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you may help to save another from a cheater, by opening the deceit in charity to him. Quest. xvi. “What should I do in doubtful cases, where I am uncertain whether the thing be just or not ?” Answ. Causeless, perplexing, melancholy scruples, which would stop a man in the course of his duty, are not to be indulged: but in rational doubts, first use your utmost diligence (as much as the nature of the cause requireth) to be resolved; and if yet you doubt, be sure to go the safer way, and to avoid sin rather than loss, and to keep your consciences in peace. Quest. xv.11. ‘If the buyer lose the commodity between the bargain and the payment, (as if he buy your horse, and he die before payment, or presently after,) what should the seller do to his relief?” Answ. If it were by the seller's fault, or by any fault in the horse which he concealed, he is to make the buyer full satisfaction. If it were casually only, rigorous justice will allow him nothing: and therefore if it be either to a man that is rich enough to bear it without any great sense of the loss, or in a case where in common custom the buyer always standeth to the loss, mere justice will make him no amends. But if it be where custom makes some abatement judged a duty, or where the person is so poor as to be pinched by the loss, that common humanity, which all good men use in bargaining, which tempereth justice with charity, will teach men to bear their part of the loss; because they must do as they would be done by. Quest. xv.111. ‘If the thing bought and sold prove afterward of much more worth than was by either party understood, (as in buying of ambergris and jewels, it oft falleth out,) is the buyer bound to give the seller more than was bargained for 2' ...Answ. Yes, if it were the seller's mere ignorance and insufficiency in that business which caused him so to undersell it; (as if an ignorant countryman sell a jewel or ambergris, who knoweth not what it is, a moderate satisfaction should be made him). But if it were the seller's trade, in which he is to be supposed to be sufficient, and if it be taken for granted beforehand, that both buyer and seller will stand to the bargain whatever it prove, and that the seller would have abated nothing if it had proved less worth than the price, then the buyer may enjoy his gain; much more if he run any notable hazard for it, as merchants use to do. Quest. x 1x. “What if the title of the thing sold prove bad, which was before unknown?” Answ. If the seller either knew it was bad, or through his notable negligence was ignorant of it, and did not acquaint the buyer with so much of the uncertainty and danger as he knew ; or if it was any way his fault that the buyer was deceived, and not the buyer's fault, he is bound to make him proportionable satisfaction. As also in case that by law or bargain he be bound to warrant the title to the buyer. But not in case that it be their explicit or implicit agreement that the buyer stand to the hazard, and the seller hath done his duty to make him know what is doubtful. Quest. xx. “What if a change of powers or laws do overthrow the title, almost as soon as it is sold (as it oft falls out about offices and lands;) who must bear the loss?” Answ. The case is near the same with that in Quest. xv II. It is supposed that the seller should have lost it himself if he had kept it but a little longer; and that neither of them foresaw the change: and therefore that the seller hath all his money, rather for his good hap, than for his lands or office, (which the buyer hath not). Therefore except it be to a rich man that feeleth not the loss, or one that expressly undertook to stand to all hazards, foreseeing a possibility of them, charity and humanity will teach the seller to divide the loss. The same is the case of London now consumed by fire: where thousands of suits are like to rise between the landlords and the tenants. Where the providence of God (permitting the burning zeal of some Papists,) hath deprived men of the houses which they had hired or taken leases of, humanity and charity requireth the rich to bear most of the loss, and not to exact their rents, or rebuilding from the poor, whatever the law saith, which could not be supposed to foresee such accidents. Love your neighbours as yourselves; do as you would be done by ; and oppress not your poor brethren; and then by these three rules you will yourselves decide a multitude of such doubts and difficulties, which the uncharitable only cannot understand.
Tit. 4. Cases of Conscience about Lending and Borrowing.
