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party envied, Prov. xxvii. 4. While other sins are en. tertained for pleasure or profit, this is like a barren field, bringing forth only briers and thorns; there is not a dram of any sort of pleasure in it. But this was it that put Joseph's brethren on a murdering design. . A charitable frame of spirit is our duty, Rom. xii. 15.
3dly, Hatred and malice against our neighbour. This made Cain imbrue his hands in his brother's blood. And such as live in malice and hatred go in his way, 1 John iii. 15. It is the sad character of persons estranged from God, that they are hateful, and hating one another,' Tit. iii. 3. But of all hatred, that is the worst which hates good men for their goodness. However, we may hate every man's faults, but no man's person.
* Love thy neighbour as thyself,' is the express command of heaven.
4thly, Revengeful thoughts and desires; which are so much the worse as they are the longer entertained, Rom. xii. 19. That heart is a bloody heart that longs for a heartsight, as they call it, on those that have wronged them. God sees the most secret wish of ill to our neighbour, and will call us to an account. Let us learn long-suffering and patience, to forgive, a disposition and readiness to be recon, ciled; otherwise our addresses to Heaven for pardon will be vain, Matth. iv. 15.
5thly, Rejoicing at the mischief that befals others, Prov. xxiv. 17, 18. Nothing makes men liker the devil than that murdering disposition to make the ruin of others our mirth, and their sorrow our joy; for man's sin and misery is what affords pleasure to the devil. We should sympathize and weep with them that weep, as well as rejoice with those that do rejoice.
Lastly, Cruelty, an horrid unrelenting disposition, that is not affected with the misery of others, but carries it on, and adds to it with delight. A disposition most inconsistent with the spirit of the gospel, that teaches tender heartedness even to the very beasts, Prov. xii. 10. But those that delight in cruel treating of these, want but an opportunity to exercise it on men. ; 2. There is tongue-murder. Solomon observes, that the tongue, however little a member it is, is the lord of life and death, Prov. xviii. 21. and xxi. 28. If it be not well managed, then, no wonder it be sometimes found guilty of murder. The natural shape of the tongue resembles a flame of fire, and therefore in Hebrew one word signifies a flame and the tongue ; yea, and it is what it seems to be, a fire, a world of iniquity,' Jam. iii. 6. It resembles also a sword, and so it is oft-times, lvii. 4. and Psal. lix. 7. The mouth and tongue resemble bow and arrow, and so they are, Psal. Ixiv. 3. The rage of an ill tongue must needs be dangerous, then, seeing such an one lays about him with his bow and arrow, and advances with fire and sword, which must needs bring him in blood-guilty. Now, this sword devours several ways.
ist, By quarrelling, provoking, and contentious speeches, Prov, xxiii. 29. Such words have oft-times begun a plea that has ended in blood. And therefore the apostle compares such to beasts, that begin to snarl and bite one another, till it end in the ruin of either or both, Gal. v. 15. Let us make conscience, then, of peaceable, mild, and gentle speeches.
2dly, By bitter words. These are the impoisoned arrows that tongue-murderers shoot at their neighbour, Psal. Ixiv 3, 4. Their tongue are dipt in gall, and they pierce to the heart, and give a home-thrust like a sword, Prov. xii. 28. They become not the disciples of the meek Jesus. Lay aside these as ye would not be reckoned murderers in the sight of God, Eph. iv. 31.
3dly, By railing and scolding. This was Shimei's mur. dering deed, 2 Sam. xvi. 5, 6, 7. for which he died as a murderer in Solomon's days. Thus men and women manage their tongue-battles with eagerness, making their doors or the town-gate the field of battle, where words pierce like swords to the heart. These are the plagues and the pests of society, whose bloody mouths proclaim their hearts fearless of God. Hear ye what the Lord says, 1 Pet. iii. 9. Not Tendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrari. wise, blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called; that ye should inherit a blessing.'
Athly, By reviling, reproachful, and disdainful speeches: Men think little of these; they are but words, and words are but wind. But they are a wind that will blow people to hell, Matth. v. 22. They are the devil's bellows to blow up the fire of anger ; which may make fearful havock ere it be quenched, Prov. xv. 1.
5thly, By mocking scoffing, and deriding speeches. These are reckoned among the sufferings of the martyrs, Heb. xi. 36. Others had trial of cruel mockings.' The soldiers mocking of Christ, John xix. 3. is compared to the baiting by dogs, Psal. xxii. 16. See how children paid for this usage to the
prophet Elisha, 2 Kings ii. 23, 24. Lasily, By cursings, imprecations, and wrathful wishings of ill and mischief to our neighbour's , which is but throw
of hellish fire on others, that comes down and burns up him that threw it, Psal. cix. 18.
