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blasphemers, to whom religion is as hateful, as are just laws and good government.
But you should not only abstain from all acts of sedition and rebellion, or from associating with seditious and rebellious people, but should observe the utmost respect in your deportment towards all your superiors.
You should especially love and respect your spiritual pastors and teachers, who watch over your souls, as those that must give an account, and not grieve them by negli gence or contempt of their instructions. You should also serve your masters and employers faithfully, not with eyeservice only, but from the heart; obeying their orders diligently and cheerfully, not purloining, nor loitering away your time, but showing all good fidelity. Above all, you should love, honour, and succour your parents, and not give them the slightest reason to complain of your conduct towards them. It has frequently been remarked, that undutiful children seldom prosper in this world, and their punishment will be among the severest that can be inflicted in the next. See then, that you do not incur the curse denounced against such unnatural conduct. Misconduct on the part of your parents will be no excuse for your unkind treatment of them. You are to bear with their infirmities, and to pray for, and endeavour to reclaim them from their sins: not to quarrel with them, neglect them, or forsake them. Show by your observance of this commandment, that you love God with all your heart, and mind, and soul, and strength, and your neighbour as yourself. So shall you be adopted as a child of God, and become an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven.
ON THE COMMANDMENTS.
WHAT is the sixth Commandment?
What is murder?
Taking away the life of another wILFULLY and UNLAW
It was an affront to God, being an attack on man, who was made in the image of God. Gen. ix. 6.
Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him: and God said, The voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground; and now art thou cursed from the earth, &c. Gen. iv. 8-11. Jacob was directed to pronounce his sons, Simeon and Levi, cursed, because they slew the men of Shechem. Gen. xlix. 5.7.
What is killing a person wilfully in sudden anger, but not with premeditation, called?
It is called manslaughter, which is a very great crime, but not equal to murder.
If he thrust him suddenly without enmity, without laying of wait that he die, and was not his enemy, neither sought his harm-the congregation shall deliver the slayer out of the hand of the revenger of blood, and restore him to the city of his refuge, whither he was fled. Num. xxxv. 22-28. Why do you say wilfully?
Because to kill another by accident, and without design, is not murder.
When a man goeth to hew wood, and his hand fetcheth a stroke with the axe to cut down the tree, and the head slippeth from the helve, and lighteth upon his neighbour that he die, he shall flee unto one of those cities and live ;-inasmuch as he hated him not in time past. Deut. xix. 4-6.
Why do you say unlawfully?
1. Because if a man slay another in his own defence, or in that of another person, or in protection of his own, or another person's property, he is not therefore a murderer. But it must be observed, that we ought to be very cautious how we deprive a fellow creature of life, when our own, or that of others, is not absolutely in danger.
If a thief be found breaking up, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him. Exod. xxii. 2.
2. If a soldier kill a man while fighting the battles of his country, he is not therefore a murderer; as we do not find the profession of a soldier considered unlawful in scripture.
And he said unto content with your
The soldiers said, And what shall we do? them, Do violence to no man; and be wages. Luke iii. 14. Jesus said of the centurion, I have not found so great faith, no not in Israel. Luke vii. 8, 9.
Cornelius, a centurion of the Italian band, was a devout man, and one that feared God, with all his house, and prayed to God alway. Acts x. 1, 2.
3. If a judge, in the discharge of his office, passes sentence of death upon a man, he is not therefore a murderer.
Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed. Gen. ix. 6.
If a man come presumptuously upon his neighbour, to slay him with guile; thou shalt take him from mine altar that he may die. Exod. xxi. 14.
He that killeth a man shall surely be put to death. Lev. xxiv. 17.21.
Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death; ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death: and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it. Num. xxxv. 30-33.
If a man smite his brother that he die, the ders of the city shall deliver him to the avenger of blood that he may die. Thine eye shall not pity, but life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, &c. Deut. xix. 11. 13. 21.
Are there any other methods of breaking this commandment, besides the act of taking away a man's life in the ways above mentioned?
Yes, by suicide, or killing one's self, as did Saul and his armour-bearer, 1 Sam. xxxi. 4; Ahithophel, 2 Sam. xvii. 23; and Judas, Matt. xxvii. 5. We have no right to destroy that life which God has given us for his glory.