Quest. 1. ‘May a poor man borrow money, who knoweth that he is unable to repay it, and hath no rational proof that he is very likely to be able hereafter 7” Answ. No, unless it be when he telleth the lender truly of his case, and he is willing to run the hazard: else it is mere thievery covered with the cheat of borrowing: for the borrower desireth that of another, which he would not lend him, if he expected it not again: and to take a man's money or goods against his will is robbery. Object. “But I am in great necessity.” Answ. Begging in necessity is lawful; but stealing or cheating is not, though you call it borrowing. Object. “But it is a shame to beg.’ Answ. The sin of thievish borrowing is worse than shame. Object. “But none will give me if I beg.’ Answ. If they will give but to save your life at the present, you must take it, though they give you not what you would have : the poorest beggar's life is better than the thief's. Object. “But I hope God may enable me to pay hereafter.” Answ. If you have no rational way to manifest the soundness of that hope to another, it is but to pretend faith and hope for thievery and deceit. Object. ‘God hath promised, that those that fear him shall want no good thing. And therefore I hope I may be able to repay it.’ Answ. If you want not, why do you borrow ! If you have enough to keep you alive by begging, God maketh good all his promises to you : yea, or if you die by famine. For he only promiseth you that which is best; which for aught you know may be beggary or death. God breaketh not promise with his servants who die in common famine, no more than with them that die in plagues or wars. Make not God the patron of sin : yea, and your faith a pretence for your distrust. If you trust God, use no sinful means; if you trust him not, this pleading of his promise is hypocrisy.
Quest. 11. ‘May a tradesman drive a trade with borrowed money, when his success, and so his repayment, is utterly an uncertain thing?” Answ. There are some trades where the gain is so exceeding probable, next to certain, as may warrant the borrowing of money to manage them, when there is no rational probability of failing in the payment. And there are some tradesmen, who have estates of their own, sufficient to repay all the money which they borrow; but otherwise, when the money is rationally hazardous, the borrower is bound in conscience to acquaint the lender fully with the hazard, that he may not have it against his will. Otherwise he liveth in constant deceit or thievery. And if he do happen to repay it, it excuseth not his sin. Quest. 111. ‘If a borrower be utterly unable to pay, and so break while he hath something, may he not retain somewhat for his food or raiment?” Answ. No, unless it be in order to set up again in hope to repay his debts: for all that he hath being other men's, he may not take so much as bread to his mouth, out of that which is theirs, without their consent. Quest. Iv. “But if a man have bound himself to his wife's friends upon marriage to settle so much upon her or her children, and this obligation was antecedent to his debts, may he not secure that to his wife and children, without any injury to his creditors?” Answ. The law of the land must much decide this controversy. If the propriety be actually before transferred to wife or children, it is theirs, and cannot be taken from them; but if it were done after by a deed of gift to defraud the creditors, then that deed of gift is invalid, till debts be paid. If it be but an obligation and no collation of propriety, the law must determine who is to be first paid : and whether the wife be supposed to run the hazard of gaining or losing with the husband: and though the laws of several countries herein differ, and some give the wife more propriety than others do, yet must they in each place be conscientiously observed, as being the rule of such propriety. But we must see that there be no fraudulent intent in the transaction. Quest. v. ‘May not a tradesman retain somewhat to set up again, if his creditors be willing to compound for a certain part of the debt?” Answ. If he truly acquaint them with his whole estate, and they voluntarily allow him part to himself, either in charity, or in hope hereafter to be satisfied, this is no unlawful course ; but if he hide part from them, and make them believe that the rest is all, this is but a thievish procurement of their composition or consent. Quest. v 1. ‘May a borrower lawfully break his day of promised payment, in case of necessity ?” .Answ. True necessity hath no law : that is, a man is not bound to do things naturally impossible; but if he might have foreseen that necessity, or the doubtfulness of his payment at the day, it was his sin to promise it, unless he put in some limitation, “If I be able,” and acquainted the lender with the uncertainty. However it be, when the time is come, he ought to go to his creditor, and tell him of his necessity, and desire further time, and endeavour to pay it as soon as he is able: and if he be not able, to make him what satisfaction he can, by his labour, or any other lawful way. Quest. v11. ‘May I borrow of one to pay another, to keep my day with the first?” .Answ. Yes, If you deal not fraudulently with the second, but are able to pay him, or acquaint him truly with your Case. Quest. v1.11. “Suppose that I have no probability of paying the last creditor, may I borrow of one to pay another, and so live upon borrowing; or must I rather continue in one man's debt?” Answ. If you truly acquaint your creditors with your state, you may do as is most to your convenience. If the first creditor be able and willing rather to trust you longer, than that you should borrow of another to pay him, you may continue his debtor, till you can pay him without borrowing, but if he be either poor or unwilling to bear with you, and another that is able be willing to venture, you may better borrow of another to pay him. But if they be all equally unwilling to stand to any hazard by you, then you must rather continue in the first man's debt, because if you wrong another you will commit another sin: may, you cannot borrow in such a case, because it is supposed that the other