3. There is eye murder, which vents itself by a wrathful countenance, and all gestures of that kind, such as high and proud looks, and fierce looks, Prov. vi. 17. The spirit of God takes notice of Cain's countenance, Gen. iv. 5. As there is adultery in looks, so there may be murder in them, not only angry looks, but looks of satisfaction on the mise ries of others, which God knows the meaning of, Obad. 12. gnashing with the teeth, and all such gestures of a person, denoting a heart boiling with wrath and revenge, Acts vii. 54.
4. There is hand-murder, even where death killeth not. And people may be guilty of this two ways.
1st, By way of omission, when we with-hold and give not help to those that are in distress, to save their life or living, Judg. v. 2, 3. neglecting the sick, not visiting and helping them as need requires, Luke x. 31, 32. not affording means of life to the poor in want, Jam. ii. 15, 16. for those put out the flame of life that do not feed it. We should then put on bowels of mercy and charity, in imitation of Job, chap. xxxi. 16. &c. It is observable, that the sentence against the wicked runs on unmercifulness to the poor members of Christ, Matth. xxv. 41, &c.
2dly, By way of commission. And so men are guilty,
(1.) As they strike against the living of others, their means and way of subsistence. This goes under the general name of oppression, a crying sin, Ezek, xxii. 7. Thus this command is broken by extortion, landlords racking of their lands so as labourers cannot live on them, tenants taking others lands over their heads, sometimes to the ruin of honest families, masters not allowing servants whereupon to live ; and, generally, by all kind of oppression, which in God's ac. count is murder, Isa. üi. 14, 15. Micah. ii. 3.
(2.) As they strike against the body and life itself, Thus men are guilty, by fighting, striking, and wounding others, Exod. xxi. 18, 22. How many have been guilty as murderers in the sight of men, that have had no design to go the full length, when they fell to fighting ?
Persecution is a complication of all these ; and therefore the better the cause is, the worse is the deed. It is a main engine of him who was a murderer from the beginning. And God will reckon with them as murderers at the great day, Mat. xxv. 41, 42, &c.
Lastly, Men may be guilty of the blood of others other. wise. As,
(1.) By sinful occasioning in others those things whereby our neighbour sins against his own soul, Quod est causa cause, est etiam causa causati. So people sin by occasioning in others discontent, fretfulness, immoderate sorrow, &c. 1 Sam. i. 6. Wherefore we should beware of that, as we would not be guilty of their blood.
(2.) By all the ways we said men co-operate to the des stroying of other souls, they may be guilty of killing others bodies, as by commanding, counselling, or anywise procur. ing the taking away of men's living or lives unjustly. So David murdered Uriah by the sword of the Ammonites. So informers against the Lord's people in time of persecution are murderers in God's sight, Ezek. xxii
. 9. Yea, the approving, or any way eonsenting to it, makes men guilty, Acts viii. 1.
Now, Sirs, examine yourselves in this matter ; and who will not be brought in blood-guilty, guilty of their own and their neighbour's blood, the blood of their souls and bodies! God's law is spiritual, and sees the guilt of blood where we plead Not guilty. Let us be humbled and convinced, and apply to the blood of Christ, that we may be washed from it.
OF THE SEVENTH COMMANDMENT.
Exod. xx. 14.-Thou shalt not commit adultery.
"HE scope of this command is the preservation of our
own and our neighbours chastity and purity. God is a holy God, and the devil is an unclean spirit: we must therefore study purity in all manner of conversation. Our Lord puts this command before the sixth, Mark x. 19. because our chastity should be as dear to us as our life, and we should be as much afraid of that which defiles the body as that which destroys it.
This command is a negative precept, and expressly forbids adultery: but under that is comprehended all manner of un, cléanness whatsoever, with all the causes and occasions leading thereunto. And the positive part of this command is, that we must preserve our own and our neighbour's chastity by all due means. In discoursing further, I shall consider,
I. The duties required in this command.
I. Our first business is to consider what is required in this command; and the Catechism, agreeably to holy scripture, tells us, that it requires the preservation of our own and our neighbour's chastity in heart, speech, and behaviour.'
The duties of this command may therefore be reduced to two general heads. 1. The preservation of our own chastity: 2. Tlie preservation of that of our neighbour,
FIRST, This command requires us to preserve our own chastity and purity. There is a twofold chastity. 1. In single life ; when it is led in purity, it is like the angelical ; when in impurity, it is devilish. 2. There is conjugal chastity, when married persons keep themselves within the bounds of the law of that state. This lies in two things. (1.) With respect to all others, keeping themselyes pure and uncorrupted.