At this, first he gave her an ugly wish, and then fell into a fearful rage, and sware moreover that if she did go, he would make both her and all her damnable brotherhood, for so he was pleased to call them, to repent their coming thither.
ATTEN. But what should he mean by that?
WISE. You may easily guess what he meant. He meant he would turn informer, and so either weary out those that she loved from meeting together to worship God, or make them pay dearly for their so doing, the which, if he did, he knew it would vex every vein of her tender heart.
ATTEN. But do you think Mr. Badman would have been so base?
WISE. Truly he had malice and enmity enough in his heart to do it, only he was a tradesman; also he knew that he must live by his neighbours, and so he had that little wit in his anger, that he refrained himself and did it not. But, as I said, he had malice and envy enough in his heart to have made him to do it, only he thought it would worst him in his trade; yet these three things he would be doing: 1. He would be putting of others on to molest and abuse her friends. 2. He would be glad when he heard that any mischief befel them. 3. And would laugh at her when he saw her troubled for them. And now I have told you Mr. Badman's way as to this.
ATTEN. But was he not afraid of the judgments of God that did fly about at that time?
WISE. He regarded not the judgment nor mercy of God, for had he at all done that he could not have done as he did. But what judgments do you mean?
ATTEN. Such judgments, that if Mr. Badman himself had taken but sober notice of, they might have made him a hung down his ears.
WISE. Why, have you heard of any such persons that the judgments of God have overtaken.
ATTEN. Yes, and so, I believe, have you too, though you make so strange about it.
WISE. I have so indeed, to my astonishment and wonder.
ATTEN. Pray, therefore, if you please, tell me what it is, as to this, that you know; and then, perhaps, I may also say something to you of the same.
WISE. In our town there was one W. S., a man of a very wicked life; and he, when there seemed to be countenance given to it, would needs turn informer. Well, so he did, and was as diligent in his business as most of them could be; he would watch of nights, climb trees, and range the woods of days, if possible, to find out the meeters, for then they were forced to meet in the fields; yea, he would curse them bitterly, and swear most fearfully what he would do to them when he found them. Well, after he had gone on like a bedlam in his course awhile, and had done some mischiefs to the people, he was stricken by the hand of God, and that in this manner: 1. Although he had his tongue naturally at will, now he was taken with a flattering in his speech, and could not for weeks together speak otherwise than just like a man that was drunk. 2. Then he was taken with a drauling, or slabbering at his mouth, which slabber sometimes would hang at his mouth well nigh half-way down to the ground. 3. Then he had such a weakness in the back sinews of his neck, that ofttimes he could not look up before him, unless he clapped his hand hard upon his forehead, and held up his head that way, by strength of hand. 4. After this his speech went quite away, and he could speak no more than a swine or a bear. Therefore, like one of them, he would gruntle and make an ugly noise, according as he was offended, or pleased, or would have anything done, &c.
In this posture he continued for the space of half a year or thereabouts, all the while otherwise well, and could go about his business, save once that he had a fall from the bell as it hangs in our steeple, which it was a wonder it did not kill him. But after that he also walked about, until God had made a sufficient spectacle of his judgment of his sin, and then on a sudden he was stricken, and died miserably; and so there was an end of him and his doings.
I will tell you of another. About four miles from St. Neots, there was a gentleman had a man, and he would needs be an informer, and a lusty young man he was. Well, an informer he was, and did much distress some people, and had perfected his informations so effectually against some, that there was nothing further to do but for the constables to make distress on the people, that he might have the money or goods; and, as I heard, he hastened them much to do it. Now, while he was in the heat of his work, as he stood one day by the fire-side, he had, it should seem, a mind to a sop in the pan, for the spit was then at the fire, so he went to make him one; but behold, a dog, some say his own dog, took distaste at something, and bit his master by the leg; the which bite, notwithstanding all the means that was used to cure him, turned, as was said, to a gangrene; however, that wound was his death, and that a dreadful one too. For my relator said that he lay in such a condition by this bite, as the beginning, until his flesh rotted from off him before he went out of the world. But what need I instance in particular persons; when the judgment of God against this kind of people was made manifest, I think I may say, if not in all, yet in most of the counties in England where such poor creatures were. But I would, if it had been the will of God, that neither I nor anybody else, could tell you more of these stories; true stories, that are neither lie nor romance.
ATTEN. Well, I also heard of both these myself, and of more too, as remarkable in their kind as these, if I had any list to tell them; but let us leave those that are behind to others, or to the coming of Christ, who then will justify or condemn them, as the merit of their work shall require; or if they repented, and found mercy, I shall be glad when I know it, for I wish not a curse to the soul of mine enemy.
WISE. There can be no pleasure in the telling of such stories, though to hear of them may do us a pleasure. They may put us in mind that there is a God that judgeth in the earth, and that doth not always forget nor defer to hear the cry of the destitute; they also carry along with them both caution and counsel to those that are the survivors of such. Let us tremble at the judgments of God, and be afraid of sinning against him, and it shall be our protection. It shall go well with them that fear God, that fear before him.
ATTEN. Well, Sir, as you have intimated, so I think we have, in this place, spoken enough about these kind of men; if you please, let us return again to Mr. Badman himself, if you have any more to say of him.
WISE. More! we have yet scarce thoroughly begun with anything that we have said. All the particulars are in themselves so full of badness, that we have rather only looked in them, than indeed said anything to them; but we will pass them and proceed. You have heard of the sins of his youth, of his apprenticeship, and how he set up, and married, and what a life he hath led his wife; and now I will tell you some more of his pranks. He had the very knack for knavery; had he, as I said before, been bound to serve an apprenticeship to all these things, he could not have been more cunning, he could not have been more artificial at it.
ATTEN. Nor perhaps so artificially neither. For as none can teach goodness like to God himself, so, concerning sin and knavery, none can teach a man it like the devil, to whom, as I perceive, Mr. Badman went to school from his childhood to the end of his life. But, pray, Sir, make a beginning.
WISE. Well, so I will. You may remember that I told you what a condition he was in for money before he did marry, and how he got a rich wife, with whose money he paid his debts. How, when he had paid his debts, he having some money left, he sets up again as briskly as ever, keeps a great shop, drives a great trade, and runs again a great way into debt; but now not into the debt of one or two, but into the debt of many, so that at last he came to owe some thousands, and thus he went on a good while. And, to pursue his ends the better, he begun now to study to please all men, and to suit himself to any company; he could now be as they, say as they, that is, if he listed; and then he would list, when he perceived that by so doing he might either make them his customers or creditors for his commodities. If he dealt with honest men, as with some honest men he did, then he would be as they, talk as they, seem to be sober as they, talk of justice and religion as they, and against debauchery as they; yea, and would too seem to show a dislike of them that said, did, or were otherwise than honest.
Again, when he did light among those that were bad, then he would be as they, but yet more close and cautiously, except they were sure of his company. Then he would carry it openly, be as they, say, damn them and sink them as they. If they railed on good men, so could he; if they railed on religion, so could he; if they talked beastly, vainly, idly, so would he; if they were for drinking, swearing, whoring, or any the like villainies, so was he. This was now the path he trod in, and could do all artificially as any man alive. And now he thought himself a perfect man, he thought he was always a boy till now. What think you now of Mr. Badman?
ATTEN. Think! why I think he was an atheist; for no man but an atheist can do this. I say it cannot be but that the man that is such as this Mr. Badman must be a rank and stinking atheist, for he that believes that there is either God or devil, heaven or hell, or death and judgment after, cannot do as Mr. Badman did; I mean if he could do these things without reluctancy and check of conscience, yea, if he had not sorrow and remorse for such abominable sins as these.
WISE. Nay, he was so far off from reluctances and remorse of conscience for these things, that he counted them the excellency of his attainments, the quintessence of his wit, his rare and singular virtues, such as but few besides himself could be the masters of. Therefore, as for those that made boggle and stop at things, and that could not in conscience, and for fear of death and judgment, do such things as he, he would call them fools and noddies, and charge them for being frighted with the talk of unseen bugbears, and would encourage them, if they would be men indeed, to labour after the attainment of this his excellent art. He would oftentimes please himself with the thoughts of what he could do in this matter, saying within himself, I can be religious and irreligious, I can be anything or nothing; I can swear, and speak against swearing; I can lie, and speak against lying; I can drink, wench, be unclean, and defraud, and not be troubled for it. Now I enjoy myself, and am master of mine own ways, and not they of me. This I have attained with much study, great care, and more pains. But this his talk should be only with himself, to his wife, who he knew durst not divulge it, or among his intimates, to whom he knew he might say any thing.
ATTEN. Did I call him before an atheist? I may call him now a devil, or a man possessed with one, if not with many. I think that there cannot be found in every corner such a one as this. True, it is said of king Ahaz that he sinned more and more (2 Chron 28:22). And of Ahab, that he sold 'himself to work wickedness' (1 Kings 21:25). And of the men of Sodom, that they 'were sinners before the Lord exceedingly' (Gen 13:13).
WISE. An atheist he was no doubt, if there be such a thing as an atheist in the world; but for all his brags of perfection and security in his wickedness, I believe that at times God did let down fire from heaven into his conscience (Job 21:17). True, I believe he would quickly put it out again, and grow more wicked and desperate afterward, but this also turned to his destruction, as afterward you may hear.
