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tion] and [To this end did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things] faid St. Paul to the Church of Corinth. Our duty is reducible to Practice by the following Rules.

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Acts and Duties of Obedience to all our Superiours.

1. We must obey all humane Laws appointed and conftituted by lawful Authority, that is, of the fupreme power, according to the conftitution of the place in which we live; all Laws, I mean, which are not against the Law of God.

2. In obedience to humane Laws, we must observe the Letter of the law where we can without doing violence to the reafon of the Law, and the intention of the Law-giver: but where they crofs each other, the charity of the Law is to be preferred before its difcipline, and the reason of it before the letter.

3. If the general reafon of the Law ceafes in our particular, and a contrary reafon rifes upon us, we are to procure difpenfation, or leave to omit the ob fervation of it in such circumstances, if there be any perfons or office appointed for granting it: but if there be none, or if it is not easily to be had, or not without an inconvenience greater than the good of the observation of the Law in our particular, we are difpenfed withal in the nature of the thing, without farther process or trouble.

4. As long as the Law is obligatory, fo long our obedience is due; and he that begins a contrary cuftom without reafon, fins: but he that breaks the Law when that cuftom is entred and fixed, is excufed;

Mores leges perduxerunt in poteftatem fuam.
Leges mori ferviunt. Plaut. Trinum.

because it is fupposed the legiflative power confents, when by not punishing it

fuffers difobedience to grow up to a cuftom.

5. Obedience to humane Laws must be for conscience fake: that is, because in fuch obedience publick order, and charity, and benefit is concerned, and becaufe the Law of God commands us, therefore we muft make a confcience in keeping the juft Laws of



Superiours: and although the matter before the making of the Law was indifferent, yet now the obedi-xper ence is not indifferent, but next to the Laws of God, T we are to obey the Laws of all our Superiours, whoathe more publick they are, the first they are to be in En. s. c. 7. the order of obedience.

6. Submit to the punishment and cenfure of the Laws, and feek not to reverse their judgment by oppofing; but by fubmitting, or flying, or filence, to pass through it or by it as we can, and although from inferiour Judges we may appeal where the Law permits us, yet we must fit down and reft in the judg ment of the Supreme; and if we be wronged, let us complain to God of the injury, not of the perfons, and he will deliver thy Soul from unrighteous Judges.

7. Do not believe thou haft kept the Law, when thou haft fuffered the punishment. For although patiently to submit to the power of the Sword be a part of Obedience, yet this is fuch a part as fuppofes another left undone and the Law punishes, not because she is as well pleafed in taking vengeance as in being obeyed, but because she is pleased, the uses punishment as a means to fecure obedience for the future, or in others. Therefore although in fuch cafes the Law is fatisfied, and the injury and the injuftice is paid for, yet the fins of irreligion, and scandal, and disobedience to God, muft ftill be fo accounted for, as to crave pardon, and be washed off by repentance.


8. Humane Laws are not to be broken with scandal, nor at all without reafon; for he that does it caufelefly is a difpifer of the Law, and undervalues the authority. For humane Laws differ from Divine Laws principally in this: 1. That the positive commands of a man may be broken upon fmaller and more reasons than the positive commands of God; we may upon a smaller reafon omit to keep any of the fafting days of the Church, than to omit to give alms to the poor: only this, the reafon must bear weight according to the gravity and concernment of the Law; a Law in a small matter may be omitted for a fmall reafon, in a great matter not without a greater reafon. And, 2. The

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2. The negative precepts of Men may ceafe by many inftruments, by contrary cuftoms, by publick difrelifh, by long omiffion: but the negative Precepts of God never can cease, but when they are exprefsly abrogated by the fame Authority. But what those reafons are that can difpenfe with the command of a Man, a man may be his own Judge, and fometimes take his proportions from his own reafon and neceffity, fometimes from publick fame, and the practice of pious and fevere perfons, and from popular cuftoms; in which a man fhall walk most fafely when he does not walk alone, but a fpiritual man takes him by the hand.

9. We must not be too forward in procuring difpenfations; nor ufe them any longer than the reafon continues for which we first procured them: for to be difpenfed withal is an argument of natural infir mity, if it be neceffary; but if it be not, it fignifies an undifciplined and unmortified fpirit.

