A treatise of God's government and of the justice of his present dispensations in this world by the pious, learned and most eloquent Salvian ... ; translated from the Latin by R.T. ... ; with a preface by the Reverend Mr. Wagstaffe.
Salvian, of Marseilles, ca. 400-ca. 480., R. T.,, Wagstaffe, Thomas, 1645-1712.
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Page  127

SALVIAN of GOD's Government, &c. BOOK V.

Of the Law, and its Commands; and how good they are, if we use them aright. The Descri∣ption of the Hereticks; and of Tradition. Of Ignorance which excuseth: Of Envy; Of the Rarity of the Good. Of the Errors of the Romans. Of Oppression: Of the Mercy of God.

1. I Am very well satisfied that many of the* greatest Libertines, and of those who are not capable of receiving the Truth, may object against all that I have said and urge, that if the Guilt of wicked Christians be so Great, that by their neglecting those Commands of God, which they do know, they sin more hei∣nously than the Heathen People who know nothing of them; that then the Ignorance of these is much more Advantageous to them, than Knowledge would have been; and that the having come to the knowledge of the Truth, makes much against the others. But the Answer to these Men is easie; That it is Page  128 not the Truth which is against them, but their own Vices, 'tis not the Law that hurts them, but their own Morals. For let our Manners be good, and the Law will be on our side. Let us leave off Sinning, and then we shall have Profit from the Law. For we know, (says the Apostle) that the Law is good, if a man*use it lawfully. Use the Law then lawfully, and it will be of advantage to you. For we know (saith he) that the Law is good, if a man use it lawfully, knowing this, that the Law is not made for a righteons man. And for that Rea∣son, do you begin to be righteous, and so you will be free from the Law; for that Law can never come against those Morals which are al∣ready altogether consonant to it. For we know (says he) that the Law is good, if a man use it lawfully, knowing this, that the Law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and dis∣obedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for un∣holy and profane,—and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound Doctrine. So that you may see by this, O Man, that the Law is not so much against you, as you are against the Law; it is not contrary to you when it commands you what is good, but you are con∣trary to it when you live ill: for it provides for your Welfare by ordering every thing that is righteous, and you contradict it by doing e∣very thing that is wicked; so that you act not only against the Law, but even against your own self, for so far as you contradict it, you act against your self; because in the Law is both your Salvation and your Life; so that, Page  129 when you leave off to follow God's Law, you desert and forsake your own Salvation. Our complaint against the Divine Law is much such a one as a poor impatient Sick Man uses to make of the best Physician, who, when by his own Fault he has made his Distemper worse, lays the Blame on the Ignorance of the Doctor. As if the best Prescriptions could cure any Infirmity, if the Sick Party does not follow them, or that any Method laid down by a Physician can set any one upright, unless the Sick Party resolves strictly to pursue it. What good will a bitter Draught do the Sto∣mach, if Syrups be presently powr'd upon it? What good does the Silence of the by-standers do to a Man in a Phrensy, when he destroys himself with his own Noise? How can that Antidote work which is follow'd by a larger Dose of Poyson? Now the Law is our Anti∣dote, and our Vices are the Poyson: The An∣tidote of the Law cannot cure us, whom the Venom of our Vices does destroy. But I have now and formerly spoke sufficiently of these Matters; and if there shall be occasion, I shall, with God's Assistance, say more to the same purpose hereafter.