But I am not of your mind to think that there are but few such in the world, except you mean as to the degree of wickedness unto which he had attained. For otherwise, no doubt, there is abundance of such as he; men of the same mind, of the same principles, and of the same conscience too, to put them into practice. Yea, I believe that there are many that are endeavouring to attain to the same pitch of wickedness, and all them are such as he in the judgment of the law, nor will their want of hellish wit to attain thereto excuse them at the day of judgment. You know that in all science some are more arch than some, and so it is in the art as well as in the practice of wickedness, some are two-fold and some seven-fold more the children of hell than others—and yet all the children of hell—else they would all be masters, and none scholars in the school of wickedness. But there must be masters, and there must be learners; Mr. Badman was a master in this art, and therefore it follows that he must be an arch and chief one in that mystery.
ATTEN. You are in the right, for I perceive that some men, though they desire it, are not so arch in the practice thereof as others, but are, as I suppose they call them, fools and dunces to the rest, their heads and capacities will not serve them to act and do so wickedly. But Mr. Badman wanted not a wicked head to contrive, as well as a wicked heart to do his wickedness.
WISE. True, but yet I say such men shall at the day of judgment be judged, not only for what they are, but also for what they would be. For if 'the thought of foolishness is sin,' doubtless the desire of foolishness is more sin; and if the desire be more, the endeavour after it must needs be more and more (Psa 24:9). He then that is not an artificial atheist and transgressor, yet if he desires to be so, if he endeavoureth to be so, he shall be judged and condemned to hell for such a one. For the law judgeth men, as I said, according to what they would be. He that 'looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart' (Matt 5:28). By the same rule, he that would steal doth steal he that would cheat, doth cheat; he that would swear, doth swear; and he that would commit adultery, doth do so. For God judgeth men according to the working of their minds, and saith, 'As he thinketh, so is he' (Prov 23:7). That is, so is he in his heart, in his intentions, in his desires, in his endeavours; and God's law, I say, lays hold of the desires, intentions, and endeavours, even as it lays hold of the act of wickedness itself (Matt 5; Rom 7:7). A man then that desires to be as bad as Mr. Badman, and desires to be so wicked have many in their hearts, though he never attains to that proficiency in wickedness as he, shall be judged for as bad a man as he, because it was in his desires to be such a wicked one.
ATTEN. But this height of wickedness in Mr. Badman will not yet out of my mind. This hard, desperate, or, what shall I call it, diabolical frame of heart, was in him a foundation, a ground-work to all acts and deeds that were evil.
WISE. The heart, and the desperate wickedness of it, is the foundation and ground-work of all. Atheism, professed and practical, spring both out of the heart, yea, and all manner of evil besides. For they be not bad deeds that make a bad man, but he is already a bad man that doth bad deeds. A man must be wicked before he can do wickedness. 'Wickedness proceedeth form the wicked' (1 Sam 24:13). It is an evil tree that bars evil fruit. Men gather no grapes of thorns; the heart therefore must be evil before the man can do evil, and good before the man doth good (Matt 7:16-18).
ATTEN. Now I see the reason why Mr. Badman was so base as to get a wife by dissimulation, and to abuse her so like a villain when he had got her, it was because he was before, by a wicked heart, prepared to act wickedness.
WISE. You may be sure of it, 'For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these things come from within and defile the man' (Mark 7:20-23). And a man, as his naughty mind inclines him, makes use of these, or any of these, to gratify his lust, to promote his designs, to revenge his malice, to enrich, or to wallow himself in the foolish pleasures and pastimes of this life. And all these did Mr. Badman do, even to the utmost, if either opportunity, or purse, or perfidiousness, would help him to the obtaining of his purpose.
ATTEN. Purse! why he could not but have purse to do almost what he would, having married a wife with so much money.
WISE. Hold you there; some of Mr. Badman's sins were costly, as his drinking, and whoring, and keeping other bad company; though he was a man that had ways too many to get money, as well as ways too many to spend it.
ATTEN. Had he then such a good trade, for all he was such a bad man? Or was his calling so gainful to him as always to keep his purse's belly full, though he was himself a great spender?
WISE. No, it was not his trade that did it, though he had a pretty trade too. He had another way to get money, and that by hatfuls and pocketfuls at a time.
ATTEN. Why I trow he was no highwayman, was he?
WISE. I will be sparing in my speech as to that, though some have muttered as if he could ride out now and then, about nobody but himself knew what, over night, and come home all dirty and weary next morning. But that is not the thing I aim at.
ATTEN. Pray let me know it, if you think it convenient that I should.
[BADMAN IS A BANKRUPT, AND GETS BY IT 'HATFULS OF MONEY.']
WISE. I will tell you; it was this, he had an art to break, and get hatfuls of money by breaking.
ATTEN. But what do you mean by Mr. Badman's breaking? You speak mystically, do you not?
WISE. No, no, I speak plainly. Or, if you will have it in plainer language, it is this;—when Mr. Badman had swaggered and whored away most of his wife's portion, he began to feel that he could not much longer stand upon his legs in this course of life and keep up his trade and repute—such as he had—in the world, but by the new engine of breaking. Wherefore upon a time he gives a great and sudden rush into several men's debts, to the value of about four or five thousand pounds, driving at the same time a very great trade, by selling many things for less than they cost him, to get him custom, therewith to blind his creditors' eyes. His creditors therefore seeing that he had a great employ, and dreaming that it must needs at length turn to a very good account to them, trusted him freely without mistrust, and so did others too, to the value of what was mentioned before. Well, when Mr. Badman had well feathered his nest with other men's goods and money, after a little time he breaks. And by and by it was noised abroad that Mr. Badman had shut up shop, was gone, and could trade no longer. Now by that time his breaking was come to his creditors' ears, he had by craft and knavery made so sure of what he had, that his creditors could not touch a penny. Well, when he had done, he sends his mournful sugared letters to his creditors, to let them understand what had happened unto him, and desired them not to be severe with him, for he bore towards all men an honest mind, and would pay so far as he was able. Now he sends his letters by a man confederate with him, who could make both the worst and best of Mr. Badman's case; the best for Mr. Badman and the worst for his creditors. So when he comes to them he both bemoans them and condoles Mr. Badman's condition, telling of them that, without a speedy bringing of things to a conclusion, Mr. Badman would be able to make them no satisfaction, but at present he both could and would, and that to the utmost of his power, and to that end he desired that they would come over to him. Well, his creditors appoint him a time and come over, and he, meanwhile, authorizes another to treat with them, but will not be seen himself, unless it was on a Sunday, lest they should snap him with a writ. So his deputed friend treats with them about their concern with Mr. Badman, first telling them of the great care that Mr. Badman took to satisfy them and all men for whatsoever he owed, as far as in him lay, and how little he thought a while since to be in this low condition. He pleaded also the greatness of his charge, the greatness of taxes, the badness of the times, and the great losses that he had by many of his customers; some of which died in his debt, others were run away, and for many that were alive he never expected a farthing from them. Yet nevertheless he would show himself an honest man, and would pay as far as he was able; and if they were willing to come to terms, he would make a composition with them, for he was not able to pay them all. The creditors asked what he would give? It was replied, Half-a-crown in the pound. At this they began to huff, and he to renew his complaint and entreaty, but the creditors would not hear, and so for that time their meeting without success broke up. But after his creditors were in cool blood, and admitting of second thoughts, and fearing lest delays should make them lose all, they admit of a second debate, come together again, and, by many worlds and great ado, they obtained five shillings in the pound. So the money was produced, releases and discharges drawn, signed, and sealed, books crossed, and all things confirmed; and then Mr. Badman can put his head out a doors again, and be a better man than when he shut up shop, by several thousands of pounds.
ATTEN. And did he do thus indeed?
WISE. Yes, once and again. I think he brake twice or thrice.
ATTEN. And did he do it before he had need to do it?
WISE. Need! What do you mean by need? There is no need at any time for a man to play the knave. He did it of a wicked mind, to defraud and beguile his creditors. He had wherewithal of his father, and also by his wife, to have lived upon, with lawful labour, like an honest man. He had also, when he made this wicked break, though he had been a profuse and prodigal spender, to have paid his creditors their own to a farthing. But had he done so, he had not done like himself, like Mr. Badman; had he, I say, dealt like an honest man, he had then gone out of Mr. Badman's road. He did it therefore of a dishonest mind, and to a wicked end; to wit, that he might have wherewithal, howsoever unlawfully gotten, to follow his cups and queans, and to live in the full swing of his lusts, even as he did before.
ATTEN. Why this was a mere cheat.
WISE. It was a cheat indeed. This way of breaking, it is nothing else but a more neat way of thieving, of picking of pockets, of breaking open of shops, and of taking from men what one has nothing to do with. But though it seem easy, it is hard to learn; no man that has conscience to God or man, can ever be his crafts-master in this hellish art.
ATTEN. O! Sir! What a wicked man was this!
WISE. A wicked man indeed. By this art he could tell how to make men send their goods to his shop, and then be glad to take a penny for that which he had promised, before it came thither, to give them a groat: I say, he could make them glad to take a crown for a pound's worth, and a thousand for that for which he had promised before to give them four thousand pounds.
ATTEN. This argueth that Mr. Badman had but little conscience.
WISE. This argued that Mr. Badman had no conscience at all; for conscience, the least spark of a good conscience, cannot endure this.
ATTEN. Before we go any further in Mr. Badman's matters, let me desire you, if you please, to give me an answer to these two questions. 1. What do you find in the Word of God against such a practice as this of Mr. Badman's is? 2. What would you have a man do that is in his creditor's debt, and can neither pay him what he owes him, nor go on in a trade any longer?
WISE. I will answer you as well as I can. And first, to the first of your questions; to wit, What I find in the Word of God against such a practice as this of Mr. Badman's is.
