a man, then you must subject your religion to the will of that man. Keep God and conscience at peace with you, if you love yourselves, though thereby you lose your peace with the world.

Direct. V. Keep up a believing foresight of the state which death will send you to. And then if you have the use of reason, hell at least will hold your hands, and make you afraid of venturing upon death. What repentance are you like to have, when you die in the very act of sin? and when an unmortified lust or love of the world, doth hurry you to the halter by sinful discontent? and what hope of pardon without repentance? How exceeding likely therefore is it, that whenever you put yourselves out of your present pain and trouble you send your souls to endless torments! And will it ease you to pass from poverty or crosses into hell? Or will you damn your souls, because another wrongeth you? Oh the madness of a sinner! Who will you think hath wronged you most, when you feel hell-fire? Are you weary of your lives, and will you go to hell for ease? Alas, how quickly would you be glad to be here again, in a painfuller condition than that which you were so weary of! yea, and to endure it a thousand years! Suppose you saw hell before your eyes, would you leap into it? Is not time of repentance a mercy to be valued? Yea, a little reprieve from endless misery is better than nothing. What need you make haste to come to hell? Will it not be soon enough, if you stay thence as long as you can? And why will you throw away your hopes, and put yourselves past all possibility of recovery, before God put you so himself?

Direct. VI. Understand the wonders of mercy revealed, and bestowed on mankind in Jesus Christ; and understand the tenor of the covenant of grace. The ignorance of this is it that keepeth a bitter taste upon your spirits; and maketh you cry out, Forsaken and undone; when such miracles of mercy are wrought for your salvation. And the ignorance of this is it that maketh you foolishly cry out, There is no hope; the day of grace is past; it is too late; God will never show me mercy! When his word assureth all that will believe it, that "whoever confesseth and forsaketh his sins, shall have mercy," Prov. xxviii. 13. "And if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive," 1 John i. 9. "And that whoever will, may freely drink of the waters of life," Rev. xxii. 17. "And that whoever believeth in him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life," John iii. 16. I have no other hope of my salvation, but that gospel which promiseth pardon and salvation unto all, that at any time repent and turn to God by faith in Christ: and I dare lay my salvation on the truth of this, that Christ never rejected any sinner, how great soever, that at any time in this life was truly willing to come to him, and to God by him. "He that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out," John vi. 37. But the malicious devil would fain make God seem odious to the soul, and representeth love itself as our enemy, that we might not love him! Despair is such a part of hell, that if he could bring us to it, he would think he had us half in hell already: and then he would urge us to despatch ourselves, that we might be there indeed, and our despair might be uncurable. How blind is he that seeth not the devil in all this!




It is not only actual murder which is forbidden in the sixth commandment, but also all inordinate wrath, and malice, and desires of revenge, and injuring the person of our neighbour or our enemy: for so the Prophet and Judge of the church hath himself expounded it, Matt. v. 21, 22. Anger hath a hurting inclination, and malice is a fixed anger, and revenge is the fruit of both or either of them. He that will be free from injurious actions, must subdue the wrath and malice which is their cause. Heart murders and injuries must be carefully rooted up; "For out of the heart proceed all evil thoughts and murders," &c. Matt. xv. 19. This is the fire of hell on which an evil tongue is set, Jam. iii. 6. And this must be quenched if you would be innocent.

Direct. I. See God in your neighbour, and love him for that of God which is upon him. If he be holy, he hath the moral image of God. If he be unholy, he hath his natural image as he is a man. He is not only God's creature, but his reasonable creature, and the lord of his inferior works: and art thou a child of God, and yet canst not see him, and love him in his works? Without God he is nothing, whom thou art so much offended with: and though there be somewhat in him which is not of God, which may deserve thy hatred, yet that is not his substance or person: hate not, or wrong not that which is of God. It would raise in you such a reverence, as would assuage your wrath, if you could but see God in him that you are displeased with.

Direct. II. To this end observe more the good which is in your neighbour, than the evil. Malice overlooketh all that is good and amiable, and can see nothing but that which is bad and detestable: it hearkeneth more to them that dispraise and open the faults of others, than to those that praise them and declare their virtues: nor that good and evil must be confounded; but the good as well as the evil must be acknowledged. We have more use ourselves for the observation of their virtues than of their faults; and it is more our duty: and were it never so little good that is in them, the right observing of it, at least would much diminish your dislike.

Direct. III. Learn but to love your neighbour as yourself, and this will make it easy to you both to forbear him and forgive him. With yourself you are not apt to be so angry. Against yourself you bear no malice, nor desire no revenge that shall do you hurt. As you are angry with yourself penitently for the faults you have committed, but not so as to desire your own destruction, or final hurt; but with such a displeasure as tendeth to your recovery; so also must you do by others.

Direct. IV. To this end be sure to mortify your selfishness. For it is the inordinate respect that men have to themselves, which maketh them aggravate the faults of all that are against them, or offend them. Be humble and self-denying, and you will think yourselves so mean and inconsiderable, that no fault can be very great, nor deserve much displeasure, merely as it is against you. A proud, self-esteeming man is easily provoked, and hardly reconciled without great submission; because he thinketh so highly of himself, that he thinketh heinously of all that is said or done against him; and he is so over-dear to himself, that he is impatient with his adversary.

Direct. V. Be not your own judge in cases of settled malice or revenge; but let some impartial, sober by-stander be the judge. For a selfish, passionate, distempered mind, is very unlike to judge aright. And most men have so much of these diseases, that they are very unfit to be judges in their own case. Ask first some wise, impartial man, whether it be best for thee to be malicious and revengeful against such a one that thou thinkest hath greatly wronged thee, or rather to love him and forgive him.

Direct. VI. Take time to deliberate upon the matter, and do nothing rashly in the heat of passion against another. Wrath and malice will vanish, if you bring the matter into the light, and use but those effectual considerations which will show their sinfulness and shame; I shall therefore next here set down some such considerations, as are most powerful to suppress them.

Consid. I. Remember first, That whoever hath offended you, hath offended God by greater injuries, and if God forgive him the greater, why should not you forgive the less? The same fault which he did against you, is a greater crime as against God than as against you. And many a hundred more hath he committed. It is a small matter to displease such a worm as man, in comparison of the displeasing of Almighty God; and should not his children imitate their heavenly Father? Doth he remit the pains of hell, and cannot you forbear your passionate revenge? Let me ask you, whether you desire that God should forgive him his sins or not? (both that and all the rest which he hath committed:) if you say, no, you are devilish and inhuman, who would not have God forgive a sinner; if you say, yea, you condemn, yea, and contradict yourselves, while you say you would have God forgive him, and yet yourselves will not forgive him. (I speak not of necessary correction, but revenge.)

Consid. II. Consider also that you have much more yourselves to be forgiven by God, or you are undone for ever. There is no comparison between other men's offences against you, and your offences against God, either for the number of them, or the greatness, or the desert. Dost thou owe to God ten thousand talents, and wilt thou lay hold on thy brother for a hundred pence? See then thy doom, Matt. xviii. 34; the tormentors shall exact thy debt to God. Doth it beseem that man to aggravate or revenge his little injuries, who deserveth damnation, and forfeiteth his soul every day and hour? and hath no hope of his own salvation, but by the free forgiveness of all his sins?

Consid. III. Either thou art thyself a member of Christ or not. If not, thou art yet under the guilt of all the sins that ever thou didst commit. And doth it beseem that man to be severe and revengeful against others, that must forever be damned for his own transgressions, if a speedy conversion do not prevent it? Sure you have somewhat else to think on, than of your petty injuries from men! But if thou be indeed a member of Christ, thy sins are all pardoned by the price of thy Redeemer's blood! And canst thou feel the sweetness of so great a mercy, and not feel a strong obligation on thee to forgive thy brother? Must Christ be a sacrifice for thy offences? and must thy brother, who offended thee, be sacrificed to thy wrath?

Consid. IV. Thou art not forgiven of God, if thou dost not forgive. For, 1. If ever the love of God and the blood of Christ had come in power upon thy heart, they would undoubtedly have caused thee to forgive thy brother. 2. Yea, God hath made thy [783] forgiving others to be a condition, without which he will not finally or plenarily forgive thee. Thou hast no warrant to pray or hope for pardon upon any lower terms; but "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us; for if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses," Matt. vi. 14, 15. Likewise, saith Christ, "shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, (even deliver you to the tormentors,) if from your hearts ye forgive not every one his brother their trespasses," Matt. xviii. 35. "For he shall have judgment without mercy that hath showed no mercy, and mercy rejoiceth against judgment," James ii. 13.

Consid. V. Remember also that you have need of forgiveness from others, as well as they have need of it from you. Have you wronged none? Have you provoked none? Have you not passions which must be pardoned? and a nature which must be borne with? Can so corrupt a creature as man is, be no annoyance to those he liveth with? Sure all the sins which burden yourself, and displease the Lord, must needs be some trouble to all about you: and he that needeth pardon, is obliged the more to pardon others.

Consid. VI. Nay, it is the unhappiness of all mankind, that their corruptions will in some measure be injurious to all that they have to do with; and it is impossible for such distempered sinners to live together, and not by their mistakes, or selfishness, or passions, to exercise the patience and forbearance of each other. Therefore you must either be malicious and revengeful against all mankind, or else against none on such accounts as are common to all.

Consid. VII. Observe also how easily you can forgive yourselves, though you do a thousand-fold more against yourselves, than ever any enemy did. It is not their wrongs or offences against you that you are in any danger of being damned for; you shall not suffer for their sins, but for your own. In the day of judgment, it is not your sufferings from others, but your own offences against God, that will be charged upon you: and if ever you be undone, it will be by these. Men or devils can never do that against you, which by every sin you do against yourselves. No robber, no oppressor, no persecutor, no deceiver, can ever hurt you so much as you hurt yourselves. And yet how gently do you take it at your own hands! How easily do you pardon it to yourselves! How lovingly do you think of yourselves! So far are you from malice or revenge against yourselves, that you can scarce endure to hear plainly of your sins! but are more inclined to bear malice against those that do reprove you. Judge whether this be equal dealing, and loving your neighbours as yourselves?

Consid. VIII. Consider how great a crime it is, for a worm to usurp the authority of God, and censure him for not doing justice, and to presume to anticipate his judgment, and take the sword as it were out of his hands, as all do that will be their own avengers. It is the magistrate, and not you, that beareth the sword of public justice; and what he doth not, God will do in his time and way. "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink; for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, (that is, the evil that is done against you,) but overcome evil with good," Rom. xii. 19-21. He that becometh a revenger for himself, doth by his actions as it were say to God, Thou art unjust, and dost not do me justice, and therefore I will do it for myself. And shall such an impatient, blaspheming atheist go unpunished?

Consid. IX. Consider how much fitter God is than you, to execute revenge and justice on your enemies. He hath the highest authority, and you have none: he is impartial and most just, and you are unrighteous and perverted by selfishness and partiality. He is eternal and omniscient, and seeth to the end, and what will be the consequent; and therefore knoweth the fittest season and degree; but you are short-sighted creatures, that see no further than the present day, and know not what will be to-morrow, and therefore may be ignorant of a hundred things, which would stop you and change your counsel if you had foreseen them. He is most wise and good, and knoweth what is fit for every person, and how to do good with as little hurt as may be in the doing of it; but you are ignorant of yourselves, and blinded by interest and passion, and are so bad yourselves, that you are inclined to do hurt to others. At least, for aught you know, you may miscarry in your passion, and come off with guilt and a wounded conscience; but you may be sure that God will not miscarry, but will do all in perfect wisdom, and righteousness, and truth.

Consid. X. Do you not understand that your passion, malice, and revenge, 1. Do hurt yourselves much more than they can hurt another, and, 2. Much more than any other can hurt you? Would you be revenged on another; and will you therefore hurt yourselves? The stone of reproach which you cast at him, doth fly back into your face, and wound yourselves. Do you feel that the fire of passion and malice are like a scorching fever, which overthrow your health and quietness, and fill you full of restlessness and pain? And will you do this against yourselves, because another hath abused you? Did not he that offended you do enough against you? If you would have more, why are you offended with him? If you would not have more, why do you inflict it on yourselves? If you love disquietness, why do you complain of him that doth disquiet you? If you do not, why do you disquiet yourselves? and that much more than he can do? He that wrongeth you toucheth but your estates, or bodies, or names; it may be it is but by a blast of wind, the words of his mouth; and will you therefore wound yourselves at the very heart? God hath locked up your heart from others; none can touch that but yourselves. Their words, their wrongs cannot reach your hearts, unless you open them the door, yea, unless it be your own doing. Will you take the dagger which pierced but your skin, and pierce your own hearts with it, because another so much wronged you? If you do, blame no one for it so much as yourselves; blame them for touching your estates or names, but blame yourselves for all that is at your hearts. And if you might desire another's hurt, it is folly to hurt yourselves much more, and to do a greater mischief to yourselves, that so you may do a less to him. If you rail at him, or slander or defame him, you touch but his reputation; if you trouble him at law, you touch but his estate; if you beat him, it reacheth but to his flesh; but the passion and guilt is a fire in your own hearts; and the wrath of God which you procure, doth fall upon your souls for ever! I have heard but of a few that have said openly, I am contented to be damned, so I may but be avenged; but many thousands speak it by their deeds. And oh how just is their damnation, who will run into hell that they may hurt another! Even as I have heard of some passionate wives and [784] children, who have hanged themselves, or cut their throats, to be revenged on their husbands or parents by grieving them.

Consid. XI. Remember that malice and hurtfulness are the special sins and image of the devil. All sin is from him as the tempter; but some sins are so eminently his own, that they may be called the nature and image of the devil; and those are principally, rebellion against God, malignity or enmity to good, pride or self-exaltation, lying and calumny, and malice, hurtfulness, and murder; these are above the sins of mere sensuality or carnality, and most properly denominate men (in whom they prevail) the serpent's seed. I speak but as Christ himself hath spoken, John viii. 44, to those that were esteemed the wisest and most (ceremoniously) religious of those times: "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it." And what pity is it that a man that should bear the image of God, should be transformed as it were into an incarnate devil, by being like to Satan, and bearing his image!

Consid. XII. The person that you are angry with, is either a child of God, or of the devil, and one that must live either in heaven or hell. If he be a child of God, will not his Father's interest and image reconcile you to him? Will you hate and hurt a member of Christ? If you have any hope of being saved yourselves, are you not ashamed to think of meeting him in heaven, whom you hated and persecuted here on earth? If there were any shame and grief in heaven, it would overwhelm you there with shame and grief, to meet those in the union of those blessed joys, whom you hated and abused. Believe unfeignedly that you must dwell with them for ever in the dearest intimacy of eternal love, and you cannot possibly rage against them, nor play the devils against those, with whom you must live in unity before God. But if they be wicked men, and such as must be damned, (as malice will make you easily believe,) are they not miserable enough already, in being the slaves of sin and Satan? And will they not be miserable time enough and long enough in hell? Do you thirst to have them tormented before the time? O cruel men! O devilish malice! Would you wish them more punishment than hell-fire? Can you not patiently endure to see a poor sinner have a little prosperity and ease, who must lie in everlasting flames? But the truth is, malicious men are ordinarily atheists, and never think of another world; and therefore desire to be the avengers of themselves, because they believe not that there is any God to do it, or any future judgment and execution to be expected.

Consid. XIII. And remember how near both he and you are to death and judgment, when God will judge righteously betwixt you both. There are few so cruelly malicious, but if they both lay dying they would abate their malice and be easily reconciled, as remembering that their dust and bones will lie in quietness together, and malice is a miserable case to appear in before the Lord. Why then do you cherish your vice, by putting away the day of death from your remembrance? Do you not know that you are dying? Are a few more days so great a matter with you, that you will therefore do that because you have a few more days to live, which else you durst not do or think of? O hearken to the dreadful trumpet of God, which is summoning you all to come away; and methinks this should sound a retreat to the malicious, from persecuting those with whom they are going to be judged. God will shortly make the third, if you will needs be quarrelling! Unless it be mastiff dogs or fighting cocks, there are scarce any creatures but will give over fighting, if man or beast do come upon them that would destroy or hurt them both.

Consid. XIV. Wrathful and hurtful creatures are commonly hated and pursued by all; and loving, gentle, harmless, profitable creatures, are commonly beloved. And will you make yourselves like wild beasts or vermin, that all men naturally hate and seek to destroy? If a wolf, or a fox, or an adder do but appear, every man is ready to seek the death of him, as a hurtful creature, and an enemy to mankind; but harmless creatures no one meddleth with (unless for their own benefit and use): so if you will be malicious, hurtful serpents, that hiss, and sting, and trouble others, you will be the common hatred of the world, and it will be thought a meritorious work to mischief you; whereas if you will be loving, kind, and profitable, it will be taken to be men's interest to love you, and desire your good.

Consid. XV. Observe how you unfit yourselves for all holy duties, and communion with God, while you cherish wrath and malice in your hearts. Do you find yourselves fit for meditation, conference, or prayer while you are in wrath? I know you cannot: it both undisposeth you to the duty, and the guilt affrighteth you, and telleth you that you are unfit to come near to God. As a fever taketh away a man's appetite to his meat, and his disposition to labour, so doth wrath and malice destroy both your disposition to holy duties, and your pleasure in them. And conscience will tell you that it is so terrible to draw near God in such a case, that you will be readier (were it possible) to hide yourselves as Adam and Eve, or fly as Cain, as not enduring the presence of God. And therefore the Common-prayer book, above all other sins, enableth the pastor to keep away the malicious from the sacrament of communion; and conscience maketh many that have little conscience in any thing else, that they dare not come to that sacrament, while wrath and malice are in their breasts: and Christ himself saith, "If thou bring thy gift unto the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way, first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Agree with thine adversary quickly while thou art in the way with him, lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison," &c. Matt. v. 23-25.

Consid. XVI. And your sin is aggravated, in that you hinder the good of those that you are offended with, and also provoke them to add sin to sin, and to be as furious and uncharitable as yourselves. If your neighbour be not faulty, why are you so displeased with him? If he be, why will you make him worse? Will you bring him to amendment by hatred or cruelty? Do you think one vice will cure another? Or is any man like to hearken to the counsel of an enemy? or to love the words of one that hateth him? Is malice and fierceness an attractive thing? Or rather is it not the way to drive men further from their duty, and into sin, by driving them from you who pretend to reform them by such unlikely, contrary means as these? And as you do your worst to harden them in their faults, and to make them hate whatever you would persuade them to; so at present you seek to kindle in their breasts the same fire of malice or passion which is kindled in yourselves. As love is the most effectual way to cause love; so passion is the most effectual [785] cause of passion, and malice is the most effectual cause of malice, and hurting another is the powerfullest means to provoke him to hurt you again if he be able; and weak things are ofttimes able to do hurt, when injuries boil up their passions to the height, or make them desperate. If your sinful provocations fill him also with rage, and make him curse, or swear, or rail, or plot revenge, or do you a mischief, you are guilty of this sin, and have a hand in the damnation of his soul, as much as in you lieth.

Consid. XVII. Consider how much fitter means there are at hand to right yourself, and attain any ends that are good, than by passion, malice, or revenge. If your end be nothing but to do mischief, and make another miserable, you are to the world as mad dogs, and wolves, and serpents to the country; and they that know you, will be as glad when the world is rid of you, as when an adder or a toad is killed. But if your end be only to right yourselves, and to reclaim your enemy, or reform your brother, fury and revenge is not the way. God hath appointed governors to do justice in commonwealths and families, and to those you may repair, and not take upon you to revenge yourselves. And God himself is the most righteous Governor of all the world, and to him you may confidently refer the case, when magistrates and rulers fail you; and his judgment will be soon enough and severe enough. And if you would rather have your neighbour reclaimed than destroyed, it is love and gentleness that is the way, with peaceable convictions, and such reasonings as show that you desire his good. Overcome him with kindness, if you would melt him into repentance, and heap coals of fire on his head. If thy enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: this is overcoming evil with good (and not by beastly fury to overcome him); but when you are drawn to sinful passion and revenge, you are overcome of evil, Rom. xii. 19-21. If you would do good, it must be by good, and not by evil.

Consid. XVIII. Remember also how little you are concerned in the words or actions of other men towards you, in comparison of your carriage to yourselves and them. You have greater matters to mind, than your little sufferings by them; even the preserving of your innocency and your peace with God. It is your own actions, and not theirs, that you must answer for. You shall not be condemned for suffering wrong, but for doing wrong you may. All their injuries against you make you not the less esteemed of God, and therefore diminish not your felicity: it is themselves that they mortally wound, even to damnation, if they impenitently oppress another: keep yourselves and you keep your salvation, whatever others do against you.

Consid. XIX. Remember that injuries are your trials and temptations; God trieth you by them, and Satan tempteth you by them. God trieth your love, and patience, and obedience; that you may be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect, and may be indeed his children, while you "love your enemies, and bless them that curse you, and do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you," Matt. v. 44, 45; and being tried you may receive the crown of life, James i. 3, 4, 12. And Satan on the other side is at work, to try whether he can draw you by injuries to impatiency, and to hatred, malice, revenge, or cruelty, and so damn your souls by the hurting of your bodies. And when you foreknow his design, will you let him overcome? Hear every provoking word that is given you, and every injury that is done unto you, as if a messenger from Satan were sent to buffet you, or to speak that provoking language in his name; and as if he said to you, I come from the devil to call thee all that is naught and to abuse thee, and to try whether I can thus provoke thee to passion, malice, railing, or revenge, to sin against God and damn thy soul. If you knew one came to you from the devil on this errand, tell me how you would entertain him. And do you not know that this is indeed the case? "Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison that ye may be tried, and ye shall have tribulation ten days; be thou faithful to the death and I will give thee a crown of life," Rev. ii. 10. As trying imprisonments, so all other trying injuries are from the devil by God's permission, whoever be his instruments; and will you be overcome by him when you foreknow the end of his attempts?

Consid. XX. Lastly, set before you the example of our Lord Jesus Christ: see whether he was addicted to wrath and malice, hurtfulness or revenge. If you will not imitate him, you are none of his disciples; nor will he be your Saviour. A serious view of the holy pattern of love, and meekness, and patience, and forgiveness, which is set before us in the life of Christ, is a most powerful remedy against malice and revenge; and will cure it, if any thing will cure it. Phil. ii. 5-7, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God,—yet made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant." 1 Pet. iv. 1, "Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind." 1 Pet. ii. 19-25, "For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God, endure grief, suffering wrongfully; for what glory is it if when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently: but if when ye do well and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called; because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an ensample that ye should follow in his steps; who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth; who when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not, but committed it to him that judgeth righteously." Think not to live and reign with Christ, if you will not follow him, and suffer with him. It is impudent presumption, and not faith, to look to be like the saints in glory, while you are like the devil in malice and cruelty.



The cases about forgiving, and revenging, are many, and some of them difficult: I shall resolve those of ordinary use in our practice, and pass by the rest.

Quest. I. Is a man bound to forgive all injuries and damages that are done him? If not, what injuries be they which every man is obliged to forgive?

Answ. To both these questions I briefly answer, 1. We must distinguish between a crime or sin against God, and the common good; and an injury or damage to ourselves. 2. And between public justice and private revenge. 3. And between those damages which fall upon myself only, and those that by me redound to others, (as wife or children, &c.) 4. And between the remitting of a punishment, and the remitting of reparations of my loss. 5. And [786] between the various punishments to be remitted. He that will confound any of these shall sooner deceive himself and others, than resolve the doubts.

Prop. I. It frequently falleth out, that it is not in our power to remit the penalty of a crime; no, not the temporal penalty. For this is a wrong to God the universal Governor, and God only can forgive it, and man no further than God hath commissioned him. Murder, whoredom, drunkenness, swearing, &c. as they are sins against God, the magistrate is bound to punish, and private men to endeavour it by the magistrate. And if it may be said, that the sovereign ruler of a nation hath power to forgive such crimes, the meaning is no more than this: 1. That as to the species of these sins, if he do forgive the temporal punishment which in his office he should have inflicted, yet no human power can question him for it, because he hath none on earth above him; but yet God will question him, and show him that he had no power to dispense with his laws, nor disoblige himself from his duty. 2. And that in some cases an individual crime may be forgiven by the magistrate as to the temporal punishment, even where the ends of the law and government require it; but this must not be ordinary.

Prop. II. It is not always in the power of the magistrate to remit the temporal punishment of heinous crimes, against the common good. Because it is ordinarily necessary to the common good that they be punished; and his power is for the common good, and not against it. The enemies of the public peace must by punishment be restrained.

Prop. III. Much less is it in the power of a private man to remit a penalty to be inflicted by a magistrate. And what I say of magistrates, holdeth of parents, and other governors, cæteris paribus, according to the proportion of their authority.

Prop. IV. I may by just means exact satisfaction for damages to myself, in my reputation or estate, when the ends of christianity, even the honour of God, and the public good, and the benefit of men's souls, require it; that is, when I only vindicate these by lawful means, as they are the talents which God hath committed to me for his service, and for which he will call me to account. It may fall out that the vindicating of a minister's or other christian's name from a slander, may become very needful for the interest and honour of religion, and for the good of many souls. And if I have an estate which I resolve to use for God, and a thief or a deceiver take it from me, who will do no good with it but hurt, I may be bound to vindicate it; that I may be enabled to do good, and may give God a comfortable account of my stewardship; besides the suppressing of thievery and deceit, as they are against the common good.

Prop. V. When my estate is not entirely my own, but wife or child or any other is a sharer in it, it is not wholly in my power to remit any debt or damage out of it, but I must have the consent of them that are joint-owners; unless I be intrusted for them.

Prop. VI. If I be primarily obliged to maintain wife and children, or any others, with my estate, I am bound on their behalf to use all just means to vindicate it from any that shall injuriously invade it; otherwise I am guilty of their sufferings whom I should maintain; I may no more suffer a thief than a dog to go away with my children's meat.

Prop. VII. And as I must vindicate my estate for others to whom I am intrusted to administer it by God, so must I for myself also, so far as God would have me use it myself. For he that hath charged me to provide for my family, requireth also that I famish not myself; and he hath required me to love my neighbour but as myself; and therefore as I am bound to vindicate and help my neighbour if a thief or oppressor would rob him, (according to my place and power,) so must I do also for myself. In all these seven cases I am not obliged to forgive.

But on the other side, in all these cases following, I am bound to forgive and let go my right.

Prop. I. As the church may declare to penitent sinners, the remission of the eternal punishment, so may it remit the temporal punishment of excommunication, to the penitent; yea, this they are obliged by Christ to do, ministerially, as under him.

Prop. II. When the repentance and satisfaction of the sinner is like to conduce more to the public good, and the honour of God, and other ends of government, than his punishment would do, a private man may not be obliged to prosecute him before the magistrate, and the magistrate hath power to forgive him as to the penalty which it belongeth to him to inflict. (Though this may not extend to the remitting of crimes ordinarily and frequently, nor to the remitting of some sort of heinous crimes at all; because this cannot attain the ends of government as aforesaid.)

Prop. III. All personal wrongs, so far as they are merely against myself, and disable me not from my duty to God and my neighbour, I may and must forgive: for my own interest is put more in my own power; and here it is that I am commanded to forgive. If you say that I am bound to preserve my own life and soul as much as another's; I answer, it is true, I am bound to preserve my own and another's ultimately for the service and glory of God; and God's interest in me I cannot remit or give away. As there is no obligation to duty but what is originally from God, so there is none but what is ultimately for God, even to please and glorify him.

Object. But if this be all, I shall forgive no wrongs; for there is none which doth not some way hinder me in my duty. Answ. Yes, there may be many to your body, your estate, and name, which yet may be no disablement or hinderance to you, except you make it so yourself: as if you receive a box on the ear, or be slandered or reviled where none heareth it but yourself, or such as will make no evil use of it, or if a little be diminished injuriously out of a superfluous estate, or so as to be employed as well as you would have done. 2. But I further answer this objection in the next propositions.

Prop. IV. If my patient suffering a personal injury, which somewhat hindereth me from my duty, be like to be as great a service to God, or to do more good, than by that duty I should do, I ought to pass by and forgive that injury; because then God's interest obligeth me not to vindicate my right.

Prop. V. If when I am injured, and thereby disabled from doing some good which I should else have done, I am not able by seeking reparation or the punishment of the person, to recover my capacity, and promote the service of God, I am bound to pass by and remit that injury. (I speak not of the criminal part, but the injury as such; for a man may be bound to bring a thief to punishment, on the account of God's honour, and the common good, though else he might forgive the injury to himself.)

Prop. VI. If it be probable that he that defraudeth me of my estate, will do more good with it than I should have done, I am not bound to vindicate it from him for my own interest (though as he is criminal, and the crime is hurtful, as an ill example, to the common good, so I may be bound to it). Nay, were it not for the said criminal respect, I am bound rather to let him take it, than to vindicate it by any [787] such means as would break charity, and do more hurt than good.

Prop. VII. If I am absolutely trusted with the person or estate of another, I may so far forgive the wrongs done to that other, upon sufficient reasons, as well as against myself.

Prop. VIII. A private man may not usurp the magistrate's power, or do any act which is proper to his office, nor yet may he break his laws, for the avenging of himself; he may use no other means than the law of God and his sovereign do allow him. Therefore he may not rail, or revile, or slander, or rob, or strike, or hurt any, (unless in case of defence, as afterward,) nor take any other prohibited course.

Prop. IX. No rigour or severity must be used to right myself, where gentler means may probably do it; but the most harmless way must first be tried.

Prop. X. In general, all wrongs, and debts, and damages, must be forgiven, when the hurt is like to be greater, which will come by our righting ourselves, than that which by forbearance we shall sustain; and all must be forgiven where God's law or man's forbiddeth us not to forgive. Therefore a man that will here know his duty, must conduct his actions by very great prudence (which if he have not himself, he must make use of a guide or counsellor): and he must be able to compare the evil which he suffereth with the evil which will in probability follow his vindication, and to discern which of them is the greater; or else he can never know how far and when he may and must forgive. And herein he must observe,

1. That hurt that cometh to a man's soul is greater than the hurt that befalleth the body; and therefore if my suing a man at law be like to hurt his soul by uncharitableness, or to hurt my own, or the souls of others, by scandal or disturbances, I must rather suffer any mere bodily injuries, than use that means; but if yet greater hurt to souls would follow that bodily suffering of mine, the case is then altered the other way. So if by forgiving debts or wrongs, I be liker to do more good to the soul of him whom I forgive, or others, than the recovery of my own, or the righting of myself, is like any way to equal, I am obliged to forgive that debt or wrong.

2. The good or hurt which cometh to a community or to many, is (cæteris paribus) to be more regarded than that which cometh to myself or any one alone. Because many are of more worth than one; and because God's honour (cæteris paribus) is more concerned in the good of many than of one. Therefore I must not seek my own right to the hurt of many, either of their souls or bodies, unless some greater good require it.

3. The good or hurt of public persons, magistrates, or pastors, is (cæterisc paribus) of more regard than the good or hurt of single men: therefore (cæteris paribus) I must not right myself to the dishonour or hurt of governors; (no, though I were none of their charge or subjects;) because the public good is more concerned in their honour or welfare than in mine. The same may be said of persons by their gifts and interests more eminently serviceable to God and the common good than I am.

4. The good or hurt of a near relation, of a dear friend, of a worthy person, is more to be regarded by me, cæteris paribus, than the good or hurt of a vile, unworthy person, or a stranger. And therefore the Israelites might not take usury of a poor brother, which yet they might do of an alien of another land! The laws of nature and friendship may more oblige me to one than to another, though they were supposed equal in themselves. Therefore I am not bound to remit a debt or wrong to a thief, or deceiver, or a vile person, when a nearer or worthier person would be equally damnified by his benefit. And thus far, (if without any partial self-love a man can justly estimate himself,) he may not only as he is nearest himself, but also for his real worth, prefer his own commodity before the commodity of a more unworthy and unserviceable person.

5. Another man's necessities are more regardable than our own superfluities; as his life is more regardable than our corporal delights. Therefore it is a great sin for any man to reduce another to extremity, and deprive him of necessaries for his life, merely to vindicate his own right in superfluities, for the satisfaction of his concupiscence and sensual desires. If a poor man steal to save his own or his children's lives, and the rich man vindicate his own, merely to live in greater fulness or gallantry in the world, he sinneth both the sin of sensuality and uncharitableness (but how far for the common good he is bound to prosecute the thief as criminal, is a case which depends on other circumstances). And this is the most common case, in which the forgiving of debts and damages is required in Scripture, viz. When the other is poor and we are rich, and his necessities require it as an act of charity (and also the former case, when the hurt by our vindication is like to be greater than our benefit will countervail).

Quest. II. What is the meaning of those words of Christ, Matt. v. 38-42, "Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you, that ye resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also; and whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him two: give to him that asketh thee; and from him that would borrow of thee turn thou not away?"

Answ. The meaning of the text is this: as if he had said, Because you have heard that magistrates are required to do justice exactly between man and man, and to take an eye for an eye, &c. therefore you may perhaps believe those teachers who would persuade you that for any man to exact this satisfaction, is no fault: but I tell you that duties of charity must be performed, as well as justice must be done; and though it must be the magistrate's duty to do you this justice, it is not your duty always to require it, but charity may make the contrary to be your duty. Therefore I say unto you, overvalue not the concernments of your flesh, nor the trifles of this world; but if a man abuse you, or wrong you in these trifles, make no great matter of it, and be not presently inflamed to revenge, and to right yourselves; but exercise your patience and your charity to him that wrongeth you, and by an habituated stedfastness herein, be ready to receive another injury with equal patience, yea many such, rather than to fly to an unnecessary vindication of your right. For what if he give you another stroke? Or what if he also take your cloak? Or what if he compel you to go another mile for him? Let him do it; let him take it; how small is your hurt! What inconsiderable things are these! Your resistance and vindication of your right may violate charity and peace, and inflame his passion, and kindle your own, and hurt both your souls, and draw you into other sins, and cost you dearer than your right was worth: whereas your patience, and yieldingness, and submission, and readiness to serve another, and to let go your own for peace and charity, may shame him or melt him, and prevent contention, and keep your own and the public [788] peace, and may show the excellency of your holy religion, and win men's souls to the love of it, that they may be saved. Therefore instead of exacting or vindicating your utmost right, set light by your corporal sufferings and wrongs, and study and labour with all your power to excel in charity, and to do good to all, and to stoop to any service to another, and humble yourselves, and exercise patience, and give and lend according to your abilities, and pretend not justice against the great duties of charity and patience. So that here is forbidden both violent and legal revenge for our corporal abuses, when the law of charity or patience is against it: but this disobligeth not magistrates to do justice, or men to seek it, in any of the cases mentioned in the seven first propositions.

Quest. III. Am I bound to forgive another, if he ask me not forgiveness? The reason of the question is, because Christ saith, Luke xvii. 3, 4, "If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him: and if he repent, forgive him; and if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent, thou shalt forgive him."

Answ. In the resolving of this, while some have barely affirmed, and others denied, for want of distinguishing, they have said worse than nothing. It is necessary that we distinguish,

1. Between the forgiving of an enemy, and of a stranger, and of a neighbour, and of a brother, as such.

2. Between the several penalties to be remitted (as well as revenges to be forborne). And so briefly the case must be thus resolved.

Prop. I. An enemy, a stranger, and a neighbour, as such, must be forgiven (in the cases before asserted) though they ask not forgiveness, nor say, I repent: for,

1. Many other scriptures absolutely require it.

2. And forgiving them as such, is but the continuing them in our common charity, as men, or neighbours; that is, our not endeavouring to ruin them, or do them any hurt, and our hearty desiring and endeavouring their good, according to their capacities or ours; and thus far we must forgive them.

Prop. II. A brother also must be thus far forgiven, though he say not, I repent; that is, we must love him as a man, and wish and endeavour his good to our power.

Prop. III. A brother as a brother, is not to be so forgiven, as to be restored to our estimation and affection, and usage of him as a brother, either in spiritual account, or intimate special love and familiarity, as long as he is impenitent in his gross offences; and that is, till he turn again and say, I repent. A natural brother is still to be loved as a natural brother. For that kind of love dependeth not on his honesty or repentance. But,

1. A brother in a religious sense,

2. Or a bosom, familiar friend, are both unfit for to be received in these capacities, till they are penitent for gross offences; therefore the church is not to pardon the impenitent, in point of communion, nor particular christians to pardon them in their esteem and carriage; nor am I bound to take an unfit person to be my bosom friend to know my secrets: therefore if either of these offend, I must not forgive them, that is, by forgiveness continue them in the respect and usage of this brotherhood, till they repent; and this (first especially) is the brother mentioned in the text.

Quest. IV. Is it lawful to sue a brother at law? The reason of the question is, from the words of the apostle Paul, 1 Cor. vi. 7, "There is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?"

Answ. 1. Distinguish betwixt going to law before heathens, or other enemies to the christian religion, and before christian magistrates.

2. Between going to law in malice for revenge, and going merely to seek my right, or to seek the suppression and reformation of sin.

3. Between going to law when you are bound to forgive, and when you are not.

4. And between going to law in haste and needlessly, and going to law as the last remedy, in case of necessity, when other means fail.

5. And between going to law when the hurt is like to be greater than the benefit, and going to law when it is likely to do good. There is a great deal of difference between these cases.

Prop. I. Christians must rather suffer wrong, than go to law before the enemies of religion, when it is like to harden them, and to bring christianity into contempt.

Prop. II. It is not lawful to make law and justice the means of private unlawful revenge; nor to vent our malice, nor to oppress the innocent.

Prop. III. Whenever I am bound to forgive the trespass, wrong, or debt, then it is unlawful to seek my own at law. For that is not forgiving.

Prop. IV. There are many other remedies which must first be tried (ordinarily) before we go to law. As,

1. To rebuke our neighbour for his wrong, and privately to desire necessary reparations.

2. To take two or three to admonish him; or to refer the matter to arbitrators (or in some cases to a lot). And if any make law their first remedy needlessly, while the other means should first be used, it is a sin.

Prop. V. It is not lawful to go to law-suits, when prudence may discern that the hurt which may come by it, will be greater than the benefit; (either by hardening the person, or disturbing ourselves, or scandalizing others against religion, or drawing any to ways of unpeaceableness and revenge, &c.) The foreseen consequences may overrule the case.

But on the other side, Prop. I. It is lawful to make use of christian judicatories, so it be done in a lawful manner; yea, and in some cases, of the judicatories of infidels.

Prop. II. The suppressing of sin, and the defending of the innocent, and righting of the wronged, being the duty of governors, it is lawful to seek these benefits at their hands.

Prop. III. In cases where I am not obliged to forgive, (as I have showed before some such there be,) I may justly make use of governors as the ordinance of God.

Prop. IV. The order and season is when I have tried other means in vain; when persuasion or arbitration will do no good, or cannot be used with hope of success.

Prop. V. And the great condition to prove it lawful is, when it is not like to do more hurt than good, either directly of itself, or by men's abuse; when religion, or the soul of any man, or any one's body, or estate, or name, is not like to lose more than my gain, or any other benefits, will compensate; when all these concur, it is lawful to go to law.

Quest. V. Is it lawful to defend my person, life, or estate against a thief, or murderer, or unjust invader, by force of arms?

Answ. You must distinguish, 1. Between such defence as the law of the land alloweth, and such as it forbiddeth.

[789] 2. Between necessary and unnecessary actions of defence.

Prop. I. There is no doubt but it is both lawful and a duty to defend ourselves by such convenient means as are likely to attain their end, and are not contrary to any law, of God or man. We must defend our neighbour if he be assaulted or oppressed, and we must love our neighbour as ourselves.

Prop. II. This self-defence by force, is then lawful, when it is necessary, and other more gentle means have been uneffectual, or have no place (supposing still that the means be such as the law of God or man forbiddeth not).

Prop. III. And it is necessary to the lawfulness of it, that the means be such as in its nature is like to be successful, or like to do more good than harm.

But on the other side, Prop. I. We may not defend ourselves by any such force as either the laws of God or our rulers, thereto authorized by him, shall forbid. For,

1. The laws are made by such as have more power over our lives, than we have over them ourselves.

2. And they are made for the good of the commonwealth; which is to be preferred before the good or life of any single person. And whatever selfish infidels say, both nature and grace do teach us to lay down our lives, for the welfare of the church or state, and to prefer a multitude before ourselves. Therefore it is better to be robbed, oppressed, or killed, than to break the peace of the commonwealth.

Prop. II. Therefore a private man may not raise an army to defend his life against his prince, or lawful governor. Perhaps he might hold his hands if personally he went about to murder him, without the violation of the public peace; but he cannot raise a war without it.

Prop. III. We may not do that by blood or violence, which might be done by persuasion, or by any lawful, gentle means: violence must be used, even in defence, but in case of true necessity.

Prop. IV. When self-defence is like to have consequents so ill, as the saving of ourselves cannot countervail, it is then unlawful finis gratia, and not to be attempted.

Prop. V. Therefore if self-defence be unlikely to prevail, our strength being inconsiderable, and when the enemy is but like to be the more exasperated by it, and our sufferings like to be the greater; nature and reason teach us to submit, and use the more effectual (lawful) means.

Quest. VI. Is it lawful to take away another's life, in the defending of my purse or estate?

Answ. 1. You must again distinguish between such defence as the law of the land alloweth, and such as it forbiddeth.

2. Between what is necessary, and what is unnecessary.

3. Between a life less worth than the prize which he contendeth for, and a life more worth than it, or than mine own.

4. Between the simple defence of my purse, and the defence of it and my life together.

5. Between what I do with purpose and desire, and what I do unwillingly through the assailant's temerity or violence.

6. And between what I do in mere defence, and what I do to bring a thief or robber unto legal punishment. And so I answer,

Prop. I. You may not defend your purse, or your estate, by such actions, as the law of the land forbiddeth; (unless it go against the law of God;) because it is to be supposed, that it is better a man's estate or purse be lost, than law and public order violated.

Prop. II. You may not (against an ordinary thief or robber) defend your purse with the probable hazard of his life, if a few good words, or other safe and gentle means, which you have opportunity to use, be like to serve turn without such violence.

Prop. III. If it might be supposed that a prince, or other person of great use and service to the commonwealth, should in a frolic, or otherwise, assault your person for your estate or purse, it is not lawful to take away his life by a defensive violence, if you know it to be he; because (though in some countries the law might allow it you, yet) finis gratia it is unlawful; because his life is more necessary to the common good than yours.

Prop. IV. If a pilfering thief would steal your purse, without any violence which hazardeth your life, (ordinarily,) you may not take away his life in the defending of it. Because it is the work of the magistrate to punish him by public justice, and your defence requireth it not.

Prop. V. All this is chiefly meant, of the voluntary, designed taking away of his life; and not of any lawful action, which doth it accidentally against your will.

On the other side, Prop. I. If the law of the land allow you to take away a man's life in the defending of your purse, it removeth the scruple, if the weight of the matter also do allow it: because it supposeth, that the law taketh the offender to be worthy of death, and maketh you in that case the executioner of it. And if, indeed, the crime be such as deserveth death, you may be the executioner when the law alloweth it.

Prop. II. And this is more clear, when the robber for your money doth assault your life, or is like for aught you see to do it.

Prop. III. And when gentler means will not serve the turn, but violence is the only remedy which is left you, which is like to avail for your defence.

Prop. IV. And when the person is a vile offender, who is rather a plague and burden to the commonwealth than any necessary member of it.

Prop. V. If you desire not, and design not his death, but he rush upon it himself in his fury, while you lawfully defend your own, the case is yet less questionable.

Prop. VI. If a thief have taken your purse, though you may not take away his life after to recover it, (because it is of less value,) nor yet in revenge (because that belongeth not to private men); yet if the law require or allow you to pursue him to bring him to a judicial trial, if you kill him while he resisteth, it is not your sin; because you are but suppressing sin in your place, according to the allowance of the law.

Quest. VII. May I kill or wound another in the defence or vindication of my honour, or good name?

Answ. No: not by private assault or violence; but if the crime be so great, that the law of the land doth punish it with death, if that law be just, you may in some cases seek to bring the offender to public justice; but that is rare, and otherwise you may not do it. For,

1. It belongeth only to the magistrate, and not to you, to be the avenger.

2. And killing a man can be no meet defence against calumny or slander; for if you will kill a man for prevention, you kill the innocent; if you kill him afterwards, it is no defence, but an unprofitable revenge, which vindicateth not your honour, but dishonoureth you more. Your patience is your honour, and your bloody revenge doth show you to be so like the devil, the destroyer, that it is your greatest shame.

3. It is odious pride which maketh men overvalue [790] their reputation among men, and think that a man's life is a just compensation to them for their dishonour! Such bloody sacrifices are fit to appease only the bloodthirsty spirit! But what is it that pride will not do and justify?



Though this be a subject which the guilty cannot endure to hear of, yet the misery of persecutors, the blood, and groans, and ruins of the church, and the lamentable divisions of professed christians, do all command me not to pass it by in silence; but to tell them the truth, "whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear;" though they were such as Ezek. iii. 7-9, 11.

Direct. I. If you would escape this dreadful guilt, understand well what persecution is. Else you may either run into it ignorantly, or oppose a duty as if it were persecution.

The verb persequor is often taken in a good sense, for no more than continuato motu vel ad extremum sequor; and sometimes for the blameless prosecution of a delinquent; but we take it here as the English word persecute is most commonly taken, for inimico affectu insequor, a malicious or injurious hurting or persecuting another, and that for the sake of religion or righteousness. For it is not common injuries which we here intend to speak of. Three things then go to make up persecution. 1. That it be the hurting of another, in his body, liberty, relations, estate, or reputation. 2. That it be done injuriously, to one who deserveth it not, in the particular which is the cause. 3. That it be for the cause of religion or of righteousness, that is, for the truth of God which we hold or utter; or for the worship of God which we perform; or for obedience to the will of God revealed in his laws. This is the cause on the sufferer's part, whatever is intended by the persecutor.

There are divers sorts of persecutions. As to the principles of the persecutors: 1. There is a persecution which is openly professed to be for the cause of religion; as heathens and Mahometans persecute christians as christians. And there is a hypocritical persecution when the pretended cause is some odious crime, but the real cause is men's religion, or obedience to God. This is the common persecution, which nominal christians exercise on serious christians, or on one another. They will not say that they persecute them because they are godly or serious christians, but that is the true cause; for if they will but set them above God, and obey them against God, they will abate their persecution. Many of the heathens thus persecuted the christians too, under the name of ungodly, and evil-doers; but the true cause was, because they obeyed not their commands in the worshipping of their idol gods. So do the papists persecute and murder men, not as professors of the truth, (which is the true cause,) but under the name of heretics and schismatics, or rebels against the pope, or whatever their malice pleaseth to accuse them of. And profane, nominal christians seldom persecute the serious and sincere directly by that name, but under some nickname which they set upon them, or under the name of hypocrites, or self-conceited, or factious persons, or such like. And if they live in a place, and age, where there are many civil wars or differences, they are sure to fetch some odious name or accusation thence: which side soever it be that they are on, or if they meddle not on any side, they are sure by every party whom they please not, to hear religion loaded with such reproaches as the times will allow them to vent against it. Even the papists who take this course with protestants, it seems by Acosta are so used themselves, not by the heathens, but by one another, yea, by the multitude, yea, by their priests. For so saith he, speaking of the parish priests among the Indians, having reproved their dicing, carding, hunting, idleness. Lib. iv. cap. 15. p. 404, 405. Itaque is cui pastoralis Indorum cura committitur, non solum contra diaboli machinas et naturæ incentiva pugnare debet; sed jam etiam confirmatæ hominum consuetudini et tempore et turba præpotenti sese objicere; et ad excipienda invidorum ac malevolorum tela forte pectus opponere; qui siquid a profano suo instituto abhorrentem viderint; proditorem, hypocritam, hostem clamant: that is, He therefore to whom the pastoral care of the Indians is committed, must not only fight against the engines of the devil, and the incentives of nature; but also now must object or set himself against the confirmed custom of men, which is grown very powerful both by time, and by the multitude; and must valiantly oppose his breast, to receive the darts of the envious and malevolent, who if they see any thing contrary to their profane fashion (or breeding) cry out, A traitor, a hypocrite, an enemy. It seems then that this is a common course.

2. Persecution is either done in ignorance or knowledge. The commonest persecution is that which is done in ignorance and error; when men think a good cause to be bad, or a bad cause to be good, and so persecute truth while they take it to be falsehood, or good while they take it to be evil, or obtrude by violence their errors for truths, and their evils as good and necessary things. Thus Peter testifieth of the Jews, who killed the Prince of life; Acts iii. 13, 14, 17, "I know that through ignorance you did it, as did also your rulers." And Paul; 1 Cor. ii. 8, "Which none of the princes of this world knew; for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory." And Christ himself saith, John xvi. 3, "These things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me." And Paul saith of himself, Acts xxvi. 9, "I thought verily with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth, which thing I also did," &c. And, 1 Tim. i. 13, "that it was ignorantly in unbelief, that he was a blasphemer, a persecutor, and injurious." And on the other side, some persecute truth and goodness while they know it to be so. Not because it is truth or goodness, but because it is against their carnal, worldly interest and inclination. As the conscience of a worldling, a drunkard, a whoremonger, beareth witness against his sin while he goeth on in it; so ofttimes doth the conscience of the persecutor; and he hath secret convictions, that those whom he persecuteth are better and happier than himself.

3. As to the cause, sometimes persecution is for Christianity and godliness in the gross, or for some great essential point; and sometimes it is only for some particular truth or duty, and that perhaps of a lower nature, so small or so dark, that it is become a great controversy, whether it be truth or error, duty or sin. In some respects it is more comfortable to the persecuted, and more heinous in the persecutor, that the suffering be for the greatest things. For this leaveth no doubt in the mind, whether our cause be good or not; and this showeth that the [791] persecutor's mind is most alien from God and truth; but in some other respect, it is an aggravation of the sin of the persecutor, and of the comfort of the persecuted, when it is for smaller truths and duties. For it is a sign of great uncharitableness and cruelty, when men can find in their hearts to persecute others for little things; and it is a sign of a heart that is true to God, and very sincere, when we will rather suffer any thing from man, than renounce the smallest truth of God, or commit the smallest sin against him, or omit the smallest duty, when it is a duty.

4. Sometimes persecution is directly for religion; that is, for matters of professed faith or worship: and sometimes it is for a civil or a common cause; yet still it is for our obedience to God, (or else it is not the persecution which we speak of,) though the matter of it be some common or civil thing: as if I were persecuted merely for giving to the poor, or helping the sick, or for being loyal to my prince, and to the laws, or for doing my duty to my parents, or because I will not bear false witness, or tell a lie, or subscribe a falsehood, or any such like; this is truly persecution, whatever the matter of it be, as long as it is truly for obeying God that we undergo the suffering.

I omit many other less considerable distributions: and also those afflictions which are but improperly called persecutions (as when a man is punished for a fault in a greater measure than it deserveth. This is injustice but not persecution, unless it be his religion and obedience to God, which is the secret cause of it).

Direct. II. Understand well the greatness of the sin of persecution, that you may be kept in a due fear of being tempted to it. Here therefore I shall show you how great a sin it is.

1. Persecution is a fighting against God: so it is called Acts v. 39. And to fight against God, is odious malignity, and desperate folly. 1. It is venomous malignity, for a creature to fight against his Creator, and a sinner against his Redeemer who would save him; and for so blind a worm to rise up against the wisdom of the all-knowing God! and for so vile a sinner to oppose the Fountain of love and goodness! 2. And what folly can be greater, than for a mole to reproach the sun for darkness? or a lump of earth to take up arms against the Almighty, terrible God? Art thou able to make good thy cause against him? or to stand before him when he is offended, and chargeth thee with sin? Hear a Pharisee; "And now I say unto you, refrain from these men, and let them alone; for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: but if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God," Acts v. 38, 39. Or hear Christ himself; "I am Jesus, whom thou persecutest; it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks," Acts ix. 4, 5; with bare feet or hands to beat the thorns! How unmeet a match is man for God! He needeth not so much as a word to take away thy soul, and crush thee to the lowest hell. His will alone can lay thee under thy deserved pains. Canst thou conquer the Almighty God? Wilt thou assault the power which was never overcome, or storm Jehovah's throne or kingdom? First try to take down the sun, and moon, and stars from the firmament, and to stop the course of the rivers, or of the sea; and to rebuke the winds, and turn night into day, and winter into summer, and decrepid age into vigorous youth. Attempt not greater matters till thou hast performed these; it is a greater matter than any of these, to conquer God, whose cause thou fightest against. Hear him again; Isa. xlv. 9, "Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?" And Isaiah xlv. 2. "Who would set the briers and thorns against me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together," Isa. xxvii. 4. Woe to the man that is not content to go to fight with men, but chooseth the most dreadful God to be his enemy! It had been better for thee, that all the world had been against thee.

2. Persecution opposeth the gracious design of our Redeemer, and hindereth his gospel, and work of mercy to the world, and endeavoureth the ruin of his kingdom upon earth. Christ came to save men, and persecutors raise up their power against him, as if they envied salvation to the world. And if God have made the work of man's redemption the most wonderful of all his works which ever he revealed to the sons of men, you may easily conceive what thanks he will give them that resist him in so high and glorious a design. If you could pull the stars out of the firmament, or hinder the motions of the heavens, or deny the rain to the thirsty earth, you might look for as good a reward for this, as for opposing the merciful Redeemer of the world, in the blessed work of man's salvation.

3. Persecution is a resisting or fighting against the Holy Ghost. Saith Stephen to the Jews, "Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears; ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye," Acts vii. 51. If you silence the ministers who are the means by which the Spirit worketh, in the illuminating and sanctifying of souls, Acts xxvi. 17, 18; or if you afflict men for those holy duties, which the Spirit of God hath taught them to perform, or would force men from that which the Spirit of Christ is sent to draw them to; this is to raise war against that Spirit, into whose name you were yourselves baptized.

4. Persecution endeavoureth the damnation of men's souls, either by depriving them of the preaching of the gospel which should save them, or by forcing them upon that sin for which God will condemn them. Yea, the banishing or silencing of one faithful preacher, may conduce to the damnation of many hundreds! If it be said, that others who are set up in their stead may save men's souls as well as they, I answer, 1. God seldom, if ever, did qualify supernumeraries for the work of the ministry! Many a nation hath had too few, but I never read of any nation that had too many, who were well qualified for that great and difficult work, no, not from the days of Christ till now! So that if they are all fit men, there are none of them to be spared; but all are too few, if they conjoin their greatest skill and diligence. Christ biddeth us pray the Lord of the harvest, to send forth more labourers into his harvest; but never biddeth us pray to send out fewer, or to call any in that were but tolerably fitted for the work. 2. Many persecutors banish all preachers of the gospel, and set up no other to do the service which they were called to. And it is rarely seen, that any who can find in their hearts to cast out any faithful ministers of Christ, have hearts to set up better, or any that are competent, in their stead; but it is ordinarily seen, that when the judgment is so far depraved, as to approve of the casting out of worthy men; it is also so far depraved as to think an ignorant, unskilful, heartless, or scandalous sort of ministers, to be as fit to save men's souls as they. And how many poor congregations in the eastern and western churches (nay, how many thousands) have ignorant, ungodly, sensual pastors, who are such unsavoury salt, as to be unfit for the land, or for the [792] dunghill! whilst men are extinguishing the clearest lights, or thrusting them into obscurity, Matt. v. 13-15; Luke xiv. 35. 3. And there may be something of suitableness between a pastor and the flock, which may give him advantage to be more profitable to their souls, than another man of equal parts. 4. And, though God can work by the weakest means, yet ordinarily we see that his work upon men's souls is so far moral, as that he usually prospereth men according to the fitness of their labours to the work! And some men have far more success than others. He that should expel a dozen or twenty of the ablest physicians out of London, and say, There are enough left in their steads, who may save men's lives as well as they, might, notwithstanding that assertion, be found guilty of the blood of no small numbers. And as men have sometimes an aversion to one sort of food, (as good as any to another man,) and as this distemper is not laudable; and yet he that would force them to eat nothing else but that which they so abhor, were liker to kill them than to cure them; so is it with the souls of many. And there are few who have any spiritual discerning and relish, but have some special sense of what is helpful or hurtful to their souls, in sermons, books, and conference, which a stander-by is not so fit to judge of as themselves. So that it is clear, that persecution driveth men towards their damnation! And, oh how sad a case it is, to have the damnation of one soul to answer for! (Which is worse than the murdering of many bodies.) Much more to be guilty of the perdition of a multitude!

5. Persecution is injustice, and oppression of the innocent! And what a multitude of terrible threatenings against this sin, are found throughout the holy Scriptures! Doth a man deserve to be cruelly used, for being faithful to his God, and for preferring him before man? and for being afraid to sin against him? or for doing that which God commandeth him, and that upon pain of greater sufferings than man can inflict upon him? Is it not his Saviour that hath said, "Fear not them that can kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do; but fear him who after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell: yea, I say unto you, fear him." Though christianity was once called, "A sect which every where was spoken against," Acts xxviii. 22; and Paul was accused as a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among the people, Acts xxiv. 5; and Christ was crucified as a usurper of the crown; yet innocency shall be innocency still, in spite of malice and lying accusations; because God will be the final Judge, and will bring all secret things to light, and will justify those whom injustice hath condemned, and will not call them as slandering tongues have called them. Yea, the consciences of the persecutors are often forced to say, as they did of Daniel, Dan. vi. 5, "We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God." And therefore the net which they were fain to lay for him, was a law against his religion, or prayers to God; for a law against treason, sedition, swearing, drunkenness, fornication, &c. would have done them no service! And yet they would fain have aspersed him there, ver. 4. Jer. xxii. 13, "Woe to him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness!" &c. Isa. xxxiii. 1, "Woe to thee that spoilest, and thou wast not spoiled!" Isa. v. 20, "Woe to them that call evil good, and good evil!" Jer. ii. 34, "In thy skirts is found the blood of the souls of the poor innocents." Prov. vi. 16, 17, "Hands that shed innocent blood, the Lord doth hate," &c.

6. Persecution maketh men likest unto devils, and maketh them his most notable servants in the world.[125] Many wicked men may neglect that duty which they are convinced they should do. But to hate it, and malice men that do it, and seek their ruin; this, if any thing, is work more beseeming a devil than a man. These are the commanders in the armies of the devil, against the cause and kingdom of the Lord! John viii. 42, 44. And accordingly shall they speed.

7. Persecution is an inhuman, disingenuous sin, and showeth an extinction of the light of nature. A good-natured man, if he had no grace at all, would abhor to be cruel, and to oppress his brethren; and that merely because they are true to their consciences, and obey their God, while they do no hurt to any others. If they had deserved execution, an ingenuous nature would not be forward to be their executioner; much more when they deserve encouragement and imitation: it is no honour to be numbered with bloodthirsty men.

8. It is a sin that hath so little of commodity, honour, or pleasure to invite men to it, that maketh it utterly without excuse, and showeth, that the serpentine nature is the cause, Gen. iii. 15. What get men by shedding the blood of innocents, or silencing the faithful preachers of the gospel? What sweetness could they find in cruelty, if a malicious nature made it not sweet?

9. It is a sin which men have as terrible warnings against from God, as any sin in the world, that I can remember. 1. In God's threatenings. 2. In sad examples, and judgments in this life, even on posterity. 3. And in the infamy that followeth the names of persecutors, when they are dead.

