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ing bound for another, who is either incapable, or unjust enough to refuse payment. It is true, the case is hard with the bondsman to pay for what, as we commonly fay, he has neither eat nor drank for, and in likelihood will detriment his family, and perhaps bring him to the very brink of poverty; but, suppose the worst, he cannot blame the creditor for these consequences, whose right to his money cannot be superseded by any act the debtor can do, or any thing the bondsman can suffer, till the value received is duly and honestly restored. So that such misfortunes are fevere cautions for us never to enter into such engagements rafhly, or withcut good grounds of security to ourselves; but no countenance for breaking them, on which the creditor placed his chiefest confidence; and therefore he mult either be paid by that means, or he is cheated and betrayed. But,
Of all debts, those of a man's own voluntary promise admit of the least excuse for non-payment, or wilful with-holding of them. Does not David in his de- what we fcription of a just man command us, as it were, promise. to pay those promised debts, though they had been made to our own disadvantage ? and as they include the wages of servants, and the hire of the labourer ; so whoever delays to discharge them must remember the express command of God: Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of the itrangers that are in thy land within thy gates. At his day thou shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it, for he is poor, and setteth his heart
it : left he cry against thee unto the Lord, and it be fin unto thee.
Likewise, where any of these offences are committed in breach of trust, which is the case of servants, and Breach of any others who are intrusted with other men's af- truf. fairs : howsoever the law may in such cases alleviate the punishment, yet in conscience this is an aggravation and increase of the guilt, as being a breach both of justiceand fidelity. Nor is it any diminution of the crime, when it is the publick that is wronged by any unjust act. For tho', in this case, 'tis not so obviously and immediately apparent upon whom the inju, ry falls, as in the case of private wrongs; yet the uncertainty or the number of the perfons among whom the damage may chance to be divided, alters not at all the nature of the crime itself. And though injuries of this kind, in smalles instances, are not, perhaps, immediately felt and complained of; yet, when the publick comes to be wronged by persons of large and extenfive power, then not only the crime itself, but the effects of it also, become greater and more apparent, than in the case of private injustice.
VIII. When a man takes from another what is already in Straling the
his poffeffion, then theft is called stealing : under goods of our which head we properly reduce those mott notoneighbour. rious rogues that rob upon the highway, and those that forcibly break up houses and carry off their neighbours goods or chattles; as also those little pilfering thieves, whose fingers cleave to every little thing they fee in private: against both whom the law of the land has enacted the punishment of death, which fewever escape that make a constant practice of this injustice; and nothing but timely and sincere repentance can secure them from the eternal punishment of God's justice. So dear is the price of their iniquity, as to venture not only their neck, but to barter their foul likewise forevery little trifle they steal from another, or buy, or receive, knowing it to be stolen ; which many, who seem to abhor steal-. ing, are guilty of, in buying such things a little cheaper, than at commom price. Nor must we conceal our neighbour's goods; for if we find a thing, and know its right owner, and keep it for our own use, we cheat him, and thereby are guilty of theft. The only caution here needful to be given is, that young persons especially take heed of the beginning of this sin, of being tempted to do wrong
in finaller matters, in things that may seem at first of no great consequence, not very highly injurious to the person wronged, nor very shocking to the conscience of him that does the injustice. But this is of all others the greatest and most dangerous temptation. For few finners begin with the very highest crimes; usually, being seduced at first into smaller transgressions, they become hardened by degrees, till at length they run into the greatest and most capital offences.
1. Of deceit in trust. II. Of fraud in trade, and of the rules
in traffick and bargaining ; to use plainness, no extortion nor oppression, no unjust weights, and measures, nor bad money; and of the advantage of fair dealing. III. Of evil, gotten goods, difquiet of conscience, and the necessity of reititution. IV. Of our neighbour's credit, or good name, including false reports, speaking ill of the dead, cenforioufness, false witness, public sander, whisperings, despising and scoffing at infirmities, calamities, and Jins: of tale-bearing: and reasons against these vices. V. Of positive juftice; which requires truth, and condemns flattery, lying, equivocation, envy, and detraction. VI. Of respect due to men of extraordinary gifts, rank, quality, wealth, and to
the poor. VII. Of gratitude to benefactors. 1. NEXT to stealing, follows the fin and injustice of
Deceit; which I shall describe under the heads of trust and traffick.
