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temptation than they are like to have abroad. And some are contrarily as a paradise in comparison of those they go to, for holiness and helps to heaven, and for peace and opportunities of serviceableness to God and the public good.
II. Some countries which they may go to, may have as good helps for their souls as at home, if not by those of the religion of the nation, yet by Christians that live among them, or by the company which goeth with them; or at least there may be no great temptations to change their religion, or debauch them, either through the civility or moderation of those they live among, or through their sottish ignorance or viciousness, which will rather turn men's hearts against them. But some countries have so strong temptations to corrupt men's understandings through the subtilty of seducers, and some have such allurements to debauch men, and some such cruelties to tempt them to deny the truth, that it is hard among them to retain one's innocency.
III. Some that go abroad are understanding, settled Christians, able to make good use of other men's errors, and sins, and ill examples or suggestions, and perhaps to do much good on others; but some are young, and raw, and inexperienced, whose heads are unfurnished of those evidences and reasons by which they should hold fast their own profession, against the cunning reasonings of an adversary, and their hearts are unfurnished of that love to truth, and that serious resolution which is necessary to their safety, and therefore are like to be corrupted.
IV. Some are sent by their princes as agents or ambassadors on employments necessary to the public good and some are sent by societies on business necessary to the ends of society and some go in case of extreme poverty and necessity, having no other way of maintenance at home: and some go in obedience to their parents and masters that command it them and some go to avoid the miseries of a war, or the danger of a sharp persecution at home, or the greater temptations of a debauched or seducing age, or some great temptations in their families. But some go for fancy, and some for mere covetousness, without need.
By these distinctions the case may be answered by men that are judicious and impartial. As,
I. Affirm. 1. It is lawful for ambassadors to go among infidels, that are sent by princes and states; because the public good must be secured.
2. It is lawful for the agents of lawful societies or trading companies to go ('cæteris paribus,' the persons being capable); because trade must be promoted, which tendeth to the common good of all countries.
3. It is not only lawful, but one of the best works in the world, for fit persons to go on a design to convert the poor infidels and heathens where they go. Therefore the preachers of the Gospel should not be backward to take any opportunity, as chaplains to ambassadors, or to factories, &c., to put themselves in such a way.
4. It is lawful for a son or servant (whose bonds extend to such a service) to go in obedience to a superior's command; and God's special protection may be trusted in a way of obedience.
5. It is lawful for one in debt to go, that hath probable hopes that way and no other to pay his debts. Because he is a defrauder if he detain other men's money, while a lawful way of repaying it may be taken.
6. It is lawful for a duly qualified person to go in case of extreme poverty, to be able to live in the world; and that poverty may be called extreme to one that was nobly born and educated, which would be no poverty to one that was bred in beggary.
7. It is lawful for a well qualified person, who desireth riches to serve God, and to do good with, to go in a way of trading, though he be in no poverty or necessity himself. Because God's blessing on a lawful trade may be desired and endeavoured, and he that should do all the good he can, may use what lawful means he can to be enabled to do it. And other men's wants should be to us as our own, and therefore we may endeavour to be able to relieve them.
8. In a time of such civil war, when a man knoweth not which side to take, it may be better for some men to live abroad; yea, among infidels.
9. There is little to dissuade a man whose trade leadeth him into a country that is better than his own, or so sottish
as to have small temptation, and that hath the company of faithful Christians, with which he may openly worship God, and privately converse to his spiritual edification.
10. In urgent cases one may go for a time, where he can have no use of public church-worship, so be it he have private means and opportunities of holy living.
11. It is lawful on less occasions to leave one's own country in a time of debauchery, when temptations at home are greater than those abroad, or in time of such persecution as may lawfully be avoided, than at another time.
12. A settled Christian may go more safely, and therefore lawfully on smaller urgencies, than a young, raw, lustful, fanciful, unsettled novice may.
II. Neg. 1. It is not lawful for any one to seek riches or trade abroad or at home, principally for the love of riches, to raise himself and family to fulness, prosperity or dignity though all this may be desired when it is a means to God's service and honour, and the public good, and is desired principally as such a means.
2. It is not lawful to go abroad, especially into infidel or Popish countries, without such a justifiable business, whose commodity will suffice to weigh down all the losses and dangers of the remove.