1. How terrible are those words of Christ, Matt. xviii. 6, "But whoso shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea." How terrible is that character which Paul giveth of the Jews; 1 Thess. ii. 15, 16, "Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us: and they please not God, and are contrary to all men; forbidding us to speak to the gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway; for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost." Such terrors against persecutors are so common through the Scriptures, that it would be tedious to recite them.

2. And for examples, the captivity first, and afterwards the casting off of the Jews, may serve instead of many. 2 Chron. xxxvi. 16, "But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, till there was no remedy." And of the casting off, see Matt. xxiii. 37, 38, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how oft would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate----." And ver. 34-36, "Behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes; and some of them ye shall kill and crucify, and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of [793] Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come on this generation." To give you the particular examples of God's judgments against persecutors, and their posterity after them, would be a voluminous work; you may find them in the holy Scriptures, and the church's Martyrologies.

3. And by a marvellous providence, God doth so overrule the tongue of fame, and the pens of historians, and the thoughts of men, that commonly the names of persecutors stink when they are dead; yea, though they were never so much honoured and flattered while they were alive! What odious names are the names of Pharaoh, Ahab, Pilate, Herod, Nero, Domitian, Dioclesian, &c.! What a name hath the French massacre left on Charles the Ninth! and the English persecution on Queen Mary! And so of others throughout the world. Yea, what a blot leaveth it on Asa, Amaziah, or any that do but hurt a prophet of the Lord! The eleventh chapter of the Hebrews, and all the Martyrologies that are written to preserve the name of the witnesses of Christ, are all the records of the impiety and the perpetual shame of those by whom they suffered. Even learning, and wisdom, and common virtue, have got that estimation in the nature of man, that he that persecuteth but a Seneca, a Cicero, a Demosthenes, or a Socrates, hath irrecoverably wounded his reputation to posterity, and left his name to the hatred of all succeeding ages. Prov. x. 7, "The memory of the just is blessed, but the name of the wicked shall rot."

4. The persecution of godliness as such in ministers or private christians, is one of the most visible undoubted marks of one that is yet unsanctified, and in a state of sin and condemnation; for it showeth most clearly the predominancy of the serpentine nature in the persecutor. Though Asa in a peevish fit may imprison the prophet, and those christians that are engaged in a sect or party, may in a sinful zeal be injurious to those of the contrary party; and yet there may remain some roots of uprightness within; yet he that shall set himself to hinder the gospel, and the serious practice of godliness in the world, and to that end hinder or persecute the preachers, and professors, and practisers of it, hath the plainest mark of a child of the devil, and the most visible brand of the wrath of God upon his soul, of any sort of men on earth. If there might be any hope of grace in him, that at present doth but neglect or disobey the gospel, and doth not himself live a godly life, (as indeed there is not,) yet there can be no possibility that he should have grace at that present, who hateth and opposeth it; and that he should be justified by the gospel who persecuteth it; and that he should be a godly man, who setteth himself against the godly, and seeketh to destroy them.

10. And it is a far more heinous sin in a professed christian, than in an infidel or heathen. For these do according to the darkness of their education, and the interest of their party, and the principles of their own profession. But for a professed christian to persecute christianity, and one that professeth to believe the gospel, to persecute the preachers and serious practisers of the doctrine of the gospel; this is so near that sin which is commonly said to be the unpardonable sin against the Holy Ghost, that it is not easy to perceive a difference; and if I did consent to that description of the unpardonable sin, I should have little hope of the conversion of any one of these. But, however, they make up such a mixture of hypocrisy, and impiety, and cruelty, as showeth them to exceed all ordinary sinners, in malignity and misery. They are a self-condemned sort of men; out of their own mouths will God condemn them. They profess themselves to believe in God, and yet they persecute those that serve him: they dare not speak against the preaching and practising of the doctrine of godliness, directly, and in plain expressions; and yet they persecute them, and cannot endure them! They fight against the interest and law of God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, when they have in baptism vowed themselves unto his service. Of all men on earth, these men will have least to say for their sin, or against their condemnation.

11. Lastly, Remember that Christ taketh all that is done by persecutors against his servants for his cause, to be done as to himself, and will accordingly in judgment charge it on them. So speaketh he to Saul, Acts ix. 5, 6, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?—I am Jesus, whom thou persecutest." And Matt. xxv. 41-46, even to them that did not feed, and clothe, and visit, and relieve them, he saith, "Verily, I say unto you, inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me." What then will he say to them that impoverished and imprisoned them? Remember, that it is Christ reputatively, whom thou dost hate, deride, and persecute.

Direct. III. If you would escape the guilt of persecution, the cause and interest of Christ in the world must be truly understood. He that knoweth not that holiness is Christ's end, and Scripture is his word and law, and that the preachers of the gospel are his messengers, and that preaching is his appointed means, and that sanctified believers are his members, and the whole number of them are his mystical body; and all that profess to be such, are his visible body, or kingdom in the world; and that sin is the thing which he came to destroy, and the devil, the world, and the flesh, are the enemies which he causeth us to conquer; I say, he that knoweth not this, doth not know what christianity or godliness is, and therefore may easily persecute it in his ignorance. If you know not, or believe not, that serious godliness in heart and life, and serious preaching and discipline to promote it, are Christ's great cause and interest in the world, you may fight against him in the dark, whilst ignorantly you call yourselves his followers. If the devil can but make you think that ignorance is as good as knowledge, and pharisaical formality, and hypocritical shows, are as good as spiritual worship, and rational service of God; and that seeming and lip-service is as good as seriousness in religion; and that the strict and serious obeying of God, and living as we profess, according to the principles of our religion, is but hypocrisy, pride, or faction (that is, that all are hypocrites who will not be hypocrites, but seriously religious): I say, if Satan can bring you once to such erroneous, malignant thoughts as these, no wonder if he make you persecutors. O value the great blessing of a sound understanding! for if error blind you, (either impious error, or factious error,) there is no wickedness so great, but you may promote it, and nothing so good and holy, but you may persecute it, and think all the while that you are doing well. John xvi. 2, "They shall put you out of the synagogues; yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you, will think that he doth God service." What prophet so great, or saint so holy, that did not suffer by such hands? Yea, Christ himself was persecuted as a sinner, that never sinned.

Direct. IV. And (if you would escape the guilt of persecution) the cause and interest of Christ must be highest in your esteem, and preferred before all [794] worldly, carnal interests of our own. Otherwise the devil will be still persuading you, that your own interest requireth you to suppress the interest of Christ; for the truth is, the gospel of Christ is quite against the interest of carnality and concupiscence; it doth condemn ambition, covetousness, and lust; it forbiddeth those sins on pain of damnation, which the proud, and covetous, and sensual love, and will not part with; and therefore it is no more wonder to have a proud man, or a covetous man, or a lustful, voluptuous man to be a persecutor, than for a dog to fly in his face who takes his bone from him. If you love your pride, and lust, and pleasures, better than the gospel, and a holy life, no marvel if you be persecutors; for these will not well agree together: and though sometimes the providence of God may so contrive things, that an ambitious hypocrite may think that his worldly interest requireth him to seem religious, and promote the preaching and practice of godliness; this is but seldom, and usually not long. For he cannot choose but quickly find that Christ is no patron of his sin, and that holiness is contrary to his worldly lusts. Therefore if you cannot value the cause of godliness above your lusts and carnal interests, I cannot tell you how to avoid the guilt of persecution, nor the wrath and vengeance of Almighty God.

Direct. V. Yea, though you do prefer Christ's interest in the main, you must carefully take heed of stepping into any forbidden way, and espousing any interest of your own or others, which is contrary to the laws or interest of Christ. Otherwise in the defence or prosecution of your cause, you will be carried into a seeming necessity of persecuting before you are aware. This hath been the ruin of multitudes of great ones in the world. When Ahab had set himself in a way of sin, the prophet must reprove him; and then he hateth and persecuteth the prophet, because he prophesied not good of him, but evil.[126] When Jeroboam thought that his interest required him to set up calves at Dan and Bethel, and to make priests for them of the basest of the people, the prophet must speak against his sin; and then he stretcheth out his hand against him, and saith, "Lay hold on him." If Asa sin, and the prophet tell him of it, his rage may proceed to imprison his reprover.[127] If Amaziah sin with the idolaters, the prophet must reprove him, and he will silence him, or smite him. And silenced he is, and what must follow? 2 Chron. xv. 16, "The king said to him, Art thou made of the king's counsel? Forbear: why shouldst thou be smitten? (This seemeth to be gentle dealing.) Then the prophet forbore and said, I know that God hath determined to destroy thee, because thou hast done this, and hast not hearkened to my counsel." If Pilate do but hear, "If thou let this man go, thou art not Cæsar's friend,"[128] he thinketh it is his interest to crucify Christ: as Herod thought it his interest to kill him, and therefore to kill so many other infants, when he heard of the birth of a king of the Jews. Because of an Herodias and the honour of his word, Herod will not stick to behead John the Baptist; and another Herod will kill James with the sword, and imprison Peter, because he seeth that it pleaseth the Jews.[129] Instances of this desperate sin are innumerable. There is no way so common, by which Satan hath engaged the rulers of the world against the kingdom of Jesus Christ, and against the preachers of his gospel, and the people that obey him, than by persuading them as Haman did Ahasuerus, Esther iii. 8, 9, "There is a certain people scattered abroad, and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of thy kingdom, and their laws are diverse from all people, neither keep they the king's laws: therefore it is not for the king's profit to suffer them; if it please the king, let it be written that they may be destroyed." When once the devil hath got men, by error or sensuality, to espouse an interest that Christ is against, he hath half done his work: for then he knoweth, that Christ or his servants will never bend to the wills of sinners, nor be reconciled to their wicked ways, nor take part with them in a sinful cause. And then it is easy for Satan to persuade such men, that these precise preachers and people are their enemies, and are against their interest and honour, and that they are a turbulent, seditious sort of people, unfit to be governed (because they will not be false to God, nor take part with the devil, nor be friends to sin). When once Nebuchadnezzar hath set up his golden image, he thinks he is obliged in honour to persecute them that will not bow down, as refractory persons that obey not the king. When Jeroboam is once engaged to set up his calves, he is presently engaged against those that are against them; and that is against God, and all his servants. Therefore as rulers love their souls, let them take heed what cause and interest they espouse.

Direct. VI. To love your neighbours as yourselves, and do as you would be done by, is the infallible means to avoid the guilt of persecution. "For charity suffereth long, and is kind, it envieth not, it is not easily provoked, it thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; it beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things," 1 Cor. xiii. 4-7. "Love worketh no ill to his neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law," Rom. xiii. 10. And if it fulfil the law, it wrongeth no man. When did you see a man persecute himself? imprison, banish, defame, slander, revile, or put to death himself (if he were well in his wits)? Never fear persecution from a man that "loveth his neighbour as himself, and doth as he would be done by," and is not selfish and uncharitable.

Direct. VII. Pride also must be subdued, if you would not be persecutors. For a proud man cannot endure to have his word disobeyed, though it contradict the word of God: nor can he endure to be reproved by the preachers of the gospel; but will do as Herod with John the Baptist, or as Asa, or Amaziah, by the prophets! Till the soul be humble, it will not bear the sharp remedies which our Saviour hath prescribed, but will persecute him that would administer them.

Direct. VIII. Passion must be subdued, and the mind kept calm, if you would avoid the guilt of persecution. Asa was in a rage when he imprisoned the prophet (a fit work for a raging man). And Nebuchadnezzar was in a rage and fury when he commanded the punishment of the three witnesses, Dan. iii. 13. "The wrath of man worketh not the will of God," Jam. i. 20. The nature of wrathfulness tendeth to hurting those you are angry with. And wrath is impatient, and unjust, and will not hear what men can say, but rashly passeth unrighteous sentence. And it blindeth reason, so that it cannot see the truth.

Direct. IX. And hearkening to malicious backbiters and slanderers, and favouring the enemies of godliness in their calumnies, will engage men in persecution ere they are aware. For when the wicked are in the favour and at the ear of rulers, [795] they have opportunity to vent those false reports, which they never want a will to vent! And any thing may be said of men behind their backs, with an appearance of truth, when there is none to contradict it. If Haman may be heard, the Jews shall be destroyed, as not being for the king's profit, nor obedient to his laws. If Sanballat and Tobiah may be heard, the building of the walls of Jerusalem shall signify no better than an intended rebellion. They are true words, though to some ungrateful, which are spoken by the Holy Ghost, Prov. xxix. 12, "If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked" (for they will soon accommodate themselves to so vicious a humour). Prov. xxv. 4, 5, "Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer. Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne shall be established in righteousness." If the devil might be believed, Job was one that served God for gain, and might have been made to curse him to his face. And if his servants may be believed, there is nothing so vile which the best men are not guilty of.

Direct. X. Take heed of engaging yourselves in a sect or faction. For when once you depart from catholic charity, there groweth up instead of it, a partial respect to the interest of that sect to which you join; and you will think that whatsoever doth promote that sect, doth promote christianity; and whatever is against that sect, is against the church or cause of God. A narrow, sectarian, separating mind, will make all the truths of God give place to the opinions of his party; and will measure the prosperity of the gospel in the world, by the prosperity of his party, as if he had forgot that there are any more men on the face of the earth, or thought God regarded none but them. He will not stick to persecute all the rest of the church of Christ, if the interest of his sect require it. When once men incorporate themselves into a party, it possesseth them with another spirit, even with a strange uncharitableness, injustice, cruelty, and partiality! What hath the christian world suffered by one sect's persecuting another, and faction rising up in fury to maintain its own interest, as if it had been to maintain the being of all religion! The bloodthirsty papists, whose inquisition, massacres, and manifold murders, have filled the earth with the blood of innocents, is a sufficient testimony of this. And still here among us they seem as thirsty of blood as ever, and tell us to our faces, that they would soon make an end of us, if we were in their power: as if the two hundred thousand lately murdered in so short a time in Ireland, had rather irritated than quenched their thirst. And all faction naturally tendeth to persecution. Own not therefore any dividing opinions or names; maintain the unity of the body of Christ (not of the body of the pope). Let christian and catholic, be all your titles, as to your religion. "Mark those that cause divisions and offences, and avoid them," Rom. xvi. 17.

Direct. XI. To this end, overvalue not any private or singular opinions of your own or others. For if once spiritual pride and ignorance of your own weakness, hath made you espouse some particular opinion as peculiarly your own; you will dote on the brats of your own brains, and will think your conceits to be far more illuminating and necessary than indeed they are; as if men's sincerity lay in the embracing of them, and their salvation on the receiving of them! And then you will make a party for your opinion, and will think all that are against it deserve to be cast out, as enemies to reformation, or to the truth of God, or to the church. And perhaps twenty years after, experience may bring you to your wits, and make you see either the falsehood or the smallness of all those points which you made so great a matter of; and then what comfort will you have in your persecutions?

Direct. XII. Obey not the solicitations of selfish, passionate disputers. Bishops and divines falling out among themselves, and then drawing princes to own their quarrels, when they find their arguments will not serve, hath been the distraction, division, and ruin of the christian world. And he that falleth in with one of the parties, to bear out that by the ruin of the other, is lost himself in their contentions. Would rulers let wrangling bishops and disputers alone, and never lend them their swords to end their differences, unless the substance of religion be endangered, they would be weary of quarrelling, and would chide themselves friends, and no such tragical consequents would follow, as do when the sword interposeth to suppress the discountenanced party, and to end their syllogisms and wranglings in blood.

Direct. XIII. Take heed lest an uncharitable, hurting spirit do prevail, under the name of holy zeal. As it did with James and John, when they would have fire from heaven to have revenged the contempt of their ministry: to whom Christ saith, "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of," Luke ix. 55. The difference between a christian zeal, and an envious, contentious, censorious, hurtful zeal, is excellently described by the apostle James, chap. iii. throughout. "Where envying and strife is, there is confusion, and every evil work. The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good works, without partiality and hypocrisy."

Direct. XIV. The catholic church, and particular churches, and our communion with each, must be distinguished; and a man must not be cast out of our catholic communion, because by some tolerable difference he is uncapable of communion with some particular church. If a man be impenitent in any heresy or sin, which is contrary to the common nature of christianity or godliness, and so unfit for catholic communion, he is to be cast out of christian communion: but if some particular church do impose any unnecessary doctrine or practice, and he dare not approve it, or join in it (be it right or wrong); yea, or if he withdraw himself from one church, through the badness of the minister, or through any falling out between them, and join to another that hath a minister more suitable to his case; these are not crimes to be punished with ejection from catholic communion. He that is not fit for communion with some one particular church, may be fit for communion with many others, that give him no such occasion of difference or distaste. Without catholic principles persecution will not be avoided.

Direct. XV. Let church union and communion be laid upon none but catholic terms, which are possible and fit for all to be agreed in.[130] Common reason will tell any impartial man, that there can be no more effectual engine to divide the churches, and raise contentions and persecutions, than to make laws for church communion, requiring such conditions as it is certain the members cannot consent to. If any man knew that my opinion is against the doctrine of transubstantiation, or of the Dominican's predetermination, and he would make a law, that no man shall have communion with that church who subscribeth not to these, he unavoidably excludeth me (unless I be such a beast, as to believe nothing soundly, and therefore to say any thing). [796] If ever the churches agree, and christians be reconciled, it must be by leaving out all dividing impositions, and requiring nothing as necessary to communion, which all may not rationally be expected to consent in. Now these catholic principles of communion must be such as these.

1. Such points of faith only as constitute christianity, and which every upright christian holdeth; and therefore only such as are contained in our baptismal covenant or profession, which maketh us christians; and not those other which only some stronger christians believe or understand; because the weak are not to be cast out of the family of Christ.

2. Such points as the primitive churches did agree in, and not innovations, which they never practised or agreed in; for they are our pattern, and were better than we; and no more can be necessary to our concord and communion, than was to theirs.[131]

3. Such points as all the church hath some time or other at least agreed in; for what reason can we have to think that the churches should now agree in that, which they never hitherto agreed in.

4. Such points as all the true christians in the world are now agreed in; for otherwise we shall exclude some true christians from our christian communion.

5. No points of worship, much less of modes and circumstances, which are not necessary, and more necessary to the church's good, than is the communion of all those persons, who by dissenting are like to be separated or cast out, and whose omission would not do more hurt, than this separation and division is like to do.

6. Especially no such things must be made necessary to communion, as the most conscientious are ordinarily fearful of and averse to, and may be forborne without any great detriment to godliness.

Object. But, it will be said, that catholic communion indeed requireth no more than you say; but particular churches may require more of their members, for that may be necessary or fit for a member of this particular church, which is not so to all.

Answ. Catholic communion is that which all christians and churches have with one another, and the terms of it are such as all christians may agree in. Catholic communion is principally existent and exercised in particular churches (as there is no existent christianity or faith, which existeth not in individual christians). Therefore if one particular church may so narrow the door of its communion, then another and another, and every one may do so; if not by the same particular impositions, yet by some other of the like nature; for what power one church hath herein, others have; and then catholic communion will be scarce found existent externally in the world: but a mere catholic christian would be denied communion in every particular church he cometh to. And how do you hold catholic communion, when you will admit no mere catholic christian as such to your communion, but only such as supererogate according to your private church terms?

2. But grant that every church may impose more upon its members, it must be only that which is necessary to those common things which all agree in; and then the necessity will be discernible to all sober-minded persons, and will prevent divisions; as it is necessary that he that will communicate with our churches, do join with them in the same translation of Scripture, and version of the Psalms, and under the same pastor, as the rest of the church doth: for here the church cannot use variety of pastors, translations, versions, &c. to fit the variety of men's humours; there is an evident necessity, that if they will be one society, they must agree in the same, in each of these. Therefore when the church hath united in one, if any man refuse that one person or way which the church is necessarily united in, he refuseth communion with that church, and the church doth not excommunicate him! But if that church agree on things hurtful or unnecessary, as necessary to its communion, it must bear the blame of the separations itself!

3. And grant yet that some churches cannot admit such scrupulous persons to her communion as dare not join in every punctilio, circumstance, or mode; it doth not follow that those persons must therefore be excommunicated, or forbidden to worship God among themselves, without that which they scruple; or to join in or with a congregation which imposeth no such things upon them. Persecution will unavoidably come in, upon such domineering, narrow terms as those. The man is a christian still, though he scruple one of our modes or ceremonies, and is capable of catholic communion. And if private and little inconveniences shall be thought a sufficient cause, to forbid all such the public worshipping of God, on pretence that in one nation there must not be variety of modes, this is a dividing principle, and not catholic, and plungeth men into the guilt of persecution. It was not so in the churches of the Roman empire. In the days of Basil, his church and that at Neocæsarea differed; and ordinarily, several bishops used several forms of prayer and worship, in their several churches, without offence. And further,

Direct. XVI. Different faults must have different penalties; and excommunication or forbidding men all public worship of God, must not be the penalty of every dissent. Is there no smaller penalty sufficient, if a doubtful subscription or ceremony be scrupled, than to silence ministers therefore from preaching the gospel, or excommunicating men, and forbidding them to worship God at all except they can do this? This is the highest ecclesiastical penalty that can be laid on men for the greatest heresy or crime. Doubtless there are lesser punishments that may suffice for lesser faults.

Direct. XVII. Every friend of Christ and the church, must choose such penalties for ministers and private christians, who offend, as are least to the hinderance of the gospel, or hurtful to the people's souls. Therefore silencing ministers is not a fit penalty for every fault which they commit! The providence of God (as I said before) hath furnished the world with so few that are fit for that high and sacred work, that no man can pretend that they are supernumeraries, or unnecessary, and that others may be substituted to the church's profit: for the number is so small, that all are much too few; and so many as are silenced, so many churches (either the same or others) must be unsupplied or ill supplied. And God working ordinarily by means, we may conclude, that silencing of such preachers, doth as plainly tend to men's damnation, as the prohibiting of physicians doth to their death, and more. And it is not the part of a friend, either of God or men, to endeavour the damnation of one soul, much less of multitudes, because a minister hath displeased him. If one man must pay for another man's sins, let it be a pecuniary mulct, or the loss of a member, rather than the loss of his soul. It is more merciful every time a minister offendeth, to cut off a hand or an arm of some of his flock, than to say to him, Teach them no more the way to salvation, that so they may be damned. If a father offend, and his children must needs pay for all his faults, it is better [797] to beat the children, or maim them, than forbid him to feed them, when there is none else to do it, and so to famish them. What reason is there that men's souls should be untaught, because a minister hath offended? I know still, those men that care not for their own souls, and therefore care as little for others, will say, What if the people have but a reader, or a weak, ignorant, lifeless preacher? doth it therefore follow that the people must be damned? I answer, No: no more than it followeth that the city that hath none but women physicians must die of their sicknesses, or that they that live only upon grass or roots must famish. Nature may do more to overcome a disease without a physician in one than in another. Some perhaps are converted already, and have the law written in their hearts, and are taught of God, and can make shift to live without a teacher; but for the rest, whose diseases need a skilful, diligent physician, whose ignorance and impenitence extremely need a skilful, diligent, lively teacher, he that depriveth them of such, doth take the probable course to damn them! And it is the same course which the devil himself would take; and he partly knoweth what tendeth to men's damnation! He that knoweth what a case the heathen, infidel, Mahometan world is in for want of teachers; and what a case the Greek church, the Muscovites, the Abassines, Syrians, Armenians, papists, and most of the christians of the world are in, for want of able, skilful, godly pastors, will lay his hand on his mouth, and meddle with such reasonings as these no more.

Object. But by this device you will have the clergy lawless, or, as the papists, exempt them from the magistrate's punishments, for fear of depriving the people of instruction.

Answ. No such matter: it is the contrary that I am advising; I would have them punished more severely than other men, as their sins are more aggravated than other men's. Yea, and I would have them silenced when it is meet, and that is in two cases: viz. If they commit such capital crimes, as God and man would have punished with death, it is fit they die (and then they are silenced): for in this case it is supposed that their lives (by their impunity) are like to do more hurt than good. 2. If their heresy, insufficiency, scandal, or any fault whatever, do make them more hurtful than profitable to the church, it is fit they be cast out. If their ministry be not like to do more good than their faults to do harm, let them be silenced! But if it be otherwise, then let them be punished in their bodies or purses, rather than the people's souls should suffer. The laws have variety of penalties for other men! Will none of those suffice for ministers?

But alas! what talk I of their faults? Search all church history, and observe whether in all ages ministers have not been silenced rather for their duties than their faults; or, for not subscribing to some unnecessary opinion or imposition of a prevailing party; or about some wrangling controversies which church disturbers set afoot! There is many a poor minister would work in Bridewell, or be tied to shovel the streets all the rest of the week, if he might but have liberty to preach the gospel! And would not such a penalty be sufficient for a dissent in some unnecessary point? As it is not every fault that a magistrate is deposed for by the sovereign, but such as make him unfit for the place, so is it also with the ministers.

Direct. XVIII. Malignity and profaneness must not be gratified or encouraged. It must be considered, how "the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to his law, nor can be;" and that enmity is put between the woman's and the serpent's seed;[132] and that the whole business of the world is but the prosecution of the war between the armies of Christ and Satan; and that malignity inclineth the ungodly world to slander and reproach the servants of the Lord; and they are glad of any opportunity to make them odious, or to exasperate magistrates against them; and that their silencing and fall is the joy of the ungodly. And if there be any civil differences or sidings, the ungodly rabble will take that side, be it right or wrong, which they think will do most to the downfal of the godly, whom they hate. Therefore besides the merits of the particular cause, a ruler that regardeth the interest of the gospel, and men's salvation, must have some care that the course which he taketh against godly ministers and people, when they displease him, be such as doth not strengthen the hands of evil-doers, nor harden them, increase them, or make them glad. I do not say, that a ruler must be against whatever the ungodly part is for; or that he must be for that which the major part of godly men are for (I know this is a deceitful rule). But yet that which pleaseth the malignant rabble, and displeaseth or hurteth the generality of godly men, is so seldom pleasing to God, that it is much to be suspected.

Direct. XIX. The substance of faith, and the practice of godliness, must be valued above all opinions, and parties, and worldly interests; and godly men accounted, as they are, (cæteris paribus,) the best members both of church and state. If rulers once knew the difference between a saint and a sensualist, "a vile person would be contemned in their eyes, and they would honour them that fear the Lord," Psal. xv. 4. And if they honoured them as God commandeth them, they would not persecute them; and if the promoting of practical godliness were their design, there were little danger of their oppressing those that must be the instruments of propagating it, if ever it prosper in the world.

Direct. XX. To this end, remember the near and dear relation which every true believer standeth in to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. They are called by God, "His peculiar treasure,—his jewels,—his children,—the members of Christ,—the temples of the Holy Ghost;—God dwelleth in them by love, and Christ by faith, and the Spirit by all his sanctifying gifts."[133] If this were well believed, men would more reverence them on God's account, than causelessly to persecute them. "He that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of my eye," Zech. ii. 8.

Direct. XXI. Look not so much on men's infirmities, as to overlook or make light of all that is good in them. But look as much at the good as at the evil; and then you will see reason for lenity, as well as for severity; and for love and tenderness, rather than for hatred and persecution; and you will discern that those may be serviceable to the church, in whom blinded malice can see nothing worthy of honour or respect.

Direct. XXII. Estimate and use all lesser matters, as means to spiritual worship and practical holiness. If there be any thing of worth in controversies, and ceremonies, and such other matters of inferior rank, it is as they are a means to the power of godliness, which is their end. And if once they be no otherwise esteemed, they will not be made use of against the interest of godliness, to the silencing of the preachers, and persecuting the professors of it.

Direct. XXIII. Remember that the understanding is not free (save only participative, as it is subject [798] to the will). It acteth of itself per modum naturæ, and is necessitated by its object (further than as it is under the power of the will). A man cannot hold what opinion he would himself, nor be against what he would not have to be true; much less can he believe as another man commandeth him. My understanding is not at my own command; I cannot be of every man's belief that is uppermost. Evidence, and not force, is the natural means to compel the mind; even as goodness, and not force, is the natural means to win men's love. It is as wise a thing to say, Love me, or I will kill thee; as to say, Believe me, or I will kill thee.

Direct. XXIV. Consider that it is essential to religion, to be above the authority of man (unless as they subserve the authority of God). He that worshippeth a God that is subject to any man, must subject his religion to that man. (But this is no religion, because it is no God whom he worshippeth.) But if the God whom I serve be above all men, my religion or service of him must needs be also above the will of men.

Direct. XXV. Consider that an obedient disposition towards God's law, and a tender conscience which feareth in the smallest matter to offend him, is a substantial part of holiness, and of great necessity to salvation. It is part of the excellency of the soul, and therefore to be greatly encouraged by governors. To drive this out of the world, is to drive out godliness, and make men rebels against their Maker. And nothing is more certain, than that the violent imposing of unnecessary, disputable things in the worship of God, doth unavoidably tend either to debauch the conscience, and drive men from their obedience to God, or to destroy them, or undo them in the world: for it is not possible, that all conscionable persons should discern the lawfulness of all such disputable things.

Direct. XXVI. Remember that such violence in doubtful matters, is the way to set up the most debauched atheists, and consequently to undo church and commonwealth. For whatever oaths or subscriptions you require, he that believeth not that there is a God or a devil, a heaven or a hell, will yield to all, and make no more of perjury or a lie, than to eat a bit of bread! If you cast out all ministers that will not swear or subscribe this or that form about things doubtful, you will cast out never an atheist or debauched infidel by it. All that have no conscience, will be kept in; and all that are true to God and their conscience, if they think it is sin which you require of them, will be cast out. And whither this tendeth, you may easily foresee.

Direct. XXVII. Remember that if by force you do prevail with a man to go against his conscience, you do but make him dissemble and lie. And if hypocrites be not hateful to you, why do you cry out so much against hypocrites (where you cannot prove your accusation)? But if they be so hateful, why do you so eagerly make men hypocrites? Whatever their tongues may say, you can scarce believe yourselves, that prisons or fire will change men's judgments in matters of faith and duty to God.

Direct. XXVIII. Consider not only whether the thing which you impose be sin in itself, but also what it is to him that thinketh it a sin. His own doubting conscience may make that a sin to him, which is no sin to another. "And he that doubteth, (whether such or such a meat be lawful,) is condemned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin," Rom. xiv. 23. And is it like to be damnation to him that doth it against his conscience? And will you drive on any man towards damnation? "Destroy not him with thy meat for whom Christ died," Rom. xiv. 15; 1 Cor. viii. 11.

If it be objected, That then there will be no government, if every man must be left to his own conscience. I answer, That the Holy Ghost did not fear such objectors, when he laid down this doctrine here expressed. 1. It is easy to distinguish between things necessary and things unnecessary. 2. And between great penalties and small. And first, It followeth not that a man must be left to his own conscience in every thing, because he must be so in some things. In things necessary, as it is a sin to do them doubtingly, so it may be a greater sin to leave them undone; (as for a man to maintain his family, or defend his king, or hear the word of God, &c.) He that can say, My conscience is against it, must not be excused from a necessary duty: and he that can say, My conscience bids me do it, must not be excused in a sin. But yet the apostle knew what he said, when he (that was a greater church governor than you) determined the case of mutual forbearance, as in Rom. xiv. and xv. and 1 Cor. viii. Secondly, And he is not wholly left to himself, who is punished with a small penalty for a small offence: for if a man must be still punished more, as long as he obeyeth God and his conscience, before men, an honest man must not be suffered to live. For he will certainly do it to the death.

Direct. XXIX. Remember the wonderful variety of men's apprehensions, which must be supposed in all laws! Men's faces are scarce more various and unlike, than their understandings are: for besides that nature hath diversified intellects as well as faces, the diversity and unlikeness is much increased by variety of educations, company, representations, accidents, cogitations, and many other causes. It is wiser to make laws, that all men shall take the same physic, or eat only the same meat, or that all shoes shall be of a size, and all clothes of the same bigness, upon supposition that all men's health, or appetite, or feet, or bodies, are alike; than to make laws that all men shall agree (or say that they agree) in every opinion, circumstance, or ceremony, in matters of religion.

Direct. XXX. Remember especially, that most christians are ignorant, and of weak understandings, and not able to make use of all the distinctions and subtleties which are needful, to bring them over to your mind in doubtful and unnecessary things. Therefore the laws which will be the means of peace, must suppose this weakness and ignorance of most subjects! And how convenient it is, to say to a poor, ignorant christian, Know this, or profess this or that, which the ablest, godly pastors themselves are not agreed in, or else thou shalt be imprisoned or banished, I leave to equal men to judge.

Direct. XXXI. Human infirmities must be supposed in the best and strongest christians. All have their errors and their faults; divines themselves as well as others. Therefore either some errors and faults must be accounted tolerable, or else no two persons must tolerate one another in the world, but kill on till the strongest only shall survive. "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ," Gal. vi. 1, 2. And if the strong must be borne with themselves, "then they that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please themselves; but every one to please his neighbour for his good to edification; for even Christ pleased not himself," &c. Rom. xv. 1-3. "And him that is [799] weak in the faith we must receive; but not to doubtful disputations," Rom. xiv. 1.

Direct. XXXII. The pastors must not be impatient under the abuses which they receive from weak or distempered brethren. We must excel others in patience, and meekness, and forbearance, as much as we do in knowledge, and in other graces. If the nurse or mother will take every word or action of the child, as if it were the injury of an enemy, there will be no preservation of the family in peace! If children cry, or fight, or chide, or make any foul or troublesome work, the mother will not therefore turn them out of doors, or use them like strangers, but remember that it is her place and duty to bear with that weakness which she cannot cure. The proud impatience of the pastors hath frequently brought them into the guilt of persecution, to the alienating of the people's hearts, and the distraction and division of the churches: when poor, distempered persons are offended with them, and it may be revile them, and call them seducers, or antichristian, or superstitious, or what their pride and passion shall suggest: or if some weak ones raise up some erroneous opinions, alas! many pastors have no more wit, or grace, or pity, than presently to be rough with them, and revile them again, and seek to right themselves by ways of force, and club down every error and contention; when they should overcome them by evidence of truth, and by meekness, patience, and love. (Though there be place also for severity, with turbulent, implacable, impenitent heretics.)

Direct. XXXIII. Time of learning and overcoming their mistakes, must be allowed to those that are misinformed. We must not turn those of the lower forms out of Christ's school, because they learn not as much as those of the higher forms in a few weeks or years. The Holy Ghost teacheth those who for the time might have been teachers of others, and yet had need to be taught the first principles, Heb. v. 11, 12. He doth not turn them out of the church for their non-proficiency. And where there is ignorance there will be error.

Direct. XXXIV. Some inconveniences must be expected and tolerated, and no perfect order or concord expected here on earth. It is not good reasoning to say, If we suffer these men, they will cause this or that disorder or inconvenience: but you must also consider whither you must drive it, if you suffer them not; and what will be the consequents. He that will follow his conscience to a prison, will likely follow it to death. And if nothing but death, or prison, or banishment can restrain them from what they take to be their duty, it must be considered how many must be so used; and whether (if they were truly faulty) they deserve so much: and if they do, yet whether the evils of the toleration or of the punishment are like to be the greater. Peace and concord will never be perfect, till knowledge and holiness be perfect.

Direct. XXXV. You may go farther in restraining than in constraining; in forbidding men to preach against approved doctrines or practices of the church, than in forcing them to preach for them, or to subscribe or speak their approbation or assent: if they be not points or practices of great necessity, a man may be fit for the ministry and church communion, who meddleth not with them, but preacheth the wholesome truths of the gospel, and lets them alone. And, because no duty is at all times a duty, a sober man's judgment will allow him to be silent at many an error, when he dare not subscribe to or approve the least. But if here any proud and cruel pastors shall come in with their lesser, selfish incommodities, and say, if they do not approve of what we say and do, they will secretly foment a faction against us; I should answer them, that as good men will foment no faction, so if such proud, impatient, turbulent men, will endure none that subscribe not to all their opinions, or differ from them in a circumstance or a ceremony, they shall raise a greater faction (if they will call it so) against themselves, and make the people look on them as tyrants and not as pastors; and they shall see in the end, when they have bought their wit by dear experience, that they have but torn the church in pieces, by preventing divisions by carnal means, and that they have lost themselves, by being over-zealous for themselves; and that doctrine and love are the instruments of a wise shepherd, that loveth the flock, and understands his work.

Direct. XXXVI. Distinguish between the making of new laws or articles of belief, and the punishing of men for the laws already made. And think not that we must have new laws or canons, every time the old ones are broken; or that any law can be made which can keep itself from being broken. Perverseness in this error hath brought the church to the misery which it endureth. God hath made a universal law sufficient for the universal church, in matters of faith and holy practice; leaving it to men to determine of necessary circumstances which were unfit for a universal law: and if the sufficiency of God's law were acknowledged in men's practices, the churches would have had more peace: but when particular countries have their particular volumes of articles, confessions, liturgies, and I know not what else to be subscribed to, and none must preach that will not say, or write, or swear, That he believeth all this to be true and good, and nothing in it to be against the word of God, this engine racks the limbs of the churches all to pieces. And then what is the pretence for this epidemical calamity? Why no better than this, Every heretic will subscribe to the Scriptures, and take it in his own sense. And what followeth? Must we needs therefore have new laws which heretics will not subscribe to, or which they cannot break? It is the commendation of God's law, as fit to be the means of unity, that all are so easily agreed to it in terms, and therefore would agree in the sense if they understood it. But they will not do so by the laws of men: all or many heretics in the primitive times, would profess assent to the church's creed; no doubt in a corrupt and private sense; but the churches therefore did not make new creeds; till about three hundred years after Christ, they began to put in some particular words to obviate heretics, which Hilary complained of as the cause of all their divisions! And what if heretics will subscribe to all you bid them, and take it in their own corrupted sense? Must you therefore be still making new laws and articles, till you meet with some which they cannot misunderstand, or dare not thus abuse? What if men will misinterpret and break the laws of the land? Must they be made new till none can mis-expound or violate them? Sure there is a wiser way than this: God's word containeth in sufficient expressions, all that is necessary to be subscribed to: require none therefore to subscribe to any more (in matters of faith or holy practice); but if you think any articles need a special interpretation, let the church give her sense of those articles; and if any man preach against that sense, and corrupt the word of God which he hath subscribed, let his fault be proved, and let him be admonished and censured as it deserves: censured, I say, not for not subscribing more than Scripture, but for corrupting the Scriptures to which he hath subscribed, or breaking God's laws which he promised to observe.

[800] Direct. XXXVII. The good of men, and not their ruin, must be intended in all the discipline of the church: or the good of the church, when we have but little hope of theirs. If this were done, it would easily be perceived, that persecution is an unlikely means to do good by.

Direct. XXXVIII. Neither unlimited liberty in matters of religion must be allowed, nor unnecessary force and rigour used, but tolerable differences and parties must be tolerated, and intolerable ones by the wisest means suppressed. And to this end, by the counsel of the most prudent, peaceable divines, the tolerable and the intolerable must be statedly distinguished! And those that are only tolerated must be under a law for their toleration, prescribing them their terms of good behaviour; and those that are approved, must moreover have the countenance and maintenance of the magistrate: and if this were done, 1. The advantage of the said encouragement from governors, 2. With the regulation of the toleration, and the magistrates' careful government of the tolerated, would prevent both persecution, and most of the divisions and calamities of the church. Thus did the ancient christian emperors and bishops: (and was their experience nothing?) The Novatians (as good and orthodox men) were allowed their own churches and bishops even in Constantinople, at the emperor's nose. Especially if it be made the work of some justices, 1. To judge of persons to be tolerated, and grant them patents, 2. And to overrule them and punish them when they deserve it: no other way would avoid so many inconveniences.

Direct. XXXIX. The things intolerable are these two: 1. (Not the believing, but) the preaching and propagating of principles contrary to the essentials of godliness or christianity, or government, justice, charity, or peace. 2. The turbulent, unpeaceable management of those opinions which in themselves are tolerable. If any would preach against the articles of the creed, the petitions of the Lord's prayer, or any of the ten commandments, he is not to be suffered; and if any that are orthodox do in their separated meetings, make it their business to revile at others, and destroy men's charity, or to stir men up to rebellion or sedition, or contempt of magistracy; none of this should be endured.

As for those libertines that under the name of liberty of conscience do plead for a liberty of such vicious practices, and in order thereto would prove that the magistrate hath nothing to do in matters of religion, I have preached and wrote so much against them, whilst that error reigned, and I find it so unseasonable now the constitution of things looks another way, that I will not weary myself and the reader with so unnecessary a task as to confute them. Only I shall say, that Rom. xiii. telleth us that rulers are a terror to them that do evil; and that heretics and turbulent firebrands do evil; therefore rulers should be a terror to them; and that if all things are to be done to the glory of God, and his interest is to be set highest in the world, then magistrates and government are for the same end; and if no action which we do, is of so base a nature, as ultimately to be terminated in the concernments of the flesh, much less is government so vile a thing, when rulers are in Scripture called gods, as being the officers of God.

Direct. XL. Remember death, and live together as men that are near dying, and must live together in another world. The foolish expectation of prosperity and long life, is it which setteth men together by the ears. When Ridley and Hooper were both in prison, and preparing for the flames, their contentions were soon ended, and Ridley repented of his persecuting way. If the persecutors and persecuted were shut up together in one house that hath the plague, in the time of this lamentable contagion, it is two to one but they would be reconciled. When men see that they are going into another world, it takes off the edge of their bitterness and violence; and the apprehensions of the righteous judgment of God, doth awe them into a patience and forbearance with each other. Can you persecute that man on earth, with whom you look to dwell in heaven? (But to restrain a man from damning souls, by heresy or turbulency, or any such course, my conscience would not forbid it me if I were dying.)

Direct. XLI. Let the proud themselves, who will regard no higher motives, remember how fame and history will represent them to posterity when they are dead. There is no man that desireth his name should stink and be odious to future generations: there is nothing that an ambitious man desireth more, than a great surviving name. And will you knowingly and wilfully then expose it to perpetual contempt and hatred? Read over what history you please, and find out the name of one persecutor if you can, that is not now a word of ignominy, and doth not rot, as God hath threatened! If you say, that it is only in the esteem of such as I, or the persecuted party; neither your opinion shall be judge nor mine; but the opinion and language of historians, and of the wisest men, who are the masters of fame. Certainly that report of holy Scripture and history which hath prevailed, will still prevail; and while there are wise, and good, and merciful men in the world, the names and manners of the foolish, and wicked, and cruel will be odious, as they continue at this day.

I have wrote these directions to discharge my duty, for those that are willing to escape the guilt of so desperate a sin; but not with any expectation at all, that it should do much good with any considerable number of persecutors; for they will not read such things as these; and God seldom giveth professed christians over to this sin, till they have very grievously blinded their minds, and hardened their hearts, and by malignity and obstinacy are prepared for his sorest judgments; and I know that whoever will live godly in Christ Jesus (it is not said, "who professeth to believe in Christ Jesus," but, "to live godly") shall suffer persecution, and that the cross must still be the passage to the crown.[134]

[125]   Dæmones ex hominibus fieri quidam opinati sunt, perpetua criminum licentia, &c. Quod ut forte tolerabiliter dictum sit, malarum voluntatem similitudo efficit, qua homo malus atque in malis obstinatus pene dæmonem æquat. Petrarch. de Injusto Domin.

[126]   1 Kings xxii. 8, 27; xiii. 2, 4.

[127]   2 Chron. xvi. 10.

[128]   John xix. 12.

[129]   Matt. ii. 16-18; xiv. 6-9; Mark vi. 19, 21, 22; Acts i. 2-4.

[130]   See my "Treatise of a True Catholic, and Catholic Church."

[131]   See Vincent. Lirinens.

[132]   Rom. viii. 7, 8; Gen. iii. 15.

[133]   Exod. xix. 5; 1 Pet. ii. 9; Tit. ii. 14; 2 Cor. vi. 16-18; Mal. iii. 17, 18; Eph. iii. 17; 1 Cor. iii. 16; 2 Tim. i. 14; 1 John iv. 15, 16.

[134]   2 Tim. iii. 11, 12; Matt. v. 11, 12; Luke xiv. 26, 33.



Scandal being a murdering of souls, is a violation of the general law of charity, and of the sixth commandment in particular. In handling this subject, I shall, 1. Show you what is true scandal given to another. 2. What things go under the name of scandal, which are not it, but are falsely so named. 3. What are the particular ways and sorts of scandal. 4. The greatness of this sin. 5. Directions to avoid it.

Scandal what it is.

I. I shall not need to stand upon the etymology of the word scandal; whether it come from σκάζω, claudico, as Erasmus thought, or from σκάμβον, curvum, &c. Martinius, Stephanus, Lyserus, &c. have sufficiently done it, [801] whither I refer you. As for the sense of the word, it is past doubt, that the ordinary use of it in Scripture is for a stumblingblock for a man to fall upon, or a trap to insnare a man; and in the Old Testament it is often used for a stumbling-stone, on which a man may fall into any corporal calamity, or a snare to hurt or ruin a man in the world; (as Exod. x. 7; 1 Sam. xviii. 21; xxv. 31; Psal. cxix. 165; Ezek. vii. 19, Sept.) But in the New Testament, (which speaketh more of spiritual hurts,) it is taken for a stumblingblock or temptation, by which a man is in danger of falling into sin, or spiritual loss, or ruin, or dislike of godliness, or any way to be turned from God, or hindered in a religious, holy way; (and if sometimes it be taken for grieving or troubling, it is as it hereby thus hindereth or insnareth;) so that to scandalize, is sometimes taken for the doing of a blameless action, from which another unjustly taketh occasion to fall, or sin, or be perverted: but when it signifieth a sin, (as we take it in this place,) then to scandalize is, by something unlawful of itself, or at least unnecessary, which may occasion the spiritual hurt or ruin of another. 1. The matter is either something that is simply sinful, (and then it is a double sin,) or something indifferent or unnecessary, and then it is simply the sin of scandal. 2. It must be that which may occasion another's fall, I say, occasion; for no man can forcibly cause another man to sin, but only occasion it, or tempt him to it, as a moral cause.

What is not scandal, that is by many so called.

II. By this you may see, 1. That to scandalize, is not merely to displease or grieve another; for many a man is displeased, through his folly and vice, by that which tendeth to his good; and many a man is tempted (that is, scandalized) by that which pleaseth him; when Christ saith, "If thy right eye or hand offend (or scandalize) thee, pluck it out, or cut it off," &c. Matt. v. he doth not, by offending, mean displeasing, or grieving; for by so offending it may profit us; but he plainly meaneth, If it draw thee to sin; or else he had never added, "That it is better to enter maimed into life, than having two eyes or hands to be cast into hell!" That is, in a word, Thy damnation is a greater hurt than the loss of hand or eye, and therefore if there were no other way to avoid it, this would be a very cheap way. So pedem offendere in lapidem, is to stumble upon a stone. The most censorious and humorous sort of men, have got a notion, that whatever offendeth or displeaseth them is scandalous! And they think that no man must do any thing which grieveth or displeaseth them, lest he be guilty of scandal; and by this trick whoever can purchase impatience and peevishness enough, to be always displeased with the actions of others, shall rule the world. But the truth is, the ordinary way of scandalizing these men is by pleasing them.

I will give you one instance of scandal in Scripture, which may help this sort of people better to understand it, Gal. ii. 10-16. Peter there giveth true scandal to the Jews and gentiles; he walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, but laid a stumblingblock before the Jews and gentiles; and this was not by displeasing the Jews, but by pleasing them. The Jews thought it a sin to eat with the gentiles, and to have communion with uncircumcised men. Peter knew the contrary, but for fear of them of the circumcision, lest they should be offended at him as a sinner, he "withdrew and separated himself." This scandal tended to harden the Jews in their sinful separation, and to seduce the gentiles into a conceit of the necessity of circumcision; and Barnabas was carried away with the dissimulation. Here you may see, that if any think it a sin in us to have communion in such or such congregations, with such persons, in such worship, which God alloweth us not to separate from, it is a sin of scandal in us to separate to avoid these men's offence. We scandalize them and others, even by pleasing them, and by avoiding that which they falsely called scandalous. And if we would not scandalize them, we must do that which is just, and not by our practice hide the sound doctrine, which is contrary to their separating error.

2. And it is as apparent that to scandalize another, is not (as is vulgarly imagined by the ignorant) to do that which is commonly reputed sinful, or which hath the appearance of a sin, or which will make a man evil thought of or spoken of by others; yet commonly when men say, This is a scandalous action, they mean, it is an action which is reproachful or of evil report as a sin. And therefore in our English speech it is common to say of one that slandereth another, that he raised a scandal of him. But this is not the meaning of the word in Scripture: materially indeed scandal may consist in any such thing which may be a stumblingblock to another; but formally it is the tempting of another, or occasioning his fall, or ruin, or hurt, which is the nature of scandalizing. And this is done more seldom by committing open, disgraceful sins, and doing that which will make the doer evil spoken of; for by that means others are the more assisted against the temptation of imitating him; but scandal is most commonly found in those actions, which are under least reproach among men, or which have the most plausible appearance of good in them, when they are evil! For these are apter to deceive and overthrow another.

3. And it is also apparent, that it is no sinful scandalizing to do a duty or necessary action, which I have not power to forbear, though I know that another will be offended, or fall by it into sin. If God have made it my duty, even at this time, I must not disobey him, and omit my duty, because another will make it an occasion of his sin. It must be either a sinful or an indifferent action that is scandal, or something that is in my power to do or to forbear; yet this must be added, that affirmatives binding not ad semper, to all times, and no duty being a duty at every moment, it may oft fall out, that that which else would have been my duty at this time, may become at this time no duty but a sin, by the evil consequents which I may foresee, as if another man will make it an occasion of his fall. So that this may oblige me to defer a duty to a fitter time and place. For all such duties as have the nature of a means, are never duties when they cross the interest of their chief ends, and make against that which they are used to effect. And therefore here christian prudence, foreseeing consequents, and weighing the good and evil together, is necessary to him that will know a duty from a sin, and a scandal from no scandal.

The sorts of scandalizing.

III. The several ways of scandalizing are these following: 1. Scandal is either intended or not intended, either that which is done maliciously of set purpose, or that which is done through negligence, carelessness, or contempt. Some men do purposely contrive the fall or ruin of another; and this is a devilish aggravation of the sin: and some do hurt to others while they intend it not; yet this is far from excusing them from sin; for it is voluntary as an omission of the will, though not as its positive choice: that is called voluntary which the will is chargeable with, or culpable of; and it is chargeable with its [802] omissions, and sluggish neglects of the duty which it should do. Those that are careless of the consequent of their actions, and contemn the souls of other men, and will go their own way, come of it what will, and say, Let other men look to themselves, are the commonest sort of scandalizers; and are as culpable as a servant that would leave hot water or fire when the children are like to fall into it; or that would leave straw or gunpowder near the fire, or would leave open the doors, though not of purpose to let in the thieves.

2. Scandal is that which tendeth to another's fall, either directly or indirectly, immediately or remotely. The former may easily be foreseen; but the latter requireth a large foreseeing, comparing understanding; yet this kind of scandal also must be avoided; and wise men that would not undo men's souls while they think no harm, must look far before them, and foresee what is like to be the consequent of their actions at the greatest distance and at many removes.

3. Scandals also are aptitudinal or actual: many things are apt to tempt and occasion the ruin of another, which yet never attain so bad an end, because God disappointeth them; but that is no thanks to them that give the scandal.

4. Scandal also as to the means of it, is of several sorts. 1. By doctrine. 2. By persuasion. 3. By alluring promises. 4. By threats. 5. By violence. 6. By gifts. 7. By example. 8. By omission of duties, and by silence: by all these ways you may scandalize.

1. False doctrine is directly scandalous; for it seduceth the judgment, which then misguideth the will, which then misruleth the rest of the faculties. False doctrine, if it be in weighty, practical points, is the pernicious plague of souls and nations.

2. Also the solicitations of seducers and of tempting people are scandalous, and tend to the ruin of souls; when people have no reason to draw a man to sin, they weary him out by tedious importunity. And many a one yields to the earnestness, or importunity, or tediousness of a persuasion, who could easily resist it if it came only with pretence of reason.

3. Alluring promises of some gain or pleasure that shall come by sin, is another scandal which doth cause the fall of many. The course that Satan tried with Christ, "All this will I give thee," was but the same which he found most successful with sinners in the world. This is a bait which sinners will themselves hunt after, if it be not offered them. Judas will go to the Pharisees with a "What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you?" Peter saith of the scandalous heretics of his time, "They allure through the lust of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error; while they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption," 2 Pet. ii. 18, 19.

4. Threatenings also and scorns are scandals, which frighten unbelieving souls into sin. Thus Rabshakeh thought to prevail with Hezekiah. Thus Nebuchadnezzar Dan. iii. thought to have drawn those three worthies to idolatry. Thus the Pharisees thought to have frightened the apostles from preaching any more in the name of Christ, Acts iv. 17, 21. Thus Saul thought to have perverted the disciples, by breathing out threatenings against them, Acts ix. 1.

5. And what words will not do, the ungodly think to do by force; and it enrageth them, that any should resist their wills, and that their force is patiently endured. What cruel torments, what various sorts of heavy sufferings, have the devil and his instruments devised, to be stumblingblocks to the weak, to affright them into sin!

6. Gifts also have blinded the eyes of some who seemed wise: "As oppression maketh a wise man mad, so a gift destroyeth the heart," Eccles. vii. 7. What scandals have preferments proved to the world, and how many have they ruined! Few are able to esteem the reproach of Christ to be greater riches than the treasures of the world.

7. And evil examples are the commonest sort of scandals:[135] not as they offend, or grieve, or are apparently sinful; but as they seem good, and therefore are temptations to the weak to imitate them. So apt are men to imitation, especially in evil, that they will do what they see another do, without examining whether it be justifiable or not. Especially if it be the example either of great men, or of learned men, or of men reputed eminently godly, or of a multitude, any of these the people are apt to imitate: this therefore is the common way of scandal. When people do that which is evil as if it were good, and thereby draw the ignorant to think it good, and so imitate them. Or else when they do that which is lawful itself, in such a manner as tendeth to deceive another, and draw him to that which is indeed unlawful; or to hinder him in any thing that is good.

8. Lastly, Even silence and omissions also may be scandalous, and draw another into error and sin. If by silence you seem to consent to false doctrine, or to wicked works, when you have opportunity to control them, hereby you draw others to consent also to the sin: or if you omit those public or private duties, which others may be witnesses of, you tempt them to the like omission, and to think they are no duties, but indifferent things: for in evil they will easily rest in your judgment, and say that you are wiser than they; but they are not so ductile and flexible to good.

5. Scandals also are distinguishable by the effects; which are such as these:

1. Some scandals do tempt men to actual infidelity, and to deny or doubt of the truth of the gospel.

2. Some scandals would draw men but into some particular error, and from some particular truth, while he holds the rest.

3. Some scandals draw men to dislike and distaste the way of godliness; and some to dislike the servants of God.

4. Some scandals tend to confound men, and bring them to utter uncertainties in religion.

5. Some tend to terrify men from the way of godliness.

6. Some only stop them for a time, and discourage or hinder them in their way.

7. Some tend to draw them to some particular sin.

8. And some to draw them from some particular duty.

9. And some tend to break and weaken their spirits, by grief or perplexity of mind.

10. And as the word is taken in the Old Testament, the snares that malicious men lay to entrap others in their lives, or liberties, or estates, or names, are called scandals. And all these ways a man may sinfully scandalize another.

And that you may see that the scandal forbidden in the New Testament, is always of this nature, let us take notice of the particular texts where the word is used. And first, to scandalize is used actively in these following texts: in Matt. v. before cited, and in the other evangelists citing the same words, the sense is clear; that the offending of a hand or eye, is not displeasing, nor seeking of ill report; but hindering our salvation by drawing us to sin. So in Matt. xviii. 8; and Mark ix. 42, 43, where the sense [803] is the same. In Matt. xvii. 27, "Lest we should offend them," &c. is not only, lest we displease them, but lest we give them occasion to dislike religion, or think hardly of the gospel, and so lay a stumblingblock to the danger of their souls. So Matt. xviii. 6, and Mark ix. "Whoso shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me," &c. that is, not who shall displease them, but whoso by threats, persecutions, cruelties, or any other means, shall go about to turn them from the faith of Christ, or stop them in their way to heaven, or hinder them in a holy life: though these two texts seem nearest to the denied sense, yet that is not indeed their meaning. So in John vi. 6, "Doth this offend you?" that is, doth this seem incredible to you, or hard to be believed, or digested? Doth it stop your faith, and make you distaste my doctrine? So 1 Cor. viii. 13, "If meat scandalize my brother;" our translators have turned it, "If meat make my brother to offend." So it was not displeasing him only, but tempting him to sin, which is the scandalizing here reproved.

View also the places where the word scandal is used. Matt. xiii. 41, Πάντα τὰ σκάνδαλα, All scandals, translated, "All things that offend," doth not signify All that is displeasing; but all temptations to sin, and hinderances or stumblingblocks that would have stopped men in the ways to heaven. So in Matt. xvi. 23, (a text as like as any to be near the denied sense; yet indeed,) "Thou art a scandal to me," (translated an offence,) doth not only signify, Thou displeasest me, but, Thou goest about to hinder me in my undertaken office, from suffering for the redemption of the world; it was an aptitudinal scandal, though not effectual. So Matt. xvii. 7, "It must be that scandals come," (translated offences,) that is, that there be many stumblingblocks set before men in their way to heaven. So Luke xvii. 1, to the same sense. And Rom. ix. 33, "I lay in Zion a stumbling-stone, and a rock of scandal," (translated offence,) that is, such as will not only be displeasing, but an occasion of utter ruin to the unbelieving, persecuting Jews; according to that of Simeon, Luke ii. 34, "This child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel." Rom. xi. 9, "Let their table be made a snare, a trap, and a stumblingblock." The Greek word εἰς σκὰνδαλον doth not signify a displeasure only, but an occasion of ruin. So Rom. xiv. 13, expoundeth itself, "That no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall into his brother's way." The Greek word is, or a scandal. This is the just exposition of the word in its ordinary use in the New Testament.[136] So Rom. xvi. 17, "Mark them which cause divisions and scandals," (translated offences,) that is, which lay stumblingblocks in the way of christians, and would trouble them in it, or turn them from it. So 1 Cor. i. 23, "To the Jews a stumblingblock," that is, a scandal, (as the Greek word is,) as before expounded. So Gal. v. 11, "The scandal of the cross," translated the offence, doth signify not the bare reproach, but the reproach as it is the trial and stumblingblock of the world, that maketh believing difficult. So 1 John ii. 10, "There is no scandal in him," translated, no occasion of stumbling. These are all the places that I remember where the word is used.

The passive verb σκανδαλιζομαι, to be scandalized, is often used. As Matt. xi. 6, "Blessed is he that is not scandalized," (translated, offended in me,)[137] that is, who is not distasted with my person and doctrine through carnal prejudices; and so kept in unbelief: there were many things in the person, life, and doctrine of Christ, which were unsuitable to carnal reason and expectation. These men thought them to be hard and strange, and could not digest them, and so were hindered by them from believing: and this was being offended in Christ. So in Matt. xiii. 57, and Mark vi. 3, "They were offended in, or at him;" that is, took a dislike or distaste to him for his words. And Matt. xiii. 21, "When persecution ariseth, by and by they are offended;"[138] that is, they stumble and fall away: and Matt. xv. 12, "The Pharisees were offended," (or scandalized,[139]) that is, so offended as to be more in dislike of Christ. And Matt. xxiv. 10, "Then shall many be offended," (or scandalized,) that is, shall draw back and fall away from Christ. And Matt. xxvi. 31, 33; Mark xiv. 27, 29, "All ye shall be offended because of me," &c. "Though all men shall be offended (or scandalized) yet will I never be scandalized;" that is, brought to doubt of Christ, or to forsake him, or deny him, or be hindered from owning their relation to him. So John xvi. 1, "These things have I spoken that ye should not be offended;" that is, that when the time cometh, the unexpected trouble may not so surprise you, as to turn you from the faith, or stagger you in your obedience or hope. Rom. xiv. 21, doth exactly expound it; "It is good neither to eat flesh, or drink wine, or any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is scandalized, (or offended,) or made weak:" it is a making weak. So 2 Cor. xi. 29, "Who is offended;" that is, stumbled, or hindered, or ready to apostatize. So much for the nature and sorts of scandal.

