for some ages, to act such horrid things, and receive such dreadful customs, as nothing but nature entirely abandoned of Heaven, and acted by some hellish degeneracy, could have run them into. But now when, as I have said, I began to be weary of the fruitless excursion which I had made so long and so far every morning in vain, so my opinion of the action itself began to alter; and I began, with cooler and calmer thoughts, to consider what it was I was going to engage in.
What authority or call I had to pretend to be judge and executioner upon these men as criminals, whom Heaven had thought fit, for so many ages, to suffer, unpunished, to go on, and to be, as it were, the executioners of His judgments one upon another? How far these people were offenders against me, and what right I had to engage in the quarrel of that blood which they shed promiscuously one upon another? I debated this very often with myself, thus: How do I know what God Himself judges in this particular case? It is certain these people either do not commit this as a crime; it is not against their own consciences' reproving, or their light reproaching them. They do not know it to be an offense, and then commit it in defiance of Divine justice, as we do in almost all the sins we commit. They think it no more a crime to kill a captive taken in war, than we do to kill an ox; nor to eat human flesh, than we do to eat mutton.
When I had considered this a little, it followed necessarily that I was certainly in the wrong in it; that these people were not murderers in the sense that I had before condemned them in my thoughts, any more than those Christians were murderers