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perform more Labour for Wages than is usual according to the Custom of the Country, thus, e.g.
If the Sellers of any Commodity know the Buyers to be under a Necessity of getting the Things they treat about, and that they can have them no where elfe, or that they are ignorant of the Value, and Market price of them, and therefore exact from them a greater Price than they are worth, or than the Sellers would insist on, if the Buyers were not under such Neceflity, or such Ignorance, they are guilty of Extortion. And if
any Manufacturers, as a Method of Gain to themselves, shall keep for Sale to their WorkPeople, various Sorts of Goods, they at Times have Occasion for, and shall oblige them to buy such Goods, when they do not want the Goods but the Money for other Uses, they are Extortioners.
These two Sorts of Persons are guilty of Tranfgrefsing that divine Law, which says, All Things whatsoever ye would that Men should do to you, do ye even so to them, Matt. vii. 12. which implies, that All Things whatsoever we would that Men should not do to us, we should not, we ought not to do to them.
Thus God has manifested his holy Will concerning our Conduct and manner of Dealing with others. And the Extortioners above-mentioned, would not like to be themselves treated in such Manner as they treat others.
I must add, that their Crime is abominable in the Sight of God, who delights in Mercy and Goodnefs.
Let such Transgreffors read, and consider what is faid in Ezek. xxii, 12, 13, 14. Tbou haft greedily gained of thy Neighbours by Extortion, and bast forgotten me, frith the LORD GOD. Bebold, therefore I bave smitten mine Hand at tby dishonest Gain, which Ibou baft made-Can thine Heart endure, or can
thine Hands be strong, in the Days that I fall deal with thee? I the LORD have spoken it, and will do it.
These Declarations shew that God will deal with Extortioners in the Days of his Visitation for Sin ; and that their Hearts will not be able to endure the Tokens of his Wrath, or to sustain the strokes of his Vengeance.
There is another Sort of EXTORTION, cruel in its Nature, and abominable in the Eyes of the Lord ; that is, when Manufačturers or others constrain the People they employ to labour for lefs Wages, than Custom, or particular Agreement has made their Due, or exact from them more Work than is usually done for the customary Wages ; or on some unreasonable Pretence with-hold froin them Part of their Wages.
These may be said to grind the Face of the Poor: They oppress the Hirelings, the People they employ to labour, and the Character of Extortioners juftly belongs to them.
Let such consider the Import of this Declaration in Mal. iii. 5. I will come near to you to Judgment, änd I will be a swift Witnessm-against those that oppress the Hireling in his Wages--and fear not, faith ibe LORD of Hofts.
And in James v. 4. it is said, Behold the Hire of the Labourers, which have reaped down your Fields, which is of you kept back by Fraud, crieth; and the Cries of them which have reaped, are entered into the Ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, who will deal with such Oppressors, and take Vengeance on them when he visits for Sin.
In Levit. xix. 13. it is said, The Wages of him that is hired, shall not abide with thee all Night until the Morning
In Deut. xxiv. 15. it is written, At his Day thou falt give him his Hire, neither shall the Sun go down
upon it, for be is poor, and settetb bis Heart upon it : lest he cry against thee unto the Lord, and it be Sin unto thee.
In Levit. xix. 9. are recorded the following Laws, viz. When you reap the Harvest of your Land, ibou Shalt not wholly reap the Corners of thy Field, neither Malt thou gather the Gleanings of thy Harvest. And thou halt not glean thy Vineyard, neither malt thou gather every Grape of thy Vineyard, thou shalt leave them for the Poor, and Stranger : I am the Lord your God. Signifying that the great God has compasfion for the Poor, and Strangers, and approves all Acts of Kindness done unto them; and that he is both able, and willing to recompence with his Blefsings, those who obey his Will, by leaving in the Time of Harvest, and Gathering of Fruit, Gleanings of their Harvest, and of the Fruit for the Poor.
