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2. We have here the Danger of the Judge's passing Sentence against us, and committing it to the Officer of the Court to be executed. As to the Judge's passing Sentence; it is here brought in as another Hazard the Client runs, by not agreeing quickly with his Adversary. The first Hazard is, that the Adversary's Mind being exasperated by Delays, he will at some Time or other fue us at Law; and if he does, all these other things I just now mentioned of Lawyers, Witnesses, Juries, Loss of Time, Distraction of Mind, Neglect of our other Affairs, and a great Expence of Money, are not casual, but in a manner necessary Con-, sequences of putting the Controversie out of the Method of private Agreement and Accommodation, into that of a Suit at Law. And this alone, tho' he should not be cast, has proved fo grievous and burthensome, that many a Man has failed under it, as not being able to go through with the Charge and Delays of the Suit. But now, supposing all this to be got over, my Text leads me to the Confideration of another Hazard by the Delay of Agreement, namely the Hazard of being cast by the Judge, and being committed to the Sheriff, or whatsoever other Officer of the Court, to be kept in his Custody till Satisfaction be made to the Sentence that he has pronounced: Left the Judge deliver thee to the Officer. Some perhaps may wonder, that the Sentence of the Judge, which ought to be directed by the certain Rules of Law and Equity, should be reckoned here among the Casualties. But there is nothing in this Doubt; it is only supposed that the Person, who would not agree quickly; may perhaps be impleaded and caft; he may indeed in the Beginning, and whole



Course of the Controversie, think himself in the right, till his Adversary discovering the Defects of his Cause, the Judge is of an Opinion different from his, and gives the Cause against him. But to give all the Advantage that may be to this Perfon, who is stiff, and averse from Agreement, let us suppose he has a very good Colour of Law or Equity for his Cause; yet taking human Judicatures as commonly they are, that is, weak and imperfect, and not skilful enough to search out the Depths of Causes, and to extricate all the Difficulties and Meanders of Errors; to say nothing now of Partial, Byassed, and Corrupt Judges, either through Bribery, or an Impetuofity of Paffion ; upon all these Accounts, and especially considering that all Men are fallible ; it must be confessed that there is a great deal of Hazard that even a righteous Cause undergoes, by being submitted to the Sentence of the Judge or Judges of any Court. For often the Laws are so intricate or defective, that it is no easy Matter for every well-meaning Judge to find out their true Sense, or to adapt them to the Case in Hand ; then for want of Proof, it may often happen that a just Cause may suffer ; either there are no Witnesses to the Facts, or they may be dead, or not to be found ; or Writings and Papers may be loft; or if they be Facts of Old Standing, perhaps the Witnesses cannot recollect and call them to Memory; besides, if a good Cause should happen to be ill pleaded; or if the Judges or Juries, through their own Unskilfulness, or Misapprehension, should mistake the Matter ; 'all which Cases do frequently happen ; then it is very possible, even for a

righteous righteous Cause to run the Hazard of a Lottery, and to meet with a wrong Decision. 3.

Here is another Hazard, which may likewise frequently happen ; namely, That when the Person is cast, he has not Estate enough to pay the Debt, nor can find Bail, and so must

go to Prison, and remain there till he has made Satisfaction to the utmost. Verily I jay unto thee, thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou baft paid the uttermost Farthing. This last Expreslion, is a Description of the miserable Cafe of those Persons, upon whose Bodies Execution is served, (having no Estate to answer) after they have tired out the Adverse Party with all the Trouble and Charge of a Law-Suit. They are commonly kept in Prison till they have not only fatisfied the principal Debt, but all the Charges and Fees both of the Court and Goal. So much for the First Sort of evil Consequences here mentioned, of letting Differences run on so far as to come to the Extremity of the Law,

II. Now to go on to what I proposed to confider in the Second Place; the other evil Consequences of Quarrels besides Law-Suits, which, by a Parity of Reason, fall under the Considera tion of this Text. For the Confideration of Them, is a good Motive to induce us to agree with ' our Adversary quickly. It is not only Law-Suits then which are attended with evil Consequences : All other Contentions are subject in that respect to very great. Inconveniencies; all other Contentions, I say, whether they be secret Murmurings and Backbitings, or Open Scolding and Railing, or the Pen and Ink Wars, either between Parties or particular Persons; or open bloody Wars, either of the Inhabitants of one Country among themselves, such as we call Civil Wars; or of Prince against Prince, and Nation against Nation. Could we have a lively Apprehension of the pernicious Consequences of all these, we should readily be induced to use our utmolt Endeavours after Peace in Time, before Matters come to. Extremity. For were they subject to no other Inconveniency but the Lols of Peace and good Neighbourhood, who can enumerate all the Mischiefs which attend the Want of those ? For to begin at the Lowest: When Malice is once set to work, and evil Tongues begin to kindle the Fire of Contention, it does almost as much Mischief, and is as hard

open to be

put out, as material Fire when it catches in our Houses. It is St James's Comparison, Chap. iii. 5, 6. Behold, says he, how great a Matter a little Fire kindleth : and the Tongue is a Fire, a World of Iniquity : fo is the Tongue among/t our Members, that it defileth the whole Body, and setteth an fire the Course of Nature, and it is set on fire of Hell. How could the evil Consequences of Contentions be more lively described ? And if they are so bad when they are only Tongue Wars, which perhaps keep within some Bounds of Decency and Modesty, what must they be, when they break out into open Ruptures of Sword and Pen? They are then like great Land Floods, which break over all their Banks, and destroy Carn, Houses, Cattle, and every Thing that comes in their Way. And therefore there can be no better Advice than that of Solomon, Prov. xvii. 14. The beginning of Strife is as when one letteth qut War


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ter; therefore leave off Contention before is be meddled with.

III. And so I am come now in the last Place, to the Third Thing I mentioned from the Words namely, The evil Consequences in the great Day of Judgment, of neglecting or delaying to make our Peace with our Adversaries. This is a Doctrine of extraordinary Use and Importance ; and may put us in Mind of some Truths very necelsary to be timely considered. Namely, The Certainty of a future more exact Judgment, in which Right shall be done to every one : And the Terror of the Punishments of Delinquents, in Consequence of that Judgment described here, by their being thrown into the Infernal Prison for no Surety will then be accepted; and by the Security and Perpetuity of that Prison, for there is no breaking it ; nor no Removal out of it by habeas Corpus; and no Compounding the Debt ; which by that Time is risen to such an immense Sum, that there is no hope we can ever pay it. It is highly probable our Saviour had an Eye to these Things in the Text; for he describes here a Judge exactly doing right ; and to what Judge can this be so applicable, as to the Righteous Judge of all the Earth? The Business of the Officer or Goaler too, here described is a very proper Account of the Service which God will require of the Devils, the Keepers of the Infernal Prison. It is a greatMistake to think, that that Place of Torments thall be entirely given up to Them, to punih Malefactors at their Pleasure ; it is a much more rational Account of the Matter which is given here in the Text, that as Officers and Goal-keepers do nothing in the Confinement or Punishments of De


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