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according to the uttermost of their power, for all injuries and wrongs done by them to any. And injoyns the Minister, when he visits a fick Perfon, not only to mind Him of declaring His Debts in order to due Payment; but also to exhort him (a) where he hath done injury, or wrong to any Man, to make amends to the uttermost of his power.
Most feasonable Monitions, as being then most like to make Impression; and yet as necessary as well tim❜d, confidering the importance of the Duty. For till violent or fraudulent Extortioners repent, there's no pardon for them; nor can they ever repent, till to the Parties wrong'd they make reftitution, if they be able: For till that is done, the fin remains, and offenders continue as unrighteous by detaining what they took, as they became fo at firft by unjust taking it; and while they perfift in their Sins, they can't be forgiven. Reftitution therefore, wherever 'tis incumbent, ought to be made with as much speed, as Confcience; for fo far as Men are willfully fhort in that, they are unfit for Heaven: And who dare rest in fuch a Condition?
Tho' where fuch Delinquents are really fo poor as not to be able to make just amends, as
(a) See Vifitation of the Sick, Rubr. juft after Rehearfal of the Creed,
God will forgive them upon repenting truly of the Rapine or Deceit, fo they, that fuffer by them, muft do the fame, upon their confeffing the fault and begging pardon; yet when they fail of intire Satisfaction, if they infift upon'ts to whom it is due, they must make it in part, fo far as their ftraitned ability extends.
To which must be subjoyn'd, that în case the injur'd Perfons are all Dead, then either their Executors, or Nearest Relations must inherit their Right; and if no fuch can be found, God, or the Poor are next to receive it.
But here it must be remembred too, that not only fo much as was defrauded, or unjustly taken, is to be refunded; but addition must be made for damages fuftain'd, which are wifely to be rated.
And accordingly we read in the 6th. Chap. of Leviticus, and 4th, and 5th verfes, that a Man fhall restore that, which he took violently away, and shall add the fifth part more thereto, and give it unto him, to whom it appertaineth. But if neither the Perfon to whom Reftitution belongs, nor any of his Relatives, can be found by the Injurious; then, as we are taught in the 5th Chap. of the Book of Numbers, it must be made to God, or His Minifters, with folemn acknowledgment of the contracted Guilt. They shall confefs the Sin, which they have done; and he shall recompenfe his Trespass
Trefpafs with the Principal thereof, AND ADD UNTO IT A FIFTH PART thereof, and give it unto him, against whom he bath trefpaffed. But if the Man have no Kinsman to recompenfe the Trefpafs unto, let the Tref pass be recompenfed to the Lord, even to the Priefts, ver. 7, 8.
Zaccheus being a Publican was a forcible Invader of Men's Rights (as according to the Comedian (a) all fuch Ware) and therefore when he came to a Sense of his Injustice, he went by boneft Rules in his penitential Practice. For he told our Lord, St. Luke 19. 8, The half of my Goods I give to the Poor: and if I have taken any thing from any Man by false Accusation, I restore him four-fold. Where, when he gave half of his Goods to the Poor, we may understand it done, when he could not find the injur'd Owners, or their Right Heirs: But when he met with them, be made them fatisfaction by a return of Four-fold.
A short account, how the Jews express'd and demean'd themselves in this matter of Reftitution, will not perhaps be amifs, which I shall relate, as I find Darufius reports it out of Fagius. The Trefpafs between a Man and his Fellow is never to be forgiven, unless he restores what he ows him. It is necessary also, that he should
(α) πάντες τελώναι πάντες εἰσὶν ἁρπάγες. Zeno.
reconcile him to himself, and beg his Pardon. But if his Fellow dies, before he has obtained it, he takes Men with him to his Grave, and fays, I have finnned against the Lord, and against him, to whom I have done fo and fo. But if he ows bim Money, be reftores it to his Heirs, and if he knows of no Heirs he has, he leaves it in the Houfe of Judgment. And being there depofited, we need not doubt but it was well difpofed of.
So that from what has been faid upon this Point, we may conclude, that whoever are confcious of Injustice committed by Deceit, or force, must make Reftitution to them they have wronged, so far as all they have in the World can do it. Elfe they can't be pardon'd, because they don't repent, Satisfaction in case of fuch Sins being neceffary to true Repentance, not to fay a main part of it.
Let none therefore, I beseech you, make it a prevailing Objection against the Duty's (tho' it is a powerful one) that restoring to every one his own wou'd take up their whole Estates, and fo undo themselves, and all Dependents upon them: for it is a cafe of Higheft Moment, and fuch as admits ef no refufal, nor fafely of any baffling or delay.
I must confefs, 'tis a most sad and forlorn Cafe, when Men have reduced themselves to fo hard a Dilemma, or inevitable Exigence, that
either their Souls, or their Families, must be ruin'd: Yet in this unhappy Strait they may easi ly judge, which is most eligible: And then surely they will foon strike in with our Church's good and pious Advice. The whole World, as vaft as it is, is not worth any ones Soul; much less then can any Man's Eftate be of more value than bis own Immortal Spirit.
III. Her MODERATION Moderation. is fignal. For as fhe began to reform upon that Principle at first, and went off from the Papists wifely and cautiously, fo far as was neceffary; fo fhe did it in a regular way. In that great Work she took not one Step but with Countenance from the civil Power and in Concurrence with it; from the beginning to the End it was fupported and carry'd on by the favour and affiftance of the Crowns and when finish'd, was confirmed by (a) A&t of Parliament.
And this commends Luther's Reformation too, that 'twas advanced in a like-allowable procedure with the Confent, and Aid of Sovereign Princes, where he propofed it.
But in that of Geneva other Measures were
(a) By innocent King Edward, the whole Church-Service was fet forth with great Deliberation, and the advice of the beft learned Men in the Nation, and authorized by the whole Parliament Act, and Mon. Vol. 3, p. 171.