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I know of no single text that will LET. prove the point, though I once heard vii. of a gentleman who did effectually prove it by two texts judiciousy laid together" Judas departed, and went, “ and hanged himself”_“Go, and u do thou likewise."
But though there be no text which enjoins it (as, considering the impor· tance of the subject, might have been expected) Mr. H. is clear “ there is “ not a single text which prohibits ie” - That great and infallible rule of “ faith and practice," continues he very gravely, “ which must controul " all philosophy and human reasoning, " has left us in this particular to our « natural liberty."
The “liberty” of destroying himfelf cannot be thought very "natural" by any one believing in a God who
I 2 placed
LET. placed hiin here, and placed him VII. here with some view and design.
Much less can a Christian, while he continues in his senses, imagine himself left at this liberty by the Gospel ; since above all things it enjoins and exhorts him, after the example of his Saviour, to suffer in patience, that he may reign in glory. Every precept of this sort is a virtual prohibition of suicide, which argues the last degree of impatience.
" Resignation to Providence is in“ deed recommended in Scripture ; “ but that implies only submission to “ills that are unavoidable, not to “ such as may be remedied by pru“ dence or courage.”
“ Prudence and courage” are both excellent things : they are two of the cardinal virtues. But that suicide is a
display of them, is a proposition hitherto unknown to Reason, Law, and Gospel. There could be no occasion to preach pacience under sufferings if ic were so, because then no man could be under a neceflity of suffering. He might avoid it, at a moment's warning, by the knife or the halter. There could be no such things as “ unavoidable “ills ;” and the Gospel precepts would be almost as abfurd as Mr. H~'s Note.
“ Thou shalt not kill, is evidently “ meant to exclude only the killing of s others, over whose life we have no s6 authority— Magistrates punish cri. " minals capitally, notwithstanding the
letter of the law.”
Magistrates have authority over che lives of others; but have we au. thority over our own, to put an end
LET. to them when we please ? Surely not;
and therefore suicide is justly accounted and treated by our laws as one fpecies of murder, forbidden by the commandment.
“ But were this commandment ever « so express against suicide, it would 6 now have no authority; for all the « law of Moses is abolished except fo “ far as it is established by the law of “ nature. And we have already en. “ deavoured to prove,' that suicide is “not prohibited by that law."
This is modeft-“We have endea66 voured to prove." But the endea. vour, it is humbly apprehended, has been in vain, and ever will be so while there shall be piety enough left on earth to acknowledge God as the lord of life and death; for so long men will judge it their duty to adore
his power, and wait his pleasure. - A LET. trifling alteration in our religious fer- vir. vices might perhaps answer Mr. H-'s purpose, without the abolition of any part. Let that little particle not be expunged from the Commandments, and inserted in the Creed.
"In all cases Christians and Hea“thens are upon the same footing”—
They very soon will be so, when Mr. H-'s philosophy shall once become the established religion.
“ Cato and Brutus, Arria and Por“ tia acted heroically; those who now “ imitate their example ought to re“ceive the same praises from posteri4 ty.”
Christianity inculcates a far nobler heroism. It teaches us, when we are engaged in a good cause, to die for it like men, but not by our own hands;