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ful or unmerciful, I will have it. But then in that case, if it so prove unmerciful, it may not be taken without contracting, if freely offered. No contract may tie the debtor to that which is against justice or charity; and no contract may absolutely require that which may prove uncharitable; unless there be a tacit condition, or exception of such a case implied. Otherwise I see no Scripture or reason, why a contract altereth the case, and may not be used to secure that increase which is neither unrighteous or unmerciful; it may be the bond of equity, but not of iniquity. As in case of a certain gain by the borrower, a certain use may be contracted for; and in case of uncertain gain to the borrower, a conditional contract may be made. Yea, in case of merchandize, where men's poverty forbiddeth not such bargains, I see not but it is lawful to sell a greater uncertain gain, for a smaller certain gain; and so to make the contracts absolute (as Amesius Cas. Consc. on this question sheweth). As all oppression and ummercifulness must be avoided, and all men must do as they would (judiciously) be done by ; so it is a bad thing to corrupt religion, and fill the world with causeless scruples, by making that a sin which is no sin. Divines that live in great cities and among merchandize, are usually fitter judges in this case, than those that live more obscurely (without experience) in the country.
Tit. 5. Cases of Conscience about Lusory Contracts.
Quest. 1. ‘Is it lawful to lay wagers upon the credit or confidence of one another's opinions or assertions in discourse? As e. g. I will lay you so much that I am in the right?”
.Answ. Yes, if these three things concur: 1. That the true end of the wager is, to be a penalty to him that shall be guilty of a rash and false assertion, and not to gratify the covetousness of the other. 2. That it be no greater a sum than can be demanded and paid, without breach of charity, or too much hurt to the loser (as above the proportion of his error). 3. That it be no other but what both parties are truly willing to stand to the loss of, if either of them lose, and that beforehand they truly seem so willing to each other. Quest. II. “Is it lawful to lay wagers upon horse-races, dogs, hawks, bear-baitings or such games as depend upon the activity of beast or man 2' Answ. Yes, upon the two last expressed conditions; and 3. That it be not an exercise which is itself unlawful, by cruelty to beasts, or hazard to the lives of men (as in fencing, running, wrestling, &c. it may fall out if it be not cautiously done), or by the expence of an undue proportion of time in them, which is the common malignity of such recreations. Quest. 111. ‘May I lawfully give money to see such sports, as bear-baitings, stage-plays, masks, shows, puppetplays, activities of man or beast 2 &c.’ ..Answ. There are many shows that are desirable and laudable, (as of strange creatures, monsters, rare engines, activities, &c.) the sight of which it is lawful to purchase, at a proportionable price; as a prospect through one of Galileo's tubes or such another, is worth much money to a studious person. But when the exercise is unlawful (as all stage-plays are that ever I saw, or had just information of; yea, odiously evil; however it is very possible that a comedy or tragedy might with abundance of cautions be lawfully acted), it is then (usually) unlawful to be a spectator either for money or on free cost. I say, (usually) because it is possible that some one that is necessitated to be there, or that goeth to find out their evil to suppress them, or that is once only induced to know the truth of them, may do it innocently; but so do not they, who are present voluntarily and approvingly. 3. And if the recreation be lawful in itself, yet when vain persons go thither to feed a carnal fancy and vicious humour, which delighteth more in vanity, than they delight in piety, and when it wasteth their time and corrupteth their minds, and alienateth them from good, or hindereth duty, it is to them unlawful. Quest. iv. “Is it lawful to play at cards or dice for money, or at any lottery"?’ Answ. The greatest doubt is, whether the games be lawful, many learned divines being for the negative, and many for the affirmative ; and those that are for the affirmative lay down so many necessaries or conditions to prove them lawful, as I scarce ever yet saw meet together; but if they be proved at all lawful, the case of wagers is resolved as the next.
Quest. v. ‘May I play at bowls, run, shoot, &c., or use such personal activities for money?’
Answ. Yes, 1. If you make not the game itself bad, by any accident. 2. If your wager be laid for sport, and not for covetousness (striving who shall get another's money, and give them nothing for it). 3. And if no more be laid than is suitable to the sport, and the loser doth well and willingly pay.
Quest. vi. “If the loser who said he was willing, prove angry and unwilling when it cometh to the paying, may I take it, or get it by law against his will ?”
Answ. No, not in ordinary cases; because you may not turm a sport to covetousness, or breach of charity; but in case that it be a sport that hath cost you any thing, you may in justice take your charges, when prudence forbids it not.
