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Going alongft with others in their fin, ruins not only ourselves, but them too.
4thly, By provoking others to fin, 1 Kings xxi. 25. Thus people are many ways guilty, by a provoking carriage, by provoking words; and not a few fo devilish that they take a pleasure to provoke others, that they may get fomething to laugh at. Thefe are like them who ftir up the fire to burn another's houfe, that they may warm themselves at it.
5thly, By foliciting and downright tempting to fin. Such agents the devil has in the world, who make it their bufinefs to draw others to fin, by an enfnaring carriage or plain words; fo that it is evident they are gone out on the devil's errand, Prov.
When men call
6thly, By teaching of fin. truth a lie, and lies truth; when they give out a finful practice to be duty, and a duty to be a finful practice, they contribute directly to the fin of others, and bring that wo on themselves, If. v. 20. Wo unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for fweet, and fweet for bitter.
By all these two fall at once; for the fin of him that commands, counfels, &c. does not excufe the other.
(1.) By confenting to the fin of others, countenancing them in it, and encouraging them in their fin, Acts ix. 1. We may countenance finners in their duty, but by no means in their fin. Thefe two are very different, but they are often confounded, and the confounding of them is the cause of much diforder in our church at this day.
3. By neglecting what we owe to our neighbour for the welfare of his foul. In not doing what we ought to preferve or recover his foul, we are guilty of deftroying it, and fo indirectly operate to his fin. As,
f, By neglecting the means for preventing of
fin in others, Ezek. iii. 18. When people do not teach, warn, and admonish those whom they fee to be in hazard, or generally neglect to reftrain fin by all lawful means competent to them. Thus Eli finned; 1 Sam. iii. 13. His fons made themfelves vile, and he reftrained them not. Thus much guilt is contracted by minifters, magiftrates, hufbands and wives, parents, mafters, &c.
2dly, By neglecting the means to recover those that have fallen into fin; fuffering fin to lie on them, and not reproving it, Lev. xix. 17. compare 1 John iii. 15. or reproving of them fo imprudently, paffionately, or weakly, as that it can do them no good. So did Eli.
3dly, By not campaffionating the finner, and mourning over his fin before the Lord, but hardcning our hearts against him, and being careless what come of his foul, Ezek. ix. 4. O what guilt is contracted this way in shutting up of our bowels of compaflion! How many will exclaim againft the fins of others, whofe confciences witness that they never had a fore heart for the dishonour done to God and the ill to the finners foul by it.
4thly, By being pleafed with their fin. This is in effect to be pleafed with their ruin, Rom. i. ult. Thus men are guilty,
(1.) By approving the fin of others, Pfal. xlix. 13. This is to fet our ftamp on an evil way, that it may pass current.
(2.) By rejoicing at it, and making a jeft of it, It is devilish mirth that rifeth from our neighbour's ruining himself. Yet much of this guilt is in the world, Prov. xiv. 9.
SECONDLY, Thou shalt not kill thy neighbour's body unjustly. There are three cafes wherein the life of our neighbour may be taken away juftly. (1.) In the cafe of public juftice, Gen. ix. 6. (2.) Of lawful war, I Judg. v. 23. (3) Of neceffary felfdefence, Exod. xxii. 2. 3. The reafon is, because in
these cases a man does not take, but God, the Lord of life and death, puts the fword in his hand; fo that judgement in thefe cafes is the Lord's. Unless in thefe cafes, it is murder, an unjust taking away another's life. Now, there are two things here forbidden with respect to this.
First, The taking away our neighbour's life unjuftly. This is actual and direct murder. This was the fin of Cain. This is a horrible and atrocious crime, for which mens laws condemn the guilty to the gallows, and God's laws condemn them to hell, 1 John iii. 15. A fin fo flat againft nature, that even a natural confcience uses to kindle a hell in the bofom of the murderer; and a crime it is which Providence specially watches to bring to light. This is to be extended not only to what is commonly reckoned murder, but to these three cafes.
1. The taking away of mens lives, under colour of law, and forms of justice, when the law is unjuft, and there is no real crime, as in the cafe of Naboth, 1 Kings xxi. 12. 13. 19. And therefore all the laws of the world will not free perfecutors from the guilt of murder, in their taking away the lives of the martyrs.
