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Opinion destroys all Law and Justice, and evacuates the Command given against Theft and Stealing, by laying all Things open and common, and making all Men joint Proprietors of all Things. It renders Labour and Industry useless ; since he that labours can acquire nothing which he had not before; and were it a prevailing Opinion, it would soon make the World a Nest of idle Vagabonds, by leaving no Encouragement for the Labour either of the Body or the Mind. But few Words may shew the Vanity of this Opinion: For first, though we cannot produce a divine Law ordering the Distribution of the Things of the World, yet nevertheless Property is evidently of divine Right : For when God gave the Commandment, Thou shalt not steal, he confirmed to every one the Porsession and Property of his Goods ; since from that Time, at least, it became unlawful for any Man to wrest out of his Neighbour's Hands the Goods he was in Possession of. So that it is to no Purpose in this Question to inquire by what Means Men at first divided the World among

themselves, or how one acquired in any thing a private Right to himself; since we find this Right and Property declared and confirmed by a subsequent Act of God. God is the fupreme Proprietor of all Things; and it will not be denied but that he might at first have divided the World as he thought good; and this he may do at any Time, since he cannot lose or forfeit his Right: And therefore it matters not by what Means the World was divided, when God confirmed the Division, and established Men in their Right and Property ; since his Confirmation gave a Right, if there were none before. And hence it appears, that Property is established, if not by the Law of Reason and Nature, yet by the positive Law of God; which is to us the highest Reason and Authority. And from hence it follows, that no Man can acquire the Poffefsion of

any thing which is at present another's, without the Consent of the present Proprietor fairly obtained. And to this Right of his own establishing even God himself submits : The Poor are his peculiar Charge ; his Providence stands engaged for their Support: But neither does God force us to part with our Estates to the Poor, or give the Poor any Right to serve themselves out of the Abundance and Superfluity of others; but he has

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left them to be maintained by Charity, that is, by the free and voluntary Gift of such as can spare from their own Subsistence some Part of what they enjoy. Now none can have greater Want than those who are Objects of Charity; and since God has not thought fit to break into the sacred Law of Property for the Relief of these, no Man's Necessity can be great enough to warrant him to transgress the Law, since the greatest Necessity is made subject to it: In Consequence of this it follows, that those who have not enough of the good Things of this Life for their Maintenance and Support, are obliged to work for their Living : Which is the

Second Thing to be considered in the Text, But rather let him labour. Your Wants must be supplied from the Abundance of others; and therefore you must find some honest Way of transferring to yourself what at present is not yours : This must be done by Consent of the present Poffeffor, which must be obtained either by Purchase or Intreaty. A Man may, if he pleases, part with his Goods freely to others by way of Gift ; and it should seem, that what another freely gives, we may freely Right and Property declared and confirmed by a subsequent Act of God. God is the supreme Proprietor of all Things; and it will not be denied but that he might at first have divided the World as he thought good; and this he may do at any Time, since he cannot lose or forfeit his Right: And therefore it matters not by what Means the World was divided, when God confirmed the Division, and established Men in their Right and Property ; fince his Confirmation gave a Right, if there were none before. And hence it appears, that Property is established, if not by the Law of Reason and Nature, yet by the positive Law of God; which is to us the highest Reason and Authority. And from hence it follows, that no Man can acquire the Possession of any thing which is at present another's, without the Consent of the present Proprietor fairly obtained. And to this Right of his own establishing even God himself submits : The Poor are his peculiar Charge ; his Providence stands engaged for their Support: But neither does God force us to part with our Estates to the Poor, or give the Poor any Right to serve themselves out of the Abundance and Superfluity of others; but he has

left

ز

left them to be maintained by Charity, that is, by the free and voluntary Gift of such as can spare from their own Subsistence some Part of what they enjoy. Now none can have greater Want than those who are Objects of Charity, and since God has not thought fit to break into the sacred Law of Property for the Relief of these, no Man's Necessity can be great enough to warrant him to transgress the Law, since the greatest Necessity is made subject to it: In Consequence of this it follows, that those who have not enough of the good Things of this Life for their Maintenance and Support, are obliged to work for their Living : Which is the

Second Thing to be considered in the Text, But rather let him labour.. Your Wants must be supplied from the Abundance of others ; and therefore you must find some honest Way of transferring to yourself what at present is not yours : This must be done by Consent of the present Possessor, which must be obtained either by Purchase or Intreaty. A Man may,

if he pleases, part with his Goods freely to others by way of Gift; and it should seem, that what another freely gives, we may freely

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