Life's Preservative Against Self-Killing (eBook)

by John Sym

in ePub, .mobi & .pdf formats

This text has been initially updated from EEBO-TCP by Project Puritas (Logan West, David Jonescue, Alex Sarrouf) Further revision and editing done by Monergism. Copyright Monergism via universal text usage permission from the above. 

A useful treatise concerning life and self-murder; shewing; The Kinds, and Means of them both: The Excellency and preservation of the former: The Evil, and prevention of the latter. 

To the Readers of this Treatise

And to my Auditors in my Ministry; specially my ever much respected loving Friends, and respective Parishioners, the Inhabitants of Leigh in Essex: Grace and Peace be multiplied.

THis Treatise I can neither commend to you, from the pleasantness of the nature of the subject of it, which is about Self-murder; that is a wickedness not to be named among Christians, in regard of liking, or practice thereof: nor yet can I magnify it to you for anything that is simply mine in it; although there is much more mine in it, than might have been, if there had been full and complete Tractates made by other men of that subject; whence I might have borrowed more, and have had more help, than now I could, to have made this a more perfect and better polished piece.

I doubt not but it shall be found, in the advised and candid perusal thereof, to carry in all the passages thereof the impress and stamp of truth; for which it may be worthy of your acceptation, both for information of judgment; and also for direction of practice, in many important points and cases.

Although I did not obtrude it to the press for public use, upon mine own mere motion, or presumptuous self-conceit; yet I need not make Apology for my publication thereof, from the encouragements and furtherance of such persons, whose worth of Judgment and power of godliness is such, as might be sufficient to put me forward to it; seeing that, in these days, wherein so many do most wretchedly, and unnaturally kill themselves, it is a Tractate too necessary and useful: which sufficiently warrants me, upon and with the approbation of the Church, to divulge the same to the worlds view and service.

Although many men of learning and worth, Casuists, Schoolmen, and other Divines: Protestants, and Papists, Ancient and moderne, transmarine, and Domestic have occasionally, or but briefly couched and condemned Self-murder; yet I have met with no single, nor complete Treatise of it. And therefore, seeing how requisite and needful it is that there were in these days, such an entire Tractate of that subject, when as of most other subjects, and of many less necessary there is a surcharge of books and pamphlets; and finding myself, in this particular unprevented by others of a Birth and opportunity free for me to adventure to the Sea of publicness, I have embarked myself in this bottom of dismal denomination from Self-killing; which notwithstanding spreads and carries in the fore-top, and in the Ensign upon the Poup, the white and comfortable Colors of Life's preservation, having all her force and ordnance bent against Self-murder; to overcome and sink the same; for which purpose it displays the Flag of bloody colors against it in the main Top of every page. And thus I have, for the good both of Church and Common-wealth, and of the souls and bodies of men, (all which this subject doth nearly concern,) adventured to commit myself to the stormy and inconstant Ship-wrecking Ocean of this tumultuous and tempestuous world, under the sails of the press, with flown sheets, quo fata ferunt, whither divine providence will carry me. I pray for heavens favor; for the worlds fair weather; and for a prosperous voyage: desiring that my auspicable attempt may occasion and provoke others of better abilities to perfect my good meaning and weak Assay, by their more exquisite performances; and that myself may not be discouraged, by counterblasts, or ill success, in my first setting sails out into the worlds view.

The Contents and worth of the Treatise will be apparent to the judicious Readers, upon the advised perusal thereof: and the fruit of the same will show itself, in the Effects of it: and according to your esteem in both, I doubt not but you will entertain and regard it. I pray you read considerately every passage thereof, and the whole to the end, before you rashly censure, condemn, or reject anything therein, upon the first mistake; either of the matter, or of the Authors meaning. What shall be, upon good reasons, manifested to me to be therein amiss, I will willingly endeavor to amend and correct; with respective thankfulness to the Informer.

I affect not to stand upon the pinnacle of publicness; objected to the contrary blasts of everybody's impetuous censure, neither agreeing within themselves, nor many times with the truth; where passion, prejudices, or their own private unsound principles, and by-respects yield them the premises of their conclusions.

Although I am, in some sort, under an obligation of ancient intention to have made something public, about the body of Practical and Case-divinity; yet I may be excused for not performing; because the precipitating zeal and bold undertakings of less considerate youth are often commendably moderated, or recalled, by more mature and better advised age.

I find so much, and so well, scatteredly done by others (of great worth for judgment, piety, and experience,) touching that subject; which collected into one body, out of their writings public and private, may suffice. And also I do perceive that it may be hurtful, besides the difficulty of it, to descend particularly and punctually to the special definite and public determination in Print, of all incident cases, as the same may be diversified, by their several circumstances and accidents: whereupon I have been hitherto deterred from that task; which requires the united wisdom and experience of all the most practically-judicious, pious, and profound Divines.

For the present, this Tractate I commend to your use. And above all, as I stand most bound, I commend it to you my much respected Auditors and friends of my peculiar charge; whereupon I have faithfully, although in weak manner, attended and bestowed my labors in my ministry these seven and twenty years, and upward; (in succession to a most Reverend, Judicious and godly Divine, a Father both to you and me,) endeavoring to do you all the best service and good that I could: and (I thank God) not without comfort of some fruit of my pains among you; although it be not so much as I would, for the salvation and welfare of you all; from whom neither any intestine discontents, nor external invitations could ever hitherto prevail to draw me, to whom I found myself so strongly obliged and tied, both by my comfortable calling, and the Churches order, to be yours; and also by our mutual entire affection and respects each of us to other; begun with your Ancestors, and continued with yourselves as the same ought to be between a Minister and his parishioners or people.

In which regard I leave and commend unto you this Treatise, for a monument and witness, in times to come, of remembrance of your true and dear Friend; whose last farewell, he would be loath should be concluded with this less-pleasant subject. Wherein (I confess) my care is most for you, that you may have benefit, by that now subjected to your eyes; which for the most part of it, you have heard sounding in your cares.

For which purpose, I beseech God through Jesus Christ, to give a blessing; and to watch over, and keep, build up and strengthen you all in his grace, love and fear unto the end; and in the End give both you and me the Crown of eternal glory with all the blessed Saints in heaven. Amen.

And so he leaves you that remains ever,

Your own JOHN SYM.

Leigh in Essex.


Table of Contents

Right Honorable

The Preface to the Readers of this Treatise

To the Christian Reader

CHAPTER 1. The general description of Self-murder.

CHAPTER 2. Of the kinds of the life of man.

CHAPTER 3. Of natural life in general.

CHAPTER 4. Of man's natural life more specially.

CHAPTER 5. Of man's spiritual life.

CHAPTER 6. Of life's destruction, and of murder in general.

CHAPTER 7. Of murder, as it is of oneself.

CHAPTER 8. Of spiritual self-murder in special.

CHAPTER 9. Of bodily self-murder in special.

CHAPTER 10. Of the kinds of bodily self-murder.

CHAPTER 11. Of Indirect self-murder of the body.

CHAPTER 12. Of direct bodily self-murder.

CHAPTER 13. Of direct self-murderers.

CHAPTER 14. Of the usual means and furtherance's of self-murdering.

CHAPTER 15. The self-murderers motives to kill themselves.

CHAPTER 16. The introducement and entrance into self-murderer.

CHAPTER 17. Arguments against self-murder, proving the same to be utterly unlawful.

CHAPTER 18. Whether all self-murderers be damned everlastingly, with the Devil in hell.

CHAPTER 19. Antidotes for prevention of self-murder.

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