II. In the mean time, since I have before* made mention of two Sorts or Sects of Bar∣barians, viz. Pagans and Hereticks; because, as I suppose, I have spoken sufficiently of the Pagans, I shall now, as my Method requires, discourse likewise of the Hereticks. For it may be urg'd: That altho' the Divine Law does not require at the hands of Pagans, that they Page  130 should obey those Commandments which they never knew, yet it certainly exacts Obedience from the Hereticks, who do know them; for that they read the same things which we read, and have the same holy Prophets, Apostles and Evangelists; and that therefore the Law is not less neglected by them, than 'tis by us, but ra∣ther indeed much more; because they have the Advantage of reading the same Scriptures we do, and yet do much worse Things than our People. Let us therefore take a view of Both. They read, say you, the same Things that are read by us. How I pray you, can those things be said to be the same, which have been formerly by wicked hands most lewdly corrupted, and depend on worse Tradition? So that they are not the same, because those things cannot be said to be altogether the same, which are faulty in any one of their Parts. For they can have no safety in them, since they have lost their Perfection, nor have they always continued in the same State, which are depriv'd of the efficacy of the Sacraments. 'Tis We therefore alone that have the sacred Scriptures perfect, uncorrupted, and entire, who either drink of them at the very Foun∣tain head, or by the assistance of a just Tran∣slation have drawn them from their purest O∣riginals. 'Tis only We that read them truly; and I would to God, we fulfill'd the Contents of them as truly as we read them rightly. But I fear that we, who do not observe them well, do not read them well neither: because there do's less Guilt acrue by not reading holy things Page  131 at all, than by disobeying the good Things we do read. For other Nations either have not the Law of God, or they have it tatter'd and corrupted; and so by that means, as I said before, they have not at all what they have only so. And altho' there may be some of these Barbarians, who may seem to have the holy Scripture not so much abus'd and alter'd, yet they have it corrupted with the Tradition of their antient Founders, so that they have rather a Tradition than the Scripture, because they do not adhere to what the Truth of the Text directs, but to the wicked Gloss inserted by their naughty Tradition. For they are al∣together Barbarians, ignorant not only of the*Roman, but even of all Humane Learning, who know nothing in the World but what they hear from their own Doctors, and what they hear, That they follow; so that 'tis of necessity that they, who, being thus without all Learning and Knowledge, do come to know the sacred Truths of the Divine Law, by Doctrine rather than by Reading, should rather retain that Doctrine than the Law it self. And so the Tradition of their Teachers and their accustomed Doctrine, is to them in∣stead of a Law; because they know nothing else but just what they are taught. They are then Hereticks, but not wilful ones. They are reckon'd Hereticks with us, but not among themselves. For they fancy themselves so good Catholicks, that they bestow the civil Title of Hereticks, even upon us. So that we are the same to them that they are to us. We are cer∣tain Page  132 that they are injurious to the divine Ge∣neration, when they assert the Son to be less than the Father: And they think we are as injurious to the Father, because we believe both to be equal. We have the Truth with us, but they presume that they have it among them. The true Honour of God is among us; but they fancy that what they believe is more for the Honour of the Deity. They are un∣kind and unneighbourly; and 'tis one of the greatest pieces of their Religion to be so. They are ungodly; but yet they think 'tis true Piety to be so. 'Tis plain therefore they are in Er∣ror; but yet they err with an honest Mind, not out of Hatred, but of love to God, be∣lieving that they love and honour our Lord. Altho' they have not the right Faith, yet they nevertheless believe this to be the perfect Love of God. How they shall be hereafter punish'd for this Error and mistaken Opinion, no body can tell but the Judge: And in the mean time, I presume, God Almighty affords them his long-suffering, because he sees them, altho' not right in their Creed, yet to be mistaken with a Desire of entertaining the true Opinion; and especially since he knows that they do all thro' Ignorance, but our People neglect those things which they believe; so that they sin purely thro' the Fault of their Teach∣ers, but our People by their own; they are ignorant, ours very knowing; they do that which they take to be the right, but our Peo∣ple that which they know to be wrong. And therefore by a most just Judgment the long∣suffering Page  133 of God supports them, and severely punishes us: Because Ignorance may in some sort be excus'd, but Contempt can never me∣rit a Pardon. For thus says the Scripture: The Servant who knows not the will of his Lord, and does it not, shall be beaten with few stripes;*but he who knows his Will, and does it not, shall be beaten with many.

III. Let us not wonder then if we are as∣flicted many ways, because we sin not for want of Knowledge, but out of Perversness. For tho' we know what is good, yet we do it not; tho' we understand the difference be∣tween Vertue and Vice, yet we follow the latter; we read the Law, and yet trample up∣on the Contents of it, and make our selves acquainted with its sacred Sanctions and Pre∣cepts, for no other end, but to sin more heinous∣ly, after we are forbidden to do it. We pre∣tend to worship God, and yet are downright Vassals to the Devil. And notwithstanding all this, we are for receiving all good Things from the hand of God, when we are heaping one Wickedness upon the head of another. We would have him to fulfil our Desires, when we will not perform his Will; And behave our selves as tho' we were Superior to our Maker. We desire that God Almighty always should obey our Wills, when all of us live in Contradiction to His. But he is just and righteous, and we are wicked and unjust. For he punishes those he thinks worthy of it, and bears with those who deserve Forbearance: and both as Means to one and the same End; Page  134 that Chastisement might put a stop to the Lust of Sinning in the Catholicks, and that his long-suffering might some time bring the Hereticks to the perfect knowledge of the Truth; especially since he may think those not altogether unworthy of the Catholick Faith, whom he sees to live much better Lives than the Catholicks. Now all those I am thus discoursing of are either Vandals or Goths → : For I do not speak one word of the Roman Here∣ticks, who are almost innumerable, neither do I compare them either to Romans or Bar∣barians, because the Errors in their Faith make them worse than the Romans, and the Filthi∣ness of their Lives more base than the Barba∣rians. But this is so far from being a pleasing Thought, that 'tis a greater weight than the Load which we have laid upon our selves, be∣cause those whom I am forc'd to give this Scurvy Character of, are Romans. And this may let us see what the whole Body of the Romans may deserve, when one part of them affront God by wicked living, and the other both in Doctrine and Life. Nay and with this further, that even these very Heresies of the Barbarians have formerly had their rise from the Naughti∣ness of the aRoman Government, so that 'tis altogether our Fault that these Barbarous People ever had Heresies among them.

