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Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and
spirit. 2 Cor. vii. 1. Every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust
and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. James i. 14, 15. Remember what our Lord says, (Matt. v. 8,) “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God,"—therefore
Pray to God to cleanse the thoughts of your hearts, by the inspiration of his Holy Spirit,' and “to preserve you from evil thoughts, which assault and hurt the soul." Do not expose yourself to temptation by eating and drinking to excess, by indulging in idleness, or frequenting improper places of amusement, but keep under your body, and fly from the first approaches of sin. Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost? How, then, will you dare to pollute it by such abominations? Be like Joseph, and whenever temptation approaches, ask yourself, How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? Gen,
xxxix. 9. 11. And pray that God may never deal with you as with the Gentiles, of whom the apostle Paul writes, God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of
their own hearts-being filled with all unrighteousness, forni. cation, wickedness, &c. Rom. i. 24--29. Litany. -From all inordinate and sinful desires, and from all
the deceits of the world, the flesh, and the devil, good Lord,
deliver us. 1st Sunday in Lent.-Give us grace to use such abstinence, that our flesh being subdued to the Spirit, we may ever obey
thy godly motions in righteousness and true holiness. Purification.--That so we may be presented unto thee with
pure and clean hearts, by the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
ON THE COMMANDMENTS.
§ 9. EIGHTH COMMANDMENT. What is the eighth Commandment ?
Thou shalt not steal.
1. House-breaking, highway-robbery, actual theft, and all manner of fraud and injustice.
The following passages contain laws respecting the punishment
of men for stealing. Exod. xxi. 16; xxii. 145.7--13. Lev.
vi. 1--7. Deut. xxiv, 7. Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely. Lev. xix. 11. Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him. Lev.
xix. 13. Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment; in mete-yard, in
weight, or in measure. Lev. xix. 35. If thou sell aught unto thy neighbour, or buyest aught of thy
neighbour's hand, ye shall not oppress one another. Lev.
XXV. 14. It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer; but when he is gone
his way, then he boasteth. Prov. xx. 14. Bread of deceit is sweet to.a man, but afterwards his mouth
shall be filled with gravel. Prov. xx. 17. The curse shall enter into the house of the thief. Zech. v. 3, 4. Defraud not. Mark x. 19. Neither thieves, nor covetous, nor extortioners, shall inherit the
kingdom of God. 1 Cor, vi. 10. We have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty. 2 Cor. iv. 2. That no man go beyond, and defraud his brother in any matter.
1 Thess. iv. 6. 2. Taking advantage of the ignorance of another, in buying and selling. *
3. The use of false weights and measures in selling or huying. Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall
ye have. Lev. xix. 26. Thou shalt not have divers weights, or divers measures, a great
and a small. But thou shalt have a perfect and a just weight, a perfect and just measure shalt thou have. For all that do such things, and all that do unrighteously, are an abomi
nation unto the Lord thy God. Deut. xxv. 13-16. A false balance is abomination to the Lord: but a just weight
is his delight. Prov. xi. 1. Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike
abomination to the Lord. Prov. xx. 10. 4. Detaining from another his just due; or borrowing money without any hopes of repaying it. The wicked borroweth and payeth not again. Ps. xxxvii. 21.
5. Receiving or concealing stolen goods, is a breach of this commandment.
6. A servant is guilty of thest, when he injures or wastes his master's property ; or spends, in idleness, the time for which he is paid.
7. Persons break this commandment, when, by pretended sickness or want, they impose upon the parish for relief, or upon well-disposed persons for charity.
* See note at the end of the section, page 165.
8. A man breaks it when he evades the taxes. Render unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar's. Matt. xxii. 21
Mark xii. 17. Render, therefore, to all their dues : tribute to whom tribute is
due. Rom. xiii. 7. What does this commandment require ?
“To be true and just in all my dealings : To keep my hands from picking and stealing ; and to learn and labour truly to get my own living, and to do my duty in that state of life, unto which it shall please God to call me. Let him that stole steal no more; but rather let him labour,
working with his hands the thing which is good. Eph. iv. 28. Whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just
whatsoever things are of good report;think on these things. Phil. iv. 8. That ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to
work with your own hands, as we commanded you; that we may walk honestly toward them that are without, &c.
1 Thess. iv. 11, 12. Now them that are such, we command and exhort by our Lord
Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work and eat their
own bread. 2 Thess. iii. 12. Lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
1 Tim. ii. 2. It requires also acts of mercy, which are a kind of debt due to the poor, and required as such by God, as sovereign proprietor of all. Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in
the power of thine hand to do it. Prov. iii. 27. He that honoureth his Maker, hath mercy on the poor.
Prov. xiv. 31. Give alms of such things as ye have. Luke xi, 41. Ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of
the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than
to receive. Acts xx. 35. If you have been guilty of a fraud, be like Zaccheus, (Luke xix. 8,) and restore to those you have injured fourfold. Beware of covetousness, for The love of money is the root of all evil. 1 Tim. vi. 10.
If a person sets his heart too much on earthly riches, he may be tempted to use some dishonest or improper means to obtain them. Besides, they are very perishable, and can never impart true happiness : seek not, therefore, to lay up treasures on earth; But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither
moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break
How often do they endeavour to cheat and over-reach each other; and what a propensity many of them seem to have, to take what does not belong to them, when they are not observed! Some children appear to suppose, that stealing from their parents is no crime ; but the Bible says, Whoso robbeth his father or his mother, and saith, It is no
transgression; the same is the companion of a destroyer.