3. The dangers and losses of the soul are to be valued much above those of the body and estate, and cannot be weighed down by any mere corporal commodity.
4. It is more dangerous usually to go among Turks and heathens (whose religion hath no tempting power to seduce men) than among Socinians or Papists, whose errors and sins are cunningly and learnedly promoted and defended.
5. It is not lawful for merchants or others for trade and love of wealth or money, to send poor raw, unsettled youths into such countries where their souls are like to be notably endangered, either by being deprived of such teaching and church-helps which they need, or by being exposed to the dangerous temptations of the place; because their souls are of more worth than money.
6. It is not lawful therefore for master or servant to venture his own soul in such a case as this last mentioned; that is, so far as he is free, and without necessity doth it only for commodity sake.
7. We may not go where we cannot publicly worship . God, without necessity, or some inducement from a greater good.
8. The more of these hindrances occur the greater is the sin it is therefore a mere wilful casting away of their own souls, when unfurnished, unsettled youths (or others like them) shall for mere humour, fancy, or covetousness leave such a land as this, where they have both public and private helps for their salvation, and to go among Papists, infidels or 'heathens, where talk or ill example is like to endanger them, and no great good can be expected to countervail such a hazard, nor is there any true necessity to drive them, and where they cannot publicly worship God, no, nor openly own the truth, and where they have not so much as any private company to converse with, that is fit to further their preservation and salvation, and all this of their own accord, &c.
Quest. 11. May a merchant or ambassador leave his wife, to live abroad?'
Answ. 1. We must distinguish between what is necessitated, and what is voluntary. 2. Between what is done by the wife's consent, and what is done without. 3. Between a wife that can bear such absence, and one that cannot. 4. Between a short stay, and a long or continued stay.
1. The command of the king, or public necessities, may make it lawful, except in a case so rare as is not to be supposed (which therefore I shall not stand to describe). For though it be a very tender business to determine a difference between the public authority or interest, and family relations and interest, when they are contradictory and irreconcileable, yet here it seemeth to me, that the prince and public interest may dispose of a man contrary to the will and interest of his wife; yea, though it would occasion the loss, 1. Of her chastity. 2. Or her understanding. 3. Or her life and though the conjugal bond do make man and wife to be as one flesh. For, 1. The king and public interest may oblige a man to hazard his own life, and therefore his wife's. In case of war, he may be sent to sea, or beyond sea, and so both leave his wife (as Uriah did) and venture himself. Who ever thought that no married man might go to foreign wars without his wife's consent? 2.
Because as the whole is more noble than the part, so he that marrieth obligeth himself to his wife, but on supposition that he is a member of the commonwealth, to which he is still more obliged than to her.
2. A man may for the benefit of his family leave his wife for travel or merchandize, for a time, when they mutually consent upon good reason that it is like to be for their good.
3. He may not leave her either without or with her own consent, when a greater hurt is like to come by it, than the gain will countervail. I shall say no more of this, because the rest may be gathered from what is said in the cases about duties to wives, where many other such are handled.
Quest. 111. Is it lawful for young gentlemen to travel in other kingdoms, as part of their education?'
Answ. The many distinctions which were laid down for answer of the first question, must be here supposed, and the answer will be mostly the same as to that, and therefore need not be repeated.
1. It is lawful for them to travel that are necessarily driven out of their own country, by persecution, poverty, or any other necessitating cause.
2. It is lawful to them that are commanded by their parents (unless in former excepted cases, which I will not stay to name).
3. It is the more lawful when they travel into countries as good or better than their own, where they are like to get more good than they could have done at home.
4. It is more lawful to one that is prudent and firmly settled both in religion, and in sobriety and temperance, against all temptations which he is like to meet with, than to one that is unfurnished for a due resistance of the temptations of the place to which he goeth.
5. It is more lawful to one that goeth in sober, wise and godly company, or is sent with a wise and faithful tutor and overseer, than to leave young, unsettled persons to themselves.
6. In a word, it is lawful when there is a rational probability, that they will not only get more good than hurt (for that will not make it lawful), but also more good than they could probably have other ways attained.
Lege Eurycic. Pateani Orat. 9,