« EdellinenJatka »
Direct. viii. 'Watch over them, by one another, when they are behind your backs, at their sports or converse with each other.' For it is abundance of wickedness that children use to learn and practise, which never cometh to the masters' ears, especially in some great and public schools. They that came thither to learn sobriety and piety of their masters, do oftentimes learn profaneness, and ribaldry, and cursing, and swearing, and scorning, deriding and reviling one another of their ungracious schoolfellows. And those lessons are so easily learnt, that there are few children but are infected with some such debauchery, though their parents and masters watch against it; and perhaps it never cometh to their knowledge. So also for gaming, and robbing orchards, and fighting with one another, and reading playbooks and romances, and lying, and abundance other vices which must be carefully watched against.
Direct. IX. ‘Correct them more sharply for sins against God, than for their dulness and failing at their books.' Though negligence in their learning, is not to be indulged, yet smart should teach them, especially to take heed of sinning; that they may understand that sin is the greatest evil.
Direct. x. ' Especially curb or cashier the leaders of impiety or rebellion, who corrupt the rest.' There are few great schools but have some that are notoriously debauched; that glory in their wickedness ; that in filthy talking, and fighting, and cursing, and reviling words, are the infecters of the rest. And usually they are some of the bigger sort, that are the greatest fighters, and master the rest, and by domineering over them, and abusing them, force them both to follow them in their sin, and to conceal it. The correcting of such, or expelling them if incorrigible, is of great necessity to preserve the rest; for if they are suffered, the rest will be secretly infected and undone, before the master is aware. This causeth many that have a care of their children's souls, to be very fearful of sending them to great and public schools, and rather choose private schools that are freer from that danger; it being almost of as great concernment to children, what their companions be, as what their master is.
Directions for Soldiers, about their Duty in point of Conscience.
Though it is likely that few soldiers will read what I shall write for them, yet for the sake of those few that will, I will do as John Baptist did, and give them some few necessary Directions, and not omit them as some do, as if they were a hopeless sort of men.
Direct. 1. Be careful to make your peace with God, and live in a continual readiness to die.' This being the great duty of every rational man, you cannot deny it to be especially yours, whose calling setteth you so frequently in the face of death. Though some garrison soldiers are so seldom, if ever, put to fight, that they live more securely than most other men, yet a soldier as such, being by his place engaged to fight, I must fit my Directions to the ordinary condition and expectation of men in that employment. It is a most irrational and worse than beastly negligence, for any man to live carelessly in an unpreparedness for death, considering how certain it is, and how uncertain the time, and how inconceivably great is the change which it inferreth: but for a soldier to be unready to die, who hath such special reason to expect it, and who listeth himself into a state that is so near it, this is to live and fight like beasts, and to be soldiers before you understand what it is to be a Christian and a man. First therefore, make sure that your souls are regenerate and reconciled unto God by Christ; and that when you die, you have a part in heaven; and that you are not yet in the state of sin and nature : an unrenewed, unsanctified soul is sure to go to hell, by what death, or in what cause soever he dieth. If such a man be a soldier, he must be a coward or a madman; if he will run upon death, when he knoweth not whither it will send him, yea, when hell is certainly the next step, he is worse than mad : but if he know and consider the terribleness of such a change, it must needs make him tremble when he thinks of dying. He can be no good soldier that dare not die: and who can expect that he should dare to die, who must be damned when he dieth? Reason may command a man to venture upon death ; but no reason will allow him to venture upon hell. I never knew but two sorts of valiant soldiers : the one was boys, and brutish, ignorant sots, who had no sense of the concernments of their souls ; and the other (who only were truly valiant) were those that had made such preparations for eternity, as, at least, persuaded them that it should go well with them when they died. And many a debauched soldier I have known, whose conscience hath made them cowards, and shift or run away when they should venture upon death, because they knew they were unready to die, and were more afraid of hell, than of the enemy. He that is fit to be a martyr, is the fittest man to be a soldier; he that is regenerate, and hath laid up his treasure and his hopes in heaven, and so hath overcome the fears of death, may be bold as a lion, and ready for anything, and fearless in the greatest perils. For what should he fear, who hath escaped hell, and God's displeasure, and hath conquered the king of terrors? But fear is the duty and most rational temper of a guilty soul; and the more fear, less such are, the more foolish and more miserable.
