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concerned. And as to the former, though sensual Irre- ' gularities may fuit very well with fome Sorts of Superftition, yet their Inconsistence with any Thing that deserves the Name of Religion, is confessed in Effect by the Persons guilty of them. For if some few such do hypocritically, in vain Hope of Concealment, keep on the Appearance of it, yet who amongst them can preserve the Reality of it? Offences of this Kind, how plausibly soever palliated, yet, being committed against known Prohibitions, wear out of the Mind all Řeverence to God's Commandments, all Expectation of his future Favour, nay the very Desire of spiritual Happiness hereafter. And though many, who indulge in Licentiousness, have notwithstanding very good Qualities; yet, would they review their Hearts and Lives, they would find that they have much the fewer for it; and that those which remain are often made useless, often endangered, often perverted by it.
But the Sins already mentioned, are by no Means the only ones to be avoided in Consequence of this Commandment: whatever invites to them, whatever, approaches towards them, whatever is contrary to Decency and Honour, whatever taints the Purity of the Mind, inflames the Passions, and wears off the Impressions of virtuous Shame; all Immodesty of Appearance or Behaviour; all Entertainments, Books, Pictures, Conversations, tending to excite or excuse the Indulgence of irregular Desires, are in their Proportion prohibited and criminal. And unless we prudently guard against the smaller Offences of this Kind, the more heinous will be too likely to force their Way: as our Lord very ftrongly warns us. Te have heard, it was said by them of old Time, Thou shalt not commit Adultery: but I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a Woman to luft after her, hath committed Adultery with her already in his Heart i. And though vicious Inclinations were never to go further than the Heart; yet, if, instead of merely intruding
against our Will, they are designedly encouraged to dwell there, they corrupt the very Fountain of spiritual Life; and none but the pure in Heart fall fee God.
All Persons therefore should be very careful to turn their Minds from forbidden Objects, to fix their Attention fo constantly and steadily on useful and commend. able Employments as to have no Leisure for Vices, and to govern themselves by such Rules of Temperance and Prudence, that every sensual Appetite may be kept in Subjection to the Dictates of Reason and the Laws of Religion; always remembering that Christianity both delivers to us the ftricteft Precepts of Holiness, and sets before us the strongest Motives to it; our peculiar Relation to a holy God and Saviour; our being the Temples of the Holy Ghost', which Temple if any Man defile, him will God destroy m; our being Pilgrims grid Strangers on Earth", not intended to have our Portion here, but to inherit a spiritual Happiness hereafter; and every one that bath this Hope, must purify himself even as God is pure'. I shall conclude therefore with St. Paul's Exhortation : Fornication, and all Uncleanness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh Saints ; neither Filthiness, nor foolish Talking, nor Jefting, which are not convenient: for this ye know, that no Whoremonger, nor unclean Person, hath any Inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God. Let ng Man deceive you with vain iVords: for because of these Things cometh the Wrath of God upon the Children of Difobedience. Be not ye therefore Partakers with them: walk as Children of Light, and have no Fellowship with the unfruitful Works of Darkness P.
* Matth. v. 8. 1 Pet. ii. 11.
1 I Cor. vi. 19. 1 John iii. 3.
1 Cor. iii. 176 P Eph. V. 3-Ilo
L E C T U RE
The Eighth Commandment.
NDER the Eighth Commandment is compre
hended our Duty to our Neighbour, in respect of his worldly Substance. And, to explain it distinctly, I shall endeavour to fhew,
I. What it forbids : and
I. As to the former. "The Wickedness of Mankind hath invented Ways to commit such an astonishing Variety of Sins against this Commandment, that it is impoffible to reckon them up, and dreadful to think of them. But most, if not all of them, are so manifestly Sins, that the least Reflection is enough to make any one sensible, how much he is bound conscientiously to avoid them. And he, who desires to preserve himself innocent, easily may.
The most open and shameless Crime, of this Sort, is Robbery; taking from another what is His, by Forc:: which, adding Violence against his Person to Invasion of his Property, and making every Part of human Life unsafe, is a complicated Transgression, of very deep Guilt.
