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so need not wonder if they reap that correction which themselves have sowed. And though others, that have managed worse than they, may escape, no wonder either; for God will let that pass in another, because of an after-reckoning, when he will correct his own children for less, because, that is to put an end to the quarrel.
4. Lastly, Whatever they want of this, it shall be made up by what is better. The afflictions of the body shall be health to their souls; their crosses shall not be curses, but blessings; and if they be deprived of the residue of their years here, they shall get them made up in heaven.
SECONDLY, The place where that blessing is to be enjoyed; in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee; that is, the land of Canaan. So it respects the Jews. But as it respects Christians, it refers to any place of God's earth; and so the apostle turns it, Eph. vi. 3. That thou mayst live long on the earth.'
LASTLY, That regard which the Lord allows his people to have to that blessing, to further them in obedience: Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. Though the chief motive to duty should be the honour and command of God, yet God allows us to eye the promised reward, even in temporal things, as a secondary motive and encouragement to duty.
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 interest together, so as there is no separating of them. Relations are the joints of society; sin has disjointed the world, and so no wonder it be miserable; a relative holiness would set the disjointed world right again.
OF THE SIXTH COMMANDMENT.
EXOD. XX. 13.—Thou shalt not kill.
THE scope of this command is the preservation 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 observable, 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 neighbour, 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 encroaching 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, so every negative implies a positive. Therefore, in so far as God says Thou shalt 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 positive part of this command is necessary to be determined to lawful endeavours. Hence the answer to that,
Quest. What is required in the sixth commandment?" is plain, viz. The sixth comandment requireth all law. ful endeavours to preserve our 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 sin, as a man attacked in time of prayer, or on the Sabbath-day, may lawfully leave the prayer, and external worship 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. jii. 8. 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 depended upon it.
Hence it is evident, that a person may not tell a lie, nor 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 reproofs 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 ruffian, that will require on pain of death some sinful thing, 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 soul; therefore says our Lord, Matth. x. 28. Fear not them which kill
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 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 com, 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 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,
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 soul. 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 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 poisonous things, and prepare the way for their cternal 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 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 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