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Self-Denial in Complying with This kind of Temptation, as he ufually feels in Refifting Others. The Utmoft Violence must be offer'd to his own Difpofition, before he can prevail with himself to offer Violence to his Own, or to his Neighbour's Life. The very Thoughts of this Ghaftly Sin do Startle, and Diftract, and Distort the Soul; which Recoils and flies back from them with Confufion and Detestation. And, left any thing should be wanting, which could render these Strong Bonds of Duty ftill more Inviolable, God hath been pleased to Confirm and Inforce the Voice of Nature, by this Express Revealed Law,
Thou shalt not kill; In difcourfing of which it will be neceffary,
I. First, To Adjuft the Latitude or Extent of the Commandment, and
II. Secondly, To represent the Guilt, and Danger, which Men incur by the Tranfgreffion of it.
I. It will be neceffary to Adjust the Latitude or Extent of the Precept. For, as there are fome Inftances of Murther, which are not Univerfally Allowed to be Such,
Such, and which are wont to be Palliated under various Pretences, and False Colours of Vindication; fo, on the other Hand, there are fome Cafes, 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 Cafe of Self-Prefervation, is fo Certain and Obvious, that it can scarce admit of any Mistake, so long as this Neceffary Caution is obferved, That a Man should not presently invade his Neighbour's Life, upon every Little Sufpicion or Appearance of Danger to himself, though he may Innocently do it, when the Danger is Manifeft, and when he must, Unavoidably, either Give or Receive the Fatal Stroke.
The Lawfulness of War likewife, upon fome Occafions, and under certain Restrictions and Regulations, is plainly Warranted by the Authority of Holy * Scripture, as well as by the Nature
*The Texts are numerous. See particularly Deut. xx. and compare 1 Sam. xv. 2, 3, 13, 18. And what is thus plainly Approv'd and Directed in the Old Teftament, is perfect
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and Reasons of Things, and the Situation and Circumftances of Humane Affairs; wherein it frequently becomes Impoffible for a State or Kingdom, to fupport and maintain its Juft Rights, or even fometimes to Preferve it felf, or its Allies, from utter Ruin, by any other means than Hoftility.
And equally needlefs muft it be to prove, that Magiftrates are invested with a Just Authority to inflict Capital Punishments upon Offenders, unless any Man could be fuppofed Ignorant enough to want a Proof, that Magiftrates are the Reprefentatives and Vicegerents of God, in the Societies of Men; or, that it is Juft, to cut off the Corrupted Members of the Body Politick, as well as Natural, for the Prefervation and Benefit of the Whole.
Abundantly clear is the Innocence of That Perfon alfo, who, through Pure
ly Agreable to the Gospel. Texts noted to this Purpose, by
* Exod. xxi. 23. xxii. 18. Deut, xix. 21, xxii. 24. Acts XXV. 10, 11. Rom. xiii. 4.
Ignorance, or Unforeseen and Unavoida ble 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 confequently be Criminal. And therefore under the Mofaical Dif penfation, a Sanctuary was, by Divine Appointment*, provided for every one who was fo Innocently Unfortunate, as to kill his Neighbour Ignorantly and at unawares, left the Avenger of Blood fhould pursue and flay him, before his Innocence could be fufficiently clear'd up.
Indeed the Juftification of Abraham, in Designing and Attempting to Sacrifice his Son, does not fall Directly under any of these Reasons or Obfervations, but Depends upon Circumftances which were Peculiar to his own Perfon; and fuch as, never were, nor ever can be drawn out into a Precedent, or with any Colour of Reafon, be affigned as a Vindication of any Private Perfon, who fhould make an Attempt upon his Neighbour's Life: This
Exod. xxi. 13.
Deut. xix. 2---10. Numb. xxxv. 10
Friend and Favourite of God, who had fo frequent and familiar Communications with Him, could not Possibly be Miftaken in his Call to This Extraordinary Enterprife; but was Undoubtedly and Infallibly Convinced, by Clear Revelation made to him, that God did Directly and Immediately Require him to * Offer Ifaac for a Burnt-Offering: Otherwise, the Holy + Scriptures would never have been fo Full and Remarkable as they are in Testifying, that his Readiness to perform this Sacrifice was a moft Excellent and Acceptable Instance of his Faith,
and Obedience to God.
But whatsoever Private Perfon, without Supernatural Manifeft Revelation, (and fuch Extraordinary Revelations, 'tis universally agreed, are now long fince ceafed) and not Ignorantly or Accidentally, but Knowingly and Defignedly, and that without any Neceffity arifing from the Imminent, and, otherwise, Unavoidable Danger of his own Destruction, does take away or invade his Neighbour's Life,
*Gen. xxii. 2. † Gen. xxii. 12, 16, 17, 18. Heb. xi. 17, 18, 19. Jam. ii. 21, 22, 23.