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clean, that is born of a woman? Behold, even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars are not pure in his sight: How much less man, that is a worm, and the son of man, which is a worm!” Job xxv. 4, &c.
A Prayer for a contented spirit, and the grace of Moderation
and Patience. O Almighty God, Father and Lord of all the creatures, who hast disposed all things and all chances so, as may best glorify thy wisdom, and serve the ends of thy justice, and niagnify thy mercy, by secret and indiscernible ways bringing good out of evil; I most humbly beseech thee lo give me wisdom from above, that I may adore thee, and admire thy ways and footsteps, which are in the great deep and not to be searched out: teach me to submit to thy providence in all things, to be content in all changes of person and condition, to be temperate in prosperity, and to read my duty in the lines of thy mercy; and, in adversity, to be meek, patient, and resigned; and to look through the cloud, that I may wait for the consolation of the Lord, and the day of redemption; in the mean time doing my duty with an unwearied diligence, and an undisturbed resolution, having no fondness for the vanities or possessions of this world; but laying up my hopes in heaven and the rewards of holy living, and being strengthened with the spirit of the inner man, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
OF CHRISTIAN JUSTICE.
Justice is, by the Christian religion, enjoined in all its parts by these two propositions in Scripture : “ Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, even so do to them.” This is the measure of commutative justice, or of that justice, which supposes exchange of things profitable for things profitable: that, as I supply your need, you may supply mine; as I do a benefit to you, I may receive one by you: and because every man may be injured by another, therefore his se
curity shall depend upon mine: if he will not let me be safe, he shall not be safe himself (only the manner of his being punished is, upon great reason, both by God and all the world, taken from particulars, and committed to a public disinterested person, who will do justice, without passion, both to him and to me); if he refuses to do me advantage, he shall receive none, when his needs require it. And thus God gave necessities to man, that all men might need: and several abilities to several persons, that each man might help to supply the public needs, and by joining to fill up all wants, they may be knit together by justice, as the parts of the world are by nature: and he hath made all obnoxious to injuries, and made every little thing strong enough to do us hurt by some instrument or other; and hath given us all a sufficient stock of self-love, and desire of self-preservation, to be as the chain to tie together all the parts of society, and to restrain us from doing violence, lest we be violently dealt withal ourselves.
The other part of justice is commonly called distributive, and is commanded in this rule, “ Render to all their dues; tribute, to whom tribute is due; custom, to whom custom ; fear, to whom fear: honour, to whom honour. Owe no man any thing, but to love one another *.” This justice is distinguished from the first: because the obligation depends not upon contract or express bargain, but passes upon us by virtue of some command of God, or of our superior, by nature or by grace, by piety or religion, by trust or by office, according to that commandment, “As every man hath received the gift, so let him minister the same, one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of Gody.” And as the first considers an equality of persons in respect of the contract or particular necessity, this supposes a difference of persons, and no particular bargains, but such necessary intercourses, as by the laws of God or man, are introduced. But I shall reduce all the particulars of both kinds to these four heads : 1. Obedience; 2. Provision; 3. Negotiation; 4. Restitution.
* Rom. xiii. 7.
y 1 Pet. iv. 10,
Of Obedience to our Superiors. Our superiors are set over us in affairs of the world, or the affairs of the soul, and things pertaining to religion, and are called accordingly, ecclesiastical, or civil. Towards whom our duty is thus generally described in the New Testament. For temporal or civil governors the commands are these : “ Render to Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's ;" and “ Let every soul be subject to the higher powers : for there is no power but of God: the powers that be, are ordained of God: whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God; and they that resist, shall receive to themselves damnation2:” and “ Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, and to obey magistratesa :” and “ Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man, for the Lord's sake; whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evil-doers, and the praise of them that do well b."
For spiritual or ecclesiastical governors, thus we are commanded : “ Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves; for they watch for your souls, as they that must give an account :” and “Hold such in reputation d:” and “ To this end did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all thingse:” said St. Paul to the church of Corinth. Our duty is reducible to practice by the following rules.
Acts and duties of Obedience to all our Superiors. 1. We must obey all human laws appointed and constituted by lawful authority, that is, of the supreme power, according to the constitution of the place, in which we live; all laws, I mean, which are not against the law of God.
