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when it is neceffary, no greater violence may be offered than what is neceffary to repel the attack, Exod. ii. 2. 31.
2. Furnishing our bodies whatever is necessary for their health and welfare, according to our abili ty; taking the moderate ufe of the means of health and life unto ourselves, Eph. v. 29.; for in so far as we ufe not the means of preferving them, we are guilty of deftroying them. Therefore it is our duty to allow ourfelves a competent portion of meat and drink, wholefome food, as the Lord lays to our hands; to provide competent housing and cloathing; to refresh our bodies with a competent measure of rest and fleep; to ufe moderate labour, exercife, and recreations, and medicine for the removal of diftempers. The ufe of thefe is neceffary, and the immoderate ufe of them hurtful; therefore the moderate temperate ufe of them is our duty.
3 Keeping our affections. regular, fubduing all inordinate and evil affections; for thefe are deftructive to the body as well as to the foul. So that a patient difpofition, a quiet mind, and a contented and chearful spirit are duties of this command, as neceffary for the welfare of our bodies; whereas inordinate paffions are the ruin of them, Prov, xvij. 22. A merry heart doth good like a medicine: but a brcken fpirit drieth the bones.
SECONDLY, This command requires, that by all lawful endeavours we preferve the life of our neighbours. We may alfo take up this in two things. FIRST, We must endeavour to preferve 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 scandalous walk is a foul-murdering practice.
2. By inftructing, warning, reproving, and admonishing them as we have opportunity, where the cafe of their fin requires it, Jude 23. and comforting them in diftrefs, 1 Theff. v. 16. and praying fox
them, Gen. xliii. 29. No man muft fay 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 foul is in hazard of falling into hell?
SECONDLY, We muft by all lawful endeavours preferve 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 exercife the fame, whether it be in refpect of their name, goods, or life, Pfal. lxxxii. 3.4. Prov. xxiv. 11. 12. And fo it is a duty of this command to reprefs tyranny, whereof we have a commended example in the interpofition of the people to fave the life of Jonathan, 1 Sam. xiv. 45. And the people faid unto Saul, Shall Jonathan die, who bath wrought this great falvation in Ifrael? 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
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, fo unmerciful people that fhut up their bowels from the needy, are guilty of their blood before the Lord, Jam. ii, 15. 16.
3. To entertain fuch affections towards our neigh bour, as may keep us back from injuring of him, and him from doing harm to himself; fuch as charitable thoughts, love, compaffion, meeknefs, gentlenefs, kindnefs. 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 converfation, Prov. xv. 1. in looks, fpeech, and behaviour.
5. Laftly, With refpect to injuries, we ought
to take all things in the beft fenfe, 1 Cor. xiii. 5. 7. to avoid all occafions of ftrife, yea even to part fometimes 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 refpect to both our own life and the life of others, we are called to refift all thoughts, fubdue all paffions, avoid all occafions, temptations, and practices tending to the deftruction of our own life, or that of others, of foul or body.
Who can understand his errors? What fhall come of us, if God enter into judgement with us? Our omiffions would ruin us, even in thofe things where we judge ourselves to be in the least hazard.
II. I come now to fhew what is forbidden in the fixth commandment. It "forbids the taking a66 way of our own life, or the life of our neighbour, "unjustly, and whatfoever tendeth thereunto." Here I fhall confider this command as relating to our own life, and the life of our neighbour.
FIRST, I fhall confider this command as relating to our own life; and that, firft, 1. With refpect to our fouls; and, 2. With refpect to our bodies.
FIRST, Thou shalt not kill thine own foul. Our kind God forbids us to be felf-murderers and foulmurderers. We 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. Whofo then neglect them, are guilty of their own blood. Confider this, ye prayerlefs perfons, ye that are at no pains to get knowledge, flighters of public ordinances, private duties, reading, meditation, &c.
2. By oppofing and fighting against the Lord's quickening work in the foul. They that murder
convictions, murder their own fouls, as if they were refolved that they fhould never ftir in them, Prov. xxix. 1. Some with Felix put them off with fair promises, fome with Cain with the noife 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 courfes. Wilful impenitency is the groffeft felfmurder, becaufe foul-murder, Exek. xviii. 30. 31. His foul is ftanding under a decayed roof, tell him that it will fall on him; but he will not ftir a foot, is not his blood then on his own head?
4. By unbelief, and not coming to Chrift by faith, John v. 40. Many means are effayed to preferve the foul; but fill it is ruined, because the main cure is neglected. Let a man ufe never fo many remedies for his health, if he will not use the main cure neceffary, he is his own murderer. So refo lutions, watchings, engagements, are tried; but if faith, and employing of Chrift for fanctification, is not tried, he is, ftill a murderer.
O Sirs, confider this. Murder, felf-murder, foulmurder, is a crying fin. What wonder the man perifh who will perifh? Will God fpare the fhedding of the blood of that foul, which the man himself is fo liberal of?
And hence fee that people not only may, but this command of God obliges them to feek the welfare and good of their fouls. Fear hell, hope for heaven: and let this ftir you up to duty but do not reft there, go forward, and make the love of God "your main motive, and that of itself would be fufficient to ftir you up to all the duties of a holy life, SECONDLY, Thou shalt not kill thine own body, This is fimply and abfolutely forbidden. take away the life of others in fome cafes juftly, but
in no cafe our own, unless there be a particular divine warrant, which I fuppofe in Samfon's cafe, which is not to be expected by us; for therein he was a type of Chrift. There are two things forbidden here.
1. The taking away of our own life, by laying violent hands on ourfelves. This is the horrid fin of direct felf-murder; of which Saul, Ahithophel, and Judas were guilty; and many fad inftances have been of it of late. The law of God utterly condemns it, and nature itself abhors it. It is the effect of a defperate envenomed fpirit, rifing 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 refufing to wait his leifure. It is the thing the grand murderer is feeking. Civil laws ftrike against it; with us felf-murderers are denied Chriftian burial, their goods are escheated, that refpect 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 cafe of all fuch to be hopelefs for eternity, that is fufficient to fcare us, 1 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,
ift, All entertaining of any thoughts againft our own life, that is heart-killing; wearying of our own life, and fretful wifhing to be gone, as was Jonah's cafe, 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, Difcontent, fretfulnefs, and impatience. It