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nishment of the Sin of Murder, or some other notorious Crime. This Office of Punishment, or Vengeance, God has very justly taken out of all private Hands, and lodged it in the Publick Magistrate, who is God's Revenger, to execute his Wrath upon Evil-doers. And I know but one Cafe wherein, without the formal Sentence of this Magistrate or Judge, it is lawful to take away our Neighbour's Life, and that is a Cafe allowed by this Judge himself; namely, whenever we, or our Neighbour, are 'unjustly and suddenly Affaulted, that there is no Time for the Magistrate's Rescue and Assistance; if in that just Defence of our Selves or Neighbours, we should happen to kill the Aggreffor, whether that Aggreffor be Robber or Murderer, or publick or private Enemy, in this case, the Laws of God and Man give every Man a Power thus far to use the Sword, to defend his own Life, Goods and Liberty, and those of his Neighbours, against the unjuft Invader. Now the chief Instances of the Transgression of this Law, Thou shalt not kill, are these following:
1. The worst of all is deliberate Murder, when either by Force or Fraud we deliberately set upon our Neighbour and kill him. Nothing can justify such an Action as this is ; for supposing this Neighbour had given us ever so great Provocation ; suppose we judged our felves to be ever so much endangered by him; there are Laws and Judges to right us; and if there were none, we should choose rather to withdraw our felves from that Neighbourhood or Country, than flee to such a desperate, unlawful Remedy. For if this Gap were once opened, that private Revenge
were allowed instead of publick Justice, this would run the World into so great Confusion, that there would be no living in it, Mankind .would be all Bears, and Tygers to one another, and we should be like the Fishes of the Sea, the greater devouring the lesser. It is absolutely necessary then, for the good of Mankind, that the Lives of Men be left in God's Hands; and for private Men to offer to take them away, invading of his Prerogative.
2. Next to Deliberate Murder, another great Breach of this Commandment is, the being fo far transported with sudden Anger upon any Provocation, as to kill our Neighbour, though we did not beforehand design it. But still, this being a Perverting of God's Design in this Law, and the Exposing the Lives of Men to all sudden Freaks and Passions, which God would have kept sacred in his own Hands; it is no doubt a very great Sin against this Commandment.
3. All Insurrections and Rebellions of Subjects against their lawful Magistrates, are Transgrefsions of this Commandment; and I do not see the Difference between the Murders committed in such an Insurrection, and private Murders, as to the Sin of them; but that in the private Murders there is perhaps but one Person, or a very few concerned; whereas in Insurrections and Rebellions great Numbers combine; which is so far from extenuating the Crime, that in this respect it aggravates it, by so many more as it involves in it.
4. All Unjust Use of the Sword in the Publick Magistrate, or Injustice in Jurors, or Witnesses, which Occasions the Loss of Life, falls under the
Breach of this Law. If an innocent Person is sworn out of his Life by the Calumnies of false Witnesses; if a corrupt Jury finds an innocent Person guilty; if an unjust Judge makes use of his publick Capacity to execute his private Revenge ;
if a lawful Prince turns Tyrant, and makes War upon an innocent People, to deprive them of their Lives, Liberties, or Fortunes; or if an Ambitious Prince invades a peaceable Country, in order to make a Conquest of it; in all these Cases, the innocent Lives that are lost, will be charged by God Almighty to those false Witnesses, those corrupt Juries, those unjust Judges, those encroaching Tyrants, and those invading Conquerors: For they are all Breaches of this Sixth Commandment.
5. Though erroneous Judgments, which occasion the Loss of Mens Lives, are not near fo Criminal, as those which are wilfully unjust; yet they cannot be exempted from being Breaches of this Commandment. Particularly, the many Persecutions which have been raised in the World upon Account of Religion, though they who raised them, might perhaps think that they did God good Service; yet certainly are so many Murders in the Sight of God, who never commanded or allowed Men to be killed for the Errors of their Understanding, if those Errors do not lead them into wicked Actions worthy of Death, as they sometimes do.
6. All high Acts of Oppression, which have a Tendency to impoverish and starve poor People, to that Degree, that they are not able to subsist or live, are Breaches of this Commandment. They who are so sordid and niggardly,
that they with-hold from Servants necessary Food and Raiment; they who by ill-usage, 0ver-working, or over-correcting, or be-grudging the Cost, neglect to provide Help in time for the Sick under their Charge, prove accessary to the Death of others; I see not how they can excuse themselves from an Hand in this Sin. Efpecially this should be considered by some habitually cruel Masters and Mistresses, who, by ill-usage, break their Servants Hearts, and sometimes, by their cruel Correction, prove their actual Murderers. 7:
All private Fighting, Striking, Maiming, and Wounding; in Thort, all Violence to our Neighbour, except what is inflicted by those who have Authority, and is designed by them either for the Amendment of the Delinquent, or as a Punishment for the Example of others; and all drunken Quarrels, and deliberate Duels, are deep in the Transgression of this Commandment.
8. Lastly, All unlawful Actions which occafion the shortening of our Neighbour's Life, are reducible to the Breach of this Commandment. And therefore they who by their Talebearing, and other Aggravations of their Neighbours Faults, do fo exasperate Mens Minds one against another, that Quarrels and Murders ensue ; and even they who industriously promote the Practice of high Drinking, and other Irregularities and Excesses, which commonly ruin Mens Health, and hasten their Death, what they call Living Fast; had best in time consider, and amend, left they be found guilty of what it is like they might not design, the Death of their Neighbour ; for whom they pretend often the highest Friends ship
There is one Species of Murder I have not yet spoken of, namely, Self-Murder. The unhappy. Persons who are inclinable to this Sin, flatter themselves, as if they had injured none but Themselves; and if it were so, such an irreparable Injury to Themselves, which cuts off all Opportunity of Repentance, were enough to deter all Considerate People from it. But besides all this, the Injury reaches to a great Many others; the State lofes a Subject; an Husband loses a Wife, or a Wife an Husband; a Parent loses a Child, or a-Child: a Parent; and the Scandal of the bad Example reaches as far as the thing is known, and leaves a dreadful Stain on the Family, Society, and even Religion to which they belonged. And besides, if it. injured: no others, do they make nothing of the Sin against Almighty God, who hath allotted.. us our Stations and Business in this World, which we are not to relinquish without his leave? Shall. a poor Soldier be condemned to Death for deserting the Service in which he is engaged; and shall we think to escape unpunished, when we take upon us to make an escape from all Duty; and to cut-off that Life, of which God alone is the right. Owner;
So much for the first Thing, of which I proposed the Explication, what Sins are prohibited by these Words, Thou phalt not kill.
I proceed in the next Place, as I likewise proposed, to offer fome Considerations to deter you from them.
1. First then, It is considerable, that this Practice of making away with our Neighbour out of private Revenge, is utterly inconsistent with allSociety and Government; for if this were per