« PreviousContinue »
when it is necessary, no greater violence may be offered than what is necessary to repel the attack, Exod. ii. 2. 31.
2. Furnishing our bodies whatever is necessary for their health and welfare, according to our auility; taking the moderate use of the means of health and lite unto ourselves, Eph. V. 29. ; for in so far as we use not the means of preserving them, we are guilty of destroying them. Therefore it is our duty to allow ourselves a competent portion of meat and drink, wholesome food, as the Lord lays to our bands; to provide competent housing and cloathing; to refresh our bodies with a competent meafure of rest and fleep; to use moderate labour, exercise, and recreations, and medicine for the removal of diftempers. The use of these is necessary, and the immoderate use of them hurtful; therefore the moderate temperate use of them is our duty.
3. Keeping our affections, regular, subduing all inordişate and evil affections; for these are destruc: tive to the body as well as to the soul. So that a patient disposition, a quiet mind, and a contented and chearful spirit are duties of this command, as necessary for the welfare of our bodies ; whereas inordinate paslions are the ruin of them, Prov, xvij. 22. A merry heart doth good like a medicine : but a brco ken spirit drieth the bones.
SECONDLY, 1 his command requires, that by all lawful endeavours we preserve the life of our neighbours. We may also take up this in two things,
FIRST, We mult endeavour to preserve the life of their fouls.
1. By giving them the example of a holy life, for that edifies and builds up, Matth. v. 16. whereas a fcandalous walk is a foul-murdering practice.
2. By instructing, warning, reproying, and ad: monishing them as we have opportunity, where the case of their sin requires it, Jude 2 3. and comforting them in distress, 1 Theil. v. 16. and praying for them, Gen. xliii. 29. No man must say with Cain, Am I
my brother's keeper? We are required to watch over one another. If our neighbour's ox or his ass fall into the ditch, we must also help them out: how much more when his soul is in hazard of falling into hell?
SECONDLY, We must by all lawful endeavours preserve the life of our neighbour's body. Here God requires of us,
1. To protect and defend the innocent against unjuft violence, according to every one's power, as they have a fair call to exercise the same, whether it be in respect of their name, goods, or life, Pfal. lxxxii. 3. 4. Prov. xxiv. 11. 12. And so it is a duty of this command to repress tyranny, whereof we have a commended example in the interposition of the peo
. ple to save the life of Jonathan, 1 Sam. xiv. 45. And the people said unto Saul, Shall Jonathan die, who hath wrought this great salvation in Israel? God forbid: as the Lord liveth, there shall not one hair of his head fall to the ground; for he hath wrought with God this day. So the people rescued Jonathan, that he died not.
2. To give unto others the neceffaries of life, when in want, according to our ability. For as he that feeds not the fire puts it out, so unmerciful people that shut up their bowels from the needy, áre guilty of their blood before the Lord, Jam. ii, 3:
To entertain such affections towards our neigh. bour, as may keep us back from injuring of him, and him from doing harm to himself; such as charitable thoughts, love, compassion, meekness, gentleness, kindness. These are as water to quench fire in us which may burn up others, and as oil unto others to refresh them, Eph: iv. ult.
4. A peaceable, mild, and courteous conversation, Prov. xv. 1. in looks, speech, and behaviour.
5: Lastly, With respect to injuries, we ought
to take all things in the best sense, i Cor. xiii. 5. 7 to avoid all occasions of strife, yea even to part sometimes with our right for peace, as Abraham with Lot; to bear real injuries, Col. iii. 12. 13. to forbear and be ready to be reconciled, and forgive injuries, yea to requite good for evil, Matth. v. 44,
With respect to both our own life and the life of others, we are called to resist all thoughts, fubdue all passions, avoid all occasions, temptations, and practices tending to the destruction of our own life, or that of others, of soul or body.
Who can understand his errors? What shall come of us, if God enter into judgement with us? Our omissions would ruin us, even in those things where we judge ourselves to be in the least hazard.
