We are here forbidden to be in any thing injurious to our neighbour, particularly in and by the forms of law, either, 1. As a witness: “Never bear a testimony against any man without cause, unless what thou sayest thou knowest to be punctually true and thou hast a clear call to testify it. Never bear a false testimony against any one;” for it follows, “Deceive not with thy lips; deceive not the judge and jury, deceive not those whom thou conversest with, into an ill opinion of thy neighbour. When thou speakest of thy neighbour do not only speak that which is true, but take heed lest, in the manner of thy speaking, thou insinuate any thing that is otherwise and so shouldst deceive by innuendos or hyperboles.” Or, 2. As a plaintiff or prosecutor. If there be occasion to bring an action or information against thy neighbour, let it not be from a spirit of revenge. “Say not, I am resolved I will be even with him: I will do so to him as he had done to me.” Even a righteous cause becomes unrighteous when it is thus prosecuted with malice. Say not, I will render to the man according to his work, and make him pay dearly for it; for it is God’s prerogative to do so, and we must leave it to him, and not step into his throne, or take his work out of his hands. If we will needs be our own carvers, and judges in our own cause, we forfeit the benefit of an appeal to God’s tribunal; therefore we must not avenge ourselves, because he has said, Vengeance is mine.
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