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necessary to the good of others, especially to right the king or country, and to preserve them from danger by the offender or any other, it is a duty to open a past fault that is confessed, and to bring the offender to punishment, rather than injure the innocent by their impunity. 3. When restitution is necessary to a person injured, you may not by concealment hinder such restitution; but must procure it to your power where it may be had. 4. It is unlawful to promise universal secresy absolutely to any penitent. But you must tell him before he confesseth, “If your crime be such, as that opening it is necessary to the preservation or righting of king, or country, or your neighbour, or to my own safety, I shall not conceal it.’ That so men may know how far to trust you. 5. Yet in some rare cases, (as the preservation of our parents, king, or country,) it may be a duty to promise and perform concealment, when there is no hurt like to follow but the loss or hazard of our own lives, or liberties, or estates; and consequently if no hurt be like to follow but some private loss of another, which I cannot prevent without a greater hurt. 6. If a man ignorant of the law, and of his own danger, have rashly made a promise of secresy, and yet be in doubt, he should open the case “in hypothesi' only, to some honest, able lawyer, inquiring if such a case should be, what the law requireth of the pastor, or what danger he is in if he conceal it; that he may be able farther to judge of the case. 7. He that made no promise of secresy, virtual or actual, may ‘caeteris paribus' bring the offender to shame or punishment rather than to fall into the like himself for the concealment. 8. He that rashly promised universal secresy, must compare the penitent's danger and his own, and consider whose suffering is like to be more to the public detriment, all things considered, and that must be first avoided. 9. He that findeth it his duty to reveal the crime to save himself, must yet let the penitent have notice of it, that he may fly and escape; unless as aforesaid, when the interest of the king, or country, or others, doth more require his punishInent.
10. But when there is no such necessity of the offender's punishment, for the prevention of the hurt or wrong of others, nor any great danger by concealment to the minister himself, I think that the crime, though it were capital, should be concealed. My reasons are, (1.) Because though every man be bound to do his best to prevent sin, yet every man is not bound to bring offenders to punishment: he that is no magistrate, nor hath a special call so to do, may be in many cases not obliged to it. (2.) It is commonly concluded that (in most cases) a capital offender is not bound to bring himself to punishment: . and that which you could not know but by his free confession, is confessed to you only on your promise of concealment, seemeth to me to put you under no other obligation to bring him to punishment than he is under himself. (3.) Christ's words and practice, in dismissing the woman taken in adultery, sheweth that it is not always a duty for one that is no magistrate to prosecute a capital offender, but that sometimes his repentance and life may be preferred. (4.) And magistrates' pardons shew the same. (5.) Otherwise no sinner would have the benefit of a counsellor to open his troubled conscience to : for if it be a duty to detect a great crime in order to a great punishment, why not a less also in order to a less punishment. And who would confess when it is to bring themselves to punishment 2 11. In those countries where the law allows pastors to conceal all crimes that penitents freely confess, it is left to the pastor's judgment to conceal all that he discerneth may be concealed without the greater injury of others, or of the king or commonwealth. 12. There is a knowledge of the faults of others, by common fame, especially many years after the committing, which doth not oblige the hearers to prosecute the offender. And yet a crime publicly known is more to be punished (lest impunity embolden others to the like) than an unknown crime, revealed in confession.
Tit. 2. Directions about Trusts and Secrets.
Direct. 1. ‘Be not rash in receiving secrets or any other trusts: but first consider what you are thereby obliged to,
and what difficulties may arise in the performance; and foresee all the consequents as far as is possible, before you undertake the trust; that you cast not yourselves into snares by mere inconsiderateness, and prepare not for perplexities and repentance. Direct. 11. ‘Be very careful what persons you commit either trusts or secrets to :’ and be sure they be trusty by their wisdom, ability, and fidelity. Direct. 111. ‘Be not too forward in revealing your own secrets to another's trust:’ for, l. You cannot be certain of any one's secresy, where you are most confident. 2. You oblige yourself too much to please that person, who by revealing your secrets may do you hurt; and are in fear lest carelessness, or unfaithfulness, or any accident should disclose it. 3. You burden your friend with the charge and care of secresy". Direct. Iv. Be faithful to your friend that doth intrust you;’ remembering that perfidiousness or falsehood to a friend, is a crime against humanity, and all society, as well as against Christianity; and stigmatizeth the guilty in the eyes of all men, with the brand of an odious, unsociable perSOIl. Direct. v. ‘Be not intimate with too many, nor confident in too many :’ for he that hath too many intimates, will be opening the secrets of one to another. Direct. vi. “Abhor covetousness and ambition:' or else a bribe or the promise of preferment, will tempt you to perfidiousness. There is no trusting a selfish, worldly man. Direct. v11. “Remember that God is the avenger of perfidiousness, who will do it severely:’ and that even they that are pleased and served by it, do yet secretly disdain and detest the person that doth it; because they would not be so used themselves. Direct. vi.11. ‘Yet take not friendship or fidelity to be an obligation to perfidiousness to God, or the king, or commonwealth, or to another, or to any sin whatsoever.’
