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But, when the hand of God hath once found out the man in his sin, and he finds himself legally convinced of his crime, it greatly behoves him, as Joshua charged Achan after the lot had discóvered his sin, to give glory to God, in a free and full confession of his wickedness; and to be more open and ingenuous in his acknowledgment, than he was close and reserved in his plea: wherein, as he shall discharge his conscience to that great and holy God, whom he hath offended; so he shall thus tender some kind of poor satisfaction to that society of men, whom he hath scandalized by his crime.
In which regard, I cannot but marvel at the strange determination of learned Azpilcueta *, the oracle of Confessaries; who teaches, that the prisoner, who, being rightly interrogated by the judge, stood stiffy in denial of the fact, and is upon his condemnation carried to his execution, is not bound at his death to confess the crime to the world, if he have before secretly whispered it in the ear of his ghostly father, and by him received absolution : a sentence, that allows the smothering of truths, and the strangling of just satisfaction to those who are concerned, as patients, in the offence; and, lastly, highly injurious to public justice, whose righteous sentence is, by this means, left questionable, and obnoxious to unjust censure. How much more requisite were it, that a public confession should, in this case, save the labour of a private! whereby, certainly, the soul of the offender would be more sensibly unloaded ; justice better vindicated; more glory would accrue to God, and to men more satisfaction.
But, however it be lawful for the accused to stand upon these points of legality in the proceedings against him: yet, for my own part, should I be so far given over as to have my hand in blood, and thereupon be arraigned at the bar of public justice, I should, out of just remorse, be the first man, that should rise up against myself: and, which in other men's cases were utterly unlawful, be my own accuser, witness, and judge: and this disposition I should rather commend in those, whose conscience hath inwardly convicted them for heinously criminous; that, since they had not the
grace to resist so flagitious a wickedness, they may yet endeavour to expiate it, before men, with an ingenuous confession; as before God, with a deep and serious repentance.
CASE IX. Whether, and how far, a man may take up arms, in the public
quarrel of a war. War is no other, than a necessary evil : necessary, in relation to peace; only, as that, without which so great a blessing cannot be had. As the wise woman said to Joab; 2 Sam. xx. 18. they should first treat with the men of Abel, ere they smite: and, upon the charge of the Lord of Hosts, (Deut. xx. 10.) conditions must first be tendered, even to heathen enemies, before any acts of hostility shall be exercised.
* Mart. Azpil. Narar. Enchirid. cap. 25. num. 38.
Where this, which is the worst of all remedies, proves necdful, if you
ask how far it is lawful to engage; I must ask you, ere I can return answer, first, of the justice of the quarrel: for, surely, where the war is known to be unjust, the willing abettors of it cannot wash their hands from blood. To make a war just, as our Casuists rightly, there must be a lawful authority, to raise it; a just ground whereon to raise it; due forms and conditions, in the raising, ma, naging, and cessation of it. That no authority less than supreine can wage a war, it is clear in nature; for that none other, besides it, can have power of life and death ; which both must lie at the public stake in war. That none but a just and weighty cause can be the ground of a war, every man's reason apprehends : for, how precious a blessing had that need to be, that is held worth the purchasing, with the price of so much blood! and how heavy a curse must that needs be, which can only be remedied or prevented, by so grievous a judgment as war! That due terms and conditions are requisite to be offered ere war be undertaken, and observed in the managing and ceasing of it, humanity itself teacheth us; without which, men should run upon one another, with no less fury and disorder than beasts ; not staying for any capitulation, but the first advantage; nor terminating their discord in any thing, but utter destruction. Where ail or any of these are wanting, the war cannot be just: and where it is known not to be such, woe be to those hands, that are willingly active in prosecuting it. Now the care of all these three main requisites must lie chietly upon that power, which is entrusted by the Almighty, with the overruling of public affairs : for the subject, as he is bound to an inplicit reliance upon the command of the supreme power; so, unius it be in a case notoriously apparent to be unjust, must yield a blindfold obedience to authority; going whither he is led, and doing what he is bidden. But, if the case be such, as that his heart is fully convinced of the injustice of the enterprize, and that he clearly finds that he is charged to smite innocence and to fight against God; I cannot blame him if, with Saul's footmen when they were commanded to fall upon the priests of the Lord, he withhold his hand; and, craving pardon, shew less readiness to act than to suffer.
