Here is an excerpt:
Although difficult for modern man to fathom, it was once widely believed that life was a gift from God, that to not defend that life when offered violence was to hold God's gift in contempt, to be a coward and to breach one's duty to one's community. A sermon given in Philadelphia in 1747 unequivocally equated the failure to defend oneself with suicide:
- He that suffers his life to be taken from him by one that hath no
- authority for that purpose, when he might preserve it by defense,
- incurs the Guilt of self murder since God hath enjoined him to seek
- the continuance of his life, and Nature itself teaches every creature
- to defend itself.