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place to wrath," which St. Paul speaks of, that is, permitting all to the Divine justice. To this I answer, that it is not lawful to go to law for every occasion or slighter injury, because it is very distant from the mercies, forgiveness, and gentleness of a Christian, to contest for trifles; and it is certain that the injuries, or evil, or charges of trouble and expense, will be more vexatious and afflictive to the person contested, than a small instance of wrong is to the person injured. And it is a great intemperance of anger and impotence of spirit, a covetousness and impatience, to appeal to the judge for determination concerning a lock of camels' hair, or a goat's beard; I mean any thing that is less than the gravity of laws, or the solemnity of a court, and that does not outweigh the inconveniences of a suit. But this we are to consider in the expression of our blessed Saviour, "If a man will sue thee at the law, and take thy cloak, let him have thy coat also." Which words are a particular instance in pursuit of the general precept, "Resist not," or avenge not, evil." The primitive Christians (as it happens in the first fervours of a discipline) were sometimes severe in observation of the letter, not subtly distinguishing counsels from precepts, but swallowing all the words of Christ without chewing or discrimination. They abstained from tribunals', unless they were forced thither by persecutors; but went not thither to repeat their goods. And if we consider suits of law as they are wrapped in circumstances of action and practice, with how many subtleties and arts they are managed, how pleadings are made mercenary, and that it will be hard to find right counsel that shall advise you to desist, if your cause be wrong, (and therefore there is great reason to distrust every question, since, if it be never so wrong, we shall meet advocates to encourage us and plead for it",)


1 Σχέτλιοι ἄνθρωποι

Ποίων ἐκ τ ̓ ἐρίδων καὶ λεσχομάχων πεπλάνησθε

*Ανθρωποι, κενεῖς ὀιήσεος ἔμπλεοι ἀσκοί, — Timon Phlias.

Inhumanum verbum est, at quidem pro justo receptum, ultio; et à contumelia non differt nisi ordine. Qui dolorem regerit, tantùm excusatiùs peccat. Sencca, lib. ii. de Ira, c. 32.

* Matt. v. 40.

1 Οὗ δικάζονται τοῖς ἁρπάζουσι.---Athenag.

m Nam lucrosæ hujus et sanguinantis eloquentiæ usus recens, et malis moribus natus, atque in locum teli repertus. — Quintil. de Orator.

His qui bene facta canerent, non qui malè admissa defenderent, augustior honor apud deos. — Liem.

what danger of miscarriages, of uncharitableness, anger, and animosities, what desires to prevail, what care and fearfulness of the event, what innumerable temptations do intervene, how many sins are secretly insinuated in our hearts and actions; if a suit were of itself never so lawful, it would concern the duty of a Christian to avoid it, as he prays against temptations, and cuts off the opportunities of a sin. It is not lawful for a Christian to sue his brother at the law, unless he can be patient if he loses, and charitable if he be wronged, and can prosecute his end without any mixture of covetousness, or desires to prevail without envy, or can believe himself wrong when his judge says he is, or can submit to peace when his just cause is oppressed, and rejected, and condemned, and, without pain or regret, can sit down by the loss of his right, and of his pains and his money. And if he can do all this, what need he go to law? He may, with less trouble and less danger, take the loss singly, and expect God's providence for reparation, than disentitle himself to that by his own frowardness, and take the loss when it comes laden with many circumstances of trouble.

9. But however by accident it may become unlawful to go to law in a just cause, or in any, yet by this precept we are not forbidden. To go to law for revenge we are simply forbidden, that is, to return evil for evil; and therefore all those suits which are for vindictive sentences", not for reparative, are directly criminal. To follow a thief to death, for spoiling my goods, is extremely unreasonable and uncharitable; for as there is no proportion between my goods and his life, (and therefore I demand it to his evil and injury,) so the putting him to death repairs not my estate: the first makes it in me to be unjust, the latter declares me malicious and revengeful. If I demand an eye for an eye, his eye extinguished will not enlighten mine; and therefore, to prosecute him to such purposes, is to resist or render evil with evil, directly against Christ's sermon. But if the postulation of sentence be in order only to restore myself, we find it

" Nova lex non se vindicat ultione gladii, i. e. privatus Christianus vindictam nunquam petit. Tertull.

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permitted by St. Paul, who, when, for the scandal's sake, he forbade "going to law before unbelievers," and for the danger and temptation's sake, and the latent irregularity, which is certainly appendant to ordinary litigations, he is angry indefinitely with them that go to law; yet he adviseth that Christian arbitrators be appointed for decision of emergent questions. And therefore, when the supreme authority hath appointed and regularly established an arbitrator, the permission is the same. St. Paul is angry, that among Christians there should be suits, but it is therefore he is chiefly angry because Christians do wrong; they who should rather suffer wrong, yet that they should do it, and defraud their brother, which in some sense enforces suits; that is it he highly blames. But when injustice is done, and a man is in a considerable degree defrauded, then it is permitted to him to repeat his own before Christian arbitrators, whether chosen by private consent or public authority; for that circumstance makes no essential alteration in the question : but then this must be done with as much simplicity and unmingled design as is possible, without any desire of rendering evil to the person of the offender, without arts of heightening the charge, without prolongation, devices, and arts of vexation, without anger and animosities; and then, although accidentally there is some appendant charge to the offending person, that is not accounted upon the stock of revenge, because it was not designed, and is not desired, and is cared for to prevent it as much as may be, and therefore offer was made of private and unchargeable arbitrators; and this being refused, the charge and accidental evil, if it be less than the loss of my sufferance and injury, must be reckoned to the necessities of affairs, and put upon the stock of his injustice, and will not affix a guilt upon the actor. I say, this is true, when the actor hath used all means to accord it without charge, and, when he is refused, manages it with as little as he can, and when it is nothing of his desire, but something of his trouble, that he cannot have his own without the lesser accidental evil to the offender, and that the question is great and weighty in his proportion; then a

