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makes a law and does not compel the involuntary, does but petition the subject to obey, and must be content he shall do it, when he hath a mind to it. But therefore as soon as men made laws, and lived in communities, they made swords to coerce the private, and wars to restrain the public, irregularities of the world.
dehinc absistere bello,
For it was impossible to preserve justice, or to defend the innocent, or to make obedience to laws, if the consuls lay aside their rods and axes: and so it is in the divine laws; the divine power and the divine wisdom make the divine laws, and fear is the first sanction of them: it is the beginning of all our wisdom, and all human power being an imitation of and emanation from the divine power, is in the sum of affairs nothing but this; “Habere potestatem gladii ad animadvertendum in facinorosos homines;" and therefore we conclude it to be no law, to the breaking of which no penalty is annexed ; and therefore it was free to St. Paul to take or not to take wages of the Corinthian church; for if he had taken it, it had been nothing but the making of his glorying void; that is, he could not have had the pleasure of obliging them by an uncommanded instance and act of kindness. Hope and reward are the endearment of counsels; fear and punishment are the ligatures of laws.
12. (3.) In counsels sometimes the contrary is very evil : -Thus to be industrious and holy, zealous and prudent, in the offices ecclesiastical, and to take holy orders in the days of persecution and discouragement, is an instance of love, I doubt not, very pleasing and acceptable to God; and yet he that suffers himself to be discouraged from that particular employment, and to divert to some other instance in which he may well serve God, may remain very innocent or excusable : but those in the primitive church, who so feared the persecution or the employment, that they cut off their thumbs or ears to make themselves canonically incapable, were highly culpable; because he that does an act contrary to the design of a counsel evangelical, is an enemy to the virtue and the
· Hor. S. 1. 3. 105. Gesner.
grace of the intendment: he that only lets it alone, does not indeed venture for the greater reward; but he may pursue the same virtue in another instance or in a less degree, but yet so as may be accepted. He that is diverted by his fear and danger, and dares not venture.-bath a pitiable, but, in many cases, an innocent infirmity; but he that does against it, bath an inexcusable passion ; and is so much more blamable than the other, by how much a fierce enemy is worse than a cold friend, or a neuter more tolerable than he that stands in open hostility and defiance. But in laws, not only the contrary, but even the privative, is also criminal : for not only he that oppresses the poor, is guilty of the breach of charity, but he that does not relieve them; because there is in laws an affirmative and a negative part; and both of them have obligation; so that in laws both omissions and commissions are sins; but where nothing is faulty but a contrariety or hostility, and that the omission is innocent, there it is only a counsel.
13. (4.) In internal actions there is properly and directly no counsel,--but a law only: counsels of perfections are commonly the great and more advantageous prosecutions of an internal grace or virtue: but the inward cannot be hindered by any thing from without, and therefore is capable of all increase and all instances only upon the account of love; the greatest degree of which is not greater than the commandment: and yet the least degree, if it be sincere, is even with the commandment: because it is according to the capacity and greatness of the man. But the inward grace, in all its degrees, is under a law or commandment, not that the highest is necessary at all times, and to every person; but that we put no positive bars or periods to it at any time, but love as much as we can to-day, and as much as we can tomorrow, and still the duty and the words to have a current sense : and ' as much as we can'must signify still more and more;' now the using of direct and indirect ministries for the increasing of the inward grace, this I say, because it hath in it materiality and an external part, and is directly subjicible to the proper empire of the will, this may be the matter of counsel in the more eminent and zealous instances, but the inward grace directly is not. To be just consists in an indivisible point, and therefore it is always a law; but if to sig
nify and act our justice we give that which is due, and a great deal more to make it quite sure, this is the matter of counsel; for it is the external prosecution of the inward grace, and although this hath no degrees, yet that hath; and therefore that hath liberty and choice, whereas in this there is nothing but duty and necessity.
Some Things may be used in the Service of God, which are not
commanded in any Law, nor explicitly commended in any
Doctrine of Jesus Christ. 1. This rule is intended to regulate the conscience in all those questions, which scrupulous and superstitious people make in their inquiries for warranties from Scripture in every action they do, -and in the use of such actions in the service of God; for which particulars because they have no word, they think they have no warrant, and that the actions are superstitious. The inquiry then hath two parts;
1. Whether we are to require from Scripture a warrant for every action we do, in common life.
2. Whether we may not do or use any thing in religion, concerning which we have no express word in Scripture, and no commandment at all.