The Word of God doth forbid this wickedness; and to make it the more odious in our eyes, it joins it with theft and robbery. 'Thou shalt not,' says God, 'defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him' (Lev 19:13). Thou shalt not defraud, that is, deceive or beguile. Now thus to break, is to defraud, deceive and beguile; which is, as you see, forbidden by the God of heaven: 'Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him.' It is a kind of theft and robbery, thus to defraud, and beguile. It is a vilely robbing of his shop, and picking of his pocket; a thing odious to reason and conscience, and contrary to the law of nature. It is a designed piece of wickedness, and therefore a double sin. A man cannot do this great wickedness on a sudden, and through a violent assault of Satan. He that will commit this sin, must have time to deliberate, that by invention he may make it formidable, and that with lies and high dissimulations. He that commits this wickedness, must first hatch it upon his bed, beat his head about it, and lay his plot strong. So that to the completing of such a wickedness, there must be adjoined many sins, and they too must go hand in hand until it be completed. But what saith the scripture? 'Let no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such' (1 Thess 4:6). But this kind of breaking is a going beyond my brother; this is a compassing of him about, that I may catch him in my net; and as I said, an art to rob my brother, and to pick his pocket, and that with his consent. Which doth not therefore mitigate, but so much the more greaten, and make odious the offence. For men that are thus wilily abused, cannot help themselves; they are taken in a deceitful net. But God will here concern himself, he will be the avenger, he will be the avenger of all such either here, or in another world.
And this, the apostle testifies again, where he saith, 'But he that doeth wrong, shall receive for the wrong which he hath done; and there is no respect of persons' (Col 3:25). That is, there is no man, be he what he will, if he will be guilty of this sin, of going beyond, of beguiling of, and doing wrong to his brother, but God will call him to an account for it, and will pay him with vengeance for it too; for 'there is no respect of persons.'
I might add, that this sin of wronging, of going beyond, and defrauding of my neighbour, it is like that first prank that the devil played with our first parents, as the altar that Uriah built of Ahaz, was taken from the fashion of that that stood at Damascus, to be the very pattern of it. The serpent beguiled me, says Eve; Mr. Badman beguiles his creditors. The serpent beguiled Eve with lying promises of gain; and so did Mr. Badman beguile his creditors. The serpent said one thing and meant another, when he beguiled Eve; and so did Mr. Badman when he beguiled his creditors.
That man therefore that doth thus deceive and beguile his neighbour, imitateth the devil; he taketh his examples from him, and not from God, the Word, or good men; and this did Mr. Badman.
And now to your second question; to wit, what I would have a man do that is in his creditor's debt, and that can neither pay him, nor go on in a trade any longer?
Answ. First of all. If this be his case, and he knows it, let him not run one penny further in his creditors' debt, for that cannot be done with good conscience. He that knows he cannot pay, and yet will run into debt; does knowingly wrong and defraud his neighbour, and falls under that sentence of the Word of God, 'The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again' (Psa 37:21). Yea, worse, he borrows, though at the very same time he knows that he cannot pay again. He doth also craftily take away what is his neighbour's. That is therefore the first thing that I would propound to such; let him not run any farther into his creditors' debt.
Secondly, After this, let him consider, how, and by what means he was brought into such a condition that he could not pay his just debts. To wit, whether it was by his own remissness in his calling, by living too high in diet or apparel, by lending too lavishingly that which was none of his own, to his loss; or whether by the immediate hand and judgment of God.
If by searching he finds that this is come upon him through remissness in his calling, extravagancies in his family, or the like; let him labour for a sense of his sin and wickedness, for he has sinned against the Lord. First, in his being slothful in business, and in not providing, to wit, of his own, by the sweat of his brow, or other honest ways, for those of his own house (Rom 12:11; 1 Tim 5:8). And, secondly, in being lavishing in diet and apparel in the family, or in lending to others that which was none of his own. This cannot be done with good conscience. It is both against reason and nature, and therefore must be a sin against God. I say therefore, if thus this debtor hath done, if ever he would live quietly in conscience, and comfortably in his condition for the future, let him humble himself before God, and repent of this his wickedness. For 'he that is slothful in his work, is brother to him that is a great waster' (Prov 18:9). To be slothful and a waster too, is to be as it were a double sinner.
But again, as this man should inquire into these things, so he should also into this, How came I into this way of dealing in which I have now miscarried? Is it a way that my parents brought me up in, put me apprentice to, or that by providence I was first thrust into? Or is it a way into which I have twisted myself, as not being contented with my first lot, that by God and my parents I was cast into? This ought duly to be considered, and if upon search a man shall find that he is out of the place and calling into which he was put by his parents, or the providence of God, and has miscarried in a new way, that through pride and dislike of his first state he has chose rather to embrace; his miscarriage is his sin, the fruit of his pride, and a token of the judgment of God upon him for his leaving of his first state. And for this he ought, as for the former, to be humble and penitent before the Lord,
But if by search, he finds that his poverty came by none of these; if by honest search, he finds it so, and can say with good conscience, I went not out of my place and state in which God by his providence had put me; but have abode with God in the calling wherein I was called, and have wrought hard, and fared meanly, been civilly apparelled, and have not directly nor indirectly made away with my creditors' goods; then has his fall come upon him by the immediate hand of God, whether by visible or invisible ways. For sometimes it comes by visible ways, to wit, by fire, by thieves, by loss of cattle, or the wickedness of sinful dealers, &c. And sometimes by means invisible, and then no man knows how; we only see things are going, but cannot see by what way they go. Well, now suppose that a man, by an immediate hand of God, is brought to a morsel of bread, what must he do now?
I answer: His surest way is still to think, that this is the fruit of some sin, though possibly not sin in the management of his calling, yet of some other sin. 'God casteth away the substance of the wicked' (Prov 10:3). Therefore let him still humble himself before his God, because his hand is upon him, and say, What sin is this, for which this hand of God is upon me? (1 Peter 5:6). And let him be diligent to find it out, for some sin is the cause of this judgment; for God 'doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men' (Lam 3:33). Either the heart is too much set upon the world, or religion is too much neglected in thy family, or something. There is a snake in the grass, a worm in the gourd; some sin in thy bosom, for the sake of which God doth thus deal with thee.
Thirdly, This thus done, let that man again consider thus with himself: perhaps God is now changing of my condition and state in the world; he has let me live in fashion, in fulness, and abundance of worldly glory; and I did not to his glory improve, as I should, that his good dispensation to me. But when I lived in full and fat pasture, I did there lift up the heel (Deut 32:15). Therefore he will now turn me into hard commons, that with leanness, and hunger, and meanness, and want, I may spend the rest of my days. But let him do this without murmuring and repining; let him do it in a godly manner, submitting himself to the judgment of God. 'Let the rich rejoice in that he is made low' (James 1:9,10).
This is duty, and it may be privilege to those that are under this hand of God. And for thy encouragement to this hard work, for this is a hard work, consider of these four things. 1. This is right lying down under God's hand, and the way to be exalted in God's time. When God would have Job embrace the dunghill, he embraces it, and says, 'The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord' (Job 1:21). 2. Consider, that there are blessings also that attend a low condition, more than all the world are aware of. A poor condition has preventing mercy attending of it. The poor, because they are poor, are not capable of sinning against God as the rich man does (Psa 49:6). 3. The poor can more clearly see himself preserved by the providence of God than the rich, for he trusteth in the abundance of his riches. 4. It may be God has made thee poor, because he would make thee rich. 'Hearken, my beloved brethren, hath not God chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which God hath promised to them that love him?' (James 2:5).
I am persuaded if men upon whom this hand of God is, would thus quietly lie down and humble themselves under it, they would find more peace, yea more blessing of God attending them in it, than the most of men are aware of. But this is a hard chapter, and therefore I do not expect that many should either read it with pleasure, or desire to take my counsel.
Having thus spoken to the broken man, with reference to his own self, I will now speak to him as he stands related to his creditors. In the next place therefore, let him fall upon the most honest way of dealing with his creditors, and that I think must be this:
First, Let him timely make them acquainted with his condition, and also do to them these three things. 1. Let him heartily and unfeignedly ask them forgiveness for the wrong that he has done them. 2. Let him proffer them ALL, and the whole ALL that ever he has in the world; let him hide nothing, let him strip himself to his raiment for them; let him not keep a ring, a spoon, or anything from them. 3. If none of these two will satisfy them, let him proffer them his body, to be at their dispose, to wit, either to abide imprisonment at their pleasure, or to be at their service, till by labour and travel he hath made them such amends as they in reason think fit, only reserving something for the succour of his poor and distressed family out of his labour, which in reason, and conscience, and nature, he is bound also to take care of. Thus shall he make them what amends he is able, for the wrong that he hath done them in wasting and spending of their estates.
By thus doing, he submits himself to God's rod, commits himself to the dispose of his providence; yea, by thus doing, he casteth the lot of his present and future condition into the lap of his creditors, and leaves the whole dispose thereof to the Lord, even as he shall order and incline their hearts to do with him (Prov 16:33). And let that be either to forgive him, or to take that which he hath for satisfaction, or to lay his body under affliction, this way or that, according to law; can he, I say, thus leave the whole dispose to God, let the issue be what it will, that man shall have peace in his mind afterward. And the comforts of that state, which will be comforts that attend equity, justice, and duty, will be more unto him, because more according to godliness, than can be the comforts that are the fruits of injustice, fraudulency, and deceit. Besides, this is the way to engage God to favour him by the sentence of his creditors; for HE can entreat them to use him kindly, and he will do it when his ways are pleasing in his sight (Jer 15:10,11). When a man's ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him (Prov 16:7). And surely, for a man to seek to make restitution for wrongs done to the utmost of his power, by what he is, has, and enjoys in this world, is the best way, in that capacity, and with reference to that thing, that a man can at this time be found active in.
