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the body, but are not able to kill the foul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both foul and body in hell.”
Object. In the case of martyrdom in the cause of Christ, it is very reasonable ; but that is not the case.
Ans. That is a mistake. The case supposed is indeed the case of martyrdom in the cause of Christ. And I confidently aver, that whofoever 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 Christ? 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 Christ? has he not the call to martyrdom, Suffer or Sin? may he not look for the martyrs reward? And if he redeem life by sinning, falls he not under the fame fearful doom, as in that case, Matth. X. 39. “ He that findeth his life, shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my fake, shall find it,” Mark viii. 38. “ Whofoever 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 his 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 cafe fuppofed is a greater trial of faith than the other. And God will surely make up to these secret unknown martyrs at the day of judgment, the honour which the open and manifest martyrs have before, hand.
In discoursing further from this subject, I shall fhew,
I. What is required in this command.
I. I am to shew, what is required in this command. It requires, as I said before, “ All lawful endeavours to preserve our own life, or the life of others.'
FIRST, It requires, that, by all lawful endeavours, we preserve our own lives. Self-preservation is the leading duty of this command. Brute creatures have a natural instinct for it. Our kind God has given man a written law for it, whereby it 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 of the soul too. He looks not to the cabinet only, overlooking the jewel. The soul 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 foul, Prov. xi. 19. It is by sin that men wrong their own souls; whereby they wound them, fill them with poisonous things, and prepare the way for their eternal death, Prov. viii. ult.
2. The careful using of all means of grace and holy exercises, for the begetting, preserving, and promoting spiritual life, 1 Pet. ii. 2. As we must eat and drink for the life of our bodies, so must we use these for the life of our fouls; eating Christ's body, and drinking Christ's blood, by faith, drinking in his word. The soul has its sickness, 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 himself, if he can, against thieves or robbers; and therefore it is said, “ If a thief be found breaking up, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be thed for him," Exod. xxii. 2. Yet this must be only in the case of necessity, 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 still the violence offered, it is not the spirit of Christ, but of Satan, that repels violence with violence. And 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 with whatever is necessary for their health and welfare, according to our ability; taking the moderate use of the means of health and life 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 hands; to provide competent housing and clothing, to refresh our bodies with a competent measure of rest and sleep; to use moderate labour, exercise and recreations, and medicine for the removal of distempers. The use of these is necessary, and the immoderate use of them hurtful; therefore the moderate and temperate use of them is our duty.
3. Keeping our affections regular, subduing all inordinate and evil affections, for these are destructive to the body as well as to the soul. So that a patient disposition, a quiet mind, and a contented and cheerful spirit are duties of this command, as necessary for the welfare of our bodies : whereas inordinate passions are the ruin of them, Prov. xvii. 22. “A merry heart doth good like a medicine: but a broken fpirit drieth the bones.”
SECONDLY, This 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 must endeavour to preserve the life of their souls,
1. By giving them the example of a holy life, for that edifies and builds up, Matth. v. 16.; whereas a scandalous walk is a foul-murdering practice.
2. By instructing, warning, reproving, and admonishing them as we have opportunity, where the case of their sin requires it, Jude 23.; and comforting them in distress, 1 Thess. 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
1. To protect and defend the innocent against unjust 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 commended example in the interposition of the people to save the life of Jonathan, 1 Sam. xiv. 45. VOL. II. No. 22.
“ And the people said unto Saul, shall Jonathan die, who hath wrought this great salvation in Ifrael? God forbid : as the Lord liveth, their fall 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, are guilty of their blood before the Ļord, Jạm. ij. 15. 16.
3. To entertain such affections towards our neighbour, as may keep us back from injuring of him, and him from doing harm to himself; such as, charitable thoughts, love, compalsion, 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, 1 Cor. xiii. 5. 7. to avoid all occa. sions 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 foul or body. Who can understand his errors? What shall come of
us, if God enter into judgment with us? Our omissions would ruin us, even in those things where we judge ourselves to be in the least hazard.
II. I come now to shew, what is forbiden in the fixth commandment. It forbids “the taking away of our own life, or the life of our neighbour, 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; ảnd that, 1. With respect to our fouls; and, 2. With respect to our bodies.
First, Thou shalt not kill thine own foul. Our kind God forbids us to be felf murderers and foul-murderers. We become guilty of the blood of our own fouls these ways:
í. 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 this, ye prayerless persons, ye that are at no pains to get knowledge, slighters of public ordinances, private duties, reading, meditation, &c.
2. By opposing and fighting against the Lord's quickening work in the soul. They that murder convictions, murder their own souls, as if they were resolved 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 souls 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 resolute on his own ruin, he will not forbear these courses, Wilful impenitency is the groffest felf-murder, because foul-murder, Ezek. xviií. 30. 31. His soul 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 own head ?
4. By unbelief, and not coming to Christ by faith, John v. 40. Many means are essayed to preserve the foul; but still it is ruined, because the main cure is neglected. Let a man use never so many remedies for his health, if he will not use 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 firs, consider this. Murder, self-murder, soul-murder, is a crying fin. What wonder the man perish who will perish? Will God spare the shedding of the blood of that soul, 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