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USE, Let this recommend to us the living in dutifulness to our relatives. This is physic of God's appointment for the sick; it is the way to wealth of God's appointment for them that have little ; it is the prolonger of life appointed by the Lord of life to those that would see many days, and these good. And there is no sure way to these where the appointment of God lies cross. Religion is the way to make the world happy. God has linked our duty and our intereft together, so as there is no feparating of them. Relations are the joints of fo. ciety ; sin has disjointed the world, and so no wonder it be miserable; relative holiness would set the disjointed world right again.
Of the sixth Commandment.
EXODUS Xx. 13.
Thou shalt not kill.
tion of that life which God hath given unto man, which is man's greatest concern. No man is lord of his own or his neighbour's life; it belongs to him alone who gave it, to take it away. It is obfervable, that this and the three following commands are proposed in a word, not because they are of small moment, but because there is more light of nature for them than those proposed at greater length.
This command respects both our own life and the life of our neighbour, That it respects our neighÞour, there can be no doubt, and as little needs there to be of its respecting our own,
The words are general, agreeing to both; and so the sense of them is, Thou shalt not kill thyself nor any other, He that said to the jailor, Do thyself no harm, taught
no other thing than what Moses and the prophets did say. Man is no more lord of his own life than his neighbour's; and he is in hazard of incroaching upon it as well as that of another; and it is no where guarded if not here. Nay, the sum of the second table being, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, whereby.love to our neighbour is made the measure of love to ourselves, it is evident that it respects our own life in the first place.
As every positive command implies a negative, fo every negative implies a politive.
a positive. Therefore in fo far as God says, Thou sbalt not kill, viz. thyself or others, he thereby obliges men to preserve their own life and that of others. And seeing all the commands agree together, there can be no keeping of one by breaking of another; therefore the politive part of this command is necessary to be determined to lawful endeavours. Hence the antwer to that
Queft.“ What is required in the sixth commandmeni?” is plain, viz. “ The fixth commandinent
requireth all lawful endeavours to preserve our 6 own life, and the life of others.” The duties of this command may be reduced to two heads. 1. The preserving of our own life. 2. The preserving the life of others. But both these are to be qualified so, as it be by lawful means and endeavours. For God has given us no such law, as for the keeping of one command we may or must break another. Only there is a great difference betwixt positive and negative precepts; the practice of positive duties may be in some cases intermitted without fin, as a man attacked in time of prayer, or on the fabbathday, may lawfully leave the prayer, and external worship of the day, to defend his life, Luke siv. 5. But never may a man do an ill thing, be it great or little, though it were even to preserve his own life or that of others, Rom. iii. 8. Is it a thing of which God has said, Thou shalt not do so and fo? it must never be done, though a thousand lives de pended upon it.
Hence it is evident, that a person may not tell a lie, nor do any linful thing whatever, far less blafpheme, deny Christ or any of his truths, commit adultery, or fteal, though his own life or the life of others may be lying upon it. For where the choice is Suffer or fin, God requires and calls us in that case to suffer. And therefore the example of such things in the saints, as in Ifaac, Rahab, &c. are no more propounded for our imitation, than David's murder, &c. Peter's denial of Christ, doc. And though we read not of reproofs given in fome such cases, that will no more infer God's approbation of them than that of Lot's inceft, for which we read of no reproof given him. The general law against fuch things does sufficiently condemn them, in whomsoever they are found.
Object. This is a hard faying. A man may be in the power of fome ruffian, that will require on pain of death some finful thing; and must one fell his life at such a cheap rate, as to refuse to deny his religion, drink drunk with him, lie, or do any
fuch thing for the time?
Ans. It is no more hard than that, Luke xiv. 26. If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and Sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be
. We must love God more than our own or others life, and so must not redeem it by offending God. Sin ruins the soul; therefore fays our Lord, Matth. x. 23. Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the foul : but rather fear hint which is able to destroy both foul and body in hiell.
Object. In the case of martyrdom in the cause of Chriit it is very reasonable; but that is not the case.
Anf. That is a mistake. The cafe fuppofed is indeed the case of martyrdom in the cause of Christ. Andi confidently aver, that whosoever suffers for the
testimony of a good conscience, and because he will not break any one of the commands of God, is as true a martyr for the cause of Christ, as he that dies on a gibbet for the maintenance of any of the articles of our creed. Is not holiness the cause of Chrift? Has not a man in such a case the cause of martyrdom by the end? does he not lose his life for the sake of Chrift? has he not the call to martyrdom, Suffer or Sin? may he not look for the martyr's reward? And it he redeem life by finning, falls he not under the same fearful doom, as in that case, Matth. x. 39. He that findeth his life, shall lose it : and be that loseth his life for my sake, shall find it? Mark viii. 38. Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me, and of my words, in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of bis Father, with the holy angels. Are not the ten commands Christ's words as well as the articles of faith? Whatever difference may be betwixt these cases, an impartial consideration will manifest the case supposed is a greater trial of faith than the other. And God will surely make up to these secret unknown martyrs, at the day of judgement, the honour which the open and manifest martyrs have beforehand.
In discoursing further from this subject, I shall fhew,
1. What is required in this command. II. What is forbidden in it.
I. I am to fhew what is required in this command. It requires, as I said before," all lawful “ endeavours to preserve our own life, and the « life of others."
FIRST, It requires, that, by all lawful endeayours, we preserve our own lives. Self-preservation is the leading duty of this command. Drute creatures have a natural instinct for it. Our kind God lias given man a written law for it, whereby it VOL. II.
may appear that we are dearer to our God than to ourselves. We may take up this in two things.
First, Thou must preserve the life of thine own foul. When God says, Thou shalt not kill, doth he only take care for the body? No; doubtless for the soul too. He looks not to the cabinet only, overlooking the jewel. The foul is the man, at least the best and most precious part of him. Two things here are in general required.
1. The careful avoiding of all fin, which is the destruction of the soul, Prov. xi. 19. It is by sin that men wrong their own fouls; whereby they wound them, fill them with poisonous things, and prepare
the way for their eternal death, Prov. viii. ult.
2. The careful ufing of all means of grace and holy exercises, for the begetting, preserving, and promoting spiritual life, i Pet. ii. 2: As we must eat and drink for the life of our bodies, fo muft we use these for the life of our fouls ; eating Christ's tody and drinking Chrift's blood by faith, drinking in his word. The foul has its fickness, decays, c. as well as the body. Let it not pine away, but nourish it.
SECONDLY, Thou must by all lawful endeavours preserve the life of thine own body. We may take up this in these three things.
1. Just self-defence against violence offered unto us by others unjustly, Luke xxii. 36. So' a man ought to defend himfelf, if he can, against thieves or robbers; and therefore it is faid, If a thief be found breaking up, and be fmitten that he die, there. Thall no blood be ghed for him, Exod. xxii. 2. Yet this must be only in the case of neceffity, where the violence cannot be escaped but by a violent repelling it ; for all violent courses must be the last remedy, Luke vi. 29. Where a soft reception will ftill the violence offered, it is not the Spirit of Christ, but of Satan, that repels violence with violence. And