Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

than the unprincipled despoiler of another's property, or the unworthy calumniator of an honest fame.

Duelling has also been called a proof of Courage. Here again a noble quality of the soul is pressed into the service of sin. What ! is it courage to do evil, because we dread the reproaches of a misjudging world ? Is it courage to murder a fellow-creature, perhaps a former friend, in cold blood, because we are afraid of being called cowards ? Is it courage to be ashamed of Christ and his religion ? Is it courage to do that from which nothing but misery and mischief must ensue, and which never can produce, and never has produced, a single benefit to a single individual in any view or shape whatever? No, it is not courage, but cowardice; for he who surrenders his will to wicked actions in order to escape the censure, and receive the approbation, of the thoughtless and profane, gives proof of a little mind, subdued by a false shame, and incapable of bold exertion in the trial of duty. He is the truly courageous man who resists temptations to evil, who fears God more than men, and who, whatever may be, thought or said of him, nobly resolves, and as nobly dares, to discharge his duty, whether it lie in action or in suffering, in obedience to the commands of the Lord his God. Like the oak, he stands firm amidst the storm, defies the impotent blasts that

rage around his head, and outlives the fury that threatened to root him from his soil.

I know the power and inveteracy of prejudice, the difficulty of pouring truths into minds wedded to a favourite error, and the pertinacity with which men adhere to the opinions they have once maintained, how weak soever the ground on which they rest for support:* I am not,

* Some men, and especially those who have yielded themselves servants to obey the authority of this evil custom, will, I am aware, on reading these my observations, turn them into ridicule, and perhaps go so far as to accuse their author of meanness of spirit, and of ignorance of the world; but I feel a full persuasion, that there is not a truly pious man in the kingdom, whether in or out of the army, who will not upon this subject coincide with me in opinion, and acknowledge, that my sentiments are founded upon truth, and drawn from the revealed wisdom of God himself.

therefore, sanguine in my hopes of convincing those, who are somewhat advanced in life, and who think duelling, under peculiar circumstances, unavoidable, that what I have said upon this subject is strictly true, and agreeable to the Word of God. But I am now particularly endeavouring to instil principles into the minds of the young. Here I have ground to work upon, where, I trust, the seeds of prejudice and error have not yet been sown, or have not yet taken root too deep to be eradicated.

Let me, therefore, exhort you, my young hearers, to permit no consideration whatever, no false sense of honour, no acute feeling of injury, no absurd plea of necessity, no weak compliance with a wicked custom, no fear of temporal privation or suffering, to induce you to point the weapon of death at the breast of a fellow-creature. Let it be your fixed principle always to fear God more than Men; always be more anxious to avoid his displeasure, than to obtain their applause; to secure his favour, than to incur their condemnation. Do your duty, as enjoined by God and Christ, and dread not being termed cowards; for none will call you such, but those who have imbibed mistaken notions of true courage and of religious obligation. Do your duty, and fear not disgrace; for none will wish to heap it upon you, but such as have not God before their eyes. Do your duty, and good men will applaud you, and admit you into their fellowship; your own hearts will justify your conduct, and the consciousness that God looks down upon you with an eye of approbation, recording every sacrifice and every suffering for his name's sake in the Book of Heaven, will raise you far above the scorn and contumely of the wicked.

If you have injured another, humble the foolish pride of your nature, and ask his forgiveness; for surely you must allow, that there is more true honour in acknowledging an error, than in neglecting to repair an injustice. Should he refuse to hear you, and thirst for your blood, which is not probable, do not add to your injury by committing murder, and giving him an opportunity to do the same,

* If wronged in your own persons, show that you possess the spirit, and are governed by the principles of your holy religion, and freely, nobly, generously forgive. By so doing, you will discharge your duty in the sight of God, will recommend your profession by exhibiting in your conduct its inild and merciful effects, will feel the pleasure of doing an act of benevolence and peace, and, probably, enjoy at last the delightful satisfaction of having converted an enemy into a friend, and taught him by conciliation a lesson, which he would never have learnt from prosecution or redress.

If wronged in the persons of those who

a

* The professed object of him who sends a challenge to another is, to obtain satisfaction for an injury done him. Now I would seriously ask any man in his senses, what possible satisfaction can be received from this summary mode of redressing a wrong; God is disobeyed; human laws are violated; a brother's life is destroyed; families are involved in misery; and the survivor himself is disgraced in the estimation of the good; and his peace of mind, if he has any consciousness of a future retribution, and a heart not wholly destitute of feeling, broken for ever; where then is the satisfaction ?

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »