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cated to God, was a refuge and protection to theve from the hands of justice. The law of God cuts the transgressor off trom all delusive hopes of this kind; -and I think the Romish church has very little to boast of in the sanctuaries which she leaves open
for this and other crimes and irregularities :-sanctua. ries which are often the first temptations to wickedness, and therefore bring the greater scandal and dishonour to her that authorizes her pretensions.
Every obstruction of the course of justice—is a door opened to betray society, and bereave us of those blessings which it has in view.—To stand up for the privileges of such places, is to invite men to sin with a bribe of impunity.
It is a strange way of doing honour to God, to screen actions which are a disgrace to humanity!
What scripture and all civilized nations teach concerning the crime of taking away another man's life,—is applicable to the wickedness of a man's attempting to bereave himself of his own.-He has no more right over it, than over that of others :and whatever false glosses have been put upon it by men of bad heads or bad hearts,-it is at the bottom a complication of cowardice, and wickedness, and weakness ;-is one of the fatalest mistakes desperation can hurry a man into ;-inconsistent with all the reasoning and religion of the world, and irreconcileable with that patience under afflictions,—that resignation and submission to the will of God in all straits which is required of us.-But if our calamities are brought upon ourselves by a man's own wickedness, still has he less to urge--least reason has he to renounce the protection of God, when he most stands in need of it, and of his mercy.
But as I intend the subject of self-murder for my discourse next Sunday - I shall not anticipate what I have to say, but proceed to consider some other cases, in which the law relating to the life of our neighbour is transgressed in different degrees :-all which are generally spoken of under the subject of murders--and considered by the best casuists as a species of the same,-and, in justice to the subject, cannot be passed here.
St. John says, “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer :"-it is the first step to this sin ; and our Saviour, in his sermon upon the Mount, has explained in how many slighter and unsuspected ways and degrees—the command in the law, « Thou shalt do no murder," may be opposed, if not broken.All real mischiefs and injuries maliciously brought upon a man, to the sorrow and disturbance of his mind,-eating out the comfort of his life, and shortening his days, are this sin in disguise ;--and the grounds of the Scripture expressing it with such severity, is,--that the beginnings of wrath and malice,-in event, often extend to such great and unforeseen effects, as, were we foretold them, we should give so little credit to, as to say," Is thy servant "a dog, that he should do this thing?"-And though these beginnings do not necessarily produce the worst (God forbid they should !) yet they cannot be committed without these evil seeds are first sown: --as Cain's causeless anger (as Dr. Clark observes) against his brother,--to which the apostle alludes-ended in taking away his life ;--and the best instruc-' tors teach us, that, to avoid a sin,---we must avoid the steps and temptations which lead to it.
· This should warn us to free our minds from all tincture of avarice, and desire after what is another man's.-It operates the same way, and has terminated too oft in the same crime ;-and it is the great excellency of the christian religion,--that it has an eye to this in the stress laid upon the first springs of evils in the heart; rendering us accountable, not only for our words--but the thoughts themselves, if not checked in time, but suffered to proceed further than the first motions of concupiscence.
“ Ye have heard, therefore (says our Saviour) that 6 it was said by them of old time,
Thou shalt not “ kill ;-but I say unto you, whosoever is angry « with his brother without a cause, shall be in danger " of the judgment;-and whosoever shall say to his “ brother, Raca,--shall be in danger of the council: "_but whosoever shall say, thou fool, shall be in
danger of hell-fire." The interpretation of which I shall give you in the words of a great scripturist, Dr. Clark, and is as follows :-That the three gradations of crimes are an allusion to the three different degrees of punishment, in the three courts of judicature amongst the Jews;-and our Saviour's meaning was, That every degree of sin, from its first conception to its outrage--every degree of malice and hatred, shall receive from God a punishment proportionable to the offence. Whereas the old law, according to the Jewish interpretation, extended not to these things at all, forbade only murder and outward injuries :-“Whosoever shall
say, thou fool, shall be in danger of hell-fire.". The sense which is, not that, in the strict and literal acceptation, every rash and passionate expression shall be punished with eternal damnation (for who
then would be saved ?)—but that at the exact account in the judgment of the great day, every secret thought and intent of the heart shall have its just estimation and weight in the degrees of punishment which shall be assigned to every one in his final state.
There is another species of this crime which is seldom taken notice of in discourses upon the subject, and yet can be reduced to no other class ;and that is, where the life of our neighbour is shortened,
and often taken away as directly as by a weapon, by the empirical sale of nostrums and quack medicines, which ignorance and avarice blend.The loud tongue of ignoranee impudently promises much, and the ear of the sick is open ;-and as many of these pretenders deal in edge-tools, too many, I fear, perish with the misapplication of them.
So great are the difficulties of tracing out the hid. den causes of the evils to which this frame of ours are subject that the most candid of the profession have ever allowed and lamented how unavoidably they are in the dark :-so that the best medicines, administered with the wisest heads shall often do the mischief they were intended to prevent.--These are misfortunes to which we are subject in this state of darkness ;-but when men, without skill,-without education, without knowledge either of the distemper, or even of what they selly--make merchandize of the miserable, and, from a dishonest principle, trifle with the pains of the unfortunate,--too often with their lives ; and from the mere motive of a dishonest gaing-every such instance of a person bereft of life by the hand of ignorance, can be considered in no other light than a branch of the same root, it is murder in the true sense ;
-which, though not cognizable by our laws,—by the laws of right, every man's own mind and conscience must appear equally black and detestable.
In doing what is wrong, we stand chargeable with all the bad consequences which arise from the action, whether foreseen or not :-and as the principal view of the empirick, in those cases, is not what he always pretends,--the good of the publick,-but the good of himself, it makes the action what it is.
Under this head it may not be improper to comprehend all adulterations of medicines, wilfully made worse through avarice.-If a life is lost by such wilful adulterations,-and it may be affirmed, that, in many critical turns of an acute distemper, there is but a single cast left for the patient--the trial and chance of a single drug in his behalf; and if that has wilfully been adulterated, and wilfully despoiled of its best virtues, what will the vender answer?
May God grant we may all answer well for ourselyes, that we may be finally happy ! Amen.