2. In obedience to human laws, we must observe the letter of the law, where we can, without doing violence to the reason of the law, and the intention of the lawgiver : but, where they cross each other, the charity of the law is to be
2 Rom. xiii. 1. 1 Titus iii. 1.
d Pbil. ii. 29.
b 1 Pet.ji. 13. c Heb. xiii. 17.
e 2 Cor. ii. 9.
preferred before its discipline; and the reason of it, before the letter.
3. If the general reason of the law ceases in our particular, and a contrary reason rises upon us, we are to procure dispensation, or leave to omit the observation of it in such circumstances, if there be any persons or office appointed for granting it: but if there be none, or if it is not easily to be had, or not without an inconvenience greater than the good of the observation of the law in our particular, we are dispensed withal in the nature of the thing, without further process or trouble.
4. As long as the law is obligatory, so long our obedience is due; and he that begins a contrary custom without reason, sins: but he, that breaks the law, when the custom is entered and fixed, is excused; because it is supposed the legislative power consents, when, by not punishing, it suffers disobedience to grow up to a custom”.
5. Obedience to human laws must be for conscience'sake: that is, because, in such obedience, public order, and charity, and benefit, are concerned, and because the law of God commands us; therefore we must make a conscience in keeping the just laws of superiors : and, although the matter before the making of the law was indifferent, yet now the obedience is not indifferents; but, next to the laws of God, we are to obey the laws of all our superiors, who the more public they are, the first they are to be, in the order of obedience.
6. Submit to the punishment and censure of the laws, and seek not to reverse their judgment by opposing, but by submitting, or flying, or silence, to pass through it or by it, as we can: and although from inferior judges we may appeal, where the law permits us, yet we must sit down and rest in the judgment of the supreme; and if we be wronged, let us complain to God of the injury, not of the persons; and he will deliver thy soul from unrighteous judges.
7. Do not believe thou hast kept the law, when thou hast suffered the punishment. For although patiently to submit to the power of the sword be a part of obedience, yet this is such a part, as supposes another left undone : and the law punishes, not because she is as well pleased in taking
Mores leges perduxerunt in potestatem suam. Leges mori serviunt. Plaut. Trinum. και Εξ αρχής μεν, ουδεν διαφέρει όταν δε θώνται, διαφέρει. Αrist. eth. 5. cap. 7.
vengeance as in being obeyed; but, because she is pleased, she uses punishment as a means to secure obedience for the future, or in others. Therefore, although in such cases the law is satisfied, and the injury and the injustice are paid for, yet the sins of irreligion, and scandal, and disobedience to God, must still be so accounted for, as to crave pardon, and be washed off by repentance.
8. Human laws are not to be broken with scandal, nor at all without reason; for he that does it causelessly, is a despiser of the law, and undervalues the authority. For human laws differ from Divine laws principally in this: 1. That the positive commands of a man may be broken upon smaller and more reasons, than the positive commands of God; we may, upon a smaller reason, omit to keep any of the fastingdays of the church, than omit to give alms to the poor: only this, the reason must bear weight according to the gravity and concernment of the law; a law, in a small matter, may be omitted for a small reason; in a great matter, not without a greater reason. And, 2. The negative precepts of men may cease by many instruments, by contrary customs, by public disrelish, by long omission: but the negative precepts of God never can cease, but when they are expressly abrogated by the same authority. But what those reasons are, that can dispense with the command of a man, a man may be his own judge, and sometimes take his proportions from his own reason and necessity, sometimes from public fame, and the practice of pious and severe persons, and from popular customs; in which a man shall walk most safely, when he does not walk alone, but a spiritual man takes him by the hand.
9. We must not be too forward in procuring dispensations, nor use them any longer, than the reason continues, for which we first procured them : for to be dispensed withal is an argument of natural infirmity, if it be necessary; but, if it be not, it signifies an undisciplined and unmortified spirit.
10. We must not be too busy in examining the prudence and unreasonableness of human laws: for although we are not bound to believe them all to be the wisest; yet if, by inquiring into the lawfulness of them, or by any other instrument, we find them to fail of that wisdom, with which