תמונות בעמוד

curbed their covetous desires. Believe God's Word from the bottom of your heart, that you shall lose things eternal if you sinfully get things temporal, and then you will not make haste to such a bargain, to win the world and lose your souls. Direct. Iv. “Understand your neighbour's case aright, and meditate on his wants and interest.’ You think what you want yourself; but you think not whether his wants with whom you deal, may not be as great as yours: consider what his commodity costeth him : or what the toil of the workman's labour is: what house rent he hath to pay, and what a family to maintain: and whether all this can be well done upon the rates that you desire to trade with him. And do not believe every common report of his riches, or of the price of his commodity; for fame in such cases is frequently false. Direct. v. “Regard the public good above your own commodity.’ It is not lawful to take up or keep up any oppressing monopoly or trade; which tendeth to enrich you by the loss of the commonwealth or of many. Direct. vi. “Therefore have a special regard to the laws of the country where you live; both as to your trade itself, and as to the price of what you sell or buy.” For the law is made for the public benefit, which is to be preferred before any private man's. And when the law doth directly or indirectly set rates upon labours or commodities, ordinarily they must be observed; or else you will commit two sins at once, injury and disobedience. Direct. vii. “Also have special respect to the common estimate, and to the market-price.’ Though it be not always to be our rule, yet ordinarily it must be a considerable part of it; and of great regard. Direct. viii. ‘Let not imprudent thinking make you seem more covetous than you are.’ Some imprudent persons cannot tell how to make their markets without so many words, even about a penny or a trifle, that it maketh others think them covetous, when it is rather want of wit. The appearance of evil must be avoided. I have known some that are ready to give a pound to a charitable use at a word, who will yet use so many words for a penny in their bargaining as maketh them deeply censured and misunder

stood. If you see cause to break for a penny or a small matter, do it more handsomely in fewer words, and be gone: and do not tempt the seller to multiply words, because you do so. Direct. Ix. ‘Have no more to do in bargaining with others, especially with censorious persons, than you needs must: For in much dealing usually there will be much misunderstanding, offence, censure, and complaint. Direct. x. “In doubtful cases, when you are uncertain what is lawful, choose that side which is safest to the peace of your consciences hereafter ; though it be against your commodity, and may prove the losing of your right.”

'it. 2. Cases of Conscience about Justice in Contracts,

Quest. 1. ‘Must I always do as I would be done by ? Or hath this rule any exceptions ?” Answ. The rule intendeth no more but that your just self-denial and love to others, be duly exercised in your dealings with all. And l. It supposeth that your own will or desires be honest and just, and that God's law be their rule. For a sinful will may not be made the rule of your own actions or of other men's. He that would have another make him drunk, may not therefore make another drunk : and he that would abuse another man's wife, may not therefore desire that another man would lust after or abuse his wife. He that would not be instructed, reproved, or reformed, may not therefore forbear the instructing or reproving others. And he that would kill himself, may not therefore kill another. But he that would have no hurt done to himself injuriously, should do none to others: and he that would have others do him good, should be as willing to do good to them. 2. It supposeth that the matter be to be varied according to your various conditions. A parent that justly desireth his child to obey him, is not bound therefore to obey his child; nor the prince to obey his subjects; nor the master to do all the work of his servants, which he would have his servants do for him. But you must deal by another, as you would (regularly) have them do by you, if you were V o L. V. I. U