IV. You are next to observe the aggravations of this sin. Which briefly are such as these:

1. Scandal is a murdering of souls; it is a hindering of men's salvation, and an enticing or driving them towards hell. And therefore in some respect worse than murder, as the soul is better than the body.

2. Scandal is a fighting against Jesus Christ, in his work of man's salvation. "He came to seek and to save that which was lost;" and the scandalizer seeketh to lose and destroy that which Christ would seek and save.

3. Scandal robbeth God of the hearts and service of his creatures; for it is a raising in them a distaste of his people, and word, and ways, and of himself: and a turning from him the hearts of those that should adhere unto him.

4. Scandal is a serving of the devil, in his proper work of enmity to Christ, and perdition of souls; scandalizers do his work in the world, and propagate his cause and kingdom.

V. The means of avoiding the guilt of scandal, are as followeth.

Direct. I. Mistake not (with the vulgar) the nature of scandal, as if it lay in that offending men, which is nothing but grieving or displeasing them; or in making yourselves to be of evil report; but remember that scandal is that offending men, which tempteth them into sin from God and godliness, and maketh them stumble and fall, or occasioneth them to think evil of a holy life. It is a pitiful thing to hear religious persons plead for the sin of man-pleasing, under the name of avoiding scandal; yea, to hear them set up a usurped dominion over the lives of other men, and all by the advantage of the word scandal misunderstood. So that all men must avoid whatever a censorious person will call scandalous, when he meaneth nothing else himself by scandal, than a thing that is of evil report, with such as he. Yea, pride itself is often pleaded for by this [804] misunderstanding of scandal; and men are taught to overvalue their reputations, and to strain their consciences to keep up their esteem, and all under pretence of avoiding scandal; and in the mean time they are really scandalous, even in that action by which they think they are avoiding it. I need no other instance, than the case of unwarrantable separation. Some will hold communion with none but the rebaptized; some think an imposed liturgy is enough to prove communion with such a church unlawful (at least in the use of it); and almost every sect do make their differences a reason for their separating from other churches. And if any one would hold communion with those that they separate from, they presently say, That it is scandalous to do so, and to join in any worship which they think unlawful: and by scandal they mean no more, but that it is among them of evil report, and is offensive or displeasing to them. Whereas indeed the argument from scandal should move men to use such communion, which erroneous, uncharitable, dividing men do hold unlawful. For else by avoiding that communion I shall lay a stumblingblock in the way of the weak; I shall tempt him to think that a duty is a sin, and weaken his charity, and draw him into a sinful separation, or the neglect of some ordinances of God, or opportunities of getting good. And it is this temptation which is indeed the scandal. This is before proved in the instance of Peter, Gal. ii. who scandalized or hardened the Jews, by yielding to a sinful separation from the gentiles, and fearing the censoriousness of the Jews, whom he sought to please; and the offending of whom he was avoiding, when he really offended them, that is, was a scandal, or temptation to them.

Direct. II. He that will escape the guilt of scandal, must be no contemner of the souls of others, but must be truly charitable, and have a tender love to souls. That which a man highly valueth, and dearly loveth, he will be careful to preserve, and loth to hurt. Such a man will easily part with his own rights, or submit to losses, injuries, or disgrace, to preserve his neighbour's soul from sin. Whereas a despiser of souls will insist upon his own power, and right, and honour, and will entrap and damn a hundred souls, rather than he will abate a word, or a ceremony, which he thinks his interest requireth him to exact. Tell him that it will insnare men's souls in sin, and he is ready to say as the Pharisees to Judas, "What is that to us? See thou to that." A dog hath as much pity on a hare, or a hawk on a partridge, as a carnal, worldly, ambitious Diotrephes, or an Elymas, hath of souls. Tell him that it will occasion men to sin, to wound their consciences, to offend their God, it moveth him no more than to tell him of the smallest incommodity to himself: he will do more to save a horse or a dog of his own, than to save another's soul from sin. To lay snares in their way, or to deprive them of the preaching of the gospel, or other means of their salvation, is a thing which they may be induced to, by the smallest interest of their own; yea, though it be but a point of seeming honour. And therefore when carnal, worldly men do become the disposers of matters of religion, it is easy to see what measure and usage men must expect; yea, though they assume the office and name of pastors, who should have the most tender, fatherly care of the souls of all the flocks, yet will their carnal inclinations and interests engage them in the work of wolves, to entrap, or famish, or destroy Christ's sheep.

Direct. III. Also you must be persons who value your own souls, and are diligently exercised in saving them from temptations; or else you are very like to be scandalizers and tempters of the souls of others. And therefore when such a man is made a church governor as is unacquainted with the renewing work of grace, and with the inward government of Christ in the soul, what devilish work is he like to make among the sheep of Christ, under the name of government! What corrupting of the doctrine, worship, or discipline of Christ! What inventions of his own to insnare men's consciences! and driving them on, by armed force, to do that which, at least to them, is sin, and which can never countervail the loss, either of their souls, or of the church, by such disturbances! How merciless will he be, when a poor member of Christ shall beg of him but to have pity on his soul! and tell him, I cannot do this, or swear this, or subscribe this, without the guilt of a deliberate sin; and I cannot sin without displeasing God, and hindering my salvation. He that dare wilfully sin himself, and make it his deliberate choice, and dare play away his own salvation, at the poorest game that the devil will invite him to, and will sell his own soul at the basest price, even for a little pelf, or pleasure, or high titles, for so short a time, certainly this man is unlike to be very tender of the souls of others, or to stick at scandalizing and insnaring them, or to care any more to murder souls, than a butcher doth to kill a hog: Judas's heart will make them sell their Lord, or his flock, at Judas's price; and prepare themselves for Judas's reward. And hence it is, that the carnal seed, even within the church, hath ordinarily persecuted the spiritual seed. For saith Paul, "As he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now," Gal. iv. 29.

Direct. IV. To be well acquainted with the methods of Satan, and the way of particular temptations, is a great help against your scandalizing others. He that seeth the devil as the principal in each temptation, and knoweth in what manner he engageth his instruments to carry on his work, and whither all this tendeth at the last, will scarce be willing to serve such a master in so bad a work. Remember that scandalizers and tempters of others, and hinderers of men's salvation, are the servants of the devil, and are executing his malice, for the damnation of their brethren's souls. And what reward can they expect for such a work from such a master? The devil useth them but as men do ferrets, whose mouths are sealed, because they must not partake of the prey; but only bring it to their master's hand. Live in a constant watchful resistance of temptations yourselves, and you will have no mind to the drudgery of tempting others.

Direct. V. Set not yourselves upon any worldly, ambitious design. For the love of the riches and honours of the world, will not only engage you in a course of sinning, but also make it seem your interest, to make others as bad and miserable as yourselves, and to drive them on to serve your interests by their sin.

Direct. VI. Take heed lest a fleshly inclination do draw you to the love of fleshly pleasures. And that your minds be not set upon the pleasing of your fancies, sense, or appetite; either in meat, or drink, or clothes, or dwellings, or recreations, or any such delights: if once the love of these grow strong, it will conquer your reason, and seduce it into libertinism, and make you think that a voluptuous, flesh-pleasing life, (so it be not by gross disgraced sins,) is but the lawful use of the creature, which Christ hath purchased not only for our necessity, but for our delight; and that the contrary opinion is but the too much rigour of such as understand not their christian liberty.

[805] Direct. VII. Be not rashly and ignorantly zealous in soliciting and importuning others to your private opinions, before you are certain that they are of God. Oh what abundance of zeal and labour hath many a man laid out, to make others of his mind, in the points of antinomianism, anabaptism, separation, popery, &c. thinking that the saving of their souls had lain upon it; and at last they find, that as they erred themselves, so all their labour was but to scandalize the weak, and lay a stumblingblock in their way to heaven!

Direct. VIII. Never persuade any man (much less compel him) to any thing unnecessary, which he taketh to be a sin (whatever you take it for yourselves). For if he judge it a sin, it is a sin to him. No man can innocently do that which he thinketh is forbidden him of God. And shall a thing unnecessary be preferred before the saving of a soul? yea, before the souls of thousands, as by many merciless men it is? Indeed, if there be an antecedent necessity, (as well as a lawfulness in the thing,) and such a necessity as is not in your power to take away, then the doing it will be his sin, and the not doing it his greater sin; and the greater sin is greatliest to be avoided (but by convenient means).

Direct. IX. Remember the charge which you have of the souls of one another. Though you be not magistrates or pastors; (for their care of souls is so unquestionable and so great, that scandal in them is like parents murdering their own children;) yet no private man must say as Cain, "Am I my brother's keeper?" Every man is bound to do his best for the saving of his neighbour; much more to forbear infecting, seducing, scandalizing, and destroying him.

Direct. X. Keep up a special tenderness of the weak. So doth God himself, and so must we. "He gathereth the lambs with his arms," &c. Isa. xl. 11. If his infants cry he doth not therefore knock out their brains, or turn them out of doors. Nor doth he say, they are not his children, for every ignorance or peevish passion which they are guilty of. Christ doth not turn men out of his school, because they want knowledge. For why then will he have little children come? And what do they come for, but to learn? He doth not hate his new-born babes, but feedeth and nurseth them with a special tenderness; and he hath commanded and communicated the like tenderness to his ministers; who must not be weak with the weak, and froward with the froward, but in meekness and patience must bear with the weak, and endure their bitterest censures and requitals. "For the servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle to all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves," &c. 2 Tim. ii. 24, 25. And if they are long learning before they come to the knowledge of the truth, they are not therefore to be cast off. He that can read Rom. xiv. and xv.; 1 Cor. xii. 12; viii.; Gal. vi.; and yet can be so merciless and cruel, as to cast men out of the ministry or church, or to ruin them, for tolerable weakness, which God hath so earnestly charged us to bear with in our brethren, either he doth not understand what he readeth, or not believe it, or hath somewhat else which he more regardeth at his heart, than the authority or love of God.

Direct. XI. Do not censure every man to be wilful or obstinate, who is not of your opinion, when he hath heard your reasons, how clear soever they may seem to you. Alas! how many things are there besides wilful obstinacy, to hinder one man from being as wise as another! If a few times repeating over the reasons of an opinion, is enough to implant it in all the hearers, why do your children go so long to school, and after that to the universities? And why are you so long preaching to all your parishioners? Sure you preach not novelties to them as long as you live! And yet thirty or forty years' painful preaching, even of the same fundamentals of religion, shall leave many ignorant of them in the best of parishes in the land. There must be a right and ripe disposition in the hearers, or else the clearest reasoning may be uneffectual. A disused or unfurnished mind, that hath not received all the truths which are presupposed to those which you deliver, or hath not digested them into a clear understanding, may long hear the truest reasons, and never apprehend their weight. There is need of more ado than a bare unfolding of the truth, to make a man receive it in its proper evidence. Perhaps he hath been long prepossessed with contrary opinions, which are not easily rooted out. Or if he be but confident of the truth of some one opinion, which is inconsistent with yours, no wonder if he cannot receive that which is contrary to what he so verily believeth to be the truth. There is a marvellous variety of men's apprehensions, of the same opinions or reasons, as they are variously represented to men, and variously pondered, and as the natural capacity of men is various, and as the whole course of their lives, their education, company, and conversation, have variously formed their minds. It is like the setting together all the parts of a watch when it is in pieces; if any one part of many be misplaced, it may necessitate the misplacing of those that follow, without any wilful obstinacy in him that doth it. If in the whole frame of sacred truth, there be but some one misunderstood, it may bring in other mistakes, and keep out many truths, even from an honest, willing mind. And who is there that can say, he is free from error? Have not you perceived in yourselves, that the truths which you heard a hundred times over, to little purpose, when you were children, were received more convincingly and satisfyingly when you were men? And that you have found a delightful clearness in some points on a sudden, which before you either resisted, or held with little observation or regard? And yet it is common with the scandalizers of souls, to cry out against all that conform not to their opinions and will, as soon as they have heard their reasons, that they are stubborn, and refractory, and wilful, and factious, and so turn from arguments to clubs; as if they had never known themselves or others, nor how weak and dark the understandings of almost all men are. But they shall have judgment without mercy, who show no mercy. And when their own errors shall all be opened to them by the Lord, they will be loth they should all be imputed to their wilful obstinacy. And perhaps these very censorious men, may prove themselves to have been on the wrong side; for pride and uncharitableness are usually erroneous.

Direct. XII. Engage not yourselves in an evil cause. For if you do, it will engage you to draw in others; you will expect your friends should take your part, and think as you think, and say as you say; though it be never so much against truth or righteousness.

Direct. XIII. Speak not rashly against any cause or persons before you are acquainted with them; or have well considered what you say. Especially take heed how you believe what a man of any sect in religion doth speak or write against his adversaries of a contrary sect. If experience had not proved it in our days, beyond contradiction, it would seem incredible how little men are to be believed in this case,[140] and how the false reports will run among the [806] people of the sect, against those whom the interest of their opinion and party engageth them to misrepresent![141] Think not that you are excusable for receiving or venting an ill report, because you can say, He was an honest man that spoke it; for many that are otherwise honest, do make it a part of their honesty to be dishonest in this. They think they are not zealous enough for those opinions which they call their religion, unless they are easy in believing and speaking evil of those that are the adversaries of it. When it may be upon a just trial, all proveth false; and then all the words which you ignorantly utter against the truth, or those that follow it, are scandals or stumblingblocks to the hearers, to turn them from it, and make them hate it.[142] I am not speaking against a just credulity; there must be human belief, or else there can be no human converse; but ever suspect partiality in a party. For the interest of their religion is a more powerful charm to the consciences of evil speakers, than personal interest or bribes would be. How many legends tell us this, how easily some men counted godly, have been prevailed with to lie for God!

Direct. XIV. Take heed of mocking at a religious life; yea, or of breaking any jests or scorns at the weaknesses of any in religious exercises, which may possibly reflect upon the exercises themselves. Many a thousand souls have been kept from a holy life, by the scorns of the vulgar, that speak of it as a matter of derision or sport. Reading the Scriptures, and holy conference, and prayer, and instructing our families, and the holy observation of the Lord's day, and church discipline, are commonly the derision of ungodly persons, who can scorn that which they can neither confute nor learn; and weak people are greatly moved by such senseless means. A mock or jeer doth more with them than an argument; they cannot endure to be made a laughing-stock. Thus was the name of the crucified God the derision of the heathens, and the scandal of the world, both Jews and gentiles. And there is scarce a greater scandal or stumblingblock at this day, which keepeth multitudes from heaven, than when the devil can make it either a matter of danger or of shame to be a christian, or to live a holy, mortified life. Persecution and derision are the great successful scandals of the world. And therefore seeing men are so apt to be turned off from Christ and godliness, never speak unreverently or disrespectfully of them. It is a profane and scandalous course of some, that if a preacher have but an unhandsome tone or gesture they make a jest of it, and say, He whined, or he spoke through the nose, or some such scorn they cast upon him; which the hearers quickly apply to all others, and turn to a scorn of preaching, or prayer, or religion itself: or if men differ from each other in opinion in matters of religion, they are presently inclined to deride them for something in their worshipping of God! And while they deride a man as an anabaptist, as an independent, as a presbyterian, as prelatical, they little know what a malignant tincture it may leave upon the hearer's mind, and teach carnal persons to make a jest of all alike.

Direct. XV. Impute not the faults of men to Christ, and blame not religion for the faults of them that sin against it. This is the malignant trick of Satan, and his blinded instruments: if a hypocrite miscarry, or if a man that in all things else hath walked uprightly, be overthrown by a temptation in some odious sin, they presently cry out, These are your professors! your religious people! that are so precise, and pure, and strict! Try them, and they will appear as bad as others! If a Noah be once drunk, or a Lot be overthrown thereby, or a David commit adultery and murder, or a Peter deny his master, or a Judas betray him, they presently cry out, They are all alike! and turn it to the scorn of godliness itself. Unworthy beasts! As if Christ's laws were therefore to be scorned, because men break them! and obedience to God were bad, because some are disobedient! Hath Christ forbidden the sins which you blame, or hath he not? If he have not, blame them not, for they are no sins; if he have, commend the justness and holiness of his laws. Either the offenders you blame, did well or ill. If they did well, why do you blame them? If they did ill, why do you not commend religion, and the Scripture which condemneth them? Either it is best for all men to live in such sins as those which these lapsed persons or hypocrites committed, or it is not. If it be, why are you offended with them for that which you allow? If it be not, why do you soothe up the wicked in their sins, and excuse an ungodly life, because of the falls of such as seem religious? There is no common ingenuity in this, but malicious spite against God and holiness (of which more in the next chapter).

Direct. XVI. Make not use of civil quarrels to lay an odium upon religion. It is ordinary with ungodly, malicious men, to labour to turn the displeasure of rulers against men of integrity; and if there be any broils or civil wars, to snatch any pretence, how false soever, to call them traitors and enemies to government. If it be but because they are against a usurper, or because some fanatic persons (whom they oppose) have behaved themselves rebelliously or disobediently; a holy life (which is the greatest friend to loyalty) must be blamed for all. And all is but to gratify the devil in driving poor souls from God and holiness.

Direct. XVII. When you think it your duty to speak of the faults of men that profess a godly life, lay the blame only on the person, but speak as much and more in commendations of godliness itself; and commend that which is good in them, while you discommend that which is evil. Is their praying bad? Is their instructing their families, and sanctifying the Lord's day, bad? Is their fearing sin, and obeying God, bad? If not, why do you not say as much to commend them for these, or at least to commend these in themselves, as you do to discommend them for their faults? Why do you not fear lest the hearers should be drawn to dislike a godly life by your disgracing persons accounted godly? and therefore warn them to think never the worse of godliness for this? You that give the poison, should in reason give an antidote, if it be not your design to poison souls. Is it really your design by speaking against men accounted godly, to draw the hearers to the hatred of godliness, or is it not? If it be, you are incarnate devils: if it be not, why do you endeavour it, by making odious the persons, under the name of professors and godly men? And why do you not speak more to draw people to a godly life? and to imitate them in that which is good, while they disclaim them in that which is evil?

Direct. XVIII. Be especially tender of the reputations of those, that the souls of men have most dependence on: as the preachers of the gospel, and the eminentest men for knowledge and religiousness.[143] Not that I desire that sin should be the better thought of for being theirs, or that evil should [807] be called good in any; but experience hath told the world since God and the devil had their several ways and servants upon earth, that it hath been the devil's most usual successful course, to wound religion through the sides of the religious, and to blame the persons, when he would turn men from the way! For he knoweth that religious persons have their faults, and in them his malice may find somewhat to fasten on; but religion hath no fault, and malice itself is seldom so impudent, as to speak directly against a holy, heavenly life. But the way is to make those disgraceful and odious, who are noted to lead such a life; and then secretly to infer, If those that seem godly be no better, you need not be godly, you are as well as you are. This religion is but a fantasy; a needless, if not a troublesome, hurtful thing. Seeing therefore that the devil hath no blow at religion, so fair as by striking at the persons of the preachers and professors of it, every friend of Christ must be acquainted with his design, and must not serve him in it, but counter-work him, and preserve the reputation even of the persons of the religious: not so much in charity to them, but for the people's souls, and the honour of Christ.

Direct. XIX. Let all that preach and profess the gospel, and a godly life, be sure that they live according to their profession; that the name of God be not evil spoken of among the wicked through their misdoings, Rom. ii. It was the aggravation of David's sin which God would not quite forgive, that he made the enemies of the Lord blaspheme, 2 Sam. xii. 14. "Servants must count their masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed," 1 Tim. vi. 1. The duties of good women are particularly named by the apostle, Tit. ii. 3-5, with this motive to the practice of them, "That the word of God be not blasphemed." Obedience to government is commanded with this motive, 1 Pet. ii. 15, "For so is the will of God, that with well-doing you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men." And ver. 11, 12, "Dearly beloved, I beseech you, as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul: having your conversation honest among the gentiles, that whereas they speak against you as evil-doers, they may by your works which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation." And it was the aggravation of the heretics' sin, that "many shall follow their pernicious ways, by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of," 2 Pet. ii. 2. Oh then, how carefully should ministers and all that are godly walk! The blind world cannot read the gospel in itself, but only as it is exemplified by the lives of men: they judge not of the actions of men by the law, but of the law of God by men's actions! Therefore the saving or damning of men's souls, doth lie much upon the lives of the professors of religion; because their liking or disliking a holy life doth depend upon them. Saith Paul of young women, "I will that—they give no occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully; for some are already turned aside after Satan," 1 Tim. v. 14, 15. Hence it is, that even the appearance of evil is so carefully to be avoided, by all that fear God, lest others be drawn by it to speak evil of godliness. Every scandal (truly so called) is a stab to the soul of him that is scandalized, and a reproachful blot to the christian cause. I may say of the faults of christians, as Plutarch doth of the faults of princes, A wart or blemish in the face is more conspicuous and disgraceful than in other parts.

Direct. XX. Let no pretence of the evil of hypocrisy make you so contented with your secret innocency, as to neglect the edification and satisfaction of your neighbours. When it is only your own interest that is concerned in the business, then it is no matter whether any man be acquainted with any good that you do; and it is a very small matter how they judge, or what they say of you; the approbation of God alone is enough. No matter who condemneth you, if he justify you. But when the vindication of your innocency, or the manifestation of your virtue, is necessary to the good of your neighbours' souls, or to the honour of your sacred profession, the neglect of it is not sincerity, but cruelty.

[135]   Heb. xi. 26.

[136]   So Rev. ii. 14. Balaam did βαλλεῖν σκάνδαλον, lay a scandal, or stumblingblock before the Israelites; that is, a temptation to sin.

[137]   Luke vii. 23.

[138]   Mark vi. 3.

[139]   Mark iv. 17.

[140]   Psal. cxix. 69.

[141]   Vix equidem credar. Sed cum sint præmia falsi Nulla; ratam debet testis habere fidem. Ovid.

[142]   Rom. iii. 7, 8; James iii. 14; Job xiii. 7, 8.

[143]   Ita comparatum est ut virtutem non suspiciamus, neque ejus imitandæ studio corripimur nisi eum in quo ea conspicitur, summo honore et amore prosequamur. Plutar. in Cat. Utic.



It was not only an admonition, but a prophecy of Christ, when he said, "Woe to the world because of offences! It must be that offences come." And, "Blessed is he that is not offended or scandalized in me." He foreknew that the errors and misdoings of some, would be the snare and ruin of many others; and that, when "damnable heresies arise, many will follow their pernicious ways, by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of," 2 Pet. i. 2. Like men in the dark, where if one catch a fall, he that comes next him falls upon him.

There are four sorts of persons that use to be scandalized or hurt by the sins of others.

1. Malignant enemies of Christ and godliness, who are partly hardened in their malice, and partly rejoiced at the dishonour of religion, and insult over those that give the offence, or take occasion by it to blaspheme or persecute.

2. Some that are more equal, and hopeful, and in greater possibility of conversion, who are stopped by it in their desires, and purposes, and attempts of a godly life.

3. Unsound professors, or hypocrites, who are turned by scandals from the way of godliness, which they seemed to walk in.

4. Weak christians, who are troubled and hindered in their way of piety, or else drawn into some particular error or sin, though they fall not off.

So that the effects of scandal may be reduced to these two: I. The perverting of men's judgments, to dislike religion, and think hardly either of the doctrine or practice of Christianity. II. The imboldening of men to commit particular sins, or to omit particular duties; or at least the troubling and hindering them in the performance: against which, I shall first give you distinctly some meditative directions, and then some practical directions against them both together.

I. Direct. I. Consider what an evident sign it is of a very blind or malicious soul, to be so apt to pick quarrels with God and godliness, because of the sins of other men.

Love thinketh not ill of those we love: ill will and malice are still ready to impute whatever is amiss to those whom they hate. Enmity is contentious and slanderous; and will make a crime of virtue itself, and from any topic fetch matter of reproach. There is no witness seemeth incredible to it, who speaketh any thing that is evil of those they hate. An argument a baculo ad verbera is sufficient. Thus did the heathens by the primitive christians; [808] and will you do thus by God? Will you terrify your own consciences, when they shall awake, and find such an ugly serpent in your bosom, as malice and enmity against your Maker and Redeemer? It is the nature of the devil, even his principal sin. And will you not only wear his livery, but bear his image, to prove that he is your father? and by community of natures, to prove that you must also have a communion with him in condemnation and punishment? And doth not so visible a mark of devilism upon your souls, affright you, and make you ready to run away from yourselves? Nothing but devilish malice can charge that upon God or godliness, which is done by sinners against his laws. Would you use a friend thus? If a murder were done, or a slander raised of you, or your house were fired, or your goods stolen, would you suspect your friend of it? or any one that you honoured, loved, or thought well of? You would not certainly, but rather your enemy, or some lewd and dissolute persons that were most likely to be guilty. You are blinded by malice, if you see not how evident a proof of your devilish malice this is, to be ready, when men that profess religion do any thing amiss, to think the worse of godliness or religion for it! The cause of this suspicion is lodged in your own hearts.

Direct. II. Remember that this was the first temptation, by which the devil overthrew mankind, to persuade them to think ill of God, as if he had been false to his word, and had envied them their felicity. "Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil," Gen. iii. 4, 5. And will you not be warned by the calamity of all the world, to take heed of thinking ill of God, and of his word, and of believing the devil's reports against him?

Direct. III. Consider that to think ill of God, is to think him to be a devil; and to think ill of godliness, is to take it to be wickedness: and can man be guilty of a more devilish crime? Nay, is it not worse than the devil that tempteth you to it can commit. To be God is to be good, even the infinite, eternal, perfect good, in whom is no evil, nor none can be. To be a devil, is to be evil, even the chief that do evil, and would draw others so to do. It is not an ugly shape in which a painter doth represent the devil, which showeth us his ugliness indeed: an enemy of godliness is liker to him than that picture: it is his sinfulness against God, which is his true deformity. Therefore to suspect God to be evil, is to suspect him to be the devil, so horrid a blasphemy doth this sin partake of. And if godliness be bad, then he that is the author and end of it cannot be good.

Direct. IV. Consider what horrible blindness it is to impute men's faults to God, who is the greatest adversary to sin in all the world, and who will most severely punish it, and to godliness, which is perfectly its contrary. There is no angel in heaven so little to be suspected to be the friend of sin as God. Creatures are mutable in themselves; angels have the innocent imperfection of creatures; saints on earth have a culpable imperfection through the remainder of sin. If you had only suspected these, you might have had some pretence for it; but to quarrel with God or godliness, is madder than to think that light is the cause of darkness.

Direct. V. And think what extremity of injury and injustice this is to God, to blame him or his laws for those sins of men which are committed against him and his laws. Who is it that sin is committed against but God? Is it not he that made the laws, which it is the transgression of? Are not those laws, think you, strict enough against it? Is it not their strictness which such as you dislike? Were they laws that would give you leave to be worldly, sensual, and proud, you would never quarrel with them; and yet you charge men's sins on these laws, because they are so strict against them. Do you impute sin to God, because he will judge men for it to hell-fire, and cast them for ever out of his glorious presence into misery? O cursed impudence! How righteous is God in condemning such malicious souls! Tell us if you can, would you have had God to have forbidden sin more strictly? or condemned it more severely? or punished it more terribly? If you would, you pray for greater vengeance than hell upon yourselves! Woe to you, when he executeth but so much as he hath already threatened! Shall the crime of rebels be imputed to the king, against whom they rebel? If a thief shall rob you, or a servant deceive you, or a son despise you, is he just that will so much increase your injury, as to lay the blame of all upon yourselves? You will say, It is not God that we are offended with. But if it be at a holy life, it is at God; for what is godliness, but the loving, and serving, and obeying God? If you say, that it is not godliness neither; why then do you distaste or speak against a godly life on this occasion? If you say, It is these hypocrites only that we dislike: what do you dislike them for? Is it for their virtue or their vices? If it be for their sins, why then do you not speak and do more against sin, in yourselves and others? We will concur with you to the utmost in opposing sin wherever it be found. If it be their hypocrisy that you blame, persuade yourselves and other men to be sincerely godly. How would you have hypocrisy avoided? By an open profession to serve the devil? or by sincerity in serving God? If the latter, why then do you think evil of the most serious obedience to God? Alas! all christian countries are too full of hypocrites. Every one that is baptized, and professeth Christianity, is a saint or a hypocrite! All drunken, covetous, ambitious, sensual, unclean christians, are hypocrites, and not christians indeed. And these hypocrites can quietly live a worldly, fleshly life, and never lament their own hypocrisy, nor their perfidious violating their baptismal vow. But if one that seemeth diligent for his soul, prove a hypocrite, or fall into any scandalous sin, here they presently make an outcry; not to call the man from his sin, but to make a godly, diligent life seem odious to all, by telling men, These are your godly men. It is godliness that they quarrel with, while they pretend only to find fault with sin. Why else do not you find fault with the same sin equally in all? or, at least, persuade men by such examples to be less sinful, and more watchful, and not to be less religious and more loose? Tell me truly of any one that is more against sin than God, or any thing more contrary to it than godliness and true religion, or any men that do more against it than the most religious, and then I will join with you in preferring those. Till then, remember how you condemn yourselves, when you condemn them that are better than yourselves.

Direct. VI. Think what a foolish, audacious thing it is to set yourselves against your God and Judge. Will you accuse him of evil, because men do evil? Are you fit to judge him? Are guilty worms either wise or just enough for such an attempt, or strong enough to bear it out? What do you but set your faces against heaven, and profess rebellion against God, when you blame his laws and government, and think the obeying and serving him to be evil?

Direct. VII. Consider what cruelty it is to yourselves, to turn the faults of others to your ruin, [809] which should be your warning to avoid the like. If another man sin, will you not only do so too, but be the more averse to repentance and reformation? Will you cut your throat, because another cut his finger, or did so before you? Why should you do yourselves such mischief?

Direct. VIII. Remember that this was the design of the devil in tempting religious people to sin, not only to destroy them, but to undo you and others by their falls. If he can make you think the worse of religion, he hath his design and will; he hath killed many at a blow. Yea, perhaps the sinner may repent, and be forgiven, when you that are driven from repentance and godliness by the scandal, may be damned. And will you so far gratify the devil, in the wilful destruction of yourselves? Sin is contagious; and this is your catching of the infection, if it prevail to drive you further from God. And thus this plague devoureth multitudes.

Direct. IX. He that will think ill of godliness for men's sins, shall never want occasion of such offence, nor such temptations to fly from God. If you are so foolish or malignant, as to pick quarrels with God and godliness for men's faults, (which nothing but God and godliness can reform,) you may set up your standard of defiance against heaven, and see what you will get by it in the end. For God will not remove all occasion of your scandal. There ever have been and will be hypocrites in the church on earth. Noah's ark had a Ham; Abraham's family had an Ishmael, and Isaac's an Esau, and David's an Absalom, and Christ's a Judas. The falls of good men are cited in Scripture, to admonish you to take heed. Noah, Lot, David, Joseph's brethren, &c. have left a mark behind them where they fell, that you may take a safer way. If you will make all such the occasion of your malignity, you turn your medicine into your poison, and choose hell because some others choose it, or because some stumbled in the way to heaven.

And for those who are imboldened in sin, because they see their superiors or religious men commit it, or read that David, Noah, Peter, &c. fell, let them consider,

Direct. I. That it is rule, and not example, that you must chiefly live by. Do the laws of God by which you must be judged, allow of sin? If they do, then fear it not.

Direct. II. Is not the example of Christ much better than a sinner's? If you will follow examples, follow the best, even that which was given you purposely to imitate. The greatest and most learned man is fallible, and the most religious is not wholly free from sin: sincerity writeth after a perfect copy, though it cannot reach it.

Direct. III. Consider that sin is not the better, but the worse, for being committed by a religious, a great, or a learned man. Their place, their knowledge, and profession aggravateth it. And shall that imbolden you which God most hateth?

Direct. IV. And consider that when he that falleth by a surprise, doth rise again by repentance, and is pardoned, those that are hereby imboldened to sin deliberately and impenitently, shall be condemned. You may sin with David or Peter when you will, but you cannot rise with them by true repentance, without that grace which you wilfully resist and forfeit.

Direct. V. Lastly, Consider that the best men, and the greatest, are the most dangerous tempters, when they mislead us. A David was a stronger temptation to Bathsheba, than another man could have been. A Peter might sooner mislead Barnabas, and others, into a sinful dissimulation and separation, than another could have done. Therefore do not think that where your danger is greatest, your venturousness should be most.

Practical Directions against Offence and Hurt by others.

Direct. I. Lay well your foundation, and understand the nature and reasons of religion; and then you will be so far from disliking it for the errors and falls of others, that it will be written upon your minds, as with a beam of the sun, That there can be no reason against obeying God, and against the careful securing of our salvation. This will be the first and undoubted principle, which nothing in the world can make you question. Whatever scandals, persecutions, or sufferings may attend a holy life, you will still be past doubt that there is no other way; no other eligible, no other tolerable, no other rational, or that will lead to happiness. Whatever falls out in the world, if the most great, or learned, or religious fall away, it will not make you question, Whether a man be a living creature, nor whether the sun be light, nor whether two and two be four. No more should it make you question, Whether God be better than the creature, heaven than earth, or a life of holiness than a life of sin. You will say as Peter, "Lord, whither should we go? thou hast the words of eternal life," John vi. 68. Whatever scandals are given, or whatever befall the church, or if all the disciples of Christ forsake him, this remaineth as sure as that the earth is under us, that there is no other way than holiness, for a wise man once to take into his thoughts.

Direct. II. Get once a sincere love to God and a holy life, and then no scandals will make you jealous of it, nor think of looking any other way. It is want of true and hearty love, that maketh you so easily taken off.

Direct. III. To this end, know religion by experience; and this will put you past all doubt of his goodness. He that never tasted sugar, may be persuaded by argument that it is not sweet, or may think it bitter when he seeth another spit it out; and he that knoweth godliness but by looking on, or hearsay, may thus be drawn to think it bad; but so will not he that hath truly tried it: I mean not only to try what it is to hear, and read, and pray; but what it is to be humble, holy, and heavenly, both in heart and life.

Direct. IV. When you see any man sin, be sure you do that duty which it calls you to. Every fall that you see of others doth call you to see the odiousness of sin (as you will do when you see a drunkard spewing, or a thief at the whipping-post). And it calleth you to search for and lament the root of such sin in yourselves, and to set your watch more strictly upon such a warning; and it calls you to compassionate the sinner, and if you have hope and opportunity to endeavour his recovery. If you will conscionably do this duty which is your own, you will be the less in danger of hurt by scandal. It is duty that must help to prevent infection.

Direct. V. Be watchful among all men, high and low, learned or unlearned, good and bad. Venture not blindly upon the singular opinion of any men whatsoever; nor into any new unproved way. Remember that all men are a temptation to others; and therefore be armed and watch against such temptation. Know well what it is, that is the peculiar temptation, which the quality of those that you have to do with, layeth before you. Spend no day or hour in any company, good or bad, without a wise and careful vigilancy.

Direct. VI. Be as little as you can in scandalous [810] and tempting company. Presume not to touch pitch, and promise yourselves to escape defilement. Especially fly from two sorts of scandals. First, The discourses and societies of heretical or schismatical men, who speak perverse things to draw away disciples after them, Acts xx. 30. Those that presume to run into such snares, and think their own understanding and stability are sufficient to preserve them, do show by their pride that they are near a fall, 1 Cor. x. Secondly, The company of sensual persons, at stage-plays, gaming, inordinate plays, and wanton dalliance. For this is to bring your tinder and gunpowder to the fire; and the less you fear it, the greater is your danger.

Direct. VII. Look more at the good that is in others, than at their faults and falls. The fly that will fall on none but the galled, ulcerous place, doth feed accordingly. Is a professor of religion covetous, drunk, or other ways scandalous? Remember that it is his covetousness or drunkenness that is bad. Reprove that, and fly from it, and spare not; but religion is good; let that therefore be commended and imitated. Leave the carrion to dogs and crows to feast upon; but do you choose out the things that are commendable, and mind, and mention, and imitate those.

Direct. VIII. Lastly, Think and speak as much against the sin and danger of taking scandal, as against the sin and danger of giving it. When others cry out, These are your religious people, do you cry out as much against their malignity and madness, who will dislike or reproach religion for men's sins; which is to blame the law-makers or laws, because they are broken; or to fall out with health, because many that once were in health fall sick; or to find fault with eating, because some are lean; or with clothing, because some are cold. Open to yourselves and others, what a wicked and perilous thing this is, to fall out with godliness, because some are ungodly that seem godly. Many cry out against scandal, that never think what a heinous sin it is to be scandalized, or to suffer men's sins to be a scandal to you; and to be the worse, because that others are so bad. No one must differ from them in an opinion, or a fashion of apparel, or in a mode or form of worship, but some are presently scandalized; not knowing that it is a greater sin in them to be scandalized, than in the other by such means (supposing them to be faulty) to give them the occasion. Do you know what it is to be scandalized or offended in the Scripture sense? It is not merely to be displeased, or to dislike another's actions (as is before said); but it is to be drawn into some sin, or hindered from some duty, or stopped in the course of religion, or to think the worse of truth, or duty, or a godly life, because of other men's words or actions: and do you think him a good christian, and a faithful or constant friend to godliness, who is so easily brought to quarrel with it? or is so easily turned from it, or hindered in it? Some peevish, childish persons are like sick stomachs, that no meat can please; you cannot dress it so curiously, but they complain that it is naught, or this aileth it, or that aileth it, when the fault is in themselves; or like children, or sick persons, that can scarce be touched but they are hurt: do you think that this sickliness or curiosity in religion is a credit to you? This is not the tenderness of conscience which God requireth, to be easily hurt by other men's differences or faults. As it is the shame of many ladies and gentlewomen, to be so curious and troublesomely neat, that no servant knoweth how to please them; so is it in religion a sign of your childish folly, and worse, to be guilty of such proud curiosity, that none can please you who are not exactly of your mind and way. All men must follow your humours in gestures, fashions, opinions, formalities, and modes, or else you are troubled, and offended, and scandalized; as if all the world were made to please and humour you! or you were wise enough, and great and good enough, to be the rule of all about you! Desire and spare not, that yourselves and all men should please God as exactly as is possible. But if the want of that exactness in doubtful things, or a difference in things disputable and doubtful among true christians, do thereupon abate or hinder your love or estimation of your brethren, or communion with them, or any other christian duty, or tempt you into censoriousness or contempt of your brethren, or to schism, persecution, or any other sin; it is you that are the great offenders, and you that are like to be the sufferers; and have cause to lament that sinful aptness to be thus scandalized.



The special directions given part iii. chap. xxii. to parents and masters, will in this case be of great use to all others; but because it is here seasonable to speak of it further, under the sixth commandment, and the matter is of the greatest consequence, I shall, 1. Tell you how men are guilty of soul murder. 2. And then give you some general directions for the furthering of men's salvation. 3. And next give you some special directions for christian exhortation and reproofs.

First, Men are guilty of soul murder by all these ways. 1. By preaching false soul-murdering doctrine. Such as denieth any necessary point of faith, or holy living; such as is opposite to a holy life, or to any particular necessary duty; such as maketh sin to be no sin; which calls good evil, and evil good; which putteth darkness for light, and light for darkness.

2. By false application of true doctrine, indirectly reflecting upon and disgracing that holiness of life, which in terms they preach for; by prevarication undermining that cause which their office is appointed to promote; as they do, who purposely so describe any vice, that the hearers may be drawn to think that strict and godly practices are either that sin itself, or but a cloak to hide it.

3. By bringing the persons of the most religious into hatred, by such false applications, reflections, or secret insinuations, or open calumnies; making men believe that they are all but hypocrites, or schismatics, or seditious, or fanatical, self-conceited persons! Which is usually done either by impudent slanders raised against some particular men, and so reflected on the rest; or by the advantage of factions, controversies, or civil wars; or by the falls of any professors, or the crimes of hypocrites; whereupon they would make the world believe that they are all alike; as if Christ's family were to be judged of by Peter's fall or Judas's falsehood. And the odious representation of godly men doth greatly prevail to keep others from godliness, and is one of the devil's most successful means, for the damnation of multitudes of souls.

4. The disgrace of the persons of the preachers of the gospel, doth greatly further men's damnation. For when the people think their teachers to be hypocrites, [811] covetous, proud, and secretly as bad as others, they are very like to think accordingly of their doctrine, and that all strict religion is but hypocrisy, or at least to refuse their help and counsels. Even Plutarch noted, that "It so comes to pass that we entertain not virtue, nor are rapt into a desire of imitating it, unless we highly honour and love the person in whom it is discerned." And if they see or think the preacher himself to be of a loose, and careless, and licentious life, they will think that the like is very excusable in themselves; and that his doctrine is but a form of speech, which his office bindeth him to say; but is no more to be regarded by them than by himself.

Two ways is men's damnation thus promoted. 1. By the ill lives of hypocritical, ungodly preachers, who actually bring their own persons into disgrace, and thereby also the persons of others, and consequently their sacred work and function. 2. By wicked preachers and people, who through a malignant hatred of those that are abler and better than themselves, and an envy of their reputation, do labour to make the most zealous and faithful preachers of the gospel, to be thought the most hypocritical, or erroneous, or factious and schismatical.

5. The neglect of ministerial duties is a common cause of sin, and of men's damnation. When they that take the charge of souls, are either unable or unwilling to do their office; when they teach them too seldom, or too unskilfully, in an unsuitable manner; not choosing that doctrine which they most need, or not opening it plainly and methodically in a fitness to their capacities, or not applying it with necessary seriousness and urgency to the hearers' state. When men preach to the ungodly who are near to damnation, in a formal pace, like a schoolboy saying his lesson, or in a drowsy, reading tone, as if they came to preach them all asleep, or were afraid of wakening them. When they speak of sin, and misery, and Christ, of heaven and hell, as if by the manner they came to contradict the matter, and to persuade men that there are no such things.

The same mischief followeth the neglect of private, personal inspection. When ministers think that they have done all, when they have said a sermon, and never make conscience of labouring personally to convince the ungodly, and reclaim offenders, and draw sinners to God, and confirm the weak. And the omission (much more the perversion and abuse) of sacred discipline, hath the like effects. When the keys of the church are used to shut out the good, or not used when they ought, to rebuke or shut out the impenitent wicked ones; nor to difference between the precious and the vile; it hardeneth multitudes in their ungodliness, and persuadeth them that they are really of the same family of Christ as the godly are, and have their sins forgiven, because they are partakers of the same holy sacraments. (Not knowing the difference between the church mystical and visible, nor between the judgment of ministers and of Christ himself.)

6. Parents' neglect of instructing children, and other parts of holy education, is one of the greatest causes of the perdition of mankind, in all the world: but of this elsewhere.

7. Magistrates' persecution or opposition to religion, or discountenancing those that preach it, or most seriously practise it, tendeth to deceive some, who over-reverence the judgment of superiors, and to affright others from the obedience of God.

8. Yea, the negligence of magistrates, masters, and other superiors, omitting the due rebuke of sinners, and due correction of the offenders, and the due encouragement of the good, is a great cause of the wickedness and damnation of the world.

9. But above all, when they make laws for sin, or for the contempt, or dishonour, or suppression of religion, or the serious practice of it; this buildeth up Satan's kingdom most effectually, and turneth God's ordinance against himself: thousands under infidel and ungodly princes, are conducted by obedience to damnation; and their rulers damn them as honourably as the physician killed his patients, who boasted that he did it secundum artem, according to the rules of art.

10. The vulgar example of the multitude of the ungodly, is a great cause of men's impiety and damnation. They must be well resolved for God and holiness, who will not yield to the major vote, nor be carried down the common stream, nor run with the rabble to excess of riot. When christianity is a sect which is every where spoken against, it proveth so narrow a way, that few have a mind to walk in it. Men think that they are at least excusable, for not being wiser and better than the multitude. Singularity in honour, or riches, or strength, or health, is accounted no crime; but singularity in godliness, is, at least, thought unnecessary. What! will you be wiser than all the town, or, than such and such superiors? is thought a good reprehension of godliness, where it is rare; even by them who hereby conclude their superiors, or all the town, to be wiser than God.

11. Also the vulgar's scorning and deriding godliness, is a common cause of murdering souls: because the devil knoweth, that there cannot one word of solid reason be brought against the reason of God, and so against a holy life; he therefore teacheth men to use such weapons as they have. A dog hath teeth, and an adder hath a sting, though they have not the weapons of a man. A fool can laugh, and jeer, and rail; and there is no great wit or learning necessary, to smile, or grin, or call a man a puritan, or precisian, or heretic, or schismatic, or any name which the malice of the age shall newly coin. Mr. Robert Bolton largely showeth how much the malignity of his age did vent itself against godliness, by the reproachful use of the word, puritan. When reason can be bribed to take the devil's part, (either natural or literate reason,) he will hire it at any rate; but when it cannot, he will make use of such as he can get. Barking or hissing may serve turn, where talking and disputing cannot be procured. Drum and trumpets in an army, serve the turn instead of oratory, to animate cowards, and drown the noise of dying men's complaints and groans. Thousands have been mocked out of their religion and salvation at once, and jeered into hell, who now know whether a scorn, or the fire of hell, be the greater suffering. As tyrants think that the greatest, and ablest, and wisest men, must either be drawn over to their party or destroyed; so the tyrant of hell, who ruleth in the children of disobedience, doth think that if reason, learning, and wit, cannot be hired to dispute for him against God, they are to be suppressed, silenced, and disgraced; which the noise of rude clamours and foolish jeers is fit enough to perform.

12. Also idle, senseless prating against religion as a needless thing, doth serve turn to deceive the simple; ignorant people, who converse with no wiser men, are ordinarily taken with the silly cavils of a drunken sot, who hath but a little more volubility or looseness of tongue than his companions. It would make one's head and heart ache, to hear with what reverend nonsense one of them will talk against the doctrines or practices of godliness, and [812] how submissively the tractable herd receiveth and consenteth to his documents!

13. Also it tendeth much to the helping of Satan, and murdering of souls, to keep up the reputation of the most ungodly, and to keep down the reputation of the good. The devil knoweth that sin itself is such a thing, as few men can love barefaced, or commend; and that goodness or holiness is such a thing, as few men can hate, or at least condemn, in its proper name and colours. Therefore he seeketh to make the reputation of the persons serve to promote or hinder the cause which he is for or against. He that is ashamed to say of drunkenness or whoredom, that they are good and honest practices, dare yet say of drunkards and whoremongers, They are very honest men; and by their reputation take off some of the odiousness of the sin, and reconcile the hearers to it. And he that cannot for shame say of the forbearing of sin, and living a holy life, in heavenly contemplation, prayer, and obedience, that these are hypocrisy, schism, or sedition, covetousness, deceit, and pride; yet dare say of the person who practiseth them, that he is as covetous, deceitful, proud, hypocritical, schismatical, or seditious, as any others who make no profession of religion. And the devil knoweth, that though good doctrine hath no mixture of evil, nor Christ himself any blemish or spot, yet the best persons are so faulty or defectible, that an ill report of them is less incredible, there being too much matter to raise a suspicion on. And through their sides, it is easiest to wound the doctrine or holiness which they profess.

14. Also persuading sinners to do evil, and dissuading them from a godly life, is another way of murdering souls. The devil's temptations are most by instruments; he hath his preachers as well as Christ; and it were well if they did not overgo us in earnestness, frequency, and constancy. Where is there a poor soul that is moved by God to turn and live, but the devil hath some at hand to drive them from it? by persuading them that it is needless, and that all is well with them, and telling them some dismal stories of a holy life.

15. Another way of soul murder, is by laying baits of deceit and sin before the sinner: as men destroy rats and mice by baits, and sweetened poison; or catch fishes or birds by covering their death with something which they most love; so doth the devil and his instruments destroy souls: the baits of a pleasant cup, or pleasant company, or pleasant meats, or pleasant sports, or plays, or games; a feast, a tavern, an alehouse, a whore, a stage-play, a romance, a pair of cards or dice, can do the deed. If he can possibly, he will prove it a thing lawful; if he cannot, he will prove it a venial sin; if that cannot be, he will drown consideration, and stop the mouth of reason and conscience, and cry, Drive on. Some have yet higher baits than these, lordships and lands, dominion and honour, to choke their souls.

16. Also an honest name for sin, and a dishonest name for duty to God, doth serve the turn for many men's perdition. To call drunkenness, good fellowship, or, to take a cup; and gluttony, good housekeeping; and voluptuousness, recreation or pastime; and pride, the maintaining of their honour; and worldliness, good husbandry; and prodigality, liberality; and lust and whoredom, love, and having a mistress; and oppression, the seeking of their due; and perfidious dissimulation, courtship; and jeering, wittiness. These, and more such, are traps for souls. And of the same use is the calling of duties by names of vice, which tend to make them odious or contemptible.

17. Also the flattering of sinners, and praising them in their sin, is a soul-murdering encouragement to them in ill-doing; and great sinners seldom want such enemies.

18. An obedient readiness to all that wicked superiors command, is an encouragement to them to proceed in mischief. If parents or masters command their inferiors to spend the Lord's day in dancing, or other unlawful exercises; or bid them steal, or lie, or forbid them to worship God; those that obey them, do harden them in their sin. As Daniel and the three witnesses had done the king, if they had obeyed him.[144]

19. Also when those that have power to hinder sin, and further godliness, do not do it. When they either give men leave to sin, or forbear their duty when they should restrain it. He that stands by, and seeth his neighbour robbed or murdered, and doth not what he can to save him, is guilty of the sin, and the sufferer's hurt.

20. Silence, when we are obliged to reprove a sinner, or to instruct the ignorant, or exhort the obstinate, or any way speak for men's salvation, is injurious to their souls, and maketh us partakers of their sin. Soul murder may be done by bare omissions.

21. Opposing magistrates, ministers, or any others, in the discharge of their duty for godliness, or against sin, is an act of hostility against God, and men's salvation.

22. An unnecessary occasioning of sin, or doing that needlessly, which we may foresee that by accident another will destroy himself by, is to be guilty of his sin and destruction; as he is that would sell poison to him, that he might foresee would kill himself with it; or lend fire to his neighbour, who he knoweth will burn his house with it. But of this before, in the chapter of scandal.

23. They that are guilty of schisms or church divisions, are murderers of souls; by depriving them of that means (the concord and harmony of believers) which God hath appointed for men's conviction and salvation;[145] and by setting up before them the greatest scandal, to bring religion into contempt, and debilitate the godly.

24. Those also that mourn not for the sins of the times, and confess them not to God, and pray not against them, and pray not for the sinners when they ought, are thus guilty.[146]

25. And so are they that secretly rejoice in sin, or consent to it, or approve it when it is done; which if they manifest, it is pernicious to others also.

26. Lastly, A coldness or indifferency in the doing of our duty against sin, without just zeal, and pity to the sinner, and reverence to the truth, is a way of guilt, and hurteth others. To reprove sin, as Eli did his sons; or to speak against it lightly as between jest and earnest, is the way to make the sinner think that it is a small or jesting matter. To persuade men to conversion or a godly life, without a melting love and pity to their souls, and without the reverence of God, and seriousness of mind, which the nature and weight of the thing requireth, is the way to harden them in their sin and misery. All these ways may a man be guilty, first, of the sin, and secondly, the perdition of another.

But here (on the negative part) take notice of these things following.

How we are not guilty of other men's sin or ruin.

1. That properly no man doth partake of the same formal, numerical sin, which is another's; noxa caput [813] sequitur. The sin is individuated and informed by the individual will of the offender. It is not possible that another man's sin should be properly and formally mine, unless I were individually and formally that same man, and not another. If two men set their hands to the same evil deed, they are distinct causes and subjects of the distinct formal guilt; though con-causes, and partial causes of the effect: so that it is only by multiplication that we make the sin or guilt of another to become the matter of sin to us, the form resulting from ourselves.

2. All men that are guilty of the sin and damnation of other men, are not equally guilty; not only as some are pardoned upon repentance, and some remain impenitent and unpardoned; but as some contribute wilfully to the mischief, and with delight, and in a greater measure; and some only in a small degree, by an oversight, or small omission, or weak performance of a duty, by mere infirmity or surprise.

3. All that do not hinder sin, or reprove it, are not guilty of it; no more than all that do not punish it; but those only that have power and opportunity, and so are called by God to do it.

4. If another man will sin, and destroy his soul, by the occasion of my necessary duty, I must not cease my duty to prevent such men's sin or hurt; else one or other will by their perverseness, excuse me from almost all the duty which I should do. I must not cease praying, hearing, sacraments, nor withdraw from church communion, because another will turn it to his sin; else Satan should use the sin of others to frustrate all God's worship. Yet I must add, that many things cease to be a duty, when another will be so hurt by them.

5. I am not guilty of all men's sins, which are committed in my presence; no, though I know beforehand that they will sin. For my calling or duty may lead me into the presence of those, that I may foreknow will sin. Wicked men sin in all that they do, and yet it followeth not, that I must have nothing to do with them. Many a failing which is his sin, may a minister or church be guilty of, even in that public worship of God, which yet I am bound to be present at.

But of all these somewhat is said before, chap. xii.

[144]   Dan. iii., vi.

[145]   John xvii. 21, 25.

[146]   Ezek. ix. 4; Zeph. iii. 17, 18.



The great means which we must use for the salvation of our neighbours are,

Direct. I. Sound doctrine: let those who are their instructors, inculcate the wholesome principles of godliness; which are, self-denial, mortification, the love of God and man, the hopes of heaven, universal, absolute obedience to God; and all this by faith in Jesus Christ, according to the holy Scriptures. Instead of novelties, or vain janglings, and perverse disputings, teach them these principles here briefly named, over and over a hundred times; open these plainly, till they are well understood. There are the necessary, saving things; this is the doctrine which is according to godliness, which will make sound christians, of sound judgments, sound hearts, sound conversations, and sound consciences! God sanctifieth his chosen ones by these truths.

Direct. II. Therefore do your best to help others to the benefit of able and faithful pastors and instructors. A fruitful soil is not better for your seed, nor a good pasture for your horse or cattle, nor wholesome diet for yourselves, than such instructors are for your neighbours' souls. If you love them, you should be more desirous to help them to good teachers, or plant them under a sound and powerful ministry, than to procure them any worldly benefits. One time or other the word may prevail with them. It is hopeful to be still in mercy's way.

Direct. III. The concord of their teachers among themselves, is a great help to the saving of the flock. "That they all may be one, as thou Father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me," John xvii. 21, 25. Concord much furthereth reverence and belief; and consequently men's salvation (so it be a holy concord).

Direct. IV. The concord also of godly, private christians hath the same effect. When the ignorant see here a sect and there a sect, and hear them condemning one another, it teacheth them to contemn them all, and think contemptibly of piety itself; but concord layeth an awe upon them.

Direct. V. The blameless, humble, loving, heavenly lives of christians, is a powerful means of winning souls. Preach therefore every one of you, by such a conversation to all your neighbours, whom you desire to save.

Direct. VI. Keep those whom you would save in a humble, patient, learning posture; and keep them from proud wranglings, and running after novelties and sects. The humble learner takes root downward, and silently groweth up to wisdom; but if once they grow self-conceited, they turn to wranglings, and place their religion in espoused, singular opinions, and in being on this or that side or church; and fall into divided congregations, where the business is to build up souls by destroying charity, and teaching sectaries to overvalue themselves, and despise dissenters; till at last they run themselves out of breath, and perhaps fall out with all true religion.

Direct. VII. Do what you can to place them in good families, and when they are to be married, to join them to such as are fit to be their helpers. In families and relations of that sort, people are so near together, and in such constant converse, that it will be very much of the help or hinderance of their salvation.

Direct. VIII. Keep them also as much as is possible in good company, and out of bad, seducing company; especially those that are to be their familiars. The world's experience telleth us what power company hath, to make men better or worse: and what a great advantage it is to work any thing on men's minds, to have interest in them, and intimacy with them; especially with those that are yet to receive their deepest impressions.

Direct. IX. Keep them from the most dangerous baits, opportunities, and temptations to sensuality. Withdraw the tinder and gunpowder from the fire. There is no curing a drunkard ordinarily in an alehouse or tavern, nor a fornicator while he is near the objects of his lust, nor a glutton at a full, enticing table. Set them at a farther distance from the danger, if you would have them safe. Nemo diu tutus periculo proximus. Senec.

Direct. X. Take the advantage of their personal afflictions, or any other notable warnings that are near them. Keep them oft in the house of mourning, where death may be as in their sight; and keep them out of the house of foolish mirth. The time of sickness is an awakening time, and powerfully openeth [814] the ear to counsel. The sight of the dead or dying persons, the hearing of sick men's wishes and complaints, the sight of graves and dead men's bones, (if not too oft to make it customary,) doth often force the most foolish and obstinate to some man-like, profitable thoughts; when the noise of foolish mirth and sports, at rabble-meetings, stage-plays, and May-games, riotings, or immoderate, rude, or tempting plays, do kill all sober, saving motions, and undispose the mind to all that is good. Though seasonable and useful delights are lawful, yet such as are unseasonable, immoderate, insnaring, scandalous, or unprofitable, are pernicious and poison to the soul.

Direct. XI. Engage them in the reading of the holy Scriptures, and of such books of practical divinity, as do at once most plainly acquaint them with the principles of religion, and piercingly set them home upon the conscience; that judgment and affection, head and heart, may be edified at once. Such suitable books may be daily their companions; and it is a great advantage to them, that they may have a powerful sermon when they please, and read over the same things as oft as the frailty of their memories do require. Such private, innocent companions have saved many a soul.

Direct. XII. Engage them in a constant course of prayer (whether it be with a book, or form, or without, according to the parts and condition of the person). For the often approaching to God in so holy a work, will affright or shame a man from sin, and stir him up to serious thoughts of his salvation, and engage him to a godly life.

Direct. XIII. If you would have all these means effectual to men's conversion and salvation, show them all hearty love and kindness, and do them all the good you can. Men are naturally more easily sensible of the good of their bodies, than of their souls; and a kindness to the body is thankfully received, and may prepare them to receive a greater benefit. What you are unable to do for them yourselves, solicit those that are able to do; or, if you cannot do that neither, at least show your pity and good-will. Love is the most powerful preacher in the world.

