Excerpts on the Moral Law and the Sixth Commandment from The Westminster Catechisms
From the Westminster Shorter Catechism on The Moral Law
Quest. 39. What is the duty which God requireth of man?
Ans. 39. The duty which God requireth of man, is obedience to his revealed will.
Quest. 40. What did God at first reveal to man for the rule of his obedience?
Ans. 40. The rule which God at first revealed to man for his obedience, was the moral law.
Quest. 41. Where is the moral law summarily comprehended?
Ans. 41. The moral law is summarily comprehended in the ten commandments.
Quest. 42. What is the sum of the ten commandments?
Ans. 42. The sum of the ten commandments is, To love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our mind; and our neighbor as ourselves.
From the Westminster Larger Catechism on the Sixth Commandment
Q. 134. Which is the sixth commandment?
A. The sixth commandment is, Thou shalt not kill.
Q. 135. What are the duties required in the sixth commandment?
A. The duties required in the sixth commandment are all careful studies, and lawful endeavors, to preserve the life of ourselves and others 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; by just defence thereof against violence, patient bearing of the hand of God, quietness of mind, cheerfulness of spirit; a sober use of meat, drink, physic, sleep, labour, and recreations; by charitable thoughts, love, compassion, meekness, gentleness, kindness; peaceable, mild and courteous speeches and behaviour; forbearance, readiness to be reconciled, patient bearing and forgiving of injuries, and requiting good for evil; comforting and succouring the distressed and protecting and defending the innocent.
Q. 136. What are the sins forbidden in the sixth commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the sixth commandment are, all taking away the life of ourselves, or of others, except in case of public justice, lawful war, or necessary defence; the neglecting or withdrawing the lawful and necessary means of preservation of life; sinful anger, hatred, envy, desire of revenge; all excessive passions, distracting cares; immoderate use of meat, drink, labor, and recreations; provoking words, oppression, quarreling, striking, wounding, and whatsoever else tends to the destruction of the life of any.