IV. But as to what relates to the Conversa∣tion* of the Goths → and Vandals, what is there in which we can prefer our selves before, or com∣pare our selves to them? And in the first place, to begin with Love and Charity (which Page  135 our Lord teaches us, is one of the Chief Chri∣stian Vertues, and which he recommends to us not only thro' all the Sacred Scriptures, but even in His own Person, when he says; By*this shall all men know that you are my Disciples, if ye have love to one another.) Now almost all the Barbarians who are of one Country and Government, generally love each other; but all the Romans generally take care to persecute one another. For who is that Citizen, who do's not envy his Fellow-Citizen? Who is there that loves his Neighbour throughly? They all are absent in Affection, tho' not in distant Places; altho' they are joyn'd in Habi∣tation, their Minds are far assunder. And I would to God this were all, tho' one of the greatest Plagues, and that 'twere only thus with Fellow-Citizens and Neighbours. That is much worse, that even Kinsmen do not per∣form the Duties of their Kindred. Where is that Relation that shews himself such to his Kindred? Who is there pays to Love what he acknowledges to owe, even to the very Name? Who is that in Reality which he is said to be? Who is so near allied in hearty Affection as in Blood, in whom cursed Malice and Emulation do not burn, whose sole base Envy has not seis'd, and whom another's Pro∣sperity does not put upon the wrack? Who do's not reckon another Man's good Fortune his own Misery? Who is so satisfied with his own Happiness, as to be content that another should be so as well as he? For many now are possess'd with a new and an unaccountable Page  136 Plague; they have no Enjoyment of their own Happiness, unless they are sure others are unhappy. How very cruel, and extreamly impious, how far from the Practice of the Bar∣barians, and how very common among the Romans is it to Ruine each other by Fines and Outlawries; but I mistake when I say each other; if 'twere so, 'twould be more tolerable that one Party should suffer what he had in∣flicted upon another: But this is the Mischief that many are proscrib'd by a few, who make a Prey of the publick Fines, and what bears the Title of a Debt to the Treasury, is put in∣to private Pockets; and this not only by the Great ones, but their Underlings; not only the Judges, but by their meanest Dependents. For what either City, Town, or Village is there, where there are not as many Tyrants as there are Magistrates? Altho' it may be, they please themselves with the Name, because it makes them look Big and Stately: For so 'tis with all Thieves, who pride and glory when they are reported to be much more da∣ring than they really are. What place is there then, as I said, where the very Bowels of Widdows and Orphans are not devour'd by the Governours of Cities, and with them those of almost all holy Men? For they rec∣kon of them as of Widdows and Orphans; because out of Respect to their Profession they will not defend themselves, or thro' their In∣nocence and Humility they cannot. So that there is not one of these safe, nor any others, except the Great ones, free from the Destru∣ction Page  137 of this Torrent of Thievery, unless those who are in every respect as very Thieves as themselves: Nay to such a pitch is the Ro∣guery arriv'd, that unless a Man be very wick∣ed, he cannot be safe.

V. Well, however, since there are so ma∣ny* who destroy the Good, without doubt there are some who in the midst of the Cala∣mity do assist and protect them, who, as the Scripture says, Deliver the Poor and Needy*from the hand of the Oppressor. No. There is none that doeth good, no not one: And he there∣fore says, no not one, because good Men are so very scarce, that they seem all to be contracted into one. For who can assist the Distressed and Afflicted, when even the Christian Priests do not withstand the Oppression of wicked Men? For many of them either hold their Tongues altogether, or speak to as little Effect as if they had held them; and this many of them do, not out of Cowardice, but advised∣ly, as they think, and with Reason. They will not declare the plain Truth, because the Ears of wicked Men cannot bear it; they do not only refuse to hear it, but even hate and abominate it; they do not only not fear and re∣verence it when they hear it, but despise it with the greatest rebellious Pride and Obstina∣cy. So that they who can speak, keep silence, whilst sometimes they spare the Wicked, and will not produce to them the Force of open Truth, lest they should make them worse by a too earnest pressing of the Truth upon them. And thus it comes that the Poor are Oppress'd, Page  138 Widdows mourn, Orphans are trod under foot, insomuch, that many of them, well born and genteely bred, fly over to the Enemy, for Fear of Dying here under the publick Persecution, going to seek the Roman Humanity among the Barbarians, because they cannot undergo bar∣barous* Inhumanity among the Romans. And altho' they differ from those they fly to, both in their Rites, and Language; and, as I may so say, in the ungrateful Scent of their Bodies and awkward Cloathing, yet they had rather bear with a different Habit among the Barbari∣ans, than with raging Injustice among the Ro∣mans. And therefore from all Parts they strag∣gle either to the Goths → , or the Bacaudae, or to* some other of the Conquering Barbarians, and they do not repent their Journey. For they had rather live free under a seeming Cap∣tivity, than be real Captives under a seem∣ing Liberty. So that the Name of Roman Ci∣tizens, formerly esteem'd not only very high, (d) but purchas'd at a great Price, is now vo∣luntarily* rejected and fled from, and is rec∣kon'd not only cheap and contemptible, but abominable and a Burden. And what greater Evidence can there be of the Injustice of the Romans, than that many Creditable and No∣ble Persons, and to whom the Roman State ought to be an Honour and an Ornament, are yet compell'd by their Cruelty and Oppression to quit the Name of Romans? And hence it is, that even those who do not go over to the Barbarians, are yet compell'd to be such, as is plain in a Great Part of the Spaniards, and Page  139 no small one of the Gauls, and in general in all those thro' the whole Roman Empire, whom the Roman Injustice has now made not to be Romans.

