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particularly cannot be defined, but by wisdom and charity it must be defined by every one for themfelves, Pfal. cxii. 5.

To engage you to this duty, confider,

[1] We are not abfolute mafters, but stewards of our goods. The whole world is God's houfehold; and he has made fome ftewards to feed others, Luke xvi. 10. II. 12. We must give account of our stewardship to him, who could have put us in their cafe, and them in ours.

[2.] It is a duty bound on us with ties of nature and revelation. The law of God requires it, 2 Cor. viii. 9. Nature itself binds it on us, teaching us to do to others as we would be done by, if in their cafe. Not only Christianity, but humanity calls for it.

[3] In this duty there is a fingular excellency. For, 1.) It is a blessed thing by the verdict of our bleffed Lord, Acts xx. 35. It is more bleffed to give than to receive. 2.) The image and likeness of God fhines forth in it in a peculiar manner, Luke vi. 35. 36. Love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again: and your reward fhall be great, and ye fhall be the children of the Highest for he is kind unto the unthankful, and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father alfo is merciful. Tho' Chrift became poor for us, yet he gave to the poor to commend it to us by his example. 3.) It is particularly taken notice of in the day of judgement, Matth. xxv. 34. 35.

Laftly, It is the moft frugal and advantageous way of managing of the world's goods. For,

1.) It is the way to fecure to ourselves a throughbearing; there is a good fecurity for it, Prov. xxviii. 27. He that giveth unto the poor fhall not lack.

2.) It is the best way to fecure what we have, which is liable to fo many-accidents, Eccl. xi. 1. Caft thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days. Laying out for God is better fecurity than laying up what God calls for. For fo it is put

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in a fure hand, that will be fure to pay it again. The poor and needy are God's receivers, Prov. xix. 17. He that hath pity upon the poor, lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given, will he pay him again.

3.) It is the way to be rich, as the Bible points out the way, Prov. iii. 9. Honour the Lord with thy fubftance, and with the first-fruits of thine increase. Solomon obferves the accomplishment of it, Prov. si. 24. There is that fcattereth, and yet increafeth. 4.) It is the way to fecure comfort to us in the time when trouble fhall overtake us, Pfal. xli. 1. 2. 3. Bleffed is he that confidereth the poor; the Lard will deliver him in time of trouble. The Lord will preferve him, and keep him alive, and he shall be blessed upon the earth; and thou wilt not deliver him into the will of his enemies. The Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languifhing: thou wilt make all his bed in bis fickness.

Lastly, God has promised that fuch fhall find mercy, Matth. v. 7. always taking along what is faid, ver. 3. Bleffed are the poor in fpirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. See Luke xvi. 9. 1 Tim. vi. 17. 18. 19.

II, I come now to fhew what is forbidden in the eighth commandment. It" forbids whatsoever "doth or may unjustly hinder our own or our "neighbour's, wealth or outward eftate."

The fins forbidden in this command may be reduced to thefe two heads; whatever doth or may hinder our own wealth unjustly, and whatever doth or may unjustly hinder our neighbour's wealth or outward eftate.

FIRST, Whatfoever doth or may hinder our own wealth unjustly. This is neceffarily understood: for we may neither do a finful thing to procure our own wealth, nor yet to preferve it. But when there are lawful means which providence calls us to the

ufe of, and we do not use them, we fin against God and ourselves. Thus this command fays to each of us, in the first place, Thou shalt not fteal from thyfelf. Thus we are guilty,

1. By idleness, when people that are able do not employ themselves in fome honeft calling or work according to their ability, 2 Theff. iii. 11. The idle: man wrongs himself, while he expofes him felf to poverty, and fo to a fnare, by his not using means to preferve and improve his fubftance. And he fins againft God, who has appointed that in the fweat of his face man fhall eat bread; Gen. iii. 19. And this is so although he have enough of his own, and needs not be burdenfome to others, Ezek. xvi. 49. He makes himself a waif for Satan to pick up.

