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The Marrow of Modern Divinity - Part Second


COMMANDMENT VI.


Evan. Well, then, I pray you consider, that in the sixth commandment there is a

negative part expressed in these words: "Thou shalt do no murder." That is, thou

shalt neither in heart, tongue, nor hand, impeach or hurt either the life of thine

own soul or body, or the life of any other man's soul or body; and an affirmative

part included in these words: "But thou shalt every way, by all good means, seek

to preserve them both."


Neo. I pray you, sir, speak of these things in order, and first tell us what is

forbidden in this commandment, as tending to the murdering of our own souls.


Evan. That we may not be guilty of the murdering of our own souls, in this

commandment is forbidden all sinning against God, (Prov 6:2); and so also is the

careless neglecting and willful rejecting of the means that God has ordained to

salvation, (Heb 2:3).


Neo. And what is forbidden in this commandment, as tending to the murdering of

other's souls?


Evan. That we may not be guilty of murdering the souls of others, in this

commandment is forbidden all giving occasions to others to sin against God, either

by provoking of them, (1 Kings 21:25), or by counselling of them, (2 Sam 16:21),

or by evil example, (Rom 14:15).


Neo. And what is forbidden in this commandment, as tending to the murdering of

our own bodies?


Evan. That we may not be guilty of murdering our own bodies, in this

commandment is forbidden excessive worldly sorrow, (1 Cor 7:10, Prov 17:22);

and so also is the neglect of meat, drink, apparel, recreation, physic, or any such

refreshments, (Eccl 5:19, 6:2); and so also is excessive eating and drinking, (Prov

23:29,30, Hosea 7:5); and so also is laying violent hands upon ourselves, (1 Sam

3:14, Acts 16:28).


Neo. Well, sir, now I pray you, tell us what is forbidden in this commandment as

tending to the murdering of others' bodies; and, first, what is forbidden in respect

of the heart?


Evan. That we may not be guilty of murdering others with our hearts, in this

commandment is forbidden all hasty, rash, and unjust anger, (Matt 5:22); and so

also is malice or hatred, (Lev 19:18, 1 John 3:15); and so also is envy, (Psa 37:1,

Prov 24:1); and so also is desire of revenge, (Lev 19:18).


Neo. And what is forbidden in respect of the tongue?


Evan. That we may not be guilty of murdering others with our tongues, in this

commandment are forbidden all bitter and provoking terms, (Eph 4:31); and so

also are all wrangling and contentious speeches, (Prov 15:1); and so also is crying

and unseemly lifting up of the voice, (Eph 4:31); and so also is railing or scolding,

(Prov 17:19, 1 Peter 3:19); and so also are all reviling and threatening speeches,

(Matt 5:22); and so also are all mocking, scoffing, and deriding speeches, (2 Kings

2:23, John 19:3).


Neo. And what is forbidden in respect of the whole body, and more especially of

the hand?


Evan. That we may not be guilty of murdering others with our hands, in respect

of the other parts of the body, in this commandment is forbidden all disdainful,

proud, and scornful carriage, (Gen 4:5, Prov 6:17); and so also are all provoking

gestures, as nodding of the head, gnashing with the teeth, and the like, (Matt

27:39, Acts 7:45); and so also is all froward and churlish behaviour, (1 Sam

25:17); and so also is brawling and quarrelling, (Titus 3:2). And more especially in

respect of the hand is forbidden striking and wounding, (Exo 21:18,22); and so

also is all taking away of life, otherwise than in case of public justice, just war,

and necessary defence, (Exo 21:12, Gen 9:6).


Neo. I pray you, sir, proceed to the affirmative part of this commandment, and

first tell us what is required of us in respect of the life of our own souls.


Evan. In respect of the preservation of the life of our own souls is required a

careful avoiding of all sorts of sin, (Prov 11:19); and so also is a careful use of all

means of grace, and spiritual life in our souls, (1 Peter 2:2).


Neo. And what is required of us in respect of the preservation of the life of

others' souls?


Evan. In respect of the preservation of the life of the souls of others, is required,

that according to our place and calling, and as present occasion is offered, we

teach and instruct others to know God and his will, (Gen 18:19, Deut 6:7); and so

also that we do our best to comfort others that are in distress of conscience, (1

Thess 5:14), and that we pray for the welfare and comfort of others' souls, (Gen

43:29); and that we give others good examples by our Christian-like walking,

(Matt 5:16).


Neo. And what is required of us in respect of the preservation of the life of our

own bodies?


Evan. In respect of the preservation of the life of our own bodies, is required in

this commandment, that we be careful to procure unto ourselves the use of

wholesome food, clothing, and lodging, and physic, when there is occasion, (1

Tim 5:23, Eccl 10:17, 2 Kings 20:7); and also that we use honest and lawful

mirth, rejoicing in an holy manner, (Prov 17:22, Eccl 3:4).


Neo. And what is required of us in respect of the preservation of the life of the

bodies of others?


Evan. In respect of the preservation of the life of the bodies of others, in this

commandment is required a kind and loving disposition, with tenderness of heart

towards them, (Eph 4:31,32): and so also is a patient bearing of wrongs and

injuries, (Col 3:12,13); and so also is the taking of all things in the best sense, (1

Cor 13:5,7); and so also is the avoiding of all occasions of strife, and parting with

our own right sometimes for peace sake, (Gen 13:8,9); and so also are all such

looks and gestures of the body as do express meekness and kindness, (Gen

33:10), and so also is the relieving the poor and needy, (Job 31:16); and so also is

the visiting of the sick, (Matt 25:36). And now, neighbour Nomologista, I pray

you tell me, whether you think you keep this commandment perfectly or no.


Nom. No, indeed, sir, I do not think I keep it perfectly, nor any man else, as you

have expounded it.


Evan. Assure yourself, neighbour Nomologista, that I have expounded it

according to the mind and will of God revealed in his word, for you see I have

proved all by Scripture: I told you at the beginning, that the law is spiritual and

binds the very heart and soul to obedience; and that under one vice expressly

forbidden, all of the same kind, with all occasions and means leading thereunto,

are likewise forbidden; and according to these rules have I expounded it.

Wherefore, I pray you, consider, that so many sins as you have committed, and

so many times as you have carelessly neglected, and willfully rejected the means

of salvation, so many wounds you have given your own soul.


And so many times as you have given occasion to others to sin, so many wounds

you have given to their souls.


And so many fits of worldly sorrow as you have had, and so many times as you

have neglected the moderate use either of meat, drink, apparel, recreation, or

physic, when need hath required, so many wounds have you given your own

body.


And so many times as you have been either unadvisedly angry with any, or have

borne any malice or hatred towards any, or have secretly in your heart wished

evil unto any, or borne envy in your heart towards any, or desired to be revenged

upon any, then have you been guilty of murdering them in your heart. And if you

have given others any wrangling and contentious speeches, or any reviling and

threatening speeches, or have carried yourself frowardly and churlishly towards

others, and have not borne injuries and wrongs patiently, and expressed pity and

compassion towards others, then have you been guilty of murdering them with

your tongue. And if you have quarrelled with any man, or stricken or wounded

any man, then have you murdered them with your hand, though you have not

taken away their lives. And thus have I endeavoured to satisfy your desires

concerning the sixth commandment.


Neo. I beseech you, sir, proceed to speak of the seventh commandment as you

have done of the rest.


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