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judge myself,) is also within the moderation of an unblamable defence, (unless some accidents or circumstances vary the case;) but forgiving injuries is a separating the malice from the wrong, the transient act from the permanent effect; and it is certain, the act which is passed, cannot be rescinded; the effect may; and if it cannot, it does no way alleviate the evil of the accident, that I draw him, that caused it, into as great a misery: since every evil, happening in the world, is the proper object of pity, which is in some sense afflictive; and therefore, unless we become unnatural and without bowels, it is most unreasonable, that we should increase our own afflictions by introducing a new misery, and making a new object of pity. All the ends of human felicity are secured without revenge, for, without it, we are permitted to restore ourselves; and therefore it is against natural reason to do an evil, that no way co-operates towards the proper and perfective end of human nature. And he is a miserable person, whose good is the evil of his neighbour; and he, that revenges, in many cases, does worse than he, that did the injury; in all cases, as bad. For if the first injury was an injustice to serve an end of an advantage and real benefit; then my revenge, which is abstracted, and of a consideration separate and distinct from the reparation, is worse; for I do him evil, without doing myself any real good; which he did not, for he received advantage by it. But if the first injury was matter of mere malice without advantage, yet it is no worse than revenge, for that is just so; and there is as much fantastic pleasure in doing a spite, as in doing revenge: they are both but like the pleasures of eating coals, and toads, and vipers. And certain it is, if a man, upon his private stock, could be permitted to revenge, the evil would be
Ὁ Ὁ τιμωρῶν τοῦ προϋπάρξαντος ἀδικώτερος. — Maxim. Tyrius in Dissert. an referenda sit Injuria, p. 26. ed. Dav.
Απαντα τὰ ζῶ ἐστι μακαριώτερα,
Καὶ νοῦν ἔχοντα μᾶλλον ἀνθρώπου πολύ.
Menand. p. 244. ed. Clerc.
immortal. And it is rarely well discoursed by Tyndarus in Euripides: "If the angry wife shall kill her husband, the son shall revenge his father's death, and kill his mother, and then the brother shall kill his mother's murderer, and he also will meet with an avenger for killing his brother."
Πέρας δὴ ποῖ κακῶν προβήσεται;
"What end shall there be to such" inhuman and " sad accidents?" If in this there be injustice, it is against natural reason; and, if it be evil, and disorders the felicity and security of society, it is also against natural reason: but if it be just, it is a strange justice, that is made up of so many inhumanities.
41. And now, if any man pretends specially to reason, to the ordinate desires and perfections of nature, and the sober discourses of philosophy, here is in Christianity, and no where else, enough to satisfy and inform his reason, to perfect his nature, and to reduce to act all the propositions of an intelligent and wise spirit. And the Holy Ghost is promised and given in our religion, to be an eternal band to keep our reason from returning to the darknesses of the old creation, and to promote the ends of our natural and proper felicity. For it is not a vain thing, that St. Paul reckons helps, and governments, and healings, to be fruits of the Spirit. For, since the two greatest blessings of the world, personal and political, consist, that in health, this in government; and the ends of human felicity are served in nothing greater for the present interval, than in these two; Christ did not only enjoin rare prescriptions of health, such as are fasting, temperance, chastity, and sobriety, and all the great endearments of government, (and, unless they be sacredly observed, man is infinitely miserable;) but also hath given his Spirit, that is, extraordinary aids to the promoting these two, and facilitating the work of nature; that (as St. Paul says at the end of a discourse to this very purpose) "the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us."
Eurip. Orest. 504. Pors.
d Nihil est illi principi Deo, qui omnem hunc mundum regit, quod quidem in terris fiat, acceptius, quàm concilia cœtusque hominum jure sociati, quæ civitates appellantur.—Cicer. Somn. Scipion. sec. 3. ed. Tooly. € 2 Cor. iv. 7.