2. The taking away of mens lives in an unjuft war, Hab. ii. 12. For in fuch a cafe an army is but a company of robbers and murderers, before the Lord; feeing God puts not the fword in mens hands in an unjust cause.
3. The taking away of a man's life in a fet duel or combat, which whether it fall in the hand of him that gives the challenge, or his that accepts it, is downright murder. There is not the least fort of approbation thereof in the fcriptures. And therefore the laws of duelling, like the laws of drinking, are not given by God, but by the devil. David's combating Goliath was by public authority in a public caufe, and belides from an extraordinary impulfe of the Spirit. Duelling is from the devil,
as being the effect of pride and rage; a taking into mens heads the difpofing of that life which God only is Lord of; it is an ufurping of the magiftrates fword, and invading God's right of vengeance, Rom. xii. 19. And the pretence of honour, the ufual plea for duels, is as far different from God's laws of honour, as hell is from heaven, Prov. xvi. 32. Matth. v. 44.
Secondly, Whatfoever tendeth to the taking away of our neighbour's life unjustly. This is virtual, interpretative, indirect murder. It is of several forts, all here forbidden.
1. There is heart-murder; and of that there are feveral forts.
ift, Carnal anger and wrath, which is rafh, causelefs, and exceffive, Matth. v. 22. Some people's anger is like a fire in ftraw, foon blown up and foon out; others like a fire in iron once kindled, which it is hard to get laid. But of whatever fort it is, it is a fhort madness; and the longer it is kept, it is fo much the worse, Eph. iv. 26. 27. It refteth in the bofom of fools. All murder begins here. It is a fire that kindles the anger of God and of our neighbour against us, and fo cafts all into confusion. Let us ftudy meeknefs; which is what will make us like to Chrift, Col. iii. 12.
2dly, Envy, whereby people grieve and grudge at the good of others. It is the devil's two-edged fword drawn to flay two at once; the envious him. felf, Prov. xiv. 30. for he is like a ferpent gnawing its own tail, Job v. 2.; and the party envied, Prov. xxvii. 4. While other fins are entertained for pleafure or profit, this is like a barren field bringing forth only briers and thorns; there is not a dram of any fort of pleafure in it. But this was it that put Jofeph's brethren on a murdering defign. A charitable frame of fpirit is our duty, Rom. xii.
3dly, Hatred and malice against our neighbour.
This made Cain imbrue his hands in his brother's blood. And fuch as live in malice and hatred go in his way, 1 John iii. 15. It is the fad character of perfons eftranged from God, that they are hateful, and bating one another, Tit. iii. 3. But of all hatred that is the worft which hates good men for their goodness. However we may hate every man's faults, but no man's perfon. Love thy neighbour as thyself, is the exprefs command of heaven.
4thly, Revengeful thoughts and defires; which are fo much the worfe as they are the longer entertained, Rom. xii. 19. That heart is a bloody heart that longs for a heart-fight, as they call it, on those that have wronged them. God fees the moft fecret wish of ill to our neighbour, and will call us to an account. Let us learn long-fuffering and patience, to forgive, a difpofition and readiness to be reconciled; otherwife our addreffes to heaven for pardon will be vain, Matth. vi. 15.
5thly, Rejoicing at the mischief that befals others, Prov. xxiv. 17. 18. Nothing makes men liker the devil than that murdering difpofition to make the ruin of others our mirth, and their forrow our joy; for man's fin and mifery is what affords pleasure to the devil. We should fympathize and weep with them that weep, as well as rejoice with thofe that do rejoice
Lastly, Cruelty, an horrid unrelenting difpofition, that is not affected with the mifery of others, but carries it on, and adds to it with delight. A difpofition moft inconfiftent with the fpirit of the gofpel, that teaches tender-heartedness even to the very beafts, Prov. xii. 10. But those that delight in cruel treating of thefe, want but an opportunity to exercise it on men.
2. There is tongue-murder. Solomon obferves, that the tongue, however little a member it is, is the lord of life and death, Prov. xviii. 21. & xxi. 23. If it be not well managed then, no wonder it VOL. III.