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HE great Usefulness of the following
Treatise is so apparent, that one would imagine it superfluous, to multiply Words upon this Head ; efpecially since the good Reception, the
Work, called God's Revenge against Murther, and Adultery, has met with, even in the worst of Times, with the many Editions it has gone through, abundantly demonstrates, that every one is convinced, of the extraordinary Utility, and even Necessity, of somewhat of this Nature ; however de. fective the Performance may be, as that before mentioned undoubtedly is.
To instance only in a few Points, of the utmost Importance to every one who thinks seriously, and has any Concern for his future State, the Generality of Readers, by the Manner in which each of thoie Subjects is treated, in the aforesaid Book, are led into two very gross Mistakes ; namely, char Nothing but the actual depriving a Man of Life, in such a Way, as lays the guilty Person open to the Penalty of the Law, as by Sword, Poylon, Fire, or otherwise, is a Violation of the Sixth Commandment ; whereas we are expressly told, by the beloved Apo
ftle St. John, in his first Epistle, Whosoever hateth his Brother is a Murtherer ; and ye know that no Murtherer hath eternal Life abiding in him. How much more then will every Oppressor, every unmerciful Creditor, , every cruel and tyrannic Master, every Infractor of foo lemn Treaties, who without Provocation lights up the
Fire of War, and every Refuser of Peace, when • offered, much more when sued for, upon reafon, able Terms, find himself numbered, among the Break
ers of this Command ?
Again, with Relation to Adultery, by the Manner wherein the Compiler of that Work treats apon this Head, and the Examples therein cited, many are induced to imagine, that Nothing, but the actual Commission of that Crime, with a married Man or Woman, is a Violation of the Seventh Command. ment. But what does our blessed Saviour pofitively assure us, as to this point, in his divine Sermon upon the Mount? Whosoever looketh on a Woman, to luft after her, bath committed Adultery with her already in his Heart. As also, Whosoever fall put away kis Wife, Saving for the Cause of Fornication, causeth ber to commit Adultery:. And whosoever shall marry her that is divorced, committeth Adultery. Now, by this Comment thereupor, how many otherwise sincere and well-meaning Persons ; how many even of the moft outragiously virtuous, who cannot hear, even the Name of a Whore, menrioned, with any Patience; who think no Punishment too bad for every Offender whatever, of this Sort; who make no Allowances for almost irresistible Temptation ; neither would shew the least Mercy to one ; but, confounding the poor deluded In. nocent, with the most common Strumpet, would hang or farve all, withour Exception ; how many such, we say, on judging by this Rule, will find themselves included, in the Number of Transgressors of this Law ? In effect, according thereto, it is much to be questioned, Wherher there is one, of either Sex,
in these Kingdoms, or any other, who has seen the Age of fifteen, and has not been guilty of offending against this Precept ; especially, if it be considered, that every immodeft Word, or loose Song, nay, even every fashionable Double Entendre, is a Contravention of it.
Neither is this the Case, with Relation to these Two Commandments only, but to all the others in general, which have each of them a most extenfive Signification ; and this it highly imports us, to have continually before our Eyes; for, notwithstanding, by the Practice of the Generality of Mankind, one Thould be almost tempted, to think the Observation of the Commands, of the First Table, were of very little Importance ; and, consequently, that the Violation of them was a very small Fault, if any, as not being so detrimençal to Society, nor so highly purished by the Laws of Man, as the Breach of those of the Second Table; yet we shall all find, if we repent not, when it is too late, that the Infraction of either of the former, is equally heinous, or rather more so, in the Sight of GOD; that is, in the Sight of him who will be our Judge, and will have it in his Power, either to exalt us to everlasting Happiness, or condemn us 10 eternal Torments and Misèry: In effect, are we not assured by St. James, that Whosoever fall keep the whole Law, and yet offend in one Point, be is guilty of all.
Would any one imagine, the gay Part of the World, and especially what is called the Grande Monde, and the Beau Monde, ever seriously took this into Consideration? For, not to mention those who make their Belly their God, or who fell him for a Ribbon, a Title, a Place, or a Pension, and thereby break the First Command, neither those who worship that worst of Idols, a Primé-Minister, or a Favourite, and are thereby guilty of the Violation of the same ;
what shall we say to that numerous Crowd, of all Ranks and Sorts, who daily live in perpetual Disobedience to the Third, either by frequent Swearing and Cursing, or by idly using the Name of God; or by rash Imprecations on themselves or others, when in Passion; or, which is worst of all, by down. right and wilful Perjury?
Again, What shall we say, to the yet more nume. rous Company, consisting likewise of all Ranks and Sexes, who live in an almost uninterrupted Infraction of the Fourth; either by Card Playing, Visiting, Going to the Park, Kenfington Gardens, or Riding out, as is done by the better Sort, or by walking in the Fields, and frequenting the Cake-Houses, as is done by those of a middling Rank ; 'or, which is worse, by getting drunk, and spending their Week's Mo. ney at an Ale house, or Gin-hop, as is done by the meaner Sort, and Dregs of the People ?
If these Things are so, and that they are, no Man of any Honesty or Modelty can deny ; and if it e. qually behoves us, to pay an exact Obedience to each of the Ten Commandments; it must certainly equally concern us, to know the full Latitude and Extent of each of them, in order to enable us so to do; especially, as the Royal Pfalmift affures us, that God's Commandments are exceeding broad. It is also highly needful, beyond Dispute, particularly, at a Time, when all kinds of Vice are at the greatest Height, when almost every Enormity is practised, and most of them with Impunity; when we cannot walk the Streets, without having our Ears deafened with Oaths, Blasphemy and Ribaidry ; nór yet, without having not only our Eyes shock'd, but our Persons endangered, by drunken and lewd Prostitutes, with defperate Ruffians, their constant Companions ; it is highly needful we say, absuch a Time, both that the full Latitude and Extent of each of those Injunctions
Mould be known, and earnestly inculcated; and al. fo, because it is certain, that Example goes before Precept, that they should be illustrated, and enforced, by proper Instances upon each Head, displaying as it were, before our Eyes, the fatal and dreadful Consequences of not observing them, and the happy Effects of a contrary Practice.
That we have no such Work as yet, will, we believe, be admitted by all ; at least, Nothing of this Kind has ever come to our Hands : That it is likely to prove also of the greatest Use, we conceive, will readily be granted, by every confiderate Person ; wherefore, until something of this Nature, that may be more perfect, be undertaken by an abler Pen, we hope the following Treatise, which it is intended Shall take in every one of the Ten Commandments, and that in ii's fulleit Lacitude, and most extensive Sense and Meaning, will meet with a favourable Ac, ceptance : And this we shall endeavonr to deserve, by sparing no Pains, to render it as accurate, and compleat, as we possibly can.
: And, because we would willingly have a Thrg of this Kind, as generally serviceable, as the Nicule of it will admit, we shall bring all we have to say uson this Subject, into the Compass of one Pockt Vo. lume; though, were we to enlarge upon each single Head, as, Heaven knows, there is both Ne:d and Room enough, there would be more than fu ficien: Master, for a Folio of the largelt Size. But we are desirous to consult, as much as may be, both the Cir. cumstances and Tempers of the Generality of Read. ers; who, we doubt, would hardly care, to have such a heavy Tax imposed upon their Pockets, or fo te. dious a Task enjoined their persons, as either the Purchase, or Perusal, of a work of that Bulk, would be ; and would consequently avoid both the