10. We must not be too eafie in examining the prudence and unreasonableness of humane Laws; for although we are not bound to believe them all to be the wifeft; yet if by enquiring into the lawfulness of them, or by any other inftrument we find them to fail of that wifdom with which fome others are ordained, yet we muft never make use of it to disparage the perfon of the Lawgiver, or to countenance any man's difobedience, much less our own.

II. Pay that reverence to the perfon of thy Prince, of his Minifters, of thy Parents and fpiritual Guides, which by the cuftoms of the place thou livest in are ufually paid to fuch perfons in their feveral degrees: that is, that the highest reverence be paid to the highest perfon, and fo ftill in proportion; and that this reverence be expreffed in all the circumftances and manners of the City and Nation.

12. Lift not up thy hand against thy Prince or Parent upon what pretence foever: but bear all perfonal affronts and inconveniencies at their hands, and feek no remedy but by patience and piety, yielding and praying, or abfenting thy felf,

13. Speak

13. Speak not evil of the Ruler of thy people, neither curfe thy Father or Mother, nor revile thy fpiritual Guides, nor difcover and lay naked their infirmities: but treat them with reverence and religion, and preferve their authority facred by efteeming their perfons venerable.

14. Pay tribute and cuftoms to Princes according to the Laws, and maintenance to thy Parents according to their neceffity, and honourable support to the Clergy according to the dignity of the work, and the cuftoms of the place.

15. Remember always that duty to our Superiours is not an act of commutative Juftice, but of diftributive: That is, although Kings and Parents and fpiritual Guides are to pay a great duty to their Inferiours, the duty of their feveral charges and government; yet the good government of a King and of Parents are actions of Religion as they relate to God, and of Piety as they relate to their People and Families. And although we ufually call them juft Princes who adminifter their Laws exactly to the People because the actions are in the manner of Justice; yet in propriety of speech they are rather to he called Pious and Religious. For as he is not called a juft Father that educates his children well, but Pious; fo that Prince who defends and well rules his People is Religious and does that duty for which alone he is answerable to God. The confequence of which is this, fo far as concerns our duty: If the Prince or Parent fail of their duty, we must not fail of ours; for we are anfwerable to them and to God too, as being accountable to all our Superiours, and fo are they to theirs: They are above us, and God is above them.

Remedies against Difobedience, and means to endear our Obedience, by way of Confideration.

1. Confider that all Authority defcends from God, and our Superious bear the image of the Divine Power which God imprints on them as on an image of clay, or a coin upon a lefs perfect metal, which

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whofo defaces, fhall not be answerable for the loss or fpoil of the materials, but he defacing the King's image; and in the fame measure will God require it at our hands, if we defpife his authority upon whomfoever he hath imprinted it. He that defpifeth you, defpifeth me. And Dathan and Abiram were faid to be gathered together against the Lord. And this was St, Paul's argument for our obedience. [The Powers that be, are ordained of God.]

z Pet. 2. 14.

2. There is very great peace and immunity from fin, in refigning our wills up to the command of others: for provided that our duty to God be fecured, their commands are warrants to us in all things elfe; and the cafe of confcience is determined, if the command be evident and preffing: and it is certain, the action that is but indifferent, and without reward, if done only upon our own choice, is an act of Duty and of Religion, and rewardable by the grace and favour of God, if done in obedience to the command of our Superiours. For fince naturally we defire what is forbidden us, (and fometimes there is no other evil in the thing but that it is forbidden us) God hath in grace enjoined ond proportionably accepts obedience, as being directly oppofed to the former irregularity, and it is acceptable, although their be no other good in the thing that is commanded us, but that it is commanded.

3. By Obedience we are made a Society and a Republick, and diftinguished from Herds of Beafts, and Heaps of Flies, who do what they lift, and are incapable of Laws, and obey none, and therefore are killed and deftroyed, though never punished, and they never can have a reward.

4. By Obedience we are rendered capable of all the bleffings of Government, fignified by St. Paul in thele Rom. 13. 4. words, [He is the minifler of God to thee for good] and by Peter in thefe, [Governours are fent by him for the punifoment of evil-doers, and for the praise of them that do well] And he that ever felt or faw, or can underftand the miseries of confufion in publick affairs, or amazement in a heap of fad, tumultuous, and indefinite

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