« AnteriorContinuar »
those principles which constitute to lay aside their controversies, the basis of Christianity, bat in or to manage them with moderaz every sentiment of special im- tion and charity. The little dis. portance ; and that they are one tinctions, which would remain in the temper of their minds, all among them, would not confine aciuated by the same motives, the noble freedom of their love, all serving the same divine Lord, Narrow party spirit would ex: pursuing the same object, and pire ; while the discussion of partaking the same pleasure. points on which they differed, be: How would the discovery of this ing conducted with good temper agreement stifle every unfriend- and with prayer, would undoubtly passion and banish alienation. edly introduce an increasing uniHow would Christians be asham- formity. The warmth and zeal, ed of their unchar wbicness to
so hurtfully directed against felward those, who adore and serve low Christians, would be employ the same Lord, and trust in the ed in a joint and vigorous oppo: same atonement. How would sition against their common enethey blush at their treatinent of my. Their union would inconthose, who bold in substance the ceivably augment their strength, same faith, and are cordially unit and render every measure for Zied to the same cause.
on's good vastly more effective. While a proper use of confes. Thus Christian virtue and piety sions would be likely to preserve would be strongly recommended the purity of Christian doctrine, to the esteem of mankind, and from the contagion of error, and the church, all its divisions, its to secure the ministry and the weakness, and deformity forgots church from those who deny the
ten, would look forth as the morni faith ; it would be a very power-ing, fair as the moon, clear as the ful means of bringing all good sun, und terrible as an army with men to embrace each other with banners, the warınest affection, and either,
For the Panoplist. though they are enacted with N TAE EXECUTION OF LAWş, consummate wisdom, and sanc;
tioned by the authority of a thous Among the many rules pro- sand Solons ; yet if the execuposed for deriving the greatest tion of them is attended with debenefit from laws, this is one lay and indecision, they will necs, of the most important; that they essarily be inefficacious. be promptly and speedily enforced. Present punishment is a much Though they combine in them more powerful preventive of the two essential qualities of crimes, than future punishment. strength and impartiality; tho' When present evil engages our. they are plainly and invariably attention, and threatens our bap: directed to the public good; piness, it appears highly aları:
ing, and how to avoid it is the ob- severe, if it is to be inflicted at ject of our immediate and anx- 'some future period. Thus by a jous inquiry ; but, if removed to prompt administration of justice, à moderate distance, it loses its the good of the community is proformidable aspect, and dwindles moted with the good of the offeninto comparative insignificance. der; a happy concurrence, which This wild judgment with respect the wise and benevolent legislato present and future objects en- tor will always strive to obtain. courages all the vices that deform When punishment accompathe human character. It is this nies transgression, and the conwhich makes the sluggard prefer nexion between them appears inpoverty and contempt, to wealth separable, the penalty is considand respectability ; which per- ered as more just, both by the suades the drunkard to indulge sufferer, and the public. If the in excess with the certainty of people once forin an opinion that losing health and reputation, and the laws are too rigorous, all the of becoming the object of uni- good to be expected from them versal disgust and abhorrence ; is entirely prevented. Pity is which induces the voluptuary to necessarily excited for the transplunge others with himself into gressor ; and where this passion the depths of infamy and sin; prevails, justice will not long and which leads millions of mor- maintain its authority. The ofal beings to postpone the con- fender, who has been soothed by cerns of eternity for the enjoy- the voice of compassion, feels ments of the hour. What we
half recompensed for his sufferapprehend to be near, is magnifi- ings, and quite justified in the ed by all the powers of the im- conduct, which brought them agination ; while we force our upon him. But if he is led from selves to believe remote objects the very act to the place of punenveloped in clouds of uncertain- ishment, all will see the wisdom ty. But as a portrait is useless, of the law, which condemns him, when the living person is pres- and popular compassion will not ent to our view ; so I need not operate to disarm justice of its attempt to describe that which is terrors. For a short time after felt by every mind, and which it an offence is committed, all transrequires all the power of relig- gressors, but the most abandonion to overcome. Of this pro- ed, feel a compunction for their pensity the magistrate may the violation of the laws. This time more profitably take advantage, should be seized as the moment as it is peculiarly strong in those for the infliction of punishment who most frequently expose to the best advantage. But if themselves to the penalty of law; the decisions of conscience are men unaccustomed to reflect, suffered to be neglected and forand prone to seize on tempta- gotten before those of law are tion, equally regardless of the denounced, punishment will ancrime, and its distant consequen swer no purpose to the sufferer, ces. A light punishment, there, but to make him the more infore, which follows an offence corrigible. without delay, strikes greater ter
Another fundamental requiTor, than one immensely more site to the happy regulation of a
community, is, that the execu- ly engraven on the heart of eve-
remorse, and stigmatized him