In the second place, I must ask you with what intentions you address yourself to the field. If it be out of the conscience of maintaining a just cause, if out of a loyal obedience to lawful authority, I shall bid you go on, and prosper : but, if either malice to the parties opposed and therein desire of revenge, or a base covetousness of pay, or hope and desire of plunder have put you into arms, repent and withdraw: for, what can be more sordid or cruel, than to be hired, for days' wages, to shed innocent bloed? or what can be more horribly mischievous for a man, than to hill, that he may steal?
Upon your answer to these questions, it will be easy for me to return mine. In a just quarrel, being thereto lawfully called, you may fight. Warrantable authority hath pul the sword into your hand: you may use it. But, take heed that you use it, with that moderation, and with those affections, that are meet. Even an authorized hand may offend in striking. Magistrates themselves, if there be revenge in their executions, do no other than murder. Far be it from you, to take pleasure in blood, and to enjoy another man's destruction : if, especially in those wars that are intestine, you shall mingle your tears with the blood which you are forced to spill, it may well become Christian fortitude.
Shortly, do you enter into your arms imprest, or voluntary? If the former, you have nothing but your own heart to look unto, for a fit disposition: that power, whom you justly obey, must answer for the cause. If the latter, you have reason diligently to examine all the necessary points of the power, of the cause, of your intentions; as well considering, that, in a war, it is no less impossible, that both sides should be in the right; than that, in a contradiction, both parts should be true. Here, therefore, your will makes itself the judge of all three; and, if any of them fail, leaves you answerable for all miscarriages : so as you had need to be carefully inquisitive in this case, upon what grounds you go; that so, whatsoever may befall, a good conscience may
out, in the greatest difficulties and saddest events, that are wont to attend upon
Whether, and how far, a man may act towards his own death. 1. DIRECTLY to intend or endeavour that, which may work his own death, is abominably wicked ; and no less, than the worst murder.
For, if a man may not kill another, much less himself; by how much he is nearer to himself, than to another: and, certainly, if we must regulate our love to another by that to ourselves, it must foco low, that love to ourselves must take up the first room in our hearts; and that love cannot but be accompanied with a detestation of any thing, that may be harmful to ourselves. Doubtless, many, that can be cruel to another, are favourable enough to themselves; but, never man, that could be cruel to himself, would be sparing of another's blood.
To will or attempt this, is highly injurious to that God, whose we only are ; who hath committed our life, as a most precious thing, to our trust, for his use, more than our own; and will require from us an account of our managing of it, and our parting from it. It is a foul misprision in those men, that make account of themselves as their own; and, therefore, that they are the absolute lords of their life. Did they give themselves their own being?
had they nothing, but mere nature in them ? can they not but acknowledge a higher hand in their formation, and animating? What a wrong were it, therefore, to the great Lord and Giver of Life, to steal out of the world, without his leave, that placed us there ! But, much more, if Christians, they know themselves, besides, dearly paid for; and, therefore, not in their own disposing; but in his, that bought them.
Secondly, most desperately injurious to ourselves; as incurring thereby a certain damnation, for ought appears to lookers on, for erer, of those souls, which have wilfully broken God's more easy and temporary prison, to put themselves upon the direful prison of Satan to all eternity.
Nature itself, though not enlightened with the knowledge of the estate of another world, found cause to abhor this practice. However the Stoical Philosophers, and some high Roman Spirits following their doctrine, have been liberal of their lives; the Thebans, of old, professed detestation of this worst of prodigalities : and the Athenians enacted, that the hand, which should be guilty of such an act, should be cut off, and kept unburied : and it was wisely ordained by that Grecian Commonwealth, when their virgins, out of a peevish discontentment, were grown into a self-killing humour, that the bodies of such offenders should be dragged naked through the streets of the city; the shame whereof stopped the course of that mad resolution.
It is not the heaviest of crosses, or the sharpest bodily anguish, that can warrant so foul an act. Well was it turned off by Antisthenes, of old; when, in the extremity of his pain, he cried out, “Oh, who will free me from this torment!" and Diogenes reached him a poniard, wherewith to dispatch himself. “Nay,” said he, “ I said, from my torment; not from my life:” as well knowing it neither safe nor easy, to part with ourselves upon such terms.
Far, far be it from us, to put into this rank and file those wor. thy Martyrs, which, in the fervour of their holy zeal, have put themselves forward to martyrdom; and have courageously prevented the lust and fury of tyrants, to keep their chastity and faith inviolable. I look upon these, as more fit objects of wonder, than either of censure or imitation. For these, whom we may well match with Sampson and Eleazar, what God's Spirit wrought in them, he knows that gave it. Rules are they, by which we live; not examples.
2. However we may not, by any means, directly act to the cutting off the thread of life ; yet I cannot but yield, with learned Lessius *, that there may fall out cases, wherein a man may, upon just cause, do or forbear something, whereupon death may indirectly ensue. Indirectly, I say; not with an intention of suci issue ; for it is not an universal charge of God, that no man should, upon any occasion, expose his life to a probable danger: if so, there would be no war, no trashc: but only, that he should not
* Less. de Jure l. ï. c. 9. dub. 6.
causelessly hazard himself; nor with a resolution of wilful miscarriage.
To those instances he gives, of a soldier, that must keep his station, though it cost him his life: of a prisoner, that may forbear to fee out of prison, though the doors be open: of a man condemned to die by hunger, in whose power it is to refuse a sustenance offered: of a man, that latches the weapon in his own body, to save his prince: or, of a friend, who, when but one loaf is left to preserve the life of two, refrains from his part and dies first; or, that suffers another to take that plank in a shipwreck, which hinself might have prepossessed, as trusting to the oars of his arms; or, that puts himself into an infected house, out of mere charity to tend the sick, though he know the contagion deadly: or, in a sea-fight, blows up the deck with gunpowder, not without his own danger: or, when the house is on fire, casts himself out at the window with an extreme hazard : to these, I say, may be added many more; as the cutting off a limb, to stop the course of a gangrene; to make an adventure of a dangerous incision in the body, to draw forth the stone in the bladder; the taking of a large dose of opiate pills, to ease a mortal extremity; or, lastly, when a man is already seized on by death, the receiving of some such powerful medicine as may facilitate his passage, the defect of which care and art the eminently learned Lord Verulam * justly complains of in physicians. In these and the like cases, a man may lawfully do those things, which may tend, in the event, to his own death, though without an intention of procuring it.
And unto this head must be referred those infinite examples of deadly sufferings for good causes, willingly enibraced for conscience sake. The seven brethren in the Maccabees, alluded to by St. Paul to his Hebrews, Heb. xi. 35. will and must rather endure the butchering of their own flesh, than the eating of swine's flesh, in a willing affront of their Law. Daniel will rather die, than not pray: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego will rather fall down bound into the fiery furnace seven-fold heated, than fall down before the golden image.
And every right disposed Christian will rather welcome death, than yield to a willing act of idolatry, rebellion, witchcraft. If, hereupon, death follow by the infliction of others, they are sinful agents, he is an innocent suterer.
As for that scruple among our Casuists, Whether a man, condemned to die by poison, may take the deadly draught that is brought him ; it is such, as wise Socrates never made of old, when the Athenians tendered him his hemlock : and, indeed, it may as well be disputed, Whether a man, condemned to die by the axe, may quietly lay down his head upon the block; and not, but upon force, yield to that fatal stroke.
A juster scruple is, Whether a man, condemned to a certain ard painful death, which he cannot possibly eschew, may make choice
'Eulavesin. Lord Verulam's “ Advancement of Learning.”