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down the Price of Goods when going to buy, though he knew them worth the Money; or who never over-rared any thing of his own if he wanted to sell it? Or where is che Lodger, or Tenant, who never, through Negligence, or wiltully, endamaged his Neighbour in his Goods, or Eftare, without making Reparation for the same? How many of the Nobiliiy, and Members of Parliament, will find themselves included, for running in Debt without 1* sign to pay, and pleading their Privilege? How many more will be included under the Head of Gaming, though upon the square, when the Su. periority has been on their own Side ? How many, though perhaps inadvertently, or through Favour or Affection, have been accessary to promoting heavy and unreasonable Impofts, witness the former Gin, Axt, and will find themselves condemned upon chat Head? How many have been accessary in skreening'overgrown Criminals, and have thereby incurred the same Guilt? How many have prevented Enquiries into Frauds, and so made themselves Patrons thereof, and shared in the Sin?
We will not ask how many have suffered them. felves to be bribed, uuder the soft Name of a Place or Pension, Ribbon, or Title ? Because we will not so much as suggest that such Things have been, though many A persions of that kind have been thrown our: Bui we will venture to ask one Thing, How many have been guilty of forfeiting, or perverting a Trust, and are thereby become. Transe gresfors? This question may perhaps greatly affront them, but this we cannot help ; let us come to the Telt: They are the Guardians of the Libercies and Properties of the People; have they never Suffered them to be infringed, invaded, or incroached upon, in any manner, upon plausible Pretences ? O?, if they have any ways been over-reached there. by, have chey, as soon as possible made Compensacion, and restored thom thereto again? The Riot
Ali, it is acknowleiged by all, was obtained only on a Promise thar it should be temporary, and repealed, when the Tumultuousness of the Times was over; is it done yet? The Septennial AEt likewise, was another Law obtained on the like Pretence, and in such a manner, that the Legality of it has been often questioned ; but after about thirty Years is it yet set aside? We fear then, all those who voted for them, will find it hard to vindicate themselves from having perverted and betrayed their Trust: In short, how few are there who will not find themselves included under one of the fore-, going Ariicles ?
Having thus thewn the great Lacitude of this Law, and that the Name of Robber and Thief, as scandalous as it is, and juftly too, belongs to many more than at first we should be apt to imagine, and even to many who are far from thinking themselves included in that Number, we should think it alto. gether superfluous to produce any Examples of the tata! Consequences of transgrefling it, fince every Sessions affords us but too many melancholly Instances thereof; however, as we are but too apt to forget these, soon after they are out of our Sight, and as far the greatest Part of the People never see, or trouble their Heads about them at all, we shall subjoin some few of the most remarkable, to remind every one of the dangerous Effects of such Practices,
And here, we think, the Example of the wretched Achan, would juftly demand the first place, if that of Ananias and Sapphira may not rather claim the Preference. Of these three unfortunate Persons, the first only took a Babylonish Garment, with two hundred Shekels of Silver, and a Wedge of Gold of fifty Shekels Weight, the Spoils of the Enemy, and reserved them for himself. How apr Tou'd many of us have been to have done the same? It is true, the Gold and Silver were to have been conse
Crated to the Lord : But how apt should many of us, now-adays, be to say, The Lord doth not want it; I have earned it at the Hazard of my Life ; it is the Spoil of my Enemy; I wrong no one ; and how will it be known? How natural is this to srail Flesh and Blood ? And yet how severely was this Sin punished? In the first place, the Children of Israel are defeated by their Enemies, and though Heaven mer. cifully saw fit, that no more than Thirty-six should perish, yet the Consequences, had they not had im: mediate recourse to God, deprecated his Anger, and humbly befought his Favour and Alistance, conju. ring him for his great Name's Sake, that he would bless their Arms, and not give them up a Prey to the Canaanites, might have been fatal. As it was, the Sentence pronounced against the wretched Achan, by the Almighty himself, was no less, than that he, together with his whole Family, and all his Effects, even to his Cattle, should be burnt ; which was accordingly executed upon them by the Israelites, in the Valley of Achor, after having first stoned them.