1. Concerning the first the inquiry is but short, because there is no difficulty in it, but what is made by ignorance and jealousy, and it can be answered and made evident by common sense, and the perpetual experience and the natural necessity of things. For the laws of Jesus Christ were intended to regulate human actions in the great lines of religion, justice, and sobriety, in which as there are infinite particulars which are to be conducted by reason and by analogy to the laws and rules given by Jesus Christ; so it is certain that as the general lines and rules are to be understood by reason how far they do oblige, so by the same we can know where they do. But we shall quickly come to issue in this affair. For if for every thing there is a law or an advice ; let them that think so find it out and follow it. If there be not for
every thing such provision, their own 'needs will get become their lawgiver, and force them to do it without a law. Whether a man shall speak French or English ; whether baptized persons are to be dipped all over the body, or will it suffice that the head be plunged; whether thrice or once ; whether in water of the spring, or the water of the pool; whether a man shall marry, or abstain ; whether eat flesh or herbs; choose Titius or Caius for my friend ; be a scholar or a merchant ; a physician or a lawyer; drink wine or ale ; take physic for prevention, or let it alone; give to his servant a great pension, or a competent;—what can the Holy Scriptures have to do with any thing of these, or any thing of like nature and indifferency?
2. For ,by nature all things are indulged to our use and liberty; and they so remain till God, by a supervening law, hath made restraints in some instances to become matter of obedience to him, and of order and usefulness to the world ; but therefore where the law does not restrain, we are still free as the elements, and may move as freely and indifferently as the atoms in the
And there is infinite difference between law and lawful ; indeed there is nothing that is a law to our consciences but what is bound upon us by God, and consigned in Holy Scripture (as I shall in the next rule demonstrate); but therefore every thing else is permitted or lawful, that is, not by law restrained : liberty is before restraint ; and till the fetters are put upon us, we are under no law and no necessity, but what is natural. But if there can be any natural necessities, we cannot choose but obey them, and for these there needs no.law or warrant from Scripture. No master needs to tell us or to give us signs to know we are hungry or athirst; and there can be as little need that a lawgiver should give us a command to eat, when we are in great necessity so to do. Every thing is to be permitted to its own cause and proper principle ; nature and her needs are sufficient to cause us to do that which is for her preservation; right reason and experience are competent warrant and instruction to conduct our affairs of liberty and common life; but the matter and design of laws is “ honeste vivere, alterum non lædere, suum cuique tribuere ;” or as it is more perfectly described by the Apostle, that we should“ live a godly, righteous, sober life;" and be
yond these there needs no law. When nature is sufficient, Jesus Christ does not interpose; and unless it be where reason is defective or violently abused, we cannot need laws of self-preservation, for that is the sanction and great band and endearment of all laws : and therefore there is no express law against self-murder in all the New Testament; only it is there and every where else by supposition ; and the laws take care to forbid that, as they take care of fools and madmen; men that have no use or benefit of their reason or of their natural necessities and inclinations, must be taken under the protection of others; but else when a man is in his wits, or in his reason, he is defended in many things, and instructed in more, without the help or need of laws: nay, it was need and reason that first introduced laws ; for no law, but necessity and right reason, taught the first ages,
Dispersos trabere in populum, migrare vetusto
l'urribus, atque una portarum clave teneris; sto meet and dwell in communities, to make covenants and laws, to establish equal measures, to do benefit interchangeably, to drive away public injuries by common arms, to join houses that they may sleep more safe :' and since laws were not the first inducers of these great transactions, it is certain they need not now to enforce them, or become our warrant to do that, without which we cannot be what we cannot choose but desire to be.
3. But if nothing were to be done but what we have Scripture for, either commanding or commending, it were certain that with a less hyperbole than St. John used," the world could not contain the books, which should be written;" and yet in such infinite numbers of laws and sentences no man could be directed competently, because his rule and guide would be too big: and every man, in the inquiry after lawful and unlawful, would be just so enlightened, as he that must for ever remain blind, unless he take the sun in his hand search into all the corners of darkness; no candlestick would
Juvenal ,Satyr. 15. 131. Ruperti.