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trust in God. As, therefore, in this Commandment, faith is the mover and worker of this good work, liberality; so also, the same is the agent in all the other precepts and works. And therefore, without this kind of faith, no liberality, profiteth any thing, but is rather a rash profusion of money.
And here also, it is worthy to be known, that this liberality and beneficence are to be drawn out and extended even unto enemies and adversaries. For what beneficence would that be, if we should be liberal to our friends only? For as Christ has taught us, Luke vi. such a liberality as this, even a wicked man uses toward his friend. Nay, even dumb animals do good and are liberal towards the animals of their own species. Therefore a Christian man must think higher; so that his liberality and beneficence may serve even the undeserving, evildoers, enemies, and ungrateful; after the example of his heavenly Father, who permits the sun to rise upon both the evil and the good, and the rain to descend upon both the grateful and the ungrateful.-Here also we may see, how difficult it is to do good works according to the requirements of the Commandments of God, and how nature will here turn, and twist, and writhe, while the same nature will perform all her self-devised and self-chosen works with ease and willingness. For, only propose to thyself thy enemies and the ungrateful, and do them every service: thou wilt then find how near thou art to, or how far removed from, this Commandment, and how much thou hast to do throughout the whole time of thy life, in the work of this one Commandment only. For if thou dost not help thine enemy or adversary in the time of his need, and dost not assist him in his necessities, (if thou hast it in thy power,) it is the same thing as if thou hadst stolen from him what was his for thou art bound to help him. Thus St. Ambrose saith,Give food unto the hungry for if thou give him not food, thou murderest him, as much as in thee lies.' To this Commandment, therefore, belong
the works of mercy, which Christ will require at our hands in the day of judgment. And hence, princes and states ought to take care that wandering mendicants, the brethren of Jacobin, and all other foreign beggars of that kind, should be prohibited and done away with; or at least, be permitted under certain rules and restrictions only; lest, under the name of beggars, errors, deceptions, and impostures, should be practised by such kind of vagabonds; of which there are now great numbers. But I have dwelt more at large upon this Commandment in my Treatise on Usury.
CONCERNING THE EIGHTH COMMANDMENT AND ITS GOOD WORK.
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
This appears to be a small and trifling Commandment, yet it is, in truth, a very great and important one; for he that will keep it must do it at the peril of his body, life, property, fame, friends, and all that he hath. And yet, strictly, it embraces nothing more than the work of a little member, that is, the tongue: which is, to speak the truth, and to oppose and contradict lying if necessity shall require. Therefore, by this Commandment are prohibited many sins and evils of the tongue. First, those which are committed by speaking. And next, those which are committed by being silent. By speaking, when, having a bad cause in judgment, a man tries to prove and carry it by evil means, to take his neighbour by craft, to bring forward whatever may promote his cause or set it off to the best advantage, or to be silent about, and disparage, that which may aid the cause of his neighbour. In so doing, he does not do unto his neighbour as he would have his neighbour do unto him. This is what some practise for the sake of their own gain and advantage; and some, to avoid loss or disgrace and therefore, they regard their own gain
more than the Commandment of God. They excuse themselves thus, by the old saying, 'He that would gain his right, must watch narrowly. As though they ought not to be as watchful in the cause of their neighbour, as they are in their own! Thus, they would let the cause of their neighbour come to destruction, though they should be certain it was a just cause. This evil is at this day every where so common, that I fear whether there is one cause tried, or sentence passed, without one* of the parties sinning against this Commandment. And if they have not strength and influence enough to carry their point, yet their will and desire is to do it: that is, they wish whether or not the good cause of their neighbour to come to nought, and their own evil one to prevail. And this sin is more especially committed when any great person or any enemy is of the opposite party. For so it is with us, that we wish to be revenged on our enemy, or, we are unwilling to offend a great person. Then begin to enter flattery and adulation, or at least, passion and a silence about the truth. And thus, the Commandment of God must of necessity come to nought. Such is commonly the government, or way of ruling, in the world. And he that desires and wishes to persevere in opposing all this evil, and in keeping this Commandment, will have both his hands full of good works, which he must do with his tongue.-But besides all this, O Jesu, how many are there, who, being induced by bribes and rewards to hold their tongues, are driven away from the truth! So that, in every respect, it is a sublime, great, and rare work to refrain from becoming a false witness against our neighbour.