But he that doth otherwise, abides in his sin, refuses to be disposed of by the providence of God, chooseth an high estate, though not attained in God's way; when God's will is that he should descend into a low one. Yea, he desperately saith in his heart and actions, I will be mine own chooser, and that in mine own way, whatever happens or follows thereupon.
ATTEN. You have said well, in my mind. But suppose now that Mr. Badman was here, could he not object as to what you have said, saying, Go and teach your brethren, that are professors, this lesson, for they as I am are guilty of breaking; yea, I am apt to think, of that which you call my knavish way of breaking, to wit, of breaking before they have need to break. But if not so, yet they are guilty of neglect in their calling, of living higher, both in fare and apparel, than their trade or income will maintain. Besides that they do break all the world very well knows, and that they have the art to plead for a composition, is very well known to men; and that is usual with them to hide their linen, their plate, their jewels, and it is to be thought, sometimes money and goods besides, is as common as four eggs a penny. and thus they beguile men, debauch their consciences, sin against their profession, and make, it is to be feared, their lusts in all this, and the fulfilling of them their end. I say, if Mr. Badman was here to object thus unto you, what would be your reply?
WISE. What? Why I would say, I hope no good man, no man of good conscience, no man that either feareth God, regardeth the credit of religion, the peace of God's people, or the salvation of his own soul, will do thus. Professors such, perhaps, there may be, and who upon earth can help it? Jades there be of all colours. If men will profess, and make their profession a stalking-horse to beguile their neighbours of their estates, as Mr. Badman himself did, when he beguiled her that now is with sorrow his wife, who can help it? The churches of old were pestered with such, and therefore no marvel if these perilous difficult times be so. But mark how the apostle words it: 'Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren. Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God' (1 Cor 6:8-10; 2 Tim 3:1-5).
None of these shall be saved in this state, nor shall profession deliver them from the censure of the godly, when they shall be manifest such to be. But their profession we cannot help. How can we help it, if men should ascribe to themselves the title of holy ones, godly ones, zealous ones, self-denying ones, or any other such glorious title? and while they thus call themselves, they should be the veriest rogues for all evil, sin, and villainy imaginable, who could help it? True, they are a scandal to religion, a grief to the honest-hearted, an offence to the world, and a stumbling-stone to the weak, and these offences have come, do come, and will come, do what all the world can; but woe be to them through whom they come (Matt 18:6-8). Let such professors therefore be disowned by all true Christians, and let them be reckoned among those base men of the world, which, by such actions, they most resemble. They are Mr. Badman's kindred. For they are a shame to religion, I say, these slithy, rob-shop, pick-pocket men, they are a shame to religion, and religious men should be ashamed of them. God puts such an one among the fools of the world, therefore let not Christians put them among those that are wise for heaven. 'As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not, so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool' (Jer 17:11). And the man under consideration is one of these, and therefore must look to fall by this judgment.
A professor! and practice such villainies as these! such a one is not worthy to bear that name any longer. We may say to such as the prophet spake to their like, to wit, to the rebellious that were in the house of Israel: 'Go ye, serve ye every one his idols' (Eze 20:39). If ye will not hearken to the law and testament of God, to lead your lives hereafter: 'but pollute God's holy name no more with your gifts, and with your idols.'
Go, professors, go; leave off profession, unless you will lead your lives according to your profession. Better never profess, than to make profession a stalking-horse to sin, deceit, to the devil, and hell. The ground and rules of religion allow not any such thing: 'receive us,' says the apostle, 'we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man' (2 Cor 7:2). Intimating that those that are guilty of wronging, corrupting, or defrauding of any, should not be admitted to the fellowship of saints, no, nor into the common catalogue of brethren with them. Nor can men with all their rhetoric, and eloquent speaking, prove themselves fit for the kingdom of heaven, or men of good conscience on earth. O that godly plea of Samuel: 'Behold here I am,' says he, 'witness against me, before the Lord, and before his anointed, whose ox have I taken? or whose ass have I taken? or whom have I defrauded? whom have I oppressed?' &c. (1 Sam 12:3). This was to do like a man of good conscience indeed (Matt 10:19). And in this his appeal, he was so justified in the consciences of the whole congregation, that they could not but with one voice, as with one mouth, break out jointly, and say, 'Thou hast not defrauded us, nor oppressed us' (Matt 10:4).
A professor, and defraud, away with him! A professor should not owe any man anything but love. A professor should provide things, not of other men's but of his own, of his own honest getting, and that not only in the sight of God, but of all men; that he may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.
ATTEN. But suppose God should blow upon a professor in his estate and calling, and he should be run out before he is aware, must he be accounted to be like Mr. Badman, and lie under the same reproach as he?
WISE. No: if he hath dutifully done what he could to avoid it. It is possible for a ship to sink at sea, notwithstanding the most faithful endeavour of the most skilful pilot under heaven. And thus, as I suppose, it was with the prophet, that left his wife in debt, to the hazarding the slavery of her children by the creditors (2 Kings 4:1,2). He was no profuse man, nor one that was given to defraud, for the text says he feared God; yet, as I said, he was run out more than she could pay.
If God would blow upon a man, who can help it? (Hagg 1:9). And he will do so sometimes, because he will change dispensations with me, and because he will try their graces. Yea, also, because he will overthrow the wicked with his judgments; and all these things are seen in Job. But then the consideration of this should bid men have a care that they be honest, lest this comes upon them for their sin. It should also bid them beware of launching further into the world, than in an honest way, by ordinary means, they can godlily make their retreat; for the further in the greater fall. It should also teach them to beg of God his blessing upon their endeavours, their honest and lawful endeavours. And it should put them upon a diligent looking to their steps, that if in their going they should hear the ice crack, they may timely go back again. These things considered, and duly put in practice, if God will blow upon a man, then let him be content, and with Job embrace the dunghill. Let him give unto all their dues, and not fight against the providence of God, but humble himself rather under his mighty hand, which comes to strip him naked and bare: for he that doth otherwise fights against God; and declares that he is a stranger to that of Paul; 'I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound; everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need' (Phil 4:12).
ATTEN. But Mr. Badman would not, I believe, have put this difference betwixt things feigned and those that fall of necessity.
WISE. If he will not, God will, conscience will: and that not thine own only, but the consciences of all those that have seen the way, and that have known the truth of the condition of such a one.
ATTEN. Well: let us at this time leave this matter, and return again to Mr. Badman.
WISE. With all my heart will I proceed to give you a relation of what is yet behind of his life, in order to our discourse of his death.
[BADMAN'S FRAUDULENT DEALINGS TO GET MONEY.]
ATTEN. But pray, do it with as much brevity as you can.
WISE. Why, are you weary of my relating of things?
ATTEN. No: but it pleases me to hear a great deal in few words.
WISE. I profess myself not an artist that way, but yet, as briefly as I can, I will pass through what of his life is behind; and again I shall begin with his fraudulent dealing, as before I have showed with his creditors, so now with his customers, and those that he had otherwise to deal withal.
He dealt by deceitful weights and measures. He kept weights to buy by, and weights to sell by; measures to buy by, and measures to sell by: those he bought by were too big, those he sold by were too little.
Besides, he could use a thing called slight of hand, if he had to do with other men's weights and measures, and by that means make them whether he did buy or sell, yea though his customer or chapman looked on, turn to his own advantage.
Moreover, he had the art to misreckon men in their accounts, whether by weight, or measure, or money, and would often do it to his worldly advantage, and their loss. What say you to Mr. Badman now? And if a question was made of his faithful dealing, he had his servants ready, that to his purpose he had brought up, that would avouch and swear to his book or word. This was Mr. Badman's practice. What think you of Mr. Badman now?
ATTEN. Think! Why I can think no other but that he was a man left to himself, a naughty man; for these, as his other, were naughty things; if the tree, as indeed it may, ought to be judged, what it is, by its fruits, then Mr. Badman must needs be a bad tree. But pray, for my further satisfaction, show me now, by the Word of God, the evil of this his practice; and first of his using false weights and measures.
WISE. The evil of that! Why the evil of that appears to every eye. The heathens, that live like beasts and brutes in many things, do abominate and abhor such wickedness as this. Let a man but look upon these things as he goes by, and he shall see enough in them from the light of nature to make him loathe so base a practice, although Mr. Badman loved it.
ATTEN. But show me something out of the Word against it, will you?
WISE. I will willingly do it. And first, look into the Old Testament: 'Ye shall,' saith God there, 'do no unrighteousness in judgment, in mete-yard, in weight, or in measure; just balances, just weights, a just ephah and a just hin shall you have' (Lev 19:35,36). This is the law of God, and that which all men, according to the law of the land, ought to obey. So again: 'Ye shall have just balances, and a just ephah,' &c. (Eze 45:10).
Now having showed you the law, I will also show you how God takes swerving therefrom. 'A false balance is not good' (Prov 20:23). 'A false balance is abomination to the Lord' (Prov 11:1). Some have just weights, but false balances; and by virtue of these false balances, by their just weights, they deceive the country. Wherefore God first of all commands that the balance be made just. A just balance shalt thou have; else they may be, yea are, deceivers, notwithstanding their just weights.
