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down the Price ofGoods when going to buy, though he knew them worth the Money; or who never over-rated any thing of his own if he wanted to sell it? Or where is the Lodger, or Tenant, who never, through Negligence, or wiltully, endamaged his Neighbour in his Goods, or Estate, without making Reparation for the fame? How many of the Nobility, and Members of Parliament, will sind themselves included, for running in Debt without l*-sign to p3y, and pleading their Privilege? How many more will be included under the Head of Gaming, though upon the square, when the Superiority has been on their own Side? How many, though perhaps inadvertently, or through Favour or Afsection, have been accessary to promoting heavy and unreasonable Imposts, witness the former Gin Act, and will sind themselves condemned upon that Head? How many have been accessary in skreenrngovergrown Criminals, and have thereby incurred the fame 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 themselves 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 Aspersions of that kind have been thrown out: But we will venture to ask oneThing, How many have been guilty of forseiting, or perverting a Trust, and are thereby become Transgressors? This Question may perhaps greatly affront them, but this we cannot help ; let us come to the Test: They are the Guardians of the Liberties and Properties of the People; have they never sufsered them to be infringed, invaded, or incroached upon, in any manner, upon plausible Pretences? Of, if they have any ways been over-reached thereby, have they as soon as possible made Compensation,,and restored them thereto again? The Riot' N 4 Ail, aifl, it is acknowledged by all, was obtained only on a Promise that it should be temporary, and repealed, when the Tumultuousness of the Times was over; is it done yet? The Septennial At! likewisea was another Law obtained on the like Pretence, and in such a manner, that the Legality of it has been often questioned ; but aster about thirty Years is it yet set aside? We sear then, all thnse who voted for them, will sind it hard to vindicate themselves frem having perverted and betrayed their Trust: In short, how sew are there who will not sind'themselves included under one of the foregoing Articles?
Having thus shewn the great Latitude of this Law, and that the Name of Robber and Thies, as scandalous as it is, and justly too, belongs to many more than at sirst we should be apt to imagine, and even to,many who are far from thinking themselves included in that Number, we should think it altogether superfluous to produce any Examples of the tatal Consequences of transgressing it, since every Sessions affords us but too many rr.elancholly 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 sew of the most remarkable, to remind every one of the dangerous Effects of such Practices.
And here, we think, the Example of the wretch ed Aehan, would justly demand the sirst Place, if that of Ananias and Sappbira may not rather claim the Preserence. Of these three unfortunate Persons, the sirst only took a Bahylonifo Garment, with two hundred'Shekels of Silver, and a Wedge of Gold of sifty Shekels Weight, the Spoils of the Enemy, and reserved them for himself. How apt stiou'd many of us have been to have done the fame? It is true, the Gold and Silver were to have been consecrated
Crated to the Lord: But how apt should many of us, now-adays, be to fay, The Lord doth not ivant it; I havetarned it at the Hazard of my Life ; it is the Spoil of my Enemy; / ivrong no one; and how luill it be known? How natural is this to frail Flesh and Blood? And yet how severely was this Sin punished? In the sirst place, the Children of Israel are deseated by their Enemies, and though Heaven mercisully faw sit, that no more than Thirty-six should perish, yet the Consequences, had they not had immediate recourse to God, deprecated his Anger, and humbly besought his Favour and Assistance, conjuring 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 Valleytoi Achor, after having sirst stoned them.
But we think this Example, terrible as it is, is hardly so remarkable as that of Ananias and Saphira; because, tha'Achan had only taken the Spoil of his Enemies, which is reckoned lawsul Plunder, and in that Sense could not be faid 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 fave 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 fame Punishment was inflicted upon him and his, as had besore been executed upon the Inhabitants of that City.
Now this could not well be faid of Ananias and Sapphira, they had neither violated any express Command, nox had they been guilty of detaining any N j thing thing which it had heen previously 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 effect, we believe most of us, now-adays, should fancy ourselves very extraordinary Christians in giving up a considerable Part of our Substance for the Use of the Church, and should rather look for a Blessing than a Curse for such an Ofsering. But the Almighty sees not as Man sees; the inmost Thoughts of the Heart lie open to hisView; and in his Eye they were guilty of Thest, and that the worst of Thest, 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 case of the worst, for themselves, which argued a manisest Distrust of the Goodness of Heaven, and was in itself a heinous Sin.
But this was not all ;; for besides this, they were guilty of actual Thest, at least intentionally > for, as all the other Members of the Church had fold their Possessions, and given up their All into the Hands of the Apostles, in return whereof they were to receive again, out of the common Stock, according to their several Necessities: And as these two, had they not been miraculously detected in their Collusion, would have had an equal Share thtreof with the rest, they would thereby have been guilty of robbing the Church, and taking that which of right belonged to thofe who wanted it more; so that, in short, they were guilty of the fame Injustice, 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 theresore absolutely
olutely necessary at that Time, that fach Frauds should be effectually prevented for the suture i and this Heaven thought sit to do by a double Miracle; namely, by enduing the Apostle Peter with the Discernment of Spirits, and by striking both these Hypocrites with immediate Death, to the greatTerror of all such insincere Prosessors; so that we are express y told, And of the rest durst. no Man join himself to them.
But, to come from facred to prophane History, and even to our own Nation, we shall seldom sind that they who have persisted any Time in such unjust Practices, of what Rank soever 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 everyone's Memory.
To begin then with thofe overgrown Thievea and Plunderers called Favourites and Prime Ministers, what was the Issue of all the Pride and Rapine of Pien Gavestan, that infamous Minion of Edward II? What did. the powersul Protection of the King, his infatuated Master, avail him ? Did he not 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 suture ? What was the End ©f his immediate Successors in the Favour of the fame Prince, the two Spencers, Father and Son? Dd not the fame 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 Oppression, that infamous Minion of Queen Isabella, Robert Mortimer? Did not his treading in the fame 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.