2. By careleffnefs, fioth, and mifmanagement in our calling, Prov. xviii. 9. Careleffnefs lets occafions of furthering our own wealth flip; and flothfulness in bufinefs is next to doing nothing at all. And they that cannot put down their hands to work diligently, will hardly mifs fome time or another to put out their hand to fteal. Carelefs and flothful management of bufinefs by one hand in a family, may do more mifchief than many diligent hands can remedy, Prov. xiv. 1. Religion does not allow cither men or women to be drones in their family, good for nothing but to make a noife, take up room, and feed on the product of the diligence of their relatives, Rom. xii. 11.

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3. By not owning God in our bufinefs, and fo flighting his bleffing, who gives man power to get wealth, Deut. viii. 18. It is he that gives rains and fruitful feafons; that makes the cattle to thrive or to be diminished; and that profpereth the work of our hands. Do they not then ftand in their own light that acknowledge him not in these things?

4. By waftefulness and prodigality, whereby peaple foolifhly spend and lavish away what God has brought to their hands, Prov. xxi. 17. And in

deed thefe two ordinarily go together, unthriftinefs and waftery; for readily they that have no hands to gather, have two to fcatter; and they that can do no good to get, are active at putting away. Thus they not only mifapply what God has given them, but take the high way to poverty and stealing.

5. By rafh engaging in fuch things as may ruin our wealth and outward eftate, as unneceffary inveigling ourselves in law-pleas, whereby the conteitious humours of fome have made them like the afs in the fable, that feeking his horns loft his ears, 1 Cor. vi. 6. 7. 8.; as alfo cautionry, which although it be duty in fome cafes, as giving and lending is, yet if it be not managed with prudence and difcretion, may prove but a plucking the bread out of the mouths of our own to put it in the mouths of firangers, Prov. xi. 15. & vi. 1. &c.

6. By diftruftful and diftracting care in getting and keeping of worldly things, Matth. vi. 31. Can that man be wealthy indeed, who have what he will never has enough, and whofe abundance suffereth him not to fleep? Eccl. iv. 8. This keeps him from the comfort of what he has, that he robs himself of, which is the only valuable thing in worldly enjoyments, Prov. X. 22.

7. Laftly, By fordidnefs, which is when a man has no power to enjoy the gift of God, Eccl. vi. 1. 2. We can fcarcely fay, have what they will, that they have it, but it has them; for they have not the convenient decent ufe of it. They are of no ufe but to be ferviceable to people's neceilities and conveniencies; fo that where that is wanting, it is as good as if they had them not.

To conclude this: Let us walk confcientioufly in thefe things, knowing that we are accountable to God in them. We are not at our own difpofal, but muft lay out ourfelves as God calls us. Neither may we do with our own what we will; for we are

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but inferior lords of them, and must use them agreeably to the will of the great Proprietor.

SECONDLY, Whatfoever doth or may unjustly hinder our neighbour's wealth or outward eftate is forbidden here, as theft in God's account. Whatsoever way we wrong others in their outward eftate, comes under this notion of ftealing. So this command fays, Thou shalt not steal from others. In refpect of our neighbour this command is broken two ways.

First, By direct ftealing, which is the taking away of what is our neighbour's against his will, to his hurt and lofs. If it be done fecretly without the knowledge of the owner, it is called theft; if it be by violence, it is robbery, whether by fea or land. There are two forts of it.

1. Stealing of perfons, called man-ficaling, 1 Tim. i. 9. 10. It was the ftealing away of men, women, or children, either to use them or fell them for flaves. Slavery having no place among us, there is no practifing of it with us, fo far as I know. But there want not other finful practices participating of the nature of this fin, fuch as running away with perfons for marriage, whereby their parents are robbed of what is their own; enticing away of other people's fervants, to the prejudice of their mafters; and feducing of people's children to vitious and lewd practices. All which are contrary to the golden rule of juftice, Whatfoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even fo unto them.

2. Stealing of fubftance. Whereof there are three kinds. (1.) Stealing from the public or commonwealth, whereby the magiftrate and nation are wronged. (2.) Stealing from the church, taking away of what is devoted for pious ufes, for maintaining the fervice of God and the poor. It is called facrilege, Rom. ii. 22. Thefe are the worft inds of theft, in regard of the relation these things have to God. (3) Single theft, whereby private per

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