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should be sold for a flave until the year of jubilee; and out of his price, or so much of it as was neceffary, that restitution should be made.
But so far as the reasonableness of this law doth extend, so far we still continue to be bound by it; though not by the law, yet by the reafon upon which it is founded, And this brings me to the
II. THING I propounded, which was to Thew, that this duty of restitution is reas fonable in itfelf.
And here the argument depends on this principle, that it is fit every man should have his own, and that every man should part with that which is not his own. That one man should riot in luxury and volupa tuousness, out of that which he hath no confcionable title to, and that another whose right it is should be poor and destitute, is unreasonable and hard ; and although God sometimes permits it to be so, to convince us how small account he makes of riches, and because this life is of no regard in respect of eternity, yet it is never
theless unreasonable in the person who is the cause of it.
And if it is a base thing to rob and spoil a man of his goods, only for this wicked reason, because he is weak and not able to resist us; or to cheat and defraud him, only because God hath imparted to him an inferior degree of understanding, or hath not granted to him the means of cultivating his natural endowments, by that improvement and education which others enjoy; and if it is equally unreasonable to keep and with-hold that, which hath been unjustly acquired by force or by stratagem: then in the same proportion it is reasonable to restore it.
If to do no wrong be an high degree of wisdom, the next to that must be, when we have done wrong, to put things right again. If an injustice hath been done, that is no argument why it should be repeated, which yet is repeated every hour, until restitution is made. When we go out of the right way, the safest course is to return ; and if we lead others astray,
we ought in all reason to bring them back again.
If we think it is hard to give back that which is another's; let us reflect on the other hand, how much harder it is for that other, to want what is his own. Let us but suppose ourselves for a while in the injured person's circumstances, and that will dispel the mist from before our eyes, and clear up the difficulties with which our interest may have incumbered this duty: Which will bring the matter to the test of that golden rule of our religion, To do to others, as we would have them to do unto us.. . And so much for the reasonableness of this duty. I proceed now,
IIIdy. To thew the necessity of it. And here the argument comes with its full weight upon us. What is necessary to be done, leaves no room for difputation, and excludes all other inforcements as superfluous. If then I can make it appear, that reftitution must be made, or else we must never hope to enjoy the happiness of heas
ven, I think no more need to be done to prove this necessity.
The Christian religion requires, if we have done amiss, that we undo the same again by repentance : Otherwise, if we die in a sin unrepented: of, it Thuts us out from the kingdom of heaven. Repentance implies, that be sorry for what we have done, that we implore God's pardon and forgiveness of it, that we do all in our power to restore ourselves into the same condition which we were in before we had sinned, and that we continue in the same unto our lives' end.
Now what sort of a thing repentance muft be without restitution, it is easy to judge. It is a solemn provocation of God's justice; declaring our forrow for having done that, which we are not willing to undo; professing our grief that we have done wrong, when we would be more grieved to do right; and praying unto God to forgive us those Gns, which at the same time we are resolved to continue in. Hereby we propose to undo our former fins, by doing just nothing; and to re
move into our former innocent state, without altering our present finful one.
I might, upon this head, go through the whole New Testament, and shew all along, that to continue in fin, without making reftitution, is contrary to the general purport and design of the gospel : But having mentioned the case of repentånce, I shall chuse to leave it upon you under that confideration, as containing one of the strongest arguments that can be offered ; namely, that without restitution there can be no repentance, and without repentance there will be no forgiveness. · And so I proceed to the
· İVth THING I proposed, which was, to add, if yet it be needful, some motives to quicken the practice of this duty..
THE FIRST fhall be drawn from the principles of common prudence; even the fame which directs us in our ordinary temporal concernments; not to defer what muft be done, till the morrow, when it may as well be done to-day. There is no