VI. I shall speak now of the eBacaudae, who being pillag'd, distress'd, and murder'd by cruel and unjust Judges, after they had lost the Priviledge of the Roman Liberty, have now also lost the Honour of the Name. What is only their Misfortune is thrown upon them as their Crime, and we impute a Name on their Calamity, which we our selves have been the occasion of: We call them Rebels, and lost Wretches, when we our selves com∣pell'd them to the Crime. For how came the Bacaudae to be such, but by our Injustice, and the Wickedness of their Judges, but by the Proscription and Rapine of those who con∣verted the publick Tribute to their own pri∣vate Gains, and have made the Peoples Taxes only a Prey for themselves? Who like the most Savage Beasts, have not so much govern∣ed those put under their Care, as they have devour'd them, not being satisfied with the Spoils of the Men, as most Thieves are used to be, but have torn them piece-meal; and, as I may say, have gorg'd themselves with their very Blood. And thus it came that the Men being suffocated and murder'd by the no∣torious open Robberies of their Governours, began to be in a manner Barbarians, because they were not permitted to be Romans. They were satisfied to be what they were not, be∣cause Page  140 they were not suffer'd to be what they had been; and were forc'd at least to defend their Lives, because they saw plainly they had utterly lost their Liberty already. And what are we doing now, but the very same thing that was done before, that is, that they who already are not Bacaudae, shall be forc'd to be such. For as far as Violence and Injury can go, they are compell'd to be willing to be so; but then their Weakness hinders them, that they are not such. So that they are as Cap∣tives groaning under the Enemies Yoak. They endure the Hardship out of Necessity, but not Choice; they with all their heart would be free, and yet undergo the greatest Slavery.

VII. And thus it is that we deal with almost* all of the meaner Sort. For by one thing they are streighten'd to two the most different. The greatest violence prompts them to a Desire of Aspiring to their Liberty, but the same Vio∣lence do's not suffer them to accomplish what it forces them to desire. But it may be, these Men are blam'd, because they do desire it, when all they covet is, that they may not be forc'd to desire it: For 'tis their greatest Misfortune that they do desire it; And they would be much better dealt with, if they were not com∣pell'd to have such a Desire. But how can these poor Creatures otherwise chuse than de∣sire Liberty, who undergo the daily, nay hour∣ly Ruine of publick Taxes, who have the al∣ways Grievous and never ceasing Proscription hanging over their Heads, who desert their Dwellings lest they should be tortur'd in their Page  141 own Houses, and run into Banishment to a∣void the Punishment? Publick Enemies are more mild to these than the Collectors: For so 'tis plain in Fact, they run over to the Ene∣my to avoid the Violence of the Taxing. And even all this, tho' it be hard and inhumane, yet would be less grievous and unpleasant, if all did bear it equally and alike. 'Tis most shameful and tormenting that all do not bear the Burden of All; that the Tribute due from the Rich, is laid on the poorer Sort, and the Weak bear the Burdens of the Strong. Nor is there any other Reason that they cannot bear them, only that the Burden of the mise∣rable People is greater than their Estate. They suffer two the most different and unlike Things, Envy and Poverty. Envy is in the Great Pay∣ment, Poverty in the Estate. If you look at what they pay, you would take them to be very Rich; but if you mind what they have, you will find them miserably Poor. Who can sufficiently set forth this Mystery of Iniquity? They bear the Payment of the Rich, and the Indigence of the Beggars. But I have much more to say to this Matter. The Great ones sometimes make Additinal Taxes, for which the poorer Sort are sure to pay. But, say you: seeing their Estaes and Revenues are much the Greater, how comes it about that they should be willing to encrease their own Debt? You don't hear me say that they do encrease it. For it is for that Reason they do augment it, because it is not augmented on themselves, and I will tell you how. There do often come Page  142 fresh Couriers and Expresses sent from the higher Powers, who are recommended to a few Great Persons, to the Ruine of a great many others. For these, there is presently or∣der'd some new Presents, and so new Le∣vies must be made. The Great ones decree what the meaner Sort must pay, the Favour of the Rich orders, what a whole Herd of Wretches must discharge. For they do not