Puritan Perspective Pertaining to Our Present Pandemic


Puritan Thomas Watson, in his Body of Divinity, gave thought to circumstances that presently pertain to us today in the midst of pandemic. Perhaps most particularly for Americans, who have been blessed with a measure of freedoms rarely matched, and certainly never exceeded, in all of history, the current “stay at home” mandates by a number of our Nations governors causes many to chafe.  There is a feared oppression of religious freedoms. Whether those fears are valid or merely presumed may yet to be determined.

Watson wrote, applying the 6th Commandment:

“Thou shalt not hurt thy own body.  One may be guilty of self-murder…  Indirectly and occasionally, as:

First, When a man thrusts himself into danger which he might prevent; as if a company of archers were shooting, and one should go and stand in the place where the arrows fly, if the arrow did kill him, he is accessory to his own death.

In the law, God would have the leper shut up, to keep others from being infected. Now, if any would be so presumptuous as to go in to the leper, and get the plague of leprosy, he might thank himself; he occasioned his own death.

Secondly, A person may be in some sense guilty of his own death, by neglecting the use of means.  If sick, and use no physic, if he has received a wound and will not apply balsam, he hastens his own death.  God appointed Hezekiah to lay a “lump of figs upon the boil”. (Isaiah 38.21)  If he had not used the lump of figs, he had been the cause of his own death.

And on the 7th Commandment:

Come not into the company of a whorish woman; avoid her house, as a seaman does a rock. Proverbs 5.8: “Come not near the door of her house.”  He who would not have the plague, must not come near houses infected; every whore-house has the plague in it.

Not to beware of the occasion of sin, and yet pray, “Lead us not into temptation,” is, as if one should put his finger into the candle, and yet pray that it may not be burnt.

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