Tit. 6. Cases of Conscience about Losing and Finding.
Quest. 1. ‘If I find money or any thing lost, am I bound to seek out the owner, if he seek not after me? and how far am I bound to seek him '' Answ. You are bound to use such reasonable means, as the nature of the case requireth, that the true owner may have his own again. He that dare keep another man's money, because he findeth it, it is like would steal, if he could do it as secretly. Finding gives you no property, if the owner can be found: do as you would be done by, and you may satisfy your conscience. If nearer inquiry will not serve, you are bound to get it cried in the market, or proclaimed in the church, or mentioned in the Curranto's that carry weekly news, or any probable way, which putteth you not upon unreasonable cost or labour. Quest. 11. ‘May I take any thing for the finding of it, as my due 2' Answ. You may demand so much as shall pay for any labour or cost which you have been at about it, or finding out the owner. But no more as your due; though a moderate gratuity may be accepted, if he freely give it. Quest. 111. ‘May I desire to find, money or any thing else in my way; or may I be glad when I have found it !’ Answ. You should first be unwilling that your neighbour should lose it, and be sorry that he hath lost it; but supposing that it be lost, you may moderately desire that you may find it rather than another; not with a covetous desire of the gain; but that you may faithfully gratify the owner in restoring it, or if he cannot be found may dispose of it as you ought. And you should be more sorry that it is lost, than glad that you find it, except for the owner. Quest. iv. “If no owner can be found, may I not take it and use it as mine own?” Answ. The laws of the land do usually regulate claims of property in such matters; where the law giveth it to the lord of the manor, it is his, and you must give it him. Where it giveth it to no other, it is his that findeth it; and occupancy will give him property. But so as it behoveth. him to judge, if he be poor, that God's providence ordered it for his own supply; but if he be rich, that God sent it him but as to his steward, to give it to the poor. Quest. v. “If many be present when I find it, may I not wholly retain it to myself; or may I not conceal it from them if I can?’ -Answ. If the law overrule the case, it must be obeyed; but if it do not, you may, if you can, conceal it, and thereby become the only finder, and take it as your own, if the owner be not found: but if you cannot conceal it at the time of finding, they that see it with you, are partly the finders as well as you; though perhaps the largest share be due to the occupant. Quest. vi. ‘If I trust my neighbour or servant with money or goods, or if another trust me, who must stand to the loss if they be lost?” Answ. Here also the law of the land as regulating properties must be very much regarded ; and especially the true meaning of the parties must be understood : if it was antecedently the expressed or implied meaning that one party in such or such a case should bear the loss, it must in strict justice be according to the true meaning of the parties. Therefore if a carrier that undertaketh to secure it, loseth it; he loseth it to himself. Or if one that it is lent to on that condition (explicit or implicit) lose it, it is to himself. But if a friend to whom you are beholden for the carriage, lose it, who undertook no more than to bestow his labour, the loss must be yours; yea, though it was his negligence or drunkenness that was the fault; for you took him and trusted him as he is. But if a servant or one obliged to do it by hire, do without any other agreement, only undertake to serve you in it, and loseth it, the law or custom of the country is instead of a contract; for if the law or custom lay the loss on him, it is supposed that he consented to it in consenting to be your servant; if it lay it on you, it is supposed that you took your servant on such terms of hazard. But if it be left undecided by law and custom, you may make your servant pay only so much as is a proportionable penalty for his fault, but no more, as any satisfaction for your loss; except you agreed with him to repay such losses as were by his default. And when it is considered what strict justice doth require, it must also be considered what charity and mercy do require, that the poor be not oppressed.
Tit. 7. Directions to Merchants, Factors, Chaplains, Travellers, that live among Infidels.
Quest. 1. ‘Is it lawful to put one's self, or servants, especially young unestablished apprentices, into temptations of an infidel country (or a Popish), for the getting of riches, as merchants do * * *
Answ. This cannot be truly answered without distinguishing, 1. Of the countries they go from. 2. Of the places they go to. 3. Of the quality of the persons that go. 4. Of the causes of their going.
I. Some countries that they go from may be as bad as those that they go to, or in a state of war, when it is better be absent, or in a time of persecution, or at least of greater
• Leg. Steph. Vinan. Pigh. in Hercule prodigo, pp. 130–132. Cui peregrinatio dulcis est, non amat patriam: si dulcis est patria, amara est peregrinatio. Augustine.