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ly destroyed by the prevalence of this very doctrine in its House of Representatives. Such a nation would publicly proclaim itself an unresisting prey to the rest of mankind; and, like the deer, would become a victim to the fangs of the wolf and the tiger. That War is lawful in the abstract we know with certainty; because it has been directly commanded, unequivocally approved, and miraculously prospered, by God. He commanded Israel to make war upon Amalek, until the name of that guilty nation should be blotted out from under heaven. In the same manner, He commanded them to make war upon the inhabitants of Canaan; and approved of their conduct in making war upon that people. In the same manner He commanded the Israelites to make war repeatedly upon Midian and upon Hazor; censured the tribe of Reuben, and by His Angel commanded the Israelites to curse Meroz, because they neglected, or refused, to make active exertions in this war. He also miraculously aided the Israelites against Midian, .1malek, the Philistines, and others. See Exodus xvii. 8. Judges vii. 1 Samuel vii. and 2 Samuel v. But all, that has been commanded, approved, and miraculously prospered, by God, is in itself right. For it is impossible, that God should either command, or approve of, that which is wrong. The only question, therefore, which can be rationally made in this case, is, In what circumstances is war lawful ? With this question it cannot be supposed, that I have here any conCern. Secondly. The life of man may be lawfully taken away, when by crimes it has been forfeited to the law of the land. Mankind are commanded in the original law concerning murder, given us in Gen. ix. to put the murderer to death. Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed. In the Mosaic code the same punishment is annexed to a variety of crimes; such as adultery, filial stubbornness, idolatry, and several others. In each of these cases men are required to take away human life, as the proper punishment of a crime, by which it has been forfeited ; and are not merely warranted to do this by a permission. In the former case, the command is addressed to all men. Accordingly we find it repeated by Solomon, as an universal pre

cept, in the most absolute terms. A man, that doeth violence to the blood of any person, he shall flee to the pit: let no man stay him. It is also made a part of the Jewish law in various places. Exodus xxi. 12, 14. ; Lev. xxiv. 17. ; and very comprehensively, Numb. xxxv. 16, &c. In the latter cases, the command is addressed to the Israelites. The Jewish law is binding upon other nations only in those cases, whose nature is unchangeable and universal; or in those, in which the circumstances are precisely the same. Still, this law is a complete proof of the absolute rectitude of that conduct, which it prescribes. For, God cannot possibly prescribe that which is wrong. The same law also teaches, that, in the same circumstances, the same conduct may, with the strictest propriety, be pursued by us. For, God cannot command that, which, in the given circumstances, is unwise. It is evidently lawful, therefore, for other nations, as well as the Jews, to put men to death for other crimes beside murder. But in every case of this nature, we are, in my view, forbidden by the general spirit of the Gospel, and, as I apprehend, by the plain dictates of Reason also, to take away life, wherever a milder punishment may be safely substituted. Murder, we are bound invariably to punish with death. For every other crime, a milder penalty may, and ought to be, adopted, whenever it will answer the proper ends of punishment. All evils, which are suffered beyond the necessary purposes of penal jurisprudence, are suffered gratuitously; or, in other words, without any justifying cause. In this case, the infliction ceases to be justice; and becomes oppression. It is ever to be remembered, that, even when the punishment of death is lawfully to be inflicted, it can be warrantably executed only by the magistrate; and by him, only when acting according to the decisions of law. Private individuals have no more right to interfere, than if the man condemned were innocent; and were they to lay violent hands on him, although proved to be guilty, and rightfully condemned, they would themselves become murderers. Nor can the Judge lawfully condemn any man, whatever he may think concerning the rectitude of the decision, unless upon adequate legal testimony, fairly exhibited

