Calvin on the sanctity of life
Yesterday was sanctity of life Sunday; providentially, my pastors reached the sixth commandment in their series in Exodus.
Since the Law comprehends under the word murder, all the wrongs whereby men are unjustly injured, that cruelty was especially to be condemned by which those wretched persons are afflicted, whose calamity ought rather to conciliate our compassion. For, if any particle of humanity exists in us, when we meet a blind man we shall be solicitous lest he should stumble or fall, and, if he goes astray, we shall stretch out our hands to him and try to bring him back into the way; we shall also spare the deaf, for to insult them is no less absurd or barbarous than to assail stones with reproaches. It is, therefore, gross brutality to increase the ills of those whom our natural sense impels us to relieve, and who are already troubled more than enough. Let us, then, learn from these words, that the weaker people are, the more secure ought they to be from all oppression or injury, and that, when we attack the defenseless, the crime of cruelty is greatly aggravated, whilst any insult against [those who suffer calamity] is altogether intolerable to God.
— John Calvin, Harmony of the Law, Volume 3
Calvin indicates that, negatively, in the sixth commandment God especially forbids us from bringing harm to the weak. Positively, God requires us to defend the weak.
This is why abortion is such a critical — and unusually political — issue for the church today: it is a matter of obedience and worship to God. With largely private sins our primary responsibility is to preach the gospel — pleading with men to let go of their sin and turn to Christ. But abortion is not a private sin; it represents the murder of the most weak and defenseless persons of all. As such we are bound by duty and love not only to call individuals to repentance and faith, but to earnestly contest this murder by every possible legitimate means.
Crossposted to Reflections on Upchurch