Now, having commanded that men have a just balance, and testifying that a false one is an abomination to the Lord, he proceedeth also unto weight and measure. Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small; that is, one to buy by, and another to sell by, as Mr. Badman had. 'Thou shalt not have in thine house divers measures, a great and a small. (And these had Mr. Badman also.) But thou shalt have a perfect and just weight; a perfect and just measure shalt thou have, that thy days may be lengthened in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. For all that do such things [that is, that use false weights and measures], and all that do unrighteously, are an abomination unto the Lord' (Deut 25:13-16). See now both how plentiful, and how punctual the Scripture is in this matter. But perhaps it may be objected, that all this is old law, and therefore hath nothing to do with us under the New Testament. Not that I think you, neighbour, will object thus. Well, to this foolish objection, let us make an answer. First, he that makes this objection, if he doth it to overthrow the authority of those texts, discovereth that himself is first cousin to Mr. Badman. For a just man is willing to speak reverently of those commands. That man therefore hath, I doubt, but little conscience, if any at all that is good, that thus objecteth against the text. But let us look into the New Testament, and there we shall see how Christ confirmeth the same; where he commandeth that men make to others good measure, including also that they make good weight; telling such that do thus, or those that do it not, that they may be encouraged to do it: 'Good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal, it shall be measured to you again' (Luke 6:38). To wit, both from God and man. For as God will show his indignation against the false man, by taking away even that he hath, so he will deliver up the false man to the oppressor, and the extortioner shall catch from him, as well as he hath catched from his neighbour; therefore, another scripture saith, 'When thou shalt make an end to deal treacherously, they shall deal treacherously with thee' (Isa 33:1). That the New Testament also hath an inspection into men's trading, yea, even with their weights and measures, is evident from these general exhortations, 'Defraud not'; 'lie not one to another.' 'Let no man go beyond his brother in any matter, for the Lord is the avenger of all such.' 'Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord,' 'doing all in his name,' 'to his glory'; and the like. All these injunctions and commandments do respect our life and conversation among men, with reference to our dealing, trading, and so, consequently, they forbid false, deceitful, yea, all doings that are corrupt.
Having thus in a word or two showed you that these things are bad, I will next, for the conviction of those that use them, show you where God saith they are to be found.
1. They are not to be found in the house of the good and godly man, for he, as his God, abhors them; but they are to be found in the house of evil doers, such as Mr. Badman's is. 'Are there,' saith the prophet, 'yet the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is abominable!' (Micah 6:10). Are they there yet, notwithstanding God's forbidding, notwithstanding God's tokens of anger against those that do such things! O how loth is a wicked man to let go a sweet, a gainful sin, when he hath hold of it! They hold fast deceit, they refuse to let it go.
2. These deceitful weights and measures are not to be found in the house of the merciful, but in the house of the cruel; in the house of them that love to oppress. 'The balances of deceit are in his hand; he loveth to oppress' (Hosea 12:7). He is given to oppression and cruelty, therefore he useth such wicked things in his calling. Yea, he is a very cheat, and, as was hinted before concerning Mr. Badman's breaking, so I say now, concerning his using these deceitful weights and measures, it is as bad, as base, as to take a purse, or pick a pocket; for it is a plain robbery; it takes away from a man that which is his own, even the price of his money.
3. The deceitful weights and measures are not to be found in the house of such as relieve the belly, and that cover the loins of the poor, but of such as indeed would swallow them up. 'Hear this, O ye that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail, saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the Sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great [making the measure small, and the price great], and falsifying the balances by deceit? That ye may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes, and sell the refuse of the wheat. The Lord hath sworn by the excellency of Jacob, Surely I will never forget any of their works' (Amos 8:4-8). So detestable and vile a things is this in the sight of God.
4. God abominates the thoughts of calling of those that use false weights and measures, by any other term than that they be impure ones, or the like: 'Shall I count them pure,' saith he, 'with the bag of deceitful weights?' (Micah 6:11). No, by no means, they are impure ones; their hands are defiled, deceitful gain is in their houses, they have gotten what they have by coveting an evil covetousness, and therefore must and shall be counted among the impure, among the wicked of the world.
Thus you see how full and plain the Word of God is against this sin, and them that use it. And therefore Mr. Badman, for that he used by these things thus to rook and cheat his neighbours, is rightly rejected from having his name in and among the catalogue of the godly.
ATTEN. But I am persuaded that the using of these things, and the doing by them thus deceitfully, is not counted so great an evil by some.
WISE. Whether it be counted an evil or a virtue by men, it mattereth not; you see by the Scriptures the judgment of God upon it. It was not counted an evil by Mr. Badman, nor is it by any that still are treading in his steps. But, I say, it is no matter how men esteem of things, let us adhere to the judgment of God. And the rather, because when we ourselves have done weighing and measuring to others, then God will weigh and measure both us and our actions. And when he doth so, as he will do shortly, then woe be to him to whom, and of whose actions it shall be thus said by him, 'TEKEL, thou art weighed in the balances, and are found wanting' (Dan 5:27). God will then recompense their evil of deceiving upon their own head, when he shall shut them out of his presence, favour, and kingdom, for ever and ever.
ATTEN. But it is a wonder, that since Mr. Badman's common practice was to do thus, that some one or more did not find him out, and blame him for this his wickedness.
WISE. For the generality of people he went away clever with his knavery. For what with his balance, his false balance, and good weight, and what with his slight of hand to boot, he beguiled sometimes a little, and sometimes more, most that he had to deal with; besides, those that use this naughty trade are either such as blind men with a show of religion, or by hectoring the buyer out by words. I must confess Mr. Badman was not so arch at the first; that is, to do it by show of religion; for now he began to grow threadbare, though some of his brethren are arch enough this way, yea, and of his sisters too, for I told you at first that there were a great many of them, and never a one of them good; but for hectoring, for swearing, for lying, if these things would make weight and measure, they should not be wanting to Mr. Badman's customers.
ATTEN. Then it seems he kept good weights and a bad balance; well that was better than that both should be bad.
WISE. Not at all. There lay the depth of his deceit; for if any at any time found fault that he used them hardly, and that they wanted their weight of things, he would reply, Why, did you not see them weighted? will you not believe your own eyes? if you question my weights, pray carry them whither you will, I will maintain them to be good and just. The same he would say of his scales, so he blinded all by his balance.
ATTEN. This is cunning indeed; but as you say, there must be also something done or said to blind therewith, and this I perceive Mr. Badman had.
WISE. Yes, he had many ways to blind, but he was never clear at it by making a show of religion, though he cheated his wife therewith; for he was, especially by those that dwelt near him, too well known to do that, though he would bungle at it as well as he could. But there are some that are arch villains this way; they shall to view live a whole life religiously, and yet shall be guilty of these most horrible sins. And yet religion in itself is never the worse, nor yet the true professors of it. But, as Luther says, in the name of God begins all mischief. For hypocrites have no other way to bring their evils to maturity but by using and mixing the name of God and religion therewith. Thus they become whited walls; for by this white, the white of religion, the dirt of their actions is hid. Thus also they become graves that appear not, and they that go over them, that have to do with them, are not aware of them, but suffer themselves to be deluded by them. Yea, if there shall, as there will sometimes, rise a doubt in the heart of the buyer about the weight and measure he should have, why, he suffereth his very senses to be also deluded, by recalling of his chapman's religion to mind, and thinks verily that not his good chapman but himself is out; for he dreams not that his chapman can deceive. But if the buyer shall find it out, and shall make it apparent, that he is beguiled, then shall he be healed by having amends made, and perhaps fault shall be laid upon servants, &c. And so Mr. Cheat shall stand for a right honest man in the eye of his customer, though the next time he shall pick his pocket again.
Some plead custom for their cheat, as if that could acquit them before the tribunal of God. And others say it came to them for so much, and, therefore, another must take it for so much, though there is wanting both as to weight and measure; but in all these things there are juggles; or if not, such must know that 'that which is altogether just,' they must do (Deut 16:20). Suppose that I be cheated myself with a brass half-crown, must I therefore cheat another therewith? if this be bad in the whole, it is also bad in the parts. Therefore, however thou art dealt withal in thy buying, yet thou must deal justly in selling, or thou sinnest against thy soul, and art become as Mr. Badman. And know, that a pretence to custom is nothing worth. It is not custom, but good conscience that will help at God's tribunal.
ATTEN. But I am persuaded that that which is gotten by men this way doth them but little good.
WISE. I am of your mind for that, but this is not considered by those thus minded. For if they can get it, though they get, as we say, the devil and all, by their getting, yet they are content, and count that their getting is much.
Little good! why do you think they consider that? No; no more than they consider what they shall do in the judgment, at the day of God Almighty, for their wrong getting of what they get, and that is just nothing at all.
But to give you a more direct answer. This kind of getting is so far off from doing them little good, that it doth them no good at all; because thereby they lose their own souls; 'What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?' (Mark 8:36). He loseth then, he loseth greatly that getteth after this fashion. This is the man that is penny-wise and pound-foolish; this is he that loseth his good sheep for a half-penny-worth of tar; that loseth a soul for a little of the world. And then what doth he get thereby but loss and damage? Thus he getteth or rather loseth about the world to come. But what doth he get in this world, more than travail and sorrow, vexation of spirit, and disappointment? Men aim at blessedness in getting, I mean, at temporal blessedness; but the man that thus getteth, shall not have that. For though an inheritance after this manner may be hastily gotten at the beginning, yet the end thereof shall not be blessed. They gather it indeed, and think to keep it too, but what says Solomon? God casteth it away. 'The Lord will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish; but he casteth away the substance of the wicked' (Prov 10:3; Jer 15:13, 17:3).
