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they may lawfully serve in wars which their superiors have unlawfully undertaken, excepting perhaps such offensive wars as are notoriously unjust. In others, it is no more the business of the soldiery to consider the grounds of their sovereign's taking up arms, than it is the business of the executioner to examine whether the magistrate hath passed a right sentence.
You see, then, in what cases killing is not murder: in all, but these, it is. And you cannot fail of seeing the guilt of this crime to be singularly great and heinous. It brings designedly upon
one of our brethren, without cause, what human nature abhors and dreads most. It cuts him off from all the enjoyments of this life at once, and sends him into another, for which possibly he was not yet prepared. It defaces the image, and defeats the design of God. It overturns the great purpose of government and laws, mutual safety. It robs society of a member, and consequently of part of its strength. It robs the relations, friends, and dependants, of the person destroyed, of every benefit and pleasure, which else they might have had from him. And the injury done, in all these respects, hath the terrible aggravation, that it cannot be recalled. Most wisely therefore hath our Creator surrounded murder with a peculiar horror; that nature, as well as reason, may deter it from every one, who is not utterly abandoned to the worst of wickedness; and most justly hath he appointed the sons of Noah, that is, all mankind, to punish death with death. "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his "blood be shed; for in the image of God made "he man."3 And that nothing might protect so daring an offender, he enjoined the Jews, in the chapter which follows the Ten Commandmenst;
..(3) Gen. ix. 6.
"If a man come presumptuously upon his neigh"bour to slay him with guile, thou shalt take him "from mine altar, that he may die." But supposing, what seldom happens, that the murderer may escape judicial vengeance; yet what piercing reflections, what continued terrors and alarms must he carry about with him! And could he be hardened against these, it would only subject him the more inevitably to that future condemnation, from which nothing but the deepest repentance can possibly exempt him. For " no murderer "hath eternal life;"5 but they "shall have their part in the lake that burneth with fire and "brimstone, which is the second death."6
But shocking, and deserving of punishment here and hereafter, as this crime always is; yet there are circumstances which may augment it greatly. If the persons, whom any one deprives of life, be placed in lawful authority over him; or united in relationship or friendship to him; or have done him kindnesses; or only never have done him harm; or be, in a peculiar degree, good, useful, or pitiable; each of these things considerably increases the sin, though some indeed more than others. Again, if the horrid fact is formally contrived, and perhaps the design carried on through a length of time; this argues a much more steady and inflexible depravity of heart, than the commission of it in a sudden rage. But still, even the last, though it hath, in the law of this country, a different name, of man-slaughter, given it, and a different punishment prescribed for the first offence; yet in the sight of God is as truly murder as the former, though free from aggravation. The mischief done is done purposely; and neither passion, nor provocation, gives authority for doing it, or even
(4) Exod. xxi. 14. (5) 1 John iii. 15. (6) Rev. xxi. 8.
any great excuse. For as God hath required us, he hath certainly enabled us to restrain the hastiest sallies of our anger, especially from such enormities as this.
Nor doth it materially alter the nature, or lessen at all the degree, of the sin, if, whilst we attack another, we give him an opportunity to defend himself, and attack us; as in duelling. Still taking away his life is murder; exposing our own is so likewise; as I shall quickly show you. And an appointment of two persons to meet for this purpose, under pretence of being bound to it by their honour, is an agreement in form to commit, for the sake of an absurd notion, or rather an unmeaning word, the most capital offence against each other, and their Maker; of which, if their intention succeed, they cannot have time to repent.
As to the manner in which murder is committed; whether a person do it directly himself, or employ another; whether he do it by force, or fraud, or colour of justice; accusing falsely, or taking any unfair advantage; these things make little further difference. in the guilt, than that the most artful and studied way is generally
And though a design of murder should not take effect; yet whoever hath done all that he could. towards it, is plainly as much a sinner, as if it had. Nay, doing any thing towards it, or so much as once intending it, or assisting or encouraging any other who intends it, is the same sort of wickedness. And if a person doth not directly design the death of another; yet if he designedly doeth what he knows or suspects may probably occasion it; he is, in proportion to his knowledge, or suspicion, guilty. Nay, if he is only negligent in matters which may affect human life; or meddles with them, when he hath cause to think he
understands them not; he is far from innocent. And there are several professions and employments, in which these truths ought to be consi dered with a peculiar degree of seriousness.
Further yet: If it be criminal to contribute in any manner towards taking away a person's life immediately, it must be criminal also to contribute any thing towards shortening it, which is taking it away after a time: whether by bringing any bodily disease upon him, or causing him any grief or anxiety of mind, or by, what indeed will produce both, distressing him in his circumstances: concerning which the son of Sirach saith: "He "that taketh away his neighbour's living, slayeth "him; and he that defraudeth the labourer of his "hire, is a blood-shedder."7
Indeed, if we cause or procure any sort of hurt to another, though it hath no tendency to deprive him of life, yet if it makes any part of his life, more or less, uneasy or uncomfortable, we deprive him so far of what makes it valuable to him: which is equivalent to taking so much of it away from him, or possibly worse.
Nay, if we do a person no harm; yet if we wish him harm, St. John hath determined the case; "Whosoever hateth his brother, is a murderer."8 For indeed, hatred not only leads to murder; and too often, when indulged, produces it unexpectedly; but it is always, though perhaps for the most part in a lower degree, the very spirit of murder in the heart; and it is by our hearts that God will judge us. Nay, should our dislike of another not rise to fixed hatred and malice; yet if it rise to unjust anger, we know our Saviour's declaration." It was said by them of old time, "Thou shalt not kill: and whosoever shall kill, "shall be in danger of the judgment. But I say
(8) 1 John iii. 15.
(7) Ecclus. xxxiv. 22.
"unto you, whosoever is angry with his brother, "without a cause, shall be in danger of the judg "ment."9 That is, whosoever is angry, either with persons that he ought not, or on occasions that he ought not, or more vehemently, or sooner, or longer than he ought, is guilty, in some measure, of that uncharitableness, of which murder is the highest act; and liable to the punishment of it in the same proportion.
Nor even yet have I carried the explanation of this Commandment to the extent of our duty. Whoever doth not, as far as can be reasonably expected from him, endeavour to guard his neighbour from harm, to make peace, or relieve distress and want, fails of what love to human kind certainly requires. Now, "Love is the fulfilling of "the law" and "he that loveth not his brother, "abideth in death.”2
We are also carefully to observe, that however heinous it is to sin against the temporal life of any one, injuring him in respect of his eternal interests is yet unspeakably worse. If it be unlawful to kill or hurt the body, or overlook men's worldly necessities, much more is it to "destroy "(the soul of) our brother, for whom Christ "died;"3 or any way endanger it; or even suffer it to continue in danger, if we have in our power the proper and likely means of delivering it. And on the other hand, all that mercy and humanity, which, in the civil concerns of our neighbours, is so excellent a duty, must proportionably be still more excellent in their religious ones, and of higher value in the sight of God.
Hitherto I have considered the prohibition, "Thou shalt do no murder," as respecting others; but it forbids also self-murder. As we are not to
(9) Matt. v. 21, 22.
(2) 1 John iii. 14.
(1) Rom. xiii. 10.