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When a Negative and an Affirmative seem opposite in any
Sense, the Affirmative is to be expounded by the Negative, not the Negative by the Affirmative.
1. Thus are those various expressions of our blessed Saviour to be considered and understood, Unless ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you:' and yet our blessed Lord says, He that eateth the flesh of the Son of man, hath life abiding in him. Now to them who suppose these words to relate to the sacramental manducation, the question is, whether or no it be necessary to drink the blood in specie, as well as to eat the flesh ? because of the exclusive negative requiring both under the forfeiture of eternal life; or shall it suffice to receive the flesh only, because life is promised to be in him who eats the flesh, in that place no mention being made of drinking the blood ?
2. To this the answer is made by this rule; the negative cannot be lessened by the affirmative, because a negative can have no degrees, as an affirmative
and if the affirmative were in this case sufficient, when the negative is express to require more, then the affirmative were directly contrary to the negative: but, on the other side, though the affirmative requires less than the negative, there is no contradiction. 1. Because, in matters of duty, whatsoever is any where required, is every where supposed: and no interpretation can lessen it from what it is in its whole integrity. 2. Because all our duty is not every where repeated, but the not repeating it in any place cannot annul the obligation in that place, where it is expressly required. 3. Because a threatening in all laws is of more force and efficacy than a promise; and therefore when, under a threatening, more is required, the promise that is affixed to a part of it, must be understood by the analogy and promise to that threatening, because one thing is enough to destroy us, but one thing is not enough to preserve us : “ Bonum ex integra causa, malum ex qualibet particulari.” 4. Because it is ordinary
in Scripture to give the promise to every part of duty,
which yet shall never be paid to that alone; thus to purity, to poverty of spirit, to mercy, to faith, to alms, to patience, to hope, the promises of blessedness are given; but although it is said, “ the pure in heart shall see God;” and “the
poor spirit shall have the kingdom ;” and “they that quit houses and lands for Christ's sake, shall receive the reward of the other world;" yet unless all that is required, be put together in the duty, nothing of the reward shall be given to the person. Every part of an exclusive negative is an indispensable duty; but every affirmative that is encouraged by a promise, does not contain a whole duty, but a part of duty, which, by being symbolical to the whole, is encouraged as every other part is, but is not paid but in an entire payment, to an entire obedience.
3. This also is true, when in the affirmative more is put than in the negative; for even then the negative is the strict measure of the commandment, and the limit of its absolute necessity and exaction. “ He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved, but he that believeth not, shall be damned a.” Here the negative is the utmost limit; the necesse esse' is described in that; the bene esse,' and the ordinary expectation, in the other: by which we are thus to understand this and such other expressions, that the negative contains the indispensable duty; and supposes an obligation that nothing can excuse in persons capable; but the affirmative that supposes more, is yet for that which is over and above content with a less necessity, and admits of easier dispensation : for it containing all that is expected, is like a summum jus,' which though by the method of laws it is often expressed, that obedience may be invited as forward as it can, yet the TIeixela, or the abatement, is in the negative; that is the lowest, and therefore it is bound up with the penalty. For to the highest duty the reward is promised, and it is more than enough to pay it, but the punishment is threatened by lower measures : God abates much before he smites; and though he will reward every good we do, yet every good that is omitted, is not punished with death. But this is to be understood, when the good is of that nature, that it may be omitted upon a probable cause, or without malice; or without the direct prevarication of an express commandment. For many good things are wholly put to us upon the account of hope and promises, and not of commandments, and obedience: though in these also God makes what abatements he please: but we are to make none at all.
* Mark xvi.
In the affirmative and negative Precepts of Christ, not only
what is in the Words of the Commandment, but whatsoever is symbolical or alike, is equally forbidden or commanded.
1. When St. Paul had enumerated the works of the flesh, and had put into the catalogue most of those crimes, which are commonly named in laws and fame, and the manners of men; he addsa, xai tà ouosa TOÉTOIS, “ and those things which are like to these.' For, 1. there are some things which are too bad to name, such were the impurities of the Tribades,' · Fellatrices,' . Drauci,' Pathici,' Pædicatores,' of which the apostle says, “ it is a shame even to name such things, as are done of them in secret:” πάθη ατιμίας, that is the general word which the apostle uses for them all, “ dishonourable lusts." Now when all unnatural lusts are forbidden, all mixtures but what are hallowed by marriage, and the order of nature, it is no part of the perfection of the law, to name the species of impurity, and the circumstances of that vileness, which gets new names as men please to undo themselves by tricks and artifices of shame.