Direct. XIV. Be sure that you have no fallings out or quarrels with any that you would do good upon. And to that end, usually it is the best way, to have as little to do with them in buying and selling, or any worldly matters, where mine and thine may come in competition, as possibly you can: or, if you cannot avoid it, you must be content to part with somewhat of your right, and suffer some wrongs, for fear of hurt to your neighbour's soul. Even godly persons, yea, parents and children, brethren and sisters, usually fall out about mine and thine. And when self-interest hath bred the quarrel, they usually think ill of the person who is supposed to injure them; and then they are made uncapable of receiving any spiritual good by him, and if he seem religious they are oft alienated from religion for his sake. And all unconverted persons are selfish, and usually look that you should fulfil their desires, and suit yourselves to their interest, without respect to right or wrong, or to your own sufferings! Yet such as these must be pitied and helped; and therefore it is usually best to avoid all chaffering or worldly dealings with them, lest you lose them. And when that cannot be, you must judge a little departing from your own right, to be a very cheap price to procure the good of a neighbour's soul.

Direct. XV. See that in matters of religion you neither run too far from such men in things lawful, nor yet do any thing sinful in compliance with them. By concurring with them in any sin, you will harden them, and hinder their conversion; and so you will by singular or violent opposition in things indifferent. Those persons are quite mistaken, who think that godly men must go as far from the ungodly as ever they can, in lawful things; and say, The ungodly do thus, and therefore we must do otherwise. Paul was of another mind and practice, when he circumcised Timothy, and "became all things to all men, to save some." To place religion in things indifferent, and to cry out against lawful things as sinful, or to fly from others by needless singularities, is a great cause of the hardening and perdition of multitudes, turning their hearts against religion, and making them think that it is but unnecessary scruple, and that religious persons are but self-conceited, brain-sick people, that make to themselves a duty of their superstition, and condemn all that be not as humorous as they. Lay not such stumblingblocks before any whose souls you desire to save.



Tit. 1. Motives to Christian Conference and Exhortation.

The right use of speech being a duty of so great importance, as I have before showed about the government of the tongue; and it being a way of communication, by which we are all obliged to exercise our love to one another, even in the greatest matter, the saving of souls; I shall first endeavour to persuade them to this duty, who make too little conscience of it; and that by these following considerations.

Motive I. Consider that it is the exercise of our humanity: reason and speech do difference us from brutes. If by being reasonable we are men, then by using reason we live as men; and the first communicative use of reason is by speech: by thinking, we exercise reason for ourselves; by speaking, we exercise it (first) for others. Therefore if our reason be given us for the highest uses to ourselves, (to know God and eternal life, and the means thereto,) then certainly our speech is also given us for the same highest uses, by way of communication unto others. Use therefore your tongues to those noble ends for which they were given you. Use them as the tongues of men, to the ends which human nature is created for.

Motive II. There is no subject so sublime and honourable for the tongue of man to be employed about, as the matters of God, and life eternal. Children will talk of childish toys, and countrymen talk of their corn and cattle, and princes and statesmen look down on these with contemptuous smiles, as much below them: but crowns and kingdoms are incomparably more below the business of a holy soul! The higher subjects philosophers treat of, the more honourable (if well done) are their discourses. But none is so high as God and glory.

Motive III. It is the most profitable subject to the hearers. A discourse of riches, at the most, can but direct them how to grow rich; a discourse of honours usually puffeth up the minds of the ambitious: and if it could advance the auditors to [815] honour, the fruit would be a vanity little to be desired. But a discourse of God, and heaven, and holiness, doth tend to change the hearers' minds into the nature of the things discoursed of: it hath been the means of converting and sanctifying many a thousand souls. As learned discourses tend to make men learned in the things discoursed of, so holy discourses tend to make men holy. For as natural generation begetteth not gold or kingdoms, but a man; so speech is not made to communicate to others (directly) the wealth, or health, or honours, or any extrinsical things which the speaker hath; but to communicate those mental excellencies which he is possessed of. Prov. xvi. 21, 22, "The sweetness of the lips increaseth learning. Understanding is a well-spring of life to him that hath it." Prov. x. 13, 21, "In the lips of him that hath understanding, wisdom is found.—The lips of the righteous feed many." Prov. xv. 7, "The lips of the wise disperse knowledge; but the heart of the foolish doth not so." Prov. xx. 15, "There is gold, and a multitude of rubies; but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel." Prov. x. 20, "The tongue of the just is as choice silver; the heart of the wicked is little worth."

Motive IV. Holy discourse is also most profitable to the speaker himself. Grace increaseth by the exercise. Even in instructing others and opening truth, we are ofttimes more powerfully led up to further truth ourselves, than by solitary studies. For speech doth awaken the intellectual faculty, and keepeth on the thoughts in order, and one truth oft inferreth others, to a thus excited and prepared mind. And the tongue hath a power of moving on our hearts; when we blow the fire to warm another, both the exercise and the fire warm ourselves: it kindleth the flames of holy love in us, to declare the praise of God to others; it increaseth a hatred of sin in us, to open its odiousness to others. We starve ourselves, when we starve the souls which we should cherish.

Motive V. Holy and heavenly discourse is the most delectable. I mean in its own aptitude, and to a mind that is not diseased by corruption. That which is most great, and good, and necessary, is most delectable. What should best please us, but that which is best for us? and best for others? and best in itself? The excellency of the subject maketh it delightful! And so doth the exercise of our graces upon it: and serious conference doth help down the truth into our hearts, where it is most sweet. Besides that nature and charity make it pleasant to do good to others. It can be nothing better than a subversion of the appetite by carnality and wickedness, that maketh any one think idle jests, or tales, or plays, to be more pleasant than spiritual, heavenly conference; and the talking of riches, or sports, or lusts, to be sweeter than to talk of God, and Christ, and grace, and glory. A holy mind hath a continual feast in itself in meditating on these things, and the communicating of such thoughts to others, is a more common, and so a more pleasant feast.

Motive VI. Our faithfulness to God obligeth us to speak his praise, and to promote his truth, and plead his cause against iniquity. Hath he given us tongues to magnify his name, and set before us the admirable frame of all the world, to declare his glory in? And shall we be backward to so sweet and great a work? How precious and useful is all his holy word! What light, and life, and comfort may it cause! And shall we bury it in silence? What company can we come into almost, where either the barefaced committing of sin, or the defending of it, or the opposition of truth or godliness, or the frigidity of men's hearts towards God, and supine neglect of holy things, do not call to us, if we are the servants of God, to take his part; and if we are the children of light, to bear our testimony against the darkness of the world; and if we love God, and truth, and the souls of men, to show it by our prudent, seasonable speech? Is he true to God, and to his cause, that will not open his mouth to speak for him?

Motive VII. And how precious a thing is an immortal soul, and therefore not to be neglected! Did Christ think souls to be worth his mediation, by such strange condescension, even to a shameful death? Did he think them worth his coming into flesh to be their teacher? And will you not think them worth the speaking to?

Motive VIII. See also the greatness of your sin, in the negligence of unfaithful ministers. It is easy to see the odiousness of their sin, who preach not the gospel, or do no more than by an hour's dry and dead discourse, shift off the serious work which they should do, and think they may be excused from all personal oversight and helping of the people's souls all the week after. And why should you not perceive that a dumb, private christian is also to be condemned, as well as a dumb minister? Is not profitable conference your duty, as well as profitable preaching is his? How many persons condemn themselves, while they speak against unfaithful pastors! being themselves as unfaithful to families and neighbours, as the other are to the flock!

Motive IX. And consider how the cheapness of the means, doth aggravate the sin of your neglect, and show much unmercifulness to souls. Words cost you little; indeed alone, without the company of good works, they are too cheap for God to accept of. But if a hypocrite may bring so cheap a sacrifice, who is rejected, what doth he deserve that thinketh it too dear? What will that man do for God, or for his neighbour's soul, who will not open his mouth to speak for them? He seemeth to have less love than that man in hell, Luke xvi. who would so fain have had a messenger sent from another world, to have warned his brethren, and saved them from that place of torment.

Motive X. Your fruitful conference is a needful help to the ministerial work. When the preacher hath publicly delivered the word of God to the assembly, if you would so far second him, as in your daily converse to set it home on the hearts of those that you have opportunity to discourse with, how great an assistance would it be to his success! Though he must teach them publicly, and from house to house, Acts xx. 20, yet is it not possible for him to be so frequent and familiar in daily conference with all the ignorant of the place, as those that are still with them may be. You are many, and he is but one, and can be but in one place at once. Your business bringeth you into their company, when he cannot be there. O happy is that minister who hath such a people, who will daily preach over the matter of his public sermons in their private conference with one another! Many hands make quick work. This would most effectually prevail against the powers of darkness, and cast out Satan from multitudes of miserable souls.

Motive XI. Yea, when ministers are wanting, through scarcity, persecution, or unfaithfulness and negligence, the people's holy, profitable conference would do much towards the supplying of that want. There have few places and ages of the world been so happy, but that learned, able, faithful pastors have been so few, that we had need to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send forth more. And it is nothing unusual to have those few silenced or hindered from the preaching of the gospel, by the factions or the [816] malignity of the world! And it is yet more common to have ignorant or ungodly persons in that office, who betray the people's souls by their usurpation, impiety, or slothfulness. But if in all such wants, the people that fear God would do their part in private conference, it would be an excellent supply. Ministers may be silenced from public preaching, when you cannot be silenced from profitable discourse.

Motive XII. It is a duty that hath many great advantages for success. 1. You may choose your season; if one time be not fit, you may take another. 2. You may choose the person, whom you find to have the greatest necessity or capacity, and where your labour is likeliest to take. 3. You may choose your subject, and speak of that which you find most suitable. There is no restraint nor imposition upon you, to hinder your liberty in this. 4. You may choose your arguments by which you would enforce it. 5. Interlocutory conference keepeth your auditors attentive, and carrieth them on along with you as you go. And it maketh the application much more easy, by their nearness and the familiarity of the discourse; when sermons are usually heard but as an insignificant sound, or words of course. 6. You may at your pleasure go back and repeat those things which the hearer doth not understand, or doth forget; which a preacher in the pulpit cannot do without the censure of the more curious auditors. 7. You may perceive by the answers of them whom you speak to, what particulars you need most to insist on, and what objections you should most carefully resolve; and when you have satisfied them, and may proceed. All which it is hard for a minister to do in public preaching; and is it not a great sin to neglect such an advantageous duty?

Motive XIII. And it should somewhat encourage you to it, that it is an unquestionable duty, when many other are brought into controversy. Ministers preach under the regulation of human laws and canons, and it is a great controversy with many, whether they shall preach, when they are silenced or forbidden by their superiors; but whether you may speak for God and for men's salvation in your familiar conference, no man questioneth, nor doth any law forbid it.

Motive XIV. Hath not the fruitful conference of others, in the days of your ignorance, done good to you? Have you not been instructed, convinced, persuaded, and comforted by it? What had become of you, if all men had let you alone, and passed you by, and left you to yourselves? And doth not justice require that you do good to others, as others have done to you, in the use of such a tried means?

Motive XV. Consider how forward the devil's servants are to plead his cause! How readily and fiercely will an ignorant, drunken sot pour out his reproaches and scorns against religion! and speak evil of the things which he never understood! How zealously will a papist, or heretic, or schismatic, promote the interest of his sect, and labour to proselyte others to his party! And shall we be less zealous and serviceable for Christ, than the devil's servants are for him? and do less to save souls, than they will do to damn them?

Motive XVI. Nay, in the time of your sin and ignorance, if you have not spoken against religion, nor taught others to curse, or swear, or speak in ribald, filthy language, yet, at least, you have spent many an hour in idle, fruitless talk? And doth not this now oblige you to show your repentance by more fruitful conference? Will you since your conversion speak as unprofitably as you did before?

Motive XVII. Holy conference will prevent the guilt of foolish, idle talk. Men will not be long silent, but will talk of somewhat, and if they have not profitable things to talk of, they will prate of vanity. All the foolish chat, and frothy jests, and scurrilous ribaldry, and envious backbiting, which taketh up men's time, and poisoneth the hearers, is caused by their want of edifying discourse, which should keep it out. The rankest wits and tongues will have most weeds, if they be not cultivated and taught to bear a better crop.

Motive XVIII. Your tongues will be instrumental to public good or public hurt. When filthy, vain, and impious language is grown common, it will bring down common plagues and judgments! And if you cross not the custom, you seem to be consenters, and harden men in their sin. But holy conference may, at least, show that some partake not of the evil, and may free them from the plague, if they prevail not with others so far as to prevent it. "Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him," Mal. iii. 16, 17.

Motive XIX. Consider what great necessity there is every where of fruitful, edifying speech. 1. In the multitude of the ignorant; and the greatness of their ignorance. 2. The numbers of the sensual and obstinate. 3. The power of blindness, and of every sin: what root it hath taken in the most of men. 4. The multitude of baits which are every where before them. 5. The subtilty of Satan and his instruments in tempting. 6. The weakness and unconstancy of man, that hath need of constant solicitation. 7. The want of holy, faithful pastors, which maketh private men's diligence the more necessary. And in such necessity to shut up our mouths, is to shut up the bowels of our compassion, when we see our brother's need; and how then doth the love of God dwell in us? 1 John iii. 17. To withhold our exhortation, is as the withholding of corn from the poor in a time of famine, which procureth a curse, Prov. xi. 26. And though in this case men are insensible of their want, and take it not ill to be passed by, yet Christ that died for them will take it ill.

Motive XX. Lastly, Consider how short a time you are like to speak; and how long you must be silent. Death will quickly stop your breath, and lay you in the dark, and tell you that all your opportunities are at an end. Speak now, for you have not long to speak. Your neighbours' lives are hastening to an end, and so are yours; they are dying and must hear no more, (till they hear their doom,) and you are dying and must speak no more; and they will be lost for ever if they have not help: pity them then, and call on them to foresee the final day; warn them now, for it must be now or never: there is no instructing and admonishing them in the grave. Those sculls which you see cast up, had once tongues which should have praised their Creator and Redeemer, and have helped to save each other's souls; but now they are tongueless. It is a great grief to us that are now here silenced, that we used not our ministry more laboriously and zealously while we had time. And will it not be so with you, when death shall silence you, that you spake not for God while you had a tongue to speak?

Let all these considerations stir up all that God hath taught a holy language, to use it for their Master's service while they may, and to repent of sinful silence.


Tit. 2. Directions for Christian Conference and Edifying Speech.

Direct. I. The most necessary direction for a fruitful tongue is to get a well-furnished mind, and a holy heart, and to walk with God in holiness yourselves: for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth will speak. That which you are fullest of, is readiest to come forth. 1. Spare for no study or labour to get understanding in the things of God: it is a weariness to hear men talk foolishly of any thing, but no where so much as about divine and heavenly things. A wise christian instructed to the kingdom of God, hath a treasury in his mind, out of which he can bring forth things new and old, Matt. xiii. 52. "Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge," Prov. xiv. 7. 2. Get all that holiness in yourselves, to which you would persuade another. There is a strange communicating power in the course of nature, for every thing to produce its like. Learning and good utterance is very helpful; but it is holiness that is aptest to beget holiness in others. Words which proceed from the love of God, and a truly heavenly mind, do most powerfully tend to breed in others that love of God and heavenly-mindedness. 3. Live in the practice of that which you would draw your neighbour to practise. A man that cometh warm from holy meditation, or fervent prayer, doth bring upon his heart a fulness of matter, and an earnest desire, and a fitness to communicate that good to others, which he himself hath felt.

Direct. II. Especially see that you soundly believe yourselves what you are to speak to others. He that hath secret infidelity at his heart, and is himself unsatisfied whether there be a heaven and hell, and whether sin be so bad and holiness so necessary as the Scripture speaks, will speak but heartlessly of them to another; but if we believe these things, as if we saw them with our eyes, how heartily shall we discourse of them!

Direct. III. Keep a compassionate sense of the misery of ignorant, ungodly, impenitent souls. Think what a miserable bondage of darkness and sensuality they are in; and that it is light that must recover them: think oft how quickly they must die, and what an appearance they must make before the Lord, and how miserable they must be for ever, if now they be not convinced and sanctified! And sure this will stir up your bowels to pity them, and make you speak.

Direct. IV. Subdue foolish shame or bashfulness, and get a holy fortitude of mind. Remember what a sin it is to be ashamed of such a Master, and such a cause and work, which all would be glad to own at last; and that when the wicked are not ashamed of the service of the devil, and the basest works. And remember that threatening, "Whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels," Mark viii. 38.

Direct. V. Be always furnished with those particular truths which may be most useful in this service. Study to do your work (in your degree) as ministers study to do theirs; who are not contented with the habitual furniture of their minds, but they also make particular preparations for their particular work. If you are to go into the field to your labour, you will take those tools with you by which it must be done: so do when you go abroad among any that you may do good to, and be not unfurnished for edifying discourse.

Direct. VI. Speak most of the greatest things, (the folly of sin, the vanity of the world, the certainty and nearness of death and judgment, the overwhelming weight of eternity, the necessity of holiness, the work of redemption, &c.) and choose not the smaller matters of religion to spend your time upon (unless upon some special reason). Among good men that will not lose their time on vanity, the devil too oft prevaileth, to make them lose it by such religious conference, as is little to edification, that greater matters may be thereby thrust out; such as Paul calleth "Vain janglings, and doting about questions which engender strife, and not godly edifying:" as about their several opinions or parties, or comparing one preacher or person with another, or such things as tend but little to make the hearers more wise, or holy, or heavenly.

Direct. VII. Suit all your discourse to the quality of your auditors. That which is best in itself, may not be best for every hearer. You must vary both your subject and manner of discourse, 1. According to the variety of men's knowledge: the wise and the foolish must not be spoken to alike. 2. According to the variety of their moral qualities: one may be very pious, and another weak in grace, and another only teachable and tractable, and another wicked and impenitent, and another obstinate and scornful. These must not be talked to with the same manner of discourse. 3. According to the variety of particular sins which they are inclined to; which in some is pride, in some sensuality, lust, or idleness, in some covetousness, and in some an erroneous zeal against the church and cause of Christ. Every wise physician will vary his remedies, not only according to the kind of the disease, but according to its various accidents, and the complexion also of the patient.

Direct. VIII. Be sure to do most where you have most authority and obligation. He that will neglect and slight his family, relations, children, and servants, who are under him, and always with him, and yet be zealous for the conversion of strangers, doth discover much hypocrisy, and showeth, that it is something else than the love of souls, or sense of duty, which carrieth him on.

Direct. IX. Never speak of holy things, but with the greatest reverence and seriousness you can. The manner as well as the matter is needful to the effect. To talk of sin and conversion, of God and eternity, in a common, running, careless manner, as you speak of the men, and the matters of the world, is much worse than silence, and tendeth but to debauch the hearers, and bring them to a contempt of God and holiness. I remember myself, that when I was young, I had sometime the company of one ancient godly minister, who was of weaker parts than many others, but yet did profit me more than most; because he would never in prayer or conference speak of God, or the life to come, but with such marvellous seriousness and reverence, as if he had seen the majesty and glory which he talked of.

Direct. X. Take heed of inconsiderate, imprudent passages, which may mar all the rest, and give malignant auditors advantage of contempt and scorn. Many honest christians, through their ignorance, thus greatly wrong the cause they manage (I would I might not say, many ministers). Too few words is not so bad, as one such imprudent, foolish word too much.

Direct. XI. Condescend to the weak, and bear with their infirmity. If they give you foolish answers, be not angry and impatient with them; yea, or if they perversely cavil and contradict. "For the servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle to all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing [818] opposers, if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth," 2 Tim. ii. 24, 25. He is a foolish physician that cannot bear the words of a phrenetic or delirant patient.

Direct. XII. When you are among those that can teach you, be not so forward to teach as to learn. Be not eager to vent what you have to say, but desirous to hear what your betters have to say. Questions in such a case should be most of your part: it requireth great skill and diligence to draw that out of others, which may profit you; and be not impatient if they cross your opinions, or open your ignorance. Yea, those that you can teach in other things, yet in some things may be able to add much to your knowledge.

Tit. 3. Special Directions for Reproof and Exhortation for the good of others.

This duty is so great, that Satan hindereth it with all his power, and so hard, that most men quite omit it (unless an angry reproach may go for christian exhortation): and some spoil it in the management; and some proud, censorious persons mistake the exercise of their pride and passion, for the exercise of a charitable christian duty; and seem to be more sensible of their neighbour's sin and misery, than of their own. Therefore that you miscarry not in so needful a work, I shall add these following directions.

Direct. I. Be sure first that your reproof have a right end; and then let the manner be suited to that end. If it be to convince and convert a soul, it must be done in a manner likely to prevail; if it be only to bear down the argument of a deceiver, to preserve the standers-by, to vindicate the honour of God and godliness, and to dishonour sin, and to disgrace an obstinate factor for the devil, then another course is fit. Therefore resolve first, by the quality of the cause and person, what must be your end.

Direct. II. Be sure that you reprove not that as a sin, which is no sin; either by mistaking the law or the fact. To make duties and sins of our own opinions and inventions, and then to lay out our zeal on these, and censure or reprove all that think not as hardly of such things as we; this is to make ourselves the objects of the hearers' pity; and not to exercise just pity towards others! Such reproofs deserve reproof; for they discover great ignorance, and pride, and self-conceitedness, and very much harden sinners in their way; and make them think that all reproof is but the vanity of fantastical hypocrites. In some cases with a child, or servant, or private friend, or for prevention, we may speak of faults upon hearsay or suspicion; but it must be as of things uncertain, and as a warning rather than a reproof. In ordinary reproof, you must understand the case before you speak; it is a shame to say after, I thought it had been otherwise. Such an erroneous reproof is worse than none.

Direct. III. Choose not the smallest sins to reprove, nor the smallest duties to exhort them to. For that will make them think that all your zeal is taken up with little matters, and that there is no great necessity of regarding you; and conscience will be but little moved by your speech: when greater things will greatly and more easily affect men.

Direct. IV. Stop not (with unregenerate men) in the mention of particular sins or duties; but make use of particulars to convince them of a state of sin and misery. It is easy to convince a man that he is a sinner; and when that is done, he is never the more humbled or converted: for he will tell you, that all are sinners; and therefore he hopeth to speed as well as you. But you must make him discern his sinful state, and show him the difference between a penitent sinner, and an impenitent; a converted sinner, and an unconverted; a justified, pardoned sinner, and an unjustified, unpardoned one; or else you will do him but little good.

Direct. V. Suit the manner of your reproof to the quality of the person. It is seldom that a parent, master, or superior, must be reproved by a private inferior; and when it is done, it must be done with great submission and respect. An angry, peevish person must be dealt with tenderly, as you handle thorns; but a duller, sottish person, must be more earnestly and warmly dealt with. So also a greater sin must be roughly handled, or with greater detestation, than a less.

Direct. VI. Take a fit season. Not when a man is in drink, or passion, or among others where the disgrace will vex and harden him; but in secret between him and you (if his conversion be your end).

Direct. VII. Do all in love and tender pity. If you convince not the hearer that you do it in unfeigned love, you must (usually) expect to lose your labour; because you make not advantage of his self-love, to promote your exhortations: therefore the exhorting way should be more frequent than the reproving way; for reproof disgraceth and exasperateth, when the same thing contrived into an exhortation may prevail.[147]

Direct. VIII. Therefore be as much or more in showing the good which you would draw them to, as the evil which you would turn them from. For they are never savingly converted, till they are won to the love of God and holiness; therefore the opening of the riches of the gospel, and the love of God, and the joys of heaven, must be the greatest part of your treaty with a sinner.

Direct. IX. And labour so to help him to a true understanding of the nature of religion, that he may perceive that it is not only a necessary but a pleasant thing. All love delights: it is the slander and misrepresentation of godliness by the devil, the world, and the flesh, which maketh mistaken sinners shun it. The way to convert them, and win their hearts to it, is to make them know how good and pleasant it is, and to confute those calumnies.

Direct X. Yet always insert the remembrance of death, and judgment, and hell. For the drowsy mind hath need to be awakened; and love worketh best when fear subserveth it. It is hard to procure a serious audience and consideration of things from hardened hearts, if the sight of death and hell do not help to make them serious. Danger which must be escaped, must be known and thought on. These things put weight and power into your speech.

Direct. XI. Do all as with divine authority; and therefore have ready some plain texts of Scripture for the duty and against the sin you speak of.[148] Show them where God himself hath said it.

Direct. XII. Seasonable expostulations, putting themselves to judge themselves in their answer, hath a convincing and engaging force. As when you show them Scripture, ask them, Is not this the word of God? Do you not believe that it is true? Do you think he that wrote this, knoweth not better than you or I? &c.

Direct. XIII. Put them on speedy practice, and prudently engage them to it by their promise. As if you speak to a drunkard, draw him to promise you to come no more (at least, of so long a time) into an alehouse; or not drink ale or wine but by the consent of his wife, or some sober, household [819] friend, who may watch over him. Engage the voluptuous, the unchaste, and gamester, to forsake the company which insnareth them. Engage the ungodly to read the Scripture, to frequent good company, to pray morning and night (with a book or without, as they are best able). Their promise may bring them to such a present change of practice, as may prepare for more.

Direct. XIV. If you know any near you, who are much fitter than yourselves, and liker to prevail, procure them to attempt that which you cannot do successfully.[149] At least when sinners perceive that it is not only one man's opinion, it may somewhat move them to reverence the reproof.

Direct. XV. Put some good book into their hands, which is fitted to the work which you would have done. And get them to promise you seriously to read it over, and consider it; as if it be for the conversion of a careless sinner, Mr. Whateley's, or Mr. Swinnock's "Treatise of Regeneration;" or some other treatise of repentance and conversion. If it be for one that is prejudiced against a strict religious life, Mr. Allen's "Vindication of Godliness." If it be an idle, voluptuous person, who wasteth precious time in plays or needless recreations, in gaming or an idle life, Mr. Whateley's sermon, called "The Redemption of Time." If it be a prayerless person, Dr. Preston's "Saint's Daily Exercise:" if it be a drunkard, Mr. Harris's "Drunkard's Cup:" and for many reigning, particular sins, a book called "Solomon's Prescription against the Plague:" for directions in the daily practice of godliness, "The Practice of Piety," or Mr. Thomas Gouge's "Directions," &c. Such books may speak more pertinently than you can; and be as constant food to their sober thoughts, and so may further what you have begun.

Direct. XVI. When you cannot speak, or where your speaking prevaileth not, mourn for them; and earnestly pray for their recovery.[150] A sad countenance of Nehemiah remembered Artaxerxes of his duty. A sigh or a tear for a miserable sinner, may move his heart, when exhortation will not. He hath a heart of stone, who will have no sense of his condition, when he seeth another weeping for him.

Quest. But is it always a duty to reprove or exhort a sinner? How shall I know when it is my duty, and when it is not?

Answ. It is no duty in any of these cases following. 1. In general, When you have sufficient reason to judge, that it will do more harm than good, and will not attain its proper end; for God hath not appointed us to do hurt under pretence of duty; it is no means which doth cross the end which it should attain. As prayer and preaching may be a sin, when they are like to cross their proper end; so also may reproof be.

2. Therefore it must not be used when it apparently hindereth a greater good. As we may not pray or preach when we should be quenching a fire in the town, or saving a man's life: so when reproof doth exclude some greater duty or benefit, it is unseasonable, and no duty at that time. Christ alloweth us to forbear the casting of pearls before swine, or giving that which is holy to dogs, because of these two reasons forementioned, It is no means to the contemptuous, and they will turn again and all to rend us.[151] Much more, if he be some potent enemy of the church, who will not only rend us, but the church itself, if he be so provoked: reproving him then is not our duty.

3. Particularly, When a man is in a passion or drunk usually it is no season to reprove him.

4. Nor when you are among others, who should not be witnesses of the fault, or the reproof; or whose presence will shame him, and offend him (except it be only the shaming of an incorrigible or malicious sinner which you intend).

5. Nor when you are uncertain of the fact which you would reprove, or uncertain whether it be a sin.

6. Or when you have no witness of it, (though you are privately certain,) with some that will take advantage against you as slanderers, a reproof may be omitted.

7. And when the offenders are so much your superiors, that you are like to have no better success than to be accounted arrogant; a groan or tears is then the best reproof.

8. When you are so utterly unable to manage a reproof, that imprudence or want of convincing reason, is like to make it a means of greater hurt than good.

9. When you foresee a more advantageous season, if you delay.

10. When another may be procured to do it with much more advantage, which your doing it may rather hinder.

In all these cases, that may be a sin, which at another time may be a duty.

But still remember, first, That pride, and passion, and slothfulness, is wont to pretend such reasons falsely, upon some slight conjectures, to put by a duty. Secondly, That no man must account another a dog or swine, to excuse him from this duty, without cogent evidence. And it is not every wrangling opposition, nor reproach and scorn, which will warrant us to give a man up as remediless, and speak to him no more; but only such, 1. As showeth a heart utterly obdurate, after long means. 2. Or will procure more suffering to the reprover, than good to the offender. 3. That when the thing is ordinarily a duty, the reasons of our omission must be clear and sure, before they will excuse us.[152]

Quest. Must we reprove infidels or heathens? What have we to do to judge them that are without?

Answ. Not to the ends of excommunication, because they are not capable of it,[153] which is meant 1 Cor. v. But we must reprove them, first, In common compassion to their souls. What were the apostles and other preachers sent for, but to call all men from their sins to God? Secondly, And for the defence of truth and godliness, against their words, or ill examples.

[147]   2 Thess. iii. 15; 2 Cor. ii. 4; Gal. vi. 1; 2 Tim. ii. 25; 1 Thess. v. 13.

[148]   Col. iii. 16.

[149]   Ezek. xxxiii. xxxiv.; Gal. vi. 1; Tit. ii. 4.

[150]   Ezek. ix. 4; 2 Pet. ii. 7, 8.

[151]   Prov. ix. 7, 8; Matt. vii. 6.

[152]   Gen. xx. 36; Job xiii. 13; Heb. xiii. 22; 2 Pet. i. 13; 2 Tim. ii. 25, 26.

[153]   Deut. xxii. 1.



Peace is so amiable to nature itself, that the greatest destroyers of it do commend it; and those persons in all times and places, who are the cause that the world cannot enjoy it, will yet speak well of it, and exclaim against others as the enemies of peace; as if there were no other name but their own sufficient to make their adversaries odious. As they desire salvation, so do the ungodly desire peace; which is with a double error; one about the nature of it, and another about the conditions and other means. By [820] peace they mean, the quiet, undisturbed enjoyment of their honours, wealth, and pleasures; that they may have their lusts and will without any contradiction; and the conditions on which they would have it are, the compliance of all others with their opinions and wills, and humble submission to their domination, passions, or desires. But peace is another thing, and otherwise to be desired and sought. Peace in the mind is the delightful effect of its internal harmony, as peace in the body is nothing but its pleasant health, in the natural position, state, action, and concord of all the parts, the humours, and spirits: and peace in families, neighbourhoods, churches, kingdoms, or other societies, is the quietness and pleasure of their order and harmony; and must be attained and preserved by these following means.

Direct. I. Get your own hearts into a humble frame; and abhor all the motions of pride and self-exalting. A humble man hath no high expectations from another; and therefore is easily pleased or quieted. He can bow and yield to the pride and violence of others, as the willow to the impetuous winds. His language will be submissive; his patience great; he is content that others go before him; he is not offended that another is preferred. A low mind is pleased in a low condition. But pride is the gunpowder of the mind, the family, the church, and state; it maketh men ambitious, and setteth them on striving who shall be the greatest. A proud man's opinion must always go for truth, and his will must be a law to others, and to be slighted or crossed seemeth to him an unsufferable wrong. And he must be a man of wonderful compliance, or an excellent artificer in man-pleasing and flattery, that shall not be taken as an injurious undervaluer of him: he that overvalueth himself, will take it ill of all that do not also overvalue him. If you (forgetfully) go before him, or overlook him, or neglect a compliment, or deny him something which he expected, or speak not honourably of him, much more if you reprove him, and tell him of his faults, you have put fire to the gunpowder, you have broke his peace, and he will break yours if he can. Pride broke the peace between God and the apostate angels; but nothing unpeaceable must be in heaven; and therefore by self-exalting they descended into darkness; and Christ by self-humbling ascended unto glory. It is a matter of very great difficulty to live peaceably in any family, church, or society with any one that is very proud. They expect so much of you, that you can never answer all their expectations, but will displease them by your omissions, though you neither speak or do any thing to displease them. What is it but the lust of pride which causeth most of the wars and bloodshed throughout the world? The pride of two or three men, must cost many thousands of their subjects the loss of their peace, estates, and lives. Delirant reges, plectuntur Achivi. What were the conquests of those emperors, Alexander, Cæsar, Tamerlane, Mahomet, &c. but the pernicious effects of their infamous pride; which like gunpowder taking fire in their breasts, did blow up so many cities and kingdoms, and call their villanies by the name of valour, and their murders and robberies by the name of war? If one man's pride do swell so big, that his own kingdom cannot contain it, the peace of as much of the world as he can conquer is taken to be but a reasonable sacrifice to this infernal vice. The lives of thousands, both subjects and neighbours, (called enemies by this malignant spirit,) must be cast away, merely to make this one man the ruler of the rest, and subdue the persons of others to his will. Who perhaps when he hath done, will say that he is no tyrant, but maketh the bonum publicum his end; and is kind to men against their wills; and killeth, and burneth, and depopulateth countries, for men's corporal welfare; as the papists poison, and burn, and butcher men for the saving of souls. Cuncta ferit dum cuncta timet, desævit in omnes. They are the turbines, the hurricanes or whirlwinds of the world, whose work is to overturn and ruin. Tantum ut noceat cupit esse potens. Whether they burn and kill by right or wrong is little of their inquiry; but how many are killed? and how many have submitted to their pride and wills? As when Q. Flavius complained that he suffered innocently, Valerius answered him, Non sua re interesse, dummodo periret: That was nothing to his business or concernment so he did but perish: which was plainer dealing than these glorious conquerors used, but no whit worse. He that cannot command the putrid humours out of his veins, nor the worms out of his bowels, nor will be able shortly to forbid them to crawl or feed upon his face, will now damn his soul and shed men's blood, to obtain the predomination of his will. And when he hath conquered many, he hath but made him many enemies, and may find, that in tot populis vix una fides. A quiet man can scarce with all his wit tell how to find a place where he may live in peace, where pride and cruelty will not pursue him, or the flames of war will not follow him and find him out; and perhaps he may be put to say as Cicero of Pompey and Cæsar, Quem fugiam scio; quem sequar nescio. And if they succeed by conquest, they become to their subjects almost as terrible as to their enemies. So that he that would approach them with a petition for justice, must do it as Augustus spake to a fearful petitioner, as if he did assem dare elephanto; or as if they dwelt in the inaccessible light, and must be served as God with fear and trembling. And those that flatter them as glorious conquerors, do but stir up the fire of their pride, to make more ruins and calamities in the earth, and do the work of a raging pestilence. As an Athenian orator said to the men of Athens, when they would have numbered Alexander with the gods, Cavete ne dum cœlum liberaliter donetis, terram et domicilia propria amittatis: Take heed while you so liberally give him heaven, lest he take away your part of earth. And when their pride hath consumed and banished peace, what have they got by it? That which a Themistocles, after trial, would prefer a grave to, Si una via ad solium duceret, altera ad sepulchrum.—That which Demosthenes preferred banishment before. That which the wisest philosophers refused at Athens, The great trouble of government. Inexpertus ambit; expertus odit. Cyneas asked Pyrrhus when he was preparing to invade the Romans, "What shall we do when we have conquered the Romans?" He answered, "We will go next to Sicily." "And what shall we do when Sicily is conquered?" said he: Pyrrhus said, "We will go next to Africa." "And what shall we do next?" said the other: "Why then," said he, "we will be quiet, and merry, and take our ease." "And," said Cyneas, "if that be last and best, why may we not do so now?" It is for quietness and peace that such pretend to fight and break peace; but they usually die before they obtain it (as Pyrrhus did); and might better have permitted peace to stand, than pull it down to build it better. As one asked an old man at Athens, "Why they called themselves philosophers?" who answered, "Because we seek after wisdom." Saith he, "If you are but seeking it at this age, when do you think to find it?" So I may say to the proud warriors of the world, If so many men must be killed, and so many conquered in seeking [821] peace, when will it that way be found? But perhaps they think that their wisdom and goodness are so great, that the world cannot be happy unless they govern it: but what could have persuaded them to think so, but their pride? Nihil magis ægris prodest, quam ab eo curari a quo voluerint: saith Seneca. Patients must choose their own physicians. Men use to give them but little thanks, who drench them with such benefits, and bring them to the potion of peace so hot, that the touch of the cup must burn their lips, and who in goodness cut the throats of one part, that their government may be a blessing to the survivors. In a word, it is pride that is the great incendiary of the world, whether it be found in high or low. It will permit no kingdom, family, or church to enjoy the pleasant fruits of peace.

Direct. II. If you would be peaceable, be not covetous lovers of the world, but be contented with your daily bread. Hungry dogs have seldom so great plenty of meat, as to content them all, and keep them from falling out about it. If you over-love the world, you will never want occasions of discord: either your neighbour selleth too dear, or buyeth too cheap of you, or over-reacheth you, or gets before you, or some way or other doth you wrong; as long as he hath any thing which you desire, or doth not satisfy all your expectations. Ambitious and covetous men must have so much room, that the world is not wide enough for many of them: and yet, alas! too many of them there are: and therefore they are still together by the ears, like boys in the winter nights, when the bedclothes are too narrow to cover them; one pulleth, and another pulleth, and all complain. You must be sure that you trespass not in the smallest measure, nor encroach on the least of his commodities, that you demand not your own, nor deny him any thing that he desireth, nor get any thing which he would have himself, no nor ever give over feeding his greedy expectations, and enduring his injustice and abuse, if you will live peaceably with a worldly-minded man.

Direct. III. If you will be peaceable, love your neighbours as yourselves. Love neither imagineth, nor speaketh, nor worketh any hurt to others: it covereth infirmities; it hopeth all things; it endureth all things, 1 Cor. xiii. 7. Selfishness and want of love to others, causeth all the contentions in the world. You can bear with great faults in yourselves, and never fall out with yourselves for them; but with your neighbours you are quarrelling for those that are less! Do you fall out with another because he hath spoken dishonourably or slightly of you, or slandered you, or some way done you wrong? You have done a thousand times worse than all that against yourselves, and yet can bear too patiently with yourselves! If another speak evil of you, he doth not make you evil: it is worse to make you bad than to call you so: and this you do against yourselves. Doth your neighbour wrong you in your honour or estate? But he endangereth not your soul! he doth not forfeit your salvation! he doth not deserve damnation for you, nor make your soul displeasing to God! But all this you do against yourselves, (even more than all the devils in hell do,) and yet you are too little offended with yourselves. See here the power of blind self-love! If you loved your neighbours as yourselves, you would agree as peaceably with your neighbours almost as with yourselves. Love them more, and you will bear more with them, and provoke them less.

Direct. IV. Compose your minds to christian gentleness and meekness, and suffer not passion to make you either turbulent and unquiet to others, or impatient and troublesome to yourselves. A gentle and quiet mind hath a gentle, quiet tongue. It can bear as much wrong as another can do (according to its measure); it is not in the power of Satan; he cannot at his pleasure send his emissary, and by injuries or foul words, procure it to sin; but a passionate person is frequently provoking or provoked. A little thing maketh him injurious to others; and a little injury from others disquieteth himself. He is daily troubling others or himself, or both. Coals of fire go from his lips: it is his very desire to provoke and vex those that he is angry with: his neighbour's peace and his own are the fuel of his anger, which he consumeth in a moment. To converse with him and not provoke him, is a task for such as are eminently meek and self-denying: he is as the leaves of the asp tree, that never rest, unless the day be very calm. The smallest breath of an angry tongue, can shake him out of his tranquillity, and turn him into an ague of disquietness. The sails of the wind-mill are scarce more at the wind's command, than his heart and tongue are at the command of Satan; he can move him almost when he please. Bid but a neighbour speak some hard speeches of him, or one of his family neglect or cross him, and he is presently like the raging sea, whose waves cast up the mire and dirt. An impatient man hath no security of his own peace for an hour: any enemy or angry person can take it from him when they please. And being troubled, he is troublesome to all about him. If you do not in patience possess your souls, they will be at the mercy of every one that hath a mind to vex you. Remember then that no peace can be expected without patience; nor patience without a meek and gentle mind. Remember "the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, is of great price in the sight of God," 1 Pet. iii. 4. And that "the wisdom from above is first pure, and then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated," James iii. 17. And that the Eternal "Wisdom from above, hath bid you learn of him to be meek and lowly in spirit as ever you would find rest to your souls," Matt. xi. 28, 29. And he that loseth his own peace is likest to break the peace of others.

Direct. V. Be careful to maintain that order of government and obedience, which is appointed of God for the preservation of peace, in families, churches, and commonwealths. If you will break this vessel, peace will flow out and be quickly spilt. What peace in schools, but by the authority of the schoolmaster? or in armies, but by the authority of the general? If an unwise and ungodly governor do himself violate the foundations and boundaries of peace, and either weakly or wilfully make dividing laws, no wonder if such wounds do spend the vital blood and spirits of that society: it being more in the power of the governors than of the subject, to destroy peace or to preserve it. And if the subjects make not conscience of their duty to their superiors, the banks of peace will soon be broken down, and all will be overwhelmed in tumult and confusion. Take heed therefore of any thing that tendeth to subvert government: disobedience or rebellion seldom wanteth a fair pretence; but it more seldom answereth the agent's expectation. It usually pretendeth the weaknesses, miscarriages, or injurious dealings of superiors; but it as usually mendeth an inconvenience with a mischief. It setteth fire on the house to burn up the rats and mice that troubled it. It must be indeed a grievous malady that shall need such a mischief for its remedy. Certainly it is no means of God's appointment. Take heed therefore of any thing which would dissolve these bonds. Entertain not dishonourable thoughts of your governors, and receive not, nor utter any dishonourable words [822] against them, if they be faulty open not their shame: their honour is their interest, and the people's too; without it they will be disabled for effectual government. When subjects, or servants, or children are saucily censorious of superiors, and make themselves judges of all their actions, even those which they do not understand, and when they presume to defame them, and with petulant tongues to cast contempt upon them, the fire is begun, and the sacred bonds of peace are loosed. When superiors rule with piety, justice, and true love to their subjects, and inferiors keep their place and rank, and all conspire the public good, then peace will nourish, and not till then.

Direct. VI. Avoid all revengeful and provoking words. When the poison of asps is under men's lips, (Rom. iii. 13,) no wonder if the hearers' minds that are not sufficiently antidoted against it, fester. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, Prov. xviii. 21. When the tongue is as a sword, yea, a sharp sword, (Psal. lvii. 4,) and when it is purposely whetted, (Psal. lxiv. 3,) no marvel if it pierce and wound them that are unarmed. But "by long forbearing a prince is persuaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone," Prov. xxv. 15. A railer is numbered with those that a christian must not eat with, 1 Cor. v. For christianity is so much for peace, that it abhorreth all that is against it. Our Lord when he was reviled, reviled not again, and in this was our example, 1 Pet. ii. 21, 23. A scorning, railing, reproachful tongue, "is set (as James saith, iii. 6.) on fire of hell, and it setteth on fire the course of nature;" even persons, families, churches, and commonwealths. Many a ruined society may say by experience, "Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth," James iii. 5.

Direct. VII. Engage not yourselves too forwardly or eagerly in disputes, nor at any time without necessity: and when necessity calleth you, set an extraordinary watch upon your passions. Though disputing is lawful, and sometimes necessary to defend the truth, yet it is seldom the way of doing good to those whom you dispute with: it engageth men in partiality, and passionate, provoking words, before they are aware; and while they think they are only pleading for the truth, they are militating for the honour of their own understandings. They that will not stoop to hear you as learners, while you orderly open the truth in its coherent parts, will hardly ever profit by your contendings, when you engage a proud person to bend all his wit and words against you. The servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle to all men, apt to teach, &c. 2 Tim. ii. 24.[154]

Direct. VIII. Have as little to do with men, in matters which their commodity is concerned in, as you can. As in chaffering, or in any other thing where mine and thine is much concerned: for few men are so just as not to expect that which others account unjust; and the nearest friends have been alienated hereby.

Direct. IX. Buy peace at the price of any thing which is not better than it. Not with the loss of the favour of God, or of our innocency, or true peace of conscience, or with the loss of the gospel, or ruin of men's souls; but you must often part with your right for peace, and put up wrongs in word or deed. Money must not be thought too dear to buy it, when the loss of it will be worse than the loss of money, to yourselves or those that you contend with. If a soul be endangered by it, or societies ruined by it, it will be dear-bought money which is got or saved by such means. He is no true friend of peace, that will not have it except when it is cheap.

Direct. X. Avoid censoriousness; which is the judging of men or matters that you have no call to meddle with, and the making of matters worse than sufficient proof will warrant you. Be neither busy-bodies, meddling with other men's matters, nor peevish aggravaters of all men's faults. "Judge not, that ye be not judged; for with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again," Matt. vii. 1, 2. You shall be censured, if you will censure: and if Christ be a true discerner of minds, it is they that have beams in their own eyes, who are the quickest perceivers of the motes in others. Censorious persons are the great dividers of the church, and every where adversaries to peace; while they open their mouths wide against their neighbours, to make the worst of all that they say and do, and thus sow the seeds of discord amongst all.

Direct. XI. Neither talk against men behind their backs, nor patiently hearken to them that use it. Though the detecting of a dangerous enemy, or the prevention of another's hurt, may sometimes make it a duty to blame them that are absent; yet this case, which is rare, is no excuse to the backbiter's sin. If you have any thing to say against your neighbour, tell it him in a friendly manner to his face, that he may be the better for it: if you tell it only to another, to make him odious, or hearken to backbiters that defame men secretly, you show that your business is not to do good, but to diminish love and peace.

Direct. XII. Speak more of the good than of the evil which is in others. There are none so bad, as to have no good in them: why mention you not that? which is more useful to the hearer, than to hear of men's faults. But of this more afterwards.

Direct. XIII. Be not strange, but lovingly familiar with your neighbours. Backbiters and slanders, and unjust suspicions, do make men seem that to one another, which when they are acquainted, they find is nothing so: among any honest, well-meaning persons, familiarity greatly reconcileth. Though indeed there are some few so proud and fiery, and bitter enemies to honest peace, that the way to be at peace with them is to be far from them, where we may not be remembered by them: but it is not so with ordinary neighbours or friends that are fallen out, nor differing christians: it is nearness that must make them friends.

Direct. XIV. Affect not a distance and sour singularity in lawful things. Come as near them as you can, as they are men and neighbours; and take it not for your duty to run as from them, lest you run into the contrary extreme.

Direct. XV. Be not over-stiff in your own opinions, as those that can yield in nothing to another. Nor yet so facile and yielding as to betray or lose the truth. It greatly pleaseth a proud man's mind, when you seem to be convinced by him, and to change your mind upon his arguments, or to be much informed and edified by him; but when you deny this honour to his understanding, and contradict him, and stiffly maintain your opinion against him, you displease and lose him; and indeed a wise man should gladly learn of any that can teach him more; and should most easily of any man let go an error, and be most thankful to any that will increase his knowledge: and not only in errors to change our minds, but in small and indifferent things to submit by silence, beseemeth a modest, peaceable man.

Direct. XVI. Yet build not peace on the foundation of impiety, injustice, cruelty, or faction; for that will prove but the way to destroy it in the end. Traitors, and rebels, and tyrants, and persecutors, and ambitious, covetous clergymen, do all pretend [823] peace for their iniquity: but what peace with Jezebel's whoredoms! Satan's kingdom is supported by a peace in sin; which Christ came to break that he might destroy it: while this strong man armed keepeth his house, his goods are in peace, till a stronger doth bind him, overcome him, and cast him out. Deceitful, sinful means of peace, have been the grand engine of Satan and the papal clergy, by which they have banished and kept out peace so many ages from most of the christian world. Impiis me diis ecclesiæ paci consulere, was one of the three means which Luther foretold would cast out the gospel. Where perjury, or false doctrine, or any sin, or any unjust or inconsistent terms, are made the condition of peace, men build upon stubble and briers, which God will set fire to, and soon consume, and all that peace will come to nought.

Directions for church peace I have laid down before; to which I must refer you.

[154]   1 Tim. vi. 4-6.



He that would know what theft is, must know what propriety is; and it is that plenary title to a thing, by which it is called our own; it is that right to any thing as mine, by which I may justly have it, possess it, use it, and dispose of it. This dominion or propriety is either absolute (and that belongeth to none but God) or subordinate, respective, and limited (which is the only propriety that any creature can have). Which is such a right which will hold good against the claim of any fellow-creature, though not against God's. And among men there are proprietors or owners which are principal, and some who are but dependent, subordinate, and limited. The simple propriety may remain in a landlord or father, who may convey to his tenant or his child a limited, dependent propriety under him. Injuriously to deprive a man of this propriety, or of the thing in which he hath propriety, is the sin which I speak of in this chapter; which hath no one name, and therefore I express it here by many. Whether it be theft, robbery, cozenage, extortion, or any other way of depriving another injuriously of his own; these general directions are needful to avoid it.

Direct. I. "Love not the world, nor the things that are in the world," 1 John ii. 15. Cure covetousness, and you will kill the root of fraud and theft. As a drunkard would easily be cured of his drunkenness, if you could cure him of his thirst and love to drink; so an extortioner, thief, or deceiver, would easily be cured of their outward sin, if their hearts were cured of the disease of worldliness. The love of money is the root of all this evil. Value these things no more than they deserve.

Direct. II. To this end, acquaint your hearts with the greater riches of the life to come; and then you will meet with true satisfaction. The true hopes of heaven will cure your greedy desires of earth. You durst not then forfeit your part in that perpetual blessedness, for the temporal supply of some bodily want: you durst not with Adam part with Paradise for a forbidden bit; nor as Esau profanely sell your birthright for a morsel. It is the unbelief and contempt of heaven, which maketh men venture it for the poor commodities of this world.

Direct. III. Be contented to stand to God's disposal; and suffer not any carking, discontented thoughts to feed upon your hearts. When you suffer your minds to run all day long upon your necessities and straits, the devil next tempteth you to think of unlawful courses to supply them. He will show you your neighbour's money, or goods, or estates, and tell you how well it would be with you if this were yours; he showed Achan the golden wedge; he told Gehazi how unreasonable it was that Naaman's money and raiment should be refused: he told Balaam of the hopes of preferment which he might have with Balak; he told Judas how to get his thirty pieces; he persuaded Ananias and Sapphira, that it was but reasonable to retain part of that which was their own. Nay, commonly it is discontents and cares which prepare poor wretches for those appearances of the devil, which draweth them to witchcraft for the supplying of their wants. If you took God for your God, you would take him for the sufficient disposer of the world, and one that is fitter to measure out your part of earthly things than you yourselves: and then you would rest in his wisdom, will, and fatherly providence; and not shift for yourselves by sinful means. Discontentedness of mind, and distrust of God, are the cause of all such frauds and injuries. Trust God, and you will have no need of these.

Direct. IV. Remember what promises God hath made for the competent supply of all your wants. Godliness hath the promise of this life and of that to come: all other things shall be added to you, if you seek first God's kingdom and the righteousness thereof, Matt. vi. 33. They that fear the Lord shall want nothing that is good, Psal. xxxvii. "All things shall work together for good to them that love God," Rom. viii. 28. "Let your conversation be without covetousness, and be content with such things as ye have; for he hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee," Heb. xiii. 5. Live by faith on these sufficient promises, and you need not steal.

Direct. V. Overvalue not the accommodation and pleasure of the flesh, and live not in the sins of gluttony, drunkenness, pride, gaming, or riotous courses, which may bring you into want, and so to seek unlawful maintenance. He that is a servant to his flesh cannot endure to displease it, nor can bear the want of any thing which it needeth. But he that hath mastered and mortified his flesh, can endure its labour and hunger, yea, and death too if God will have it so. Large revenues will be too little for a fleshly-minded person; but a little will serve him that hath brought it under the power of reason. Magna pars libertatis est bene moratus venter, saith Seneca: a well-nurtured, fair-conditioned belly is a great part of a man's liberty, because an ill-taught and ill-conditioned belly is one of the basest slaveries in the world. As a philosopher said to Diogenes, If thou couldst flatter Dionysius, thou needest not eat herbs; but saith Diogenes, If thou couldst eat herbs, thou needest not flatter Dionysius: he took this for the harder task: so the thief and deceiver will say to the poor, If you could do as we do, you need not fare so hardly; but a contented poor man may better answer him and say, If you could fare hardly as I do, you need not deceive or steal as you do. A proud person, that cannot endure to dwell in a cottage, or to be seen in poor or patched apparel, will be easily tempted to any unlawful way of getting, to keep him from disgrace, and serve his pride. A glutton whose heaven is in his throat, must needs fare well, however he come by it: a tippler must needs have provision for his guggle, by right or by wrong. But a humble man and a temperate [824] man can spare all this, and when he looketh on all the proud man's furniture, he can bless himself as Socrates did in a fair, with, Quam multa sunt quibus ipse non egeo! How many things be there which I have no need of! And he can pity the sensual desires which others must needs fulfil; even as a sound man pitieth another that hath the itch, or the thirst of a sick man in a fever, that crieth out for drink. As Seneca saith, "It is vice and not nature which needeth much:" nature, and necessity, and duty are contented with a little. But he that must have the pleasure of his sin, must have provision to maintain that pleasure. Quench the fire of pride, sensuality, and lust, and you may spare the cost of fuel, Rom. xiii. 13, 14; viii. 13.

Direct. VI. Live not in idleness or sloth; but be laborious in your callings, that you may escape that need or poverty which is the temptation to this sin of theft. Idleness is a crime which is not to be tolerated in christian societies. 2 Thess. ii. 6, 8, 10, 12, "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us: for ye know how ye ought to follow us; for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you, neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but worked with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you; not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample to you to follow us; for when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat: for we hear that there are some among you that walk disorderly, working not at all, but are busy-bodies; now them that are such, we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work and eat their own bread." Eph. iv. 28, "Let him that stole, steal no more, but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing that is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth." He that stealeth to maintain his idleness, sinneth that he may sin; and by one sin getteth provision for another: you see here that you are bound not only to work to maintain yourselves, but to have to give to others in their need.

Direct. VII. Keep a tender conscience, which will do its office, and not suffer you to sin without remorse. A seared, senseless conscience will permit you to lie, and steal, and deceive, and will make no great matter of it, till God awaken it by his grace or vengeance. Hence it is that servants can deceive their masters, or take that which is not allowed them, and buyers and sellers over-reach one another, because they have not tender consciences to reprove them.

Direct. VIII. Remember always that God is present, and none of your secrets can be hid from him. What the better are you to deceive your neighbour or your master, and to hide it from their knowledge, as long as your Maker and Judge seeth all? when it is he that you most wrong, and with him that you have most to do, and he that will be the most terrible avenger! What blinded atheists are you, who dare do that in the presence of the most righteous God, which you durst not do if men beheld you!

Direct. IX. Forget not how dear all that must cost you, which you gain unlawfully. The reckoning time is yet to come. Either you will truly repent or not; if you do, it must cost you remorse and sorrow, and shameful confession, and restitution of all that you have got amiss; and is it not better to forbear to swallow that morsel, which must come up again with heartbreaking grief and shame? But if you repent not unfeignedly, it will be your damnation; it will be opened in judgment to your perpetual confusion, and you must pay dear for all your gain in hell. Never look upon the gain therefore, without the shame and damnation which must follow. If Achan had foreseen the stones, and Gehazi the leprosy, and Ahab the mortal arrow, and Jezebel the licking of her blood by dogs, and Judas the hanging or precipitation, and Ananias and Sapphira the sudden death, or any of them the after misery, it might have kept them from their pernicious gain. Usually even in this life, a curse attendeth that which is ill gotten, and bringeth fire among all the rest.

Direct. X. If you are poor, consider well of the mercy which that condition may bring you, and let it be your study how to get it sanctified to your good. If men understood and believed that God doth dispose of all for the best, and make them poor to do them good, and considered what that good is which poverty may do them, and made it their chief care to turn it thus to their gain, they would not find it so intolerable a thing, as to seek to cure it by fraud or thievery. Think what a mercy it is, that you are saved from those temptations to over-love the world, which the rich are undone by. And that you are not under those temptations to intemperance, and excess, and pride as they are: and that you have such powerful helps for the mortification of the flesh, and victory over the deceiving world. Improve your poverty, and you will escape these sins.

Direct. XI. If you are but willing to escape this sin, you may easily do it by a free confession to those whom you have wronged or are tempted to wrong. He that is not willing to forbear his sin, is guilty before God, though he do forbear it. But if you are truly willing, it is easy to abstain. Do not say, that you are willing till necessity pincheth you or you see the bait; for if you are so, you may easily prevent it at that time when you are willing. If ever you are willing indeed, take that opportunity, and if you have wronged any man, go and confess it to him (in the manner I shall afterwards direct). And this will easily prevent it; for shame will engage you, and self-preservation will engage him to take more heed of you. Or, if you have not yet wronged any, but are strongly tempted to it, if you have no other sufficient remedy, go tell him, or some other fit person, that you are tempted to steal and to deceive in such or such a manner, and desire them not to trust you. If you think the shame of such a confession too dear a price to save you from the sin, pretend no more that you are truly willing to forbear it, or that ever you did unfeignedly repent of it.

Tit. 2. Certain Cases of Conscience about Theft and Injury.

Quest. I. Is it a sin for a man to steal in absolute necessity, when it is merely to save his life?

Answ. The case is very hard. I shall, I. Tell you so much as is past controversy, and then speak to the controverted part. 1. If all other unquestionable means be not first used, it is undoubtedly a sin. If either labouring or begging will save our lives, it is unlawful to steal. Yea, or if any others may be used to intercede for us. Otherwise it is not stealing to save a man's life, but stealing to save his labour, or to gratify his pride and save his honour. 2. It is undoubtedly a sin if the saving of our lives by it, do bring a greater hurt to the commonwealth or other men, than our lives are worth. 3. And it is a sin if it deprive the owner of his life, he being a person more worthy and useful to the common good. These cases are no matter of controversy.

4. And it is agreed of, that no man may steal beforehand [825] out of a distrustful fear of want. 5. Or if he take more than is of necessity to save his life. These cases also are put as out of controversy.

But whether in an innocent, absolute necessity it be lawful to steal so much as is merely sufficient to save one's life, is a thing that casuists are not agreed on. They that think it lawful, say that the preservation of life is a natural duty, and preservation of propriety is but a subservient thing which must give place to it. So Amesius de Conscient. lib. v. cap. 50, maketh it one case of lawful taking that which is another's, Si irrationabiliter censeatur dominus invitus: ut in eis quæ accipit aliquis ex alieno ad extremam et præsentem suam necessitatem sublevandam, cui alia ratione succurrere non potest. Hoc enim videtur esse ex jure naturali, divisione rerum antiquiore et superiore; quod jure humano quo facta est divisio rerum non potuit abrogari: Quo sensu non male dicitur, omnia fieri communia in extrema necessitate.

On the other side, those that deny it say, that the same God that hath bid us preserve our lives, hath appointed propriety, and forbidden us to steal, without excepting a case of necessity, and therefore hath made it simply evil, which we may not do for the procurement of any good: and the saving of a man's life will not prove so great a good, as the breaking of God's law will be an evil.

For the true determining of this case, we must distinguish of persons, places, and occasions. 1. Between those whose lives are needful to the public good and safety, and those that are not of any such concernment. 2. Between those that are in an enemy's or a strange country, and those that are in their own. 3. Between those that are in a commonwealth, and those that are either in a community, or among people not embodied or conjoined. 4. Between those that take but that which the refuser was bound to give them, and those that take that which he was not bound to give them. And so I answer,

1. Whensoever the preservation of the life of the taker is not, in open probability, like to be more serviceable to the common good, than the violation of the right of propriety will be hurtful, the taking of another man's goods is sinful, though it be only to save the taker's life. For the common good is to be preferred before the good of any individual.