In Deut. xxiv. 19. it is likewise enacted, by the supreme Governor of the World, thus, viz. When thou cuttest down thine Harvest in thy Field, and kaft forgot a Sheaf in the Field, thou malt not go again to fetch it : It shall be for the Stranger, for the Fatherless and the Widow : That the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine Hands. When ibou beatest thine Olive-tree, thou shalt not go over the Boughs again: It shall be for the Stranger, for the Fatherless, and for the Widow.
I have mentioned these Laws of our good God, because they manifest his gracious Care for Strangers, and for the Fatherless, and for Widows in needy Circumstances ; and because they are Laws always obligatory, they are divine Laws always binding all Persons, in all Ages, who are concerned in Hulbandry, in Sowing, in Reaping, in Raising, and Gathering in the Fruits of the Earth. We ought to think, and acknowledge that they are Laws still
in Force, since God never repealed them, since neither Men, nor Angels, can annul the Obligations of his Commandments, and since divers Reasons of them, viz. the Wants of the Poor, and the Supply, and the Comfort they will have by Means of a due Obedience to those Laws: And I apprehended it the more needful to recite them, because many Landbolders, Farmers, and Pollefors of Vineyards, and Olive Yards, and others employed in raising and propagating the Fruits of the Earth are ignorant of them.
I must add one Declaration more, viz. that in 1 Cor. vi. 10. Nor Thieves, nor Covetous. nor Extortioners Mall inherit the Kingdom of God. Therefore we may reasonably conclude, that this hardhearted and cruel sort of Sinners, are obnoxious to the destroying Judgments of God, when he is visiting an ungodly Nation for their Iniquities,
I have further to observe, that fraudulent Dealers, with unjust Weighis and Measures, must be reckoned among the Transgressors of the eighth Commandment, because by their Frauds they get so much of the Buyer's Money unjustly, as the diminished Quantity of the Goods sold amounts to in Value ; and the using divers Weights and Measures, that is, Weights and Measures different from, and less than the Standard established by the Laws of the Country in which they live, is in Reality one way of stealing Money from the Buyers.
re mall do no Unrighteousness in Judgment, says the divine Law, in Mete Yard, in Weight, or in Measure. Just Balances, just Weights, a just Ephal, and a just Hin ßball ye have ; I am the LORD your God. Therefore all ye observe all my Statutes, and all my Judgments, and do them ; I am the Lord. Levit. xix. 35, 36, 37.
In Deut. xxv. 13, 14, 15, 16. it is fuid, Thou Realt not have in thy Big divers Weights, a grzai and
a small. Thou fhalt not bave in thine House divers Mzafures, a great and a small. But thou shalt bave a perfeet and just Weight, a perfe&t and a 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 (viz. the keeping divers Weights and Measures) and all that do unrighteously, are an Abomination unto the LORD thy God.
In Prov. xi. 1. it is said, A false Ballance is Abomination to the Lord: but a just Weight is bis Delight. And Cap. xx. 10. Divers Weights, and divers Measures, both of them are alike Abomination to the Lord. See also Verse 23.
The Prophet Micah said to the People (who had provoked destroying Judgments by manifold Sins) He (viz. God) hath Dhewed thee, O Man, what is good, and what doch ihe LORD require of thee, but to do juftly, and to love Mercy, and to walk bumbly with thy God? The LORD's Voice crieth unto the City, and the Man of Wisdom Mall see thy Name : Hear
ye the Rod, and who hath appointed it. Are there yet the Treasures of Wickedness in the House of the Wicked, and the scant Measure that is abominable? Shall I count them pure with the wicked Balances, and with the Bag of deceitful Weights? For the rich Men thereof are full of Viálence, and the Inhabitants thereof bave spoken Lies, and their Tongue is deceitful in their Mouth. Therefore also will I make thee fick in Smiting thee, in making thee defolate because of thy Sins. See Micah vi. 8–13:
These Declarations shew most evidently that fraudulent Dealers, with false Weights and Measures, have Reason to expect Punilhment even in this World, when God is visiting a Nation for their Iniquities.
But if they shall escape Punishment in this World, they should know and consider, that the Hope of unjusi Men perifleth, (Prov. xi. 7.) and that, The