* Quod tacitum esse velis nemini dixeris. Si tibi non imperasti, quomodo ab alio silentium speras? Martin. Dumiens. de morib.
Directions against Selfishness as it is contrary to the Love of our Neighbour.
The two tables of the law are summed up by our Saviour in two comprehensive precepts: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and soul, and might:” and “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” In the decalogue the first of these is the true meaning of the first commandment, put first because it is the principle of all obedience: and the second is the true meaning of the tenth commandment, which is therefore put last, because it is the comprehensive sum of other duties to our neighbour or injuries against him, which any other particular instances may contain; and also the principle of the duty to, or sin against, our neighbour. The meaning of the tenth commandment is variously conjectured at by expositors: some say that it speaketh against inward concupiscence and the sinful thoughts of the heart; but so do all the rest, in the true meaning of them, and must not be supposed to forbid the outward action only, nor to be any way defective: some say that it forbiddeth coveting and commandeth contentment with our state; so doth the eighth commandment; yet there is some part of the truth in both these. And the plain truth is (as far as I can understand it), that the sin forbidden is selfishness as opposite to the love of others, and the duty commanded is to love our neighbours; and that it is as is said, the sum of the second table, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself:” as the captain leadeth the van, and the lieutenant bringeth up the rear; so, “Thou shalt love God above all,” is the first commandment, and “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,” is the last, for the aforesaid reason. I shall therefore in these following Directions speak to the two parts of the tenth commandment. Direct. 1. ‘The first help against selfishness is to understand well the nature and malignity of the sin.” For want of this it commonly prevaileth, with little suspicion, lamentation, and opposition. Let me briefly therefore anatomize it. 1. It is the radical, positive sin of the soul, comprehending seminally, or causally all the rest. The corruption of man's nature, or his radical sin, hath two parts, the positive part, and the privitive part: the positive part is selfishness, or the inordinate love of carnal self; the privitive part is ungodliness or want of the love of God. Man's fall was his turning from God to himself; and his regeneration consisteth in the turning of him from himself to God; or the generating of the love of God (as comprehending faith and obedience) and the mortifying of self-love. Selfishness therefore is all positive sin in one, as want of the love of God is all privitive sin in one. And self-denial and the love of God are all duties virtually; for the true love of man is comprehended in the love of God. Understand this, and you will understand what original and actual sin is, and what grace and duty are. 2. Therefore selfishness is the cause of all sin in the world both positive and privitive, and is virtually the breach of every one of God's commandments. For even the want of the love of God is caused by the inordinate love of self. As the consuming of other parts is caused by the dropsy, which tumifieth the belly. It is only selfishness which breaketh the fifth commandment, by causing rulers to oppress and persecute their subjects, and causeth subjects to be seditious and rebellious ; and causeth all the bitterness, and quarrellings, and uncomfortableness, which ariseth among all relations. It is only selfishness which causeth the cursed wars of the earth; and desolation of countries, by plundering and burning; the murders which cry for revenge to heaven (whether civil, military, or religious :) which causeth all the railings, fightings, envyings, malice ; the schisms, and proud overvaluings of men's own understandings and opinions; and the contending of pastors, who shall be the greatest, and who shall have his will in proud usurpations and tyrannical impositions and domination: it is selfishness which hath set up, and maintaineth the papacy, and causeth all the divisions between the Western and the Eastern churches; and all the cruelties, lies and treachery exercised upon that account. It is selfishness which troubleth families and corporations, churches and kingdoms; which violateth vows, and bonds of friendship, and causeth all the tumults, and strifes, and troubles in the world. It is