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SECTION VIII.

An Analysis or Resolution of the Decalogue, and the special Precepts of the Gospel, describing the Duties enjoined, and the Sins forbidden respectively; for the Assistance of sick Men in making their Confessions to God and his Ministers, and the rendering their Repentance more particular and perfect.

1. Thou shalt have none other gods but me.

Duties commanded are, 1. To love God above all things. 2. To obey him and fear him. 3. To worship him with prayers, vows, thanksgiving, presenting to him our souls and bodies, and all such actions and expressions, which the consent of nations, or the laws and customs of the place where we live, have appropriated to God. 4. To design all to God's glory. 5. To inquire after his will. 6. To believe all his word. 7. To submit to his providence. 8. To proceed towards all our lawful ends by such means as himself hath appointed. 9. To speak and think honourably of God, and recite his praises, and confess his attributes and perfections.

They sin against this commandment, 1. Who love themselves or any of the creatures inordinately and intemperately. 2. They that despise or neglect any of the Divine precepts. 3. They that pray to unknown or false gods. 4. They that disbelieve or deny there is a God. 5. They that make vows to creatures. 6. Or say prayers to the honour of men, or women, or angels; as paternosters to the honour of the Virgin Mary, or St. Peter, which is a taking a part of that honour which is due to God and giving it to the creature; it is a religion paid to men and women our of God's proper portion, out of prayers directed to God immediately; and it is an act contrary to that religion, which makes God that last end of all things; for this, through our addresses to God, passes something to the creatures as if they stood beyond him; for by the intermedial worship paid to God, they ultimately do honour to the man or angel. 7. They that make consumptive oblations to the creatures; as the Collyridians who offered cakes, and those that burnt incense or candles to the Virgin Mary. 8. They that give themselves to the devil, or make contracts with him, and use fantastic conversation with him. 9. They that consult witches and fortune-tellers. 10. They that rely upon dreams and superstitions observeanes. 11. That use charms, spells, superstitious words and characters, verses of psalms, the consecrated elements, to cure diseases, to be shot-free, to recover stolen goods, or inquire into secrets. 12.That are wilfully ignorant of the laws of God, or love to be deceived in their persuasions that they may sin with confidence. 13. They that neglect to pray to God. 14. They that arrogate to themselves the glory of any action or power, and do not give the glory to God, as Herod. 15. They that doubt of or disbelieve any article of the Creed, or any proposition of Scripture, or put false glosses to serve secular or vicious ends, against their conscience, or with violence any way done to their reason. 16. They that violently or passionately pursue any temporal end with an eagerness greater than the thing is in prudent account. 17. They that make religion to serve ill ends, or do good to evil purposes, or evil to good purposes. 18. They that accuse God of injustice or unmercifulness, remissness of cruelty; such as are the presumptuous and the desperate. 19. All hypocrites and pretenders to religion, walking in forms and shadows, but denying the power of godliness. 20. All impatient persons; all that repine or murmur against the prosperities of the wicked, or the calamities of the godly, or their own afflictions. 21. All that blaspheme God, or speak dishonourable things of so sacred a Majesty. 22. They that tempt God, or rely upon his protection against his rules, and without his promise and besides reason, entering into danger, from which, without a miracle, they cannot be rescued. 23. They that are bold in the midst of judgment, and fearless in the midst of the Divine vengeance, and the accents of his anger.

II. Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image, nor worship it.

The moral duties of this commandment are, 1. To worship God with all bodily worship and external forms of address, according to the custom of the church we live in. 2. To believe God to be a spiritual and pure substance, without any visible form or shape. 3. To worship God in ways of his own appointing, or by his proportions, or measures of nature, and right reason, or public and holy customs.

They sin against this commandment, 1. That make any image or pictures of the Godhead, or fancy any likeness to him. 2. They that use images in their religion, designing or addressing any religious worship to them; for if this thing could be naturally tolerable, yet it is too near an intolerable for a jealous God to suffer. 3. They that deny to worship God with lowly reverence of their bodies, according as the church expresses her reverence to God externally. 4. They that invent or practice superstitious worshippings, invented by man against God's word, or without reason, or besides the public customs or forms of worshipping, either foolishly or ridiculously, without the purpose of order, decency, proportion to a wise or a religious end, in prosecution of some virtue or duty.

III. Thou shalt not take God's name in vain.

The duties of this commandment are. 1. To honour and revere the most holy name of God. 2. To invocate his name directly, or by consequence, in all solemn and permitted adjurations or public oaths. 3. To use all things and persons, upon whom his name is called, or any ways imprinted, with a regardful and separate manner of usage, different from common, and far from contempt and scorn. 4. To swear in truth and judgment.

