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from his right, and fear not me, faith the Lord of hofts. May be thou canst bear him down from his right, but mind the wronged party has a strong avenger, 1 Theff. iv. 6. O how well might it go, if men in all their bargains, work, neighbourhood, &c. would fet God thus before them!
(z.) Eye God in these matters as the fountain of ftrength. Alas! molt men have no diffidence in . themselves in these affairs, but trust themselves as in no hazard there, and thus are the betrayers of themfelves, Prov. xxviii. 26. The least of duties are too much for us alone, and in the plainest way we will go wrong if we be not led right. Satan has snares laid for us in these things ; and therefore we have need ot strength from the Lord to resist them.
3. Remember ye are not only to seek your own, but your neighbour's welfare, Phil. ii. 4. Selfish- : ness is the cause of much unfair dealing. Lovers of themselves more than God, and exclusively of our neighbour, are in bad condition. For a man to build up himself on another's ruins, is contrary to that love which we owe to our neighbour, as fela low-partakers of the human nature, and as members one of another as Christians, Eph. iv.25. The goodness that is most diffusive and communicative is most like God. .
4. Consider the vanity of the world. It is an on vervaluing of earthly advantages that leads people alide into unrighteous ways, Hop. xii. 8. A dne impression of the vanity and emptiness thereof, would let you see that they are not worth a man's going off his way for them." It is not long till very little will serve us; death comes, and we have no more to do with it. A coffin and a winding. fheet, and a little room in the fieart of the earth, which none will grudge us, will be all we will need. What madness is it then to wound the conscience for such a pitiful byline's? All ile gails of unrighteousness will never quit the coit.
.-5. Labour to mortify the luft of covetousness, which being indulged, the conscience will get sore stretches to satisfy it, Heb. xiii. 5. It cannot miss to pierce people through with many sorrows. Therefore love not the world, 1 John iii. 15.; for whoso follow it too closely at the heels, it will dash out their brains at last.
6. A little well gotten is more worth than much otherwise, Prov. xvi. 8. There is a blessing in the one, a temporal one at least'; but there is a curse in the other. A man may use the one with a good conscience; the other is with an ill conscience, and that is fad fauce to the meal. The one a man has on free coft, having nothing to pay for it; the sweet of the other is squeezed out by a dear reckoning following:
7. Lastly, Remember the day is coming wherein all wrongs are to be righted, secret things brought to light, and open violence reckoned for. If men were to have no after reckoning for these things, they might do in them as they lift; but thou shalt be countable for the least farthing. The Judge is infinitely wise, and the most cunning and tricky will not get him outwitted nor shifted. He is om. nipotent, and they who force their way now through all bands of justice, shall not be able to make head against him. In all temptations that way then awe your heart with that meditation, What then shall I do when God.riseth up? and when he visteth, what shall I answer him? Job xxxi. 14. tooft» fort footpa***7* befo traffestpage
Of the ninth Commandment.
EXODUS XX. 16. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. THE scope of this command is the preservation 1 of truth amongst men, which is necessary
bond of human society. And forasmuch as all the commands of the second table relate to ourselves as well as others, the meaning of this is, Thou shalt not bear false witness either against thyself or thy neighbour, and so neither wrong thy own nor thy neighbour's good name..
The positive part of this command is implied in the negative, viz. Thou shalt bear leal and soothfast witness (as our law terms it) for thyself and thy neighbour, and so maintain thy own and thy neighbour's good name, so far as truth will allow. This witnessing is to be understood not only of judicial, but extrajudicial witnessing.
Quest. “ What is required in the ninth command“ ment?” Ans. “ The ninth commandment requi. “ reth the maintaining and promoting of truth be“tween man and man, and of our own and our “ neighbour's good name, especially in witness“ bearing." I shall consider this commandment, as it relates,
1. To truth betwixt man and man in general; I 2. To our own good name; and, 13To our neighbour's name.
1. As it relates to truth betwixt man and man in the general. Truth is a sacred thing, which we are to cleave to as we would to God, who is true essentially, and therefore called truth itself. It was a notable faying of a philosopher, that truth is so great a perfection, that if God would render himself visible, he would chuse light for his body, and truth for his soul. He was not far out; for the scripture tells us of Christ, in whom the fulness of the Godhead dwells bodily, that he is the light, and the truth. And on the other hand, it holds out Satan as the prince of darkness and father of lies. And there is a mighty affinity betwixt light and truth, darkness and lies. Truth is to the soul as light to the body; and they that walk in the light, will walk in truth. Now this command reVol. III.
quires the maintaining of truth. We may take up this in these two things.
1. We must speak truth at all times, when we speak, Eph. iv. 25. Speak the truth every man with his neighbour. I say when we speak, for we must not be always speaking. Nature having drawn a double bar on our tongues, teaches that our tongues must not be in our mouths as a loose window in wind ever clattering. And if discretion keep the key of the door of our lips, we will not be of those that cannot rest till all the truth that is in be out, Prov. xiv. 33. But we must never speak any thing but truth.
What is truth? Pilate asked the question at Chrift, but did not stay for an answer, John xviii. 38. Truth is a harmony, a double harmony. Anato. mists observe, that the tongue in man is tied by a double string to the heart. To speaking of truth is required, (1.) A harmony of the tongue with the heart. (2.) A harmiony of the tongue with the thing itself.
(1.) If we think not as we speak, we do not fpeak truth; the discord betwixt the tongue and the heart mars the harmony, Psal. xv. 2. We must speak as we think then; and the tongue must be a faithful interpreter of the mind, otherwise it is a false tongue. So truth may be spoken by a man, and yet he be a false speaker, because he thinks not as he speaks.
(2.) But that is not all: If we do not fpeak also as the thing in itself is, we do not speak true. For there must be a harmony betwixt our hearts and the thing as it is in itself. For we must not think that our iniltaken apprehensions of things can stamp lies to pass curient for truths, just because we think them 10, 2 Thess. ij. U.
The sum of the matter lies here: It is our duty to speak truth, that is, so as our mind agree with the matter, and our mouth with our mind. We must speak things as we think them to be, and think them to be what they are. And hence we may see that modesty is very necessary to preserve us in the truth, in this our weak aud dark condi. tion. Self-conceited ignorance, and weakness joined with confidence, whereby people are so peremp. tory in their own uptakings of things, without any regard to the different light of others, is a great enemy to truth,
2. We must especially speak the truth at fome times, that is, in witness-bearing. This is twofold,
if, Witness-bearing in judgement. This com. mand requires us to bear witness, and that faithfully, when called thereto. Now we are to speak the truth judicially, when we are lawfully called thereunto by the authority whether of church or ftate.
2dly, Extrajudicial witness-bearing, wherein a man is called to declare the truth, though there bę no human authority obliging hiin thereto, as often falls out in the case of private controversies betwixt neighbours, where a third person is desired to witness the truth. Yea, a man may be obliged to this witness-bearing where he is not so much as desired to speak, as when we hear our neighbour charged with any thing unjustly, we are obliged to vindicate his innocency, it being known to us.
Now, the rule in both these cases is this : That then is a man or woman called to declare the truth under the pain of God's displeasure, when God's glory or their neighbour's good may be procured by it; when the dishonour of God and their neighbour's hurt, either of foul, body, name, or goods, may be avoided by it.
Both these fúrts of witness-bearing are necessary for the maintaining and promoting of truth, the ho. nour of God, and our neighbour's real good, tho". it appear perhaps to be for his hurt, în discovering