WORKS OF ARMINIUS - ON THE SIXTH PRECEPT
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ON THE SIXTH PRECEPT
I. Order in human society being appointed by the fifth commandment, through the mutual duties of superiors and inferiors in commanding and obeying, God now manifests his care for all those things which, in order to pass one's life in this society, are necessary for the life of each person, for the propagation of the species, for the blessings necessary to life, and for reputation, at the end of which God adds the tenth commandment, in which the coveting of certain things is prohibited.
III. The sum of the precept is neither in reality to injure the life of another person, and to endanger his safety, nay not even our own, whether we use fraud or violence, nor to wish his injury by our will, to which must be added that we do not intimate this kind of wish by any external token.
IV. From this, it appears that the accident must not receive the appellation of "homicide," if, as the Scripture phrase is, any one going into a wood with his neighbour to cut down timber, and the head of his ax slips from the handle and strikes his neighbour so that he dies, nor, if, for the defense of his own life, any one be compelled, at the peril of his life, to repel the force employed against him by another.
VI. But the cause of this precept, which is universal and always, and in every place, valid, is the following: because man was created after the image of God, which, in this place, principally denotes immortality. To this, may be added similitude of nature, and because all of us derive our origin from one blood. But several particular causes may be adduced, which agree with the spiritual state of men, such as because they have been redeemed by Christ with a price -- because their bodies are a habitation for the Holy Spirit -- because they are all members of one mystical body under one head, &c.
VII. But, in the mean time, God reserves to himself the right of disposing of the life of every man according to his own pleasure. Hence, commands have been issued to magistrates concerning killing transgressors, and a command was delivered to Abraham about slaying his son.
The perpetration of homicide cannot consist with a good conscience, unless pardon for it be sought and obtained by particular repentance, &c.