in any wise feel the Weight of their own Decrees. But, you'll say, those that come from the Higher Powers must be Respected and Treated hand∣somely. I grant ye, but pray then do you Great ones be the first to Gratifie them, who are so ready to order others to do it. Be you the first in bestowing your Money who are the first in the Liberality of your Words: You who give of my Sustance, pray spare a little out of your own: Altho' in Justice you, who∣ever you are, who solely expect the Thanks, should solely bear the Expence. Well, we poor Knaves rest satisfied in the good Will and Pleasure of you Rich ones. Let all of us pay what a few of you command: Can any thing have more of Justice or Humanity in it? Your Orders still load us with new Debts: Pray at least let the Debt be in Common between us both. For can any thing be more unrighteous or unworthy, than that you alone should be free from the Debt, who are the Parties who make us all Debtors? And really the poor People are most miserable that pay all this I have been speaking of, and neither know why nor wherefore they pay it. For who dare ex∣amine Page  143 why he pays, or who is suffer'd to find out what his Debt is? But then it comes out when the Great ones fall out among themselves, when some of them take snuff that some things have been decreed without their Advice and Approbation. Then you may hear some of them say: What strange Doings are these! Two or three order what will be the Ruine of ma∣ny; a few Great ones decree what must be rais'd upon a great many very poor ones. For every one of these Rich ones so far gratifies his own Pride, that he would not have any thing pass in his Absence, and not out of any Respect he has to Justice, to stop the passing of any unrighteous Thing when he was present. For what they had found fault with in others, they them∣selves, either to revenge the former Slight, or to shew their own Power, do afterwards E∣stablish. So that the poor unhappy meaner People are plac'd, as it were, in the middle of the Sea, amidst the contending Storms, are sometimes overwhelm'd with the Waves of one side, and sometimes with those of the other.

VIII. But I warrant you those who have been thus hard in this particular, are more just and moderate in others, and make Amends for the Badness of one Business by the fair Dealing in another. And as in the Imposition of fresh Supplies they bear hard on the poorer Sort, so they support and assist them by the fresh Re∣medies: and as the lesser People were most bur∣den'd with the new Taxes, so they are most eas'd by the new Remedies. No, their in∣justice Page  144 is alike in both Cases. For as the mean∣er People are the first in the Burden, so they are the last in the Relief from it. And if at any time, as it lately happen'd, the Higher Powers have thought fit that the Taxes of some decay'd Cities should be lessen'd, the Great ones immediately part that Remedy that was given in common to all, among themselves. No one then thinks of the Poor: Nor calls the mean and needy to the partaking of the Fa∣vour. He who is always first in bearing of the Burden, shall in the last place receive the Ease from. And what shall I say more? The poorer Sort are not reckon'd to be Scot and Lot Men, unless when the Load of Tribute is put upon them, but when a Remedy is to be shar'd, they are cast out of the Number. Do we think then that we do not deserve the se∣verity of the Divine Vengeance, when we are thus always oppressing of the Poor! Or do we believe, seeing we are perpetually un∣just, that God will not as constantly exercise his Justice upon us? For where or among what People, unless among the Romans only, will you find such wicked Dealings as these? Whose injustice is so great as this of ours? The Franks know nothing of this Villany. The Huns are absolutely free from it. There is no such thing among the Vandals; nothing of it among the Goths → . For so far are the Barbari∣ans among the Goths → from bearing any thing of this Nature, that the very Romans who live among them feel nothing of it. So that it is the unanimous Prayer of all those Romans,Page  145 that they may never be forc'd again to come under the Power of the Romans. There 'tis the Peoples constant and daily Wish, that they may still lead the Life they now live among the Barbarians. And yet we admire that the Goths → are not routed by our Armies, when our own People chuse rather to live with them, than with us. So that our Countrymen will not only not return from them to us, but desert us to go over to them. And really, it seems a little strange to me, that all the Poor and meaner Sort, who are assess'd to the Taxes, do not all go over, and there seems to be