Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

the body, but are not able to kill the soul : but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in bell.'

Object. In the case of matyrdom in tlae 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 whosoever suffers for the testimony of a good con. science, and because he will not break any one of the coun. mands 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 same fearful doom, as in that case, Matth. X. 39, He that findeth his life, shall lose it: and ke that loseth his life for my sake, shall find it,' Mark yiii. 88. • 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 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 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 judgment, the honour whịch the open and manifest martyrs have beforehand.

In discoursing further from this subject, I shall shew,

I. What is required in this command. 11. What is forbidden in it.

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, two heads. 1. The preserving of our own life. • 2. The preserving the life of others. But both these are to be qua. lified, 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 sin, as a man attacked in time of prayer, or on the Sabbath-day, may lawfully leave the prayer, and external wor. ship of the day, to defend his life, Luke xiv. 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. jji. 6. Is it a thing of which God has said, Thou shalt not do so and so? it must never be done, though a thousand lives elepended upon it.

Hence it is evident, that a person may not tell a lie, por do any sinful thing whatever, far less blaspheme, deny Christ or any of his truths, commit adultery or steal, tho' his own life, or the life of others, may be lying upon it. For where the choice is, suffer or sin, God requires and calls us in that case to suffer. And therefore the example of such things in the saints, as in Isaac, Rahab, &c. are no more propounded for our imitation, than David's murder, &c. Peter's denial of Christ, &c. And tho' we read not of repreofs given in some such cases, that will no more infer God's approbation of them than that of Lot's incest, for which we read of no reproof given him. The general law against such things does sufficiently condemn them, in whomsoever they are found.

Object. This a hard saying. A man may be in the power of some rųffian, that will require on pain of death some sinful things and must one sell his life at such a cheap rate, as to refuse to deny his religion, drink drunk with him, lie, or do any such 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 my disciple. We must love God more than our own or others life, and so must not redeem it by offending God. Sin ruins the souls therefore says our Lord, Matth. X. 28. Fear not them which kill

the body, but are not able to kill the soul : buat rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in bell.'

Object. In the case of matyrdom 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 whosoever suffers for the testimony of a good conscience, and because he will not break any one of the coin, mands of God, is as true a martyr for the cause of Christ as he that dies on a gibbet for the maintenanoe 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 be not look for the martyrs reward? And if he redeem life by sinning, 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. 88. 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 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 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 judgment, the honour which the open and manifest martyrs have beforehand.

In discoursing further from this subject, I shall shew,
1. What is required in this command,
II
. What is forbidden in it.

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 al lawful endeavours, we preserve our own lives. Self-preservation is the leading duty of this command, Brute creatures have a naturat 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 soul. When God says, Thou shall 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 sin, which is the destruction of the soul, Prov. xi. 19. It is by sin that men wrong their own souls; whereby they wound them, fill them with poi. sonous things, and prepare

the
way

for their cternal death, Prov. viii. ult.

2. The careful using of all means of grace and holy exer. cises, 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 souls; 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 shed 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 of. fered, 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 our selves, 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 ourselyes 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 spirit 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 soul-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

of us,

1. To protect and defend the innocent against unjust vio-, lence, 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, Psal. 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.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »