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title to the inheritance, but every remove is a step to the losing the cognation and relation to the chief house.
10. (3.) In drawing the consequent duties from express laws, the first presumption is for piety, and the honour of God, that is, if the obligation be not evident; yet if it be evident that such obedience is for the honour of God, it is more probably to be supposed that that consequent was intended by the law of God, whom it so apparently serves. But where this, or the like material ingredient is not, we are to presume for our liberty, rather than for the multiplication of laws; because that is charity and prudence, and both of them are very considerable in the constitution and interpretation of a law. But this is more full in the next rule.
When any Thing is forbidden by the Laws of Jesus Christ, all
those Things are forbidden also which follow from that forbidden Action, and for whose Sake it was forbidden.
1. This rule is of use in all laws, and is expressed to the same caution both in the code of the civil law, and in the decretals, and the reason of it is, because the laws of any lawgiver, being the effects of his greatest wisdom, are designed to the best end, and are intended only to operate towards and to effect that end: to this purpose laws are made to prevent evils; and though the evils are not always named, yet against them it is that the laws are cautionary and provisionary; so that the evil is much more forbidden than that which brings it, or leads it in; because sometimes the evil instrument may be destitute of its evil effect, and therefore is, in many degrees, innocent and harmless; but if the evil be introduced, it is all that which the laws were afraid of. And, therefore, Aristotle a said right: Tò dj Tėdos εκάστης πολιτείας ου δεί λανθάνειν· αιρούνται γαρ τα προς το τέλος, “ We are to consider the end of every republic, for they choose all things in order to their end;"--and the laws are made for public defence, security, and profit; so it is in religion and the laws of God. When we give alms, we are commanded not to blow a trumpet, so being warned against pride; but if, without that instance or signification, we be really proud, or value ourselves upon that account ; or despise our brother as less holy, or oppress the fatherless and widow, though without that pretence of holiness and the advantages of hypocrisy, they are greater breakers of the commandments, than by their fond and fantastic proclamations of their charity. Thus we find in St. Paul an express prohibition, that we “ should not make provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof;” that is, that we do not take in great stowage of meat and drink, or use arts of sharpening the desire, or caressing the fancy, to make the pleasures brisk and active, and the sense quick and pleased : but some there are that make temperance the instrument of pleasure, and the minister of sensuality, and can be most pleased when they take the least care; and some mind the pleasures so as they will not tarry for the instruments, or need them not; in these and the like cases, if there were no distinct prohibition of that evil effect, yet it were sufficiently prohibited in the prohibition of the instrument. But because most of the evil effects of evil instruments are, expressly and by name, forbidden in the New Testament, this rule is of use principally in the aggravation and condemnation of sin; and it means that every judgment and every evil we suffer, which we were foretold of, and which is a foreseen effect of such an action, is to be imputed to us; and besides the direct sin, we are also guilty of uncharitableness, by doing that which we know will hurt us. God, in the forbidding the sin, commands us also to preserve ourselves, and, besides the sin, is angry at the very death,
1 Ethic. lib. i. c. 8.
2. This rule hath two limitations : 1. It is not to be understood of events contingent and accidental; but either natural and proper, or foretold and threatened, or at least usual and noted. He that maliciously sows false doctrine in the church, is answerable, not only for the heresy, but for the mischief that he intends, or is willing it should produce ; but if another man, to spite him, or to hinder his fame, shall set up a contrary heresy, although this was the spawn of the first toad, yet because it was an equivocal production, it shall be no otherwise imputed, but to reproach him amongst men, to reprove his folly, and to be an argument of a speedy repentance.
b Rom. xix. 14.
3. Bụt, 1. Whatsoever effect is natural to a forbidden action, is directly upon the same account. Thus, whosoever divides the church, to him are imputed all the evil effects of schism, which are its natural productions. If an imperious, foolish woman, by a continual inquietude, by her evil nature and a vexatious spirit, so disturb her husband's quiet, and the ease of his soul, and the comforts of his life, that he also lose his health,—she is not only guilty of the violation of the laws of love, and duty, and meekness, by which she is bound to God and to her husband, but is guilty of murder, or high injuriousness and uncharitableness, according to the degree of the mischief, which she sees impressed and growing upon him.
