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animals, so are there in regard to man. His life may be taken away when it is clearly necessary for our own defence. In such a case reason suggests that we are to preserve our own life, though it be at the expense of that of another. But revelation gives the warrant in explicit terms. “If a thief be found breaking up, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him.” By parity of reason we are justifiable in all similar cases to defend ourselves and our families. Hence, the only ground on which war is justifiable. If individuals have the right to defend themselves from the assassin, and the robber, this right surely does not cease when they are assailed by a nation in their lives and property. They can only repel such an assault collectively; and they are acting in conformity with the divine law, when they unite, and use suitable means for such a repulsion.
The life of man may be also taken away when he commits crimes worthy of death. There is a crime to which the law of God has explicitly affixed this punishment. “ Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed.” It has been doubted whether it be just or expedient to annex death to any other offence. That it is so, appears to me clear from the fact, that the Jewish law connected this punishment with other crimes besides murder,-such as adultery, filial stubbornness, and idolatry,-a circumstance which proves at least that there may be cases in which it is lawful to visit various offences with this last and heaviest award. But this can only be allowable when it is quite manifest that no inferior punishment is adequate. All, therefore, who have in every age of the world been doomed to suffer under tyranny and oppression, and by the forms of law have been put to death for maintaining a good conscience, have been deprived of life contrary to the divine law, and are considered by the Supreme Judge as murdered.
Conscience, seconding the sentence of the law, announces to the murderer the fearful nature of his crime. “ The Almighty Creator and Preserver of man has provided against the frequency of this crime, by rendering the contemplation of it something, from which even the most abandoned shrink with a loathing which is, perhaps, the only human feeling that still remains in their heart; and the commission of it a source of a wilder
of horror than can be borne, even by the gloomy heart which was capable of conceiving the crime. When we read or hear of the assassin, who is driven by the anguish of his own conscience, to reveal to those whom most he dreaded, the secret which he was most anxious to hide addressing himself to the guardians, not of the mere laws which he has offended, but of the individual whom their protection, at that moment which is ever before his memory, was too powerless to save:when we think of the number of years that in many instances of this kind have elapsed, since the mortal blow was given, and of the inefficacy of time, which effaces all other sorrows, to lessen that remorse, which no one suspected to be the cause of the wasting of the cheek, and the gloomy melancholy of the eye,can we fail to regard a spectacle like this, as an awful testimony to the goodness of that Almighty
Protector of the world, who proportions the internal restraints of conscience, to the iniquity that needs to be restrained, and to the amount of evil that would flow from it, if unrestrained-and who, seeming to leave the life of every individual at the mercy arm, has secured for it a defence, in the very bosom of him whose hand was already almost raised to give the blow*.”
The actions in which this crime is involved doubtless participate of its guilt. Of this description are all those actions in which there is shewn a criminal disregard to human life, even though the direct object should not be to take it away. To form or to connive at plans for the death of others, or even to wish it, renders us liable to the charge of this most heinous crime. The indulgence of the evil passions that lead to it, as the divine law teaches us, such as unreasonable anger, envy and hatred, are evils of the same nature. “ Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment : But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause, shall be in danger of the judgment; and whosoever shall
to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire." He that hateth his brother is a murderer. By unkindness, ingratitude, faithlessness, improper restraints and severity, and by oppression, may we participate in the guilt of that greatest of crimes, the shortening of the lives of others.
Brown s Lectures, vol, iv. p. 191.
Duellers, unquestionably, are chargeable with this guilt. Their design is to gratify mortified pride by unwarrantably, and in express contradiction to the divine command, taking away life. It has the additional aggravation of being committed deliberately, under the influence of revengeful and implacable feelings, and without those excuses which the murderer in many cases can offer in extenuation. He perpetrates the deed, perhaps, under the agitation of extreme passion; but the duellist coolly aims at the life of a fellow-creature, and exposes his own. Το avoid the imputation of cowardice, does he thus shew himself to be a very coward, by not daring to bear, what many christian martyrs have borne before him, the scorn and reproach of the world, and by deserting the post, the friends, the duties, which God has assigned him. In general, too, the persons who are chargeable with this crime are educated, have the means of being acquainted with the atrocious enormity of murder in every case, and of knowing that in them it is most deeply aggravated, inasmuch as they aim at taking away life contrary to the feelings of humanity, to the unbiassed voice of reason and of conscience, to the requirements of law, and to the command of the Eternal God.
In short, in whatever light the crime of duelling is viewed, whether as a deliberate violation of the law of God, an offence against our fellow-creature, and as most pernicious in its tendency and consequences, it must b pronounced a foul and atrocious murder. And what is the express injunction of God regarding the person chargeable with this iniquity ? " Ye shall
take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death : but he shall surely be put to death. Ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are; for blood, it defileth the land; and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it."
THE DUTY OF AVOIDING WHATEVER HAS A DIRECT TENDENCY
TO ABRIDGE HUMAN LIFE-DRUNKENNESS.
The duty of abstaining from injuring the person or life of our fellow-creatures extends to all the means that have a direct tendency to abridge human existence. One of these is drunkenness,-a crime, the guilt of which may be estimated by the evils immediate and remote which it produces. This habit, like all other habits, is formed gradually, and advances from occasional acts of inebriety to frequent and regular intoxication. The circumstances which lead to its formation, or rather which present ever-recurring inducements to its formation, are obvious,—such as example, unrestrained access to strong drink, evil company, and, in some cases, depression of spirits, from which relief is sought in a stimulant, the frequent use of which aggravates the malady. When the mind loses its usual tone and energy by unexpected calamities, by the loss of reputation, of friends, or of property; by disappointment in favourite pursuits, how often is there recourse to strong drink as affording a temporary remedy!
The evil and odiousness of this sin appear by the