2. In ordinary cases, the saving of a man's life will not do so much good as his stealing will do hurt. Because the lives of ordinary persons are of no great concernment to the common good; and the violation of the laws may encourage the poor to turn thieves, to the loss of the estates and lives of others, and the overthrow of peace and order. Therefore ordinarily it is a duty, rather to die, than take another man's goods against his will, or without his consent.

3. But in case that the common good doth apparently more require the preservation of the person's life, than the preservation of propriety and the keeping of the law in that instance, it is then no sin (as I conceive): which may fall out in many instances.

As, (1.) In case the king and his army should march through a neighbour prince's country, in a necessary war against their enemies; if food be denied them in their march, they may take it rather than perish. (2.) In case the king's army in his own dominions have no pay, and must either disband or die, if they have not provision, they may rather take free quarter, in case that their obedience to the king, and the preservation of the country, forbiddeth them to disband. (3.) When it is a person of so great honour, dignity, and desert, as that his worth and serviceableness will do more than recompense the hurt: as if Alexander or Aristotle were on ship-board with a covetous ship-master, who would let them die rather than relieve them. (4.) When a child taketh meat from a cruel parent that would famish him, or a wife from such a cruel husband! Or any man taketh his own by stealth from another who unjustly detaineth it, when it is to save his life. For here is a fundamental right ad rem, and the heinousness of his crime that would famish another, rather than give him his own, or his due, doth take off the scandal and evil consequents of the manner of taking it. (5.) But the greatest difficulty is, in case that only the common law of humanity and charity bind another to give to one that else must die, and he that needeth may take it so secretly that it shall in likelihood never be known, and so never be scandalous, nor encourage any other to steal! May not the needy then steal to save his life? This case is so hard, that I shall not venture to determine it; but only say that he that doth so in such a case, must resolve when he hath done, to repay the owner if ever he be able (though it be but a piece of bread); or to repay him by his labour and service, if he have no other way, and be thus able; or if not so, to confess it to him that he took it from, and acknowledge himself his debtor (unless it be to one whose cruelty would abuse his confession).

Quest. II. If another be bound to relieve me and do not, may I not take it, though it be not for the immediate saving of my life?

Answ. If he be bound only by God's law to relieve you, you must complain to God, and stay till he do you right, and not break his law and order, by righting yourself, in case you are not in the necessity aforesaid. If he be bound also by the law of man to relieve you, you may complain to the rulers, and seek your right by their assistance; but not by stealth.

Quest. III. If another borrow or possess my goods or money, and refuse to pay me, and I cannot have law and justice against him, or am not rich enough to sue him, may I not take them if I have an opportunity?

Answ. If he turn your enemy in a time of war, or live under another prince, with whom you are at war, or where your prince alloweth you to take it; there it seemeth undoubtedly lawful to take your own by that law of arms, which then is uppermost. But when the law that you are under forbiddeth you, the case is harder. But it is certain that propriety is in communities, and is in order of nature antecedent to human government in republics; and the preservation of it is one of the ends of government. Therefore I conceive that in case you could take your own so secretly, or in such a manner as might no way hinder the ends of government as to others, by encouraging thievery or unjust violence, it is not unlawful before God, the end of the law being the chief part of the law; but when you cannot take your own without either encouraging theft or violence in others, or weakening the power of the laws and government by your disobedience, (which is the ordinary case,) it is unlawful: because the preservation of order and of the honour of the government and laws, and the suppression of theft and violence, is much more necessary than the righting of yourself, and recovering your own.

Quest. IV. If another take by theft or force from me, may I not take my own again from him, by force or secretly, when I have no other way?

Answ. Not when you do more hurt to the commonwealth by breaking law and order, than your own benefit can recompense; for you must rather suffer than the commonwealth should suffer; but you may when no such evils follow it.

[826] Quest. V. If I be in no necessity myself, may I not take from rich men to give to the poor who are in extreme necessity?

Answ. The answer to the first case may suffice for this; in such cases wherein a poor man may not take it for himself, you may not take it for him. But in such cases as he may take it for himself, and no one else is fit to do it, he himself being unable, you may do it (when no accidental consequents forbid you).

Quest. VI. If he have so much as that he will not miss it, and I be in great want, though not like to die of famine, may I not take a little to supply my want?

Answ. No: because God hath appointed the means of just propriety; and what is not gotten by those means, is none of yours by his approbation. He is the giver of riches; and he intendeth not to give to all alike: if he give more to others he will require more of them. And if he give less to you, it is the measure which he seeth to be meetest for you; and the condition in which your obedience and patience must be tried; and he will not take it well, if you will alter your measure by forbidden means, and be carvers for yourselves, or level others.

Quest. VII. There are certain measures which humanity obligeth a man to grant to those in want, and therefore men take without asking: as to pluck an apple from a tree, or as Christ's disciples, to rub the ears of corn to eat; if a Nabal deny me such a thing, may I not take it?

Answ. If the laws of the land allow it you, you may; because men's propriety is subjected to the law for the common good. But if the law forbid it you, you may not; except when it is necessary to save your life, upon the terms expressed under the first question.

Quest. VIII. May not a wife, or child, or servant take more than a cruel husband, or parent, or master doth allow? suppose it be better meat or drink?

Answ. How far the wife hath a true propriety herself, and therefore may take it, dependeth on the contract and the laws of the land; which I shall not now meddle with. But for children and servants, they may take no more than the most cruel and unrighteous parents or masters do allow them; except to save their lives upon the conditions in the first case: but the servant may seek relief of the magistrate; and he may leave such an unrighteous master: and the child must bear it patiently as the cross by which it pleaseth God to try him; unless that the government of the parent be so bad, as to tend to his undoing; and then I think he may leave his parents for a better condition (except it be when their own necessity obligeth him to stay and suffer for their help and benefit). For it is true that a child oweth as much to his parents as he can perform, by way of gratitude, for their good: but it is true also, that a parent hath no full and absolute propriety in his child, as men have in their cattle, but is made by nature their guardian for their benefit; and therefore when parents would undo their children's souls or bodies, the children may forsake them, as being forsaken by them; further than as they are obliged in gratitude to help them, as is aforesaid.

Quest. IX. If a man do deserve to lose somewhat which he hath by way of punishment, may I not take it from him?

Answ. Not unless the law either make you a magistrate or officer to do it, or allow and permit it at the least; because it is not to you that the forfeiture is made: or if it be, you must execute the law according to the law, and not against it; for else you will offend in punishing offences.

Quest. X. But what if I fully resolve, when I take a thing in my necessity, to repay the owner, or make him satisfaction if ever I be able?

Answ. That is some extenuation of the sin, but no justification of the fact; which is otherwise unjustifiable, because it is still without his consent.

Quest. XI. What if I know not whether the owner would consent or not?

Answ. In a case where common custom and humanity alloweth you to take it for granted that he would not deny it you, (as to pluck an ear of corn, or gather an herb for medicine in his field,) you need not scruple it; unless you conjecture that he is a Nabal and would deny you. But otherwise if you doubt of his consent, you must ask it, and not presume of it without just cause.

Quest. XII. What if I take a thing from a friend but in a way of jest, intending to restore it?

Answ. If you have just grounds to think that your friend would consent if he knew it, you will not be blamable: but if otherwise, either you take it for your own benefit and use, or you take it only to make sport by; the former is theft, for all your jest; the latter is but an unlawful way of jesting.

Quest. XIII. What if I take it from him, but to save him from hurting his body with it: as if I steal poison from one that intended to kill himself by it; or take a sword from a drunken man that would hurt himself; or a knife from a melancholy man? Or what if it be to save another; as to take a madman's sword from him who would kill such as are in his way, or any angry man's that will kill another?

Answ. This is your duty according to the sixth commandment, which bindeth you to preserve your neighbour's life; so be it these conditions be observed: 1. That you keep not his sword for your benefit and advantage, nor claim a property in it; but give it his friends, or deliver it to the magistrate. 2. That you do nothing without the magistrate, in which you may safely stay for his authority and help: but if two be fighting, or thieves be robbing or murdering a man, or another's life be in present danger, you must help them without staying for the magistrate's authority. 3. That you make not this a pretence for the usurping of authority, or for resisting or deposing your lawful prince, or magistrate, or parent, or master, or of exercising your own will and passions against your superiors; pretending that you take away their swords to save themselves or others from their rage, when it is indeed but to hinder justice.

Quest. XIV. May I not then much more take away that by which he would destroy his own or other men's souls: as to take away cards or dice from gamesters; or heretical or seditious books, or play-books and romances; or to pull down idols which the idolators do adore, or are instruments of idolatry?

Answ. There is much difference in the cases, though the soul be more precious than the body: for, 1. Here there is supposed to be so much leisure and space as that you may have time to tell the magistrate of it, whose duty primarily it is: whereas in the other case it is supposed that so much delay would be a man's death. Therefore your duty is to acquaint the magistrate with the sin and danger, and not to anticipate him, and play the magistrate yourself. Or in the case of cards, and dice, and hurtful books, you may acquaint the persons with the sin, and persuade them to cast them away themselves. 2. Your taking away these instruments is not like to save them: for the love of the sin, and the will to do it, remain still; and the sinner will but be hardened by his indignation against your irregular course of charity. 3. Men are bound to save men's bodies whether they will or not, because it may be so done; [827] but no man can save another's soul against his will! And it is God's will that their salvation or damnation shall be more the fruit of their own wills, than of any other's. Therefore, though it is possible to devise an instance, in which it is lawful to steal a poisonous book or idol from another, (when it is done so secretly as will encourage no disobedience or disorder; nor is like to harden the sinner, but indeed to do him good, &c.) yet ordinarily all this is unlawful for private men, that have no government of others, or extraordinary interest in them.[155]

Quest. XV. May not a magistrate take the subjects' goods, when it is necessary for their own preservation?

Answ. I answered this question once heretofore in my "Political Aphorisms:" and because I repent of meddling with such subjects, and of writing that book, I will leave such cases hereafter for fitter persons to resolve.

Quest. XVI. But may I not take from another for a holy use; as to give to the church or maintain the bishops? If David took the hallowed bread in his necessity, may not hallowed persons take common bread?

Answ. If holy persons be in present danger of death, their lives may be saved as other men's on the terms mentioned in the first case. Otherwise God hath no need of theft or violence; nor must you rob the laity to clothe the clergy; but to do such evil on pretence of piety and good, is an aggravation of the sin.

[155]   A wife or near friend that is under no suspicion of alienating the thing to their own commodity, nor of ill designs, may go somewhat further in such cases, than an inferior or a stranger.



Tit. 1. General Directions against injurious Bargaining and Contracts.

Besides the last directions, chap. xviii., take these as more nearly pertinent to this case.

Direct. I. See that your hearts have the two great principles of justice deeply and habitually innaturalized or radicated in them, viz. The true love of your neighbour, and the denial of yourself; which in one precept are called, The loving of your neighbour as yourself. For then you will be freed from the inclination to injuries and fraud, and from the power of those temptations which carry men to these sins. They will be contrary to your habitual will or inclination; and you will be more studious to help your neighbour, than to get from him.

Direct. II. Yet do not content yourself with these habits, but be sure to call them up to act, whenever you have any bargaining with others; and let a faithful conscience be to you as a cryer to proclaim God's law, and say to you, Now remember love and self-denial, and do as you would be done by. If Alexander Severus so highly valued this saying, Quod tibi fieri non vis, alteri ne feceris, as to make it his motto, and write and engrave it on his doors and buildings (having learned it of some christians or Jews, saith Lampridius); what a crime and shame is it for Christ's own professed disciples neither to learn nor love it! Put home the question when you have any bargaining with others, How would I be dealt with myself, if my case were the same with his?

Direct. III. When the tempter draweth you to think only of your own commodity and gain, remember how much more you will lose by sin, than your gain can any way amount to. If Achan, Gehazi, Ahab, Judas, &c. had foreseen the end, and the greatness of their loss, it would have curbed their covetous desires. Believe God's word from the bottom of your heart, that you shall lose things eternal if you sinfully get things temporal, and then you will not make haste to such a bargain, to win the world and lose your souls.

Direct. IV. Understand your neighbour's case aright, and meditate on his wants and interest. You think what you want yourself; but you think not whether his wants with whom you deal, may not be as great as yours: consider what his commodity costeth him; or what the toil of the workman's labour is; what house rent he hath to pay, and what a family to maintain; and whether all this can be well done upon the rates that you desire to trade with him. And do not believe every common report of his riches, or of the price of his commodity; for fame in such cases is frequently false.

Direct. V. Regard the public good above your own commodity. It is not lawful to take up or keep up any oppressing monopoly or trade, which tendeth to enrich you by the loss of the commonwealth or of many.

Direct. VI. Therefore have a special regard to the laws of the country where you live; both as to your trade itself, and as to the price of what you sell or buy. For the law is made for the public benefit, which is to be preferred before any private man's. And when the law doth directly or indirectly set rates upon labours or commodities, ordinarily they must be observed; or else you will commit two sins at once, injury and disobedience.

Direct. VII. Also have special respect to the common estimate, and to the market price. Though it be not always to be our rule, yet ordinarily it must be a considerable part of it, and of great regard.

Direct. VIII. Let not imprudent thinking make you seem more covetous than you are. Some imprudent persons cannot tell how to make their markets without so many words, even about a penny or a trifle, that it maketh others think them covetous, when it is rather want of wit. The appearance of evil must be avoided. I know some that are ready to give a pound to a charitable use at a word, who will yet use so many words for a penny in their bargaining as maketh them deeply censured and misunderstood. If you see cause to break for a penny or a small matter, do it more handsomely in fewer words, and be gone: and do not tempt the seller to multiply words, because you do so.

Direct. IX. Have no more to do in bargaining with others, especially with censorious persons, than you needs must; for in much dealing usually there will be much misunderstanding, offence, censure, and complaint.

Direct. X. In doubtful cases, when you are uncertain what is lawful, choose that side which is safest to the peace of your consciences hereafter; though it be against your commodity, and may prove the losing of your right.

Tit. 2. Cases of Conscience about Justice in Contracts.

Quest. I. Must I always do as I would be done by? Or hath this rule any exceptions?

[828] Answ. The rule intendeth no more but that your just self-denial and love to others, be duly exercised in your dealings with all. And, 1. It supposeth that your own will or desires be honest and just, and that God's law be their rule. For a sinful will may not be made the rule of your own actions or of other men's. He that would have another make him drunk, may not therefore make another drunk: and he that would abuse another man's wife, may not therefore desire that another man would lust after or abuse his wife. He that would not be instructed, reproved, or reformed, may not therefore forbear the instructing or reproving others. And he that would kill himself, may not therefore kill another. But he that would have no hurt done to himself injuriously, should do none to others: and he that would have others do him good, should be as willing to do good to them.

2. It supposeth that the matter be to be varied according to your various conditions. A parent that justly desireth his child to obey him, is not bound therefore to obey his child; nor the prince to obey his subjects; nor the master to do all the work for his servants, which he would have his servants do for him. But you must deal by another as you would (regularly) have them deal by you, if you were in their case, and they in yours. And on these terms it is a rule of righteousness.

Quest. II. Is a son bound by the contract which his parents or guardians made for him in his infancy?

Answ. To some things he is bound, and to some things not. The infant is capable of being obliged by another upon four accounts: 1. As he is the parents' own (or a master's to whom he is in absolute servitude). 2. As he is to be ruled by the parents. 3. As he is a debtor to his parents for benefits received. 4. As he is an expectant, or capable of future benefits to be enjoyed upon conditions to be performed by him. 1. No parents or lord have an absolute propriety in any rational creature; but they have a propriety secundum quid, et ad hoc: and a parent's propriety doth in part expire or abate, as the son groweth up to the full use of reason, and so hath a greater propriety in himself. Therefore he may oblige his son only so far as his propriety extendeth, and to such acts, and to no other; for in those his will is reputatively his son's will. As if a parent sell his son to servitude, he is bound to such service as beseemeth one man to put another to. 2. As he is rector to his child, he may by contract with a third person promise that his child shall do such acts, as he hath power to command and cause him to do: as to read, to hear God's word, to labour as he is able; but this no longer than while he is under his parent's government: and so long obedience requireth him to perform their contracts, in performing their commands. 3. The child having received his being and maintenance from them, remains obliged to them as his benefactors in the debt of gratitude as long as he liveth: and that so deeply that some have questioned whether ever he can requite them (which quoad valorem beneficii he can do only by furthering their salvation; as many a child hath been the cause of the parent's conversion). And so far as the son is thus a debtor to his parents, he is obliged to do that which the parents by contract with a third person shall impose upon him. As if the parents could not be delivered out of captivity, but by obliging the son to pay a great sum of money, or to live in servitude for their release: though they never gave him any money, yet is he bound to pay the sum, if he can get it, or to perform the servitude; because he hath received more from them, even his being. 4. As the parents are both owners, (secundum quid,) and rulers, and benefactors to their child, in all three respects conjunct, they may oblige him to a third person who is willing to be his benefactor, by a conditional obligation to perform such conditions that he may possess such or such benefits: and thus a guardian or any friend who is fit to interpose for him, may oblige him. As to take a lease in his name, in which he shall be bound to pay such a rent, or do such a service, that he may receive such a commodity which is greater. Thus parents oblige their children under civil governments to the laws of the society or kingdom, that they may have the protection and benefits of subjects. In these cases the child can complain of no injury; for it is for his benefit that he is obliged: and the parent (in this respect) cannot oblige him to his hurt: for if he will quit the benefit, he may be freed when he will from his obligation, and may refuse to stand to the covenant if he dislike it. If he will give up his lease, he may be disobliged from the rent and service.

In all this you may see that no man can oblige another against God or his salvation: and therefore a parent cannot oblige a child to sin, nor to forbear hearing or reading the word of God, or praying, or any thing necessary to his salvation: nor can he oblige him to hear an heretical pastor; nor to marry an infidel or wicked wife, &c.

And here also you may perceive on what grounds it is that God hath appointed parents to oblige their children in the covenant of baptism, to be the servants of God and to live in holiness all their days.

And hence it is apparent, that no parents can oblige their children to be miserable, or to any such condition which is worse than to have no being.

Also that when parents do (as commonly they do) profess to oblige their children as benefactors for their good, the obligation is then to be interpreted accordingly: and the child is then obliged to nothing which is really his hurt.

Yea, all the propriety and government of parents, cannot authorize them to oblige the child to his hurt, but in order to some greater good, either to the parents themselves, or to the commonwealth, or others; at least that which the parents apprehend to be a greater good: but if they err through ignorance or partiality, and bind the child to a greater hurt for their lesser good, (as to pay two hundred pounds to save them from paying one hundred pounds,) whether their injury and sin do excuse the child from being obliged to any more than the proportion of the benefit required, I leave undetermined.

Quest. III. But what if the parents disagree, and one of them will oblige the child, and the other will not?

Answ. 1. If it be an act of the parents as mere proprietors for their own good, either of them may oblige him in a just degree; because they have severally a propriety. 2. If it be an act of government, (as if they oblige him to do this or that act of service at their command in his minority,) the father may oblige him against the mother's consent, because he is the chief ruler; but not the mother against the father's will, though she may without it.

Quest. IV. Is a man obliged by a contract which he made in ignorance or mistake of the matter?

Answ. I have answered this before in the case of marriage, part iii. chap. i.: I add here,

1. We must distinguish between culpable and inculpable error. 2. Between an error about the principal matter, and about some smaller accidents or circumstances. 3. Between a case where the law of the land or the common good interposeth, and where it doth not.

[829] 1. If it be your own fault that you are mistaken you are not wholly freed from the obligation; but if it was your gross fault, by negligence or vice, you are not at all freed; but if it were but such a frailty as almost all men are liable to, so that none but a person of extraordinary virtue or diligence could have avoided the mistake, then equity will proportionably make you an abatement or free you from the obligation. So far as you were obliged to understand the matter, so far you are obliged by the contract; especially when another is a loser by your error.

2. An inculpable error about the circumstances, or smaller parts, will not free you from an obligation in the principal matter; but an inculpable error in the essentials will.

3. Except when the law of the land or the common good, doth otherwise overrule the case; for then you may be obliged by that accident. In divers cases the rulers may judge it necessary, that the effect of the contract shall depend upon the bare words, or writings, or actions; lest false pretences of misunderstanding should exempt deceitful persons from their obligations, and nothing should be a security to contractors. And then men's private commodity must give place to the law and to the public good.

4. Natural infirmities must be numbered with faults, though they be not moral vices, as to the contracting of an obligation, if they be in a person capable of contracting. As if you have some special defect of memory or ignorance of the matter which you are about. Another who is no way faulty by over-reaching you, must not be a loser by your weakness. For he that cometh to the market, or contracteth with another that knoweth not his infirmity, is to be supposed to understand what he doth, unless the contrary be manifest: you should not meddle with matters which you understand not; or if you do, you must he content to be a loser by your weakness.

5. Yet in such cases, another that hath gained by the bargain, may be obliged by the laws of equity and charity, to remit the gain, and not to take advantage of your weakness; but he may so far hold you to it, as to secure himself from loss; except in cases where you become the object of his charity, and not of commutative justice only.

Quest. V. Is a drunken man, or a man in a transporting passion, or a melancholy person, obliged by a contract made in such a case?

Answ. Remember still, that we are speaking only of contracts about matters of profits or worldly interest; and not of marriage or any of another nature. And the question as it concerneth a man in drunkenness or passion, is answered as the former about culpable error; and as it concerneth a melancholy man, it is to be answered as the former question, in the case of natural infirmity. But if the melancholy be so great as to make him uncapable of bargaining, he is to be esteemed in the same condition as an idiot, or one in deliration or distraction.

Quest. VI. But may another hold a man to it, who in drunkenness or passion maketh an ill bargain, or giveth or playeth away his money; and repenteth when he is sober?

Answ. He may (ordinarily) take the money from the loser, or him that casteth it thus away; but he may not keep it for himself: but if the loser be poor, he should give it to his wife or children whom he robbeth by his sin: if not, he should either give it to the magistrate or overseer for the poor, or give it to the poor himself. The reason of this determination is, because the loser hath parted with his propriety, and can lay no further claim to the thing; but yet the gainer can have no right from another's crime: if it were from an injury, he might, so far as is necessary to reparations; but from a crime he cannot; for his loss is to be estimated as a mulct or penalty, and to be disposed of as such mulcts as are laid on swearers and drunkards are. Only the person by his voluntary bargain, hath made the other party instead of the magistrate, and authorized him (in ordinary cases) to dispose of the gain, for the poor or public good.

Quest. VII. Am I obliged by the words or writings which usually express a covenant, without any covenanting or self-obliging intention in me, when I speak or write them?

Answ. Either you utter or write those words with a purpose to make another believe that you intend a covenant; or at least by culpable negligence, in such a manner as he is bound so to understand you, or justified for so understanding you: or else you so use the words, as in the manner sufficiently to signify that you intend no covenant or self-obligation. In the former case you bind yourself (as above said); because another man is not to be a loser, nor you a gainer or a saver, by your own fraud or gross negligence. But in the latter case you are not bound, because an intent of self-obliging is the internal efficient of the obligation; and a signification of such an intent, is the external efficient, without which it cannot be. If you read over the words of a bond, or repeat them only in a narrative, or ludicrously; or if a scrivener write a form of obligation of himself, to a boy for a copy, or to a scholar for a precedent, these do not induce any obligation in conscience, nor make you a debtor to another. Thus also the case of the intent of the baptizer or baptized (or parent) is to be determined.

Quest. VIII. May a true man promise a robber money, for the saving of his life, or of a greater sum, or more precious commodity?

Answ. Yes, in case of necessity, when his life or estate cannot better be preserved; and so taxes may be paid to an enemy in arms, or to a plundering soldier (supposing that it do no other hurt, which is greater than the good). Any man may part with a lesser good to preserve a greater; and it is no more voluntary or imputable to our wills, than the casting of our goods into the sea to save the vessel and our lives.

Quest. IX. May I give money to a judge, or justice, or court officer, to hire him to do me justice, or to keep him from doing me wrong; or to avoid persecution?

Answ. You may not, in case your cause be bad, give any thing to procure injustice against another; no nor speak a word for it nor desire it: this I take as presupposed. You may not give money to procure justice, when the law of the land forbiddeth it, and when it will do more hurt accidentally to the others than good to you: when it will harden men in the sin of bribery, and cause them to expect the like from others. But except it be when some such accidental greater hurt doth make it evil, it is as lawful as to hire a thief not to kill me: when you cannot have your right by other means, you may part with a smaller matter for a greater.

Quest. X. But if I make such a contract, may the other lawfully take it of me?

Answ. No: for it is now supposed that it is unlawful on his part.

Quest. XI. But if under necessity of force I promise money to a robber, or a judge, or officer, am I bound to perform it when my necessity is over?

Answ. You have lost your own propriety by your [830] covenant, and therefore must not retain it; but he can acquire no right by his sin: and therefore some say that in point of justice you are not bound to give it him, but to give it to the magistrate for the poor; but yet prudence may tell you of other reasons a fine to give it the man himself, though justice bind you not to it; as in case that else he may be revenged and do you some greater hurt; or some greater hurt is any other way like to be the consequent; which it is lawful by money to prevent. But many think that you are bound to deliver the money to the thief or officer himself; because it is a lawful thing to do it, though he have no just title to it; and because it was your meaning, or the signification of your words in your covenant with him; and if it were not lawful to do it, it could not be lawful to promise to do it, otherwise your promise is a lie. To this, those of the other opinion say, that as a man who is discharged of his promise by him that it was made to, is not to be accounted false if he perform it not; so is it as to the thief or officer in question; because he having no right, is to you as the other that hath quit his right. And this answer indeed will prove, that it is not strict injustice not to pay the money promised; but it will not prove that it is not a lie to make such a promise with an intent of not performing it, or that it is not a lie to make it with an intent of performing it, and not to do it when you may. Though here a Jesuit will tell you that you may say the words of a promise, with an equivocation or mental reservation to a thief or persecuting magistrate (of which see more in the chapters of lying, vows, and perjury). I am therefore of opinion that your promise must be sincerely made, and according to the true intent of it you must offer the money to the thief or officer; except in case the magistrate forbid you, or some greater reason lie against it, which you foresaw not when you made the promise. But the offender is undoubtedly obliged not to take the money.

The same determination holdeth as to all contracts and promises made to such persons, who by injurious force constrained us to make them. There is on us an obligation to veracity, though none to them in point of justice, because they have no proper right; nor may they lawfully take our payment or service promised them. And in case that the public good unexpectedly cross our performance, we must not perform it: such like is the case of conquerors, and those that upon conquest become their vassals or subjects upon unrighteous terms. But still remember, that if it be not only a covenant with man, but a vow to God, which maketh him a party, the case is altered, and we remain obliged.

Quest. XII. But may I promise the thief or bribe-taker to conceal his fault? And am I obliged to the performance of such a promise?

Answ. This is a promise of omitting that which else would be a duty. It is ordinarily a duty to reveal a thief and bribe-taker that he may be punished. But affirmatives bind not ad semper; no act (especially external) is a duty at all times, therefore not this, of revealing an offender's fault. And if it be not always a duty, then it must be none when it is inconsistent with some greater benefit or duty; for when two goods come together, the greater is to be preferred: therefore in case that you see in just probability, that the concealment of the sinner will do more hurt to the commonwealth or the souls of men, than the saving of your life is like to do good, you may not promise to conceal him, or if you sinfully promise it, you may not perform it; but in case that your life is like to be a greater good than the not promising to conceal him, then such a promise is no fault, because the disclosing him is no duty. But to judge rightly of this is a matter of great difficulty. If it be less than life which you save by such a promise, it oft falls out that it is a lesser good than the detecting of the offence.

But it will here be said, If I promise not to conceal a robber, I must conceal him nevertheless; for when he hath killed me, I cannot reveal him: and I must conceal the bribe-taker; for till I have promised secrecy, I cannot prove him guilty. And he that promiseth to forbear a particular good action whilst he liveth, doth yet reserve his life for all other good works; whereas if he die, he will neither do that nor any other. But this case is not so easily determined: if Daniel die, he can neither pray nor do any good on earth. And if he live he may do much other good, though he never pray; and yet he might not promise to give over praying to save his life. I conceive that we must distinguish of duties essential to the outward part of christianity, or of constant, indispensable necessity; and duties which are alterable, and belong only to some persons, times, and places; also between the various consequents of omissions. And I conceive that ordinarily a man may promise for the saving of his life, that he will forbear a particular, alterable duty or relation; as to read such a commentary, to speak with such a minister, to be a magistrate or a minister, &c. in case we have not before bound ourselves never to give over our calling till death; and in case that the good which will follow our forbearance, is likely (to a judicious person) to be greater than the evil. But no man may promise to omit such a duty as God hath made necessary during life; as not to love God, or fear, or trust him; not to worship him, and call upon him, and praise him; not to do good to men's souls or bodies in the general; or not to preach or pray while I am a minister of Christ; or not at all to govern while you are a governor; for all these contradict some former and greater promises or duties. Nor may you omit the smallest duty to save your life, at such a time when your death is like to do more good, than your life would do without that one duty. Apply this to the present case.

Quest. XIII. If another man deceive me into a promise or covenant against my good, am I bound to perform it when I have discovered the deceit?

Answ. Yes, 1. In case that the law of the land, or other reasons for the public good, require it. 2. Or in case that you were faulty by negligence, heedlessness, or otherwise guilty of your own deceit, in any considerable and avoidable degree. Otherwise, in that measure that he deceived you, and in those respects, you are not obliged.

Quest. XIV. If the contracting parties do neither of them understand the other, is it a covenant? Or if it be, whose sense must carry it?

Answ. If they understand not each other in the essentials of the contract, it is no contract in point of conscience; except where the laws for the public safety do annex the obligation to bare external act. But if they understand not one another in some circumstances, and be equally culpable or innocent, they must come to a new agreement in those particulars; but if one party only be guilty of the misunderstanding, he must bear the loss, if the other insist on it.

Quest. XV. Am I bound to stand to the bargains which my friend, or trustee, or servant maketh for me, when it proveth much to my injury or loss?

Answ. Yes, 1. If they exceed not the bounds of that commission or trust which they received from you. 2. Or if they do, yet if by your former trusting and using them, or by any other sign, you have [831] given the other party sufficient cause to suppose them intrusted by you to do what they do, so that he is deceived by your fault, you are bound at least to see that he be no loser by you; though you are not bound to make him a gainer, unless you truly signified that you authorized them to make the contract. For if it be merely your friend's or servant's error, without your fault, it doth not bind you to a third person. But how far you may be bound to pardon that error to your friend or servant, is another question; and how far you are bound to save them harmless. And that must be determined by laying together all other obligations between them and you.

Quest. XVI. If I say I will give such or such a one this or that, am I bound thereby to do it?

Answ. It is one thing to express your present mind and resolution, without giving away the liberty of changing it; and it is another thing to intend the obliging of yourself to do the thing mentioned. And that obligation is either intended to man, or to God only; and that is either in point of rendition and use, or in point of veracity, or the performance of that moral duty of speaking truth. If you meant no more in saying, I will do it, or I will give it, but that this is your present will, and purpose, and resolution, yea, though it add the confident persuasion that your will shall not change; yet this no further obligeth you than you are obliged to continue in that will; and a man's confident resolutions may be lawfully changed upon sufficient cause. But if you intended to alienate the title to another, or to give him present right, or to oblige yourself for the future to him by that promise; or to oblige yourself to God to do it by way of peremptory assertion, as one that will be guilty of a lie if you perform it not; or if you dedicate the thing to God by those words as a vow; then you are obliged to do accordingly (supposing nothing else to prohibit it).

Quest. XVII. Doth an inward promise of the mind not expressed, oblige?

Answ. In a vow to God it doth; and if you intend it as an assertion obliging you in point of veracity, it doth so oblige you that you must lie. But it is no contract, nor giveth any man a title to what you tacitly thought of.

Quest. XVIII. May I promise an unlawful thing (simply so) without an intention of performing it, to save my life from a thief or persecutor?

Answ. No: because it is a lie, when the tongue agreeth not with the heart. Indeed those that think a lie is no sin when it hurteth not another, may justify this, if that would hold good; but I have before confuted it, part i. in the chapter against lying.

Quest. XIX. May any thing otherwise unlawful become a duty upon a promise to do it?

Answ. This is answered before, part i. chapter of perjury and vows: a thing unlawful will be so still, notwithstanding a vow or promise; and some so of that also which is unlawful antecedently but by accident; as e. g. It is not simply unlawful to cast away a cup of wine or a piece of silver (for it is lawful upon a sufficient cause); but it is unlawful to do it without any sufficient cause. Now suppose I should contract with another that I will do it; am I bound by such a contract? Many say no, because the matter is unlawful though but by accident; and the contract cannot make it lawful. I rather think that I am bound in such a case; but yet that my obligation doth not exclude me wholly from sin; it was a sin before I promised it (or vowed it) to cast away a farthing causelessly. And if I causelessly promised it, I sinned in that promise; but yet there may be cause for the performance: and if I have entangled myself in a necessity of sinning whether I do it or not, I must choose the lesser sin; for that is then my duty. (Though I should have chosen neither as long as I could avoid it.) In a great and hurtful sin I may be obliged rather to break my covenant than to commit it, yet it is hard to say so of every accidental evil: my reasons are, 1. Because the promise or covenant is now an accident to be put into the balance; and may weigh down a lighter accident on the other side (but I know that the great difficulty is to discern which is indeed the preponderating accident).

2. I think if a magistrate command me to do any thing which by a small accident is evil (as to spend an hour in vain, to give a penny in vain, to speak a word which, antecedently, was vain) that I must do it; and that then it is not vain because it manifesteth my obedience (otherwise obedience would be greatly straitened). Therefore my own contract may make it my duty; because I am able to oblige myself as well as a magistrate is. 3. Because covenant-breaking (and perjury) is really a greater sin than speaking a vain word; and my error doth not make it no sin, but only entangles me in a necessity of sinning which way soever I take.

Quest. XX. If a man make a contract to promote the sin of another for a reward, (as a corrupt judge or lawyer, officer or clerk, to promote injustice; or a resetter, to help a thief; or a bawd or whore, for the price of fornication,) may he take the reward, when the sin is committed (suppose it repented of)?

Answ. The offender that promised the reward, hath parted with his title to the money; therefore you may receive it of him (and ought, except he will rightly dispose of it himself); but withal to confess the sin and persuade him also to repent: but you may not take any of that money as your own (for no man can purchase true propriety by iniquity); but either give it to the party injured, (to whom you are bound to make satisfaction,) or to the magistrate or the poor, according as the case particularly requireth.

Quest. XXI. If I contract, or bargain, or promise to another, between us two, without any legal form or witness, doth it bind me to the performance?

Answ. Yes, in foro conscientiæ, supposing the thing lawful; but if the thing be unlawful in foro Dei, and such as the law of the land only would lay hold of you about, or force you to, if it had been witnessed, then the law of the land may well be avoided, by the want of legal forms and witnesses.

Quest. XXII. May I buy an office for money in a court of justice?

Answ. Some offices you may buy (where the law alloweth it, and it tendeth not to injustice); but other offices you may not: the difference the lawyers may tell you better than I, and it would be tedious to pursue instances.

Quest. XXIII. May one buy a place of magistracy or judicature for money?

Answ. Not when your own honour or commodity is your end: because the common good is the end of government; and to a faithful governor, it is a place of great labour and suffering, and requireth much self-denial and patience. Therefore they that purchase it as a place of honour, gain, or pleasure, either know not what they undertake, or have carnal ends; else they would rather purchase their liberty and avoid it. But if a king, or a judge, or other magistrate, see that a bad man (more unfit to govern) is like to be put in, if he be put by, it is lawful for him to purchase the people's deliverance at a very dear rate (even by a lawful war, which is more [832] than money, when the sovereign's power is in such danger): but the heart must be watched, that it pretend not the common good, and intend your own commodity and honour; and the probable consequents must be weighed; and the laws of the land must be consulted also; for if they absolutely prohibit the buying of a place of judicature, they must be obeyed.[156] And ill effects may make it sinful.

Quest. XXIV. May one sell a church benefice, or rectory, or orders?

Answ. If the benefice be originally of your own gift, it is at first in your power to give part or all, to take some deductions out of it or not: but if it be really given to the church, and you have but the patronage or choice of the incumbent, it is sacrilege to sell it for any commodity of your own: but whether you may take somewhat out of a greater benefice, to give to another church which is poorer, dependeth partly on the law of the land, and partly upon the probable consequents. If the law absolutely forbid it, (supposing that unlawful contracts cannot be avoided unless some lawful ones be restrained,) it must be obeyed for the common good; and if the consequent of a lawful contract be like to be the more hurtful encouragement of unlawful ones, such examples must be forborne, though the law were not against them. But to sell orders is undoubted simony; (that is, the office of the ministry, or the act of ordination;) though scribes may be paid for writing instruments.

Quest. XXV. May a man give money for orders or benefices, when they cannot otherwise be had?

Answ. This is answered in quest. xxii. 1. If the law absolutely forbid it, for the common safety, you may not. 2. If your end be chiefly your own commodity, ease, or honour, you may not. But in case you were clear from all such evils, and the case were only this, whether you might not give money to get in yourself, to keep out a heretic, a wolf, or insufficient man, who might destroy the people's souls, I see not but it might well be done.

Quest. XXVI. May I give money to officers, servants, or assistants for their furtherance?

Answ. For writings or other servile acts about the circumstantials you may; but not (directly or indirectly) to promote the simoniacal contract. What you may not give to the principal agent, you may not give his instruments or others for the same end.

Quest. XXVII. May I give or do any thing afterward by way of gratitude, to the patron, bishop, or any others, their relations or retainers?

Answ. Not when the expectation of that gratitude was a (secret or open) condition of the presentation or orders; and you believe that you should not else have received them: therefore promised gratitude is but a kind of contracting. Nor may you show gratitude by any scandalous way, which seemeth simony. Otherwise, no doubt but you may be prudently grateful for that or any other kindness.

Quest. XXVIII. May not a bishop or pastor take money for sermons, sacraments, or other offices?

Answ. Not for the things themselves; he must not sell God's word and sacraments, or any other holy thing. But they that serve at the altar may live on the altar, and the elders that rule well are worthy of double honour; and the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn should not be muzzled. They may receive due maintenance while they perform God's service, that they may be vacant to attend their proper work.

Quest. XXIX. May one person disoblige another of a promise made to him?

Answ. Yes, if it be no more than a promise to that person; because a man may give away his right; but if it be moreover a vow to God, or you intend to oblige yourself in point of veracity under the guilt of a lie if you do otherwise, these alter the case, and no person can herein disoblige you.

Quest. XXX. But what if the contract be bound by an oath, may another then release me?

Answ. Yes, if that oath did only tie you to perform your promise; and were no vow to God, which made him a party by dedicating any thing to him; for then the oath being but subservient to the promise, he that dischargeth you from the promise, dischargeth you also from the oath which bound you honestly to keep it.

Quest. XXXI. Am I bound by a promise when the cause or reason of it proveth a mistake?

Answ. If by the cause you mean only the extrinsical reasons which moved you to it, you may be obliged nevertheless for finding your mistake; only so far as the other was the culpable cause, (as is aforesaid,) he is bound to satisfy you; but if by the cause you mean the formal reason, which constituteth the contract, then the mistake may in some cases nullify it (of which enough before).

Quest. XXXII. What if a following accident make it more to my hurt than could be foreseen?

Answ. In some contracts it is supposed or expressed, that men do undertake to run the hazard; and then they must stand obliged. But in some contracts, it is rationally supposed that the parties intend to be free, if so great an alteration should fall out. But to give instances of both these cases would be too long a work.

Quest. XXXIII. What if something unexpectedly fall out, which maketh it injurious to a third person? I cannot sure be obliged to injure another.

Answ. If the case be the latter mentioned in the foregoing answer, you may be thus free; but if it be the former, (you being supposed to run the hazard, and secure the other party against all others,) then either you were indeed authorized to make this bargain, or not; if not, the third person may secure his right against the other; but if you were, then you must make satisfaction as you can to the third person. Yea, if you made a covenant without authority, you are obliged to save the other harmless, unless he knew your power to be doubtful, and did resolve to run the hazard.

Quest. XXXIV. What if something fall out which maketh the performance to be a sin?

Answ. You must not do it; but you must make the other satisfaction for all the loss which you were the cause of, unless he undertook to stand to the hazard of this also (explicitly or implicitly).

Quest. XXXV. Am I obliged if the other break covenant with me?

Answ. There are covenants which make relations (as between husband and wife, pastor and flock, rulers and subjects); and covenants which convey title to commodities, of which only I am here to speak. And in these there are some conditions which are essential to the covenant; if the other first break these conditions, you are disobliged. But there are other conditions which are not essential, but only necessary to some following benefit, whose non-performance will only forfeit that particular benefit; and there are conditions which are only undertaken subsequent duties, trusted on the honesty of the performer; and in these a failing doth not disoblige you. These latter are but improperly called conditions.

Quest. XXXVI. May I contract to perform a thing which I foresee is like to become impossible [833] or sinful, before the time of performance come, though it be not so at present.

Answ. With all persons you must deal truly; and with just contractors openly; but with thieves, and murderers, and persecutors, you are not always bound to deal openly. This being premised, either your covenant is absolutely, This I will do, be it lawful or not, possible or impossible; and such a covenant is sin and folly: or it is conditional, This I will do, if it continue lawful, or possible: this condition (or rather exception) is still implied where it is not expressed, unless the contrary be expressed: therefore such a covenant is lawful with a robber with whom you are not bound to deal openly; because it is but the concealing from him the event which you foresee. As e. g. you have intelligence that a ship is lost at sea, or is like to be taken by pirates, which the robber expecteth shortly to come safe into the harbour: you may promise him to deliver up yourself his prisoner, when that ship cometh home. Or you know a person to be mortally sick, and will die before the next week; you may oblige yourself to marry or serve that person two months hence; for it is implied, if he or she be then alive. But with equal contractors, this is unlawful, with whom you are obliged not only to verity but to justice; as in the following cases will be further manifested.

Tit. 3. Special Cases about Justice in Buying and Selling.

Quest. I. Am I bound to endeavour that he whom I deal with may be a gainer by the bargain as well as I?

Answ. Yes, if you be equally in want, or in the like condition; but if he be very poor, and you be rich, charity must be so mixed with justice, that you must endeavour that it be more to his commodity than yours (if he be one indeed that you owe charity to). And if you be poor, and he be rich, you may be willing to be the only gainer yourself, so be it you covet not another's, nor desire that he be wronged; for when he hath power to deal charitably, you may be willing of his charity or kindness.

Quest. II. May I desire or take more than my labour or goods are worth, if I can get it?

Answ. 1. Not by deceit, persuading another that they are worth more than they are. 2. Not by extortion, working upon men's ignorance, error, or necessity (of which more anon). 3. Not of any one that is poorer than yourself, or of any one that intendeth but an equal bargain. 4. But if you deal with the rich, who in generosity stick not at a small matter, and are willing another should be a gainer by them, and understand what they do, it is lawful to take as much as they will give you.

Quest. III. May I ask in the market more than my goods are truly worth?

Answ. In the case last mentioned you may; when you are selling to the rich, who are willing to show their generosity, and to make you gainers. But then the honest way is to say, it is worth but so much; but if you will give so much more because I need it, I will take it thankfully. Some think also where the common custom is to ask more than the worth, and people will not buy unless you come down from your first demand, that then you may lawfully ask more, because else there is no trading with such people. My judgment in this case is this, 1. That ordinarily it is better to ask no more at all but a just gain; and that the inconveniences of doing otherwise are greater than any on the other side; for he that heareth you ask unjustly may well think that you would take unjustly if you could get it, and consequently that you are unjust. 2. But this just gain lieth not always just in an indivisible quantity, or determinate price. A man that hath a family to maintain by his trade, may lawfully take a proportionable, moderate gain; though if he take less he may get something too. To be always just at a word is not convenient; for he that may lawfully get two or three shillings or more in the pound of the rich, may see cause to let a poorer person have it for less; but never ask above what it is reasonable to take. 3. And if you once peremptorily said, I will take no less, then it is not fit to go from your word. 4. And if you do meet with such fools or proud gallants, who will not deal with you unless you ask dear, it is just that when they have given you more than it is worth, you tell them so, and offer them the overplus again. And for them that expect that you abate much of your asking, it is an inconvenience to be borne, which will be ever to your advantage when you are once better known.

Quest. IV. How shall the worth of a commodity be judged of?

Answ. 1. When the law setteth a rate upon any thing (as on bread and drink with us) it must be observed. 2. If you go to the market, the market price is much to be observed. 3. If it be in an equal contract, with one that is not in want, you may estimate your goods as they cost you, or are worth to you, though it be above the common price; seeing the buyer is free to take or leave them. 4. But if that which you have to sell be extraordinarily desirable, or worth to some one person more than to you or another man, you must not make too great an advantage of his convenience or desire; but be glad that you can pleasure him, upon equal, fair, and honest terms. 5. If there be a secret worth in your commodity which the market will take no notice of, (as it is usual in a horse,) it is lawful for you to take according to that true worth if you can get it. But it is a false rule of them that think their commodity is worth as much as any one will give.

Quest. V. Is it lawful to make a thing seem better than it is, by trimming, adorning, or setting the best side outward or in sight; or to conceal the faults of what I am to sell?

Answ. It is lawful to dress, polish, adorn, or set out your commodity, to make it seem as it is indeed, but not to make it seem better than it is: except in some very few unusual cases; as if you deal with some fantastical fool, who will not buy it, nor give you the true worth, except it be so set out, and made in some respects to seem better than it is. It is lawful so far to serve their curiosity or humour, as to get the worth of your commodity. But if you do it to get more than the worth by deceiving, it is a sin. And such glossing hath so notable an appearance of deceit, that for that scandal it should be avoided.

2. And as for concealing the fault, the case is the same; you ought not to deceive your neighbour, but to do as you would be done by; and therefore must not conceal any fault which he desireth or is concerned to know. Except it be when you deal with one who maketh a far greater matter of that fault than there is cause, and would wrong you in the price if it were known: yea, and that exception will not hold neither, except in a case when you must needs sell, and they must buy it: because, 1. You may not have another man's money against his will, though it be no more than the thing is worth. 2. Because it will be scandalous when the fault is known by him that buyeth it.

Quest. VI. What if the fault was concealed from me when I bought it, or if I were deceived or over-reached by him that sold it me, and gave more than [834] the worth, may I not repair my loss by doing as I was done by?

Answ. No: no more than you may cut another's purse, because yours was cut; you must do as you would be done by, and not as you are done by. What you may do with the man that deceived you, is a harder question; but doubtless you may not wrong an honest man, because you were wronged by a knave.

Object. But it is taken for granted in the market, that every man will get as much as he can have, and that caveat emptor is the only security; and therefore every man trusteth to his own wit, and not to the seller's honesty, and so resolveth to run the hazard.

Answ. It is not so among christians, nor infidels who profess either truth or common honesty. If you come among a company of cut-purses, where the match is made thus, Look thou to thy purse, and I will look to mine, and he that can get most let him take it! then indeed you have no reason to trust another. But there are no tradesmen or buyers who will profess that they look not to be trusted, or say, I will lie or deceive you if I can. Among thieves and pirates such total distrust may be allowed; but among sober persons in civil societies and converse, we must in reason and charity expect some truth and honesty, and not presume them to be all liars and deceivers, that we may seem to have allowance to be such ourselves. Indeed we trust them, not absolutely as saints, but with a mixture of distrust, as fallible and faulty men: and so as to trust our own circumspection above their words, when we know not the persons to be very just. But we have no cause to make a market a place of mere deceit, where every one saith, Trust not me, and I will not trust thee; but let us all take one another for cheats and liars, and get what we can! Such censures savour not of charity, or of just intentions.

Quest. VII. What if I foresee a plenty and cheapness in a time of dearth, which the buyer foreseeth not, (as if I know that there are ships coming in with store of that commodity which will make it cheap,) am I bound to tell the buyer of it, and hinder my own gain?

Answ. There may be some instances in trading with enemies, or with rich men, that regard not such matters, or with men that are supposed to know it as well as you, in which you are not bound to tell them. But in your ordinary equal trading, when you have reason to think that the buyer knoweth it not, and would not give so dear if he knew it, you are bound to tell him; because you must love your neighbour as yourself, and do as you would be done by, and not take advantage of his ignorance.

Quest. VIII. If I foresee a dearth, may I not keep my commodity till then?

Answ. Yes, unless it be to the hurt of the commonwealth; as if your keeping it in be the cause of the dearth, and your bringing it forth would help to prevent it.

Quest. IX. May one use many words in buying and selling?

Answ. You must use no more than are true, and just, and useful: but there are more words needful with some persons who are talkative and unsatisfied than with others.

Quest. X. May I buy as cheap as I can get it, or give less than the thing is worth?

Answ. If it be worth more to you than the market price, (through your necessity,) you are not bound to give above the market price. If it be worth less to you than the market price, you are not bound to give more than it is worth to you, as suited to your use. But you must not desire nor seek to get another's goods or labour for less than it is worth in both these respects (in common estimate, and to you).

Quest. XI. May I take advantage of another's necessity to buy for less than the worth, or sell for more: as e. g. a poor man must needs have money suddenly for his goods, though he sell them but for half the worth; and I have no need of them: am I bound to give him the worth when I have no need? and when it is a great kindness to him to give him any thing in that strait? So also when I have no desire to sell my horse, and another's necessity maketh him willing to give more than he is worth, may I not take it?

Answ. To the first case: you must distinguish between an act of justice and of charity; and between your need of the thing and the worth of it to you. Though you have no need of the poor man's goods, yet if you buy them, both justice and charity require that you give him as much as they are worth to you, though not so much as they are worth in the market: yea, and that you buy them of him in his necessity; for if you give him but what they are worth to you, you are no loser by it; and you should do another good, when it is not to your own hurt or loss. By what they are worth to you, I mean so much as that you be no loser. As, if it be meat or drink, though you have no present need, perhaps you will shortly have need, and if you buy not that, you must buy as much of somewhat else. In strict justice you may be a saver, but not a gainer, by buying of the poor in their necessity. 2. But if you buy a durable commodity for less than it is worth, you should take it but as a pledge, and allow the seller liberty to redeem it if he can, that he may get more after of another. 3. And to the poor in such necessity, charity must be exercised as well as justice. Therefore if you are able to lend them money to save them the loss of underselling, you should do it. (I account that man only able who hath money which no greater service of God requireth.) And if you are not able yourself, you should endeavour to get some others to relieve him, if you can without a greater inconvenience.

And for the second case, it is answered before: you may not take more than it is worth, ever the more for another's necessity; nor in any other case than you might have done it in, if there had been no such necessity of his.

Quest. XII. May I not make advantage of another's ignorance or error in bargaining?

Answ. Not to get more than your commodity is worth, nor to get his goods for less than the worth; no, nor to get the true worth against his will, or with scandal: but if it be only to get a true worth of your own commodity when he is willing, but would be offended if his ignorance in some point were cured, you may so far make use of his ignorance to a lawful end, as is said before in the case of concealing faults.

Quest. XIII. May I strive to get before another, to get a good bargain which he desireth?

Answ. Yes, if you do it not out of a greedy mind, nor to the injury of one that is poorer than yourself: you should rather further the supply of your neighbour's greater needs; otherwise speed and industry in your calling is no fault, nor yet the crossing of a covetous man's desires: you are not bound to let every man have what he would have.

Quest. XIV. May I buy a thing out of another's hand, or hire a servant which another is about or is treating with? Or may I call a chapman from another to buy of me?

[835] Answ. There are some cases in which you may not do it, and some in which you may. You may not do it out of a greedy covetousness; nor to the injury of the poor: nor when the other hath gone so far in the bargain that it cannot be honestly broken; for then you injure the third person, and tempt the other to a sin: nor may you do it so as to disturb the due and civil order, which should be among moderate men in trading. And it is a great matter how the thing is accounted of by the custom of the country or market where you bargain; for where it is of ill report, and accounted as unjust, the scandal should make you avoid such a course. But yet in some cases it is lawful, and in some a needful duty. It is lawful when none of the foresaid reasons (or any such other) are against it: it is a duty when charity to the poor or oppressed doth require it. As e. g. a poor man must needs sell his land, his horse, his corn, or goods: a covetous oppressor offereth him less than it is worth. The poor man must take his offer if he can get no more: the oppressor saith that it is injustice for any one to take his bargain out of his hand, or offer money till he have done: in this case it may be a duty, to offer the poor man the worth of his commodity, and save him from the oppressor. A covetous man offereth a servant or labourer less than their service or labour is worth; and will accuse you, if you interrupt his bargain and would offer his servant more: in this case it may be your duty to help the servant to a better master. A chapman is ready to be cheated by an unconscionable tradesman, to give much more for a commodity than its worth: charity may oblige you in such a case to offer it him cheaper. In a word, if you do it for your own gain, in a greedy manner, it is a sin; but if you do it when it is not scandalous or injurious, or do it in charity for another's good, it is lawful, and sometimes a duty.

Quest. XV. May I dispraise another's commodity to draw the buyer to my own?

Answ. This case is sufficiently answered in the former: 1. You may not use any false dispraise: 2. Nor a true one out of covetousness, nor in a scandalous manner. 3. But you may help to save another from a cheater, by opening the deceit in charity to him.

Quest. XVI. What should I do in doubtful cases, where I am uncertain whether the thing be just or not?

Answ. Causeless, perplexing, melancholy scruples, which would stop a man in the course of his duty, are not to be indulged: but in rational doubts, first use your utmost diligence (as much as the nature of the cause requireth) to be resolved; and if yet you doubt, be sure to go the safer way, and to avoid sin rather than loss, and to keep your consciences in peace.

Quest. XVII. If the buyer lose the commodity between the bargain and the payment, (as if he buy your horse, and he die before payment, or presently after,) what should the seller do to his relief?

Answ. If it were by the seller's fault, or by any fault in the horse which he concealed, he is to make the buyer full satisfaction. If it were casually only, rigorous justice will allow him nothing; and therefore if it be either to a man that is rich enough to bear it without any great sense of the loss, or in a case where in common custom the buyer always standeth to the loss, mere justice will make him no amends. But if it be where custom makes some abatement judged a duty, or where the person is so poor as to be pinched by the loss, that common humanity, which all good men use in bargaining, which tempereth justice with charity, will teach men to bear their part of the loss; because they must do as they would be done by.

Quest. XVIII. If the thing bought and sold prove afterward of much more worth than was by either party understood, (as in buying of ambergris and jewels it oft falleth out,) is the buyer bound to give the seller more than was bargained for?

Answ. Yes, if it were the seller's mere ignorance and insufficiency in that business which caused him so to undersell it (as if an ignorant countryman sell a jewel or ambergris, who knoweth not what it is, a moderate satisfaction should be made him). But if it were the seller's trade, in which he is to be supposed to be sufficient, and if it be taken for granted beforehand, that both buyer and seller will stand to the bargain whatever it prove, and that the seller would have abated nothing if it had proved less worse than the price, then the buyer may enjoy his gain; much more if he run any notable hazard for it, as merchants use to do.

Quest. XIX. What if the title of the thing sold prove bad, which was before unknown?

Answ. If the seller either knew it was bad, or through his notable negligence was ignorant of it, and did not acquaint the buyer with so much of the uncertainty and danger as he knew, or if it was any way his fault that the buyer was deceived, and not the buyer's fault, he is bound to make him proportionable satisfaction. As also in case that by law or bargain he be bound to warrant the title to the buyer. But not in case that it be their explicit or implicit agreement that the buyer stand to the hazard, and the seller hath done his duty to make him know what is doubtful.

Quest. XX. What if a change of powers or laws do overthrow the title, almost as soon as it is sold, (as it oft falls out about offices and lands,) who must bear the loss?

Answ. The case is near the same with that in quest. xvii. It is supposed that the seller should have lost it himself if he had kept it but a little longer; and that neither of them foresaw the change; and therefore that the seller hath all his money, rather for his good hap, than for his lands or office (which the buyer hath not). Therefore except it be to a rich man that feeleth not the loss, or one that expressly undertook to stand to all hazards, foreseeing a possibility of them, charity and humanity will teach the seller to divide the loss.

The same is the case of London now consumed by fire; where thousands of suits are like to rise between the landlords and the tenants. Where the providence of God (permitting the burning zeal of some papists) hath deprived men of the houses which they had hired or taken leases of, humanity and charity requireth the rich to bear most of the loss, and not to exact their rents or rebuilding from the poor, whatever the law saith, which could not be supposed to foresee such accidents. Love your neighbours as yourselves; do as you would be done by; and oppress not your poor brethren; and then by these three rules you will yourselves decide a multitude of such doubts and difficulties, which the uncharitable only cannot understand.

Tit. 4. Cases of Conscience about Lending and Borrowing.

Quest. I. May a poor man borrow money, who knoweth that he is unable to repay it, and hath no rational proof that he is very likely to be able hereafter?

Answ. No: unless it be when he telleth the lender truly of his case, and he is willing to run the hazard; else it is mere thievery covered with the cheat of [836] borrowing; for the borrower desireth that of another, which he would not lend him, if he expected it not again; and to take a man's money or goods against his will is robbery.

Object. But I am in great necessity.

Answ. Begging in necessity is lawful; but stealing or cheating is not, though you call it borrowing.

Object. But it is a shame to beg.

Answ. The sin of thievish borrowing is worse than shame.

Object. But none will give me if I beg.

Answ. If they will give but to save your life at the present, you must take it, though they give you not what you would have: the poorest beggar's life is better than the thief's.

Object. But I hope God may enable me to pay hereafter.

Answ. If you have no rational way to manifest the soundness of that hope to another, it is but to pretend faith and hope for thievery and deceit.

Object. God hath promised, that those that fear him shall want no good thing. And therefore I hope I may be able to repay it.

Answ. If you want not, why do you borrow? If you have enough to keep you alive by begging, God maketh good all his promises to you; yea, or if you die by famine. For he only promiseth you that which is best; which for aught you know may be beggary or death. God breaketh not promise with his servants who die in common famine, no more than with them who die in plagues or wars. Make not God the patron of sin; yea, and your faith a pretence for your distrust. If you trust God, use no sinful means; if you trust him not, this pleading of his promise is hypocrisy.

Quest. II. May a tradesman drive a trade with borrowed money, when his success, and so his repayment, is utterly an uncertain thing?

Answ. There are some trades where the gain is so exceeding probable, next to certain, as may warrant the borrowing of money to manage them, when there is no rational probability of failing in the payment. And there are some tradesmen, who have estates of their own, sufficient to repay all the money which they borrow. But otherwise, when the money is rationally hazardous, the borrower is bound in conscience to acquaint the lender fully with the hazard, that he may not have it against his will. Otherwise he liveth in constant deceit or thievery. And if he do happen to repay it, it excuseth not his sin.

Quest. III. If a borrower be utterly unable to pay, and so break while he hath something, may he not retain somewhat for his food or raiment?

Answ. No: unless it be in order to set up again in hope to repay his debts: for all that he hath being other men's, he may not take so much as bread to his mouth, out of that which is theirs, without their consent.