They sin against this commandment, 1. Who swear vainly and customarily, without just cause, without competent authority. 2. They that blaspheme or curse God. 3. They that speak of God without grave cause or solemn occasion. 4. They that forswear themselves, that is, they that do not perform their vows to God, or that swear, or call God to witness to a lie. 5. They that swear rashly or maliciously to commit a sin or an act of revenge. 6. They that swear by any creature falsely, or any way but as it relates to God, and consequently invokes his testimony. 7. All curious inquirers into the secrets, and intruders into the mysteries and hidden things of God. 8. They that curse God, or curse a creature by God. 9. They that profane churches, holy utensils, holy persons, holy customs, holy sacraments. 10. They that provoke others to swear voluntarily and by design, or incuriously, or negligently, when they might avoid it. 11. They that swear to things uncertain and unknown.

IV. Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath day.

The duties of this commandment are, 1. To set apart some portions of our time for the immediate offices of religion and glorification of God. 2. This is to be done according as God or his holy church hath appointed. 3. One day in seven is to be set apart. 4. The Christian day is to be subrogated into the place of the Jews' day; the resurrection of Christ and the redemption of man was a greater blessing than to create him. 5. God on that day to be worshipped and acknowledged as our Creator and as our Saviour. 6. The day to be spent in holy offices, in hearing divine service, public prayers, frequenting the congregations, hearing the word of God read or expounded, reading good books, meditations, alms, reconciling enumities, remission of burdens and of offences, of debts and of work; friendly offices, neighbourhood, and provoking one another to good works; and to this end all servile works must be omitted, excepting necessary and charitable offices to men or beasts, to ourselves or others.

They sin against this commandment. 1. That do, or compel, or entice others to do, servile works without the cases of necessity or charity, to be estimated according to common and prudent accounts. 2. They that refuse or neglect to come to the public assemblies of the church, to hear and assist at the Divine offices entirely. 3. They that spend the day in idleness, forbidden or vain recreations, or the actions of sin and folly. 4. They that buy and sell without the cases of permission. 5. They that travel unnecessary journeys. 6. They that act or assist in contentions or lawsuits, markets, fairs, etc. 7. They that on that day omit their private devotions, unless the whole day be spent in public. 8. They that by any cross or contradictory actions against the customs of the church, do purposely desecrate or unhollow and make the day common; as they that, in despite and contempt, fast upon the Lord's day, lest they may celebrate the festival after the manner of the Christians.

V. Honour thy father and thy mother.

The duties are, 1. To do honour and reverence to, and to love our natural parents. 2. To obey all their domestic commands, for in them the scene of their authority lies. 3. To give them maintenance and support in their needs. 4. To obey kings and all that are in authority. 5. To pay tribute and honours, custom and reverence. 6. To do reverence to the aged and all our betters. 7. To obey our masters, spiritual governors and guides, in those things which concern their several respective interest and authority.

They sin against this commandment, 1. That despise their parents' age or infirmity. 2. That are ashamed of their poverty and extraction. 3. That publish their vices, errors, and infirmities, to shame them. 4. That refuse and reject all or any of their lawful commands. 5. Children that marry without or against their consent, when it may be reasonable obtained. 6. That curse them from whom they receive so many blessings. 7. That grieve the souls of their parents by not complying in their desires, and observing their circumstances. 8. That hate their persons, that mock them or use uncomely jestings. 9. That discover their nakedness voluntarily. 10. That murmur against their injunctions, and obey them involuntarily. 11. All rebels against their kings, or the supreme power, where it is legally and justly invested. 12. That refuse to pay tributes and impositions imposed legally. 13. They that disobey their masters, murmur or repine against their commands, abuse or deride their persons, talk rudely, etc. 14. They that curse the king in their heart, or speak evil of the ruler of their of their people. 15. All that are uncivil and rude towards aged persons, mockers and scorners of them.130130Credebant hoc grande nefus et morte piandum, Si juvenis vetulo non assurrexerat, et si Barbato cuicunque puer.—Juven. Sat. 13.

VI.Thou shalt do no murder.

The duties are, 1. To preserve our own lives, the lives of our relatives, and all with whom we converse, (or who can need us, and we assist,) by prudent, reasonable, and wary defences, advocations, discoveries of snares, etc. 2. To preserve our health, and the integrity of our bodies and minds, and of others. 3. To preserve and follow peace with all men.

They sin against this commandment, 1. That destroy the life of a man or woman, himself or any other. 2. That do violence to, or dismember or hurt any part of the body with evil intent. 3. That fight duels, or commerce unjust wars. 4. They that willingly hasten their own or others death. 5. That by oppression or violence embitter the spirits of any, so as to make their life sad and their death hasty. 6. They that conceal the dangers of their neighbour, which they can safely discover. 7. They that sow strife and contention among neighbours. 8. They that refuse to rescue or preserve those whom they can and are obliged to preserve. 9. They that procure abortion. 10. They that threaten, or keep men in fears, or hate them.

