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the doing so. For the doing of this, there are Sunday several Instruments; as, First, That of Power,

XI. by which many Nations and Princes have been turned out of their Rights, and many private Men out of their Estates : Sometimes that covets his Neighbour's Lands or Goods, pretends a Claim to them, and then by corrupting of Justice, by Bribes and Gifts, or else over-ruling it by Greatness and Authority, gets Judgment on his side; this is a high Oppression, and of the worst fort, thus to make the Law, which was intended for the Protection and Defence of Mens Rights, to be the Means of overthrowing them; and it is a very heavy Guilt that lies both on him that procures, and on him that pronounces such a Sentence, yea, and on the Lawyer too, thar pleads such a Caule; for by so doing, he assists in the Oppression. Sometimes again, the very Necessities of the Oppressed, are the Means of his Oppression: Thus it is in the Case of Extortion, and griping Usury; a Man is in extreme want of Money, and thus gives Opportunity to the Extortioner to wrest unconscionably from him; to which the poor Man is forced to yield , to supply his present Wants. And thus also it is often with exacting Landlords, who when their poor Te. nants know not how to provide themselves elsewhere, rack and screw them beyond the Worth of the Thing. All these, and many the R.

like

od's Vend cance

Sunday like, are but several Ways of acting this one XI. Sin of Oppression, which becomes yet the

more hainous, by how much the more helpless the Person is that is thus oppressed ; therefore, the Oppression of the Widow and Fatherless, is, in Scripture, mention'd as the Height of this Sin.

10. It is indeed a most crying Guilt, and

that against which God hath threatned his sainft it. heavy Vengeance, as we read in divers Texts

of Scripture; thus it is, Ezek. xviji. 2. He that hath oppressed the Poor, and hath spoiled by Violence, he shall surely dię, his Blood sball be upon him, and the fame Sentence is repeated against him, ver. 18. Indeed, God hath so peculiarly taken upon him the Prote&tion of the Poor and Oppressed, that he is enga. ged, as it were, in Honour to be their Avenger ; and accordingly, Pfal. xii

. we see God solemnly declare his Resolution of appearing for them, ver. 5. For the Oppression of the Poor, for the Sighing of the Needy, non will I arise, faith the Lord, I will fet him in Safety from him. The Advice therefore of Solomon is excellent, Prov. xxii. 22. Rob not the Poor, because he is poor : neither oppreß the Afflicted in the Gate. For the Lord will plead their Cause, and spoil the Soul of those that spoiled them; they are like, in the End, to have little Joy of the Booty it brings them in, when it thus engages God against them.

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11. The

11. The Second fort of this Injustice, is Sunday Theft: And of that also there are two kinds; XI. the one, the with-holding what we should pay; and the other, taking from our Neighbour what is already in his Possession.

12. Of the First fort, is, the not Paying of Not Paying Debts, whether fuch as we have Borrowed, what we or such as by our own voluntary Promise are become our Debts; for they are equally due to him that can lay either of these Claims to them; and therefore the with-holding of 'either of them, is a Theft, a keeping from my Neighbour that which is his : yet the former of them is rather the more injurious; for by that, I take from him that which he once actually had, (be it Money, or whatever else) and so make him worse than I found him. This is a very great, and very common Injustice. Men can now-a-days, with as great Confidence deny him that asks a Debt, as they do him that asks an Alms; nay, many times Puis made Matter of Quarrel for a Man to demand his own: Besides, the many Attendances the Creditor is put to in pursuit of it, are a yet further Injury to him, by wasting his Time, and taking him off from other Business, and so he is made a Lofer that way too. This is so great Injustice, that I fee not how a Man can look upon any thing he possesses as his own Rigbt, whilst he thus denies another his. It is the Duty of every Man in Debt, rather to strip himself of all, and cast himself

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Sunday again naked upon God's Providence, than
XI.

thus to feather his Nest with the Spoils of his
Neighbours. And surely it would prove the
more thriving Course, not only in respect of
the Blessing which may be expected upon
Justice, compar'd with the Curse that attends,
the contrary, but even in Worldly Prudence
also: for he that defers paying of Debts, will
at last be forced to it by Law, and that upon
much worse Terms than he might have done
it voluntarily, with a greater Charge, and
with such a loss of his Credit, that afterward,
in his greatest Necessities, he will not know
where to borrow. But the sure way for a
Man to secure himself from the Guilt of this
Injustice, is never to borrow more than he
knows he hath Means to re-pay, unless it be of
one, who, knowing his Disability, is willing to
run the Hazard. Otherwise he commits this
Sin at the very time of Borrowing, for he
takes that from his Neighbour, upon Promise
of Paying, which he knows he is never likely
to restore to him, which is a flat Robbery.

The same Justice which ties Men to pay arc Bound their own Debts, ties also every Surety to pay for.

those Debts of others for which he stands Bound, in case the Principal either cannot, or will not; for by being Bound, he hath made it his own Debt, and must in all Justice anfwer it to the Creditor, who, it's presumed, was drawn to lend on Confidence of his Security, and therefore iş directly cheated and

betrayed

but we

betrayed by him, if he see him not satisfied. Sunday

XI. If it be thought hard, that a Man should pay for that which he never receiv'd Benefit by, I shall yield it, so far as to be just Matter of Wariness to every Man, how he enter into such Engagements, bụt it can never be made an Excuse for the breaking of them.

As for the other fort of Debt, that which is What we brought upon a Man by his own voluntary have proPromise, that also cannot, without great In-pifed

. justice, be with-holden; for it is now the Man's Right, and then 'tis no Matter by what means it came to be so. Therefore we fee, David makes it part of the Description of a Just Man, "Psal. xv. 4. that he keeps his Promises; yea, though they are made to his own Disadvantage : And surely, he is utterly unfit to ascend to that holy Hill, there fpoken of, either as that signifies the Church here, or Heaven hereafter, that does not punctually observe this part of Justice. To this sort of Debt, may be reduced the Wages of the Servant, the Hire of the Labourer; and the with-holding of these is a great Sin

; and the Complaints of those, that are thus injured, ascend up to God : Behold, (faith St. James) the Hire of the Labourers which have reaped down your Fields, which is of you kept back by Fraud, cries ; and the Cries of them that have reaped are entred into the Ear of the Lord of Sabaoth. And Deut. xxiv. 14, 15. we find a ftrict Command in this Matter, Thou shalt nort:

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