Il. I come now to thew what is forbidden in the sixth commandment. It « forbids the taking as « way
of our own life, or the life of our neighbour, ss unjustly, and whatsoever tendeth thereunto.' Here I shall consider this command as relating to our own life, and the life of our neighbour.
FIRST, I shall consider this command as relating to our own life ; and that, first, 1. With respect to our souls; and, 2. With respect to our bodies.
First, Thou shalt not kill thine own soul. Our kind God forbids us to be felf-murderers and foulmurderers., Wu become guilty of the blood of our own fouls these ways.
1. By neglecting of the means of grace and falvation, Prov. viii. 34. 36. The life of our fouls is a flame that must be kindled from above, and fed by means of grace. Whoso then neglect them, are guilty of their own blood. Consider i his, ye prayerless persons, ye that are at no pains to get knowledge, flighters of public ordinances, private duties, reading, meditation, O'c.
2. By opposing and fighting against the Lord's quickening work in the loul. They that murder
convictions, murder their own fouls, as if they were refolved that they should never stir in them, Prov. xxix. 1. Some with Felix put them off with fair promises, some with Cain with the noise of axes and hammers; which is in effect, they will not let their fouls recover.
3. By continuing in fin impenitent. God calls by his word and providence to the man as Paul to the jailor, Do thyself no harm. But, as if he were refolute on his own ruin, he will not forbear thefe courses. Wilful impenitency is the groffest selfmurder, becaufe foul-murder, Exek. xviii, 30. 31. His foul is standing under a decayed roof, tell him that it will fall on him ; but he will not stir a foot, is not his blood then on his cwn head?
4. By unbelief, and not coming to Christ by faith, John v. 40. Many means are effayed to preserve the soul; but fiill it is ruined, because the main cureis neglected. Let a man use never fo many remedies for his health, if he will not ufe the main cure necessary, he is his own murderer. So resolutions, watchings, engagements, are tried; but if faith, and employing of Christ for fanctification, is not tried, he is still a murderer.
O Sirs, consider this. Murder, felf-murder, foulmurder, is a crying fin. What wonder the man perih who will perish? Will God spare the shedding of the blood of that foul, which the man himself is so liberal of ?
And hence see that people not only may, but this command of God obliges them to seek the welfare and good of their souls. Fear hell, hope for heą. yen: and let this ftir you up to duty : but do not relt there, go forward, and make the love of God your main motive, and that of itself would be sufficient to stir you up to all the duties of a holy life,
SECONDLY, Thou falt not kill thine own body, This is simply and absolutely forbidden. We may take away the life of others in some cafes justly, but
in no case our own, unless there be a particular die vine warrant, which I suppose in Samson's case, which is not to be expected by us; for therein he was a type of Christ. There are two things forbid. den here.
1. The taking away of our own life, by laying violent hands on ourselves. This is the horrid sin of direct felf-murder ; of which Saul, Ahithophel, and Judas were guilty'; and many fad instances have been of it of late. The law of God utterly condemns it, and nature itself abhors it. It is the effect of a desperate envenomed spirit, rising from pride and impatience, a horrible leaping into eternity ere the call come from God. It is highly dishonourable to God, charging him with cruelty, and refusing to wait his leisure. It is the thing the grand murderer is seeking. Civil laws strike againit it ; with us felf-murderers are denied Christian burial, their goods are escheated, that respect to their families may deter people from it: in other places they have hung them up on gibbets. And though we will not take on us to determine the case of all such to be hopeless for eternity, that is sufficient to scare us, i John iii. 15. Te know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.
2. Doing any thing that tendeth thereunto. Men may be guilty of killing themselves indirectly many ways, all which are here forbidden. Here are forbidden, as tending to the murder of the body,
:ft, All entertaining of any thoughts against our own life, that is heart-killing;. wearying of our own life, and fretful wishing to be gone, as was Jonah's case, chap. iv. 3-; all tampering with temptations of that fort, and not rejecting them with abhorrence, Job vii. 15. Our life is a mercy, and not to be wearied of fretfully; for it is God's goodness that we are out of hell. And it is horrid ingratitude to account God's gift a burden.
idly, Discontent, fretfulness, and impatience. It