VII. Thou shalt not commit adultery.

The duties are 1. To preserve our bodies in the chastity of a single life, or of marriage. 2. To keep all the parts of our bodies in the care and severities of chastity, so that we be restrained in our eyes as well as in our feet.

They sin against this commandment, 1. Who are adulterous, incestuous, sodomitical, or commit fornication. 2. They that commit folly alone, dishonouring their own bodies with softness and wantonness. 3. They that immoderately let loose the reins of their bodley appetite, though within the protection of marriage. 4. They that by wanton gestures, wandering eyes, lascivious dressings, discovery of the nakedness of themselves or others, filthy discourse, high diet, amorous songs, balls and revellings, tempt and betray themselves or others to folly. 5. They that marry a woman divorced for adultery. 6. They that divorce their wives, except for adultery, and marry another.

VIII. Thou shalt not steal.

The duties are, 1. To give every man his due. 2. To permit every man to enjoy his own goods and estate quietly.

They sin against this commandment, 1. That injure any man's estate by open violence or by secret robbery, by stealth or cozenage, by arts of bargaining or vexatious lawsuits. 2. That refuse or neglect to pay their debts when they are able. 3. That are forward to run into debt knowingly beyond their power, without hopes or purposes of repayment. 4. Oppressors of the poor. 5. That exact usury of necessitous persons, or of any beyond the permissions of equity, as determined by the laws. 6. All sacrilegious persons, people that rob God of his dues or of his possessions. 7. All that game, viz. at cards and dice, etc., to the prejudice and detriment of other men's estates. 8. They that embase coin and metals, and obtrude them for perfect and natural. 9. That break their promises to the detriment of a third person. 10. They that refuse to stand to their bargains. 11. They that by negligence imbecile other men's estates, spoiling or letting any thing perish which is entrusted to them. 12. That refuse to restore the pledge.

IX. Thou shalt not bear false witness.

The duties are, 1. To give testimony to truth, when we are called to it by competent authority. 2. To preserve the good name of our neighbours. 3. To speak well of them that deserve it.

They sin against this commandment, 1. That speak false things in judgment, accusing their neighbour unjustly, or denying his crime publicly when they are asked, and can be commanded lawfully to tell it. 2. Flatterers; and 3. Slanderers; 4. Backbiters; and 5. Detractors. 6. They that secretly raise jealousies and suspicion of their neighbours causelessly.

X. Thou shalt not covet.

The duties are, 1. To be content with the portion God hath given us. 2. Not to be covetous of other men's goods.

They sin against this commandment, 1. That envy the prosperity of other men. 2. They that desire passionately to be possessed of what is their neighbour's. 3. They that with greediness pursue riches, honours, pleasures, and curiosities. 4. They that are too careful, troubled, distracted, or amazed, affrighted and afflicted with being solicitous in the conduct of temporal blessings.

These are the general lines of duty by which we may discover our failings and be humbled, and confess accordingly: only the penitent person is to remember, that although these are the kinds of sins described after the sense of the Jewish church, which consisted principally in the external action or the deed done, and had no restraints upon the thoughts of men, save only in the tenth commandment which was mixed, and did relate as much to action as to thought; (as appears in the instances;) yet upon us Christians there are many circumstances and degrees of obligation, which endear our duty with greater severity and observation: and the penitent is to account of himself and enumerate his sins, not only by external actions or the deed done, but by words and by thoughts; and so to reckon if we have done it directly or indirectly, if he have caused others to do it, by tempting or encouraging, by assisting or counselling, by not dissuading when he could and ought, by fortifying their hands or hearts, or not weakening their evil purposes; if we have designed or contrived its action, desired it or love it, delighted in the thought, remembered the past sin with pleasure or without sorrow: these are the by-ways of sin, and the crooked lanes, in which a man may wander and be lost, as certainly as in the broad highways of iniquity.

But besides this our blessed Lord and his apostles have added divers other precepts; some of which have been with some violence reduced to the decalogue, and others have not been noted at all in the catalogues of confession. I shall therefore describe them entirely, that the sick man may discover his failings, that, by the mercies of God in Jesus Christ, and by the instrument of repentance, he may be presented pure and spotless before the throne of God.

The Special Precepts of the Gospel.

