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are uncharitable or unjust to my brother, but are permitted, when they are otherwise.
3. (2.) But the intention of the rule is more: for it means, that all the addresses and preparations to criminal and forbidden actions are also forbidden. Thus because Christ gave a law against fornication, he hath also forbidden us to tempt any one to it by words, or by wanton gestures, or lascivious dressings; and she fornicates, that paints her face with idle purposes.
4. (3.) It is also meant concerning temptations to a forbidden instance; for they also are forbidden in the prohibition of the crime: which is to be understood with these cautions:
5. (1.) If the temptation be in a natural and direct order to the sin, it is forbidden, where the sin is. Thus because lusts of the flesh are prohibited, it is also our duty, that we do not make provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts of it.' Eating high and drinking deep are actions of uncleanness, as well as of intemperance: and in the same proportion also is every thing, that ministers directly to the lusts of the lower belly, though in a less degree; as lying soft, studying the palate, arts of pleasure and, provocation, enticing gestures with this caution;
6. (2.) If the effect be observed in these less and lower instances, then they are directly criminal: for whatsoever did bring a sin and is still entertained knowingly and choosingly, is, at least by interpretation chosen, for the sin's sake: but first and before the observation, it may enter upon another account; which if it be criminal, to that these instances are to be reckoned, and not to that sin to which they minister unknowingly.
7. (3.) Every temptation is then certainly to be reckoned as a sin, when it is procured by our own act; whether the temptation ministers to the sin directly or accidentally for if we can choose it, it can have no excuse: "tute hoc intristi, tibi omne exedendum est:" and unless the man be surprised, his choosing of an instrument to sin withal, is not for the sake of the instrument, but for its relation: and this is true, although the usual effect does not follow the instrument. For there is sometimes a fantastic pleasure in the reTereat. Phorm. act, ii. 1. 4. Schmieder, pag. 334.
membrances of sin, in the approaches of it, in our addresses to it and there are some men who dare not act the foul crime, who yet love to look upon its fair face; and they drive out sin as Abraham did Ishmael, with an unwilling willingness (God knows), and therefore give it bread and water abroad though no entertainment at home, and they look after it, and are pleased with the stories of it, and love to see the place of its acting:
Hic locus, hæc eadem, sub qua requiescimus, arbor,
and they roll it in their minds: now they that go but thus far, and love to tempt themselves by walking upon the brink of the river, and delight themselves in viewing the instrument of their sin, though they use it no further, they have given demonstration of their love of sin when they make so much of its proxy.
8. But there are others, who have great experience of the vanity of all sin, and the emptiness and dissatisfaction that is in its fruition,-and know as soon as ever they have enjoyed it, it is gone, and that there is more pleasure in the expectation than in the possession ;—and therefore they had rather go towards it than arrive thither; and love the temptation better than the sin these men sin with an excellent philosophy and wittiness of sinning; they love to woo always and not to enjoy, ever to be hungry and sitting down to dinner, but are afraid to have their desires filled: but if we consider what the secret of it is, and that there is in these men an immense love to sin, and a perfect adhesion to the pleasure of it, and that they refuse to enter lest they should quickly pass through,—and they are unwilling to taste it, lest they should eat no more, and would not enjoy, because they will not be weary of it; and will deny any thing to themselves, even that, which they most love, lest for a while they should loath their beloved sin;—we shall see reason enough to affirm these men to be the greatest breakers of the laws of Jesus Christ; though they only tempt themselves and handle the instruments of sin, and although these instruments serve nothing but the temptation, and the temptation does not serve the sin, whither in its own nature it is designed.
9. (4.) If the temptation be involuntary, then it is not imputed; and yet this is to be understood with this provision; that it be neither chosen directly, nor by interpretation; that is, that it be not entered into by carelessness, or confidence, or choice. If it be by choice, then it is directly against that law of Christ, which forbids that sin whither the temptation leads; but if it enter by carelessness or confidence, it belongs not to this rule; for although every temptation is against the laws of Christ, yet they are not under the same law, by which the effect is prohibited,--but unlawful, because they are against Christian prudence and Christian charity.
The suppositive Propositions with the supervening Advices of our blessed Saviour, are always equivalent to Matter of Duty, and are, by Interpretation, a Commandment.
