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using the proper endeavours to be reconciled with our Adversaries. Particularly, there is one Clause of that excellent Prayer which is proposed to us as the Pattern of our Devotions, which teaches us, and puts us in Mind, that we are to expect Forgiveness of our Sins on no other Terms, than as we forgive Men their Trespasses; and therefore praying for Enemies, and particularly that God would forgive them, is a necessary Part of our own · Agreement with them. So much for the Duty of Agreeing with our Adversary quickly, whilst we are in the Way with him. As for the Consequences of neglecting or delaying this Duty, for want of
Time, I must leave them to another Opportunity, : Now to God the Father, Son, and Holy
MATT. V. 25. Agree with thine Adversary quickly, whilst thou art
in the Way with him : lest at any time the Adversary deliver thee to the Judge, and the Judge deliver thee to the Officer, and thou be cast into
Prifon. Ver. 26. Verily I say unto thee, thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermos Farthing.
The Second Sermon on this Text.
were Two Things I observed, as contained in them.
1. The Duty here enjoined, of Agreeing with - the Adversary quickly, whilst we are in the Way with him.
2. The Evil Consequences attending the Neglect or Delay of this Duty; left at any Time the Adversary deliver thee to the Fudge, and the Fudge deliver thee to the Officer, and thou be cast into Prifon. Verily I say unto thee, thou shalt by no Means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost Farthing.
Now having at that Time spoke to the First of these, the Duty of Agreeing with the Adversary
wbilst we are in the Way, that is, while we are in speaking and conversing Terms with him; I proceed now to the Second, namely, the evil Consequences attending the Neglect or Delay of this Duty; the Adversary's Mind growing more and more exasperated, and he suing us at Law with all the Trouble and Loss attending the Suit, and the Execution of it. And here, as I told you, tho' the Consequences mentioned are enumerated but in one common Instance of a Law Suit, in cafe we come to be legally impleaded; they may, by a Parity of Reason, be considered in all the other Instances of Quarrels neglected to be made up, but profecuted to the Extremity: nay further, many Interpreters are of Opinion, that in this Pasfage, our Saviour had a farther Regard than to these common Controversies before earthly Judges; namely, that he had Respect too, to the Decision of Quarrels before the great Judge of Heaven and Earth, teaching us, that if we do not take Care to make Peace with our Adversary, while we are in the Way with him, that is, while this Life lasts; we shall be cast by that great Judge, and thrown into Hell, from whence there will be no Redemption: And I must think there is great Probability for this Interpretation likewise, both from our Saviour's general Custom of Raising the Mind from things Temporal to things Eternal ; and from his Atřeveration here, that there is no escaping out of the Prison, till we have paid the uttermost Farthing; which tho' often true of the Prisons of this World, after we have given a great deal of Trouble to our Creditors; yet is more li
terally true of Hell, the Infernal Prison, from | which it was very proper for our Saviour to assure
us with an Asseveration, that there will be no Redemption. And tho' to keep to the Decorum of the Parable or Similitude, he added these Words, till thou hast paid the uttermost Farthing; we are not to imagine from thence, that ever we shall be able to escape ; the Debt being so immense, and we having nothing to pay withal, and the Day of Grace and Redemption being then over ; so that it is all one as if he had said, ye shall never get out from thence; only that Expression would not have so well fitted both the Earthly and Infernal Prison, as this of our Saviour's doth.
The Words then being thus explained, there are these three Sorts of evil Consequences will be proper to be considered from them.
1. The evil Consequences in this World of letting Differences run on so far as to come to the Extremity of the Law.
2. The other evil Consequences in this World likewise, of other Quarrels beside Law-Suits, which, by a Parity of Reason, fall under the Consideration of this Advice of Agreeing with the Adversary.
3. The evil Consequences in the great Day of Judgment, of neglecting or delaying to make our Peace with our Adversary.
I. The evil Consequences in this World of letting Differences run on so far, as to come to the Extremity of the Law. Those evil Consequences are so many, that both the Doctrine of our Saviour, Matt, v. 40. and of the Apostle St Paul, i Cor. vi. 7. by some are thought to forbid going to Law altogether. But this will be found to be a Mistake; it is not the going to Law, but the going to Law for flight Causes, and without trying the previous Methods for Peace 04
and Accommodation, which are discountenanced and forbid by them both. To make us sensible of the Inconveniencies of Controversy and Dilagreement, our Saviour here sums up the Trouble and Charge that will most probably attend it ; and that in these three Dangers. 1. In the Danger of the Adversary's prosecuting his Suit before the Judge. 2. In the Danger of the Judge's passing Sentence against us, and committing it to the Of ficers of the Court to be executed. 3. In the Danger of our not having wherewithal to satisfie the Debt, and therefore that the Officer will caft us into Prison, and not dismiss us from thence, till we have paid both the Debt and the whole Bill of Costs; whereas in the Beginning we might have come off much cheaper. I Thall confider them briefly in the fame Order in which they are mentioned in the Text..
1. First then, we have here the Danger of the Adversary's prosecuting his Suit before the Judge. Left at any Time the Adversary deliver thee to the fudge. This prosecuting of the Suit before the Judge, is attended with a mighty deal of Trouble and Charge, notwithstanding all the Care human Laws have taken to shorten Suits, and to cut off unnecessary Forms. For under this Head come in the Consultations and Pleadings of Lawyers ; the Citation and Examination of Witnesses; the Attendance on Courts and Juries; the Information and Perswasion of Judges; all which distract the Minds, empty the Purses, and spend the Time of the Clients to that degree, that commonly Peace had better be bought at any tolerable Rate; without going to Law, than even Victory so dear bought with it. .