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Tandem experimur, hactenus pænè obruti
Unita virtus civium.
Mil uspiam est amænius :
Auronis effusa in sacrum
Et indle lapsu defluit
Nec, denique, affluentiam
Qui fertiles inebriat
Rigat Sionis jugera :
Illic pie tranquillitas
In seculum usque protrahet.
RESOLUTIONS AND DECISIONS
DIVERS PRACTICAL CASES
IN CONTINUAL USE AMONGST MEN.
IN FOUR DECADES.
BY JOSEPH, BISHOP OF NORWICH.
I HAVE perused these Four Decades of Practical Cases of Conscience with much satisfaction and delight : and find them to be, in respect of their subject matter, so profitable, necessary, and daily useful; and so piously, learnedly, and judiciously discussed and resolved ; that they seem unto me best, though they come last, like the wine in the marriage-feast made sacred by Christ's divine presence and uniracle: and, therefore, do well deserve, amongst many other the divine dishes and delicacies wherewith this right reverend, pious, and learned author, hath plenteously furnished a feast for the spiritual nourishment and comfortable refreshing of God's guests, both the approbation and commendation of all, and myself amongst the rest, though unworthy to pass my censure on such a subject :
TO THE READER.
OF all Divinity, that part is most useful, which determines Cases of Conscience : and, of all Cases of Conscience, the Practical are most necessary; as action is of more concernment, than speculation : and, of all Practical Cases, those, which are of most common use, are of so much greater necessity and benefit to be resolved, as the errors thereof are more universal, and therefore more prejudicial to the society of mankind.
These I have selected out of many; and, having turned over divers Casuists, have pitched upon these Decisions, which I hold most conformable to enlightened reason and religion. Sometimes, I follow them; and, sometimes, I leave them, for a better guide.
In the handling of all which, would I have affected that course, which Seneca blames in his Albutius, to say all that might be spokon, I could easily have been more voluminous, though perhaps not more satisfactory.
If these lines meet with different judgments, I cannot blame either myself or them. It is the opinion of some Schoolmen, which seems to be made good by that instance in the Prophet Daniel*, that even the good angels themselves may holily vary in the way, though they perfectly meet in the end. It is far from my thoughts, to obtrude these my Resolutions, as peremptory and magisteriai, upon my Readers: I only tender them submissively; as probable advices to the simpler sort of Christiuns, and as matter of grave censure to the learned.
May that Infinite Goodness, to whose only glory I humbly desire to devote inyself and all my poor endeavours, make them as beneficiul, as they are well meant to the good of his Church, by the unwor. thiest of his servants,
J. H. B. N. Higham, near Norwich :
March 29, 1650.
* Dar, x. 13, 20, 21. xii. 5.
THE FIRST DECADE.
CASES OF PROFIT AND TRAFFIC.
CASE I. Ilhether is it lawful for me, to raise any profit by the loan of
money * ?
You may not expect a positive answer, either way. Many circumstances are considerable, ere any thing can be determined.
First, who is it, that borrows ? A poor neighbour, that is constrained out of need ? or a merchant, that takes up money for a freer trade? or a rich man, that lays it out upon superfluous occasions? If a poor man borrow out of necessity, you may not expect any profit for the loan; Deut. xv. 7, 8, 9: to the poorest of all, we must gire, and not lend : to the next rank of poor, we must lend freely. But, if a man will borrow that money, which you could improve, for the enriching of himself; or, out of a wanton expence, will be laying out that, which might be otherwise useful to you, for his mere pleasure; the case is different: for God hath not commanded you to love any man more than yourself; and there can be no reason, why you should vail your own just advantage to another man's excess.
. Secondly, upon what terms do you lend? whether, upon an absolute compact for a set increment, whatever become of the principal; or, upon a friendly trust to a voluntary satisfaction, according to the good improvement of the sum lent? The former is not safe; and, where there hath been an honest endeavour of a just benefit disappointed, either by unavoidable casualty or force, may not be rigorously urged, without manifest oppression: the latter can be no other than lawful: and, with those, that are truly faithful and conscionable, the bond of gratitude is no less strong, than that of law and justice. Thirdly, if upon absolute compact; is it upon a certainty, or an
* See Note, at p. 33. of the preceding Volume. Editor.