The next Degree is secret Theft : privately converting to our own Use what is not our own. To do this in Matters of great Value, is confessedly pernicious Wickedness. And though it were only in what may seem a Trifle; yet every Man's Right to the smallest Part of what belongs to him is the same, as to the largest : and he ought no more to be wronged of one, than of the other. Besides, little Instances of Dir honesty cause great Disquiet; make the Sufferers disK
trustful of all about them ; sometimes of those, who are the farthest from deserving it: make them apprehensive continually, that some heavier Injury will follow. And indeed almoft all Offenders begin with Night Offences. More heinous ones would shock them at first: but if they once allow themselves in leffer Faults; they go on without Reluctance, by Degrees, to worse and worse, till at last they scruple Nothing. Always therefore beware of small Sins. And always remember, what I have before observed to you, that when any Thing is committed to your Care and Trust, to be dishonest in that, is peculiarly base.
But, besides what every Body calls Theft, there are many Practices, which amount indirectly to much the fame Thing, however disguised in the World under gentler Names. Thus, in the Way of Trade and Business: if the Seller puts off any Thing for better than it is, by false Affertions, or deceitful Arts: if he takes Advantage of the Buyer's Ignorance, or particular Necessities, or good Opinion of him, to insist on a larger Price for it, than the current Value; or if he gives less in Quantity than he profesies, or is understood to give: the Frequency of some of these Things cannot alter the Nature of any of them: no one can be ignorant, that they are wrong, but such as are wilfully or very carelessly ignorant: and the Declaration of Scripture against the last of them is extended, in the fame Place, to every one of the rest. Thou shalt not have in thy Bag divers Weighis, a great and a small: thou Jhalt not have in thine House diver's Measures, a great and
a small. For all that do such Things, and all that do unrighteously, are an Abomination unto the Lord thy Goda.
On the other Hand: if the Buyer takes Advantage of his own Wealth; and the Poverty or prefent Dirtress of the Seller, to beat down the Price of his Merchandise beyond Reason; or if he buys up the Whole of a Commodity, especially if it be a necessary one, to make
a Deut. xxv. 13-16.
immoderate Gain of it; or if he refuses or neglects to pay for what he hath bought; or delays his Payments beyond the Time, within which, by Agreement or the known Course of Traffic, they ought to be made: all such Behaviour is downright Injustice and Breach of God's Law. For the Rule is, If thou sellest ought unto thy Neighbour, or buyest ought of thy Neighbour's Hand, ye shall not oppress one another
Again : Borrowing on fraudulent Securities, or fal e Representations of our Circumstances; or without In. tention, or without proper Care afterwards, to repay ; preferring the Gratification of our Covétousness, our Vanity, our Voluptuousness, our Indolence, before the satisfying of our just Debts : all this is palpable Wickedness. And just as bad is the contrary Wickedness, of demanding exorbitant Interest for lending to ignorant or thoughtless Persons; or to extravagant ones, for carrying on their Extravagance; or to neceflitous ones, whose Necessities it must continually increase, and make their Ruin, after a While, more certain, more difficult to retrieve, and more hurtful to all with whom they are concerned. The Scripture hath particularly forbidden it in the last Case, and enjoined a very different Sort of Behaviour. If thy Brother be waxen poor, and fallen in Decay with thee; then shalt thou relieve bim: yea, though he be a Stranger, or a Sojourner. Thou shalt not give him tby Money upon Usury, nor lend him thy Vi&tuals for Increase; but fear thy God, that thy Brother may dwell witle thee. And the Psalmist hath expressed the two opposite Characters, on these Occasions, very briefly and clearly. The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous fneweth Mercy, and giveth .
Another crying Iniquity is, when hired Servants, Labourers, or Workmen of any Sort, are ill used in their Wa
Tages: whether by giving them too little; or, which His often full as bad, deferring it too long. The Word of God forbids this last in very strong Terms. Thou