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Uss. Let this recommend to us the living in dutiruines to our relatives. This is phyfic of God's appointment for the fick; it is the way to wealth of God's appointment for them that have little; it is the prolonger of life appointed by the Lord of life to thofe that would fee many days, and these good. And there is no fure way to these where the appointment of God lies crofs. Religion is the way to make the world happy. God has linked our duty and our intereft together, fo as there is no feparating of them. Relations are the joints of fociety; fin has disjointed the world, and fo no wonder it be miferable; relative holinefs would set the disjointed world right again.
HE fcope of this command is the prefervation of that life which God hath given unto man, which is man's greatest concern. No man is lord of his own or his neighbour's life; it belongs to him alone who gave it, to take it away. It is obfervable, that this and the three following commands are propofed in a word, not because they are of fmall moment, but because there is more light of nature for them than those proposed at greater length.
This command refpects both our own life and the life of our neighbour, That it refpects our neighbour, there can be no doubt, and as little needs there to be of its refpecting our own, The words are general, agreeing to both; and fo the fenfe of them is, Thou shalt not kill thyfelf nor any other, He that faid to the jailor, Do thyself no harm, taught
no other thing than what Mofes and the prophets did fay. Man is no more lord of his own life than his neighbour's; and he is in hazard of incroaching it as well as that of another; and it is no where guarded if not here. Nay, the fum of the fecond table being, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyfelf, whereby love to our neighbour is made the measure of love to ourselves, it is evident that it refpects our own life in the first place.
As every pofitive command implies a negative, fo every negative implies a pofitive. Therefore in fo far as God. fays, Thou shalt not kill, viz. thyfelf or others, he thereby obliges men to preferve their own life and that of others. And feeing all the commands agree together, there can be no keeping of one by breaking of another; therefore the pofitive part of this command is neceffary to be determined, to lawful endeavours. Hence the answer to that
Queft." What is required in the fixth commandment?" is plain, viz. "The fixth commandinent "requireth all lawful endeavours to preferve our
own life, and the life of others." The duties of this command may be reduced to two heads. 1. The preferving of our own life. 2. The preferving the life of others. But both thefe are to be qualified fo, as it be by lawful means and endeavours. For God has given us no fuch law, as for the keeping of one command we may or muft break another. Only there is a great difference betwixt pofitive and negative precepts; the practice of pofitive duties. may be in fome cafes intermitted without fin, as a man attacked in time of prayer, or on the fabbathday, may lawfully leave the prayer, and external worship of the day, to defend his life, Luke xiv. 5. But never may a man do an ill thing, be it great or little, though it were even to preferve his own life or that of others, Rom. iii. 8. Is it a thing of which God has faid, Thou shalt not do fo and fo?
Laftly, Equals fin against one another, undervaluing the worth, envying and grieving at the good of one another, and ufurping pre-eminence over one
The fpring and fource of all this is, (1.) Want of love to and fear of God; for while people are not in their duty to God, how fhould they be in their duty to man? (2.) Pride and felfifhnefs, while every one feeks himself, and not the good of others.
These things may be very humbling to all of us. Who can fay his life is clean in any of thefe relations? But even those who are very dutiful in their feveral relations as to the matter, may be guilty of the breach of this command, in fo far as what they do in these things does not proceed from gra cious principles; for indeed the firft command mut be carried along in all the reft, 2 tud)
III. We come now to the reafon annexed to this command; which is, "A promife of long life
and profperity (as far as it fhall ferve for God's tc glory and their own good) to all fuch as keep "this commandment."
This is a promife to encourage the confcientious performance of the duties here required. The apoftle tells us, that it is the first command with promife, Eph. v. 2.
Queft. 1. How is this command the firft with promife, feeing the fecond has a promife alfo?
Anf. It is the first command of the fecond table: for it is the most weighty of them all, as comprehending all the reft in it; fo that we cannot fin againft the reft, but we muft firft break over the hedge of this which encompaffeth all the reft. For one cannot violate another's life, chastity, &c, but he firft violates the honour due to him by this command. And it is the only command that has a fpecial promife of a particular mercy annexed to it. The promife annexed to the fecond command is but
promile of mercy in the general, and that not particularly to thofe that keep that command, but all the commandments.
Queft. 2. But does the law promife any thing but to perfect keeping of its commands? and if fo, what are we the better?
An. We must diftinguish betwixt the law as a covenant of works, and the law as in the hand of Chrift for a rule of life to believers. As it is a covenant of works, nothing lefs than perfect obedience can intereft men in the promife; for the leaft failure knocks off the man's fingers from the promife by virtue of the curfe, Gal. iii. 10. Curfed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. So that we can be nothing the better of this promife. But Christ being the Surety of the better covenant, having made a new covenant of grace in his blood, he takes the fame law in his hands, and gives out the commands of it as a rule of life to his covenanted people, and renews the promises of it to their fincere obedience of them, 1 Tim. iv. 8. Godliness is' profitable unto all things, having promife of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. As for the curfe of it, they hear of it no more, he having borne it away himfelf. And fo he crowns the fruits of his own grace in them with bleffed rewards. And as all these promifes are yea and amen in him; fo for his fake, through faith in his blood, they are obtained.
In the words we may confider thefe three things; the blefling promifed, the place where it is to be enjoyed, and the regard the Lord allows his people to have to that blefling to further them in obedi
FIRST, The bleffing promised; that is, long life; that thy days may be long. It is a temporal mercy, a mercy much defired ordinarily by all men, and
promised to them that keep this commandment. There are four things here to be confidered.
First, What is meant by mens days being long. It denotes two things.
1. Long life, Prov. iv. 10. The years of thy life Shall be many. Death in its beft colours has fomething frightful about it. It is a diffolution of foul and body, which nature shivers at. But there is no eviting of it; all muft die; they muft go through that dark valley to their eternal state. But the beft that can be made of it is promifed here, viz. that fuch fhall be full of days, and not be taken away till they be ripe for the fickle.
2. Profperity to accompany that life; for non vivere, fed valere, vita eft. Long life in miferies is a continued death rather than life. So that the nature of the thing teaches us, that a profperous long life is here promifed. It is a good old age, Gen. XV. 15. And thus the apoftle explains it, Eph. vi. 3. That it may be well with thee, and thou mayft live long on the earth.
Secondly, That long life is in itself a mercy, and therefore is promifed. There are many things that may mortify mens defires of long life. Old age is ordinarily accompanied with a train of miferies; and the longer the godly live, they are the longer kept out of heaven. Yet there are four things that make this long and profperous life here promifed to the godly's keeping of this command, a great mercy.
1. A good old age is an honourable thing, Prov. xvi. 31. The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteoufness. God commands a particular reverence to be given to old men, Lev. xix. 32. Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man. It is true, fin and wickednefs fpoils the greatest glory, and no man is more like the devil than a wicked old man, lf. lxv, 20. The finner being an hundred years old, shall be ac