But there is another and greater testimony for the truth in addition to this: that is, when we are com pelled to fight against evil spirits. This fight begins, not! for temporal things, but for the Gospel, and for the truth of faith, which the devil never could bear; and therefore, he has ever tried all arts to make the princes of the people oppose and persecute the truth of faith;;
because he knows how difficult it is to resist them : concerning which, Psalm lxxxii. 4, saith, "Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked." And although this persecution is now rare, and has become almost unknown, yet all that is the fault of those that preside over spiritual things, because they do not stir up the Gospel, but permit it to be overthrown. And thus, they have destroyed that cause which ought to raise all this persecution on the one hand, and this testimony on the other, and teach us, in the mean time, their own traditions and ordinances, and whatever pleases them. And therefore, Satan also sits down in quiet, when, by having thus destroyed the Gospel, he has destroyed also the faith of Christ. And thus all things go on just according to the devil's wishes. But if the Gospel were again stirred up, preached, and heard, without doubt the whole world would be put in commotion, and the greater part of the kings, princes, bishops, doctors, sacred or spiritual, and every thing great that opposes it, would be moved to fight against it; as it ever has been the case wheresover the Word of God has been brought forth openly. For the world cannot bear that which cometh from God. Which was proved in the case of Christ: for he was the greatest, the dearest, and the best thing that God had to give: and yet the world was so far from receiving him, that it persecuted him more atrociously than any thing else that ever came from God, Therefore, as it was in his time, so it is always the case, that there are few who favour divine truth and will expose their body, life, property, fame, and all that they have, to peril, for its sake. And thus Christ. declared, saying, "Ye shall be hated of all men for my name sake," Matt. x. 22. And again, "Many shall be offended," Matt. xxiv. 10. Nay, if none persecuted this truth but farmers, shepherds, carters, and men of the lowest class, who could not, and would not, confess and stand by it? But when popes and bishops, together with princes and kings, persecute it, all men flee away, all keep silence, all flatter; lest they should lose their property, their honour, their favour, or perhaps their lives.
And why do they this?-Because they have no faith in God; and cannot persuade themselves that they shall receive any good from him. For wherever this confidence and faith of God are, there will be found a courageous, intrepid, and fearless heart; which subscribes to the truth and stands by it, whether the garment or the head be in danger; and whether it be against the Pope, or against kings; even as we see the holy martyrs acted. For a heart of this kind being satisfied with a propitious and merciful God, despises honour, favour, influence, and the riches of all men put together, permitting every thing that will not remain and endure, go and come as it pleases: as it is read Psalm xiv. 4, "In whose eyes a vile person is contemned: but he honoureth them that fear the Lord:" that is, he neither fears, nor cares for, tyrants and potentates who persecute the truth and condemn God, but despises them : but, on the other hand, he seeks after those who suffer persecutions for the truth's sake, and who fear God more than man; and he stands by such, patronizes them, and honours them, whomsoever he may displease thereby even as it is read of Moses, Heb. xi. that he clave to his brethren, "not fearing the wrath of the king."-Behold, therefore, in this Commandment you again at once see that faith must be the great teacher and fountain-spring of this Work: which work, without faith, no man will dare to do. Therefore, all works lie in faith, as I have before often observed. And hence, out of faith all works are dead, how good soever they may seem to be, how fairly and brightly soever they may shine, and by what names soever they may be called. For as no one can do the work of this Commandment, unless he be firm and well established, and fearlessly persuaded of his interest in the grace of God; so, neither can any one do any of the works of the other Commandments without this faith, And hence, every one may from this Commandment easily weigh himself, and form a judgment whether or not he be a Christian