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suppose that, instead of holding it reprobation, I were now to preach in its defence, and to justify obedience to it, whenever a wrong is done us; what would be the effect I should produce? It would be this. Every ear that heard me'would receive the shock of offence; every good feeling of your hearts would be outraged; and every voice would indignantly proclaim me, the Preacher of unrighteousness, the Advocate of evil, the Minister of Satan, and not of God. I ask you seriously, if this would not be the effect of such defence and exhortation ? What then must that practice be, the vindication of which would do so great violence to the best feelings of your hearts, and draw down so strong an indignation on its Advocate? Must it not be wicked and indefensible in the extreme? Were I indeed to preach in its justification, or to offer an excuse for it in any case whatever, you might be angry with me, and yet not sin.
It has been said to me, by those too for whom I entertain sincere respect, and to whom I have long preached the Gospel
of Christ, that it is right in me, as a Minister of God, to deliver such sentiments from the pulpit; but that, under certain circumstances, and in certain situations of life, the good order and peace of society, and the preservation of individual character, render an obedience to the precept I inculcate, generally inexpedient, and often impossible. There cannot be an argument more fallacious than this. For if it is right in me, as a Minister of God, to enforce a precept; it is right in every one, as a worshipper of God, to obey it. The same obligation that binds me to preach the commandments of my heavenly Master, binds all men to observe them. If I inculcate a duty, I inculcate, not my own private opinion, but the revealed will of God; and it is positively absurd to say, that he has issued a cominand, of which any circumstance or situation of life can justify a violation. And I have yet to learn, how the good order and peace of society, or how the preservation of individual character, is consulted, by scattering abroad the seed of misery, and contracting the stain of uncharitableness and murder. Is there any occurrence of life, any station in which a man may be placed, any necessity of preserving a good name, that can render obedience to God inexpedient or impossible ? Surely they who think thus, cannot be aware of the impiety of their sentiments; for, by this mode of arguing, they do as much as say, that the observance of the Word of God may, in certain cases, be productive of mischief, and consequently that, on pressing occasions, it becomes a duty to act even in opposition to his commands.
But not only is. Duelling contrary to the Laws of God and Man; it is like. wise contrary to the * Law of Honour.
* If an officer refuse to fight a duel, he is branded, it seems, by his thoughtless companions, with the name of coward, and his life is rendered so uncomfortable, that he finds himself under the painful necessity of resigning his commission. He is made to suffer, because he cannot consent to become a deliberate murderer. He is assailed with terms of disgrace, because he has shown himself afraid to disobey his God. Entrust such a one with an enterprise of danger and duty, and I should feel a confidence, that he would be among the foremost in intrepidity, and be content to die
Never was there a term so perverted, so prostituted as this; 'neyer an exalted principle so often and so ingeniously tortured to serve the worst passions, and answer the vilest purposes of the human heart. Without' nobleness of mind there can be no true honour. But where, I would ask, is the nobleness of mind in revenging an injury? Where the nobleness of mind in deliberately spilling a brother's blood ? Where the nobleness of mind in suddenly sending a fellow-creature to appear before his Judge with all his sins upon his head? Where the nobleness of mind in plunging whole families into affliction and disgrace, in causing the affectionate Wife to drink the Widow's tears, and the helpless Orphan to call in
sooner than desert his post. When will this absurd principle, this unchristian feeling be banished from the breasts of men, whose profession entitles them to gratitude and respect, but whose arm is never raised with justice nor with honour except against the enemies of their country? It is, I am convinced, in the power of those who are in authority, to introduce into the army the principle, that it is honourable, in the best sense of the word, to forbear, under the worst provocations, raising the weapon of death against a brother's life.
vain for a Father's blessing? By attaching honour to deeds, which laws human and divine forbid, which the wisdom of ages has condemned, and at which every sense of justice and every feeling of humanity revolts, we degrade what is good in attempting to connect it with what is evil, and diminish the turpitude of an action in bringing a right principle to justify or palliate what is wrong.
He is a man of Honour, a man of a truly great and noble mind, who is above committing a bad action, who will not do what God has forbidden, though it be to his own temporal detriment, who will not in any way injure his fellow-creatures, and who will not surrender his virtue, nor sacrifice his duty, at the call of fashion and custom, nor barter the satisfaction of a good Conscience before God, for the empty and mistaken applauses of a wicked world. But he who, in defiance of the commands of Heaven, yields to the impulse of a violent passion, and consents to do a wrong action in compliance with a prevailing folly, has no more claim to be ranked among the sons of Honour,