in open court, and in exact conformity to the modes of trial, by Vol. IV. 22

law established. Neither can the Executive Magistrate warrantably do any thing, in a case of this nature, beside merely executing the sentence of the Judge; whether he esteems that sentence just, or unjust. The time, the manner, and the circumstances, of execution, ordered by law, he is bound exactly to observe. A criminal, although condemned to death, may, instead of being executed, be murdered; and that as truly, as any other man. The Sheriff, also, can easily lay aside the character of a Magistrate, and assume that of a Murderer. At the same time, all magistrates, in whatever station they act, are indispensably prohibited from the exercise of hatred, or revenge, in every form, and degree, against the criminal. Magistrates here, as well as elsewhere, are Ministers of God for good to his people. In the awful employment of executing penal justice, it is their unalterable duty to exercise the benevolence of the Gospel; to be exactly just, and faithful; and to rule in the fear of God. As instruments in His hand, disposed conscientiously to do that, and that only, which is required by his will, and demanded by the Public safety, they will be approved by Him; and ought ever to be highly honoured by their fellow-citizens. But, if they turn aside from their duty; and indulge their own passions, instead of obeying the dictates of public justice; they assume the character of oppressors, and lay aside that of rulers; merit the severest censures of their fellowmen; and prepare a terrible account of their stewardship against the final day. II. I shall mention several instances, in which life is destroyed in contradiction to this command. Of these, the only one which I shall mention at the present time, is that, which is appropriately called Murder; usually defined to be killing our neighbour with premeditated malice. On this subject, so long, so often, and so thoroughly, canvassed, so perfectly understood, and so harmoniously considered by mankind, it cannot be necessary to dwell. I shall dismiss it, therefore, with this single observation: that the very necessity of forbidding this crime, a necessity daily and unanswerably manifested, is a most dreadful proof of the excessive depravity of Annail,

I shall now proceed to make several observations, more necessary, and more instructive to this Audience, concerning several crimes, more or less intimately connected with this subject. First. All those actions, which involve murder, are undoubtedly of the same nature. Such are the burning of a house, supposed by the Incendiary to be inhabited; making a dangerous leak in a ship, having men on board; shooting, or casting the instruments of death into a crowd; Treason; Rebellion; and other acts of a similar nature. It is to no purpose, here, for the perpetrator to allege, that death may, possibly, not be the consequence of his nefarious conduct. Had he any other regard to the value of human life, and to the sacred obligation, which he is under, not only not to invade, but to preserve, it, beside what a murderer feels; he would never be guilty of the conduct, nor think of this reason as a justification of it. A bare possibility of this nature must be alleged, if alleged at all, not to convince, but to affront, the understanding. Secondly. Under this head are also included all those actions, by which the life of man is destroyed through a criminal Negligence. There are many cases, in which we may easily foresee, that the death of others will be a consequence of our negligence. A sacred regard to the value of human life, duly felt by us, would necessarily produce that attentive care, which, so far as is in our power, would insure safety to the lives of our fellow-men. Thirdly. To contrive the death of others is a crime of the same general nature. The crime of murder lies in the dispositions, and designs, of the heart. To constitute us murderers in the sight of God, it is not necessary, that we should be guilty of any overt act whatever. It is amply sufficient to contrive the death of others. So plain is this truth, that it has been generally acknowledged by mankind. The real, and the prime, guilt, probably, almost always lies here. The Providence of God not unfrequently prevents the contrivance from being executed. But the contriver is still a murderer in his sight. Fourthly. To wish the death of others, although we form no plans for accomplishing it, is a crime of the same general nature. He, who looketh on a woman to lust after her, saith our Saviour, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. By parity of reason, wishes, indulged against the life of our neighbour, are the commission of murder. There are probably many persons, who secretly wish the death of their fellow-men, and who, yet, never form, nor think of forming, any plan to accomplish their death. Most, if not all, of these, perhaps, feel little remorse at the remembrance of their conduct; and probably rarely suspect themselves of being even remotely concerned in transgressing this command. Every such person is grossly deceived; and will be found charged with the guilt of murder at the final Judgment. Fifthly. To wound our neighbour, and deprive him of the use of his limbs, or faculties, is a crime of the same nature ; though, I acknowledge, of inferior guilt. Although to destroy another's limbs is not to take away his life; it is yet to take away a part of the usefulness, and comfort, which make life desirable. We may continue to live, when we are rendered chiefly useless, and unhappy. But life itself, so far as this world is concerned, must be of little value to the possessor. Nor can it easily be believed, that he, whose malevolence can be gratified by depriving his neighbour of his limbs, or other peculiarly important blessings, would, under a little additional provocation, be reluctant to take his life. Sixthly. Quarrelling and Fighting are crimes, evidently of the same nature. A great part of the murders, committed in this world, are merely the conclusions, or catastrophes, of these crimes. So evident is this, that nothing is more common, with respect to an existing quarrel, than to hear the persons, who mention it, express their apprehensions, that it may terminate in murder. Indeed, the spirit, which begets contentions of this nature, is only an inferior degree of that, which malignantly destroys the life of man. The beginning of strife, says Solomon, is as when one letteth out water: an evil, the degree, the mischiess, and the end, of which can never be anticipated by the human mind. Seventhly. All violent, unreasonable anger, envy, and hatred, are evils of the same nature. Christ, in commenting on the Sixth Command, says, Whosoever

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