Quest. IV. But if a man have bound himself to his wife's friends upon marriage to settle so much upon her or her children, and this obligation was antecedent to his debts, may he not secure that to his wife or children, without any injury to his creditors?

Answ. The law of the land must much decide this controversy. If the propriety be actually before transferred to wife or children, it is theirs, and cannot be taken from them; but if it were done after by a deed of gift to defraud the creditors, then that deed of gift is invalid, till debts be paid. If it be but an obligation and no collation of propriety, the law must determine who is to be first paid; and whether the wife be supposed to run the hazard of gaining or losing with the husband: and though the laws of several countries herein differ, and some give the wife more propriety than others do, yet must they in each place be conscientiously observed, as being the rule of such propriety. But we must see that there be no fraudulent intent in the transaction.

Quest. V. May not a tradesman retain somewhat to set up again, if his creditors be willing to compound for a certain part of the debt?

Answ. If he truly acquaint them with his whole estate, and they voluntarily allow him part to himself, either in charity, or in hope hereafter to be satisfied, this is no unlawful course; but if he hide part from them, and make them believe that the rest is all, this is but a thievish procurement of their composition or consent.

Quest. VI. May a borrower lawfully break his day of promised payment, in case of necessity?

Answ. True necessity hath no law: that is, a man is not bound to do things naturally impossible; but if he might have foreseen that necessity, or the doubtfulness of his payment at the day, it was his sin to promise it, unless he put in some limitation, If I be able, and acquainted the lender with the uncertainty. However it be, when the time is come, he ought to go to his creditor, and tell him of his necessity, and desire further time, and endeavour to pay it as soon as he is able: and if he be not able, to make him what satisfaction he can, by his labour, or any other lawful way.

Quest. VII. May I borrow of one to pay another, to keep my day with the first?

Answ. Yes, if you deal not fraudulently with the second, but are able to pay him, or acquaint him truly with your case.

Quest. VIII. Suppose that I have no probability of paying the last creditor, may I borrow of one to pay another, and so live upon borrowing; or must I rather continue in one man's debt?

Answ. If you truly acquaint your creditors with your state, you may do as is most to your convenience. If the first creditor be able and willing rather to trust you longer, than that you should borrow of another to pay him, you may continue his debtor, till you can pay him without borrowing, but if he be either poor or unwilling to bear with you, and another that is able be willing to venture, you may better borrow of another to pay him. But if they be all equally unwilling to stand to any hazard by you, then you must rather continue in the first man's debt, because if you wrong another you will commit another sin: nay, you cannot borrow in such a case, because it is supposed that the other will not lend, when he knoweth your case. And you must not at all conceal it from him.

Object. But it may be my ruin to open my full state to another.

Answ. You must not live upon cheating and thievery to prevent your ruin: and what can it be less to get another man's money against his will, if you hide your case, which if he knew he would not lend it you.

Object. But what if I tell him plainly, that I will pay him certainly by borrowing of another, though I cannot pay him for mine own, and though I be not like to pay the last?

Answ. If you truly thus open your case to every one that you borrow of, you may take it, if they will lend it; for then you have their consent: and it is supposed, that every one is willing to run the hazard of being the last creditor.

Quest. IX. May I lend upon pledges, pawns, or mortgages for my security?

Answ. Yes, so you take not that from a poor man [837] for a pledge, which is necessary to his livelihood and maintenance: as the bed which he should lie on, the clothes which he should wear, or the tools which he should work with; and be not cruel on pretence of mercy.

Quest. X. May I take the forfeiture and keep a pledge or mortgage upon covenants?

Answ. If it be among merchants and rich men, an act of merchandise, and not of mere security for money lent, then it is another case: as if they make a bargain thus, Take this jewel or this land for your money; and it shall be yours if I pay you not at such a day: I am willing to stand to the hazard of uncertainty; if I pay you not, suppose it is for my own commodity, and not through disability. In this case it is lawful to take the forfeiture, or detain the thing. But if it be properly but a pledge to secure the money, then the final intent is but that your money may be repaid; and you may not take the advantage of breaking a day, to take that from another which is none of your own. Justice will allow you only to take so much as your money came to, and to give the overplus (if there be any) to the debtor. And mercy will require you rather to forgive the debt, than to keep a pledge which he cannot spare, but to his ruin and misery, (as his food, his raiment, his tools, his house, &c.) unless you be in as great necessity as he.

Quest. XI. May I take the bond or promise of a third person as security for my money?

Answ. Yes, in case that other be able and willing to be responsible; for you have his own consent; but great caution should be used, that you take no man that is insufficient, from whom mercy forbiddeth you to take it, in case the principal debtor fail; unless you take his suretiship but in terrorem, resolving not to take it of him: and also that you faithfully tell the sureties that you must require it of them in case of non-payment, and therefore try whether indeed they are truly willing to pay it: for if they be such as truly presume that you will not take it of them, or will take it ill to be sued for it, you should not take their suretiship, unless you purpose not to seek it (except in necessity).

Quest. XII. Is it lawful to lend upon usury, interest, or increase?

Answ. This controversy hath so many full treatises written on it, that I cannot expect that so few words as I must lay out upon it should satisfy the studious reader. All the disputes about the name of usury I pass by; it being, The receiving any additional gain as due for money lent, which is commonly meant by the word, and which we mean in the question. For the questions, Whether we may bargain for it, or tie the debtor to pay it? Whether we may take it after his gain as partaking in it, or before? Whether we must partake also in the loss, if the debtor be a loser? with other such like, are but subsequent to the main question, Whether any gain (called use) may be taken by the lender as his due for the money lent? My judgment is as followeth.

I. There is some such gain or usury lawful and commendable. II. There is some such gain or usury unlawful and a heinous sin. I shall first give my reasons of the first proposition.

I. If all usury be forbidden it is either by the law of nature, or by some positive law of supernatural revelation: if the latter, it is either by some law of Moses, or by some law of Christ: if the former, it is either as against the rule of piety to God, or against justice or charity to men. That which is neither a violation of the natural laws of piety, justice, or charity; nor against the supernaturally revealed laws of Moses or of Christ, is not unlawful. But there is some usury which is against none of all these; ergo there is some usury which is not unlawful.

I will first lay you down the instances of such usury, and then prove it. There is a parcel of land to be sold for a thousand pounds, which is worth forty pounds per annum, and hath wood on it worth a thousand pounds (some such things we have known): John N. is willing to purchase it; but he hath a poor neighbour, T. S. that hath no money, but a great desire of the bargain. J. N. loving his neighbour as himself, and desiring his wealth, lendeth him the thousand pounds upon usury for one year. T. S. buyeth the land, and selleth the wood for the same money, and repayeth it in a year, and so hath all the land for almost nothing; as if J. N. had purchased the land and freely given it him, after a year or two; the gift had been the same.

Object. Here you suppose the seller wronged by selling his land almost for nothing.

Answ. 1. That is nothing at all to the present case, but a different case by itself. 2. I can put many cases in which such a sale may be made without any wrong to the seller: as when it is done by some prince, or state, or noble and liberal person, purposely designing the enriching of the subjects, or after a war, as lately in Ireland. So that the question is, whether J. N. may not give T. S. a thousand or eight hundred pounds' worth of land, taking a year's rent first out of the land, or a year's use for the money, which cometh to the same sum.

Another: a rich merchant trading into the East Indies, having five thousand pounds to lay out upon his commodities in traffic, when he hath laid out four thousand five hundred pounds, lendeth in charity the other five hundred pounds to one of his servants to lay out upon a commodity, which when it cometh home will be worth two thousand pounds; and offereth him to secure the carriage with his own; requiring only the use of his money at six per cent. Here the taking of thirty pounds' use, is but the giving him one thousand four hundred and seventy pounds, and is all one with deducting so much of the gift.

Another instance: certain orphans having nothing left them but so much money as will by the allowed use of it find them bread and poor clothing; the guardian cannot lay it out in lands for them; and if he maintain them upon the stock, it will be quickly spent, and he must answer for it: a rich man that is their neighbour tradeth in iron works, (furnaces or forges,) or lead works, or other such commodities, in which he constantly getteth the double of the stock which he employeth, or at least twenty pounds or forty pounds in the hundred; the guardian dare not lend the money to any poor man, lest he break and never be able to pay it; therefore he lendeth it this rich man. And if he have it without usury, the poor orphans give the rich man freely twenty pounds or forty pounds a year, supposing their stock to be a hundred; if he take usury, the rich man doth but give the poor orphans some part of his constant gain.

Another instance: in a city or corporation where there is a rich trade of clothing or making silks, there is a stock of money given by legacy for the poor, and intrusted into the hands of the richest of the city, to trade with and give the poor the use of it: and there is another stock left to set up young beginners, who have not a stock to set up themselves; on condition that they give the third part of their gain to the poor, and at seven years' end resign the stock: the question is, Whether the poor should be without this use of their money, and let [838] the rich go away with it? or whether they may take it?

Now I prove that such usury is not forbidden by God.

1. It is not forbidden us by the law of Moses: (1.) Because Moses's law never did forbid it: for, 1. It is expressly forbidden as an act of unmercifulness; and therefore forbidden only to the poor and to brethren, Exod. xxii. 25; Lev. xxv. 36, 37. Yea, when the poor are not named, it is the poor that are meant; because in that country they did not keep up stocks for merchandise or trading, but lent usually to the needy only: at least the circumstances of the several texts show, that it is only lending to the needy, and not lending to drive on any enriching trades, which is meant where usury is forbidden.[157] 2. And it is expressly allowed to be used to strangers, Deut. xxiii. 19, 20, to whom nothing unjust or uncharitable might be done; only such a measure of charity was not required towards them as unto brethren. And there were more merchants of strangers that traded with them in foreign commodities, than of Jews that fetched them home: so that the prohibition of usury is in the law itself restrained only to their lending to the poor; but in the prophets who do but reprove the sin, it is expressed without that limitation, partly because it supposeth the meaning of the law to be known, which the prophets did but apply, and partly because there was little or no lending used among the Jews, but to the needy as an act of charity.

(2.) And if it had been forbidden in Moses's law only, it would not extend to christians now; because the law of Moses, as such, is not in force: the matter of it is much of the law of nature indeed; but as Mosaical, it was proper to the Jews and proselytes, or at least extended not to the christian gentiles; as is plain in 2 Cor. iii. 7; Gal. iii. 19, 24; v. 3; Ephes. ii. 15; 1 Tim. i. 7; Heb. vii. 12, 16, 19. Moses's law as such never bound any other nations, but the proselytes that joined themselves to the Jews (nor was all the world obliged so to be proselyted as to take up their laws): much less do they bind us that are the servants of Christ, so long after the dissolution of their commonwealth. So much of them as are part of the law of nature, or of any positive law of Christ, or of the civil law of any state, are binding as they are such natural, christian, or civil laws. But not one of them as Mosaical: though the Mosaical law is of great use to help us to understand the law of nature in many particular instances, in which it is somewhat difficult to us.

2. There is no positive law of Christ forbidding all usury: as for Luke vi. 32, 35, it is plainly nothing to the case; for he saith not, Lend, looking for no gain or increase, but looking for nothing again. And the context showeth that the meaning must be one of these two; either, q. d. Lend not only to them that will lend to you again when you are in want; but even to the poor, that you can never hope to borrow of; or else, Lend not only to them that are able to pay you, and where your stock is secured, but to the needy where your money is hazarded; and though they will pay you if they are able, yet you have little or no hope that ever they should be able to repay: lend so, as to be willing to make a gift of it in case the borrower never repay it. And there is no other text that can be pretended against it in the New Testament.

3. And that the law of nature doth not forbid all usury, will appear by examining the several parts of it. The law of nature forbiddeth but three sorts of sins: 1. Those that are against piety to God. 2. Those that are against our own welfare. 3. Those that are against our neighbour's good: and that is, 1. Against justice. 2. Against charity. There is none that falleth not under some of these heads.

1. And that usury is not naturally evil as against piety to God; 2. Or as against ourselves, and our own welfare; I need not prove, because no reason nor reasonable person doth lay any such accusation against it. Though they that think it absolutely unlawful, say that it is consequently against God, as every violation of his law is. But that is nothing to the case.

3. Therefore there is no doubt but the whole controversy is resolved into this last question, Whether all usury be against justice or charity to our neighbour? Justice obligeth me to give him his own; charity obligeth me to give him more than his own, in certain cases, as one that love him as myself. That which is not against justice, may be against charity; but that which is against charity, is not always against justice strictly taken. And that which is an act of true charity, is never against justice; because he that giveth his neighbour more than his own, doth give him his own and more. There is a usury which is against justice and charity; there is a usury which is against charity, but not against mere justice; and there is a usury which is against neither justice nor charity. If I prove it charitable it is superfluous to say more.

All the instances before given are notoriously charitable. That which is for the preservation of the lives and comforts of the poor, and of orphans, or for the enriching of my neighbour, is an act of charity; but such is some usury, past all doubt, as is before declared. Where the contrary is an act of cruelty, the usury is not against charity, but for it. For the rich to deny to the poor and orphans a part of that gain, which they make by the improvement of their own money, is oppression and cruelty; if it be cruel to let a beggar die or starve, when we should feed and clothe him of our own; much more to let the poor and orphans starve and perish rather than give them the increase of their own, or part of it at least. As for them that say, It may be as well improved otherwise, they are unexperienced men; it is a known falsehood as to the most, though some few may meet with such opportunities. At least it is nothing to them that cannot have other ways of improving it; who are very many.

Moreover, when it is not an act of charity, yet it may be not against charity in these cases: 1. When the lender is poor and the borrower rich; yea, it may be a sin to lend it freely. "He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that gives to the rich, shall surely come to want," Prov. xxii. 16. It is a giving to the rich to lend freely that money which they improve to the increase of their riches. 2. When the lender is not obliged to that act of charity, though the borrower be poorer than himself. Which falleth out in a hundred cases; and may be comprised under this one general, When the lender is obliged to expend that same money in some other greater, better work: as at the same time while a man that is worth but twenty pounds a year, is in debt to a man that hath a thousand pounds a year, there may be a hundred or a thousand poor people worth nothing, ready to perish, whom the rich is rather bound to succour, than him that hath but twenty pounds a year. And there may be works of piety (as to set up a school, or promote the preaching of the gospel) which may be as great as either. [839] And the richest that is, cannot do all the good that is to be done, nor relieve all the persons that are in want; therefore when he must leave much undone, if he would give all his substance, it is (cæteris paribus) a sin, to give that to a man that can make shift without it, and pass by a hundred in much deeper necessity and distress; so that he who either exerciseth charity in his usury, or doth nothing against charity and justice, certainly sinneth not by that usury. For all the scriptures which speak against usury, speak against it as a cruel or uncharitable thing.

Object. But it is sometimes necessary for a law to forbid that which otherwise would be good, when it cannot be done, without encouraging others to a greater evil; such as ordinary usury is; and then that law must be observed.

Answ. This is true in thesi, that such cases there are; but it is unproved and untrue in this case; for, 1. There is no such law. 2. There is no such reason or necessity of such a law. For God can as well make laws against unrighteous or uncharitable increase or usury, without forbidding that which is charitable and just, as he can make laws against unrighteous or uncharitable buying or selling without condemning that which was good and just; or as he can forbid gluttony, drunkenness, idleness, pride, without forbidding eating, drinking, apparel, or riches. He can easily tell men of whom and in what case to take use, and when not.

He that would see all other objections answered, and the case fully handled, hath many treatises on both sides extant to inform him.

II. That there is a sort of usury which is evil I know of no man that doubteth, and therefore need not stand to prove.

Quest. When is usury sinful?

Answ. As is before said, When it is against either justice or charity. 1. When it is like cheating bargaining, which under pretence of consent and a form of justice doth deceive or oppress, and get from another that which is not truly ours but his. 2. When you lend for increase where charity obligeth you to lend freely; even as it is a sin to lend expecting your own again, when charity obligeth you to give it. 3. When you uncharitably exact that which your brother is disabled utterly to pay, and use cruelty to procure it (be it the use or the principal). 4. When you allow him not such a proportion of the gain as his labour, hazard, or poverty doth require; but because the money is yours, will live at ease upon his labours. 5. When in case of his losses you rigorously exact your due without that abatement, or forgiving debts, (whether use or principal,) which humanity and charity require. In a word, when you are selfish, and do not as, according to true judgment, you may desire to be done by, if you were in his case.

Quest. But when am I bound to exercise this charity in not taking use?

Answ. As I said before, 1. Whenever you have no more urgent, and necessary, and excellent work, to lay out that money on, which you are so to receive. 2. Yea, though another work may be in itself better, (as to relieve many poorer, better men with that money,) yet when you cannot take it, without the utter undoing of the debtor, and bringing him into as bad a case, as any single person whom you would relieve, it is the safer side to leave the other unrelieved, (unless it be a person on whom the public good much dependeth,) rather than to extort your own from such a one to give another. Because that which you cannot get without a scandalous appearance of cruelty, is quoad jus in re not yours to give, till you can better get possession of it; and therefore God will not expect that you should give it to another.

In all this I imply that as you must prefer the lives of others in giving alms, before your own conveniences and comforts, and must not say, I cannot spare it, when your necessity may spare it, though not your pleasure; so also in taking use of those that you are bound to show charity to, the same rule and proportions must be observed in your charity.

Note also, that in all this it appeareth, that the case is but gradually different, between taking the use and taking the principal. For when the reason for remitting is the same, you are as well bound to remit the principal as the use.

But this difference there is, that many a man of low estate may afford to lend freely to a poorer man for a little time, who cannot afford to give it. And prudence may direct us to choose one man to lend freely to for a time, because of his sudden necessity, when yet another is fitter to give it to.

Quest. XIII. Is lending a duty? If so, must I lend to all that ask me, or to whom?

Answ. Lending is a duty, when we have it, and our brother's necessity requireth it, and true prudence telleth us, that we have no better way to lay it out, which is inconsistent with that. And therefore rich men ordinarily should both lend and give as prudence shall direct. But there is an imprudent and so a sinful lending: as, 1. When you will lend that which is another's, and you have no power to lend. 2. When you lend that which you must needs require again, while you might easily foresee that the borrower is not like to pay. Lend nothing but what you have either great probability will be repaid, or else which you are willing to give in case the debtor cannot or will not pay; or at least when suing for it will not have scandalous and worse effects than not lending. For it is very ordinary when you come to demand it and sue for it, to stir up the hatred of the debtor against you, and to make him your enemy, and to break his charity by your imprudent charity; in such a case, if you are obliged to relieve him, give him so much as you can spare, rather than lend him that which you cannot spare, but must sue for. In such cases, if charity go not without prudence, nor prudence without charity, you may well enough see when to lend, and how much.

Quest. XIV. Is it lawful to take upon usury in necessity, when the creditor doth unjustly or unmercifully require it?

Answ. Not in case that the consequents (by encouraging sin or otherwise) be like to do more hurt, than the money will do you good. Else, it is lawful when it is for your benefit; as it is lawful to take part of your wages for your work, or part of the worth of your commodity, when you cannot have the whole; and as it is lawful to purchase your rights of an enemy, or your life of a thief; as is aforesaid. A man may buy his own benefit of an unrighteous man.

Quest. XV. Doth not contracting for a certain sum of gain, make usury to be in that case unlawful, which might lawfully be taken of one that is free?

Answ. Yes, in case that contracting determine an uncertain case without sufficient cause: as if you agree, that whether the borrower gain or lose, and be poor or rich, I will have so much gain; that is, whether it prove merciful or unmerciful, I will have it. But then in that case, if it so prove unmerciful, it may not be taken without contracting, if freely offered. No contract may tie the debtor to that which is against justice or charity; and no contract may absolutely require that which may prove uncharitable; [840] unless there be a tacit condition or exception of such a case implied. Otherwise I see no scripture or reason, why a contract altereth the case, and may not be used to secure that increase which is neither unrighteous nor unmerciful: it may be the bond of equity, but not of iniquity. As in case of a certain gain by the borrower, a certain use may be contracted for; and in case of uncertain gain to the borrower, a conditional contract may be made. Yea, in case of merchandise, where men's poverty forbiddeth not such bargains, I see not but it is lawful to sell a greater uncertain gain, for a smaller certain gain; and so to make the contracts absolute (as Amesius Cas. Consc. on this question showeth). As all oppression and unmercifulness must be avoided, and all men must do as they would (judiciously) be done by; so it is a bad thing to corrupt religion, and fill the world with causeless scruples, by making that a sin which is no sin. Divines that live in great cities and among merchandise, are usually fitter judges in this case, than those that live more obscurely (without experience) in the country.

Tit. 5. Cases of Conscience about Lusory Contracts.

Quest. 1. Is it lawful to lay wagers upon the credit or confidence of one another's opinions or assertions in discourse? As e. g. I will lay you so much that I am in the right?

Answ. Yes, if these three things concur: 1. That the true end of the wager is, to be a penalty to him that shall be guilty of a rash and false assertion, and not to gratify the covetousness of the other. 2. That it be no greater a sum than can be demanded and paid, without breach of charity, or too much hurt to the loser (as above the proportion of his error). 3. That it be no other but what both parties are truly willing to stand to the loss of, if either of them lose, and that beforehand they truly seem so willing to each other.

Quest. II. Is it lawful to lay wagers upon horseraces, dogs, hawks, bear-baitings, or such games as depend upon the activity of beast or man?

Answ. Yes, upon the two last expressed conditions; and, 3. That it be not an exercise which is itself unlawful, by cruelty to beasts, or hazard to the lives of men, (as in fencing, running, wrestling, &c. it may fall out if it be not cautelously done,) or by the expense of an undue proportion of time in them, which is the common malignity of such recreations.

Quest. III. May I lawfully give money to see such sports, as bear-baitings, stage-plays, masks, shows, puppet-plays, activities of man or beast? &c.

Answ. There are many shows that are desirable and laudable, (as of strange creatures, monsters, rare engines, activities, &c.) the sight of which it is lawful to purchase, at a proportionable price; as a prospect through one of Galileo's tubes or such another, is worth much money to a studious person. But when the exercise is unlawful, (as all stage-plays are that ever I saw, or had just information of; yea, odiously evil; however it is very possible that a comedy or tragedy might with abundance of cautions be lawfully acted,) it is then (usually) unlawful to be a spectator either for money or on free cost. I say, (usually,) because it is possible that some one that is necessitated to be there, or that goeth to find out their evil to suppress them, or that is once only induced to know the truth of them, may do it innocently; but so do not they, who are present voluntarily and approvingly. 3. And if the recreation be lawful in itself, yet when vain persons go thither to feed a carnal fancy and vicious humour, which delighteth more in vanity, than they delight in piety, and when it wasteth their time and corrupteth their minds, and alienateth them from good, or hindereth duty, it is to them unlawful.

Quest. IV. Is it lawful to play at cards or dice for money, or at any lottery?[158]

Answ. The greatest doubt is, whether the games be lawful, many learned divines being for the negative, and many for the affirmative; and those that are for the affirmative lay down so many necessaries or conditions to prove them lawful, as I scarce ever yet saw meet together; but if they be proved at all lawful, the case of wagers is resolved as the next.

Quest. V. May I play at bowls, run, shoot, &c. or use such personal activities for money?

Answ. Yes, 1. If you make not the game itself bad, by any accident. 2. If your wager be laid for sport, and not for covetousness (striving who shall get another's money, and give them nothing for it). 3. And if no more be laid than is suitable to the sport, and the loser doth well and willingly pay.

Quest. VI. If the loser who said he was willing, prove angry and unwilling when it cometh to the paying, may I take it, or get it by law against his will?

Answ. No, not in ordinary cases: because you may not turn a sport to covetousness, or breach of charity; but in case that it be a sport that hath cost you any thing, you may in justice take your charges, when prudence forbids it not.

Tit. 6. Cases of Conscience about Losing and Finding.

Quest. I. If I find money or any thing lost, am I bound to seek out the owner, if he seek not after me? and how far am I bound to seek him?

Answ. You are bound to use such reasonable means, as the nature of the case requireth, that the true owner may have his own again. He that dare keep another man's money, because he findeth it, it is like would steal, if he could do it as secretly. Finding gives you no propriety, if the owner can be found: do as you would be done by, and you may satisfy your conscience. If nearer inquiry will not serve, you are bound to get it cried in the market, or proclaimed in the church, or mentioned in the Curranto's that carry weekly news, or any probable way, which putteth you not upon unreasonable cost or labour.

Quest. II. May I take any thing for the finding of it, as my due?

Answ. You may demand so much as shall pay for any labour or cost which you have been at about it, or finding out the owner. But no more as your due; though a moderate gratuity may be accepted, if he freely give it.

Quest. III. May I desire to find money or any thing else in my way? or may I be glad when I have found it?

Answ. You should first be unwilling that your neighbour should lose it, and be sorry that he hath lost it; but supposing that it be lost, you may moderately desire that you may find it rather than another; not with a covetous desire of the gain; but that you may faithfully gratify the owner in restoring it, or if he cannot be found may dispose of it as you ought. And you should be more sorry that it is lost, than glad that you find it, except for the owner.

Quest. IV. If no owner can be found, may I not take it and use it as mine own?

Answ. The laws of the land do usually regulate claims of propriety in such matters. Where the law giveth it to the lord of the manor, it is his, and you must give it him. Where it giveth it to no other, it is his that findeth it; and occupancy will give him [841] propriety. But so as it behoveth him to judge, if he be poor, that God's providence ordered it for his own supply; but if he be rich, that God sent it him but as to his steward, to give it to the poor.

Quest. V. If many be present when I find it, may I not wholly retain it to myself; or may I not conceal it from them if I can?

Answ. If the law overrule the case, it must be obeyed; but if it do not, you may, if you can, conceal it, and thereby become the only finder, and take it as your own, if the owner be not found: but if you cannot conceal it at the time of finding, they that see it with you, are partly the finders as well as you; though perhaps the largest share be due to the occupant.

Quest. VI. If I trust my neighbour or servant with money or goods, or if another trust me, who must stand to the loss if they be lost?

Answ. Here also the law of the land as regulating proprieties must be very much regarded; and especially the true meaning of the parties must be understood: if it was antecedently the expressed or implied meaning that one party in such or such a case should bear the loss, it must in strict justice be according to the true meaning of the parties. Therefore if a carrier that undertaketh to secure it, loseth it, he loseth it to himself. Or if one that it is lent to on that condition (explicit or implicit) lose it, it is to himself. But if a friend to whom you are beholden for the carriage, lose it, who undertook no more than to bestow his labour, the loss must be yours; yea, though it was his negligence or drunkenness that was the fault; for you took him and trusted him as he is. But if a servant, or one obliged to do it by hire, do without any other agreement, only undertake to serve you in it, and loseth it, the law or custom of the country is instead of a contract; for if the law or custom lay the loss on him, it is supposed that he consented to it in consenting to be your servant; if it lay it on you, it is supposed that you took your servant on such terms of hazard. But if it be left undecided by law and custom, you may make your servant pay only so much as is a proportionable penalty for his fault, but no more, as any satisfaction for your loss; except you agreed with him to repay such losses as were by his default. And when it is considered what strict justice doth require, it must also be considered what charity and mercy do require, that the poor be not oppressed.

Tit. 7. Directions to Merchants, Factors, Chaplains, Travellers, that live among Infidels.

Quest. I. Is it lawful to put oneself, or servants, especially young unestablished apprentices, into temptations of an infidel country, (or a popish,) for the getting of riches, as merchants do?[159]

Answ. This cannot be truly answered without distinguishing, 1. Of the countries they go from. 2. Of the places they go to. 3. Of the quality of the persons that go. 4. Of the causes of their going.

I. Some countries that they go from may be as bad as those that they go to, or in a state of war, when it is better to be absent, or in a time of persecution, or at least of greater temptation than they are like to have abroad. And some are contrarily as a paradise in comparison of those they go to, for holiness and helps to heaven, and for peace and opportunities of serviceableness to God and the public good.

II. Some countries which they may go to, may have as good helps for their souls as at home, if not by those of the religion of the nation, yet by christians that live among them, or by the company which goeth with them; or at least there may be no great temptations to change their religion, or debauch them, either through the civility and moderation of those they live among, or through their sottish ignorance and viciousness, which will rather turn men's hearts against them. But some countries have so strong temptations to corrupt men's understandings through the subtlety of seducers, and some have such allurements to debauch men, and some such cruelties to tempt them to deny the truth, that it is hard among them to retain one's innocency.

III. Some that go abroad are understanding, settled christians, able to make good use of other men's errors, and sins, and ill examples or suggestions, and perhaps to do much good on others; but some are young, and raw, and unexperienced, whose heads are unfurnished of those evidences and reasons by which they should hold fast their own profession against the cunning reasonings of an adversary, and their hearts are unfurnished of that love to truth, and that serious resolution, which is necessary to their safety, and therefore are like to be corrupted.

IV. Some are sent by their princes as agents or ambassadors on employments necessary to the public good; and some are sent by societies on business necessary to the ends of the society; and some go in case of extreme poverty and necessity, having no other way of maintenance at home; and some go in obedience to their parents and masters that command it them; and some go to avoid the miseries of a war, or the danger of a sharp persecution at home, or the greater temptations of a debauched or seducing age, or some great temptations in their families. But some go for fancy, and some for mere covetousness, without need.

By these distinctions the case may be answered by men that are judicious and impartial. As,

I. Affirm. 1. It is lawful for ambassadors to go among infidels, that are sent by princes and states; because the public good must be secured.

2. It is lawful for the agents of lawful societies or trading companies to go (cæteris paribus, the persons being capable); because trade must be promoted, which tendeth to the common good of all countries.

3. It is not only lawful, but one of the best works in the world, for fit persons to go on a design to convert the poor infidels and heathens where they go. Therefore the preachers of the gospel should not be backward to take any opportunity, as chaplains to ambassadors, or to factories, &c. to put themselves in such a way.

4. It is lawful for a son or servant (whose bonds extend to such a service) to go in obedience to a superior's command; and God's special protection may be trusted in a way of obedience.

5. It is lawful for one in debt to go, that hath probable hopes that way and no other to pay his debts. Because he is a defrauder if he detain other men's money, while a lawful way of repaying it may be taken.

6. It is lawful for a duly qualified person to go in case of extreme poverty, to be able to live in the world; and that poverty may be called extreme to one that was nobly born and educated, which would be no poverty to one that was bred in beggary.

7. It is lawful for a well qualified person, who desireth riches to serve God, and to do good with, to go in a way of trading, though he be in no poverty or necessity himself. Because God's blessing on a [842] lawful trade may be desired and endeavoured, and he that should do all the good he can, may use what lawful means he can to be enabled to do it. And other men's wants should be to us as our own, and therefore we may endeavour to be able to relieve them.

8. In a time of such civil war, when a man knoweth not which side to take, it may be better for some men to live abroad; yea, among infidels.

9. There is little to dissuade a man whose trade leadeth him into a country that is better than his own, or so sottish as to have small temptation, and that hath the company of faithful christians, with which he may openly worship God, and privately converse to his spiritual edification.

10. In urgent cases one may go for a time, where he can have no use of public church worship, so be it he have private means and opportunities of holy living.

11. It is lawful on less occasions to leave one's own country in a time of debauchery, when temptations at home are greater than those abroad, or in a time of such persecution as may lawfully be avoided, than at another time.

12. A settled christian may go more safely, and therefore lawfully, on smaller urgencies, than a young, raw, lustful, fanciful, unsettled novice may.

II. Neg. 1. It is not lawful for any one to seek riches or trade abroad or at home, principally for the love of riches, to raise himself and family to fulness, prosperity, or dignity: though all this may be desired when it is a means to God's service and honour, and the public good, and is desired principally as such a means.

2. It is not lawful to go abroad, especially into infidel or popish countries, without such a justifiable business, whose commodity will suffice to weigh down all the losses and dangers of the remove.

3. The dangers and losses of the soul are to be valued much above those of the body and estate, and cannot be weighed down by any mere corporal commodity.

4. It is less dangerous usually to go among Turks and heathens, (whose religion hath no tempting power to seduce men,) than among Socinians or papists, whose errors and sins are cunningly and learnedly promoted and defended.

5. It is not lawful for merchants or others for trade and love of wealth or money, to send poor raw, unsettled youths into such countries where their souls are like to be notably endangered, either by being deprived of such teaching and church helps which they need, or by being exposed to the dangerous temptations of the place; because their souls are of more worth than money.

6. It is not lawful therefore for master or servant to venture his own soul in such a case as this last mentioned; that is, so far as he is free, and without necessity doth it only for commodity sake.

7. We may not go where we cannot publicly worship God, without necessity, or some inducement from a greater good.

8. The more of these hinderances concur the greater is the sin: it is therefore a mere wilful casting away of their own souls, when unfurnished, unsettled youths (or others like them) shall for mere humour, fancy, or covetousness leave such a land as this, where they have both public and private helps for their salvation, and to go among papists, infidels, or heathens, where talk or ill example is like to endanger them, and no great good can be expected to countervail such a hazard, nor is there any true necessity to drive them, and where they cannot publicly worship God, no, nor openly own the truth, and where they have not so much as any private company to converse with, that is fit to further their preservation and salvation, and all this of their own accord, &c.

Quest. II. May a merchant or ambassador leave his wife, to live abroad?

Answ. 1. We must distinguish between what is necessitated, and what is voluntary. 2. Between what is done by the wife's consent, and what is done without. 3. Between a wife that can bear such absence, and one that cannot. 4. Between a short stay, and a long or continued stay.

1. The command of the king, or public necessities, may make it lawful, except in a case so rare as is not to be supposed (which therefore I shall not stand to describe). For though it be a very tender business to determine a difference between the public authority or interest, and family relations and interest, when they are contradictory and unreconcilable, yet here it seemeth to me, that the prince and public interest may dispose of a man contrary to the will and interest of his wife; yea, though it would occasion the loss, 1. Of her chastity. 2. Or her understanding. 3. Or her life: and though the conjugal bond do make man and wife to be as one flesh. For, 1. The king and public interest may oblige a man to hazard his own life, and therefore his wife's. In case of war, he may be sent to sea, or beyond sea, and so both leave his wife (as Uriah did) and venture himself. Who ever thought that no married man might go to foreign wars without his wife's consent? 2. Because as the whole is more noble than the part, so he that marrieth obligeth himself to his wife, but on supposition that he is a member of the commonwealth, to which he is still more obliged than to her.

2. A man may for the benefit of his family leave his wife for travel or merchandise, for a time, when they mutually consent upon good reason that it is like to be for their good.

3. He may not leave her either without or with her own consent, when a greater hurt is like to come by it, than the gain will countervail. I shall say no more of this, because the rest may be gathered from what is said in the cases about duties to wives, where many other such are handled.

Quest. III. Is it lawful for young gentlemen to travel in other kingdoms, as part of their education?[160]

Answ. The many distinctions which were laid down for answer of the first question, must be here supposed, and the answer will be mostly the same as to that, and therefore need not be repeated.

1. It is lawful for them to travel that are necessarily driven out of their own country, by persecution, poverty, or any other necessitating cause.

2. It is lawful to them that are commanded by their parents (unless in former excepted cases, which I will not stay to name).

3. It is the more lawful when they travel into countries as good or better than their own, where they are like to get more good than they could have done at home.

4. It is more lawful to one that is prudent and firmly settled both in religion, and in sobriety and temperance, against all temptations which he is like to meet with, than to one that is unfurnished for a due resistance of the temptations of the place to which he goeth.

5. It is more lawful to one that goeth in sober, wise, and godly company, or is sent with a wise and faithful tutor and overseer, than to leave young, unsettled persons to themselves.

[843] 6. In a word, it is lawful when there is a rational probability, that they will not only get more good than hurt, (for that will not make it lawful,) but also more good than they could probably have other ways attained.

II. But the too ordinary course of young gentlemen's travels out of England now practised, I take to be but a most dangerous hazarding, if not a plain betraying them to utter undoing, and to make them afterwards the plagues of their country, and the instruments of the common calamity. For, 1. They are ordinarily sent into countries far worse and more dangerous than their own, where the temptations are stronger than they are fit to deal with; into some countries where they are tempted to sensuality, and into some where they are tempted to popery or infidelity. In some countries they learn to drink wine instead of beer; and arising from the smaller sort to the stronger, if they turn not drunkards, they contract that appetite to wine and strong drink, which shall prove (as Clemens Alexandrinus calleth gluttony and tippling) a throat-madness, and a belly-devil, and keep them in the sin of gulosity all their days. And in some countries they shall learn the art of gluttony, to pamper their guts in curious, costly, uncouth fashions, and to dress themselves in novel, fantastical garbs, and to make a business of adorning themselves, and setting themselves forth with proud and procacious fancies and affections, to be looked upon as comely persons to the eyes of others. In some countries they shall learn to waste their precious hours in stage-plays, and vain spectacles, and ceremonies, attendances, and visits, and to equalize their life with death, and to live to less use and benefit to the world than the horse that carrieth them. In most countries they shall learn either to prate against godliness, as the humour of a few melancholy fools, and be wiser than to believe God, or obey him, or be saved; or at least to grow indifferent and cold in holy affections and practices: for when they shall see papists and protestants, Lutherans and Calvinists, of contrary minds, and hear them reproaching and condemning one another, this cooleth their zeal to all religion, as seeming but a matter of uncertainty and contention. And when they also see how the wise and holy are made a scorn in one country, as bigots and Hugonots, and how the protestants are drunkards and worldlings in another country, and how few in the world have any true sense and savour of sound and practical religion, and of a truly holy and heavenly life, (as those few they are seldom so happy as to converse with,) this first accustometh them to a neglect of holiness, and then draweth their minds to a more low, indifferent opinion of it, and to think it unnecessary to salvation. For they will not believe that so few shall be saved as they find to be holy in the world; and then they grow to think it but a fancy and a troubler of the world.

And it addeth to their temptation, that they are obliged by the carnal ends which drew them out, to be in the worst and most dangerous company and places, that is, at princes' courts, and among the splendid gallantry of the world; for it is the fashions of the great ones which they must see, and of which when they come home they must be able to discourse: so that they must travel to the pest-houses of pomp, and lust, of idleness, gluttony, drunkenness, and pride, of atheism, irreligiousness, and impiety, that they may be able to glory what acquaintance they have got of the grandeur and gallantry of the suburbs of hell, that they may represent the way to damnation delectable and honourable to others, as well as to themselves.[161]

But the greatest danger is of corrupting their intellectuals, by converse with deceivers where they come; either infidels, or juggling Jesuits and friars: for when those are purposely trained up to deceive, how easy is it for them to silence raw and unfurnished novices, (yea, even when all their five senses must be captivated, in the doctrine of transubstantiation)! And when they are silenced they must yield: or at least they have deluding stories enough of the antiquity, universality, infallibility, unity of their church, with a multitude of lies of Luther, Calvin, Zuinglius, and other reformers, to turn their hearts and make them yield. But yet that they may be capable of doing them the more service, they are instructed for a time to dissemble their perversion, and to serve the Roman pride and faction in a protestant garb and name.

Especially when they come to Rome, and see its glory, and the monuments of antiquity, and are allured with their splendour and civilities, and made to believe that all the reports of their inquisitions and cruelties are false, this furthereth the fascination of unexperienced youths.

2. And usually all this while the most of them lay by all serious studies, and all constant employment, and make idleness and converse with the idle or with tempters, to be their daily work. And what a mind is like to come to, which is but one half year or twelve months accustomed to idleness, and to vain spectacles, and to a pleasing converse with idle and luxurious persons, it is easy for a man of any acquaintance with the world or with human nature to conjecture.

3. And they go forth in notable peril of their health or lives. Some fall into fevers, and die by change of air and drinks: some fall into quarrels in taverns, or about their whores, and are murdered. Some few prove so stedfast against all the temptations of the papists, that it is thought conducible to the holy cause that they should be killed in pretence of some quarrel, or be poisoned. Some by drinking wine do contract such sickness, as makes their lives uncomfortable to the last. And the brains of many are so heated by it, that they fall mad.

4. And all this danger is principally founded in the quality of the person sent to travel; which are ordinarily empty lads, between eighteen and twenty-four years of age, which is the time of the devil's chief advantage; when naturally they are prone to those vices which prove the ruin of the most, though you take the greatest care of them that you can.[162] 1. Their lust is then in the highest and most untamed rage. 2. Their appetites to pleasing meats and drinks are then strongest. 3. Their frolicsome inclinations to sports and recreations are then greatest. 4. And ignorant and procacious pride beginneth then to stir. 5. All things that are most vile and vain, are then apt to seem excellent to them, by reason of the novelty of the matter as to them, who never saw such things before, and by reason of the false esteem of those carnal persons, to whose pomp, and consequently to whose judgment, they would be conformed. 6. And they are at that age exceedingly inclined to think all their own apprehensions to be right, and to be very confident of their own conceptions, and wise in their own eyes; because their juvenile intellect being then in the most affecting activity, it seemeth still clear and sure to them, because it so much affects themselves. 7. But above all, they are yet unfurnished of almost all that solid wisdom, and [844] settled holiness, and large experience, which is most necessary to their improvement of their travels, and to their resistance of all these temptations. Alas! how few of them are able to deal with a Jesuit, or hold fast their religion against deceivers! If the very vices, the ambition, the carnal policies and pomps, the filthiness and worldliness of the Roman clergy, did not become a preservative to men's minds against the temptations which would draw them to their way, and if the atheism, infidelity, whoredoms, and profaneness of papists did not become antidotes, how few were like to return uninfected! And because the Jesuits know that they can never take this stumblingblock out of the way, therefore too many of them have thought best to debauch those first whom they would proselyte, and reconcile them first to plays, and drunkenness, and whoredoms, that so the dislike of these may not hinder their reconciliation with the kingdom of Rome; yea, that a seeming necessity of a priest's pardon, may make it seem necessary to become their subjects.

And as unfurnished are these young travellers usually to resist the temptations to this sensuality, lust, and pomp, as those of popery; so that they are perfidiously sent into a pest-house, when they are in the greatest disposition to be infected. And if they come not home drunkards, gluttons, gamesters, idle, prodigal, proud, infidels, irreligious, or papists, it is little thanks to those perfidious parents, who thus perform their promise for them in baptism, by sending them to Satan's schools and university to be educated.

Whereas if they were but kept to their due studies, and under a holy government at home, till they were furnished with sound religious knowledge, and till they were rooted in holiness, and in love to a pious, sober life, and till they had got a settled hatred of intemperance and all sin, and till they had a map of the places, persons, and affairs of the world well imprinted on their minds by study and due information, then necessary travel would be more safe; and then they would be in a capacity to learn wisdom from other men's folly, and virtue from other men's vice, and piety from other men's impiety; which novices are rather apt to imitate.

5. And in the mean time the loss of all the helps which they should have at home, doth greatly tend to their destruction. For they oft travel into countries, where they shall have no public worship of God which is lawful, or which they understand; or if they have, it is usually cold preaching and dull praying, when they have need of the best, and all too little. And they have seldom such pious society to edify and quicken them by private converse, as they have, or might have, here at home; and seldom come into such well ordered, religious families. And if human nature be prone to infection by temptations, and so averse to holiness, that all means is too little, and even in the best families folly and sensuality, and a distaste of godliness, often thrive; (as unsown weeds overspread the garden, where with great cost and labour only better things were sowed;) what then but sin and misery can be expected from those that by their own parents are banished from their native country (not so well as into a wilderness, but) into the pestilent, infected countries of the world.

I would ask those parents that plead for this crime and cruelty as a kindness; are you no wiser or better yourselves than the company into which you send your children? Can you teach them and educate them no better, nor give them better examples, than they are like to have abroad? Can you set them on no better work, for the improvement of their time? If not, why do you not repent of this your shame and misery, and reform yourselves? If you can, why will you then betray your children? Or if you cannot, are there no schools, no learned and pious men, no religious families and company at home, in your own land, where you might place them to better advantage, than thus to expose them to the tempter? Undoubtedly there are; and such as may be had at cheaper rates.[163]

6. And it is not the smallest part of the guilt and danger, that they are sent abroad without due oversight and conduct. They that do but get them some sober or honest servant to attend them, or some sober companion, think they have done well; whenas they had need of some divine or tutor of great learning, piety, prudence, and experience, whom they will reverence and obey, that may take the oversight of them, and be ready to answer any sophist that would seduce them. But the charge of this is thought too great for the safety of their own children, whom they themselves expose to a necessity of it.

I know that carnal minds will distaste all this, and have objections enough against it, and reasons of their own, to make it seem a duty to betray and undo their children's souls, and to break their promise made for them in baptism: "All this is but our preciseness: they must have experience and know the world, or else they will be contemptible tenebriones or owls! Whenever they go it will be a temptation, and such they must have at home. There is no other part of their age so fit, or that can be spared, and we must trust God with them wherever they are; and they that will be bad, will be bad in one place as well as another; and many are as bad that stay at home." And thus quos perdere vult Jupiter hos dementat; yea, the poor children and commonwealth must suffer for such parents' sottish folly. And well saith Solomon, "The rich man is wise in his own conceit," Prov. xxviii. 11. And because it is not reason indeed but pride, and the rich disease and carnality which is here to be confuted, I shall not honour them with a distinct, particular answer; but only tell them, If all companies be alike, send them to Bedlam or to a whorehouse. If all means be alike, let them be janizaries, and bred up where Christ is scorned: if you think they need but little helps, and little watching, it seems you never gave them more. And it is a pity you should have children, before you know what a man is, and how much nature is corrupted, and how much is needful to its recovery. And it is a pity that you dedicated them to God in baptism, before you believed Christ, and knew what you did, and engaged them to renounce the world, the flesh, and the devil, under a crucified Christ, while you purposed like hypocrites to train them in the school and service of the world, the flesh, and the devil, and in the contempt of the cross of Christ, or of a holy, mortified life. And if all ages be alike, and novices be equal to experienced persons, let the scholars rule their master, and let boys be parliament men and judges, and let them be your guides at home! And if acquaintance with courtship and the customs of the world, and the reputation of such acquaintance, be worth the hazarding of their souls, renounce God, and give up your names to Mammon, and be not such paltry hypocrites, as to profess that you believe the Scriptures, and stand to your baptismal vows, and place your hopes in a crucified Christ, and your happiness in God's favour and the life to come. And if the preaching of the gospel, and all such religious helps, be unnecessary to your unsettled children, dissemble not by going to church, as if [845] you took them to be necessary to yourselves. In a word, I say as Elias to the Israelites, "Why halt ye between two opinions? If God be God, follow him." If the world be God, and pride and sensuality and the world's applause be your felicity, follow it, and let it be your children's portion. Do you not see more wise, and learned, and holy, and serviceable persons among us, proportionably, in church and state, that were never sent for an education among the papists and profane, than of such as were?

But I will proceed to the directions which are necessary to those that must or will needs go abroad, either as merchants, factors, or as travellers.

Direct. I. Be sure that you go not without a clear warrant from God; which must be (all things laid together) a great probability, in the judgment of impartial, experienced, wise men, that you may get or do more good than you were like to have done at home. For if you go sinfully without a call or warrant, you put yourself out of God's protection, as much as in you is; that is, you forfeit it: and whatever plague befalls you, it will arm your accusing consciences to make it double.

Direct. II. Send with your children that travel, some such pious, prudent tutor or overseer as is afore described: and get them or your apprentices into as good company as possibly you can.

Direct. III. Send them as the last part of all their education, when they are settled in knowledge, sound doctrine, and godliness, and have first got such acquaintance with the state of the world, as reading, maps, and conversation and discourse can help them to: and not while they are young, and raw, and uncapable of self-defence, or of due improving what they see. And those that are thus prepared, will have no great lust or fancy to wander, and lose their time, without necessity; for they will know, that there is nothing better (considerably) to be seen abroad, than is at home; that in all countries, houses are houses, and cities are cities, and trees are trees, and beasts are beasts, and men are men, and fools are fools, and wise men are wise, and learned men are learned, and sin is sin, and virtue is virtue; and these things are but the same abroad as at home: and that a grave is every where a grave, and you are travelling towards it, which way ever you go. And happy is he that spendeth his little time so, as may do God best service, and best prepare him for the state of immortality.

Direct. IV. If experience of their youthful lust and pride, and vicious folly, or unsettled dangerous state, doth tell you plainly, that your child or apprentice is unfit for travel, venture them not upon it, either for the carnal ornaments of education, or for your worldly gain. For souls that cost the blood of Christ, are more precious than to be sold at so low a rate; and especially by those parents and masters that are doubly obliged to love them, and to guide them in the way to heaven, and must be answerable for them.

Direct. V. Choose those countries for your children to travel in, which are soundest in doctrine and of best example, and where they may get more good than hurt; and venture them not needlessly into the places and company of greatest danger; especially among the Jesuits and friars, or subtle heretics, or enemies of Christ.

Direct. VI. Study before you go, what particular temptations you are like to meet with, and study well for particular preservatives against them all: as you will not go into a place infected with the plague, without an antidote. It is no small task, to get a mind prepared for travel.

Direct. VII. Carry with you such books as are fittest for your use, both for preservation and edification: as to preserve you from popery, Drelincourt's and Mr. Pool's small Manual: for which use my "Key for Catholics," and "Safe Religion," and "Sheet against Popery" may not be useless. And Dr. Challoner's "Credo Ecclesiam Catholicam" is short and very strong. To preserve you against infidelity, "Vander Meulin," in Latin, and Grotius; and in English my "Reasons of the Christian Religion" may not be unfit. For your practice, the Bible and the "Practice of Piety," and Mr. Scudder's "Daily Walk," and Mr. Reyner's "Directions," and Dr. Ames's "Cases of Conscience."

Direct. VIII. Get acquaintance with the most able reformed divines, in the places where you travel; and make use of their frequent converse, for your edification and defence. For it is the wisest and best men in all countries where you come, that must be profitable to you, if any.

Direct. IX. Set yourselves in a way of regular study if you are travellers, as if you were at home, and on a course of regular employment if you are tradesmen, and make not mere wandering and gazing upon novelties your trade and business; but redeem your time as laboriously as you would do in the most settled life. For time is precious, wherever you be; and it must be diligence every where that must cause your proficiency; for place and company will not do it without your labour. It is not a university that will make a sluggish person wise, nor a foreign land that will furnish a sensual sot with wisdom: Cœlum non animum mutant qui trans mare currunt. There is more ado necessary to make you wise, or bring you to heaven, than to go long journeys, or see many people.

Direct. X. Avoid temptations: if you acquaint yourselves with the humours, and sinful opinions, and fashions of the time and places where you are, let it be but as the Lacedemonians called out their children to see a drunkard, to hate the sin; therefore see them, but taste them not, as you would do by poison or loathsome things. Once or twice seeing a folly and sin is enough. If you do it frequently, custom will abate your detestation, and do much to reconcile you to it.

Direct. XI. Set yourselves to do all the good you can to the miserable people in the places where you come. Furnish yourselves with the aforesaid books and arguments, not only to preserve yourselves, but also to convince poor infidels and papists. And pity their souls, as those that believe that there is indeed a life to come, where happiness and misery will show the difference between the godly and the wicked. Especially merchants and factors, who live constantly among the poor ignorant christians, Armenians, Greeks, papists, who will hear them; and among heathens (in Indostan and elsewhere) and Mahometans (especially the Persians, who allow a liberty of discourse). But above all, the chaplains of the several embassies and factories. Oh what an opportunity have they to sow the seeds of christianity among the heathen nations! and to make known Christ to the infidel people where they come! And how heavy a guilt will lie on them that shall neglect it! And how will the great industry of the Jesuits rise up in judgment against them and condemn them!

Direct. XII. The more you are deprived of the benefit of God's public worship, the more industrious must you be, in reading Scripture and good books, and in secret prayer and meditation, and in the improvement of any one godly friend that doth accompany you to make up your loss, and to be instead of public means. It will be a great comfort among infidels, [846] or papists, or ignorant Greeks, or profane people, to read sound, and holy, and spiritual books, and to confer with some one godly friend, and to meditate on the sweet and glorious subjects, which from earth and heaven are set before us; and to solace ourselves in the praises of God, and to pour out our suits before him.

Direct. XIII. And that your work may be well done, be sure that you have right ends; and that it be not to please a ranging fancy, nor a proud, vain mind, nor a covetous desire of being rich or high, that you go abroad; but that you do it purposely and principally to serve God abroad, and to be able to serve him the better when you come home, with your wit, and experience, and estates. If sincerely you go for this end, and not for the love of money, you may expect the greater comfort.[164]

Direct. XIV. Stay abroad no longer than your lawful ends and work do require: and when you come home, let it be seen that you have seen sin that you might hate it; and that by the observation of the errors and evils of the world, you love sound doctrine, spiritual worship, and holy, sober, and righteous living, better than you did before; and that you are the better resolved and furnished for a godly, exemplary, fruitful life.

One thing more I will warn some parents of, who send their sons to travel, to keep them from untimely marrying, lest they have part of their estate too soon: that there are other means better than this, which prudence may find out: if they would keep them low, from fulness and idleness, and bad company, (which a wise, self-denying, diligent man may do, but another cannot,) and engage them to as much study and business (conjunct) as they can well perform, and when they must needs marry, let it be done with prudent, careful choice; and learn themselves to live somewhat lower, that they may spare that which their son must have: this course would be better than that hazardous one in question.

[156]   Whether the consequent be good or hurt is like to be greater, must be well considered.

[157]   Exod. xx. 21, "Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him." Exod. xxiii. 9, "Thou shalt not oppress a stranger," &c. So that usury to a stranger was no oppression.

[158]   Of recreations, see before.

[159]   Leg. Steph. Vinan. Pigh. in Hercule prodigo, pag. 130-132. Cui peregrinatio dulcis est, non amat patriam: si dulcis est patria, amara est peregrinatio. August.

[160]   Lege Eurycic. Pateani Orat. 9.

[161]   Read Bishop Hall's "Quo Vadis" on this subject.

[162]   Peregrinatio levia tædia quædam animorum et veluti nauseas tollit: non tollit morbos qui altius penetrarunt, quam ut externa ulla medicina huc pertingat. Id. ib.

[163]   Congressus sapientum confert prudentiam: non montes, non maria. Erasm.

[164]   Peregrinatio omnis obscura et sordida est iis quorum industria in patria potest esse illustris. Cicer.



Tit. 1. Motives and Directions against Oppression.

Oppression is the injuring of inferiors, who are unable to resist, or to right themselves; when men use power to bear down right. Yet all is not oppression which is so called by the poor, or by inferiors that suffer; for they are apt to be partial in their own cause as well as others. There may be injustice in the expectations of the poor, as well as the actions of the rich. Some think they are oppressed, if they be justly punished for their crimes; and some say they are oppressed, if they have not their wills, and unjust desires, and may not be suffered to injure their superiors: and many of the poor do call all that oppression, which they suffer from any that are above them, as if it were enough to prove it an injury, because a rich man doth it: but yet oppression is a very common and a heinous sin.[165]

There are as many ways of oppressing others, as there are advantages to men of power against them. But the principal are these following.

1. The most common and heinous sort is the malignant injuries and cruelties of the ungodly against men that will not be as indifferent in the matters of God and salvation as themselves; and that will not be of their opinions in religion, and be as bold with sin, and as careless of their souls, as they. These are hated, reproached, slandered, abused, and some way or other persecuted commonly wherever they live throughout the world. But of this sort of oppression I have spoken before.

2. A second sort is the oppression of the subjects by their rulers; either by unrighteous laws, or cruel executions, or unjust impositions or exactions, laying on the people greater taxes, tributes, or servitude, than the common good requireth, and than they are able well to bear. Thus did Pharaoh oppress the Israelites, till their groans brought down God's vengeance on him. But I purposely forbear to meddle with the sins of magistrates.

3. Soldiers also are too commonly guilty of the most inhuman, barbarous oppressions; plundering the poor countrymen, and domineering over them, and robbing them of the fruit of their hard labours, and of the bread which they should maintain their families with, and taking all that they can lay hold on as their own. But (unless it be a few that are a wonder in the world) this sort of men are so barbarous and inhuman, that they will neither read nor regard any counsel that I shall give them. (No man describeth them better than Erasmus.)

4. The oppression of servants by their masters I have said enough to before; and among us, where servants are free to change for better masters, it is not the most common sort of oppression; but rather servants are usually negligent and unfaithful, because they know that they are free (except in the case of apprentices).

5. It is too common a sort of oppression for the rich in all places to domineer too insolently over the poor, and force them to follow their wills, and to serve their interest be it right or wrong: so that it is rare to meet with a poor man that dare displease the rich, though it be in a cause where God and conscience do require it. If a rich man wrong them, they dare not seek their remedy at law, because he will tire them out by the advantage of his friends and wealth; and either carry it against them, be his cause never so unjust, or lengthen the suit till he hath undone them, and forced them to submit to his oppressing will.

6. Especially unmerciful landlords are the common and sore oppressors of the countrymen: if a few men can but get money enough to purchase all the land in a country, they think that they may do with their own as they list, and set such hard bargains of it to their tenants, that they are all but as their servants, yea, and live a more troublesome life than servants do: when they have laboured hard all the year, they can scarce scrape up enough to pay their landlord's rent; their necessities are so urgent, that they have not so much as leisure to pray morning or evening in their families, or to read the Scriptures, or any good book; nor scarce any room in their thoughts for any holy things: their minds are so distracted with necessities and cares, that even on the Lord's day, or at a time of prayer, they can hardly keep their minds intent upon the sacred work which they have in hand. If the freest minds have much ado to keep their thoughts in seriousness and order, in meditation, or in the worshipping of God; how hard must it needs be to a poor oppressed man, whose body is tired with wearisome labours, and his mind distracted with continual cares, how to pay his [847] rent, and how to have food and raiment for his family! How unfit is such a troubled, discontented person, to live in thankfulness to God, and in his joyful praises! Abundance of the voluptuous great ones of the world, do use their tenants and servants but as their beasts, as if they had been made only to labour and toil for them, and it were their chief felicity to fulfil their will, and live upon their favour.

Direct. I. The principal means to overcome this sin, is to understand the greatness of it. For the flesh persuadeth carnal men to judge of it according to their selfish interest, and not according to the interest of others, nor according to the true principles of charity and equity; and so they justify themselves in their oppression.

1. Consid. That oppression is a sin not only contrary to christian charity and self-denial, but even to humanity itself. We are all made of one earth, and have souls of the same kind: there is as near a kindred betwixt all mankind, as a specifical identity; as between one sheep, one dove, one angel, and another: as between several drops of the same water, and several sparks of the same fire; which have a natural tendency to union with each other. And as it is an inhuman thing for one brother to oppress another, or one member of the same body to set up a proper interest of its own, and make all the rest, how painfully soever, to serve that private interest; so it is for those men who are children of the same Creator. Much more for them who account themselves members of the same Redeemer, and brethren in Christ by grace and regeneration, with those whom they oppress. Mal. ii. 10, "Have we not all one Father? Hath not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?" If we must not lie to one another, because we are members one of another, Eph. iv. 25; and if all the members must have the same care of one another, 1 Cor. xii. 25; surely then they must not oppress one another.

2. An oppressor is an antichrist and an antigod: he is contrary to God, who delighteth to do good, and whose bounty maintaineth all the world; who is kind to his enemies, and causeth his sun to shine and his rain to fall on the just and on the unjust: and even when he afflicteth doth it as unwillingly, delighteth not to grieve the sons of men.[166] He is contrary to Jesus Christ, who gave himself a ransom for his enemies, and made himself a curse to redeem them from the curse, and condescended in his incarnation to the nature of man, and in his passion to the cross and suffering which they deserved: and being rich and Lord of all, yet made himself poor, that we by his poverty might be made rich. He endured the cross and despised the shame, and made himself as of no reputation, accounting it his honour and joy to be the Saviour of men's souls, even of the poor and despised of the world. And these oppressors live as if they were made to afflict the just, and to rob them of God's mercies, and to make crosses for other men to bear, and to tread on their brethren as stepping-stones of their own advancement. The Holy Ghost is the Comforter of the just and faithful. And these men live as if it were their calling to deprive men of their comfort.