1. Prayer, frequent, fervent, holy, and persevering.1311311 Thess. v. 17; Luke, xviii. 1. 2. Faith.132132Mark, xvi. 16. 3. Repentance.133133Luke xiii. 3; Acts, iii. 19. 4. Poverty of spirit, as opposed to ambition and high designs.134134Matt. v. 3. 5. And in it is humility, or sitting down in the lowest place, and in giving honour to go before another.135135Luke, xiv. 10; John, xiii. 14. 6. Meekness, as it is opposed to waywardness, fretfulness, immoderate grieving, disdain and scorn.136136Matt. v. 5; Col. iii. 12. 7. Contempt of the world. 8. Prudence, or the advantageous conduct of religion.137137Matt. x. 16; 1 Thess. v. 8. 9. Simplicity, or sincerity in words and actions, pretences and substances. 10. Hope.138138Rom. viii. 24. 11. Hearing the word.139139Luke, xvi. 29; Mark, iv. 24. 12. Reading.1401401 Tim. iv. 13. 14. Obeying them that have the rule over us in spiritual affairs.141141Heb. xiii. 17; Matt. xviii. 17. 15. Refusing to communicate with persons excommunicate: whither also may be reduced, to reject heretics.142142Titus, iii. 10. 16. Charity:143143Coloss. iii. 14; 1 Tim. i. v.; 2 Tim. ii 22. viz. Love to God above all things; brotherly kindness, or profitable love to our neighbours as ourselves, to be expressed in alms. forgiveness, and to die for our brethren. 17. To pluck out the right eye, or violently to rescind all occasions of sins, though dear to us as an eye.144144Matt. xviii. 9. 18. To reprove our erring brother. 19. To be patient in afflictions; and long animity is referred hither or long-sufferance; which is the perfection and perseverance of patience, and is opposed to hastiness and weariness of spirit. 20. To be thankful to our benefactors; but above all, in all things to give thanks to God. 21. To rejoice in the Lord always. 22. Not to quench, not to grieve, not to resist the Spirit. 23. To love our wives as Christ loved his church, and to reverence our husbands. 24. To provide for our families. 25. Not to be bitter to our children. 26. To bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. 27. Not to despise prophesying. 28. To be gentle, and easy to be entreated. 29. To give no scandal or offence. 30. To follow after peace with all men, and to make peace. 31. Not to go to law before the unbelievers. 32. To do all things that are of good report, or the actions of public honesty, abstaining from all appearances of evil. 33. To convert souls, or turn sinners from the error of their ways. 34. To confess Christ before all the world. 35. To resist unto blood, if God call us to it. 36. To rejoice in tribulation for Christ's sake. 37. To remember and show forth the Lord's death till his second coming, by celebrating the Lord's supper. 38. To believe all the New Testament. 39. To add nothing to St. John's last book, that is, to pretend to no new revelations. 40. To keep the customs of the church, her festivals and solemnities; lest we be reproved, as the Corinthians were by St. Paul, ‘We have no such customs, nor the churches of God.' 41. To contend earnestly for the faith. Not to be contentious in matters not concerning the eternal interest of our souls; but in matters indifferent to have faith to ourselves. 42. Not to make schisms or divisions in the body of the church. 43. To call no man master upon earth; but to acknowledge Christ our master and lawgiver. 44. Not to domineer over the Lord's heritage. 45. To try all things and keep that which is best. 46. To be temperate in all things. 47. To deny ourselves. 48. To mortify our lusts and their instruments. 49. To lend, looking for nothing again, nothing by way of increase, nothing by way of recompence. 50. To watch and stand in readiness against the coming of the Lord. 51. Not to be angry without cause. 52. Not at all to revile. 53. Not to swear. 54. Not to respect persons. 55. To lay hands suddenly on no man. (This especially pertains to bishops; to whom also, and to all the ecclesiastical order, it is enjoined that they preach the word, that they be instant in season and out of season, that they rebuke, reprove, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine.) 56. To keep the Lord's day, (derived into an obligation from a practice apostolical.) 57. To do all things to the glory of God. 58. To hunger and thirst after righteousness and its rewards. 59. To avoid foolish questions. 60. To pray for persecutors, and to do good to them that persecute us, and despitefully use us. 61. To pray for all men. 63. To work with our own hands, that we be not burdensome to others, avoiding idleness. 64. To be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. 65. To be liberal and frugal; for he that will call us to an account for our time, will also for the spending our money. 66. Not to use uncomely jestings. 67. Modesty; as opposed to boldness, to curiosity, to indecency. 68. To be swift to hear, slow to speak. 69. To worship the holy Jesus as the mention of his holy name; as of old God was at the mention of Jehovah.

These are the straight lines of Scripture by which we may also measure our obliquities, and discover crooked walking. If the sick man hath not done these things, or if he have done contrary to any of them in any particular, he hath cause enough for his sorrow and matter for his confession; of which he needs no other forms, but that he heartily deplore and plainly enumerate his follies, as a man tells the sad stories of his own calamity.


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