only one Reason why they have not done it; Because they cannot carry over with them the diminu∣tive Remnants of their Fortunes, their poor Cots and Families. For since many of them are forc'd to quit their little Fields and sorry Huts, to avoid the Violence of the Exactions, how would they not leave what they are com∣pell'd to, but if 'twere possible, would carry it off with them. However, since they can∣not accomplish this, which, it may be, they had rather, they strike up with the only Me∣thod that is left them. They throw themselves into the Guardianship and Protection of the Great ones: They surrender themselves into rich Men's hands, and entirely put themselves under their Power and Jurisdiction. I should not take this to be any great Burden or Mis∣fortune, but should rather commend this Power of the Great ones, to whom these poor People surrender themselves, if they did not sell their Protections, and when they gave Page  146 them such Shelter, they did it out of Charity or good Nature, and not for sordid Lucre. But 'tis very hard and cruel, that they only seem to Protect them, that they may Plunder them; they defend them only on Condition, that they may make those who are miserable already, to be much more so. For all who are under this seeming Protection, make over almost All their whole Estates to their Guardi∣ans, before they can procure the Favour; and so the Children lose their Inheritance, that the Fathers may gain a Protection. The de∣fence of the Parents is procur'd with the Beg∣gary of the whole Family. And these are the Grand Helps and Protections of the Great ones. They give not a Cross to those who are under their Patronage, but keep all to themselves. And thus the Parents for some small while, have a little Advantage, that afterward the Whole may be taken from their Children. So that the Great ones sell, and sell at the high∣est Rate they can, every Favour that they do: And what I call selling, I wish they would sell after the usual Method; for then, it may be, the Buyer might reserve somewhat for himself. But this is a new and unheard of Way of Buying and Selling. The Seller de∣livers nothing, and yet receives all. The Buyer receives nothing, and yet utterly loses all. And since this is common almost in all Bargains, that the Buyer is generally the Richer, and the Seller the Poorer, for that the Buyer pur∣chases with Design to encrease his Estate, and the Seller parts with his Goods in order to les∣sen Page  147 it; this kind of Dealing is prodigious, the Seller's Estate encreases, when the Buyer has nothing left but sheer Beggary. And how in∣tolerable and monstrous, and so far from being endur'd by Mankind that 'tis not fit to be heard by them, is this, that many of these pitifully Poor, miserable Wretches, who are robb'd of all that little they had, and driven from their little Lands, even when they have thus lost their Estate, yet still pay the Tax for the Estate thus taken from them; and tho' they have lost the Possession of that, their Capitation does not leave them. They have not one jot of Pro∣perty, and yet they are over-born with Taxes! Who can sufficiently set forth this Wicked∣ness? The Oppressors brood upon their E∣states, and these poor Creatures pay the Tri∣bute for them. After the Father's Decease, the Sons, by reason of the Father's former Ser∣vice, have not their Lands, and yet are mur∣der'd with the Duties of them. And so by these Pranks, it comes to pass, that they who were before stript by private Oppression, do yield up the Ghost by publick Squeezing, and from whom Robbery had taken away their Estate, pilling and polling has taken away their Life. And therefore many of those, who either naturally are more considerate, or whom Necessity has forc'd so to be, when they have either lost their Houses and Lands by Oppression, or have been driven from them by the Tax-gatherers, and find they cannot hold them, they seek out for the Lands of some Great Men, and so become Farmers to Page  148 the Rich. And as they who being affrighted with the Approach of an Enemy, are used to betake themselves to their Strong-holds, or they who have forfeited the Protection of the Government, do in despair fly to some place of Refuge, even so these Men, who can no longer enjoy the Seat and Honour of their Fa∣mily, betake themselves to the Drudgery of a pitiful Tenement, being reduc'd to the necessi∣ry of being strangers not only to their Estate, but even to their former Stations and Conditi∣ons, Banish'd not only from their Fortunes, but even from themselves, and loosing every thing together with themselves; they want both a Property in their Goods, and have lost all Title to their Liberty and Freedom.

