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Self-Denial in Complying with This kind of Temptation, as' he usually seels in Resisting Others. The Utmost Violence must be offer'd to his own Disposition, before he can prevail with himself to offer Violence to his Own, or to his Neighbour's Life. The very Thoughts of this Ghastly Sin do Startle, and Distract, and Distort the Soul; which Recoils and flies back from them with Confusion and Detestation. And, lest any thing should be wanting, which could render these Strong Bonds of Duty still more Inviolable, God hath been pleased to Confirm and Insorce the Voice of Nature', by this Express Revealed Law,
Thou shalt not kill; In discoursing of which it will be necessary,
I. First, To Adjust 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 Casse 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 Suspicion or Appearance of Danger to himself, though he may Innocently do it, when the Danger is Manifesto 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 plain-: ly Warranted by the Authority of Holy * Scripture, as well as by the Nature
* The Texts are numerous. See particularly Deut. xx. and compare i Sam. xv. 2, 3,13,18. And what is thus plainly Appfov'd and Directed in the Old Testament, is perfect
A a 4 and and Reasons of Things, and the Situation and Circumstances of Humane Affairs; wherein it frequently becomes Impoflible for a State or Kingdom, to support and maintain its Just Rights, or even sometimes to Preserve it self, or its Allies, from utter Rum, by any other means than Hostility.
And equally needless must it be to prove, that * Magistrates are invested with a Just Authority to inflict Capital Puniijnments upon Offenders, unless any Man could be supposed Ignorant enough to want a Proof, that Magistrates are the Representatives and Vicegerents of Goa% in the Societies of Men; or, that it is Just, to cut off the Corrupted Members of the Body Bolitick7 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. Austin, and afterwards by Scholastic Writers, and since Them, 'by the Learned Bishop Andrews and other Judicious English Authors, are Match. viii. 10. Luke iii. 14. Matt h. xxii. it.
* Exod. xxi. 23. xxii. 18. Deut. xix. 21. xxii. 24. Acts xxv. 10, 11. Rom. xiii. 4.
. . Ignorance, Ignorance, or tjnsoreseen and Unavoidarhie Accident , deprives another of his Life. For an Action which has no Foundation in the Will and Intention of the Agent, is not properly a Moral, Action* and cannot consequently be Criminal., And therefore under the Moiaieal Dik pensation, a Sanctuary was, by DivineAppointment *, provided for every one who was so Innocently Unfortunate, asj to kill his Neighbour Ignoratttly and ap unawares, lest the Avenger of 'BloodfWuld pursue and slay him, before his Innocence: could be sufficiently clear'd up.
Indeed the Justification: of Abraham,. in Designing and Attempting to Sacrifice his Son, does not fall Directly under any of these Reasons or Observations,, but: Depends upon Circumstances which were: Peculiar to his own Person; and such; as, never were, nor ever can be drawn out into a Precedent, or with any Colour o£ Reason* be assigned as a Vindication o£ any Private Person, who should make an. Attempt upon his.Neighbour's Life-'.. Xhi& Friend and Favourite of God, who had so frequent and familiar Communications with Him, could not Possibly be Mistaken in his Call to This Extraordinary Enterprise; but was Undoubtedly and Infallibly Convinced, by Clear Revelation made to him, that God did Directly and Immediately Require him to * Offer Isaac for a Burnt-Offering: Otherwise, the Holy f Scriptures would never have been so Full and Remarkable as they are in Testifying, that his Readiness to perform this Sacrifice was a most Excellent and Acceptable Instance of his Faith, and Obedience to God.
* Exod. xxi. 13. Deut. xix. 2—1.0. Numb. xxxv. ior
But whatsoever Private Person, without Supernatural Manifest Revelation, (and such Extraordinary Revelations, 'tis universally agreed, are now long since ceased) and not Ignorantly or Accidentally, but Knowingly and Designedly, and that without any Necessity arising from the Imminent, and, otherwise, Unavoidable Danger of his own Destruction, does takeaway or invade his Neighbour's Life,
* Gen. xxii. 2. j Gen. xxii. 12, 16, 17, 18. Heb. xi. 17, 18, 19. Jam. ii. si, 22, 23.