QUESTION 67. Which is the Sixth Commandment?

ANSWER: The Sixth Commandment is, Thou shalt not kill.

QUESTION 68. What is required in the Sixth Commandment?

ANSWER: The Sixth Commandment requireth all lawful endeavours to preserve our own life, and the life of others.

Q. 1. What does this commandment chiefly respect?

A. The LIFE of man, which is the nearest and most valuable of all his temporal concerns, Job 2:4 -- "Skin for skin; yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life."

Q. 2. What makes the life of man valuable?

A. His being "made in the image of God," Gen. 9:6.

Q. 3. What does this commandment require with reference to man's life?

A. All lawful endeavours to preserve it in ourselves and others.

Q. 4. What lawful endeavours should we use for the preservation of our own life?

A. The "just defence thereof against violence: -- a sober use of meat, drink, physic, sleep, labour, and recreation."[84]

Q. 5. By what means should we endeavour to preserve the life of others?

A. "By resisting all thoughts and purposes, subduing all passions and avoiding all occasions, temptations, and practices, which tend to the unjust taking away the life of any."[85]

Q. 6. Why are we restricted by the answer to lawful endeavours?

A. To caution and guard us against the unlawful means which some have used, for the preservation of their lives.

Q. 7. What are the unlawful means which some have used for this end?

A. Denying the truth, 1 Tim. 1:19, 20, and lying, Gen. 12:12, 13.

Q. 8. What will be the consequence of denying the truth, for preserving of natural life?

A. The losing of a better life than that which we thus intend to preserve, Matt. 16:25, 26.

Q. 9. May not a lie be told at a time, for preserving life, especially if its preservation be for the public good?

A. At no time, and on no occasion whatever, are we to "do evil that good may come," Rom, 3:8.

Q. 10. Are we restricted, by this commandment, to the preservation of bodily life only?

A. No; we are also required to consult the welfare of our own souls, and the souls of others.

Q. 11. What is required of us for the welfare of our own souls?

A. A careful avoiding of all sin, Prov. 11:19; and a diligent use of all the means of grace, 1 Pet. 2:2.

Q. 12. What is required of us for promoting the welfare of the souls of others?

A. That we be communicative of our knowledge and experiences to them as occasion offers, Psalm 66:16; that we pray for them, James 5:16; and that we set an example of holy walking before them, Matt. 5:16.

Q. 13. What are those Christian virtues or graces which this commandment requires, in order to the preservation of life?

A. It requires for this end, "love, compassion, meekness, gentleness, kindness -- and comforting, and succouring the distressed."[86]

Q. 14. Why should we bear a love to mankind in general?

A. Because they are partakers of the same nature, and possessed of the same rational faculties with us, Acts 17:26, 28.

Q. 15. How does love contribute to the preservation of life?

A. It covers all those infirmities, and buries all those quarrels which tend to raise strife and variance among men, Prov. 10:12.

Q. 16. What influence has compassion, upon the duty here required?

A. It affects us so deeply with the calamities and miseries of our fellow creatures, that it inclines us to relieve them according to our ability, Luke 10:33, 34.

Q. 17. How does meekness tend to preserve life?

A. As it governs our passions, Prov. 14:29, and prevents our being easily disturbed at the unkind and unmannerly treatment of others, Col. 3:13.

Q. 18. How does gentleness contribute to the duty here mentioned?

A. As it excites to an affable and courteous behaviour towards all with whom we are conversant, 1 Pet. 3:8, and disposes us to put the most favourable construction upon any of their actions that may appear doubtful, 1 Cor. 13:5.

Q. 19. What influence has kindness upon preserving life?

A. As it excites us to the performance of all good offices in our power, both to the souls and bodies of men, Rom. 13:10, 12.

Q. 20. What should engage us to comfort and succour the distressed?

A. A desire to honour the Lord with our substance, Prov. 3:9; and to lend to him, who will surely pay us again, chap. 19:17.

[84] Larger Catechism, Question 135.

[85] Ibid.

[86] Ibid.

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