2. There are some sins, which are like new diseases, vile and infectious in one year, or in one age, which were never heard of before, and die with reproach, and are never heard of again. That a woman should grow to that impudence as to marry her adulterer in the same town where her husband was living, and a prince,-was so rare a contingency, that though it was once done in Rome, yet no law was needful to prevent it.
And there needed no law to forbid a man to marry a boy; yet Nero did marry Sporus, and he married Doryphorus, whom Tacitus calls Pythagoras : but this was no less a sin, because it was not the express vocal contradiction of a law; it was against a law that named it not.
* Gal. v. 21.
3. There are some sins, which nature and the public manners of the world do so condemn, that they need no special mention in the laws. No law forbids us to eat man's flesh, and yet all the civil part of mankind hate and condemn them that do it; and those Egyptians who did “ deperire defunctorum cadavera," "fall in love with the dead bodies" which they did anoint, were condemned by the voice of all the world, without the charges of an express law. And all that read the narratives of the Gnostic impurities, how they did, in the impurest sense, “ litare in sanguine femineo," and make their eucharist of matter of abomination, have enough of prime reason and common notices of laws and things to condemn their vileness, though they never study the question, or inquire which commandment they prevaricate.
4. There are some sins like others that are named; which are not distinct kinds, but like the monsters of Africa, produced by heterogeneous mixtures, or equivocal generation : thus to geld a child, to make him have a good voice, is so like cruelty, and the unmercifulness of homicide or mutilation, and is such a curiosity of voluptuousness and sensuality, that though it wants a name to signify its whole sinfulness, yet it must stand condemned, though there be no text against it described expressly in the tables of the law. To give money for ecclesiastical preferments is so “ like the sin of Simon Magus,” that it hath obtained his name and his reproach, and yet it is not the same crime; but upon the account of St. Paul's quoiwua, or similitude,' it hath the same condemnation. Thus polygamy is like adultery, and marrying after divorce (except only in the case of fornication) is like polygamy. Concerning which things, there is one measure in general, and some other more particular. 1. In general.
2. • The likeness of things to those which are expressly forbidden, is not to be estimated by forms and outsides, and material resemblances, but by the intrinsic irregularity and reason of the prohibition.'— To kill a wife or daughter taken in adultery, even in those countries where by the laws it is permitted, looks as like murder, as killing can : but because
the laws allow the interested man to be the executioner, it is the public hand, not the private, that takes the vengeance : and therefore they are not alike in a culpable similitude. But on the other side, to take my goods wherever I find them, looks like justice; but, because of justice, a man is not to be judge and executioner in his own case, and this thing is, in many cases, forbidden by the laws, this is against justice; for it is not enough that it is his own; for, although it is “justum,' a just thing to take my own, yet to do it from a thief by private authority where it is forbidden by the public, is “justum injustè factum,' 'a just thing done after an unjust manner.' But if there be a likeness of injustice, a prevarication of the same reason, an equal injury, then not the letter of the law, but the reason and the spirit of it, is its condemnation. pari referre,' to give back the good I have borrowed,' is one of the great lines of justice; and, upon this account, we are bound to pay debts, to perform contracts, to make equal returns of valuable considerations,—and whatever is against this, is against justice. But then because acts of kindness are the transition of a good from one to another, and although it is without a bargain, yet it is not without an obligation, ingratitude comes under the tà uola, it is so like injustice, that it is the worse for it. It is expressly commanded that we should provide for our children according to our powers: and therefore they that expose them, are worse than infidels, and have denied the faith : but then to deny to nurse their own children (unless it be upon a just and a reasonable cause, upon charity or necessity) is so like exposing them, that it must stand as reprobate under the sentence of the same commandment.
3. (2.) But the particular measures of this rule are these : Whatsoever is of the same specification, is of the same obligation and necessity. But if men would be ingenuous, and worthy in giving sentences of their actions, and understanding the measures of their duty, there could be no difficulty in this. For men are easy enough to consent to a general rule, but they will not suffer their own case to be concerned in it: and they understand the particulars too fast, when it is the interest of their brother; but if it be their own, they know nothing of it.
It is written, “ Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God," and all the world consented to the law since