Direct. II. 'Be sure you have a warrantable cause and call.' In a bad cause it is a dreadful thing to conquer, or to be conquered. If you conquer, you are a murderer of all that you
kill; if you are conquered and die in the prosecution of your sin, I need not tell you what you may expect. I know we are here upon a difficulty which must be tenderly handled; if we make the sovereign power, to be the absolute and only judge, whether the soldier's cause and call be good; then it would follow, that it is the duty of all the Christian subjects of the Turk, to fight against Christianity as such, and to destroy all Christians when the Turk commandeth it ; and that all the subjects of other lands, are bound to invade this or other such Christian kingdoms, and destroy their kings, whenever their Popish, or malicious princes or states shall command them; which being intolerable consequences, prove the antecedent to be intolerable. And yet on the other side, if subjects must be the judges of their cause and call, the prince shall not be served, nor the common good secured, till the interest of the subjects will allow them to discern the goodness of the cause. Between these two intolerable consequents, it is hard to meet with a just discovery of the mean. Most run into one of the extremes,
which they take to be the less, and think that there is no other avoiding of the other. The grand errors in this, and an hundred like cases, come from not distinguishing aright the case de esse,' from the case 'de apparere,' or cognogcere,' and not first determining the former, as it ought, before the latter be determined. Either the cause which the subjects are commanded to fight in, is really lawful to them, or it is not. (Say not here importunely, Who shall judge ? For we are now but upon the question de esse.') If it be not lawful in itself, but be mere robbery or murder, then come to the case of evidence ; either this evil is to the subject discernible by just means, or not: if it be, I am not able for my part to justify him from the sin, if he do it, no more than to have justified the three witnesses. If they had bowed down to the golden calf, or if he had forborne prayer", or the apostles, if they had forborne preaching, or the soldiers for apprehending and crucifying Christ, when their superiors commanded them. For God is first to be obeyed and feared. But if the evil of the cause be such, as the subject cannot by just and ordinary means discern, then must he come next to examine his call; and a volunteer unnecessarily he may not be in a doubtful cause : it is so heinous a sin to murder men, that no man should unnecessarily venture upon that which may prove to be murder for aught he knoweth. But if you ask what call may make such a doubtful action necessary, I answer, It must be such as warranteth it, either from the end of the action, or from the authority of the commander, or both. And from the end of the action, the case may be made clear, That if a king should do wrong to a foreign enemy, and should have the worse cause, yet if the revenge which that enemy seeketh, would be the destruction of the king and country, or religion; it is lawful, and a duty to fight in the defence of them. And if the king should be the assailant, or beginner, that which is an offensive war in him (for which he himself must answer) may be buta defensive war in the commanded subjects, and they be innocent; even on the highway, if I see a stranger provoke another by giving him the first blow, yet I may be boand to save his life from the fury of the avenging party. But whether, or how far, the bare command of a sovereign
a Dan. iii.
b Dan. vi.
may warrant the subjects to venture in a doubtful cause, (supposing the thing lawful in itself, though they are doubtful) requireth so much to be said to it, which civil governors may possibly think me too bold to meddle with, that I think it safest to pass it by; only saying, that there are some cases in which the ruler is the only competent judge, and the doubts of the subject are so unreasonable, that they will not excuse the sin of his disobedience; and also, that the degree of the doubt is oft very considerable in the case. But suppose the cause of the war be really lawful in itself, and yet the subject is in doubt of it, yea, or thinketh otherwise ; then is he in the case, as other erroneous consciences are, that is, entangled in a necessity of sinning, till he be undeceived, in case his rulers command his service. But which would be the greater sin, to do it or not, the ends and circumstances may do much to determine; but doubtless in true necessity to save the king and state, subjects may be compelled to fight in a just cause, notwithstanding, that they mistake it for unjust; and if the subject have a private discerning judgment, so far as he is a voluntary agent, yet the sovereign hath a public determining judgment, when a neglecter is to be forced to his duty. Even as a man that thinketh it unlawful to maintain his wife and children, may be compelled lawfully to do it.
So that it is apparent, that sometimes the sovereign's cause, may be good, and yet an erroneous conscience may make the soldier's cause bad, if they are volunteers, who run unnecessarily upon that which they take for robbery and murder; and yet that the higher powers may force even such mistakers to defend their country, and their governors, in a case of true necessity. And it is manifest that sometimes the cause of a ruler
may be bad ; and yet the cause of the soldier good; and that sometimes the cause may be bad and sinful to them both; and sometimes good and lawful to them both.
Direct. 111. When you are doubtful, whether your cause and call be good, it is (ordinarily) safest to sit still, and not to venture in so dangerous a case, without great deliberation and sufficient evidence to satisfy your consciences.' Neander might well say of Solou's law, which punished them that took not one part or other in a civil war or sedition,