in their case, and they in yours. And on these terms it is a rule of righteousness. Quest. 11. ‘Is a son bound by the contract which his parents or guardians made for him in his infancy?" Answ. To some things he is bound, and to some things not. The infant is capable of being obliged by another upon four accounts. 1. As he is the parent's own; (or a master's to whom he is in absolute servitude). 2. As he is to be ruled by the parents. 3. As he is a debtor to his parents for benefits received. 4. As he is an expectant or capable of future benefits to be enjoyed upon conditions to be performed by him. 1. No parents or lord have an absolute property in any rational creature; but they have a property ‘secundum quid, et ad hoc:’ and a parent's property doth in part expire or abate, as the son groweth up to the full use of reason, and so hath a greater property in himself. Therefore he may oblige his son only so far as his property extendeth, and to such acts, and to no other: for in those his will is reputatively his son's will. As if a parent sell his son to servitude, he is bound to such service as beseemeth one man to put another to. 2. As he is rector to his child, he may by contract with a third person promise that his child shall do such acts, as he hath power to command and cause him to do: as to read, to hear God’s Word, to labour as he is able; but this no longer than while he is under his parent's government: and so long obedience requireth him to perform their contracts, in performing their commands. 3. The child having received his being and maintenance from them, remains obliged to them as his benefactors in the debt of gratitude as long as he liveth; and that so deeply that some have questioned whether ever he can requite them: (which “quoad valorem beneficii’ he can do only by furthering their salvation; as many a child hath been the cause of the parent's conversion). And so far as the son is thus a debtor to his parents, he is obliged to do that which the parents by contract with a third person shall impose upon him. As if the parents could not be delivered out of captivity, but by obliging the son to pay a great sum of money, or to live in servitude for their release: though they never gave him any money, yet is he bound to pay the sum, if he can get it, or to perform the servitude; because he hath received more from them, even his being. 4. As the parents are both owners, (‘secundum quid’) and rulers, and benefactors to their child, in all three respects conjunct, they may oblige him to a third person who is willing to be his benefactor, by a conditional obligation to perform such conditions that he may possess such or such benefits: and thus a guardian or any friend who is fit to interpose for him, may oblige him. As to take a lease in his name, in which he shall be bound to pay such a rent, or do such a service, that he may receive such a commodity which is greater. Thus parents oblige their children under civil governments to the laws of the society or kingdom, that they may have the protection and benefits of subjects. In these cases the child can complain of no injury; for it is for his benefit that he is obliged : and the parent (in this respect) cannot oblige him to his hurt: for if he will quit the benefit, he may be freed when he will from his obligation, and may refuse to stand to the covenant if he dislike it. If he will give up his lease, he may be disobliged from the rent and service. In all this you may see that no man can oblige another against God or his salvation: and therefore a parent cannot oblige a child to sin, nor to forbear hearing or reading the Word of God, or praying, or any thing necessary to his salvation: nor can he oblige him to hear an heretical pastor; or to marry an infidel or wicked wife, &c. And here also you may perceive on what grounds it is that God hath appointed parents to oblige their children in the covenant of baptism, to be the servants of God and to live in holiness all their days. And hence it is apparent, that no parents can oblige their children to be miserable, or to any such condition which is worse than to have no being. Also that when parents do (as commonly they do) profess to oblige their children as benefactors for their good, the obligation is then to be interpreted accordingly: and the child is then obliged to nothing which is really his hurt. Yea, all the propriety and government of parents, cannot authorize them to oblige the child to his hurt, but in

order to some greater good, either to the parents themselves, or to the commonwealth, or others: at least that which the parents apprehend to be a greater good; but if they err through ignorance or partiality, and bind the child to a greater hurt for their lesser good, (as to pay two hundred pounds to save them from paying one hundred pounds,) whether their injury and sin do excuse the child from being obliged to any more than the proportion of the benefit required, I leave undetermined. Quest. 111. “But what if the parents disagree, and one of them will oblige the child, and the other will not ?” Answ. 1. If it be an act of the parents as mere proprietors for their own good, either of them may oblige him in a just degree ; because they have severally a propriety. 2. If it be an act of government (as if they oblige him to do this or that act of service at their command in his minority), the father may oblige him against the mother's consent, because he is the chief ruler; but not the mother against the father's will, though she may without it. Quest. iv. ‘Is a man obliged by a contract which he made in ignorance or mistake of the matter?” Answ. I have answered this before in the case of marriage, Part iii. Chap. 1.; I add here. 1. We must distinguish between culpable and inculpable error. 2. Between an error about the principal matter, and about some smaller accidents or circumstances. 3. Between a case where the law of the land, or the common good interposeth, and where it doth not. 1. If it be your own fault that you are mistaken you are not wholly freed from the obligation; but if it was your gross fault, by negligence or vice, you are not at all freed; but if it were but such a frailty as almost all men are liable to, so that none but a person of extraordinary virtue or diligence could have avoided the mistake, then equity will proportionably make you an abatement or free you from the obligation. So far as you were obliged to understand the matter, so far you are obliged by the contract; especially when another is a loser by your error. 2. An inculpable error about the circumstances, or smaller parts, will not free you from an obligation in the

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