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small-pox into my family; and has thus produced the death of my child. He has impeached my Christian character; and has thus procured my excommunication from the Church of Christ. All these injuries are incomparably greater than those, which usually occasion duels. But who, that # any conscience, or any common sense, will say, that I am warranted, for any, or all, of them, to put . neighbour to death? Who does not see, that were these and other injuries, of a similar nature, to be retributed in this manner, a nation would be converted into banditti, and their country into a field of blood? 8. The Duellist acts against the most powerful and persuasive reasons; unanswerably obliging him to abstain from this guilty conduct. In the first place, He most wickedly exposes his own life to destruction. On this subject I shall not dwell at present, because 1 expect to consider the subject of suicide in the succeeding disCourse. Secondly. He wickedly deserts the duties, which he owes to his family and friends. If he has parents; he owes them reverence; gratitude; strong affection; filial care in sickness, and old age, support if they need it; and the innumerable consolations, which that evil day so affectingly demands, and which none but a child is either able or willing to give. Particularly, he owes them that exquisite enjoyment, which is found in the affectionate, virtuous, . amiable, conduct of our beloved offspring. If he has a Wife; he owes her all that provision for her wants, and for her comfort; the consolations in sickness, and in sorrow; the kindness and tenderness; the faithful and affectionate attention to her happiness; which he has engaged in the marriage covenant: a covenant, involving, substantially, the same obligations with those of an oath. If he ń. Children; he owes them sustenance, education in knowledge, business, and religion; his instructions, and his government; his example, and his prayers. But all these duties, required by the Infinite Authority of God, and in the two last cases voluntarily assumed also by himself, he basely deserts; and, by entering the field of slaughter, cuts them off from the possibility of receiving, and himself from the power of performing, them. At the same time, he leaves them of. through life, in the hopeless agonies of remembering, and feeling, that he voluntarily went as an or to the slaughter; died as a fool dieth; and in the combined perpetration of Suicide and Murder, entered, without a prayer, and without a hope of forgiveness, into the presence of his Judge. But jī. (a thing which he has no right to expect) survive the conflict; he survives only to present to his Parents a son, to his wife a husband, and to his children a father, blackened with the guilt of cold, deliberate, murder. In the mean time, he has tempted his neighbour to the same enormous sin; and entailed upon his family and friends, also, the same tremendous evils. Thirdly. He does incalculable and irreparable injuries to his Country. He weakens the Government of his country by practically adopting a principle, which, if right in him, would be equally right in all others; and which, if adopted by them, would destroy social order in a moment: viz. that an individual is to be his own Judge in his own cause. He injures his country, also by robbing it of the services and life of one of its members; in all probability, more important, as the case may be, and has been, to its safety and welfare, than those of millions, like himself. Finally, he injures his country ol. as well as irreparably, in contributing by his opinions, and example, to authorize, extend, and perpetuate, the same baleful iniquity in his fellow-men.
1. The observations, made in this Discourse, present to us one of the strongest examples of human depravity.
Life, to man, is his all. On it every thing is suspended, which man can call his own : his enjoyments, his hopes, his usefulness, and his salvation. Our own life is to us, therefore, invaluable. As we are most reasonably required to love our neighbour as ourselves; his life ought, in our estimation, to possess the same value. In conformity to these views, mankind have universally regarded those who have violently deprived others of life, with supreme abhorrence, and branded their names with singular infamy. Murderers have been punished, in every age and country, with the most awful expressions of detestation, with the most formidable array of terror, and with the most excruciating means of agony. On the heads of murderers, at the same time, mankind have heaped curses without bounds. The city of Refuge; nay, the Altar itself, a strong tower of defence to every other criminal; has lost its hali. character, at the approach of a murderer; and emptied him out of its sacred recesses into the hands of the Avenger of blood. God hath said, .4 man that doeth violence to the blood of any person, he shall flee to the pit : let no man stay him. In solemn response, the world has cried, Amen.