42. I shall add nothing but this single consideration: God said to the children of Israel, "Ye are a royal priesthood," a kingdom of priests: which was therefore true, because God reigned by the priests, and the priests' lips did then preserve knowledge, and the people were to receive the law from their mouths; for God having, by laws of his own, established religion and the republic, did govern by the rule of the law, and the ministry of the priests. The priests said, "Thus saith the Lord;" and the people obeyed. And these very words are spoken to the Christian church: "Ye are a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should show forth the praises of Him, that hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light." That is, God reigns over all Christendom, just as he did over the Jews. He hath now so given to them and restored respectively all those reasonable laws, which are in order to all good ends, personal, economical, and political, that if men will suffer Christian religion to do its last intention, if men will live according to it, there needs no other coercion of laws or power of the sword. The laws of God, revealed by Christ, are sufficient to make all societies of men happy; and over all good men God reigns by his ministers, by the preaching of the word. And this was most evident in the three first ages of the church, in which all Christian societies were, for all their proper intercourses, perfectly guided, not by the authority and compulsion, but by the sermons of their spiritual guides; insomuch that St. Paul sharply reprehends the Corinthians, that "brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers;" as if he had said, "Ye will not suffer Christ to be your Judge, and his law to be your rule:" which indeed was a great fault among them, not only because they had so excellent a law, so clearly described, (or, where they might doubt, they had infallible interpreters,) so reasonable and profitable, so evidently concurring to their mutual felicity; but also because God did design Jesus to be their King, to reign over them by spiritual regiment, as himself did over the Jews, till they chose a king. And when the emperors
f 1 Pet. ii. 9.
became Christian, the case was no otherwise altered, but that the princes themselves, submitting to Christ's yoke, were (as all other Christians are), for their proportion, to be governed by the royal priesthood, that is, by the word preached by apostolical persons, the political interest remaining as before, save that, by being submitted to the laws of Christ, it received this advantage, that all justice was turned to be religion, and became necessary, and bound upon the conscience by Divinity. And when it happens, that a kingdom is converted to Christianity, the commonwealth is made a church, and Gentile priests are Christian bishops, and the subjects of the kingdom are servants of Christ, the religion of the nation is turned Christian, and the law of the nation made a part of the religion; there is no change of government, but that Christ is made King, and the temporal power is his substitute, and is to promote the interest of obedience to him, as before he did to Christ's enemy; Christ having left his ministers as lieger ambassadors, to signify and publish the laws of Jesus, to pray all, in Christ's stead, to be reconciled to God; so that, over the obedient, Christ wholly reigns by his ministers publishing his laws; over the disobedient, by the prince also putting those laws in execution. And in this sense it is, that St. Paul says, "Bonis lex non est posita;" "To such (who live after the Spirit) there is no law;" that is, there needs no coercion. But now, if we reject God from reigning over us, and say, like the people in the Gospel, "Nolumus hunc regnare,' "We will not have him to reign over us," by the ministry of his word, by the empire of the royal priesthood, then we return to the condition of heathens, and persons sitting in darkness; then God hath armed the temporal power with a sword to cut us off. If we obey not God, speaking by his ministers, that is, if we live not according to the excellent laws of Christianity, that is, holily, soberly, and justly in all our relations, he hath placed three swords against us; the sword of the Spirit, against the unholy and irreligious; the sword of natural and supervening infelicities, upon the intemperate and unsober; and the sword of kings, against the unjust; to remonstrate the excellency of Christianity, and how certainly it leads to
all the felicity of man; because every transgression of this law, according to its proportion, makes men unhappy and unfortunate.
43. What effect this discourse may have, I know not; I intended it to do honour to Christianity, and to represent it to be the best religion in the world, and the conjugation of all excellent things, that were in any religion, or in any philosophy, or in any discourses. For "whatsoever was honest, whatsoever was noble, whatsoever was wise, whatsoever was of good report, if there be any praise, if there be any virtues," it is in Christianity: for even to follow all these instances of excellency, is a precept of Christianity. And methinks, they, that pretend to reason, cannot more reasonably endear themselves to the reputation of reason, than by endearing their reason to Christianity; the conclusions and belief of which is the most reasonable and perfect, the most excellent design, and complying with the noblest and most proper ends of man. And if this gate may suffice to invite such persons into the recesses of the religion, then I shall tell them, that I have dressed it in the ensuing books with some variety: and as the nature of the religion is, some parts whereof are apt to satisfy our discourse, some to move our affections, and yet all of this to relate to practice; so is the design of the following pages. For some men are wholly made up of passion, and their very religion is but passion, put into the family and society of holy purposes; and, for those, I have prepared considerations upon the special parts of the life of the holy Jesus: and yet there also are some things, mingled in the least severe and most affectionate parts, which may help to answer a question, and appease a scruple, and may give rule for determination of many cases of conscience. For I have so ordered the considerations, that they spend not themselves in mere affections and ineffective passions, but they are made doctrinal and little repositories of duty. But because of the variety of men's spirits and of men's necessities, it was necessary I should interpose some practical discourses more severe: for it is but a sad thought to consider, that piety and books of devotion are counted
Phil. iv. 8.