• 1 Cor. vi. 1, &c.

suit of law is of itself lawful. But then let it be remembered, how many ways afterwards it may become unlawful; and I have no more to add in this article but the saying of the son of Sirach, "He that loves danger shall perish in it." And certainly he had need be an angel that manages a suit innocently; and he that hath so excellent a spirit, as with innocence to run through the infinite temptations of a lawsuit, in all probability hath so much holiness as to suffer the injury, and so much prudence as to avoid the danger: and therefore, nothing but a very great defalcation, or ruin of a man's estate, will, from the beginning to the end, justify such a controversy. When the man is put to it so, that he cannot do some other duty without venturing in this, then the grace of God is sufficient for him; but he that enters lightly shall walk dangerously, and a thousand to one but he will fall foully. "It is utterly a fault among you," said St. Paul," because ye go to law one with another." It is not always a crime, but ever a fault, and an irregularity, a recession from Christian perfection, and an entertaining of a danger, which though we escape through, yet it was a fault to have entered into it, when we might have avoided it. And even then when it is "lawful" for us, it is "not expedient." For so the apostle sums up his reprehension concerning Christians going to law: We must " rather take wrong, rather suffer ourselves to be defrauded;" and when we cannot bear the burden of the loss, then, indeed, we are permitted to appeal to Christian judges; but then there are so many cautions to be observed, that, it may be, the remedy is worse than the disease. I only observe this one thing, that St. Paul permits it only in the instance of defraudation, or matter of interest; such as are defending of widows, and orphans, and churches, which, in estimation of law, are, by way of fiction, reckoned to be in pupilage and minority; add also repeating our own interests, when our necessities,

Ρ Ω Πέρση, σὺ δὲ ταῦτα τεῷ ἐνὶ κάτθεο θυμῷ,
Μὴ δὲ σ ̓ ἔρις κακόχαρτος ἀπ ̓ ἔργου θυμὸν ἐρύκοι
Νείκε' ὀπιπτεύοντ ̓, ἀγορῆς ἐπακουὸν ἐόντα·
Ωρη γὰρ τ' ὀλίγη πέλεται νεικέων τ ̓ ἀγορῶν τε
̓͂Ωτινι μὴ βίος ἔνδον ἐπηετανὸς κατάκειται
· Hesiod. "Εργ. καὶ ̔Ημές. lib. i.
9 1 Cor. vi. 7. ̔́Ολως ἥττημα, not παράπτωμα.

r Ver. 12.

› Ver. 7.

or the support of our family and relatives, requires it for all these are cases of charity or duty respectively. But besides the matter of defraudation, we find no instance expressed, nor any equality and parallel of reason, to permit Christians in any case to go to law; because, in other things, the sentence is but vindictive, and cannot repair us; and therefore demanding justice is a rendering evil in the proper matter of revenge. Concerning which I know no scruple but in an action of scandal and ill report. But because an innocent and an holy life will force light out of darkness, and humility, and patience, and waiting upon God, will bring glory out of shame; I suppose he who goes to law, to regain his credit, attempts the cure by incompetent remedies: if the accusation be public, the law will call him to an account, and then he is upon his defence, and must acquit himself with meekness and sincerity; but this allows not him to be the actor, for then it is rather a design of revenge than a proper deletery of his disgrace, and purgative of the calumny. For if the accusation can be proved, it was no calumny; if it be not proved, the person is not always innocent, and to have been accused leaves something foul in his reputation: and therefore, he that by law makes it more public, propagates his own disgrace, and sends his shame farther than his innocence, and the crime will go whither his absolution shall not arrive.

10. If it be yet farther questioned, whether it be lawful to pray for a revenge, or a punishment upon the offender, (I reckon them all one; he that prays for punishment of him that did him personal injury cannot easily be supposed to separate the punishment from his own revenge,) I answer, that although God be the avenger of all our wrongs, yet it were fit for us to have the affections of brethren, not the designs and purposes of a judge, but leave them to him to whom they are proper. When, in the bitterness of soul, an oppressed person curses sadly, and prays for vengeance, the calamity of the man and the violence of his enemy hasten a curse, and ascertain it. But whatever excuses the greatness of the oppression may make, I know not; but the bitterness of the spirit, besides that it is pitiable as it is a passion, yet it is violent and less Christian, as it is active and sends forth prayers. Woe is pronounced "to them by whom the

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