The time, as I said, that they do enjoy it, it shall do them no good at all; but long, to be sure, they must not have it. For God will either take it away in their lifetime, or else in the generation following, according to that of Job: 'He,' the wicked, 'may prepare it, but the just shall put it on, and the innocent shall divide the silver' (Job 27:17).
Consider that also that it is written in the Proverbs; 'A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children, and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just' (Prov 13:22). What then doth he get thereby, that getteth by dishonest means? Why he getteth sin and wrath, hell and damnation, and now tell me how much he doth get.
This, I say, is his getting; so that as David says, we may be bold to say too; I beheld the wicked in great prosperity, and presently I cursed his habitation; for it cannot prosper with him (Psa 73). Fluster and huff, and make ado for a while he may, but God hath determined that both he and it shall melt like grease, and any observing man may see it so. Behold the unrighteous man, in a way of injustice, getteth much, and loadeth himself with thick clay, but anon it withereth, it decayeth and even he, or the generation following decline, and return to beggary. And this Mr. Badman, notwithstanding his cunning and crafty tricks to get money, did die, nobody can tell whether worth a farthing or no.
ATTEN. He had all the bad tricks, I think, that it was possible for a man to have, to get money; one would think that he should have been rich.
WISE. You reckon too fast, if you count these all his bad tricks to get money; for he had more besides. If his customers were in his books, as it should go hard but he would have them there; at least, if he thought he could make any advantage of them, then, then would he be sure to impose upon them his worst, even very bad commodity, yet set down for it the price that the best was sold at; like those that sold the refuse wheat; or the worst of the wheat; making the shekel great, yet hoisting up the price (Amos 8). This was Mr. Badman's way. He would sell goods that cost him not the best price by far, for as much as he sold his best of all for. He had also a trick to mingle his commodity, that that which was bad might go off with the least mistrust. Besides, if his customers at any time paid him money, let them look to themselves, and to their acquaintances, for he would usually attempt to call for that payment again, especially if he thought that there were hopes of making a prize thereby, and then to be sure if they could not produce good and sufficient ground of the payment, a hundred to one but they paid it again. Sometimes the honest chapman would appeal to his servants for proof of the payment of money, but they were trained up by him to say after his mind, wright or wrong; so that, relief that way, he could get none.
ATTEN. It is a bad, yea, an abominable thing for a man to have such servants. For by such means a poor customer may be undone, and not know how to help himself. Alas! if the master be so unconscionable, as I perceive Mr. Badman was, to call for his money twice, and if his servant will swear that it is a due debt, where is any help for such a man? He must sink, there is no remedy.
WISE. This is very bad, but this has been a practice, and that hundreds of years ago. But what saith the Word of God? 'I will punish all those that leap on the threshold, which till their masters' houses with violence and deceit' (Zeph 1:9).
Mr. Badman also had this art; could he get a man at advantage, that is, if his chapman durst not go from him, or if the commodity he wanted could not for the present be conveniently had elsewhere, then let him look to himself, he would surely make his purse-strings crack; he would exact upon him without any pity or conscience.
ATTEN. That was extortion, was it not? I pray let me hear your judgment of extortion, what it is, and when committed?
WISE. Extortion is a screwing from men more than by the law of God or men is right; and it is committed sometimes by them in office, about fees, rewards, and the like: but it is most commonly committed by men of trade, who without all conscience, when they have the advantage, will make a prey of their neighbour. And thus was Mr. Badman an extortioner; for although he did not exact, and force away, as bailiffs and clerks have used to do, yet he had his opportunities, and such cruelty to make use of them, that he would often, in his way, be extorting and forcing of money out of his neighbour's pocket. For every man that makes a prey of his advantage upon his neighbour's necessities, to force from him more than in reason and conscience, according to the present prices of things such commodity is worth, may very well be called an extortioner, and judged for one that hath no inheritance in the kingdom of God (1 Cor 6:9,10).
ATTEN. Well, this Badman was a sad wretch.
[THE SIMPLE CHRISTIAN'S VIEWS OF EXTORTION.]
WISE. Thus you have often said before. But now we are in discourse of this, give me leave a little to go on. We have a great many people in the country too that live all their days in the practice, and so under the guilt of extortion; people, alas! that think scorn to be so accounted.
As for example: There is a poor body that dwells, we will suppose, so many miles from the market; and this man wants a bushel of grist, a pound of butter, or a cheese for himself, his wife, and poor children; but dwelling so far from the market, if he goes thither, he shall lose his day's work, which will be eightpence or tenpence damage to him, and that is something to a poor man. So he goeth to one of his masters or dames for what he wanteth, and asks them to help him with such a thing; yes, say they, you may have it; but withal they will give him a gripe, perhaps make him pay as much or more for it at home, as they can get when they have carried it five miles to a market, yea, and that too for the refuse of their commodity. But in this the women are especially faulty, in the sale of their butter and cheese, &c. Now this is a kind of extortion, it is a making a prey of the necessity of the poor, it is a grinding of their faces, a buying and selling of them.
But above all, your hucksters, that buy up the poor man's victuals by wholesale, and sell it to him again for unreasonable gains, by retail, and as we call it by piecemeal; they are got into a way, after a stinging rate, to play their game upon such by extortion: I mean such who buy up butter, cheese, eggs, bacon, &c. by wholesale, and sell it again, as they call it, by pennyworths, two pennyworths, a halfpennyworth, or the like, to the poor, all the week after the market is past.
These, though I will not condemn them all, do, many of them, bite and pinch the poor by this kind of evil dealing. These destroy the poor because he is poor, and that is a grievous sin. 'He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.' Therefore he saith again, 'Rob not the poor because he is poor, neither oppress the afflicted in the gate: for the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of them that spoiled them' (Prov 22:16,22,23).
O that he that gripeth and grindeth the face of the poor, would take notice of these two scriptures! Here is threatened the destruction of the estate, yea and of the soul too, of them that oppress the poor. Their soul we shall better see where, and in what condition that is in, when the day of doom is come; but for the estates of such, they usually quickly moulder; and that sometimes all men, and sometimes no man knows how.
Besides, these are usurers, yea, they take usury for victuals, which thing the Lord has forbidden (Deut 23:19). And because they cannot so well do it on the market-day, therefore they do it, as I said, when the market is over; for then the poor fall into their mouths, and are necessitated to have, as they can, for their need, and they are resolved they shall pay soundly for it. Perhaps some will find fault for my meddling thus with other folks' matters, and for my thus prying into the secrets of their iniquity. But to such I would say, since such actions are evil, it is time they were hissed out of the world. For all that do such things offend against God, wrong their neighbour, and like Mr. Badman do provoke God to judgment.
ATTEN. God knows there is abundance of deceit in the world!
WISE. Deceit! Ay, but I have not told you the thousandth part of it; nor is it my business now to rake to the bottom of that dunghill. What would you say, if I should anatomize some of those vile wretches called pawnbrokers, that lend money and goods to poor people, who are by necessity forced to such an inconvenience; and will make, by one trick or other, the interest of what they so lend amount to thirty, forty, yea sometimes fifty pound by the year; notwithstanding the principal is secured by a sufficient pawn; which they will keep too at last, if they find any shift to cheat the wretched borrower.
ATTEN. Say! Why such miscreants are the pest and vermin of the commonwealth, not fit for the society of men; but methinks by some of those things you discoursed before, you seem to import that it is not lawful for a man to make the best of his own.
WISE. If by making the best, you mean to sell for as much as by hook or crook he can get for his commodity; then I say it is not lawful. And if I should say the contrary, I should justify Mr. Badman and all the rest of that gang; but that I never shall do, for the Word of God condemns them. But that it is not lawful for a man at all times to sell his commodity for as much as he can, I prove by these reasons:—
First, If it be lawful for me alway to sell my commodity as dear, or for as much as I can, then it is lawful for me to lay aside in my dealing with others good conscience to them and to God; but it is not lawful for me, in my dealing with others, to lay aside good conscience, &c. Therefore it is not lawful for me always to sell my commodity as dear, or for as much as I can. That it is not lawful to lay aside good conscience in our dealings has already been proved in the former part of our discourse; but that a man must lay it aside that will sell his commodity always as dear, or for as much as he can, is plainly manifest thus.
1. He that will, as is mentioned afore, sell his commodity as dear as he can, must sometimes make a prey of the ignorance of his chapman. But that he cannot do with a good conscience, for that is to overreach, and to go beyond my chapman, and is forbidden (1 Thess 4:6). Therefore he that will sell his commodity as afore, as dear, or for as much as he can, must of necessity lay aside good conscience.
2. He that will sell his commodity always as dear as he can, must needs sometimes make a prey of his neighbour's necessity; but that he cannot do with a good conscience, for that is to go beyond and defraud his neighbour, contrary to 1 Thessalonians 4:6. Therefore he that will sell his commodity, as afore, as dear, or for as much as he can, must needs cast off and lay aside a good conscience.
3. He that will, as afore, sell his commodity as dear, or for as much as he can, must, if need be, make a prey of his neighbour's fondness; but that a man cannot do with a good conscience, for that is still a going beyond him, contrary to 1 Thessalonians 4:6. Therefore, he that will sell his commodity as dear, or for as much as he can, must needs cast off, and lay aside good conscience.
