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them. For I know your manifold transgressions, and your mighty sins'. And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts **

SECT. 4. He therefore solemnly warns his people against them, and enjoins them to execute judgment, and to show mercy and compassion to the indigent and distressed.

Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? Wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, and exact all your labours. Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness. Ye shall not fast as ye do this day. Is ' not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke"? Thus saith the Lord God, Let it suffice you, O princes of Israel; remove violence and spoil, and execute judgment and justice, take away your exactions from my people". Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and show mercy and compassions every man to his brother; and oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart. For if ye thoroughly amend your ways, and your doings; if ye thoroughly execute judgment betwixt a man and his neighbour; if ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place; then will I cause you to dwell in this place. Thus saith the Lord, Execute ye judgment and righte ousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor; and do no wrong, do no violence to the

Amos, v. 11, 12.

§ 4. • Isa. lviii. 3—6.

• Zech. vii. 9, 10.

d Jer. vii. 5, 6, 7.

* See Amos, viii. 4-8, quoted in the preceding chapter, sect. 4.

t Mal. iii. 5.

b Ezek. xlv. 9.

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stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood". Wash ye, make you clean, put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do well, seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow'; open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed for destruction. Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy". Make thy shadow as the night in the midst of the noonday; hide the outcasts, bewray not him that wandereth; let mine outcasts dwell with thee, be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler. And in righteousness shalt thou be established; thou shalt be far from oppression, for thou shalt not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near thee. No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment shalt thou condemn*.

If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter; for he that is higher than the highest regardeth'. The Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward; he doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger in giving him food and raiment. Love ye therefore the stranger; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt". If there be among you a poor man of one of your brethren, within any of thy gates, in thy land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thy heart, nor shut thy hand from thy poor brother. But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need in that which he wanteth. Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought, and he cry unto the Lord against thee, and it be sin unto thee. Thou shalt surely give

e Jer. xxii. 3.
h Isa. xvi. 3, 4.
Eccles. v. 8.

[ Isa. i. 16, 17.

i Isa. liv. 13, 14.
Deut. x. 17, 18, 19.

Prov. xxxi. 8, 9.

* Isa. liv. 17.

him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him; because that for this thing the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thy works and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto. For the poor shall never cease out of the land; therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to the needy in thy land". When ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest. When thou hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it; it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow; that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all the work of thy hands. When thou beatest thine olive tree, thou shalt not go over the boughs again; it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow. When thou gatherest the grapes of thy vineyard, thou shalt not glean it afterwards; it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow'..

If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; if thou sayest, Behold we know it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works? Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to-morrow I will give, when thou hast it by thee'. The merciful man doth good to his own soul; but he that is cruel, troubleth his own flesh". He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor'. There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing; there is that maketh himself poor, and yet hath great riches". There is that scattereth, and yet in-. creaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty. The liberal soul shall

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P Deut. xxiv. 19, 20, 21.
Prov. xi. 17.

be made fat; and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself. He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him; but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it. The righteous is ever merciful and lendeth; and his seed is blessed'. He that despiseth his neighbour, sinneth; but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he". Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard. He that giveth to the poor, shall not lack; but he that hideth his eyes, shall have many a curse.

SECT. 5. The opposite principles and effects of cruelty and sympathy further illustrated.

Some remove the land-mark: they violently take away flocks, and feed thereof; they drive away the ass of the fatherless, they take the widow's ox for a pledge; they turn the needy out of the way; the poor of the earth hide themselves together. They cause the naked to lodge without clothing, that they have no covering in the cold; they are wet with the showers of the mountains, and embrace the rock for want of a shelter; they pluck the fatherless from the breast, and take a pledge of the poor; they cause him to go naked without clothing, and they take away the sheaf from the hungry. By reason of the multitude of oppressions, they make the oppressed to cry; they cry out by reason of the arm of the mighty'. They cause the cry of the poor to come unto him; and he heareth the cry of the afflicted". Because he hath oppressed and forsaken the poor; because he hath violently taken away an house which he builded not; surely he shall not feel quietness in his belly, he shall not save of that which he desired. This is the portion of a wicked man with God, and the heritage of oppressors, which they shall receive of the Almighty; if his children be multiplied, it is for the sword; and his offspring shall not be satisfied with bread. Those that remain of him

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shall be buried in death; and his widows shall not weep'. Thou hast taken a pledge from thy brother for nought, and stripped the naked of their clothing. Thou hast not given water to the weary to drink, and thou hast withholden bread from the hungry. Thou hast sent widows away empty, and the arms of the fatherless have been broken. Therefore snares are round about thee, and sudden fear troubleth thee". How hast thou helped him that is without power? How savest thou the arm that hath no strength? How hast thou counselled him that hath no wisdom? and how hast thou plentifully declared the thing as it is1?

Is not destruction to the wicked? and a strange punishment to the workers of iniquity? Doth not he see my ways, and count all my steps? If I have withheld the poor from their desire, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail; or have eaten my morsel myself alone, and the fatherless hath not eaten thereof: [For from my youth he was brought up with me, as with a father, and I have guided her from my mother's womb:] If I have seen any perish for want of clothing, or any poor without covering; if his loins have not blessed me, and if he were not warmed with the fleece of my sheep; if I have lift up my hand against the fatherless, when I saw my help in the gate; then let mine arm fall from my shoulder-blade, and mine arm be broken from the bone'. The stranger did not lodge in the street; but I opened my doors to the traveller". Did not I weep for him that was in trouble? Was not my soul grieved for the poor"? Oh that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me. When the ear heard ine, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, then it gave witness to me; because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him. The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me; and I caused the widow's heart to sing

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