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CHAPTER TWENTY SECOND.

CAPITAL PUNISHMENTS AS EXAMINED BY THE SCRIPTURES.

Closely connected with the doctrine of peace is that of Capital punishments. The true basis of the doctrine of peace is not absolute non-resistance; the existence of civil government, in the exercise of its authority to con, trol and to punish, is obviously recognized in the Scriptures ; and there are some extreme cases, (very few indeed, but still some extreme cases, ) where resistance and the use of force, so far as is necessary to disarm and confine the assailant, are justifiable and a duty ; but the basis of the great doctrine of peace, the one immutable principle, on which it stands and stands forever, is the INVIOLABILITY OF HUMAN LIFE. Human life is sacred ; it is the gift of God; it is that which nothing short of divine power can create; and no hand of man or angel, no principality or power of heaven or earth can lawfully touch it without the permission of that Being, who gave it existence. Hence the propriety and importance of saying something on the subject of Capital punishments. We oppose the practice of inflicting such punishments,

on the end of scripture prohibition, SECONDLY, gro

on and experience; and shall acsubject in that order.

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porpose to mention Mr. Jederson. The whole aspect of his Administration was pacifc. It is but justice to this distinguished man to a..ow, notwithstanding the asperity with which his character has sometimes been treated, that he possessed an intellect of the most capacious grasp, and a heart endued with the kindly and benevolent sensibilities. He saw clearly the tremendous evils of tyranny, religious intolerance, church establishments, war, and slavery ; and denounced them not with a humble whisper and affected meekness, but openly and boldly. He distrusted power, particularly military power; because history had taught him, that, in ninety nine cases out of an hundred, it had been perverted and abused to purposes of oppression. And this perhaps accounts for some measures in his Administration, which appeared singular enough to the advocates of the war policy. Abundance of ridicule was thrown on his gun-boat system, and his non-intercourse system, on his ultra-democracy, his experimental agriculture, and his philosophy; but it already begins to be whispered, that he both thought and acted with a foresight in advance of the age, in which he lived.

Undoubtedly he did. And Christians, who deeply lamented some peculiarities in his religious views, will not be slow, nor wanting in cordiality, in their commendation of his foresight, his independence, his regard for equal rights, his abhorrence of injustice, his broad and glowing views of the capabilities and advancement of mankind. And this is the man, saying nothing of others standing high in the ranks of politicians, who has given his seal, the ample and bright stamp of his expansive mind to the doctrine of non-intercourse as a practical and effective principle in the regulation of the affairs of nations.

CHAPTER TWENTY SECOND.

CAPITAL PUNISHMENTS AS EXAMINED BY THE SCRIPTURES.

Closely connected with the doctrine of peace is that of Capital punishments. The true basis of the doctrine of peace is not absolute non-resistance; the existence of civil government, in the exercise of its authority to con. trol and to punish, is obviously recognized in the Scriptures; and there are some extreme cases, (very few indeed, but still some extreme cases, ) where resistance and the use of force, so far as is necessary to disarm and confine the assailant, are justifiable and a duty ; but the basis of the great doctrine of peace, the one immutable principle, on which it stands and stands forever, is the INVIOLABILITY OF HUMAN LIFE.

Human life is sacred; it is the gift of God; it is that which nothing short of divine power can create; and no hand of man or angel, no principality or power of heaven or earth can lawfully touch it without the permission of that Being, who gave it existence. Hence the propriety and importance of saying something on the subject of Capital punishments. We oppose the practice of inflicting such punishments, FIRST, on the ground of scripture prohibition, secONDLY, on the ground of reason and experience; and shall accordingly treat of the subject in that order.

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It is our object in this Chapter to show, that the infliction of Capital punishments is unjustifiable and wrong, when viewed in the light of the Scriptures.—And here we would make the remark as worthy of some notice, that the advocates of war and of Capital punishments seem disposed to support their doctrines, so far as they conceive them to depend on the Word of God, by a reference to the Old Testament rather than to the New. But certainly we ought to keep in mind, that the successive dispensations, of which we have an account in the Old Testament, are all preparatory to the coming of the Savior ; that the revelations of the Old Testament are obviously and confessedly imperfect; and that the code, which stands elevated and complete, without any admixture of perishable elements, and which emphatically binds all mankind at the present moment, is that of the New Testament.--The prominent passage of the Old Testament, which, in the opinion of the advocates of Capital punishments, authorizes the adoption of the retaliatory principle even to the taking of life, is as follows: “Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed.” Gen, 9:6. In commenting on these expressions,we remark, in the first place that they are obviously not to be understood as a command, authorizing and requiring every one, by his own act and in his own person, to put to death any and every other individual, who has been guilty of murder. Such an interpretation, if carried out in practice, would soon fill the world with violence and confusion. Nor do we perceive, how they are to be understood as a command, authorizing and requiring even the civil magistrate to see this done ; there is certainly nothing said in the passage itself, which throws the responsibility of carrying it into effect on the civil magistrate ; and such an inference, although it might not necessarily be in opposition to the passage, is

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