The same also may be said for buying; no man may always buy as cheap as he can, but must also use good conscience in buying; the which he can by no means use and keep, if he buys always as cheap as he can, and that for the reasons urged before. For such will make a prey of the ignorance, necessity, and fondness of their chapman, the which they cannot do with a good conscience. When Abraham would buy a burying-place of the sons of Heth, thus he said unto them: 'Intreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar, that he may give me the cave of Macphelah, which he hath—in the end of his field; for as much—as it is worth' shall he give it me (Gen 23:8,9). He would not have it under foot, he scorned it, he abhorred it; it stood not with his religion, credit, nor conscience. So also, when David would buy a field of Ornan the Jebusite, thus he said unto him, 'Grant me the place of this thrashing-floor, that I may build an altar therein unto the Lord; thou shalt grant it me for the full price' (1 Chron 21:22). He also, as Abraham, made conscience of this kind of dealing. He would not lie at catch to go beyond, no, not the Jebusite, but will give him his full price for his field. For he knew that there was wickedness, as in selling too dear, so in buying too cheap, therefore he would not do it.
There ought therefore to be good conscience used, as in selling so in buying; for it is also unlawful for a man to go beyond or to defraud his neighbour in buying; yea, it is unlawful to do it in any matter, and God will plentifully avenge that wrong, as I also before have forewarned and testified. See also the text, Leviticus 25:14. But,
Secondly. If it be lawful for me always to sell my commodity as dear, or for as much as I can, then it is lawful for me to deal with my neighbour without the use of charity. But it is not lawful for me to lay aside, or to deal with my neighbour without the use of charity, therefore it is not lawful for me always to sell my commodity to my neighbour for as much as I can. A man in dealing should as really design his neighbour's good, profit, and advantage, as his own, for this is to exercise charity in his dealing.
That I should thus use, or exercise charity towards my neighbour in my buying and selling, &c., with him, is evident from the general command—'Let all your things be done with charity' (1 Cor 16:14). But that a man cannot live in the exercise of charity that selleth as afore, as dear, or that buyeth as cheap as he can, is evident by these reasons:—
1. He that sells his commodity as dear, or for as much money always as he can, seeks himself, and himself only. But charity seeketh not her own, not her own only (1 Cor 13). So then he that seeks himself, and himself only, as he that sells, as afore, as dear as he can, does, maketh not use of, nor doth he exercise charity in his so dealing.
2. He that selleth his commodity always for as much as he can get, hardeneth his heart against all reasonable entreaties of the buyer. But he that doth so cannot exercise charity in his dealing; therefore it is not lawful for a man to sell his commodity, as afore, as dear as he can.
3. If it be lawful for me to sell my commodity, as afore, as dear as I can, then there can be no sin in my trading, how unreasonably soever I manage my calling, whether by lying, swearing, cursing, cheating, for all this is but to sell my commodity as dear as I can (Eph 4:25). But that there is sin in these is evident, therefore I may not sell my commodity always as dear as I can.
4. He that sells, as afore, as dear as he can, offereth violence to the law of nature, for that saith, Do unto all men even as ye would that they should do unto you (Matt 7:12). Now, was the seller a buyer, he would not that he of whom he buys should sell him always as dear as he can, therefore he should not sell so himself when it is his lot to sell and others to buy of him.
5. He that selleth, as afore, as dear as he can, makes use of that instruction that God hath not given to others, but sealed up in his hand, to abuse his law, and to wrong his neighbour withal, which indeed is contrary to God (Job 37:7). God hath given thee more skill, more knowledge and understanding in thy commodity, than he hath given to him that would buy of thee. But what! canst thou think that God hath given thee this that thou mightest thereby make a prey of thy neighbour? that thou mightest thereby go beyond and beguile thy neighbour? No, verily, but he hath given thee it for his help, that thou mightest in this be eyes to the blind, and save thy neighbour from that damage that his ignorance, or necessity, for fondness would betray him into the hands of (1 Cor 10:13).
6. In all that a man does he should have an eye to the glory of God, but that he cannot have that sells his commodity always for as much as he can, for the reasons urged before.
7. All that a man does he should do 'in the name of the Lord Jesus' Christ, that is, as being commanded and authorized to do it by him (Col 3:17). But he that selleth always as dear as he can, cannot so much as pretend to this without horrid blaspheming of that name, because commanded by him to do otherwise.
8. And lastly, in all that a man does he should have an eye to the day of judgment, and to the consideration of how his actions will be esteemed of in that day (Acts 24:15,16). Therefore there is not any man can, or ought to sell always as dear as he can, unless he will, yea, he must say in so doing, I will run the hazard of the trial of that day. 'If thou sell aught unto thy neighbour, or buyest aught of thy neighbour's hand, ye shall not oppress one another' (Lev 25:14).
ATTEN. But why do you put in these cautionary words, They must not sell always as dear, nor buy always as cheap as they can? Do you not thereby intimate that a man may sometimes do so?
WISE. I do indeed intimate that sometimes the seller may sell as dear, and the buyer buy as cheap as he can; but this is allowable only in these cases: when he that sells is a knave, and lays aside all good conscience in selling, or when the buyer is a knave, and lays aside all good conscience in buying. If the buyer therefore lights of a knave, or if the seller lights of a knave, then let them look to themselves; but yet so as not to lay aside conscience, because he that thou dealest with doth so, but how vile or base soever the chapman is, do thou keep thy commodity at a reasonable price; or, if thou buyest, offer reasonable gain for the thing thou wouldst have, and if this will not do with the buyer or seller, then seek thee a more honest chapman. If thou objectest, But I have not skill to know when a pennyworth is before me, get some that have more skill than thyself in that affair, and let them in that matter dispose of thy money. But if there were no knaves in the world these objections need not be made.
And thus, my very good neighbour, have I given you a few of my reasons why a man that hath it should not always sell too dear nor buy as cheap as he can, but should use good conscience to God and charity to his neighbour in both.
ATTEN. But were some men here to hear you, I believe they would laugh you to scorn.
WISE. I question not that at all, for so Mr. Badman used to do when any man told him of his faults; he used to think himself wiser than any, and would count, as I have hinted before, that he was not arrived to a manly spirit that did stick or boggle at any wickedness. But let Mr. Badman and his fellows laugh, I will bar it, and still give them good counsel (Luke 16:13-15). But I will remember also, for my further relief and comfort, that thus they that were covetous of old served the Son of God himself. It is their time to laugh now, that they may mourn in time to come (Luke 6:25). And I say again, when they have laughed out their laugh, he that useth not good conscience to God and charity to his neighbour in buying and selling, dwells next door to an infidel, and is near of kin to Mr. Badman.
ATTEN. Well, but what will you say to this question? You know that there is no settled price set by God upon any commodity that is bought or sold under the sun, but all things that we buy and sell do ebb and flow, as to price, like the tide; how then shall a man of a tender conscience do, neither to wrong the seller, buyer, nor himself, in buying and selling of commodities?
[INSTRUCTIONS FOR RIGHTEOUS TRADING.]
WISE. This question is thought to be frivolous by all that are of Mr. Badman's way, it is also difficult in itself, yet I will endeavour to shape you an answer, and that first to the matter of the question, to wit, how a tradesman should, in trading, keep a good conscience; a buyer or seller either. Secondly, how he should prepare himself to this work and live in the practice of it. For the first, he must observe what hath been said before, to wit, he must have conscience to God, charity to his neighbour, and, I will add, much moderation in dealing. Let him therefore keep within the bounds of the affirmative of those eight reasons that before were urged to prove that men ought not, in their dealing, but to do justly and mercifully betwixt man and man, and then there will be no great fear of wronging the seller, buyer, or himself. But particularly to prepare or instruct a man to this work:—
1. Let the tradesman or others consider that there is not that in great gettings and in abundance which the most of men do suppose; for all that a man has over and above what serves for his present necessity and supply, serves only to feed the lusts of the eye. For 'what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes?' (Eccl 5:11). Men also, many times, in getting of riches, get therewith a snare to their soul (1 Tim 6:7-9). But few get good by getting of them. But his consideration Mr. Badman could not abide.
2. Consider that the getting of wealth dishonestly—as he does that getteth it without good conscience and charity to his neighbour—is a great offender against God. Hence he says, 'I have smitten mine hand at thy dishonest gain which thou hast made' (Eze 22:13). It is a manner of speech that shows anger in the very making of mention of the crime. Therefore,
3. Consider that a little, honestly gotten, though it may yield thee but a dinner of herbs at a time, will yield more peace therewith than will a stalled ox ill gotten (Prov 15:17). 'Better is a little with righteousness, than great revenues without right' (Prov 16:8; 1 Sam 2:5).
4. Be thou confident that God's eyes are upon all thy ways, and 'that he pondereth all thy goings,' and also that he marks, them, writes them down, and seals them p in a bag against the time to come (Prov 5:21; Job 14:17).
5. Be thou sure that thou rememberest that thou knowest not the day of thy death. Remember also that when death comes God will give thy substance, for the which thou hast laboured, and for the which perhaps thou hast hazarded thy soul, to one thou knowest not who, nor whether he shall be a wise man or a fool. And then, 'what profit hath he that hath laboured for the wind?' (Eccl 5:16).
Besides, thou shalt have nothing that thou mayest so much as carry away in thine hand. Guilt shall go with thee if thou hast got it [thy substance] dishonestly, and they also to whom thou shalt leave it shall receive it to their hurt. These things duly considered and made use of by thee to the preparing of thy heart to thy calling of buying and selling, I come, in the next place, to show thee how thou shouldst live in the practick part of this art. Art thou to buy or sell?
1. If thou sellest, do not commend; if thou buyest, do not dispraise; any otherwise but to give the thing that thou hast to do with its just value and worth; for thou canst not do otherwise, knowingly, but of a covetous and wicked mind. Wherefore else are commodities overvalued by the seller, and also undervalued by the buyer. 'It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer,' but when he hath got his bargain he boasteth thereof (Prov 20:14). What hath this man done now, but lied in the dispraising of his bargain? and why did he dispraise it, but of a covetous mind to wrong and beguile the seller?