But all these sentiments, all these rights, all the obligations of this law, the Duellist has violated. Nay, he has violated them in cold blood; with the deliberation of system ; in the season of serenity; in the tranquillity of the closet. This violation he has made a part of his ". and settled purpose of his life; a governing rule of his conduct. All this he has done amid the various advantages of birth and education; under the light of Science; with the Bible in his hand; and before the altar of his God. He has done it all, also, in the face of arguments, which have commanded the conviction of all mankind, except himself; and which would have convinced him, had his mind been honestly open to
the force of argument. His opinions have been a thousand times exposed : his arguments have been a thousand times refuted. Against him have been arrayed, in every Christian country, the common sense of mankind, the feelings of humanity, the solemn voice of Law, and the Infinitely awful command of the Eternal God. With a moral hardihood, not often exampled even in this world, he encounters them all; overcomes them all; and goes coolly onward to the work of destruction: as coolly, as if he were only performing a duty. How sinful must that heart be, which can act in this manner! 2. The Government of every country is bound, indispensably, to 3. Duelling with exemplary severity; and, wherever death has een the consequence, with death. From the observations which have been made in this discourse, it is clear, that few cases of murder occur among mankind, equally atrocious, or equally deserving of death, with that, which is committed in a duel. Every thing, pertaining to this subject, also, tends towards this issue, as regular and uniform means towards their proper ends. The crime being as gross and heinous, as murder in other cases; deserves the same punishment. It is, also, far more dangerous to a community, than murder in the customary acceptation. The persons, whom Duelling especially threatens, are, in many instances, persons of distinction; formidable obstacles to the ambition of Duellists; persons, who by their influence and talents would naturally become important instruments of the Public ood; persons, against whom the vulgar assassin rarely aims the stroke of his dagger. At the same time, the ravages of Duelling are far more j. extended; and the number of its victims is of course far more multiplied. The manner, in which God has judged concerning this subject, is awfully displayed in the following passage: If a man smite any person with an instrument of iron, so that he die; he is a murderer; the murderer shall surely be put to death. And if he smile him with throwing a stone wherewith he may die, and he die; he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death. Or if he smite him with an hand-weapon of wood, wherewith he may die, and he die; he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death. The revenger of blood himself shall slay the murderer; when he meeteth him, he shall slay him. And if he thrust him of hatred, or hurl at him by lying of wait, that he die; or in enmity smite him with his hand, that he die; he that smote him shall surely be put to death: for he is a murderer. The Revenger of blood shal! slay the murderer, when he meeteth him. Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses : but one witness shall not #'s. against any person, to cause him to die. Moreover, ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death: but he shall be surely put to death. And ye shall take no satisfaction for him that is fled to
the city of his refuge, that he should come again to dwell in the land, until the death of the high priest. So ye shall not pollute the land, wherein ye are : for blood it deftleth the land; and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood, that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it. , Defile not, therefore, the land which ye shall inhabit, wherein I dwell: for I, JEHovah, dwell among the children of Israel.
Exodus xx. 13.-Thou shall not kill.
THE next violation of this Command, which I shall have occasion to consider, is Suicide, or Self-JMurder. In examining this subject I shall,
I. Consider the principal arguments, urged in Justification of Suicide: and,
II. Shall allege several Proofs of its Criminality.
Before I proceed to the consideration of the arguments, which have been supposed to justify Suicide, it will be necessary to ob. serve, that there are two, totally distinct classes of mankind, by which this crime is committed: those who are labouring under the disease of melancholy, or that of derangement; and those, who act, in the same manner, in the full possession of their faculties. In the former of these classes the mental powers are so much disordered, as greatly to change, if not absolutely to annihilate, the criminality. The latter are guilty of this crime, in the same sense as of any other. To the former class, it is obvious, arguments on this or any other topic can be of no use; if addressed to them while under the influence of these infirmities. An habitual conviction of the turpitude of this crime, established in their minds, when possessed of their full strength and soundness, may, indeed, and not improbably, so far influence them, as to prevent this terrible catastrophe. In their diseased state, such of them, as have fallen under my observation, have been incapable of being controlled by the force of argument. The observations, which I shall o concerning this subject, will, therefore, be directed to those of the latter class: to men, who, in the full possession of their reason, from sudden passion, from disappointment in the pursuit of some darling object; such as Fame, Power, Wealth, or Pleasure; the loss of some important enjoyment; the sufferance of some severe disgrace; or the dread of some expected evil; put an end to their lives. These men, though acting thus irrationally under the pressure of violent feeling, may yet be reasoned with in their cooler moments. In these moments a conviction may, perhaps, be wrought, and principles established in their minds, which may control the distempered thoughts, and prevent the dangerous decisions, too naturally springing up in seasons of violent agitation.
Vol. III. 47