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THREE SERMONS ON SELF-MURDER.
2 Samuel xvii. 23.
And when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his ass, and arose, and gat him home to his house, to his city, and put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died, and was buried in the sepulchre of his father.
These words contain a plain account of what happened to a most unfortunate and wicked man; and to make them as useful as I can, I think it will be best to treat of them in this order: first, to speak to the disastrous end Ahithophel came to, he hanged himself, and died; secondly, to the occasion of it, he saw that his counsel was not followed; thirdly, something previous to his execution, he arose, gat him home to his house, to his city, and put his household in order; and, fourthly, to what followed, he was buried in the sepulchre of his father.
First, the disastrous end that Ahithophel came to, was, that he hanged himself. This was a death of infamy, and allotted by the laws to great malefactors: and therefore it is said, Deut. xxi. 23, he that is hanged is accursed of God; not for dying, but for deserving to die in that manner. It was his crime, not punishment, that made him accursed of God: his being hanged on a tree was to denote some great offence that deserved that punishment, and for which he had incurred the divine displeasure. And so, when our Saviour is said to be made a curse for us by dying on the cross, (which St. Peter, in Acts x. 39, calls hanging on a tree,) it is with respect to this sentence of the law in Deuteronomy. He bare our sins, and was put to the like death, and underwent the like ignominy with those offenders, who, under the law, were accursed of
FLEETWOOD, VOL. II. B