But we think this Example, terrible as it is, is hardly so remarkable as that of Ananias and Saphi. ra ; because, tho' Achan had only taken the Spoil of his Enemies, which is reckoned lawful Plunder, and in that Sense could not be said to have stolen any thing; yet, as he knew all the Silver and Gold was to have been consecrated to the Service of God, and had been strictly forewarned not to save or reserve any thing out of the City of Jericho, he was guilty not only of transgressing an express Command, but even of robbing the Almighty; and accordingly the same Punishment was inflicted upon him and his, as had before been executed upon the Inhabitants of that City.
Now this could not well be said of Ananias and Sapphira, they had neither violated any express Command, nor had they been guilty of detaining any
thing thing which it had been previoully determined to set apart for the Service of God; at least it does not appear from Scripture that'they were so : Nay, it is to be questioned, whether they imagined themselves to have committed any Crime in doing as. they did: In effe&, we believe molt of us, now-a
days, should fancy ourselves very extraordinary · Chriftians in giving up a considerable Part of our
Subttance for the Use of the Church, and should ra. ther look for a Blessing than a Curse for such an Of. sering. But the Almighty fees not as Man sees; the inmoit Thoughts of the Heart lie open to his View ;. and in his Eye they were guilty of Theft, and that the worst of Theft, the robbing him of their Hearts, - which were visibly divided between God.and Mammon: They pretended to give up all, and throw themselves upon Providence for their Support, and yet not caring altogether to rely thereon, had. made a Reserve, in cafe, of the worst, for them. selves, which argued a manifest. Dittrust of the Goodness of Heaven, and was in itself a heinous
Bot this was not all ; for besides this, they were: guilty of actual Theft, at least intentionally; for, as all the other Members of the Church had sold their Poffeffions, and given up their All into the Hands of the Apostles, in return whereof they were to receive again, out of the common Scock, according to their several Necessities : And as these two, had they not been miraculoudly derected in their Collusion, would have had an equal Share thereof with the rest, they would thereby have been guilty of robbing the Church, and taking that which of right belonged to those who wanted it more ; fo. that, in short, they were guilty of the same Injusrice, which, any one would now be, who should throw himself upon the Parish for a Maintenance, when he was able otherwise to provide for himself ; and this is downright Robbery. It was therefore ab.
olutely necessary at that Time, that such Frauds Tould be eff-ctually prevented for the future ; and this Heaven thought fit to do by a double Miracle ; namely, by enduing the Apostle Peter with the Discernment of Spirits, and by striking both these Hypocrites wich immediate Death, to the great Ter. ror of all such insincere Professors ; so that we are exprefly told, And of the rest durfi. no Man join himfelf to them.
But, to come from sacred to prophane History, and even to our own Nation; we shall seldom find that they who have perfifted any Time in such un. just Practices, of what Rank foever they have been, and however protected, have escaped coming to a miserable End; though to the perpetual Dishonour of these Times, we had one remarkable Example of that Kind within every one's Memory.
To begin then with those overgrown Thieves. and Plunderers called Favourites and Prime MiniHers, what was the Iffue of all the Pride and Rapine of Piers Gaveflon, that infamous Minion of Edward II? What did, the powerful Protection of the King, his infatuated Master, avail him ? Did he nor live to see himself precipitated at once from all his Grandeur : And had he not his Head struck off with Infamy, for a Warning to all such rapacious Wretches for the future? What was the End ef his immediate Succeffors in the Favour of the same Prince, the two Spencers, Father and Son ? Did not the same wicked Courses bring them to the fame wretched Destiny, the one being beheaded, and the other drawn, hanged, and quartered ? What was the Issue of all the Insolence, Rapine, and Oppreffion, that infamous Minion of Queen Isabella, Robert Mortimer ? Did not his treading in the same abominable Steps bring him also with Ignominy to the Gallows? What was the End of De la Pole, the great Duke of Suffolk, Favourite tp Queen Mar.