Breach of trust includes defrauding and promise-breaking, and is a great sin; 'for he, who trusts another, doth
Of deceit thereby unite him with a particular bond of so- in truft. ciety to himself, upon a promise to be served so far as he trusts him. So, if I accept the trust to be an arbitrator in a cause, or an executor of a will, or a guardian to children, a factor, or assignee, or a keeper of any pledge, I am admitted as a partner and a representative in such matters, and my fidelity stands engaged for my behaviour in those several trústs. Wherefore, if by my neglect I suffer any of his trusts to miscarry, I am dishonest and injurious to him; because I undertook to do for him all that I can suppose he would have done for himself, had he been master of
my city. So that, if for a bribe I betray the trust he committed to me, or convert it to my own advantage, I rob him more infamously, than if I demanded his purse by open violence : because then I make use of that trust to betray his interest, by which I was as much obliged to secure and defend it, as if I
skill and capa
had exchanged persons, and his interest were my own: so, to betray his interest for my own advantage, when he had made me next his own person in power, is disingenuous perfidiousness and injustice; which should always bea caution toall those who have the king's commission, all publick and parish. officers, as well as to stewards and servants, that they faithfully discharge their respective trusts. But in every of these frauds, where God or the poor are immediately concerned, as in all estates for, and legacies left in trust to, pious and charitable uses, the theft or breach of trust become facrilege; the malignity of which crime is particularly condemned by the sentence of the Wise-man, who says, that it is a sin to devour that which is holy. II. The second sort offraud is in matters of traffick and bar
gaining, when either the buyer or seller receives any In iraffick.
damage or loss: for, bargains in buying and selling being a voluntary exchange of interests, we owe this duty one to another, to deal honestly in making and faithfully difcharging our engagements. So, deliberateor contrived fraud is in itself a crime of the deepest malignity, and of the most pernicious consequence: a fin which tends to destroy all hus man society, all trust and confidence among men, all justice and equity, which is the support of the world, and without which no fociety of men can subsist. And the breaking through this obligation by deliberate fraud is, of all other fins, one of the most open defiances of conscience, and the
most wilful opposition to right reason, that can be monness of
imagined. Then for a Christian, a man that proinjustice a fesses a pure and more holy religion, a religion that reproach to commands not only common justice and equity, christianity.
but singular loveand good will towards our neighbour, to be guilty of a contrived and deliberate fraud, which the conscience even of a good heathen would abhor ; this is a greater aggravation of the crime: because as the end of buying and selling is to furnish one another with the neceffaries and conveniencies of life; both buyer and seller have a right proper to them, fo to buy and sell, as that the buyer may have the worth of his price, and the seller the worth of his commodity ; for otherwise, instead of
mutually assisting, we must necessarily oppress each other. Therefore,
Notwithstanding it may be a difficult matter to determine nicely what the exact measure is, which in buying and selling ought to be observed between man and man; yet in all cases, when any opportunity of dealing presents itself, it is but asking ourselves, How we would be dealt by in the fame circumstances ? And our answer to that is our duty to those we deal with ? I know how I should expect to be used, if my neighbour and I had changed persons and circumstances : my heart tells me, that I should think it reasonable to expect such measures from him, and therefore he hath reason to expect the same from me: when I consult myself how I would be dealt by, those very passions, which inclineme to wrongothers, will instruct me to do them justice. Consequently, there is no rule in the world can be pressed with fewer incumbrances, or darkened with less intricacy; none that can lie open to larger use, or be readier at present application, or more obvious to all capacities. How then can men pretend to excuse themselves, when their duty lies so plainly before them; or would not do their duty, when they do understand it? Therefore,
Use plainness and simplicity in all your dealings : do not, by disparaging another man's commodity, or over
We mult valuing your own, endeavour to draw on an advantageous bargain ; neither ask far beyond, nor the faults of
Our goods. bid much below, what reason must inform be the real worth. Do not say you cannot take less, or give more, when you know you may with sufficient profit to yourfelf. Make no false pretences, nor cover what is true; but, so far as in you lies, fit your affirmations and denials to the understanding of the person you deal with, and do not lie in ambush behind your words, to trap and insnare the person with whom you transact; for not only that which is false, but that which deceives, is false and unjust in bargains.
Do not impofe upon any man's unskilfulness or ignorance. So long as you keep within the latitude of lawful Nor use exgain, you may use your skill against another man tortion. in driving a bargain: forinan ordinary plenty of commodities