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may Ever remain Here, as the Firm and Immoveable Foundation of the Profperity and Happiness of the Kingdom, God of his Infinite mercy grant, by the Influence of his Holy Spirit upon us, and our Posterity, through Jesus Christ, our Blessed Lord and Saviour. Amen.
To Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, three
Persons and One God, be all Ho nour and Glory, Power and Dominion benceforth and for evermore. Amen,
A Discourse of Murther.
EXOD. XX. 13.
T HOSE Natural Impressions and
Obligations of Moral Duty, which I immediately relate to the Prefervation of Humane Life, are, in fo Peculiar a manner, Strong guards upon it, that surely it must be a very powerful Temptation, which is able to break through Them. Other Sins do more easily Prevail over us, because they are Agreable and Pleasing to our Corrupt Inclinations and Dispositions; But, Corrupted as our Nature is, there is something still so shocking to us in the Sin of Murther, that a Man must undergo as much Struggle and A a 3
SelfSelf-Denial in Complying with This kind of Temptation, as he usually feels in Resisting Others. The Utmoft Violence must be offer'd to his own Difpofition, before he can prevail with himself to offer Violence to his own, or to his Neighbour's Life. The very Thoughts of this Ghaftly Sin do Startle, and Distract, and Distort the Soul; which Recoils and flies back from them with Confusion and Detestation. And, left any thing should be wanting, which could render these Strong Bonds of Duty still more Inviolable, God hath been pleased to Confirm and Inforce the Voice of Nature, by this Express Revealed Law,
Thou salt not kill; In discourfing of which it will be necessary,
I. First, To Adjuft the Latitude or Extent of the Commandment, and
II. Secondly, To represent the Guilt, and Danger, which Men incur by the Transgression of it.
I. It will be necessary to Adjust the Latitude or Extent of the Precept. For, as there are some Instances of Murther, which are not Universally Allowed to be
Such, and which are wont to be Palliated under various Pretences, and False Colours of Vindication; so, on the other Hand, there are some Cases, wherein one Man may Violently take away another Man's Life, without any Violation of the Commandment in the Text.
The Lawfulness of doing This, in the Case of Self-Preservation, is so Certain and Obvious, that it can scarce admit of any Mistake, so long as this Necessary Caution is observed, That a Man should not presently invade his Neighbour's Life, upon every Little Sufpicion or Appearance of Danger to himself, though he may Innocently do it, when the Danger is Manifest, and when he must, Unavoidably, either Give or Receive the Fatal Stroke.
The Lawfulness of War likewise, upon some Occasions, and under certain Restrictions and Regulations, is plainly Warranted by the Authority of Holy * Scripture, as well as by the Nature and Reasons of Things, and the Situation and Circumstances of Humane Affairs; wherein it frequently becomes Impossible for a State or Kingdom, to support and maintain its Just Rights, or even sometimes to Preserve it felf, or its Allies, from utter Ruin, by any other means than Hoftility.
* The Texts are numerous. See particularly Deut. xx. and compare i Sam. xv, 2, 3, 13, 18. And what is thus plainly Approv'd and Directed in the Old Testament, is perfect
. . and
And equally needless must it be to prove, that * Magistrates are invested with a Just Authority to inflict Capital Punishments upon Offenders, unless any Man could be supposed Ignorant enough to want a Proof, that Magistrates are the Representatives and Vicegerents of God, in the Societies of Men; or, that it is Just, to cut off the Corrupted Members of the Body Politick, as well as Natural for the Preservation and Benefit of the Whole.
Abundantly, clear is the Innocence of That Person also, who, through Pure
ly Agreable to the Gospel. Texts noted to this Purpose, by St. Auflin, and afterwards by Scholastic Writers, and fince, Them, by the Learned Bishop Andrews and other Judicious English Authors, are Matth. viii. 10. Luke iii. 14. Matth. xxii. 21.
* Exod. xxi. 23. xxii. 18. Deut, xix. 21, xxii, 24. Acts XXV. 10, 11. Rom. xiii. 4.