3. Yea, an oppressor is not only the agent of the devil, but his image: it is the devil that is the destroyer, and the devourer, who maketh it his business to undo men, and to bring them into misery and distress. He is the grand oppressor of the world: yet in this he is far short of the malignity of men-devils, 1. That he doth it not by force and violence, but by deceit, and hurteth no man till he hath procured his own consent to sin; whereas our oppressors do it by their brutish force and power. 2. And the devil destroyeth men, who are not his brethren, nor of the same kind; but these oppressors never stick at the violating of such relations.

4. Oppression is a sin that greatly serveth the devil, to the damning of men's souls, as well as to the afflicting of their bodies. And it is not a few, but millions, that are undone by it. For as I showed before, it taketh up men's mind and time so wholly, to get them a poor living in the world, that they have neither mind nor time for better things. They are so troubled about many things, that the one thing needful is laid aside. All the labours of many a worthy, able pastor, are frustrated by oppressors: to say nothing of the far greatest part of the world, where the tyranny and oppression of heathen infidels and Mahometan princes, keepeth out the gospel, and the means of life; nor yet of any other persecutors: if we exhort a servant to read the Scriptures, and call upon God, and think of his everlasting state, he telleth us that he hath no time to do it, but when his weary body must have rest. If we desire the masters of families to instruct and catechise their children and servants, and pray with them, and read the Scriptures and other good books to them, they tell us the same, that they have no time, but when they should sleep; and that on the Lord's day their tired bodies, and careful minds, are unfit to attend and ply such work: so that necessity quieteth their conscience in their ignorance and neglect of heavenly things, and maketh them think it only the work of gentlemen and rich men, who have leisure (but are further alienated from it by prosperity, than these are by their poverty): and thus oppression destroyeth religion, and the people's souls as well as their estates.

5. Oppression further endangereth both the souls of men, and the public peace, and the safety of princes, by tempting the poor multitude into discontents, sedition, and insurrections. Every man is naturally a lover of himself above other: and the poor, as well as the rich and rulers, have an interest of their own which ruleth them; and they will hardly honour, or love, or think well of them by whom they suffer. It is as natural almost for a man under oppression, to be discontented and complain, as for a man in a fever to complain of sickness, heat, and thirst. No kingdom on earth is so holy and happy as to have all or most of the subjects such confirmed, eminent saints, as will be contented to be undone, and will love and honour those that undo them. Therefore men must be taken as they are. If "oppression maketh wise men mad," Eccles. vii. 7, much more the multitude, who are far from wisdom. Misery maketh men desperate, when they think that they cannot be much worse than they are. How many kingdoms have been thus fired (as wooden wheels will be when one part rubbeth too hard and long upon the other)! Yea, if the prince be never so good and blameless, the cruelty of the nobles and the rich men of the land, may have the same effects. And in these combustions, the peace of the kingdom, the lives and souls of the seditious, are made a sacrifice to the lusts of the oppressors.

Direct. II. Consider with fear how oppression turneth the groans and cries of the poor to the God of revenge against the oppressors. And go to that man that hath the tears and prayers of oppressed innocents, sounding the alarm to the vindictive justice, to awake for their relief. "And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night to [848] him, though he bear long with them? I tell you, that he will avenge them speedily," Luke xviii. 7, 8. "The Lord will be a refuge to the oppressed," Psal. ix. 9. "To judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress," Psal. x. 18. "The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed," Psal. ciii. 6; cxlvi. 7. Yea, God is doubly engaged to be revenged upon oppressors, and hath threatened a special execution of his judgment against them above most other sinners: partly as it is an act of mercy and relief to the oppressed; so that the matter of threatening and vengeance to the oppressor, is the matter of God's promise and favour to the sufferers: and partly as it is an act of his vindictive justice against such as so heinously break his laws. The oppressor hath indeed his time of power, and in that time the oppressed seem to be forsaken and neglected of God; as if he did not hear their cries: but when his patience hath endured the tyranny of the proud, and his wisdom hath tried the patience of the sufferers, to the determined time; how speedily and terribly then doth vengeance overtake the oppressors, and make them warnings to those that follow them! In the hour of the wicked and of the power of darkness Christ himself was oppressed and afflicted, Isa. liii. 7, and "in his humiliation his judgment was taken away," Acts viii. But how quickly did the destroying revenge overtake those bloody zealots, and how grievous is the ruin which they lie under to this day, which they thought by that same murder to have escaped! Solomon saith, Eccl. iv. 1, he "considered all the oppressions that are under the sun, and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of the oppressors there was power, but they had no comforter." Which made him praise the dead and the unborn. But yet he that goeth with David into the sanctuary, and seeth the end of the oppressors, shall perceive them set in slippery places, and tumbling down to destruction in a moment, Psal. xxxvii.; lxxiii. The Israelites in Egypt seemed long to groan and cry in vain; but when the determinate time of their deliverance came, God saith, "I have surely seen the affliction of my people, and have heard their cry by reason of their task-masters; for I know their sorrows: and I am come down to deliver them.—Behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come up unto me, and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them," Exod. iii. 7-9. Deut. xxvi. 5, 6, "The Egyptians evil entreated us, and laid upon us hard bondage, and when we cried to the Lord God of our fathers, the Lord heard our voice, and looked on our affliction, and our labour, and our oppression." See Psal. cvii. 39-42. So Psal. xii. 5, 6, "For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the Lord; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him (or would insnare him). Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever." "Trust not therefore in oppression," Psal. lxii. 10. For God is the avenger, and his plagues shall revenge the injuries of the oppressed.

Direct. III. Remember what an odious name oppressors commonly leave behind them upon earth. No sort of men are mentioned by posterity with greater hatred and contempt. For the interest of mankind directeth them hereunto, and may prognosticate it, as well as the justice of God. However the power of proud oppressors may make men afraid of speaking to their faces what they think, yet those that are out of their reach, will pour out the bitterness of their souls against them. And when once death hath tied their cruel hands, or any judgment of God hath cast them down, and knocked out their teeth, how freely will the distressed vent their grief! and fame will not be afraid to deliver their ugly picture to posterity, according to their desert. Methinks therefore that even pride itself should be a great help to banish oppression from the world. What an honourable name hath a Trajan, a Titus, an Antonine, an Alexander Severus! And what an odious name hath a Nero, a Caligula, a Commodus, a D'Alva, &c.! Most proud men affect to be extolled, and to have a glorious name survive them when they are dead; and yet they take the course to make their memory abominable; so much doth sin contradict and disappoint the sinner's hopes!

Direct. IV. Be not strangers to the condition or complaints of any that are your inferiors. It is the misery of many princes and nobles, that they are guarded about with such as keep all the lamentations of their subjects and tenants from their ears; or represent them only as the murmurings of unquiet, discontented men; so that superiors shall know no more of their inferiors' case than their attendants please; nor no more of the reproach that falleth upon themselves. Their case is to be pitied; but the case of their inferiors more (for it is their own wilful choice which hath imprisoned their understandings, with such informers; and it is their unexcusable negligence, which keepeth them from seeking truer information). A good landlord will be familiar with the meanest of his tenants, and will encourage them freely to open their complaints, and will labour to inform himself who is in poverty and distress, and how it cometh to pass; that when he hath heard all, he may understand whether it be his own oppression or his tenants' fault that is the cause: when proud, self-seeking men disdain such inferior converse, and if they have servants that do but tell them their tenants have a good bargain, and are murmuring, unthrifty, idle persons, they believe them without any more inquiry, and in negligent ignorance oppress the poor.

Direct. V. Mortify your own lusts and sinful curiosity, which maketh you think that you need so much, as tempteth you to get it by oppressing others. Know well how little is truly necessary! and how little nature (well-taught) is contented with! and what a privilege it is to need but little! Pride and curiosity are an insatiable gulf. Their daily trouble seemeth to them a necessary accommodation. Such abundance must be laid out on superfluous recreations, buildings, ornaments, furniture, equipage, attendants, entertainments, visitations, braveries, and a world of need-nots, (called by the names of handsomeness, cleanliness, neatness, conveniences, delights, usefulness, honour, civilities, comeliness, &c.) So much doth carnal concupiscence, pride, and curiosity thus devour, that hundreds of the poor must be oppressed to maintain it; and many a man that hath many score or hundred tenants who with all their families daily toil to get him provision for his fleshly lusts, doth find at the year's end, that all will hardly serve the turn, but this greedy devourer could find room for more; when one of his poor tenants could live and maintain all his family comfortably, if he had but so much as his landlord bestoweth upon one suit of clothes, or one proud entertainment, or one horse, or one pack of hounds. I am not persuading the highest to level their garb and expenses equal with the lowest; but mortify pride, curiosity, and gluttony, and you will find less need to oppress the poor, or to feed your concupiscence with the sweat and groans of the afflicted.

Direct. VI. Be not the sole judge of your own [849] actions in a controverted case; but if any complain of you, hear the judgment of others that are wise and impartial in the case. For it is easy to misjudge where self-interest is concerned.

Direct. VII. Love your poor brethren as yourselves, and delight in their welfare as if it were your own. And then you will never oppress them willingly; and if you do it ignorantly, you will quickly feel it and give over upon their just complaint; as you will quickly feel when you hurt yourselves, and need no great exhortation to forbear.

Tit. 2. Cases of Conscience about Oppression, especially of Tenants.

Quest. I. Is it lawful for a mean man, who must needs make the best of it, to purchase tenanted land of a liberal landlord, who setteth his tenants a much better pennyworth than the buyer can afford.

Answ. Distinguish, 1. Between a seller who understandeth all this, and one that doth not. 2. Between a tenant that hath by custom a half-title to his easier rent, and one that hath not. 3. Between a tenant that consenteth and one that consenteth not. 4. Between buying it when a liberal man might else have bought it, and buying it when a worse else would have bought it. 5. Between a case of scandal and of no scandal.

And so I answer, 1. If the landlord that selleth it expect that the buyer do use the tenants as well as he hath done, and sell it accordingly, it is unrighteous to do otherwise (ordinarily). 2. In many countries it is the custom not to turn out a tenant, nor to raise his rent; so that many generations have held the same land at the same rent; which though it give no legal title, is yet a half-title in common estimation. In such a case it will be scandalous, and infamous, and injurious, and therefore unlawful to purchase it with a purpose to raise the rent, and to do accordingly. 3. In case that a better landlord would buy it, who would use the tenant better than you can do, it is not (ordinarily) lawful for you to buy it. I either express or imply "ordinarily" in most of my solutions; because that there are some exceptions lie against almost all such answers, in extraordinary cases; which the greatest volume can scarce enumerate.

But if, 1. It be the seller's own doing to withdraw his liberality so far from his tenants, as to sell his land on hard rates, on supposition that the buyer will improve it. 2. And if it be a tenant that cannot either by custom or any other plea, put in a claim in point of equity to his easy-rented land. 3. And if as bad a landlord would buy it if you do not. 4. If it be not a real scandal: I say if all these four concur; 5. Or (alone) if the tenant consent freely to your purchase on these terms; then it is no injury. But the common course is, for a covetous man that hath money, never to consider what a loser the tenant is by his purchase, but to buy and improve the land at his own pleasure; which is no better than oppression.

Quest. II. May not a landlord take as much for his land as it is worth?

Answ. 1. Sometimes it is land that no man can claim an equitable title to hold upon an easier rent, and sometimes it is otherwise, as aforesaid, by custom and long possession, or other reasons. 2. Sometimes the tenant is one that you are obliged to show mercy to; and sometimes he is one that no more than commutative justice is due to. And so I answer, 1. If it be an old tenant who by custom or any other ground, can claim an equitable title to his old pennyworth, you may not enhance the rent to the full worth. 2. If it be one that you are obliged to show mercy as well as justice to, you may not take the full worth. 3. The common case in England is, that the landlords are of the nobility or gentry, and the tenants are poor men, who have nothing but what they get by their hard labour out of the land which they hold; and in this case some abatement of the full worth is but such a necessary mercy, as may be called justice. Note still, that by the full worth, I mean, so much as you could set it for to a stranger who expecteth nothing but strict justice, as men buy and sell things in a market.

But, 1. If you deal with a tenant as rich or richer than yourself, or with one that needeth not your mercy, or is no fit object of it; 2. And if it be land that no man can by custom claim equitably to hold on lower terms, and so it is no injury to another, nor just scandal, then you may lawfully raise it to the full worth. Sometimes a poor man setteth a house or land to a rich man, where the scruple hath no place.

Quest. III. May a landlord raise his rents, though he take not the full worth?

Answ. He may do it when there is just reason for it, and none against it. There is just reason for it when, 1. The land was much underset before. 2. Or when the land is proportionably improved. 3. Or when the plenty of money maketh a greater sum to be in effect no more than a lesser heretofore. 4. Or when an increase of persons, or other accident, maketh land dearer than it was. But then it must be supposed, 1. That no contract, 2. Nor custom, 3. Nor service and merit, do give the tenant any equitable right to his better pennyworth. And also that mercy prohibit not the change.

Quest. IV. How much must a landlord set his land below the full worth, that he may be no oppressor, or unmerciful to his tenants?

Answ. No one proportion can be determined of; because a great alteration may be made in respect to the tenant's ability, his merit, to the time and place, and other accidents. Some tenants are so rich, as is said, that you are not bound to any abatement. Some are so bad, that you are bound to no more than strict justice and common humanity to them. Some years (like the last, when a longer drought than any man alive had known, burnt up the grass) disableth a tenant to pay his rent; some countries are so scarce of money, that a little abatement is more than in another place; but ordinarily the common sort of tenants in England should have so much abated of the fullest worth, that they may comfortably live on it, and follow their labours with cheerfulness of mind, and liberty to serve God in their families, and to mind the matters of their salvation, and not to be necessitated to such toil, and care, and pinching want, as shall make them liker slaves than freemen, and make their lives uncomfortable to them, and make them unfit to serve God in their families, and seasonably mind eternal things.

Quest. V. What if the landlord be in debt, or have some present want of money, may he not then raise the rent of those lands that were underlet before?

Answ. If his pride pretend want where there is none, (as to give extraordinary portions with his daughters, to erect sumptuous buildings, &c.) this is no good excuse for oppression. But if he really fall into want, then all that his tenants hold as mere free gifts from his liberality, he may withdraw (as being no longer able to give). But that which they had by custom an equitable title to, or by contract also a legal title to, he may not withdraw. (And yet all this is his sin, if he brought that poverty culpably on himself; it is his sin in the cause, though, supposing that cause, the raising of his rent be lawful.) But it is not every debt in a rich man, who [850] hath other ways of paying it, which is a true necessity in this case; and if a present debt made it necessary only at that time, it is better (by fine or otherwise) make a present supply, than thereupon to lay a perpetual burden on the tenants, when the cause is ceased.

Quest. VI. What if there be abundance of honest people in far greater want than my tenants are, (yea, perhaps preachers of the gospel,) and I have no other way to relieve them unless I raise my rents; am I not bound rather to give to the best and poorest, than to others?

Answ. Yes, if it were a case that concerned mere giving; but when you must take away from one to give to another, there is more to be considered in it. Therefore in these two cases at least you may not raise your tenants' rents to relieve the best or poorest whosoever: 1. In case that he have some equitable title to your land, as upon the easier rent. 2. Or in case that the scandal of seeming injustice or cruelty, is like to do more hurt to the interest of religion and men's souls, than your relieving the poor with the addition would do good (which a prudent man by collation of probable consequents may satisfactorily discern): but if it were not only to preserve the comforts, but to save the lives of others in their present famine, nature teacheth you to take that which is truly your own, both from your tenants, and your servant, and your own mouths, to relieve men in such extreme distress; and nature will teach all men to judge it your duty, and no scandalous oppression. But when you cannot relieve the ordinary wants of the poor, without such a scandalous raising of your rents as will do more harm than your alms would do good, God doth not then call you to give such alms; but you are to be supposed to be unable.

Quest. VII. May I raise a tenant's rent, or turn him out of his house, because he is a bad man; by a kind of penalty?

Answ. A bad man hath a title to his own, as well as a good man; and therefore if he have either legal or equitable title, you may not; nor yet if the scandal of it is like to do more hurt, than the good can countervail which you intend. Otherwise you may either raise his rent, or turn him out, if he be a wicked, profligate, incorrigible person, after due admonition; yea, and you ought to do it, lest you be a cherisher of wickedness. If the parents under Moses's law were bound to accuse their own son to the judges in such a case, and say, "This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard; and all the men of the city must stone him till he die, to put away evil from among them," Deut. xxi. 18-21; then surely a wicked tenant is not so far to be spared, as to be cherished by bounty in his sin. It is the magistrate's work to punish him by governing justice; but it is your work as a prudent benefactor, to withhold your gifts of bounty from him. And I think it is one of the great sins of this age, that this is not done, it being one of the noblest means imaginable to reform the land, and make it happy: if landlords would thus punish or turn out their wicked, incorrigible tenants it would do much more than the magistrate can do. The vulgar are most effectually ruled by their interest, as we rule our dogs and horses more by the government of their bellies than by force. They will most obey those on whom they apprehend their good or hurt to have most dependence. If landlords would regard their tenants' souls, so much as to correct them thus for their wickedness, they would be the greatest benefactors and reformers of the land; but alas, who shall first reform the landlords? and when may it be hoped that many or most great men will be such?

Quest. VIII. May one take a house over another's head, (as they speak,) or take the land which he is a tenant to, before he be turned out of possession?

Answ. Not out of a greedy desire to be rich, nor coveting that which is another's; nor yet while he is any way injured by it; nor yet when the act is like to be so scandalous, as to hurt men's souls more than it will profit your body. If you come with the offer of a greater rent than he can give, or than the landlord hath just cause to require of him, to get it out of his hands by over-bidding him, this is mere covetous oppression. But in other cases it is lawful to take the house and land which another tenant hath possession of: as, 1. In case that he willingly leave it, and consent. 2. Or if he unwillingly (but justly) be put out; and another tenant must be provided against the time that he is to be dispossessed. 3. Yea, if he be unjustly put out, if he that succeeded him have no hand in it, nor by his taking the house or land do promote the injury, nor scandalously countenance injustice. For when a tenement is void, though by injury, it doth not follow, that no man may ever live in it more: but if the title be his that is turned out, then you may not take it of another; because you will possess another man's habitation. But if it should go for a standing rule, that no man may in any case take a house over another man's head, (as country people would have it,) then every man's house and land must be long untenanted, to please the will of every contentious or unjust possessor; and any one that hath no title, or will play the knave, may injure the true owner at his pleasure.

Quest. IX. May a rich man put out his tenants, to lay their tenements to his own demesnes, and so lay house to house, and land to land?

Answ. In two cases he may not: 1. In case he injure the tenant that is put out, by taking that from him which he hath right to, without his satisfaction and consent. 2. And in case it really tend to the injury of the commonwealth, by depopulation, and diminishing the strength of it. Otherwise it is lawful; and done in moderation by a pious man may be very convenient; 1. By keeping the land from beggary through the multitudes of poor families that overset it. 2. By keeping the more servants, among whom he may keep up a better order and more pious government in his own house, (making it as a church,) than can be expected in poor families; and his servants will (for soul and body) have a much better life, than if they married and had families, and small tenements of their own; but in a country that rather wanteth people, it is otherwise.

Quest. X. May one man be a tenant to divers tenements?

Answ. Yes, if it tend not, 1. To the wrong of any other; 2. Nor to depopulation, or to hinder the livelihood of others, while one man engrosseth more than is necessary or meet; for then it is unlawful.

Quest. XI. May one man have many trades or callings?

Answ. Not when he doth, in a covetous desire to grow rich, disable his poor neighbours to live by him on the same callings, seeking to engross all the gain to himself; nor yet when they are callings which are inconsistent; or when he cannot manage one aright, without the sinful neglect of the other. But otherwise it is as lawful to have two trades as one.

Quest. XII. Is it lawful for one man to keep shops in several market towns?

Answ. The same answer will serve as to the foregoing question.

[165]   In omni certamine qui opulentior est, etiamsi accipit injuriam, tamen quia plus potest, facere videtur. Sallust. in Jugurth.

[166]   Psa. cxlv.; Matt. v.; Lam. iii.




Because men's carnal interest and sensuality is predominant with the greatest part of the world, and therefore governeth them in their judgment about duty and sin, it thence cometh to pass that wastefulness and prodigality are easily believed to be faults, so far as they bring men to shame or beggary, or apparently cross their own pleasure or commodity: but in other cases, they are seldom acknowledged to be any sins at all; yea, all that are gratified by them, account them virtues, and there is scarce any sin which is so commonly commended; which must needs tend to the increase of it, and to harden men in their impenitency in it; and verily if covetousness, and selfishness or poverty, did not restrain it in more persons than true conscience doth, it were like to go for the most laudable quality, and to be judged most meritorious of present praise and future happiness. Therefore in directing you against this sin, I must first tell you what it is; and then tell you wherein the malignity of it doth consist: the first will be best done in the definition of it, and enumeration of the instances, and examination of each one of them.

Direct. I. Truly understand what necessary frugality, or parsimony, and sinful wastefulness are.

What necessary frugality is.

Necessary frugality or sparing is an act of fidelity, obedience, and gratitude, by which we use all our estates so faithfully for the chief Owner, so obediently to our chief Ruler, and so gratefully to our chief Benefactor, as that we waste it not any other way.

As we hold our estates under God, as Owner, Ruler, and Benefactor, so must we devote them to him, and use them for him in each relation: and christian parsimony cannot be defined by a mere negation of active wastefulness, because idleness itself, and not using it aright, is real wastefulness.

Wastefulness, what it is.

Wastefulness or prodigality is that sin of unfaithfulness, disobedience, and ingratitude, by which either by action or omission we mispend or waste some part of our estates to the injury of God, our absolute Lord, our Ruler, and Benefactor: that is, besides and against his interest, his command, and his pleasure and glory, and our ultimate end.

These are true definitions of the duty of frugality and the sin of wastefulness.

Inst. I. One way of sinful wastefulness is, In pampering the belly in excess, curiosity, or costliness of meat or drink, of which I have spoken, chap. viii. part i.

Quest. I. Are all men bound to fare alike? or when is it wastefulness and excess?

Answ. This question is answered in the foresaid chapter of gluttony, part iv. tit. 1. 1. Distinguish between men's several tempers, and strength, and appetites. 2. And between the restraint of want, and the restraint of God's law. And so it is thus resolved:

1. Such difference in quantity or quality as men's health or strength, and real benefit, requireth, may be made by them that have no want.

2. When want depriveth the poor of that which would be really for their health, and strength, and benefit, it is not their duty who have no such want to conform themselves to other men's afflictions; except when other reasons do require it.

3. But all men are bound to avoid real excess in matter, or manner, and curiosity, and to lay out nothing needlessly on their bellies; yea, nothing which they are called to lay out a better way. Understand this answer, and it will suffice you.

Inst. II. Another way of prodigality is by needless, costly visits, and entertainments.

Quest. II. What cost upon visits and entertainments is unlawful and prodigal?

Answ. 1. Not only all that which hath an ill original, as pride or flattery of the rich, and all that hath an ill end, as being merely to keep up a carnal, unprofitable interest and correspondency; but also all that which is excessive in degree. I know you will say, But that is the difficulty, to know when it is excessive. It is not altogether impertinent to say, when it is above the proportion of your own estate, or the ordinary use of those of your own rank, or when it plainly tendeth to cherish gluttony or excess in others: but these answers are no exact solution. I add therefore, that it is excess when any thing is that way expended, which you are called to expend another way.

Object. But this leaveth it still as difficult as before.

Answ. When in rational probability a greater good may be done by another way of expense, consideratis considerandis, and a greater good is by this way neglected, then you had a call to spend it otherwise, and this expense is sinful.

Object. It is a doubt whether of two goods it be a man's duty always to choose the greater.

Answ. Speaking of that good which is within his choice, it is no more doubt than whether good be the object of the will. If God be eligible as good, then the greatest good is most eligible.

Whether a man is bound to prefer the greatest good.

Object. But this is still a difficulty insuperable: how can a man in every action and expense discern which way it is that the greatest good is like to be attained? This putteth a man's conscience upon endless perplexities, and we shall never be sure that we do not sin; for when I have given to a poor man, or done some good, for aught I know there was a poorer that should have had it, or a greater good that should have been done.

Answ. 1. The contrary opinion legitimateth almost all villany, and destroyeth most good works as to ourselves or others. If a man may lawfully prefer a known lesser good before a greater, and be justified because the lesser is a real good, then he may be feeding his horse when he should be saving the life of his child or neighbour, or quenching a fire in the city, or defending the person of his king: he may deny to serve his king and country, and say, I was ploughing or sowing the while. He may prefer sacrifice before mercy; he may neglect his soul, and serve his body. He may plough on the Lord's day, and neglect all God's worship. A lesser duty is no duty, but a sin, when a greater is to be done. Therefore it is certain, that when two goods come together to our choice, the greater is to be chosen, or else we sin. 2. As you expect that your steward should proportion his expenses according to the necessity of your business, and not give more for a thing than it is worth, nor lay out your money upon smaller commodity, while he leaveth your greater business unprovided for; and as you expect that your servant who hath many things in the day to do, should have so much skill as to know which to prefer, and not to leave undone the chiefest, whilst he spendeth his time upon the least: so doth God require that his servants labour to be so skilful in his service, as to be able to compare their businesses together, and to [852] know which at every season to prefer. If christianity required no wisdom and skill, it were below men's common trades and callings. 3. And yet when you have done your best here, and truly endeavour to serve God faithfully, with the best skill and diligence you have, you need not make it a matter of scrupulosity, perplexity, and vexation; for God accepteth you, and pardoneth your infirmities, and rewardeth your fidelity. And what if it do follow, that you know not but there may be some sinful omission of a better way? Is that so strange or intolerable a conclusion; as long as it is a pardoned failing, which should not hinder the comfort of your obedience? Is it strange to you that we are all imperfect? and imperfect in every good we do, even by a culpable, sinful imperfection? You never loved God in your lives without a sinful imperfection in your love; and yet nothing in you is more acceptable to him than your love. Shall we think a case of conscience ill resolved, unless we may conclude, that we are sure we have no sinful imperfection in our duty? If your servant have not perfect skill, in knowing what to prefer in buying and selling, or in his work, I think you will neither allow him therefore to neglect the greater and better, knowingly, or by careless negligence, nor yet would you have him sit down and whine, and say, I know not which to choose; but you would have him learn to be as skilful as he can, and then willingly and cheerfully do his business with the best skill, and care, and diligence he can, and this you will best accept.

So that this holdeth as the truest and exactest solution of this and many other such cases: He that spendeth that upon an entertainment of some great ones, which should relieve some poor distressed families, that are ready to perish, doth spend it sinfully. If you cannot see this in God's cause, suppose it were the king's, and you will see it: if you have but twenty pounds to spend, and your tax or subsidy cometh to so much; if you entertain some noble friend with that money, will the king be satisfied with that as an excuse? or will you not be told that the king should have first been served? Remember him then, who will one day ask, "Have you fed, or clothed, or visited me?" Matt. xxv. You are not absolute owners of any thing, but the stewards of God; and must expend it as he appointeth you. And if you let the poor lie languishing in necessities, whilst you are at great charges to entertain the rich without a necessity or greater good, you must answer it as an unfaithful servant.

And yet on the other side, it may fall out that a person of quality, by a seasonable, prudent, handsome, respectful entertainment of his equals or superiors, may do more good than by bestowing that charge upon the poor. He may save more than he expendeth, by avoiding the displeasure of men in power: he may keep up his interest, by which if he be faithful, he may do God and his country more service, than if he had given so much to the poor. And when really it is a needful means to a greater good, it is a duty; and then to omit it, and give that cost to the poor, would be a sin.

Object. But if this rule hold, a man must never do but one kind of good; when he hath found out the greatest, he must do nothing else.

Answ. He must always do the greatest good: but the same thing is not at all times the greatest good. Out of season and measure a good may be turned to an evil: praying in its season is better than ploughing; and ploughing in its season is better than praying, and will do more good; for God will more accept and bless it.

Object. Therefore it seemeth the prudentest way to divide my expenses according to the proportion of others of my quality; some to the poor, and some to necessary charges, and some to actions of due civility.

Answ. That there must be a just distribution is no question; because God hath appointed you several duties for your expenses: but the question is of the proportions of each respectively. Where God hath made many duties constantly necessary, (as to maintain your own bodies, your children, to pay tribute to the king, to help the poor, to maintain the charges of the church,) there all must be wisely proportioned. But entertainments, recreations, and other such after to be mentioned, which are not constant duties, may be sometimes good and sometimes sinful: and the measure of such expenses must be varied only by the rule already laid down, viz. according to the proportion of the effect or good which is like to follow: though the custom of others of the same rank may sometimes intimate what proportion will be suitable to that lawful end; and sometimes the inordinate custom of others will rather tell one what is to be avoided. Therefore true prudence (without a carnal bias) comparing the good effects together, which rationally are like to follow, is the only resolver of this doubt. Which having so largely showed, I shall refer you to it, in the solution of many of the following questions.

Inst. III. Another way of sinful wasting is upon unnecessary, sumptuous buildings.

Quest. III. When is it prodigality to erect sumptuous edifices?

Answ. Not when they are for the public good, either in point of use, or ornament and honour, so be it no greater good be thereby omitted. Therefore it is not churches, hospitals, burses, or common halls that I am speaking of. Nor when they are proportioned to the quality of the person, for the honour of magistracy, or for a man's necessary use. But when it is for ostentation of a man's riches, or rather of his pride, and for the gratifying of a carnal, irrational fancy; and when a man bestoweth more upon buildings, than is proportionable to his estate, and to his better expenses; and (to speak more exactly) when he bestoweth that upon his buildings, which some greater service calleth for at that time; it is then his prodigality and sin.

Quest. IV. Here once for all let us inquire, Whether it be not lawful, as in diet, so in buildings, recreation, and other such things, to be at some charge for our delight, as well as for our necessities?

Answ. The question is thus commonly stated, but not well; for it seemeth to imply, that no delights are necessary, and so putteth things in opposition which are oft coincident. Therefore I distinguish, 1. Of necessity: some things are necessary to our being, and some to our felicity, and some but to our smaller benefits. 2. Of delight: some delight is sinful; as gratifying a sinful humour or disposition: some is unnecessary or wholly useless; and some is necessary, either to our greater or our lesser good. And so the true solution is: (1.) The sinful delight of a proud, a covetous, a lustful, a voluptuous mind, is neither to be purchased or used. (2.) A delight wholly needless, that is, unprofitable, is sinful if it be purchased, but at the price of a farthing, or of a bit of bread, or of a minute's time; because that is cast away which purchaseth it. (3.) A delight which tendeth to the health of the body, and the alacrity of the mind, to fit it for our calling and the service of God, (being not placed in any forbidden thing,) may be both indulged and purchased, so it be not above its worth. (4.) So far as delight in houses, or sports, or any creature, tendeth to corrupt [853] our minds, and draw us to the love of this present world, and alienate our hearts from heaven, so far must they be resisted and mortified, or sanctified and turned a better way. (5.) In the utensils of our duty to God, usually a moderate, natural delight, is a great help to the duty, and may become a spiritual delight: as a delight in many books, in the preacher's utterance, in the melody of psalms, in my study, and its conveniences, in my walk for meditation, &c. And a delight in our food and recreations, maketh them much fitter to cherish health, and to attain their ends; so it be not corrupt, immoderate, or abused to evil ends.

Inst. IV. Another way of prodigality, is in needless, costly recreations.

Quest. V. Is all cost laid out upon recreations unlawful?

Answ. No: but, cæteris paribus, we should choose the cheapest, and be at no needless cost on them; nor lay out any thing on them which, consideratis considerandis, might be better bestowed. But of this before.

Inst. V. Another way of prodigality is in over-costly apparel.

Quest. VI. What may be accounted prodigality in the costliness of apparel?

Answ. Not that which is only for a due distinction of superiors from inferiors, or which is needful to keep up the vulgar's reverence to magistrates. But, 1. All that which is merely serviceable to pride, or vain curiosity, or amorous lust, or an affectation to be thought more comely and beautiful than others. 2. All that which hath more cost bestowed on it, than the benefit or end is worth. 3. Or which hath that cost which should be rather laid out another way upon better uses. The cheapest apparel must be chosen which is warm and comely, and fittest to the right ends. And we must come nearer those that are below our rank, than those above it.

Inst. VI. Also prodigality is much showed in the cost which is laid out for needless pomp and ostentation of greatness or curiosity, in keeping a numerous retinue, and in their gallantry, and in keeping many horses, and costly furniture, and attendance.

Quest. VII. When is a costly retinue and other pompous furniture to be accounted prodigality?

Answ. Not when they are needful to the honour of magistracy, and so to the government of the commonwealth; nor when it is made but a due means to some lawful end, which answereth the cost. But when it is either the fruits and maintenance of pride, or exceedeth the proportion of men's estates, or (especially) when it expendeth that which better and more necessary uses call for. It is a most odious and enormous crime, to waste so many hundred or thousand pounds a year in the vanities of pomp, and fruitless curiosities, and need-nots, while the public uses of the state and church are injured through want, and while thousands of poor families are racked with cares, and pinched with necessities round about us.

Inst. VII. Another way of prodigality is that which is called by many, keeping a good house, that is, in unnecessary abundance, and waste of meat and drink, and other provisions.

Quest. VIII. When may great housekeeping be accounted prodigality?

Answ. Not when it is but a convenient work of charity to feed the poor, and relieve the distressed, or entertain strangers, or to give such necessary entertainment to equals or superiors as is before described: but when the truest relief of the poor shall be omitted, (and it may be poor tenants racked and oppressed,) to keep up the fame and grandeur of their abundance, and to seem magnificent, and praised by men for great housekeepers. The whole and large estates of many of the rich and great ones of the world goeth this way, and so much is devoured by it, as starveth almost all good works.

Inst. VIII. Another act of prodigality is cards and dice, and other gaming; in which whilst men desire to get that which is another's, they lose and waste their own.

Inst. IX. Another act of prodigality is giving over-great portions with children: it being a sinful waste of our Master's stock, to lay it out otherwise than he would have us, and to serve our pride and self-interest in our children instead of him.

Quest. IX. When may our children's portions be accounted prodigality or too great?

Answ. Not when you provide for their comfortable living according to your estates, and give them that due proportion which consisteth with the discharge of other duties: but when all that men can get is thought little enough for their children; and the business of their lives is to live in fulness themselves as long as they can, and then to leave that to their posterity which they cannot keep themselves! When this gulf of self-pampering and providing the like for children, devoureth almost all that you can gather, and the poor and other needful uses are put off with some inconsiderable pittance; and when there is not a due proportion kept between your provision for your children, and the other duties which God requireth of you. Psal. xlix. 7-9, 11, 13, "Their inward thought is, that their houses shall be perpetuated, and their dwelling-places to generations: they call their lands after their own names.—This their way is their folly; yet their posterity approve their sayings." Psal. lxxiii. 12, "Behold, these are the ungodly who prosper in the world, they increase in riches." Psal. xvii. 14, "They have their portion in this life:—they are full of children, (or their children are full,) and they leave the rest of their substance to their babes." A parent that hath an heir, or other children, so wise, religious, and liberal, as that they are like to be more charitable and serviceable to good uses, than any other whom he can trust with his estate, should not only leave such children sufficient for themselves, but enable them as much as he can to do good; for they will be more faithful trustees to him than strangers. But a parent that hath but common and untrusty children, should do all the good he can himself, and what he would have done when he is dead, he must commit to them that are more trusty, and allow his children but their proper maintenance. And parents that have debauched, wicked, ungodly children, (such as God commanded them to cause to be put to death, Deut. xxi.) should allow them no more than their daily bread, if any thing at all (which is their own to dispose of).

Inst. X. Also to be careless in many small expenses or losses, because they are but little things, and let any such thing be cast away, is sinful prodigality.

Quest. X. How far is it a duty to be frugal in small matters, and the contrary a sin?

Answ. We must not overvalue any thing, great or small; nor be sparing out of covetousness; nor yet in an imprudent way, which seemeth to signify baseness and worldliness when it is not so; nor must we be too thinking in bargaining with others, when every penny which we get by it, is lost to one that needeth it more. But we must see that nothing of any use be lost through satiety, negligence, or contempt; for the smallest part is of God's gifts and talents, given us, not to cast away, but to use as he [854] would have us; and there is nothing that is good so small, but some one hath need of it, or some good use or other may be made of it. Even Christ when he had fed thousands by a miracle, yet commanded his disciples to "gather up the broken bread or fragments, that nothing be lost," John vi. 12. Which plainly showeth that it is a duty which the richest man that is is not exempted from, to be frugal, and sin in the greatest prince to be wasteful of any thing that is good; but this must not be in sordid covetousness, but in obedience to God, and to do good to others. He is commendable who giveth liberally to the poor, out of his abundance; but he is much more commendable who is a good husband for the poor, as worldlings are for themselves; and frugally getteth and saveth as much as he can, and denieth all superfluities to himself and all about him, that he may have the more to give to pious and charitable uses.

Inst. XI. Idleness also and negligence in our callings, is sinful wastefulness and prodigality; when either the pride of gentility maketh people think themselves too good to labour, or to look after the matters of their families, or slothfulness maketh them think it a life too toilsome for their flesh to bear. Prov. xviii. 9, "He that is slothful in his work, is brother to him that is a great waster:" these drones consume that which others labour for, but are no gatherers themselves.

Quest. XI. Is every one bound to labour in a calling?

Answ. This is answered before in its due place, part i. Every one that is able, rich or poor, must live in some profitable course of pains or labour.

Quest. XII. Is it a duty to desire and endeavour to get, and prosper, and grow rich by our labours; when Solomon saith, "Labour not to be rich?" Prov. xxiii. 4.

Answ. It is a sin to desire riches as worldlings and sensualists do, for the provision and maintenance of fleshly lusts and pride; but it is no sin, but a duty, to labour not only for labour sake, formally resting in the act done, but for that honest increase and provision, which is the end of our labour; and therefore to choose a gainful calling rather than another, that we may be able to do good, and relieve the poor. Eph. iv. 28, "Let him labour, working with his hands the thing that is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth."

Quest. XIII. Can one be prodigal in giving to the church?

Answ. Yes, if it be in a blind zeal to maintain a useless pomp or superstition; or if he give that which should be used or given otherwise: but this is a sin that few in these days are much in danger of.[167]

Quest. XIV. Can one be prodigal in giving to the poor?

Answ. Yes, when it is blindly done, to cherish idleness in wandering beggars; or with a conceit of meriting in point of commutative justice from God; or when that is given to the poor, which should be given to other uses (as in public tribute, maintenance of children, furtherance of the gospel, &c.): but this is a sin that few have need to be restrained from.

Quest. XV. May a rich man expend any thing upon (otherwise) lawful pomp, or conveniences, or pleasures, at such a time when there are multitudes of poor families in extremity of want? as now, when the flames which consumed London have left many thousands in distress?

Answ. Doubtless every man should spare as much for the relief of others as he can; and therefore should not only forbear all needless expenses, but those also that are needful but to such conveniences and accommodations as may be spared without a greater hurt, than is the want of such as that charge would relieve. To save the lives of people in want, we must spare any thing from ourselves, which our own lives can spare. And to relieve them in their deep poverty, we must abate much more than our superfluities. To expend any thing on pride and lust, is a double sin at such a time, when Lazarus is at our doors in want. If that Luke xvi. were well studied, (wherein it was that the rich man's sin and danger lay, in being clothed in purple and silk, and faring sumptuously every day, while Lazarus wanted,) it would make some sensualists wiser than they are.

But yet it must be confessed, that some few persons may be of so much worth and use to the commonwealth, (as kings and magistrates,) and some of so little, that the maintaining of the honour and succours of the former, may be more necessary than the saving the lives of the latter. But take heed lest pride or cruelty teach you to misunderstand this, or abuse it for yourselves.

There are divers other ways of prodigality or sinful waste, which I pass by, because they are such as few are concerned in; and my purpose is not to say all that may be said, but all that is needful. As in needless music, physic, books, (which Seneca handsomely reproveth,) gifts to servants which need not, in mere ostentation of pride, to be well spoken of, and many the like; and in unlawful wars, which is the greatest sinful waster in all the world. And as for expenses in debauchery and gross wickedness, as whoredom, revenge, in sinful law-suits, &c. I here pretermit them.

Direct. II. Understand well the aggravations of this sin of prodigality: viz.

1. It is a wasting of that which is none of our own, and a robbing God of the use or service due to him in the improvement of his gifts. They are his, and not ours; and according to his pleasure only must be used. 2. It is a robbing the poor of that which the common Lord of the world hath appointed for them in his law; and they will have their action in heaven against the prodigal. 3. It is an inhuman vice, to waste that upon pleasures, pride, and needless things, which so many distressed persons stand in need of. 4. It is an injury to the commonwealth, which is weakened by the wasteful. And the covetous themselves (that are not oppressors) are much better members of public societies than the prodigal. 5. It feedeth a life of other vice and wickedness. It is a spending God's gift to feed those lusts which he abhorreth. 6. It usually engageth many others in trades and labours which are unprofitable, that they may serve the lusts of these sensual prodigals. 7. And in the conclusion, it prepareth a sad account for these wretches, when they must answer at the bar of God how they have used all his gifts and talents. Remember all these aggravations.

Direct. III. Carefully mortify that greedy fancy, and fleshly lusts, which is the wasting sin, and the devouring gulf. Quench the fire, and you may spare all this fuel. Cure the fever or dropsy, and you may spare both your drink and life. A greedy throat and a diseased fancy are never satisfied, till they have wasted the peace of your consciences with your estates, and brought you to the end of brutish sinners: wisdom, and duty, and real benefit, are contented with a little; but lust is insatiable; the voluptuous brute saith, I must have my cups, my lusts, my pleasure; and the effeminate, vicious fancy of those empty souls that mind no great and solid things, is still ranging after some vanity or other; [855] and like children, crying for every thing that they see another have: and the most needless, yea, burdensome things seem necessary to such; they say, I must needs have this, and I must needs have that, there is no being without it; when nothing needeth it, but a diseased mind, which much more needeth a cure by grace and true mortification. Subdue pride, and sensuality, and fancy, and you may escape prodigality.

Direct. IV. Remember the nearness of your account, and ask your consciences what way of expenses will please you best in the review. Whether at death and judgment it will be your comfort to find on your account, So much laid out on needless bravery, to set out this carcass which is now turning into dust; Item, so much upon proud entertainments of great ones; Item, so much on cards, and dice, and stage-plays; and so much on hounds and needless pleasures, &c. Or rather, so much to promote the preaching of the gospel; so much to set poor children to 'prentice, or to school; so much to relieve distressed families, &c. Let Matt. xxv. be well read, and your account well thought on.

Direct. V. Keep an account of your expenses, and peruse them before a fast or a sacrament; and ask conscience how it judgeth of them; yea, ask some holy, prudent friend, whether such proportions are allowable before God, and will be comfortable to you in the day of your extremity. If you are but willing to be cured, such means as these will not be in vain.

[167]   Read Erasmus Colloqu. Peregrin. Relig. Ergo.



Tit. 1. Cases of Conscience about Law-suits and Proceedings.

Quest. I. In what cases is it lawful to go to law with others?

Answ. 1. In case of necessary defence, when the plaintiff doth compel you to it. 2. When you are intrusted for orphans or others whom you cannot otherwise right. 3. When your children, or the church, or poor, whom you should do good to, are like to suffer, if you recover not your talent that God hath trusted you with for such uses, from the hands of unjust men; and they refuse all just arbitrations and other equal means which might avoid such suits. 4. When your own necessity constraineth you to seek your own, which you cannot get by easier means. 5. When your forbearance will do more hurt by encouraging knaves in their injustice, than it will do good. 6. Whenever your cause is just, and neither mercy, peace, nor the avoiding of scandal do forbid it: that is, when it is like to do more good than harm, it is then a lawful course.

But it is unlawful to go to law, 1. When you neglect just arbitrations, patience, and other needful means to avoid it. 2. When your cause is unjust. 3. When you oppress the poor by it. 4. When it is done in covetousness, revenge, or pride. 5. When the scandal or hurt to your brother, is like to be a greater harm than the righting of yourself is like to do good; then must you not go willingly to law.

Quest. II. May I sue a poor man for a debt or trespass?

Answ. 1. If he be so poor as that he cannot pay it, nor procure you satisfaction, the suit is vain, and tendeth but to cruelty. 2. If he have no means to pay, but that which will deprive him of food and raiment, and the necessaries of his life or comfort, you may not sue him unless it be for the supply of as great necessities of your own; or in trust for orphans, where you have no power to remit the debt; yea, and for them no cruelty must be used. 3. If your forbearance be like to make him abler by his diligence or other means, you should forbear if possible. 4. But if he be competently able, and refuse to pay through knavery and injustice, and you have better ways to use that money, if scandal forbid not, you may seek by law to recover your own from him.

Quest. III. May I sue a surety whose interest was not concerned in the case?

Answ. If his poverty make it not an act of cruelty, nor scandal prohibit it, you may; because he was willing, and declared his consent, that you should have the debt of him, if the principal pay not. To become surety, is to consent to this; and it is no injury to receive a man's money by his own consent and covenant. He knew that you had not lent it but on those terms; and you had reason to suppose, that he who would undertake to pay another man's debt, had sufficient reason for it, either in relation or counter-security. But as you must use mercy to the principal debtor in his poverty, so must you also to the surety.

Quest. IV. May I sue for the use of money, as well as for the principal?

Answ. This dependeth on the case of usury before resolved. In those cases in which it may not be taken, it may not be sued for; nor yet when the scandal of it will do more harm than the money will do good. But in other cases, it may be sued for on the terms as the rent of lands may.

Quest. V. May law-suits be used to disable or humble an insolent, wicked man?

Answ. You may not take up an ill cause against him, for any such good end; but if you have a good cause against him, which otherwise you would not have prosecuted, you may make use of it, to disable him from doing mischief, when really it is a probable means thereto; and when neither scandal nor other accidents do prohibit it.

Quest. VI. May a rich man make use of his friends and purse in a just cause, to bear down or tire out a poor man that hath a bad cause?

Answ. Not by bribery or any evil means; for his proceeding must be just as well as his cause. But if it be an obstinate knave that setteth himself to do hurt to others, it is lawful to make use of the favour of a righteous judge or magistrate against him; and it is lawful to humble him by the length and expensiveness of the suit, when that is the fittest means, and no unjust action is done in it; still supposing that scandal prohibit it not. But let no proud or cruel person think, that therefore they may by purse, and friends, and tedious law-suits oppress the innocent, to attain their own unrighteous wills.

Quest. VII. May one use such forms in law-suits as in the literal sense are gross untruths (in declarations, answers, or the like)?

Answ. The use of words is to express the mind; and common use is the interpreter of them: if they are such words as the notorious common use hath put another sense on, than the literal one, they must be taken in the sense which public use hath put upon them. And if that public sense be true or false, accordingly they may or may not be used.

Quest. VIII. May a guilty person plead not guilty, or deny the fact?

[856] Answ. Common use is the interpreter of words. If the common use of those words doth make their public sense a lie, it may not be done. But if the forensic common use of their denial is taken to signify no more but this, Let him that accuseth me, prove it; I am not bound to accuse myself, or, In foro I am not guilty till it be proved; then it is lawful to plead Not guilty, and deny the fact, except in cases wherein you are bound to an open confession, or in which the scandal will do more hurt than the denial will do good.

Quest. IX. Is a man ever bound to accuse himself, and seek justice against himself?

Answ. 1. In many cases a man is bound to punish himself; as when the law against swearing, cursing, or the like, must give the poor a certain mulct which is the penalty, he ought to give that money himself; and in cases where it is a necessary cure to himself, and in any case where the public good requireth it: as if a magistrate offend, whom none else will punish, or who is the judge in his own cause; he should so far punish himself as is necessary to the suppression of sin, and to the preserving of the honour of the laws; as I have heard of a justice that swore twenty oaths, and paid his twenty shillings for it. 2. A man may be bound in such a divine vengeance or judgment as seeketh after his particular sin, to offer himself to do a sacrifice to justice, to stop the judgment; as Jonah and Achan did. 3. A man may be bound to confess his guilt and offer himself to justice to save the innocent, who is falsely accused and condemned for his crime. 4. But in ordinary cases a man is not bound to be his own public accuser or executioner.

Quest. X. May a witness voluntarily speak that truth which he knoweth will further an unrighteous cause, and be made use of to oppress the innocent?

Answ. He may not do it as a confederate in that intention: nor may he do it when he knoweth that it will tend to such an event, (though threatened or commanded,) except when some weightier accident doth preponderate for the doing it, (as the avoiding of a greater hurt to others, than it will bring on the oppressed, &c.)

Quest. XI. May a witness conceal some part of the truth?

Answ. Not when he sweareth to deliver the whole truth; nor when a good cause is like to suffer, or a bad cause be furthered by the concealment; nor when he is under any other obligation to reveal the whole.

Quest. XII. Must a judge and jury proceed secundum allegata et probata, according to evidence and proof, when they know the witness to be false, and the truth to be contrary to the testimony; but are not able to evince it?

Answ. Distinguish between the negative and the positive part of the verdict or sentence: in the negative they must go according to the evidence and testimonies, unless the law of the land leave the case to their private knowledge. As for example, they must not sentence a thief or murderer to be punished upon their secret unproved knowledge: they must not adjudge either monies or lands to the true owner from another, without sufficient evidence and proof: they must forbear doing justice, because they are not called to it, nor enabled. But positively they may do no injustice upon any evidence or witness against their own knowledge of the truth: as they may not upon known false witness, give away a man's lands or money, or condemn the innocent; but must in such a case renounce the office; the judge must come off the bench, and the jury protest that they will not meddle, or give any verdict (whatever come of it); because God and the law of nature prohibit their injustice.

Object. It is the law that doth it, and not we.

Answ. It is the law and you; and the law cannot justify your agency in any unrighteous sentence. The case is plain and past dispute.

Tit. 2. Directions against Contentious Suits, False-witnessing, and Oppressive Judgment.

Direct. I. The first cure for all these sins, is to know the intrinsic evil of them. Good thoughts of sin are its life and strength. When it is well known, it will be hated; and when it is hated, it is so far cured.

I. The evil of contentious and unjust law-suits.

1. Such contentious suits do show the power of selfishness in the sinner; how much self-interest is inordinately esteemed. 2. They show the excessive love of the world; how much men overvalue the things which they contend for. 3. They show men's want of love to their neighbours; how little they regard another man's interest in comparison of their own. 4. They show how little such men care for the public good, which is maintained by the concord and love of neighbours. 5. Such contentions are powerful engines of the devil to destroy all christian love on both sides; and to stir up mutual enmity and wrath; and so to involve men in a course of sin, by further uncharitableness and injuries, both in heart, and word, and deed. 6. Poor men are hereby robbed of their necessary maintenance, and their innocent families subjected to distress. 7. Unconscionable lawyers and court officers, who live upon the people's sins, are hereby maintained, encouraged, and kept up. 8. Laws and courts of justice are perverted to do men wrong, which were made to right them. 9. And the offender declareth how little sense he hath of the authority or love of God, and how little sense of the grace of our Redeemer; and how far he is from being himself forgiven through the blood of Christ, who can no better forgive another.

II. The evil of false witness.

1. By false witness the innocent are injured; robbery and murder are committed under pretence of truth and justice. 2. The name of God is horribly abused, by the crying sin of perjury (of which before). 3. The presence and justice of God are contemned, when sinners dare, in his sight and hearing, appeal to his tribunal, in the attesting of a lie. 4. Vengeance is begged or consented to by the sinner; who bringeth God's curse upon himself, and as it were desireth God to plague or damn him if he lie. 5. Satan the prince of malice and injustice, and the father of lies, and murders, and oppression, is hereby gratified, and eminently served. 6. God himself is openly injured, who is the Father and patron of the innocent; and the cause of every righteous person is more the cause of God than of man. 7. All government is frustrated, and laws abused, and all men's security for their reputations, or estates, or lives is overthrown, by false witnesses; and consequently human converse is made undesirable and unsafe. What good can law, or right, or innocency, or the honesty of the judge do any man, where false witnesses combine against him? What security hath the most innocent or worthy person, for his fame, or liberty, or estate, or life, if false witnesses conspire to defame him or destroy him? And then how shall men endure to converse with one another? Either the innocent must seek out a wilderness, and fly from the face of men as we do from lions and tigers, or else peace will be worse than war; for in war a man may fight for his life; but against false witnesses he hath no defence: but God is the [857] avenger of the innocent, and above most other sins, doth seldom suffer this to go unpunished, even in this present world; but often beginneth their hell on earth, to such perjured instruments of the devil.

III. The evil of unrighteous judgments.

1. An unrighteous judge doth condemn the cause of God himself; for every righteous cause is his. 2. Yea, he condemneth Christ himself in his members; for in that he doth it to one of the least of those whom he calleth brethren, he doth it to himself, Matt. xxv. It is a damnable sin, not to relieve the innocent and imprisoned in their distress, when we have power: what is it then to oppress them and unrighteously condemn? 3. It is a turning of the remedy into a double misery, and taking away the only help of oppressed innocency. What other defence hath innocency, but law and justice? And when their refuge itself doth fall upon them and oppress them, whither shall the righteous fly? 4. It subverteth laws and government, and abuseth it to destroy the ends which it is appointed for. 5. Thereby it turneth human society into a state of misery, like the depredations of hostility. 6. It is a deliberate, resolved sin, and not done in passion by surprise: it is committed in that place, and in that form, as acts of greatest deliberation should be done; as if he should say, Upon full disquisition, evidence, and deliberation, I condemn this person and his cause. 7. All this is done as in the name of God, and by his own commission, by one that pretendeth to be his officer or minister, Rom. iii. 3-6. For the judgment is the Lord's, 2 Chron. xix. 5-8, 10. And how great a wickedness is it thus to blaspheme, and to represent him as Satan, an enemy to truth and righteousness, to his servants and himself! As if he had said, God hath sent me to condemn this cause and person. If false prophets sin so heinously who belie the Lord, and say, He hath sent us to speak this, (which is untruth); the sin of false judges cannot be much less. 8. It is sin against the fullest and frequentest prohibitions of God. Read over Exod. xxiii. 1-3, &c.; Lev.; Deut. i. 16, 17; xvi. 18; Isa. i. 17, 20, 23; Deut. xxiv. 17; and xxvii. 19, "Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, the fatherless, and widow, and all the people shall say Amen." Ezra vii. 26; Psal. xxxiii. 5; xxxvii. 28; lxxii. 2; xciv. 15; cvi. 3, 30; Prov. xvii. 27; xix. 28; xx. 8; xxix. 4; xxxi. 5; Eccl. v. 8; Isa. v. 7; x. 2; lvi. 1, 2; lix. 14, 15; Jer. v. 1; vii. 5; ix. 24; Ezek. xviii. 8; xlv. 9; Hos. xii. 6; Amos v. 7, 15, 24; vi. 12; Mic. iii. 9; Zech. vii. 9; viii. 16; Gen. xviii. 19; Prov. xxi. 3, 7, 15. I cite not the words to avoid prolixity. Scarce any sin is so oft and vehemently condemned of God. 9. False judges cause the poor to appeal to God against them, and the cries of the afflicted shall not be forgotten, Luke xviii. 5-8. 10. They call for God's judgment upon themselves, and devolve the work into his hands: how can that man expect any other than a judgment of damnation, from the righteous God, who hath deliberately condemned Christ himself in his cause and servants, and sat in judgment to condemn the innocent? Psal. ix. 7-9, "The Lord hath prepared his throne for judgment, and he shall judge the world in righteousness; he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness; he will be a refuge for the oppressed." Psal. xxxvii. 6, "He will bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noon-day." Psal. lxxxix. 14, "Justice and judgment are the habitation of his throne." Psal. ciii. 6, "The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed." Psal. cxlvi. 7. In a word, the sentence of an unjust judge is passed against his own soul, and he calleth to God to condemn him righteously, who unrighteously condemned others. Of all men he cannot stand in judgment, nor abide the righteous doom of Christ.

Direct. II. When you well understand the greatness of the sin, find out and overcome the root and causes of it in yourselves; especially selfishness, covetousness, and passion. A selfish man careth not what another suffereth, so that his own ends and interest be promoted by it. A covetous man will contend and injure his neighbour whenever his own commodity requireth it. He so much loveth his money that it can prevail with him to sin against God, and cast away his own soul; much more to hurt and wrong his neighbour. A proud and passionate man is so thirsty after revenge, to make others stoop to him, that he careth not what it cost him to accomplish it. Overcome these inward vices, and you may easily forbear the outward sins.

Direct. III. Love your neighbours as yourselves: for that is the universal remedy against all injurious and uncharitable undertakings.

Direct. IV. Keep a tender conscience, which will not make light of sin. It is those that have seared their consciences by infidelity or a course of sinning, who dare venture with Judas or Gehazi for the prey, and dare oppress the poor and innocent, and feel not, nor fear, whilst they cast themselves on the revenge of God.

Direct. V. Remember the day when all these causes must be heard again, and the righteous God will set all straight, and vindicate the cause of the oppressed. Consider what a dreadful appearance that man is like to have at the bar of heaven, who hath falsely accused or condemned the just in the courts of men. What a terrible indictment, accusation, conviction, and sentence must that man expect! If the hearing of righteousness and the judgment to come made Felix tremble, surely it is infidelity or the plague of a stupified heart, which keepeth contentious persons, perverters of justice, false witnesses, and unjust judges from trembling.

Direct. VI. Remember the presence of that God who must be your final Judge. That he seeth all your pride and covetousness, and all your secret contrivances for revenge, and is privy to all your deceits and injuries. You commit them in his open sight.

Direct. VII. Meddle not with law-suits till you have offered an equal arbitration of indifferent men, or used all possible means of love to prevent them. Law-suits are not the first, but the last remedy. Try all others before you use them.

Direct. VIII. When you must needs go to law, compose your minds to unfeigned love towards him that you must contend with, and watch over your hearts with suspicion and the strictest care, lest secret disaffection get advantage by it: and go to your neighbour, and labour to possess his heart also with love, and to demulce his mind; that you may not use the courts of justice, as soldiers do their weapons, to do the worst they can against another, as an enemy; but as loving friends do use an amicable arbitration; resolving contentedly to stand to what the judge determineth, without any alienation of mind, or abatement of brotherly love.

Direct. IX. Be not too confident of the righteousness of your own cause; but ask counsel of some understanding, godly, and impartial men; and hear all that can be said, and patiently consider of the case, and do as you would have others do by you.

Direct. X. Observe what terrors of conscience use to haunt awakened sinners, especially on a deathbed, for such sins as false witnessing, and false judging, [858] and oppressing, and injuring the innocent, even above most other sins.



Tit. 1. Cases of Conscience about Backbiting and Evil-speaking.

Quest. I. May I not speak evil of that which is evil? and call every one truly as he is?

