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is fair and equal between man and man, ac- Serm. cording to the relations they bear, or the ob
III. ligations they are under to each other.
In this chapter, presently after the text, God by his Prophet reproves divers things contrarie to this branch of duty: without amending of which unrighteous conduct, they could never hope to be accepted of him. Are there yet the treasures of wickednesje in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is abominable ? Shall I count them pure with the wicked balances, and the bag of deceitful weights ? For the rich men thereof are full of violence, and the inhabitants thereof bave spoken lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.
We are to be just in our dealings with men, without imposing on their ignorance, or credulity by unfair artifices, or fallhood.
As in our common traffic with men we are to observe truth in our words, so upon all other occasions are we to regard the truth of things: not saying any thing fally to the disparagement of our neighbour, which would be as manifest an injustice, as the moft injurious action.
Serm. We are also sincerely to purpose and deIII. fign what we promise : and should to the
utmost of our power endeavor to be as good as our word.
We are to be faithful in all the trusts rea posed in us, according to the tenour of them, and the will and intention of those who confide in us.
We should likewise diligently and prüdently provide for those who are under our care, and depend upon us : as we ought chearfully and honefly to yield subjection, and obedience, and all fidelity to our fuperiors and governours, who afford us mainte, nance, or protection and security.
It follows next, and to love mercie, or goodnesse, beneficence. When the duty owing to our neighbour is summarily described by loving him, then both justice and mercie are summarily included in that one word. Here they are mentioned separatly, and di
stinctly. And in like manner elsewhere. Hof. xii. Therefore turn thee to tby God. Keep mercie
and judgement, and wait on thy God continuallyd Our Lord pronounceth a woe on the
Pharisees, who had omitted judgement, mercie, SerM.
III. and faith, or fidelity.
Indeed, foewing mercie is doing no more Mat. xiii. to others, than what we in like circumstances 23. would that others should do unto us..
However, it takes in several things, which do not immediatly appear to be binding in point of strict justice: as providing for, or relieving not only our own relatives, or friends, or such as have laid us under obligations, but ftrangers likewise, if we have
power to do it.
Herein is included not only doing what men can strictly claim of us, but something more than that: fome acts of kindneffe and beneficence: foregoing and quiting our right: and not exacting rigoroully our whole due.
It includes the guiding and counseling such as are unexperienced, and setting out in the world : accommodating them out of our substance, that they may enlarge their dealings, and better secure a comfortable maintenance for themselves and their families, and live with credit, and be useful in the world : Giving time to those who are indebted to us: Speaking favorably of other men, and not aggravating every instance of imprudence,
Serm. or misbehaviour, into an act of heinous, wili III. ful and premeditated wickednesse: Pitying
and helping those who are in straits, according to the best of our power : though their straits are not entirely owing to unforeseen accidents, or to the violence or unrighteousnesle of others, but partly to their own indiscretion, or negligence, or even extravagance.
It is also a part of mercie to extend our views of usefulnesse, and to plead the cause of the injured and oppressed : and endeavor to deliver them out of the hands of such as are mightier than they, who have greater power and influence, or more art and management, than most of their neighbours.
These, and many other instances of mercie there are, which we may be called to. And to neglect, or omit them, when they are in our power, and we have an opportunity of being serviceable to the injured, is very unkind : it is unmerciful, it is not doing as we would be done unto.
When Job vindicates himself from the charges brought against him, he infifts not only upon his innocence, but alleges likewise instances of generosity and usefulnesse to others. I delivered the poor that cryed, and the father- SERM. less, and him that bad none to help him. I
III. was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the
Job xxix. lame. The cause which I knew not, I search- 12.15.16. ed out. I brake the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth.
And you know, that there are many such exhortations propounded to Christians in the New Testament: that every man fould look not on his own things only, but on those of others also: that they should rejoice with them, that rejoice, and weep with them that weep: that they should bear one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
But I shall not farther multiply precepts and directions of this kind, nor instance in any
other cases: which the course of things will present to us, and he who is of a merciful and generous disposition will take notice of, and act accordingly. I shut up
this article therefore with those words of Isaiah, containing a description of the different temper
and conduct of base and narrow, indeed wicked minds, and of such as are truly generous, and public spirited. For the vile per- 16. xxxii. fon will speak villanie, and bis heart will 6.... 8. work iniquity, to practise bypocrisie, and to