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4. Study mortification of all your unruly lusts and passions, and beware of all occasions and incentives to this wickedness.
5. Keep at a distance from immodest company, and be not too frolicsome and foolish, light and airy in your discourse.
6. Lastly, Pray fervently and importunately, that the Lord may save you from this foul sin, and all temptations to it; saying with David, Psal. cxix. 37. • Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity.'
OF THE EIGHTH COMMANDMENT.
Exod. Xš. 15.-Thou shalt not steal.
THIS command respects men's goods and outward estate
in the world, and the scope of it is to procure and further the same by all good means. And the law of God respecting this plainly says, that religion is highly concerned in our civil actions, working, buying, and selling, and all the ways of advancing of the outward estate. In these we are hedged about by this command, as well as in natural things by the sixth and seventh. God's law follows us wherever we go, to the house or field, bed or board, church or market. This command also plainly establishes distinct properties, and that there is no universal community of goods, but every one has his own portion.
This being a command of the second table, it respects our.
In discoursing further from this subject, I shall shew,
procuring and furthering the wealth and outward estate of ourselves and others.' II. What is forbidden, viz.
( Whatsoever doth or may unjustly hinder our own or our neighbour's wealth or out, ward estate.'
III. Make application.
First, God requires us in this command, by lawful means, to procure and further our own wealth and outward estate. We may take up this in these seven things.
1. We should look unto God for things necessary and convenient for us. Here we should begin our care about temporal things; "for he it is that giveth thee power to get wealth, Deut. viii. 18. and without his appointment our endeavours will not succeed, Psal. cxxvii. All the creatures depend on God's provision, as caged birds on those to whose care they are committed, Prov. xxx. 8. And so our Lord teaches us to pray every day, 'Give us this day our daily bread,' Matth. vi. 11. seeing God has comprehended this in the promise.
2. A provident care and study to get things necessary and suitable to our condition, 1 Tim. v. 8. To pray, and cast off means, is presumption; to use means, but neglect praying, and looking to the Lord, is atheism. We should keep the middle way betwixt carelessness and anxiety, and hold in the way of moderate care in these things ; for we are not to expect to be like the lilies that toil not, neither spin, and yet are clothed.
3. For this cause every body must have a lawful calling and employment, and duly use it, that so he may be useful to. himself, and worth his room in the world, and not like mice, and rats, good for nothing but to devour what others labour for. Adam in innocence had a calling, that of dressing and keeping the garden of Eden, Gen. ii. 15. and so had his sons afterwards, though born to greater estate than any now can pretend to, the one being a keeper of sheep, and the other a tiller of the ground, Gen. iv. 2. But we must be sure it be a lawful calling, Eph. iv. 28. But what avails it if it be not duly used ? Therefore God requires of men that they labour to be skilful in it, and not bunglers at what they take in hand, Prov. xiv. 8. and he allows men to look to himself for that end, Isa. xxviï. 26. and likewise that they
be diligent and industrious in it, and not loiterers, Prov. x. 4. for laziness will make a thief, either directly or indirectly. And this is quite opposite to God's appointment, Gen. iii. 19.
4. We are to take the moderate comfortable use of the product of our diligence, using and disposing of it for our necessity and conveniency, according to our condition in the world, Eccl. X. 12, 13. For to what end do men get wealth, if they have no power comfortably to use it? As good want it, as not to have the necessary and convenient use of it. Such steal and rob (in the sense of this command) from their nearest neighbour, that is, themselves.
5. Withal God requires men here to be frugal and honestly sparing, i. e. to keep a due medium betwixt lavishness and niggard pinching, Prov. xxi. 20. This frugality directs to the right managing of what God has given, so as, (1.) People do not cast out their substance on trifles that are for no good purpose, but on such things as there is soinę solid use of, Isa. lv. 2. and amongst these are to be reckoned extravagant furniture for back and belly, in which people can, not satisfyingly to conscience answer the question, What needs all this waste? (2.) Thąt of those things which may be useful, there be nothing lost. When Christ had provided bread enough, he gives particular orders to gather up the fragments, John vi, 12. (3.) Thạt this care proceed not from carnal affection to the world, but from conscience towards God, that we abuse not his benefits, and take care to do good by what is spared to ourselves or to others, though it were even to beasts. Lastly, True frugality will be effectual to make us ready to lay out for God on pious uses, to the poor and otherwise, as the best way to save, Prov. xi. 24.
