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is chargeable with the Guilt of the Sin forbidden in the Text. And this Imputation of Murther- falls properly upon Them who so deprive their Neighbour of his Life either by Open Assault and Violence, or by Stratagem and Secret Contrivance; either by shedding his Blood Themselves, or by Engaging other Hands to be Imbrued in it; either by Acting as Principals or Accessaries; either by Command or by Persuasion; either by Threatning or Encouragement; either by Direct Concert and Consultation, or by Suggestions and Insinuations; either by bearing False Witness against him, in their own Persons, or by their Subordination of Others; or, Finally, by any Instruments, or Means, or Methods whatsoever, which are not allowed by Divine Authority, For All Such do evidently fall under the Prohibition now before us, And hence it will follow in the
Second Place, that every Person, who knowingly and wilfully destroys his own Life, is guilty of Murther. For he hath no Colour of Allowance from Divine Authority, to become the Author or
Cause Cause of his own Death. We are not, strictly speaking, the Proprietors of. (mt own Lives, and Therefore may not Dispose of them, ourselves, at Pleasure. God only, who Gave them, hath a Right to take them away again j and by Consequence, every Man, who offers Violence to his own Life, does manifestly Invade the Prerogative, and Usurp the Right and Authority of God.
Thirdly, Duels axe Direct Violations of the Commandment. And the Truth of this Proposition is grounded upon the Principle already laid down. For Duels are undoubtedly to be rank'd iri the Number of those Violent Attempts upon Humane Life, which we not Allowed by Divine Authority; And, Therefore, the Guilts Murther is Chargeable upon the Persons engaging in them. The Liberty allowed to a Private Man of destroying his Neighbour's Life, without the Sanction of Fublick Authority, is confined, both by the Natural and Revealed Law, purely and solely, to the Case of Self-Preservafhn. But the Plea of Self-Preservation is utterly Foreign to the Condition and Circum
stances of Him, who Formally Gives or Accepts a Challenge. And he adds to the Sin of making an Unnecessary Attempt upon his Neighbours Life, by throwing himself unnecessarily into the utmost Danger of losing his own. Nor is it any Just Plea or Vindication of Men who thus Expose their Lives, That their Attempt upon each other is founded upon their Mutual Consent and Permission, and that neither of them takes any other Liberty with his Adversary, than what his Adversary freely gives; And the Reason, why no Just Vindication of them can be drawn from such Notions as these, how plausible soever they may seem, is This, That since God is the Sole Proprietor of every Man's Life, and no Man is the Absolute Lord of himself, or, has any Right to dispose of his own Life, and to determine the Duration of it Himself; Therefore no Man can Lawfully Transfer the Disposal of it t© Another.
Fourthly, The Commandment extends it self in the True Spiritual Purpose of it, and according to the Application and
• InterpreInterpretation given of it by our Saviour and his Apostles, not only to our /43'tons, but to our Words, and to the Secret Intentions and Affections of our Hearts. For our Blessed Lord expressly applies it to the Several Degrees, and Various Effects of Causeless Anger, breaking forth in Contumelious and Reproachful Language; and in St. Johns Account, Hatred is Murther, and inconsistent with the Hopes of Heaven. * Whosoever hateth his Brother is a Murther er; and ye know, that no Murther er hath Eternal Life abiding in him.
From this View of the Latitude or Extent of the Commandment, I proceed
II. To represent the Guilt and Danger which Men incur by the Transgression of it.
And if the Measure of this Transgression should be taken either from the Indignity, thereby offer'd unto God, or, from the Injury done to Man, or, from the Punishments expressly Denounced against it, or, from the Anguish and Horror of
* i John iii. 15.
the Bodeings which 'tis apt to leave upon the Mind, we should find Abundant Reason to assign it a Place amongst the Loudest of Crying Sins. The First Instance of Murther in the World was followed clofe by Perplexity, Oppression of Spirit, and the intolerable Gnawings of Despair it self. My Punifloment (said the Abandon'd Fugitive) is greater than I can bear; or rather, Mine Iniquity is greater than that it can be forgiven. And it follows, every one that findeth me shall flay me: 'Twas a Dismal, but natural Apprehension, which his Guilt suggested to his Thoughts, That the whole Creation must surely be alarm'd upon such an Occasion, and stand Ready to Execute Vengeance on him. And that Weight of Confusion, which Natural Conscience scarce ever sails of laying upon such Sinners, must needs be vastly increased by the Severe Expressions of God's Indignation against them. The Lord Abhors the Blood-thirfiy. Atonements and Means of Satisfaction, were in several Other Instances, provided by Divine Institution for the Sins of the People, and that sometimes when they were