Prov. xxviii. 24. Repress every inclination to fraud or pilfering. Say not to yourself, It is a little thing," for little things lead on to greater. The habit will grow with your years, and may finally bring you to disgrace and ruin. Selfishness is
a great enticer to theft. Take care you do not indulge it. - Cultivate a generous spirit, and you will cut off many
temptations to dishonesty.
NOTE. VARIOUS WAYS IN WHICH THIS COMMANDMENT IS BROKEN. "BESIDES what everybody calls theft, there are many practices which amount indirectly to much the same thing, however disguised in the world under gentler names. Thus in the way of trade and business: if the seller puts off any thing for better than it is, by false assertions, or deceitful arts: if he takes advantage of the buyer's ignorance, or particu. lar necessities, or good opinion of him, to insist on a larger price for it than the current value; or if he gives less in quantity hé professes, oris understood to give, the frequency of some of these things cannot alter the nature of any of them: no one can be ignorant that they are wrong, but such as are wilfully or very carelessly ignorant: and the declaration of Scripture against the last of them is extended, in the same place, to every one of the rest. 'Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small: thou shalt not have in thy house divers measures, a great and a small. For all that do such things, and all that do unrighteously, are an abomination unto the Lord thy God.'
“On the other hand; if the buyer takes advantage of his own wealth ; and the poverty or present distress of the seller, to beat down the price of his merchandise beyond reason : or if he buys up the whole of a commodity, especially if it be a necessary one, to make immediate gain of it; or if he refuses or delays his payments beyond the time within which, by agreement or the known course of traffic, they ought to be made: all such behaviour is downright injustice and breach of God's law. For the rule is, 'if thou sellest aught unto thy neighbour, or buyest aught of thy neighbour's hand, ye shall not oppress one another.'
Again : borrowing on fraudulent securities, or false representations of our circumstances, or without intention, or without proper care afterwards to repay; preferring the gratification of our covetousness, our vanity, our voluptuousness, our indolence, before the satisfying of our just debts : all this is palpable wickedness. And just as bad is the con. trary wickedness, of demanding exorbitant interest for lending to ignorant or thoughtless persons: or to extravagant ones, for carrying on their extravagance; or to necessitous ones, whose necessities it must continually increase, and make their ruin, after a while, more certain, more difficult to retrieve, and more hurtful to all with whom they are concerned. The Scripture hath particularly forbidden it in the last case, and enjoined a very different sort of behaviour. 'If thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee, then shalt thou relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner. Thou shalt not give him thy money upon usury nor lend him thy victuals for increase; but fear thy God, that thy brother may dwell with thee.' And the Psalmist hath expressed the two opposite characters, on these occasions, very briefly and clearly.—'The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again : but the righteous showeth mercy, and giveth.
“Another crying iniquity is, when hired servants, labourers, or work men of any sort, are ill used in their wages: whether by giving them too little : or, which is often full as bad, deferring it too long. The word of God forbids the last in very strong terms. 'Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee,' meaning, if demanded, or wanted, 'all night until the morning.' 'At his day thou shalt give him his hire; neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it: lest he cry against thee unto the Lord, and it be sin unto thee.' Nay, the son of Sirach carries it, with reason, (as I observed to you on the sixth commandment,) further still. "The bread of the needy is their life: he that defraudeth the labourer of his hire is a blood-shedder.'
“But, besides all these instances of unrighteousness, there are many more that are frequent in all kinds of contracts. Driving bargains that we know are too hard; or insisting rigidly on the performance of them, after they appear to be so: making no abatements, when bad times, or unexpected losses, or other alterations of circumstances call for them: not inquiring into the grounds of complaints, when there is a likelibood of their being just : throwing unreasonable burdens upon others, merely because they dare not refuse them: keeping then to the very words and letter of an agreement, contrary to the equitable intention of it: or, on the other hand, alleging some flaw and defect in form, 10 get loose from an agreement, which ought to have been strictly observed: all these things are grievous oppression. And though some of them may not be in the least contrary to law, yet they are utterly irreconcilable with good conscience. Iluman laws cannot provide for all cases, and sometimes the vilest iniquities may be committed under their authority and by their means.
“It is therefore a further lamentable breach of this commandment, when one person puts another to the charge and hazard of law, un: justly or needlessly; or in ever so necessary a law-suit, occasions unne. cessary expenses, and contrives unfair delays: in short, when any thing is done by either party : by the counsel that plead or advise in the cause, or by the judge, who determines it contrary to real justice and equity.
"Indeed when persons, by any means whatever, withhold from another his right; either keeping him ignorant of it, or forcing him to unrea. sonable cost or trouble to obtain it; this, in its proportion, is the same kind of injury with stealing from him. To see the rich and great, in these or any ways, bear hard upon the poor, is very dreadful : and truly, it is little, if at all, less so, when the lower sort of people are unmerciful, as they are but too often, one to another. For, as Solomon observes, 'a poor man that oppresseth the poor, is like a sweeping rain, which leaveth w food.'. But if it be a person ever so wealthy, that is wronged, still his wealth is his own: and no one can have more right to take the least part of it from him, without his consent, than to rob the meanest wretch in the world. Suppose it be a body or number of men; suppose it to be the government, the public that is cheated; be it of more or less, be it su little as not to be sensibly missed ; let the guilt be divided among ever 80 many; let the practice be ever so common; still it is the same crime, however it may vary in degrees; and the rule is without exception, that no man go beyond, or defraud his brother in any matter."" --Secker's Lectures, p. 226.