IX. And really, since Misfortune and Ne∣cessity have made it so, this mean Condition might, however, be born with, if there were not still somewhat worse. But it is bitter and grievous that there is yet a greater Mischief follows. For they are receiv'd as Strangers, but their Dwellings prejudice them so far as to make them Natives, and after the Pattern of Circe, that most powerful Enchantress, who was said to change Men into Beasts, all of these who are admitted within the Lands of Great Men, are pefectly Metamorphos'd, as by a Draught of Circe's Bowl. For those whom they receive as Foreigners and Aliens, they presently seize as their proper Goods; and those who are well known to be Gentlemen, are converted into Slaves. And do we wonder then if the Barbartans carry us away Captive, Page  149 when we thus captivate our own Brethren? Never think it strange that our Cities are sack'd and destroy'd. We have long taken a world of Pains by the Oppression of very many, that so by captivating others, we our selves should at length begin to be Captives too. For now we feel, tho' much later than we desetve; we feel, I say, at length, what we have done;* and, as the holy Scripture says, We eat the la∣bours of our hands; and by the just Judgment of God, we pay the Debt we owe. We have* shewn no Compassion to those who have been Banish'd from their own Country, and loe, we our selves are now in that Condition? We have put Tricks upon Strangers, and behold, we our selves are become Wanderers and are put upon. We have over-reach'd Men of Condition by the Corruption of the Times, and loe, we of late begin to live in a foreign Soil, and yet fear, even now, the like Corru∣ptions. And, O how Great is the Infidelity and Blindness of our naughty Minds! We are now under the Sentence of a Judging God, and yet we do not acknowledge our selves to have been adjudg'd. Nay some good Men admire that other People, who yet have not suffer'd any such thing, are not amended by our Examples, when as we our selves, who are now under God's hands, are not the least reform'd by his punishing of our Iniquities. O intolerable Pride! Very many bear the Pu∣nishment of their Iniquities, and yet no body vouchsases to understand the Cause of the Chastisement. But the Reason of this Pride Page  150 is plain; altho' we do indeed undergo some Hardships, yet we do not suffer what we de∣serve. For the Mercy of God is so Great, that altho' he would have as suffer for some of our Faults, yet he would not have us bear them all; tho' he punishes the Wicked, he cannot do wickedness: and he had rather we should ac∣knowledge our Sins, than bear the Weight of them; that so, by those loving and wholesome Stripes, he might shew us what we deserve to bear, but yet will not lay upon us our Deserts, according to that of the blessed Apostle, where he says: Dost thou not know that the goodness of God leadeth thee to Repentance? But after thy*hardness, and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thy self wrath against the day of wrath. We do really just thus, as the Apostle says. For God calls us to Repentance, but we treasure up Wrath; God invites us to Pardon, but we daily add Sin to Sin. We offer Violence to God for our Iniquities, we arm the Divine ven∣geance against us. We force the Almighty against his Will to revenge the Outragiousness of our Offences. Nay we almost go so far as not to give him leave to spare us. For since there cannot the least sign of Injustice ever happen to, or appear in God, we act so, that if he do's not execute Vengeance on our Gi∣gantick Villanies, he will almost seem to be unjust.

X. But some one or other was formerly a Sinner, perhaps now he is not; Is there any end of Sinning, and do not Men sooner leave their Lives than their Iniquities? For where Page  151 is one, who do's not die in his Offences, and is buried with, nay in his very Transgressions? So what That of the Prophet may be truly ap∣ply'd to them: Their Graves are their Habita∣tion*for ever: they are compared unto the fool∣ish bruit Beasts, and are made like unto them. And I wish they were like Beasts: for it had been better for them to have gone out of the way by bruitish Stupidity: Because it is worse, and enhances the Crime, that they have offend∣ed God, not out of Ignorance, but Contempt. And are they the Laity only that have done this? No, some also of the Clergy. What, of the Seculars only? No, many also of the Religious, who under the Cloak of Religion are enslav'd to Secular Vices; who after all their former Sins and Debaucheries, taking up∣on them the Title of Sanctity, and being the same they ever were in their Conversation, have only by a new Profession chang'd their Name, but not their Lives, and taking the Whole of God's Worship to consist more in odd Cloaths, than good Actions, have only put off their former Garments, but not their Incli∣nations. So that those take themselves to be Offenders with much less Censure, who, when they are said to do something like Penance, as they do not leave their former Courses, so neither do they change their Habit. For these Men do almost every thing so, that you would not so much think they had formerly repented of their Sins, as that they afterward repented of that very Repentance, nor that they had formerly repented so much, that they had liv'd Page  152 ill, as afterward, that they had ever promis'd to live well. They know that I speak the Truth, and their own Consciences bear Wit∣ness to what I say; and that as of many others, so particularly to those Religious Hawkers and Courtiers of new Honours; and after they have taken the Name of Penitents upon them, purchasers of very large and never-before-pos∣sess'd Power. So that they would be not on∣ly Seculars, but much more; 'tis not enough for them to be what they were before, unless they should afterward be somewhat more than they had been. How then do not such repent of their former Repentance? Even as they al∣so repent, that ever they had a Thought of their Conversion to God, who abstaining from their own Wives, do not keep their hands from