By duelling, i. e. two persons fighting with such weapons as may cause death to either of them.
By the very common but dangerous practice of boxing, which sometimes results in the death of one of the parties.
By assisting others to take away a man's life; or by allowing or advising them to do it.
David slew Uriah with the sword of the children of Ammon. 2 Sam. xii. 9.
Ahab was charged with killing Naboth, because he permitted Jezebel to do it. 1 Kings xxi. 8. 19.
Nebuchadnezzar was guilty of murder, although God saved Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, from the burning fiery furnace. Dan. iii.
The chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill Jesus.
And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required.
An attempt to murder, though the deed be not accomplished, is a breach of this commandment, and is punishable by the laws. Nay, the very intent to commit this dreadful crime, though no steps be taken in furtherance of it, makes us guilty in the sight of God, and if unrepented of, will expose us to the vengeance with which he threatens all murderers.
How does our Lord show us that this commandment may be
broken in our hearts?
He teaches us, in his sermon on the mount, that he who is angry with his brother without a cause, is guilty of this sin.
Whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause, shall be in danger of the judgment. Matt. v. 21, 22. Whosoever hateth his brother, is a murderer. 1 John iii. 15. We see that God's commandment is exceeding broad. Ps. cxix. 96.
Are not those persons guilty of murder, who destroy the souls of others, by setting them evil examples, or by tempting them to sin?
If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain, &c. Prov. xxiv. 11, 12. When I say to the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou giv
est him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life: the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Ezek. iii. 18.
Wo unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness. Hab. ii. 15.
The soul is of infinitely greater consequence than the body, and its destruction is therefore an infinitely greater injury.
Many souls, it is to be feared, have been murdered by persecution and ridicule. Beware how you become partakers in the sin of those, who thus wantonly or maliciously seek to destroy the souls of their companions. If a child be desirous of serving God, and refuse to join any longer in the sins and follies of his school-fellows and playmates, how common is it to endeavour to laugh or persecute him out of his religion! And how often does the dread of singularity, and the fear of becoming an object of ridicule, prevent persons from following the dictates of their conscience, and stifle the convictions which the Spirit of God has awakened within them! Whenever you feel a propensity to join the common laugh on such occasions, remember that you are about to commit murder!-murder of the blackest kind!—and surely this will restrain you. What does this commandment require ?
It commands us "to hurt nobody by word or deed; to
bear no malice nor hatred in our hearts." It requires us to speak no provoking words, but to feel and show all manner of kindness in heart, word, and conduct, to our neighbour. Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God. Matt. v. 9.
Agree with thine adversary quickly. Matt. v. 25.
Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you. Matt. v. 44.
From within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, murders, &c. Mark vii. 21.
Do violence to no man. Luke iii. 44.
Ye (those who sought to kill Jesus) are of your father the devil: he was a murderer from the beginning. John viii. 44. A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another. John xiii. 34.
St. Paul mentions as a proof of an unconverted state, that men are "full of envy, murder, debate, malignity, despiteful, implacable, unmerciful." Rom. i. 29, 31.
Recompense to no man evil for evil. If it be possible, live peaceably with all men. Avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.-Overcome evil with good. Rom. xii. 17-21.
Thou shalt not kill: love worketh no ill to his neighbour. Rom.
xiii. 9, 10.
Among the works of the flesh are hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, envyings, murders, and such like. Gal. v. 21.
Be ye angry and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath. Eph. iv. 26.
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice; and be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. Eph. iv. 31, 32.
Put on bowels of mercies, meekness, long-suffering, forbearing one another, if any man have a quarrel against any. And above all these things put on charity. Col. iii. 12—14. Put them in mind to be gentle, showing all meekness unto all men; for we ourselves also were sometimes living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another:-but according to his mercy he saved us, &c. Tit. iii. 2-5.
Love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous; not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing, but contrariwise, blessing, &c. 1 Pet. iii. 8.
Let us love one another; for love is of God. 1 John iv. 7. You no doubt look on murder as a very shocking thing, and would tremble at the very thought of committing it. But remember, that men do not arrive at the height of wickedness all at once, but are led to it by degrees. Indulging a quarrelsome, envious, revengeful disposition,