2. Art thou a seller, and do things grow dear? Set not thy hand to help or hold them up higher; this cannot be done without wickedness neither, for this is a making of the shekel great (Amos 8:5). Art thou a buyer, and do things grow dear? use no cunning or deceitful language to pull them down, for that cannot be done but wickedly too. What then shall we do, will you say? Why I answer, leave things to the providence of God, and do thou with moderation submit to his hand. But since, when they are growing dear, the hand that upholds the price is, for the time, more strong than that which would pull it down; that being the hand of the seller, who loveth to have it dear, especially if it shall rise in his hand. Therefore I say, do thou take heed and have not a hand in it, the which thou mayest have to thine own and thy neighbour's hurt, these three ways:—
1. By crying out scarcity, scarcity, beyond the truth and state of things; especially take heed of doing of this by way of a prognostic for time to come. It was for this for which he was trodden to death in the gate of Samaria, that you read of in the second book of Kings (2 Kings 7:17). This sin hath a double evil in it. (1.) It belieth the present blessing of God among us; and (2.) It undervalueth the riches of his goodness, which can make all good things to abound towards us.
2. This wicked thing may be done by hoarding up when the hunger and necessity of the poor calls for it. Now, that God may show his dislike against this, he doth, as it were, license the people to curse such a hoarder up—'He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him, but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it' (Prov 11:26).
3. But if things will rise, do thou be grieved, be also moderate in all thy sellings, and be sure let the poor have a pennyworth, and sell thy corn to those in necessity. Which then thou wilt do when thou showest mercy to the poor in thy selling to him, and when thou, for his sake because he is poor, undersellest the market. This is to buy and sell with good conscience; thy buyer thou wrongest not, thy conscience thou wrongest not, thyself thou wrongest not, for God will surely recompense thee (Isa 57:6-8). I have spoken concerning corn, but thy duty is to 'let your moderation' in all things 'be known unto all men, the Lord is at hand' (Phil 4:5).
[BADMAN'S PRIDE, ATHEISM, INFIDELITY, AND ENVY.]
ATTEN. Well, Sir, now I have heard enough of Mr. Badman's naughtiness, pray now proceed to his death.
WISE. Why, Sir, the sun is not so low, we have yet three hours to night.
ATTEN. Nay, I am not in any great haste, but I thought you had even now done with his life.
WISE. Done! no, I have yet much more to say.
ATTEN. Then he has much more wickedness than I thought he had.
WISE. That may be. But let us proceed. This Mr. Badman added to all his wickedness this, he was a very proud man, a very proud man. He was exceeding proud and haughty in mind; he looked that what he said ought not, must not be contradicted or opposed. He counted himself as wise as the wisest in the country, as good as the best, and as beautiful as he that had most of it. He took great delight in praising of himself, and as much in the praises that others gave him. He could not abide that any should think themselves above him, or that their wit or personage should by others be set before his. He had scarce a fellowly carriage for his equals. But for those that were of an inferior rank, he would look over them in great contempt. And if at any time he had any remote occasion of having to do with them, he would show great height and a very domineering spirit. So that in this it may be said that Solomon gave a characteristical note of him when he said, 'Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath' (Prov 21:24). He never thought his diet well enough dressed, his clothes fine enough made, or his praise enough refined.
ATTEN. This pride is a sin that sticks as close to nature, I think, as most sins. There is uncleanness and pride, I know not of any two gross sins that stick closer to men than they. They have, as I may call it, an interest in nature; it likes them because they most suit its lust and fancies; and therefore no marvel though Mr. Badman was tainted with pride, since he had so wickedly given up himself to work all iniquity with greediness.
WISE. You say right; pride is a sin that sticks close to nature, and is one of the first follies wherein it shows itself to be polluted. For even in childhood, even in little children, pride will first of all show itself; it is a hasty, an early appearance of the sin of the soul. It, as I may say, is that corruption that strives for predominancy in the heart, and therefore usually comes out first. But though children are so incident to it, yet methinks those of more years should be ashamed thereof. I might at the first have begun with Mr. Badman's pride, only I think it is not the pride in infancy that begins to make a difference betwixt one and another, as did, and do those wherewith I began my relation of his life, therefore I passed it over, but now, since he had no more consideration of himself, and of his vile and sinful state, but to be proud when come to years, I have taken the occasion in this place to make mention of his pride.
ATTEN. But pray, if you can remember them, tell me of some places of scripture that speak against pride. I the rather desire this because that pride is now a reigning sin, and I happen sometimes to fall into the company of them that in my conscience are proud, very much, and I have a mind also to tell them of their sin, now when I tell them of it, unless I bring God's Word too, I doubt they will laugh me to scorn.
WISE. Laugh you to scorn! the proud man will laugh you to scorn bring to him what text you can, except God shall smite him in his conscience by the Word. Mr. Badman did use to serve them so that did use to tell him of his; and besides, when you have said what you can, they will tell you they are not proud, and that you are rather the proud man, else you would not judge, nor so malapertly meddle with other men's matters as you do. Nevertheless, since you desire it, I will mention two or three texts; they are these:—'Pride and arrogancy—do I hate' (Prov 8:13). 'A man's pride shall bring him low' (Prov 29:23). 'And he shall bring down their pride' (Isa 25:11). 'And all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble, and the day that cometh shall burn them up' (Mal 4:1). This last is a dreadful text, it is enough to make a proud man shake. God, saith he, will make the proud ones as stubble; that is, as fuel for the fire, and the day that cometh shall be like a burning oven, and that day shall burn them up, saith the Lord. But Mr. Badman could never abide to hear pride spoken against, nor that any should say of him, He is a proud man.
ATTEN. What should be the reason of that?
WISE. He did not tell me the reason; but I suppose it to be that which is common to all vile persons. They love this vice, but care not to bear its name. The drunkard loves the sin, but loves not to be called a drunkard. The thief loveth to steal, but cannot abide to be called a thief; the whore loveth to commit uncleanness, but loveth not to be called a whore. And so Mr. Badman loved to be proud, but could not abide to be called a proud man. The sweet of sin is desirable to polluted and corrupted man, but the name thereof is a blot in his escutcheon.
ATTEN. It is true that you have said; but pray how many sorts of pride are there?
WISE. There are two sorts of pride: pride of spirit, and pride of body. The first of these is thus made mention of in the scriptures. 'Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord' (Prov 16:5). 'A high look, and a proud heart, and the ploughing of the wicked, is sin' (Prov 21:4). 'The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit' (Eccl 7:8). Bodily pride the scriptures mention. 'In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon, the chains and the bracelets, and the mufflers, the bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings, the rings, and nose jewels. the changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins, the glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails' (Isa 3:18-23). By these expressions it is evident that there is pride of body, as well as pride of spirit, and that both are sin, and so abominable to the Lord. But these texts Mr. Badman could never abide to read; they were to him as Micaiah was to Ahab, they never spake good of him, but evil.
ATTEN. I suppose that it was not Mr. Badman's case alone even to malign those texts that speak against their vices; for I believe that most ungodly men, where the scriptures are, have a secret antipathy against those words of God that do most plainly and fully rebuke them for their sins.
WISE. That is out of doubt; and by that antipathy they show that sin and Satan are more welcome to them than are wholesome instructions of life and godliness.
ATTEN. Well, but not to go off from our discourse of Mr. Badman. You say he was proud; but will you show me now some symptoms of one that is proud?
WISE. Yes, that I will; and first I will show you some symptoms of pride of heart. Pride of heart is seen by outward things, as pride of body in general is a sign of pride of heart; for all proud gestures of the body flow from pride of heart; therefore Solomon saith, 'There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes, and their eye-lids are lifted up' (Prov 30:13). And again, there is 'that exalteth his gait,' his going (Prov 17:19). Now, these lofty eyes, and this exalting of the gait, is a sign of a proud heart; for both these actions come from the heart. For out of the heart comes pride, in all the visible appearances of it (Mark 7). But more particularly—
1. Heart pride is discovered by a stretched-out neck, and by mincing as they go. For the wicked, the proud, have a proud neck, a proud foot, a proud tongue, by which this their going is exalted. This is that which makes them look scornfully, speak ruggedly, and carry it huffingly among their neighbours. 2. A proud heart is a persecuting one. 'The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor' (Psa 10:2). 3. A prayerless man is a proud man (Psa 10:4). 4. A contentious man is a proud man (Prov 13:10). 5. The disdainful man is a proud man (Psa 119:51). 6. The man that oppresses his neighbour is a proud man (Psa 119:122). 7. He that hearkeneth not to God's word with reverence and fear is a proud man (Jer 13:15,17). 8. And he that calls the proud happy is, be sure, a proud man. All these are proud in heart, and this their pride of heart doth thus discover itself (Jer 43:2; Mal 3:15).
As to bodily pride, it is discovered that is something of it, by all the particulars mentioned before; for though they are said to be symptoms of pride of heart, yet they are symptoms of that pride, by their showing of themselves in the body. You know diseases that are within are seen ofttimes by outward and visible signs, yet by these very signs even the outside is defiled also. So all those visible signs of heart pride are signs of bodily pride also. But to come to more outward signs. The putting on of gold, and pearls, and costly array; the plaiting of the hair, the following of fashions, the seeking by gestures to imitate the proud, either by speech, looks, dresses, goings, or other fools' baubles, of which at this time the world is full, all these, and many more, are signs, as of a proud heart, so of bodily pride also (1 Tim 2:9; 1 Peter 3:3-5).