4. (2.) Whatsoever event is foretold and threatened, all that also is imputed to him, that does the forbidden action to which it is threatened; and he is directly “felo de se,' who by lust brings upon himself the rottenness of life, far worse than the putrefaction of the grave; and he is a perfect prodigal of his fortune, who, by committing sacrilege, invites the worm, and calls a spirit of unthriftiness and consumption to his estate; and he that grieves the Spirit of God, and causes him to depart, is guilty of that beggary and baseness of spirit, with which such evil usages of the holy Spirit of God are often punished. For as God forbade some sins, not only for their own sakes, but that others which are their foul issues, might be strangled in the womb; so he forbade all sins, and laid direct and collateral restraints upon them, that man might not be unhappy, and extremely miserable. As, therefore, he who by one sin introduces another, is guilty of both; so he who brings any evil which God graciously intended should not fall upon us, to him that evil is to be imputed, and that evil also does either directly or accidentally, according to the nature of the subject matter, increase his guilt.
5. (3.) If an evil effect be not either natural or threatened, yet if it happens ordinarily, and be noted, it is to be imputed to him, who does that evil and forbidden action, which does infer it. The reason is, because he wilfully sins against the purpose of the law, who will not prevent that evil, which the law intendeth to prevent, and makes the law void and illusory, that is, destitute of its effect, and perfectly in vain as to that intention. Thus it is observed that the father's or the mother's curse destroys the pleasures of a sin, and the gaiety of a fortune, and the prosperity of an offending child : he, therefore, that shall do a forbidden action, which shall bring such a curse upon himself, is not only justly punished, and is to impute that to himself perfectly and alone,—but if, upon his account, evil descend upon his posterity or relatives, he is guilty of that evil, and is a direct sinner in their punishment.
6. (2.) The other limitation which I am to interpose, is this : That the evil effects of an evil action are imputed but in proportion to the will and actual understanding, beyond the sphere of which whatsoever does happen, it is collateral and accidental both to the intention and to the time. A man's action hath a proper life of its own, and it leaves a permanent effect, or is productive of the same by a continuing emanation; this, if it be foreseen, and considered, and chosen, is as imputable as if it were present or immediate. But because a man can see but so far, and hath a limited efflux and impression by all his actions, he is not to be judged or condemned by any thing that shall happen beyond that proper extension; and if some Polonians or Transylvanians, English or French, make ill use of the arguments of Arius, it is not to be supposed that it shall be put upon Arius's account at the day of judgment, and that his or any man's damnation shall increase upon such accounts, which as they are beyond the intention of the man, or the efficacy of his action, so also beyond the distance of his prevision.
7. But for this, that rule which is nearest to exactness, is this,—No effect which happens after a man's death, is imputable to him as a new sin.—So far as it was actually intended and designed in his lifetime, or foreseen and not reversed, so far it is imputed upon the stock of the present malice, not of the future event; his own act and his own intention for the present, and his actual design of the future, are sufficient load upon him; but then because his act and his actual design could not live after his death, therefore nothing beyond the life of the man can be a new sin : because as he cannot actually or habitually will that event, so neither can he rescind it: if he cannot will it in any sense,
it can in no sense be imputed; but if it could be willed, then it may also be refused and rescinded, which because it is impossible, therefore the increase of evil stands not at his door that occasioned it, and cannot either will it any more, or hinder it. This is that which is meant by our blessed Saviour; “ The night comes when no man worketh ;” and whatsoever is beyond the line of life, is also beyond the line of malice; and, therefore, cannot increase or begin upon a new score, when the whole stock is spent.
8. Lastly, that which proves all this, does also further explicate the rule : whatsoever event depends upon the will of another, is so contingent in respect of him that first set the evil on work, that it is no longer upon his account, than he actually or habitually desires it or endeavours: because now the evil hath a new cause, and every emergent event is upon such a cause, as cannot be forced, or indeed produced, by any thing besides itself: and, therefore, to itself only it is to be imputed, excepting where the malice of the first agent hath an actual or intended influx into the second.
The Laws of Jesus Christ are the Measures of the Spirit, and
are always to be extended to a spiritual Signification. 1. It was a fair character that was given of the Christians a, Πείθονται τοϊς ωρισμένοις νόμοις, και τοις ιδίοις βίοις νικώσι τους νόμους
They obey the laws appointed for them, and, by the piety and charity of their lives, excel even the measure of the laws themselves :” for by what instance soever God would be glorified, and by what charity soever our brother can be relieved, and by what justice societies are established and
a Per Scriptor. Diognetum.