1. THIS rule is intended as an explication of the precepts of prayer, alms, and fasting: all which our blessed Saviour, in his sermon upon the mount, expressed by way of supposition; which way of expression although it be not a positive and legal expression of a commandment, yet it either supposes a preceding law, or a confirmed practice; or, at least, that those to whom such words are directed, are willing and loving and obedient people, understanding the intimations and secret significations of the divine pleasure. "When ye give alms, do not blow a trumpet," said our blessed Saviour: "When ye pray, stand not in the corners of the streets; when you fast, do not disfigure your faces." Now concerning prayer and alms there is no difficulty, because our blessed Lord and his apostles have often repeated the will of God in express commandments concerning them; but because of fasting he hath said much less, and nothing at all but these suppositive words, and a prophecy, that his disciples should fast in the days of the bridegroom's absence, and a declaration of the blessed effects of fasting; this hath a proper inquiry and a special difficulty, whether or no these words have the force of a commandment.
2. Concerning which we may take an estimate, by those other expressions of our lawgiver, concerning alms; which we without further scrutiny know to be commandments, because, in other places, they are positively expressed: and therefore if we can find it so concerning fasting, this inquiry will be at an end. Now concerning this I will not only observe, that the three great heads and representatives of the law, the prophets, and the gospel,-Christ, Moses, and Elias, who were concentrated and enwrapped in one glory upon Mount Tabor, were an equal example of fasting,—which, in their own persons, by a miracle, was consigned to be an example and an exhortation to fasting to all ages of religion; and each of them, fasting forty days upon great occasions, told to them who have ears to hear, what their duty is in all the great accidents of their life; but that which is very material to the present inquiry, is, that this supposition of our blessed Lord, "When ye fast," was spoken to a people who made it a great part of their religion to fast, who placed some portions of holiness in it, who had received the influence of their greatest, their best, their most imitable examples for religious fasting; and the impression of many commandments, not only relative to themselves, as bound by such a law, but as being under the conduct of religion in general. Such was the precept of the prophet Joel; "Thus saith the Lord, Turn ye even to me, with all your heart, with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning." Now whatever the prophets said, that related to religion abstractedly, or morally, all that is evangelical (as I proved formerly in this book): besides, there was a universal solemn practice of this exercise, under Joshua, at Ai; under the Judges, at Gibeah; under Samuel, at Mizpah; under David, at Hebron: fasts frequently proclaimed, frequently instituted; at the preaching of Jeremy and David, of Joel and Zachary; before the captivity, under it, and after it: in the days of sorrow and in the days of danger; in their religion solemn and unsolemn; after they had sinned and when they were punished; at Jerusalem among the Jews, and at Nineveh amongst the Gentiles: now because it is certain, that all this could not be confined to the special religion of the Jews, but was an expression and apt signification and instrument
J Joel, ii. 12.
e Chap. 2. rule 5.
of a natural religion, our blessed Saviour needed not renew this and efform it over again into the same shape, but had reason to suppose the world would proceed in an instance, whose nature could not receive a new reason and consequent change in the whole.
3. This heap of considerations relates to that state of things, in which our blessed Saviour found this religious exercise at his coming. Now if we consider what our blessed Saviour did to it in the gospel, we shall perceive he intended to leave it no less than he found it; for, (1.) He liked it and approved it, he allowed a time to it, a portion of that by which God will be served; and he that gave us time only to serve him, and in that to serve ourselves, would not allow any time to that, by which he was no way served. (2.) We cannot tell why Christ should presuppose that a thing was to be done, which God did not require to be done: such things Christ used to reprove, not to recommend,―to destroy, not to adorn by the superfetation of a new commandment. (3.) These words he speaks to his disciples. in the promulgation of his own doctrine,'in his sermon upon the mount, which is the great institution and sanction of the evangelical doctrine,-and therefore left it recommended and bound upon them by a new ligature, even by an adoption into the everlasting covenant. (4.) He represents it equally with those other of prayer and alms, which, in this excellent digest of laws, he no otherwise recommends, but as supposing men sufficiently engaged to the practice of these duties: "When ye pray, enter into your chamber," and "When ye pray, say, Our Father," and "When ye fast," be sincere and humble. (5.) He that presupposes, does also establish; because then one part of the duty is a postulate, and a ground for the superstructure of another; and is sufficiently declared by its parallels in the usual style of Scripture." My son, when thou servest the Lord, prepare thy soul for temptation:" so the son of Sirach :-and again: "When thou hearest, forgive ;" and again: "When thou art afflicted, call upon him:" which forms of expression suppose a perfect persuasion and accepted practice of the duty; and is more than a conditional hypothetic; si jejunatis' bath in it more contingency, but 'cum jejunatis' is an expression of f 1 Kings, viii. 39.