6. Careful avoiding of whatsoever mayembarrass our affairs, and wrong our own wealth and outward estate.-Thus God requires men to take heed that they do not inveigle themselves in unnecessary pleas and law-suits, i Cor. vi. 1,-8. rash cautionry, Prov. xi. 5. whereby sometimes men ruin themselves and families, and so sin against God, themselves, and their house. Of this sort may be reckoned people's rash and foolish engaging in things that they are in no probable case rightly to manage, stretching farther than they can weil be supposed able to reach.
7. Lastly, Moderation of heart with respect to worldly goods, Phil. iv. 5. (1.) We must moderate our judgment
about them, that we put not too high a value and esteem on them, 1 Tim. vi. 17. (2.) We must moderate our wills about them, that we be not among those that will be rich ; fór that will carry us over this hedge, ver. 9. (3.) We must moderate our affections to them. We must beware of love to them, ver. 10; for the covetoys heart will not stick at undue means. We must moderate our care about them, resting in God's promise, and depending on his providence, Matth. vi. 25, 26. and be content with our lot, Heb. xiii. 5. For they that are not content, have what they will, are al. ways poor ; and their eye will be evil towards others also.
SECONDLY, God requires in this command, that we, by lawful means, procure and further the wealth and outward estate of others. We are not born for ourselves, nor must we live for ourselves. We are members one of another men, and much more as Christians; and selfishness is offensive to God, and destructive to society. We may reduce this to two general rules of practice, founded on the light of dature, and confirmed by the word.
First, Give every one their due. The natural conscience dictates this, however little it is regarded; and God's word confirms it, Rom. xiii. 7. If ye do it not, ye rob them, or steal from them. So God will reckon, and so will men's consciences reckon at last. In whatever relation ye stand to them as masters, servants, neighbours, or under any parti. cular bargain with them, or obligation to them, give them what is due to them.
Secondly, Do as ye would be done to. This also a natural conscience dictates, and the word confirms, Mat. vii. 12. If we must love our neighbour as ourselves, we must not do to him what we would have no body do to us.
do otherwise ye steal from them, ye wrong them, your own consciences being judges. For if they would do so to you, ye declare they are unjust to you ; so if ye do so to them, ye must either find out a law for them, which ye are not under, or else your own consciences will condemn you as breakers of the law of God, which is common to both. To move you to walk by these rules, consider,
1. In vain will ye pretend to Christianity without it.This is natural religion, which revelation came not to de stroy, but to confirm, Tit. ii. 12. And the Heathens, who in their Pagan darkness saw these rules of righteousness, and walked more by them than many Christians, will rise up in judgment against many that profess the name of Christ, and yet make so little conscience that way. People must either walk by them, or quit the name of Christians. If they will do neither of them now, Christ will strip them at length out of their player's coat, and make them appear before the world in their proper colours.
2. Ye will never see heaven without it, 1 Cor, vi. 9. If people get to heaven in another way, they must step over all the law and the prophets, Matth. vii. 12. I grant that these will not bring people to heaven; people may walk by them, as some sober heathens have done, and yet go to hell; but without it people will never see it. For though our good works and honest dealings with men will not save us, yet our ill works and unrighteous dealings will damn us, 1 Thess. iv. 6. But to be more particular, we may take up this in five things.
1st, God requires of us that we be careful to prevent our neighbour's skaith and loss, as we have opportunity, Deut. xxii. 1. For the loss we see him get and can prevent, but do it not, is in effect the same as if we downrightly procured it to him. That which we can hinder, and do not, is our fault before the Lord; and in this sense each man is bound to be his brother's keeper,
2dly, That we deal honestly in all matters between man and man. If we would not come under the guilt of stealing from them, we must in all our dealings with them be strict observers of truth, faithfulness, and justice; dealing in sim. plicity and plainness, Psal. xv, 2, 4. Zech. vii. 4, 10; whe. ther it be in bargains, buying and selling in matters of trust concredited to us, or any thing of his we have under our bands. We must deal with God, as if the eyes of men were on us; and with men as knowing the eyes of God are on us. Á Christian indeed will do so. He will be an upright dealer with men, a slave to his word, a man that never wants a quick-sighted witness to his actions. And therefore it will be all one to him whether his party be absent or present, skilful and that will not be cheated, or simple and easily deceived.
Sdly, Restitution of goods unlawfully detained from the right owners thereof. This looks especially to two cases.
(1.) Things lost and found ought to be restored to the