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the condemnation and prohibition implied in the general phrase, "Thou shalt not kill," do not apply; because so to kill is not to commit murder. The Commandment virtually enforces the duty of adopting and exercising all unexceptionable means of preserving and improving the divine gift of life, and of avoiding every thing which may diminish the benefit, or shorten the term, of human existence,-either to ourselves or our fellow creatures.

§ 2. The positive duties enjoined by this Commandment are, with regard to our neighbour,—in thought -to consider him with brotherly love and charity; to feel towards him compassion, patience, liberality of sentiment,-a peaceable and peacemaking, conciliating, meek, and humble disposition; cordial forgiveness of injuries, and a Christian love of enemies ; -in word-to address ourselves courteously and becomingly to all according to their stations; to afford such spiritual and worldly instruction, counsel, advice, or consolation, as any one may need; to speak of all men in terms of just respect and approbationexalting their good name if they deserve one, and passing over with tenderness and charitable construction their failings and imperfections-judging and exposing their sins no further than the cause of religion and virtue imperiously demands;-in deedto do good unto all men, even to our enemies, but especially unto them of the household of faith,-to those who are our brethren by redemption as well as by creation; to bestow on them whatever they may reasonably require, and we can prudently impart— thus to relieve the distressed, succour the weak, clothe the naked, feed the hungry, shelter the house

less, comfort the broken-hearted, defend the innocent, and those who have no protector; to return good for evil, and benefits for injuries,-to endeavour to promote the tempora!, but more particularly the spiritual improvement of those who speak of us despitefully, or act inimically towards us,-thus striving to disarm their malice, to prove their enmity unjust, or their ill opinion groundless,—and to shew, that we are true disciples of that blessed Lord, who died for sinners, and endured the extreme of hostility and persecution without uttering a murmur or a threat.


The duties connected with this precept, of which our own mind and person are the objects, are, chiefly to cherish in our hearts those sound principles of true religion, which will constitute an infallible rule of action, and a constant restraint on our evil propensities—which will infuse a Christian spirit into our conduct, and prevent us from falling into temptation, through the sudden impulses of temper, or the influence of ungovernable passions ;-thus, on Christian motives, and with uniform steadiness of purpose, to endeavour to subdue all perverse, peevish, sulky, capricious dispositions,-thus to strive, with the assistance of divine grace, and under a constant sense of our obligation to be conformed in all things to the image of the meek and gentle Jesus, to govern our temper, and to follow peace with all men ;—to take every proper precaution for the preservation of our health, by the wholesome use of diet, cloth. ing, medicine, exercise, and recreation, recollecting that health is a talent entrusted to our care, for which we shall have to render a serious account ;to defend ourselves against personal aggression, or

threatened danger, and to take all prudent precautions for security and peace ;-to submit with entire resiguation to the will of God in adversity, affliction, or disease, and with full reliance on his wisdom and mercy in the appointment of the time and circumstances of our dissolution.

§3. The sins against which the force of the precept is directly or indirectly levelled, are-Murder-the wilful and unlawful taking away of human life, whether it be perpetrated with malicious intent, excited by blood-thirsty passions, or arising out of robbery and violence; whether it be effected by instantane ous means, or produced by a slow and lingering process;-treason and conspiracy against the lives of governors, or other members of the state;-active rebellion against constituted authority;-duelling, and all provocation to it,-the sending or receiving of challenges, and the acting as second, or the being in any manner accessary to the deed ;-private vengeance, inflicted by blows, destructive weapons, or any description of personal violence ;-prize-fighting, and the abetting and countenancing of it;-all cruel and dangerous diversions ;-inhuman treatment of animals ;-neglect of the duties of humanity and charity-all propensities and passions which lead to murder or endanger life, anger, revenge, hatred, malice, jealousy, spite, envy, pride, cruelty, contention, censoriousness, scorn, false honour,-and these not only in their excess, or in a degree which may instigate to murder or personal injury, but in every, the most minute, beginning which is to be detected in the heart;-licentiousness of speech ;-verbal abuse, imprecation, and reviling, obloquy, sarcasm, ridicule

of personal or inevitable defects,-angry, threatening, and provoking words ;-all actions of the body, which indicate the above-mentioned evil tendencies of the heart.

The sins relating to ourselves are, suicide, or selfdestruction ;-the commission of crimes which forfeit life, or which incur personal confinement, or corporal punishment;-rejection or neglect of the means of subsistence ;-impatience, discontent, self-conceit, -worldly, immoderate, or groundless sorrow ;—indulgence in luxury, drunkenness, gluttony, sloth, and any sensual excess or vice ;-the use of any hurtful food or medicine ;-the gratification of vanity by any modes of dress prejudicial to health, and of the love of pleasure by dangerous and immoderate amusements, which may injure the constitution, enervate the frame, and lay the seeds of premature debility and mortal disease;-neglect of the avocations attached to our station ;-and an inclination to follow bad example rather than refer to the revealed Will of God in our self-guidance amidst the daily occurrences of life.

§ 4. The punishment pronounced against the flagrant transgressor of this command, "Thou shalt not kill," is in the Mosaic Law singularly severe and precise, demanding, in all cases, blood for blood. Now, though that part of the Law which may be esteemed ritual be not binding upon Christians, we find that the divine abhorrence of the murderer is strongly confirmed, and the wrath of God especially denounced against all who offend even in a lower degree, by our blessed Lord himself when instructing his disciples in his perfect code of Moral Law.

We are not, however, to suppose, that the Commandment prohibits the taking away of life by the civil magistrate, who is a minister ordained of God to execute sentence on the transgressor, and particularly on the murderer: but human laws can only take cognizance of, and capitally avenge, the overt act,the murder of the hand: to the judgment of God must be consigned the cruel or malicious heart, and the pestilent or vindictive tongue. The Law regards private actions, and not the acts of those to whom power is delegated for the benefit of society; or of such as carry into execution the authorized and lawful commands of those who are set over them,-as soldiers in the performance of their duty, and civil officers in the execution of malefactors.

Neither are all the affections of the mind, which, in many cases, lead to violence and murder, forbidden in every case. Anger is not sinful if it arise from good motives, be directed against vicious objects, be not protracted so as to wear the character of malignity, and be excited only in the maintenance of virtue: so a godly jealousy and zeal in the cause of religion, if tempered by charity and prudence, are laudable; but if exercised with intolerance and indiscretion, are among the most prolific causes of violence and murder, and consequently fall under the penalties of the Sixth Commandment.

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