the wrongful taking away of o∣ther Men's Goods, and when making profes∣sion of the Continence of their Bodies, they run Horn-mad with the Incontinence of their Minds. This is an altogether new sort of Conversion. They do not do those things they lawfully may, and yet commit those that are unlawful. They refrain from Copulation, but do not refrain from Rapine. What's the mean∣ing of so ridiculous a Perswasion? God hath forbid Sinning, but not Wedding. Your Actions* do not quadrate with your Principles. You ought not to be the Patrons of Vice, who pre∣tend to be the followers of Virtue. You act most preposterously. This is not a turning to God, but a turning away from him. Since, as the Report go's, you have long since left the Page  153 work of honest Matrimony, pray, likewise at length leave off your Sinning: And that, as is fitting, all manner of Sinning: But yet if you cannot refrain from all, because perhaps you take that to be a difficult and impossible Task, yet I beseech you, hold your hand from prodigious and monstrous Impieties. I grant you, whoever you are, that no Neighbours may hold up, nor mean People live near you. I allow that you be a Persecutor of many indi∣gent People, and a Destroyer of the distressed; I allow that you be an Afflicter of all, so they be foreigners: But I beg of you at length, to spare your own Friends, and if not all your own, because, it may be, you judge that to be grievous and burdensome, if you should spare them all; have Compassion, at least, on those of your Acquaintance, who have preferr'd you, not only before their Kindred and Neighbours, but before all the dearest and nearest Relations in the World. But what should I mention Re∣lations and Children? They have lov'd you more than their Souls, and all their future hopes, for which they are not to be commend∣ed; and he who has done so, do's acknow∣ledge his Mistake. But what is it to you, who were the Occasion and Subject of the Mistake? You are certainly the more indebted, because he offended no otherwise but by loving you too much. He was blinded with the Affection he had for you, and was mark'd and check'd by every body for it. But you, however, are so much the more oblig'd to him, because he suf∣fer'd himself to be blam'd by all Mankind, pure∣ly out of Love to you.

Page  154XI. What is there now among the Barbarous Goths like this? Who injures those that love them? Who persecutes those who respect them? Or whose Throat is cut by the Sword of his Friend? You pursue those who love you, you cut off the Hands of those who bring you Pre∣sents, and slay your dearest Friends that re∣spect you, and yet do not fear, do not tremble! What would you do if you did not perceive God's present Judgment, even in this next Correction of you? Beside you add and heap up new Wickednesses to your former Crimes. Consider, and think what Punishment waits for you, who are committing Sins of the larger Size, when the lesser have been severely cha∣stised, even by evil Spirits. We desire for the present you would be satisfied with the pillag∣ing of your Friends and Companions; let it content you to have tormented the Poor, and to have robb'd even the very Beggars; there is not a Soul near you, but has his Fears; no body can be secure. The headlong Torrents from the rocky Alps, or the Fire made wild by Winds, are much more tolerable. The sink∣ing Seamen are not so nimbly swallow'd by Charybdis, nor devour'd, as the Saying is, by Scylla's Dogs. You forceably thrust out your Neighbours from their poor little Possessions, and your Kindred from their Houses and E∣states. What, as the Scripture says, Would you be plac'd alone in the midst of the Earth?* But this is the thing you can never attain to. For altho' you seize upon all you can, and run over all you can, yet you will always have a Page  155 Neighbour. I beseech you, have a little Re∣gard for some others, whom you your self, whether you will or no, do respect. Re∣gard others, whom, whether you will or no, you admire. They are above the rest in Ho∣nour, and equal to them in Worth and Re∣putation; they are greater by their Power, but lesser by their Humility. You, to whom I am now speaking, know well enough, of whom I speak; and you, the same, of whom I am now Complaining, ought to acknow∣ledge him, whom I am thus deservedly Com∣mending; And I wish there were many such who deserv'd such Commendation; For the Excellencies of many might be the Saving of All. But granting, that you have not a mind to be commended, why, I pray you, do you desire to be condemn'd? Why is nothing so grateful to you as Injustice, why nothing so pleasing as Avarice, and nothing so dear as Ex∣tortion? Why do you prize nothing of equal Value with Naughtiness, nor think any thing so Excellent as Rapine? Learn at least from a Heathen, what is the solid Good. You should, says he, be defended by Love and good Will, and not by Arms. You are therefore mistaken in your Notions, the Baseness of your blind and deprav'd Understanding deceives you. If you would be blameless, Powerful, and truly Great, you should surmount all others in ver∣tuous Actions, not in Oppression and Injustice. I have formerly read in some place or other: No one is a bad Man, but who at the same time is a Fool; for if he were wise, he had much ra∣ther Page  156 be good. Do you then, if it be yet possi∣ble for you to return to your right Wits, leave off your ill Doings, if ever you hope to at∣tain true Wisdom. For if ever you desire ei∣ther to be really wise, or in your right mind, you must-entirely change and put off your self. Remove your self then from your self, that you be not rejected by Christ. Cast off your self, that you may be receiv'd by Christ. Destroy even your self to prevent your perish∣ing. For whosoever, says our Saviour, will lose*his Life for my sake, the same shall find it. Fall in love then with this so wholesome Per∣dition, that you may thereby obtain the true Salvation. For you must never expect to be saved by God, unless you first of all condemn your self.

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