Answ. You must not speak a known falsehood of any man under pretence of charity or speaking well. But you are not to speak all the evil of every man which is true: as opening the faults of the king or your parents, though never so truly, is a sin against the fifth commandment, "Honour thy father and mother:" so if you do it without a call, you sin against your neighbour's honour, and many other ways offend.

Quest. II. Is it not sinful silence, and a consenting to or countenancing of the sins of others, to say nothing against them, as tender of their honour?

Answ. It is sinful to be silent when you have a call to speak: if you forbear to admonish the offender in love between him and you, when you have opportunity and just cause, it is sinful to be silent then. But to silence backbiting is no sin. If you must be guilty of every man's sin that you talk not against behind his back, your whole discourse must be nothing but backbiting.

Quest. III. May I not speak that which honest, religious, credible persons do report?

Answ. Not without both sufficient evidence and a sufficient call. You must not judge of the action by the person, but of the person by the action. Nor must you imitate any man in evil-doing. If a good man abuse you, are you willing that all men follow him and abuse you more?

Quest. IV. May I believe the bad report of an honest, credible person?

Answ. You must first consider whether you may hear it, or meddle with it: for if it be a case that you have nothing to do with, you may not set your judgment to it, either to believe it, or to disbelieve it. And if it be a thing that you are called to judge of, yet every honest man's word is not presently to be believed: you must first know whether it be a thing that he saw, or is certain of himself, or a thing which he only taketh upon report; and what his evidence and proof is; and whether he be not engaged by interest, passion, or any difference of opinion; or be not engaged in some contrary faction, where the interest of a party or cause is his temptation; or whether he be not used to rash reports and uncharitable speeches; and what concurrence of testimonies there is, and what is said on the other side; especially what the person accused saith in his own defence. If it be so heinous a crime in public judgment, to pass sentence before both parties are heard, and to condemn a man before he speak for himself; it cannot be justifiable in private judgment. Would you be willing yourselves that all should be believed of you, which is spoken by any honest man? And how uncertain are we of other men's honesty, that we should on that account think ill of others!

Quest. V. May I not speak evil of them that are enemies to God, to religion and godliness, and are open persecutors of it; or are enemies to the king or church?

Answ. You may on all meet occasions speak evil of the sin; and of the persons when you have a just call; but not at your own pleasure.

Quest. VI. What if it be one whose honour and credit countenanceth an ill cause, and his dishonour would disable him to do hurt?

Answ. You may not belie the devil, nor wrong the worst man that is, though under pretence of doing good; God needeth not malice, nor calumnies, nor injustice to his glory: it is an ill cause that cannot be maintained without such means as these. And when the matter is true, you must have a call to speak it, and you must speak it justly, without unrighteous aggravations, or hiding the better part, which should make the case and person better understood. There is a time and due manner, in which that man's crimes and just dishonour may be published, whose false reputation injureth the truth. But yet I must say, that a great deal of villany and slander is committed upon this plausible pretence; and that there is scarce a more common cloak for the most inhuman lies and calumnies.

Quest. VII. May I not lawfully make a true narration of such matters of fact, as are criminal and dishonourable to offenders? Else no man may write a true history to posterity of men's crimes.

Answ. When you have a just call to do it, you may; but not at your own pleasure. Historians may take much more liberty to speak the truth of the dead, than you may of the living: though no untruth must be spoken of either: yet the honour of princes and magistrates while they are alive is needful to their government, and therefore must be maintained, ofttimes by the concealment of their faults: and so proportionably the honour of other men is needful to a life of love, and peace, and just society; but when they are dead, they are not subjects capable of a right to any such honour as must be maintained by such silencing of the truth, to the injury of posterity: and posterity hath usually a right to historical truth, that good examples may draw them to imitation, and bad examples may warn them to take heed of sin. God will have the name of the wicked to rot; and the faults of a Noah, Lot, David, Solomon, Peter, &c. shall be recorded. Yet nothing unprofitable to posterity may be recorded of the dead, though it be true; nor the faults of men unnecessarily divulged; much less may the dead be slandered or abused.

Quest. VIII. What if it be one that hath been oft admonished in vain? May not the faults of such a one be mentioned behind his back?

Answ. I confess such a one (the case being proved, and he being notoriously impenitent) hath made a much greater forfeiture of his honour than other men; and no man can save that man's honour who will cast it away himself. But yet it is not every one that committeth a sin after admonition, who is here to be understood; but such as are impenitent in some mortal or ruling sin: for some may sin oft in a small and controverted point, for want of ability to discern the truth; and some may live in daily infirmities, (as the best men do,) which they condemn themselves for, and desire to be delivered from. And even the most impenitent man's sins must not be meddled with by every one at his pleasure, but only when you have just cause.

Quest. IX. What if it be one whom I cannot speak to face to face?

Answ. You must let him alone, till you have just cause to speak of him.

[859] Quest. X. When hath a man a just cause and call to open another's faults?

Answ. Negatively: 1. Not to fill up the time with other idle chat, or table talk. 2. Not to second any man, how good soever, who backbiteth others; no, though he pretend to do it to make the sin more odious, or to exercise godly sorrow for other men's sin. 3. Not whenever interest, passion, faction, or company seemeth to require it. But, affirmatively, 1. When we may speak it to his face in love and privacy, in due manner and circumstances, as is most hopeful to conduce to his amendment. 2. When, after due admonition, we take two or three, and after that tell the church (in a case that requireth it). 3. When we have a sufficient cause to accuse him to the magistrate. 4. When the magistrate or the pastors of the church, reprove or punish him. 5. When it is necessary to the preservation of another: as if I see my friend in danger of marrying with a wicked person, or taking a false servant, or trading and bargaining with one that is like to over-reach him, or going among cheaters, or going to hear or converse with a dangerous heretic or seducer; I must open the faults of those that they are in danger of, so far as their safety and my charity require. 6. When it is any treason or conspiracy against the king or commonwealth; where my concealment may be an injury to the king, or damage or danger to the kingdom. 7. When the person himself doth, by his self-justification, force me to it. 8. When his reputation is so built upon the injury of others, and slanders of the just, that the justifying of him is the condemning of the innocent, we may then indirectly condemn him, by vindicating the just; as if it be in a case of contention between two, if we cannot justify the right without dishonour to the injurious, there is no remedy but he must bear his blame. 9. When a man's notorious wickedness hath set him up as a spectacle of warning and lamentation, so that his crimes cannot be hid, and he hath forfeited his reputation, we must give others warning by his fall: as an excommunicate person, or malefactor at the gallows, &c. 10. When we have just occasion to make a bare narrative of some public matters of fact; as of the sentence of a judge, or punishment of offenders, &c. 11. When the crime is so heinous, as that all good persons are obliged to join to make it odious, as Phinehas was to execute judgment. As in cases of open rebellion, treason, blasphemy, atheism, idolatry, murders, perjury, cruelty; such as the French massacre, the Irish far greater massacre, the murdering of kings, the powder-plot, the burning of London, &c. Crimes notorious should not go about in the mouths or ears of men, but with just detestation. 12. When any person's false reputation is a seducement to men's souls, and made by himself or others the instruments of God's dishonour, and the injury of church or state, or others, though we may do no unjust thing to blast his reputation, we may tell the truth so far as justice, or mercy, or piety requireth it.

Quest. XI. What if I hear daubers applauding wicked men, and speaking well of them, and extenuating their crimes, and praising them for evil doing?

Answ. You must on all just occasions speak evil of sin; but when that is enough, you need not meddle with the sinner; no, not though other men applaud him, and you know it be false; for you are not bound to contradict every falsehood which you hear. But if in any of the twelve forementioned cases you have a call to do it, (as for the preservation of the hearers from a snare thereby; as if men commend a traitor or a wicked man to draw another to like his way,) in such cases you may contradict the false report.

Quest. XII. Are we bound to reprove every backbiter, in this age when honest people are grown to make little conscience of it, but think it their duty to divulge men's faults?

Answ. Most of all, that you may stop the stream of this common sin, ordinarily whenever we can do it without doing greater hurt, we should rebuke the tongue that reporteth evil of other men causelessly behind their backs; for our silence is their encouragement in sin.

Tit. 2. Directions against Backbiting, Slandering, and Evil Speaking.

Direct. I. Maintain the life of brotherly love. Love your neighbour as yourself.

Direct. II. Watch narrowly lest interest or passion should prevail upon you. For where these prevail, the tongue is set on fire of hell, and will set on fire the course of nature, James ii. Selfishness and passion will not only prompt you to speak evil, but also to justify it, and think you do well; yea, and to be angry with those that will not hearken to you and believe you.

Direct. III. Especially involve not yourselves in any faction, religious or secular. I do not mean that you should not imitate the best, and hold most intimate communion with them; but that you abhor unlawful divisions and sidings; and when error, or uncharitableness, or carnal interest hath broken the church into pieces where you live, and one is of Paul, and another of Apollos, and another of Cephas, one of this party, and another of that, take heed of espousing the interest of any party, as it stands cross to the interest of the whole. It would have been hardly credible, if sad experience had not proved it, how commonly and heinously almost every sect of christians do sin in this point against each other! and how far the interest of their sect, which they account the interest of Christ, will prevail with multitudes even of zealous people, to belie, calumniate, backbite, and reproach those that are against their opinion and their party! yea, how easily will they proceed beyond reproaches, to bloody persecutions! He that thinketh he doth God service by killing Christ or his disciples, will think that he doth him service by calling him a deceiver, and one that hath a devil, a blasphemer, and an enemy to Cæsar, and calling his disciples pestilent fellows and movers of sedition among the people, and accounting them as the filth and offscouring of the world. That zeal which murdered and destroyed many hundred thousand of the Waldenses and Albigenses, and thirty thousand or forty thousand in one French massacre, and two hundred thousand in one Irish massacre, and which kindled the Maryan bonfires in England, made the powder mine, and burnt the city of London, and keepeth up the Inquisition, I say, that zeal will certainly think it a service to the church, (that is, their sect,) to write the most odious lies and slanders of Luther, Zuinglius, Calvin, Beza, and any such excellent servants of the Lord. So full of horrid, impudent lies are the writings of (not one but) many sects against those that were their chief opposers, that I still admonish all posterity, to see good evidence for it, before they believe the hard sayings of any factious historian or divine, against those that are against his party. It is only men of eminent conscience, and candour, and veracity, and impartiality, who are to be believed in their bad report of others, except where notoriety or very good evidence doth command belief above their own authority and veracity. A siding factious zeal, which is hotter for [860] any sect or party, than for the common christianity and catholic church, is always a railing, a lying, and a slandering zeal, and is notably described, James iii. as "earthly, sensual, and devilish," causing "envy, strife, and confusion, and every evil work."

Direct. IV. Observe well the commonness of this sin of backbiting, that it may make you the more afraid of falling into that which so few do escape. I will not say, among high and low, rich and poor, court and country, how common is this sin; but among men professing the greatest zeal and strictness in religion, how few make conscience of it! Mark in all companies that you come into, how common it is to take liberty to say what they think of all men; yea, to report what they hear, though they dare not say that they believe it! And how commonly the relating of other men's faults, and telling what this man or that man is, or did, or said, is part of the chat to waste the hour in! And if it be but true, they think they sin not: nay, nor if they did but hear that it is true. For my part I must profess, that my conscience having brought me to a custom of rebuking such backbiters, I am ordinarily censured for it, either as one that loveth contradiction, or one that defendeth sin and wickedness, by taking part with wicked men; all because I would stop the course of this common vice of evil speaking and backbiting where men have no call. And I must thankfully profess, that among all other sins in the world, the sins of selfishness, pride, and backbiting, I have been most brought to hate and fear, by the observation of the commonness of them, even in persons seeming godly: nothing hath fixed an apprehension of their odiousness so deeply in me, nor engaged my heart against them above all other sins so much, as this lamentable experience of their prevalence in the world, among the more religious, and not only in the profane.

Direct. V. Take not the honesty of the person, as a sufficient cause to hear or believe a bad report of others. It is lamentable to hear how far men, otherwise honest, do too often here offend. Suspect evil speakers, and be not over-credulous of them. Charity thinketh not evil, nor easily and hastily believeth it. Liars are more used to evil speaking, than men of truth and credit are. It is no wrong to the best, that you believe him not when he backbiteth without good evidence.

Direct. VI. Rebuke backbiters, and encourage them not by hearkening to their tales. Prov. xxv. 23, "The north wind driveth away rain, so doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue." It may be they think themselves religious persons, and will take it for an injury to be driven away with an angry countenance: but God himself, who loveth his servants better than we, is more offended at their sin; and that which offendeth him, must offend us. We must not hurt their souls, and displease God, by drawing upon us the guilt of their sins, for fear of displeasing them. Tell them how God doth hate backbiting, and advise them if they know any hurt by others, to go to them privately, and tell them of it in a way that tendeth to their repentance.

Direct. VII. Use to make mention of the good which is in others; (except it be unseasonable, and will seem to be a promoting of their sin): God's gifts in every man deserve commendations; and we have allowance to mention men's virtues oftener than to mention their vices. Indeed when a bad man is praised in order to the disparagement of the good, or to honour some wicked cause or action against truth and godliness, we must not concur in such malicious praises; but otherwise we must commend that which is truly commendable in all. And this custom will have a double benefit against backbiting: it will use your own tongues to a contrary course, and it will rebuke the evil tongues of others, and be an example to them of more charitable language.

Direct. VIII. Understand yourselves, and speak often to others, of the sinfulness of evil-speaking and backbiting. Show them the scriptures which condemn it, and the intrinsical malignity which is in it: as here followeth.

Direct. IX. Make conscience of just reproof and exhorting sinners to their faces. Go tell them of it privately and lovingly, and it will have better effects, and bring you more comfort, and cure the sin of backbiting.

Tit. 3. The Evil of Backbiting and Evil-speaking.

1. It is forbidden of God among the heinous, damning sins, and made the character of a notorious wicked person, and the avoiding of it is made the mark of such as are accepted of God and shall be saved: Rom. i. 29, 30, it is made the mark of a reprobate mind, and joined with murder, and hating God, viz. "full of envy, debate, deceit, malignity, whisperers, backbiters." Psal. xv. 2, 3, "Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour." And when Paul describeth those whom he must sharply rebuke and censure, he just describeth the factious sort of christians of our times. 2 Cor. xii. 20, "For I fear lest when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults." Eph. iv. 31, "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil-speaking be put away from you, with all malice, and be kind one to another, and tender-hearted—."

2. It is a sin which gratifieth Satan, and serveth his malice against our neighbour. He is malicious against all, and speaking evil, and doing hurt, are the works which are suitable to his malignity! And should a christian make his tongue the instrument of the accuser of the brethren, to do his work against each other?

3. It signifieth want of christian love. For love speaketh not evil, nor openeth men's faults without a cause, but covereth infirmities; much less will it lie and slander others, and carry about uncertain reports against them. It is not to do as you would be done by: and how essential love is to true christianity, Christ himself hath often told us.

4. It is a sin which directly serveth to destroy the hearers' love, and consequently to destroy their souls. If the backbiter understood himself, he would confess that it is his very end to cause you to hate (or abate your love to) him whom he speaketh evil of. He that speaketh good of a man, representeth him amiable; for amiableness and goodness are all one. And he that speaketh evil of a man representeth him hateful or unlovely; for hatefulness, unloveliness, and evil are all one. And as it is not the natural way of winning love, to entreat and beg it, and say, I pray you love this person, or that thing; but to open the goodness of the thing or person, which will command love: so is it not the natural way to stir up hatred, by entreating men to hate this man or that; but to tell how bad they are, which will command hatred in them that do believe it. Therefore to speak evil of another, is more than to say to the hearers, I pray you hate this man, or abate your love to him. And that the killing of love is the killing or destroying of men's souls, the apostle John doth frequently declare.

[861] 5. And it tendeth also to destroy the love, and consequently the soul of him that you speak evil of. For when it cometh to his hearing, (as one way or other it may do,) what evil you have reported of him behind his back, it tendeth to make him hate you, and so to make him worse.

6. It is a great make-bate and peace-breaker wherever it is practised. It tendeth to set people together by the ears. When it is told that such a one spake evil of you in such a place, there are then heart-burnings, and rehearsals, and sidings, and such ensuing malice as the devil intended by this design.

7. They that use to speak evil of others behind their backs, it is ten to one will speak falsehoods of them when they do not know it. Fame is too ordinarily a liar, and they shall be liars who will be its messengers. How know you whether the thing that you report is true? Is it only because a credible person spake it? But how did that person know it to be true? Might he not take it upon trust as well as you? And might he not take a person to be credible that is not? And how commonly doth faction, or interest, or passion, or credulity, make that person incredible in one thing, who is credible in others, where he hath no such temptation! If you know it not to be true, or have not sufficient evidence to prove it, you are guilty of lying and slandering interpretatively, though it should prove true; because it might have been a lie for aught you knew.

8. It is gross injustice to talk of a man's faults, before you have heard him speak for himself. I know it is usual with such to say, O we have heard it from such as we are certain will not lie. But he is a foolish and unrighteous judge, that will be peremptory upon hearing one party only speak, and knoweth not how ordinary it is for a man when he speaketh for himself, to blow away the most confident and plausible accusations, and make the case appear to be quite another thing. You know not what another man hath to say till you have heard him.

9. Backbiting teacheth others to backbite. Your example inviteth them to do the like: and sins which are common, are easily swallowed, and hardly repented of: men think that the commonness justifieth or extenuateth the fault.

10. It encourageth ungodly men to the odious sin of backbiting and slandering the most religious, righteous person. It is ordinary with the devil's family to make Christ's faithfullest servants their table talk, and the objects of their reproach and scorn, and the song of drunkards? What abundance of lies go current among such malignant persons, against the most innocent, which would all be ashamed, if they had first admitted them to speak for themselves. And such slanders and lies are the devil's common means to keep ungodly men from the love of godliness, and so from repentance and salvation. And backbiting professors of religion encourage men to this; for with what measure they mete, it shall be measured to them again. And they that are themselves evil spoken of, will think that they are warranted to requite the backbiters with the like.

11. It is a sin which commonly excludeth true, profitable reproof and exhortation. They that speak most behind men's backs, do usually say least to the sinner's face, in any way which tendeth to his salvation. They will not go lovingly to him in private, and set home his sin upon his conscience, and exhort him to repentance; but any thing shall serve as a sufficient excuse against this duty; that they may make the sin of backbiting serve instead of it: and all is out of carnal self-saving; they fear men will be offended if they speak to their faces, and therefore they will whisper against them behind their backs.

12. It is at the least, but idle talk and a misspending of your time: what the better are the hearers for hearing of other men's misdoings? And you know that it no whit profiteth the person of whom you speak. A skilful, friendly admonition might do him good! But to neglect this, and talk of his faults unprofitably, behind his back, is but to aggravate the sin of your uncharitableness, as being not contented to refuse your help to a man in sin, but you must also injure him and do him hurt.



Tit. 1. Cases of Conscience about Judging of Others.

Quest. I. Am I not bound to judge truly of every one as he is?

Answ. 1. There are many that you are not bound to meddle with, and to pass any judgment at all upon. 2. There are many whose faults are secret, and their virtues open; and of such you cannot judge as they are, because you have no proof or evidence to enable you: you cannot see that which is latent in the heart, or done in darkness. 3. You neither ought on pretence of charity, nor can believe an evident known untruth of any man.

Quest. Doth not charity bind me to judge men better than they are?

Answ. Charity bindeth you, 1. Rather to observe the best in them, than the worst. 2. And, as I said, to judge of no man's faults uncalled. 3. Nor to judge of that which is not evident, but out of sight; and thus consequently it bindeth you to judge some men to be better than they are; but not directly.

Object. Then a man is bound to err and believe an untruth.

Answ. No: you are not bound to believe that it is certainly true, that such a man is better than he is; because you have no evidence of its certain truth. But you are bound to believe it a thing probable or verisimile, likely to be true, by an opinion or fallible human faith; and this is not a falsehood; for that is likely and probable to you, which hath the more probable evidence, and more for it than against it: so that the thing which you are to believe immediately is this proposition, There is more evidence to me to prove it likely that this man is sincere than contrary: and consequently you believe this, and believe not the contrary, because the contrary hath no evidence. But you are not to take it as a certain thing, that the contrary hath no latent reality.

Quest. II. How far may I judge ill of one by outward appearances, as by the countenance, gestures, and other uncertain but suspicious signs?

Answ. There are some signs which are not so much as probable, but a little suspicious, and which men are very ordinarily mistaken by: as those that will judge of a man at the first look by his face; and those that will judge a studious, serious person (a lawyer, a judge, or a divine) to be morose or proud, because they are not complimental, but of few words; or because they have not patience to waste precious hours in hearing an empty vessel sound, an ignorant, self-conceited person talk foolishly. Such censures are but the effects of injudiciousness, [862] unrighteousness, and rash haste. There are other signs which make it probable to a wise and charitable person, that the man is bad (e. g. proud, or covetous, or a hypocrite). If with these, there are as great sins to make the contrary probable, we must rather incline to the better than the worse. But if not, we may fear the worst of that person, but not conclude it as a certainty; and therefore we may not in public censures, proceed upon such uncertainties, nor venture to divulge them; but only use them to help us for due caution, and pity, and prayer, and endeavour for such a one's recovery and help.

Quest. III. How far may I censure upon the report of others?

Answ. According to the degree of the credibility of the persons, and evidence of the narrative; not simply in themselves, but as compared with all that is to be heard on the contrary part; else you are partial and unjust.

Quest. IV. Doth not the fifth command oblige me in honour to parents and princes, to judge them to be better than their lives declare them to be?

Answ. You are gradually to honour them more than others, and therefore to be more afraid of dishonouring them, and must not sit in judgment on them, to believe any harm of them, which evidence doth not compel you to believe. But you are not to judge any sin the less, because it is theirs; nor to judge contrary to evidence, nor to call evil good, nor to be wilfully blind, nor to flatter any in their sin.

Quest. V. Whom must we judge for sincere and sanctified christians?

Answ. 1. All those that profess to be such, whom you cannot disprove. 2. But as there are several degrees of evidence and probability, so must there be several degrees of your good opinion of others. Of some who give you the highest probability, you may have the strongest confidence short of certainty: of others you may have less; and of some you may have much more fear than hope. 3. And yet in matters of church rights and public communion, your fears will not allow you to use them as no christians; for their profession of faith and repentance is certain; and as long as your fears of their hypocrisy or unsoundness are but uncertain, it must not (on that account) prevail to deprive another of his right.

Quest. VI. But is not my error my sin, if I prove mistaken, and take that man for a sincere christian who is none?

Answ. If you judged it to be certain, your judgment and error was your sin; but if you only judged him a professor of christianity, and one that on that account you were bound to have church communion with as if he were sincere, because you cannot prove the contrary, this was no error; or if you erred for want of sufficient evidence to know the truth, this error is not in itself a sin.

Quest. VII. Whom must I judge a visible member of the church, with whom I am thus bound to hold communion?

Answ. 1. If you are the pastor of the church who are made the judge, at his admission by baptism, or afterwards, you must so judge of every one who maketh a credible profession of true christianity, that is, of his present consent to the sacramental covenant: and that profession is credible, which is, 1. Understood by him that maketh it. 2. Deliberate. 3. Voluntary. 4. Seemingly serious. 5. And is not disproved by valid evidence of the contrary. These are the true measures of church communion; for every man, next God, is the judge of his own heart; and God would have every man the chooser or refuser of his own mercies.

2. But if you are but a private member of the church, you are to judge that person a visible member of the church, whom the pastor hath taken in by baptism, and not cast out again by excommunication; except the contrary be notorious: and even then you are oft obliged for order sake to carry yourself towards him as a visible member, till he be regularly cast out.

Quest. VIII. Whom must I judge a true worshipper of God, and whom not?

Answ. Him that professeth true christianity, and joineth in true worship with a christian church, or privately (when hindered) acknowledgeth the true God in all his essential attributes, and heareth his word, and prayeth to him for all things necessary to salvation, and praiseth him accordingly, not giving the worship proper to God unto any creature; and doth all this as a sinner redeemed by Jesus Christ, trusting in his merits, sacrifice, and intercession, and giveth not his office to any other. And he is a false worshipper who denieth any essential attribute of God, or essential part of the office of Christ, or giveth these to any other; or refuseth his word, or excludeth in his prayers any thing essential to christianity, or absolutely necessary to salvation. But secundum quid, in lesser parts, or in circumstances, or measures, every man on earth is a false worshipper, that is, he offereth God a worship some way faulty and imperfect, and hath some sin in his worshipping of God; and sin is a thing that God requireth not, but forbiddeth even in the smallest measures.

Quest. IX. Which must I judge a true church of Christ, and which a false church?

Answ. The universal church is but one, and is the whole society of christians as united to Christ their only Head; and this cannot be a false church. But if any other set up a usurper as the universal head, and so make another policy and church, this is a false church formally, or in its policy; but yet the members of this false church or policy may some of them as christians be also members of the true church of Christ: and thus the Roman church as papal is a false catholic church, having the policy of a usurper; but as christians they may be members of the true catholic church of Christ. But for a particular church which is but part of the universal, that is a true church considered merely as an ungoverned community, which is a true part of the catholic, prepared for a pastor, but yet being without one: but that only is a true political church, which consisteth of professed christians conjoined under a true pastor, for communion in the profession of true christianity, and for the true worshipping of God, and orderly walking for their mutual assistance and salvation.

Quest. X. Whom must we judge true prophets and pastors of the church.

Answ. He is a true prophet who is sent by God, and speaketh truth by immediate supernatural revelation or inspiration. And he is a false prophet who either falsely saith that he hath divine revelations or inspiration, or prophesieth falsehood as from God. And he is a true pastor at the bar of God, who is, 1. Competently qualified with abilities for the office. 2. Competently disposed to it, with willingness and desire of success; and hath right ends in undertaking and discharging it. 3. Who hath a just admission, by true ordination of pastors, and consent of the flock; and he is to be accounted a true pastor in foro ecclesia, in the church's judgment, whom the church judgeth to have all these qualifications, and thereupon admitteth him into possession of the place, till his incapacity be notoriously or publicly and sufficiently proved, or he be removed or made uncapable. [863]

Tit. 2. Directions for the Cure of Sinful Censoriousness.

Direct. I. Meddle not at all in judging of others without a call. Know first whether it be any of your work; if not, be afraid of those words of your Judge, Matt. vii. 1-5, "Judge not, that ye be not judged; for with what judgment ye judge, you shall be judged," &c. And Rom. xiv. 4, "Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? To his own master he standeth or falleth." And verses 10, and 13, "But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? We shall all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ.—Every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not therefore judge one another any more." 1 Cor. iv. 3-5, "But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment—Therefore judge nothing before the time till the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts—." Col. ii. 16, "Let no man judge you in meat or in drink, or in respect of any holy day, or of the new moon, or sabbath."

Quest. But when have I a call to judge another?

Answ. You may take the answer to this from the answer to quest. x. chap. xxiii. tit. 1. 1. If your office and place require it as a magistrate, pastor, parent, master, tutor, &c. 2. If the safety of the church or your neighbour do require it. 3. If the good of the sinner require it that you may seek his repentance and reformation. 4. If your own preservation or welfare (or any other duty) require it.

Direct. II. Keep up a humble sense of your own faults, and that will make you compassionate to others. He that is truly vile in his own eyes, is least inclined to vilify others: and he that judgeth himself with the greatest penitent severity, is the least inclined to be censorious to his brother. Pride is the common cause of censoriousness: he that saith with the Pharisee, "I fast twice a week, and pay tithes of all that I have, I am no adulterer," &c. will also say, "I am not as other men, nor as this publican:" when the true penitent findeth so much of his own to be condemned, that he smiteth on his own breast and saith, "God be merciful to me a sinner." The prouder, self-conceited sort of christians are ever the most censorious of their neighbours.

Direct. III. Be much therefore at home in searching, and watching, and amending your own hearts: and then you will find so much to do about yourselves, that you will have no mind or leisure to be censuring others; whereas the superficial hypocrite, whose religion is in externals, and is unacquainted with his heart and heaven, is so little employed in the true work of a christian, that he hath leisure for the work of a censorious Pharisee.

Direct. IV. Labour for a deep experimental insight into the nature of religion, and of every duty. For no men are so censorious as the ignorant who know not what they say; whilst experienced persons know those difficulties and other reasons which calm their minds. As in common business, no man will sooner find fault with a workman in his work, than idle praters who least understand it. So is it commonly in matters of religion: women and young men that never saw into the great mysteries of divinity, but have been lately changed from a vicious life, and have neither acquaintance with the hard points of religion, nor with their own ignorance of them, are the common, proud censurers of their brethren much wiser than themselves, and of all men that are more moderate and peaceable than themselves, and are more addicted to unity, and more averse to sects and separations than they. Study harder, and wait till you grow up to the experience of the aged, and you will be less censorious and more peaceable.

Direct. V. Think not yourselves fit judges of that which you understand not: and think not proudly that you are more like to understand the difficulties in religion, with your short and lazy studies, than those that in reading, meditation, and prayer have spent their lives in searching after them. Let not pride make you abuse the Holy Ghost, by pretending that he hath given you more wisdom in a little time, and with little means and diligence, than your betters have by the holy industry of their lives: say not, God can give more to you in a year than to others in twenty; for it is a poor argument to prove that God hath done it, because he can do it. He can make you an angel, but that will not prove you one. Prove your wisdom before you pretend to it, and overvalue it not: Heb. v. 11, 12, showeth that it is God's ordinary way to give men wisdom according to their time and means, unless their own negligence deprive them of his blessing.

Direct. VI. Study to keep up christian love, and to keep it lively. For love is not censorious, but is inclined to judge the best, till evidence constrain you to the contrary. Censoriousness is a vermin which crawleth in the carcass of christian love, when the life of it is gone.

Direct. VII. Value all God's graces in his servants; and then you will see something to love them for, when hypocrites can see nothing: make not too light of small degrees of grace, and then your censure will not overlook them.

Direct. VIII. Remember the tenderness of Christ, who condemneth not the weak, nor casteth infants out of his family, nor the diseased out of his hospital; but dealeth with them in such a gracious gentleness, as beseemeth a tender-hearted Saviour: he will not break the bruised reed: he carrieth his lambs in his arms, and gently driveth those with young! He taketh up the wounded man, when the priest and Levite pass him by. And have you not need of the tenderness of Christ yourselves as well as others? Are you not afraid lest he should find greater faults with you than you find in others; and condemn you as you condemn them?

Direct. IX. Let the sense of the common corruption of the world, and imperfection of the godly, moderate your particular censures. As Seneca saith, To censure a man for that which is common to all men, is in a sort to censure him for being a man, which beseemeth not him that is a man himself. Do you not know the frailty of the best, and the common pravity of human nature? How few are there that must not have great allowance, or else they will not pass for current in the balance! Elias was a man subject to passions: Jonah to peevishness: Job had his impatience: Paul saith even of the teachers of the primitive church, "They all (that were with him) seek their own, and not the things of Jesus Christ." What blots are charged on almost all the churches, and almost all the holy persons, mentioned throughout all the Scriptures! Learn then of Paul a better lesson than censoriousness: Gal. vi. 1, "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. Let every man prove his own work, and then he shall have rejoicing in himself alone," &c.

Direct. X. Remember that judgment is God's prerogative (further than as we are called to it for the performance of some duty, either of office, or of [864] private charity, or self-preservation): and that the Judge is at the door! and that judging unmercifully maketh us liable to judgment without mercy. The foresight of that near universal judgment, which will pass the doom on us and all men, will do much to cure us of our rash censoriousness.

Direct. XI. Peruse and observe all the directions in the last chapter against evil-speaking and backbiting, that I may not need to repeat them: especially avoid, 1. The snare of selfishness and interest. For most men judge of others principally by their own interest. He is the good man that is good to them, or is on their side; that loveth and honoureth them, and answereth their desires: this is the common false judgment of the corrupted, selfish world; who vilify and hate the best, because they seem unsuitable to them and their carnal interest. Therefore take heed of their judgment about any man that you have a falling out with: for it is two to one but you will wrong him through this selfishness. 2. Avoid passion; which blindeth the judgment. 3. Avoid faction; which maketh you judge of all men as they agree or disagree with your opinions, or your side and party. 4. Avoid too hasty belief of censures, and rebuke them. 5. Hear every man speak for himself before you censure him, if it be possible, and the case be not notorious.

Direct. XII. Keep still upon your mind a just and deep apprehension of the malignity of this sin of rash censuring. It is of greatest consequence to the mortifying of any sin, what apprehensions of it are upon the mind. If religious persons apprehended the odiousness of this as much as they do of swearing, drunkenness, fornication, &c. they would as carefully avoid it. Therefore I shall show you the malignity of this sin.

Tit. 3. The Evil of the Sin of Censoriousness.

1. It is a usurpation of God's prerogative, who is the Judge of all the world: it is a stepping up into his judgment-seat, and undertaking his work; as if you said, I will be God as to this action. And if he be called the antichrist, who usurpeth the office of Christ, to be the universal monarch and head of the church, you may imagine what he doth, who (though but in one point) doth set up himself in the place of God.

2. They that usurp not God's part in judging, yet ordinarily usurp the part of the magistrate or pastors of the church. As when mistaken, censorious christians refuse to come to the sacrament of communion, because many persons are there whom they judge to be ungodly, what do they but usurp the office of the pastors of the church, to whom the keys are committed for admission and exclusion, and so are the appointed judges of that case? The duty of private members is but to admonish the offender first secretly, and then before witnesses, and to tell the church if he repent not, and humbly to tell the pastors of their duty, if they neglect it: and when this is done, they have discharged their part, and must no more excommunicate men themselves, than they must hang thieves when the magistrate doth neglect to hang them.

3. Censoriousness signifieth the absence or decay of love: which inclineth men to think evil, and judge the worst, and aggravate infirmities, and overlook or extenuate any good that is in others. And there is least grace where there is least love.

4. It showeth also much want of self-acquaintance, and such heart employment as the sincerest christians are taken up with. And it showeth much want of christian humility and sense of your own infirmities and badness; and much prevalency of pride and self-conceitedness. If you knew how ignorant you are, you would not be so peremptory in judging: and if you knew how bad you are, you would not be so forward to condemn your neighbours. So that here is together the effect of much self-estrangedness, hypocrisy, and pride. Did you ever well consider the mind of Christ, when he bid them that accused the adulterous woman, John viii. 7, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her?" Certainly adultery was a heinous crime, and to be punished with death, and Christ was no patron of uncleanness; but he knew that it was a hypocritical sort of persons whom he spake to, who were busy in judging others rather than themselves. Have you studied his words against rash censurers, Matt. vii. 3, 4; "And why beholdest thou the mote in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and behold a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite! first cast out the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote which is in thy brother's eye." I know well that impenitent sinners do use to pervert all these words of Christ, against any that would bring them to repentance for their sin; and account all men rash censurers, who would make them acquainted with their unsanctified hearts and lives. But it is not their abuse of Scripture, which will justify our overpassing it with neglect. Christ spake it not for nothing; and it must be studied by his disciples.

5. Censoriousness is injustice, in that the censurers would not be so censured themselves. You will say, Yes, if we were as bad, and did deserve it. But though you have not that same fault, have you no other? And are you willing to have it aggravated, and be thus rashly judged? You do not as you would be done by: yea, commonly censurers are guilty of false judging; and whilst they take things hastily upon trust, and stay not to hear men speak for themselves, or to inquire thoroughly into the cause, they commonly condemn the innocent; and call good evil, and put light for darkness; and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him, when God hath cursed such with a woe.

6. And false censuring is the proper work of the devil, the accuser of the brethren, Rev. xii. 10, "who accuseth them before God, day and night;" And christians should not bear his image, nor do his work.

7. Censoriousness is contrary to the nature and office of Jesus Christ: he came to pardon sin, and cover the infirmities of his servants, and to cast them behind his back, and into the depth of the sea, and to bury them in his grave; and it is the censurer's work to rake them up, and to make them seem more and greater than they are, and to bring them into the open light.

8. Censoriousness causeth uncharitableness and sinful separations in the censurers: when they have conceited their brethren to be worse than they are, they must then reproach them, or have no communion with them, and avoid them as too bad for the company of such as they: or when they have usurped the pastor's work in judging, they begin the execution by sinful separation.

9. Censoriousness is an infectious sin, which easily taketh with the younger and prouder sort of christians, and so setteth them on vilifying others: and at this little gap there entereth all uncharitableness, backbitings, revilings, church divisions, and sects, yea, and too often rebellious and bloody wars at last.

10. Censoriousness is a sore temptation to them [865] that are censured, either to contemn such as censure them, and go on the other hand too far from them; or else to comply with the errors and sinful humours of the censurers, and to strain their consciences to keep pace with the censorious.

And here I must leave it on record to posterity for their warning, that the great and lamentable actions, changes, and calamities of this age have arisen (next to gross impiety) from this sin of censoriousness producing these two contrary effects, and thereby dividing men into two contrary parties: the younger sort of religious people, and the more ignorant, and many women, having more zeal than judgment, placed too much of their religion in a sharp opposition to all ceremonies, formalities, and opinions which they thought unlawful; and were much inclined to schism and unjust separations upon that account; and therefore censured such things as antichristian, and those that used them as superstitious and temporizers; and no man's learning, piety, wisdom, or laboriousness in the ministry could save him from these sharp, reproachful censures. Hereupon one party had not humility and patience enough to endure to be so judged of; nor love and tenderness enough for such peevish christians, to bear with them in pity, as parents do with froward infants; but because these professed holiness and zeal, even holiness and zeal were brought under suspicion for their sakes; and they were taken to be persons intolerable, as unfit to lie in any building, and unmeet to submit to christian government; and therefore meet to be used accordingly. Another sort were so wearied with the profaneness and ungodliness of the vulgar rabble, and saw so few that were judiciously religious, that they thought it their duty to love and cherish the zeal and piety of their censorious weak ones, and to bear patiently with their frowardness, till ripeness and experience cured them (and so far they were right). And because they thought that they could do them no good, if they once lost their interest in them, (and were also themselves too impatient of their censure,) some of them seemed (to please them) to be more of their opinion than they were; and more of them forbore to reprove their petulance, but silently suffered them to go on; especially when they fell into the sects of antinomians, anabaptists, and separatists, they durst not reprove them as they deserved, lest they should drive them out of the hive, to some of these late swarms. And thus censoriousness in the ignorant and self-conceited drove away one part to take them as their enemies; and silenced or drew on another party to follow them that led the van in some irregular, violent actions; and the wise and sober moderators were disregarded, and in the noise of these tumults and contentions could not be heard, till the smart of either party in their suffering forced them to honour such, whom in their exaltation again they despised or abused. This is the true sum of all the tragedies in Britain of this age.

Tit. 4. Directions for those that are rashly censured.

Direct. I. Remember when you are injured by censures, that God is now trying your humility, charity, and patience; and therefore be most studious to exercise and preserve these three. 1. Take heed lest pride make you disdainful to the censurer; a humble man can bear contempt; hard censures hurt men so far as they are proud. 2. Take heed lest imbecility add to your impatience, and concur with pride: cannot you bear greater things than these? Impatience will disclose that badness in yourselves, which will make you censured much more; and it will show you as weak in one respect as the censurers are in another. 3. Take heed lest their fault do not draw you to overlook or undervalue that serious godliness which is in many of the censorious; and that you do not presently judge them hypocrites or schismatics, and abate your charity to them, or incline to handle them more roughly than the tenderness of Christ alloweth you. Remember that in all ages it hath been thus: the church hath had peevish children within, as well as persecuting enemies without; insomuch as Paul, Rom. xiv. giveth you the copy of these times, and giveth them this counsel, which from him I am giving you. The weak in knowledge were censorious, and judged the strong; the strong in knowledge were weak in charity, and contemned the weak: just as now one party saith, These are superstitious persons, and antichristian; the other saith, What giddy schismatics are these! but Paul chideth them both; one sort for censuring, and the other for despising them.

Direct. II. Take heed lest whilst you are impatient under their censures, you fall into the same sin yourselves. Do they censure you for differing in some forms or ceremonies from them? Take heed lest you over-censure them for their censoriousness: if you censure them as hypocrites who censure you as superstitious, you condemn yourselves while you are condemning them. For why will not censuring too far, prove you hypocrites also, if it prove them such?

Direct. III. Remember that Christ beareth with their weakness, who is wronged by it more than you, and is more against it. He doth not quit his title to them for their frowardness, nor cease his love, nor turn every infant out of his family that will cry and wrangle, nor every patient out of his hospital that doth complain and groan; and we must imitate our Lord, and love where he loveth, and pity where he pitieth, and be merciful as our heavenly Father is merciful.

Direct. IV. Remember how amiable a thing the least degree of grace is, even when it is clouded and blotted with infirmities. It is the divine nature, and the image of God, and the seed of glory; and therefore as an infant hath the noble nature of a man, and in all his weakness is much more honourable than the best of brutes (so that it is death to kill an infant, but not a beast): so is the most infirm and froward true christian more honourable and amiable than the most splendid infidel. Bear with them in love and honour to the image and interest of Christ.

Direct. V. Remember that you were once weak in grace yourselves; and if happy education under peaceable guides did not prevent it, it is two to one but you were yourselves censorious. Bear therefore with others as you bear with crying children, because you were once a child yourself. Not that the sin is ever the better, but you should be the more compassionate.

Direct. VI. Remember that your own strength and judgment is so great a mercy, that you should the easilier bear with a censorious tongue. The rich and noble can bear with the envious, remembering that it is happy to have that worth or felicity which men do envy. You suffer fools gladly, seeing you yourselves are wise. If you are in the right let losers talk.

Direct. VII. Remember that we shall be shortly together in heaven, where they will recant their censures, and you will easily forgive them, and perfectly love them. And will not the foresight of such a meeting cause you to bear with them, and forgive and love them now?

Direct. VIII. Remember how inconsiderable a thing it is as to your own interest, to be judged of man; and that you stand or fall to the judgment of [866] the Lord, 1 Cor. iv. 3, 4. What are you the better or the worse for the thoughts or words of a man; when your salvation or damnation lieth upon God's judgment. It is too much hypocrisy, to be too much desirous of man's esteem and approbation, and too much troubled at his disesteem and censure, and not to be satisfied with the approbation of God. Read what is written against man-pleasing, part i.

Direct. IX. Make some advantage of other men's censures, for your own proficiency. If good men censure you, be not too quick in concluding that you are innocent, and justifying yourselves; but be suspicious of yourselves, lest they should prove the right, and examine yourselves with double diligence. If you find that you are clear in the point that you are censured for, suspect and examine lest some other sin hath provoked God to try you by these censures; and if you find not any other notable fault, let it make you the more watchful by way of prevention, seeing the eyes of God and men are on you; and it may be God's warning, to bid you take heed for the time to come. If you are thus brought to repentance, or to the more careful life, by occasion of men's censures, they will prove so great a benefit to you, that you may bear them the more easily.



Tit. 1. Cases of Conscience about Trusts and Secrets.

Quest. I. How are we forbidden to put our trust in man? And how may it be done?

Answ. 1. You must not trust man for more than his proportion, and what belongs to man to do: you must not expect that from him which God alone can do. 2. You must not trust a bad, unfaithful man to do that which is proper to a good and faithful man to do. 3. You must not trust the best man, being imperfect and fallible, as fully as if you supposed him perfect and infallible: but having to do with a corrupted world, we must live in it with some measure of distrust to all men (for all that Cicero thought this contrary to the laws of friendship). But especially ignorant, dishonest, and fraudulent men must be most distrusted. As Bucholtzer said to his friend that was going to be a courtier, Commendo tibi fidem diabolorum, crede et contremisce: he that converseth with diabolical men, must believe them no further than is due to the children of the father of lies. But we must trust men as men, according to the principles of veracity that are left in corrupted nature; and we must trust men so far as reason showeth us cause, from their skill, fidelity, honesty, or interest: so a surgeon, a physician, a pilot may be trusted with our lives: and the skilfuller and faithfuller any man is, the more he is to be trusted.

Quest. II. Whom should a man choose for a matter of trust?

Answ. As the matter is: one that hath wisdom, skill, and fidelity, through conscience, honesty, friendship, or his own apparent interest.

Quest. III. In what cases may I commit a secret to another?

Answ. When there is a necessity of his knowing it, or a greater probability of good than hurt by it, in the evidence which a prudent man may see.

Quest. IV. What if another commit a thing to me with charge of secrecy, and I say nothing to him, and so promise it not; am I bound to secrecy in that case?

Answ. If you have cause to believe that he took your silence for consent, and would not else have committed it to you, you are obliged in point of fidelity, as well as friendship: except it be with robbers, or such as we are not bound to deal openly with, and on terms of equality.

Quest. V. What if it be a secret, but I am under no command or promise at all about it?

Answ. You must then proceed according to the laws of charity and friendship; and not reveal that which is to the injury of another, without a greater cause.

Quest. VI. What if it be against the king, or state, or common good?

Answ. You are bound to reveal it, so far as the safety of the king, or state, or common good requireth it; yea, though you swear the contrary.

Quest. VII. What if it be only against the good of some third ordinary person.

Answ. You must endeavour to prevent his wrong, either by revealing the thing, or dissuading from it, or by such means as prudence shall tell you are the meetest, by exercising your love to one, without doing wrong to the other.

Quest. VIII. What if a man secretly intrust his estate to me, for himself or children, when he is in debt, to defraud his creditors?

Answ. You ought not to take such a trust: and if you have done it, you ought not to hold it, but resign it to him that did intrust you. Yea, and to disclose the fraud, for the righting of the creditors, except it be in such a case as that the creditor is some such vicious or oppressing person, as you are not obliged to exercise that act of charity for; or when the consequents of revealing it will be a greater hurt, than the righting of him will compensate; especially when it is against the public good.

Quest. IX. What if a delinquent intrust me with his estate or person to secure it from penalty?

Answ. If it be one that is prosecuted by a due course of justice, cujus pœna debetur reipublicæ, whose punishment the common good requireth, the case must be decided as the former: you must not take nor keep such a trust. But if it be one whose repentance giveth you reason to believe, that his impunity will be more to the common good than his punishment, and that if the magistrate knew it, he ought to spare or pardon him, in this case you may conceal his person or estate; so be it you do it not by a lie, or any other sinful means, or such as will do more hurt than good.

Quest. X. What if a friend intrust me with his estate to secure it from some great taxes or tributes to the king? May I keep such a trust or not?

Answ. No: if they be just and legal taxes, for the maintenance of the magistrate or preservation of the commonwealth: but if it be done by a usurper that hath no authority, (or done without or beyond authority, the oppressing of the subject,) you may conceal his estate or your own by lawful means.

Quest. XI. What if a man that suffereth for religion, commit his person or estate to my trust?

Answ. You must be faithful to your trust, 1. If it be true religion and a good cause for which he suffereth. 2. Or if he be falsely accused of abuses in religion. 3. Or if he be faulty, but the penalty intended, from which you secure him, is incomparably beyond his fault and unjust. Supposing still that you save him only by lawful means, and that it be not like to tend to do more hurt than good, to the cause of religion or the commonwealth.

[867] Quest. XII. What if a papist or other erroneous person intrust me (being of the same mind) to educate his children in that way, when he is dead, and afterward I come to see the error, must I perform that trust or not?

Answ. No: 1. Because no trust can oblige you to do hurt. 2. Because it is contrary to the primary intent of your friend; which was his children's good. And you may well suppose that had he seen his error, he would have intrusted you to do accordingly: you are bound therefore to answer his primary intention, and truly to endeavour his children's good.

Quest. XIII. But what if a man to whom another hath intrusted his children, turn papist or heretic, and so thinketh error to be truth? what must he do?

Answ. He is bound to turn back again to the truth, and do accordingly.

Object. But one saith this is the truth and another that; and he thinketh he is right.

Answ. There is but one of the contraries true. Men's thinking themselves to be in the right doth not make it so. And God will not change his laws, because they misunderstand or break them: therefore still that which God bindeth them to is to return unto the truth. And if they think that to be truth which is not, they are bound to think otherwise. If you say, They cannot; it is either not true, or it is long of themselves that they cannot: and they that cannot immediately, yet mediately can do it, in the due use of means.

Quest. XIV. What if I foresee that the taking a trust may hazard my estate, or otherwise hurt me, and yet my dying (or living) friend desireth it?

Answ. How far the law of christianity or friendship oblige you to hurt yourself for his good, must be discerned by a prudent considering, what your obligations are to the person, and whether the good of your granting his desires, or the hurt to yourself, is like to be the greater, and of more public consequence: and whether you injure not your own children or others by gratifying him. And upon such comparison, prudence must determine the case.

Quest. XV. But what if afterward the trust prove more to my hurt than I foresaw?

Answ. If it was your own fault that you foresaw it not, you must suffer proportionably for that fault; but otherwise you must compare your own hurt with the orphans', in case you do not perform the trust: and consider whether they may not be relieved another way; and whether you have reason to think that if the parent were alive and knew the danger, he would expect you should perform your trust, or would discharge you of it. If it be some great and unexpected dangers, which you think upon good grounds the parent would acquit you from if he were living, you fulfil your trust if you avoid them, and do that which would have been his will if he had known it. Otherwise you must perform your promise though it be to your loss and suffering.

Quest. XVI. But what if it was only a trust imposed by his desire and will, without my acceptance or promise to perform it?

Answ. You must do as you would be done by, and as the common good, and the laws of love and friendship, do require. Therefore the quality of the person, and your obligations to him, and especially the comparing of the consequent good and evil together, must decide the case.

Quest. XVII. What if the surviving kindred of the orphan be nearer to him than I am, and they censure me and calumniate me as injurious to the orphan, may I not ease myself of the trust, and cast it upon them?

Answ. In this case also, the measure of your suffering must first be compared with the measure of the orphan's good; and then your conscience must tell you whether you verily think the parent who intrusted you, would discharge you if he were alive and knew the case. If he would, though you promised, it is to be supposed that it was not the meaning of his desire or your promise, to incur such suffering: and if you would not believe that he would not discharge you if he were alive, then if you promised you must perform; but if you promised not, you must go no further than the law of love requireth.

Quest. XVIII. What is a minister of Christ to do, if a penitent person confess secretly some heinous or capital crime to him (as adultery, theft, robbery, murder); must it be concealed or not?

Answ. 1. If a purpose of sinning be antecedently confessed, it is unlawful to further the crime, or give opportunity to it by a concealment: but it must be so far opened as is necessary for the prevention of another's wrong, or the person's sin; especially if it be treason against the king or kingdom, or any thing against the common good.

2. When the punishment of the offender is apparently necessary to the good of others, especially to right the king or country, and to preserve them from danger by the offender or any other, it is a duty to open a past fault that is confessed, and to bring the offender to punishment, rather than injure the innocent by their impunity.

3. When restitution is necessary to a person injured, you may not by concealment hinder such restitution; but must procure it to your power where it may be had.

4. It is unlawful to promise universal secrecy absolutely to any penitent. But you must tell him before he confesseth, If your crime be such, as that opening it is necessary to the preservation or righting of king, or country, or your neighbour, or to my own safety, I shall not conceal it. That so men may know how far to trust you.

5. Yet in some rare cases, (as the preservation of our parents, king, or country,) it may be a duty to promise and perform concealment, when there is no hurt like to follow but the loss or hazard of our own lives, or liberties, or estates; and consequently if no hurt be like to follow but some private loss of another, which I cannot prevent without a greater hurt.

6. If a man ignorant of the law, and of his own danger, have rashly made a promise of secrecy, and yet be in doubt, he should open the case in hypothesi only, to some honest, able lawyer, inquiring if such a case should be, what the law requireth of the pastor, or what danger he is in if he conceal it; that he may be able further to judge of the case.

7. He that made no promise of secrecy, virtual or actual, may, cæteris paribus, bring the offender to shame or punishment rather than to fall into the like himself for the concealment.

8. He that rashly promised universal secrecy, must compare the penitent's danger and his own, and consider whose suffering is like to be more to the public detriment, all things considered, and that must be first avoided.

9. He that findeth it his duty to reveal the crime to save himself, must yet let the penitent have notice of it, that he may fly and escape; unless as aforesaid, when the interest of the king, or country, or others, doth more require his punishment.

10. But when there is no such necessity of the offender's punishment, for the prevention of the hurt or wrong of others, nor any great danger by concealment to the minister himself, I think that the [868] crime, though it were capital, should be concealed. My reasons are,

(1.) Because though every man be bound to do his best to prevent sin, yet every man is not bound to bring offenders to punishment. He that is no magistrate, nor hath a special call so to do, may be in many cases not obliged to it.

(2.) It is commonly concluded that (in most cases) a capital offender is not bound to bring himself to punishment: and that which you could not know but by his free confession, is confessed to you only on your promise of concealment, seemeth to me to put you under no other obligation to bring him to punishment than he is under himself.

(3.) Christ's words and practice, in dismissing the woman taken in adultery, showeth that it is not always a duty for one that is no magistrate to prosecute a capital offender, but that sometimes his repentance and life may be preferred.

(4.) And magistrates' pardons show the same.

(5.) Otherwise no sinner would have the benefit of a counsellor to open his troubled conscience to: for if it be a duty to detect a great crime in order to a great punishment, why not a less also in order to a less punishment. And who would confess when it is to bring themselves to punishment?

11. In those countries where the laws allow pastors to conceal all crimes that penitents freely confess, it is left to the pastor's judgment to conceal all that he discerneth may be concealed without the greater injury of others, or of the king or commonwealth.

12. There is a knowledge of the faults of others, by common fame, especially many years after the committing, which doth not oblige the hearers to prosecute the offender. And yet a crime publicly known is more to be punished (lest impunity imbolden others to the like) than an unknown crime, revealed in confession.

Tit. 2. Directions about Trusts and Secrets.

Direct. I. Be not rash in receiving secrets or any other trusts: but first consider what you are thereby obliged to, and what difficulties may arise in the performance; and foresee all the consequents as far as is possible, before you undertake the trust; that you cast not yourselves into snares by mere inconsiderateness, and prepare not for perplexities and repentance.

Direct. II. Be very careful what persons you commit either trusts or secrets to; and be sure they be trusty by their wisdom, ability, and fidelity.

Direct. III. Be not too forward in revealing your own secrets to another's trust: for, 1. You cannot be certain of any one's secrecy, where you are most confident. 2. You oblige yourself too much to please that person, who by revealing your secrets may do you hurt; and are in fear lest carelessness, or unfaithfulness, or any accident should disclose it. 3. You burden your friend with the charge and care of secrecy.[168]

Direct. IV. Be faithful to your friend that doth intrust you; remembering that perfidiousness or falseness to a friend, is a crime against humanity, and all society, as well as against christianity; and stigmatizeth the guilty in the eyes of all men, with the brand of an odious, unsociable person.

Direct. V. Be not intimate with too many, nor confident in too many; for he that hath too many intimates, will be opening the secrets of one to another.

Direct. VI. Abhor covetousness and ambition; or else a bribe or the promise of preferment, will tempt you to perfidiousness. There is no trusting a selfish, worldly man.

Direct. VII. Remember that God is the avenger of perfidiousness, who will do it severely: and that even they that are pleased and served by it, do yet secretly disdain and detest the person that doth it; because they would not be so used themselves.

Direct. VIII. Yet take not friendship or fidelity to be an obligation to perfidiousness to God, or the king, or commonwealth, or to another, or to any sin whatsoever.

[168]   Quod tacitum esse velis nemini dixeris. Si tibi non imperasti, quomodo ab alio silentium speras? Martin. Dumiens, de morib.



The two tables of the law are summed up by our Saviour in two comprehensive precepts: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and soul, and might:" and, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." In the decalogue the first of these is the true meaning of the first commandment, put first because it is the principle of all obedience: and the second is the true meaning of the tenth commandment, which is therefore put last, because it is the comprehensive sum of other duties to our neighbour or injuries against him, which any other particular instances may contain; and also the principle of the duty to, or sin against, our neighbour. The meaning of the tenth commandment is variously conjectured at by expositors: some say that it speaketh against inward concupiscence and the sinful thoughts of the heart; but so do all the rest, in the true meaning of them, and must not be supposed to forbid the outward action only, nor to be any way defective: some say that it forbiddeth coveting and commandeth contentment with our state; so doth the eighth commandment; yet there is some part of the truth in both these. And the plain truth is, (as far as I can understand it,) that the sin forbidden is selfishness as opposite to the love of others, and the duty commanded is to love our neighbours; and that it is as is said, the sum of the second table, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself:" as the captain leadeth the van, and the lieutenant bringeth up the rear; so, "Thou shalt love God above all," is the first commandment, and "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself," is the last, for the aforesaid reason. I shall therefore in these following directions speak to the two parts of the tenth commandment.

Direct. I. The first help against selfishness is to understand well the nature and malignity of the sin. For want of this it commonly prevaileth, with little suspicion, lamentation, and opposition. Let me briefly therefore anatomize it.

1. It is the radical, positive sin of the soul, comprehending seminally or causally all the rest. The corruption of man's nature, or his radical sin, hath two parts, the positive part, and the privative part: the positive part is selfishness, or the inordinate love of carnal self; the privative part is ungodliness or want of the love of God. Man's fall was his turning from God to himself; and his regeneration consisteth in the turning of him from himself to God; or the generating of the love of God (as comprehending [869] faith and obedience) and the mortifying of self-love. Selfishness therefore is all positive sin in one, as want of the love of God is all privative sin in one. And self-denial and the love of God are all duties virtually; for the true love of man is comprehended in the love of God. Understand this, and you will understand what original and actual sin is, and what grace and duty are.

2. Therefore selfishness is the cause of all sin in the world, both positive and privative, and is virtually the breach of every one of God's commandments. For even the want of the love of God is caused by the inordinate love of self; as the consuming of other parts is caused by the dropsy, which tumefieth the belly. It is only selfishness which breaketh the fifth commandment, by causing rulers to oppress and persecute their subjects, and causeth subjects to be seditious and rebellious; and causeth all the bitterness, and quarrellings, and uncomfortableness, which ariseth among all relations. It is only selfishness which causeth the cursed wars of the earth, and desolation of countries, by plundering and burning; the murders which cry for revenge to heaven (whether civil, military, or religious): which causeth all the railings, fightings, envyings, malice; the schisms, and proud overvaluings of men's own understandings and opinions; and the contending of pastors, who shall be the greatest, and who shall have his will in proud usurpations and tyrannical impositions and domination: it is selfishness which hath set up and maintaineth the papacy, and causeth all the divisions between the western and the eastern churches; and all the cruelties, lies, and treachery exercised upon that account. It is selfishness which troubleth families and corporations, churches and kingdoms; which violateth vows, and bonds of friendship, and causeth all the tumults, and strifes, and troubles in the world. It is selfishness which causeth all covetousness, all pride and ambition, all luxury and voluptuousness, all surfeiting and drunkenness, chambering and wantonness, time-wasting and heart-corrupting sports, and all the riots and revelling of the sensual; all the contending for honours and preferments, and all the deceit in buying and selling, the stealing and robbing, the bribery and simony, the law-suits which are unjust, the perjuries, false witnessing, unrighteous judging, the oppressions, the revenge, and in one word, all the uncharitable and unjust actions in the world. This is the true nature of carnal selfishness, and it is no better.

3. Selfishness is the corruption of all the faculties of the soul. It is the sin of the mind, by self-conceitedness and pride; it is the sin of the will and affections, by self-love, and all the selfish passions which attend it; selfish desires, angers, sorrows, discontents, jealousies, fears, audacities, &c. It is