laudable, plainly and exactly If transgressors are punished drawn. It is an unspeakable in the beginning of their wick- privilege to have those, to whose edness, we may hope for ref- care the execution of the laws iş ormation. There is a progress entrusted, zealous to fix the prein villany. No man ever com cise meaning of every statute. mitted murder, or treason, or But where some of the laws are burglary, as his first offence ; enforced, and some neglected; and few men ever would com- where some are dead, some ex mit these enormous crimes, if piring, and many in a declining their first offences were proper- state, the man is beside himself, ly reprehended. There is a who expects a cheerful obedi regular and almost impercepti- ence to the rest. He, who has ble gradation in iniquity, from frequently violated any law with the mischief practised by the impunity, soon justifies himself truant school boy, to the hardy in the violation of every other, adventures of the high-handed and at length becomes so hár-assassin. It is not a dictate of dened as to trample on every common sense, or sound expe- ordinance, both human and dirience, to use correction after vine. the offender has become incor But the whole system of ju. rigible. Obsta principiis, is a risprudence should be shielded muxim, which ouglit to be deep- from contempt; and were all
other considerations laid aside, ed for what are denominated the this is abundantly sufficient to smaller kinds of offences. From compel the greatest exactness. theirelevated situation in life, their A contempt of the laws is a for example is dreadfully contagious. midable enemy to government But if those, who think that the itself; an enemy, which is the possession of property licences more dangerous, as it cannot be and sanctions their crimes, were met; which declines all fair and properly humbled at the foothonourable war, and vanquishes stool of justice, their example by the magic of popular preju. would no longer contaminate sodice. A little relaxation in the ciety. And if the lower classes distribution of justice makes way of the people saw that no man for more ; a few despised regu was superior to the laws, they lations prepare the mind to de- would acquiesce with much spise the rest, till the whole code greater alacrity in proper rebecomes the object of neglect straints, and all ranks would and ridicule. A statute-book of much more heartily engage in contemned laws is fit only for in- sacrificing individual gratificascriptions on the tomb of depart tion to the public welfare. ed government. It is a volume Whoever is in the least acof satires more poignant than quainted with the state of morthose of Juvenal or Persius ; als in our country, cannot but satires on the legislators, the
confess that much depends upmagistrates, and the people ; on the execution of the laws. satires, which not only cause a
Who does not know that namomentary vexation, but inflict tional calamities are the legitupon the general happiness a imate offspring of national vice severe and lasting wound. and abandonment ? And who
Again, it is necessary to the will not acknowledge that our harmony of society, that the ex itation ought to be purified from ecution of the laws be uniform sin, that the judgments, which and impartial.
If the adminis hang over us, and which we so tration of justice is unsteady ; justly deserve, may be averted ? if it vibrates from erfergy and Look around for yourselves, and rigour, to laxness and indolence, consider this matter. Take a and is at one time scrupulously view of the fashionable vices only exact, and at another foolishly which now prevail; of those negligent; nothing permanent practised by the great, the splenand salutary can be expected. did, the honourable, in situations And if a dignified impartiality where temptation ought to meet does not characterize the judi with a firm and an indignant recial proceedings, it is most plain pulse ; and then judge what are that there can be no confidence the crimes perpetrated by those in the rulers, and that govern who are debased through the exment will become the object of ample of superiors ; who are distrust and aversion.
unenlightened by education, unYet it is a notorious and glar influenced by a fear of disgrace, ing fact, that in no country un- and destitute of every restraining der heaven, are the rich punish- principle. Vol. II, No. 7.
Contemplate the extensive purpose of obtaining a divorce, prevalence of profaneness. See and the adulterers suffered to go the earnest endeavours of wicked at large, delested indeed by good men to dishonour the name of men, but unpunished for their God; to invent blasphemies hith- crimes, and totally unnoticed by erto unthought of; and to gain the magistrate. See the seducer themselves laurels in the war practising every fiend-like artiagainst Heaven. Flear curses ul fice ; committing deliberate, retered by children unconscious of iterated perjury, destroying the their meaning ; and see the hopes and happiness of brothers, hoary driveller, with one foot in sisters, and parents; and enhanchis grave, muttering execrations ing his guilt by offering up others against his Maker and Preserver. with himself at the shrine of View the drunkard, forfeiting all pollution. In a part of the world claim to human society, destroy where the gospel has been ing his intellectual powers, and preached from generation to gencommitting a sure though lin- eration; among a people more gering suicide ; a suicide, de- favoured by Heaven than any stroying at the same time his other from the fall of man to the body and his soul. Listen 10 present time, brothels are instithe midnight orgies of the gam- tuted, supported, defended. Rise ing table, where robbery is le- up, O Babylon, thou mother of galized by the tribunal of hon- harlots, and blush for our enor our, where cheating is elevated mities. Thy crimson abominainto a liberal profession, and tions whiten into innocence, when where the grand strife is, who compared with the more aggrashall decoy most adventurers, vated offences of a Christian and sacrifice them to the rapa. land. ciousness of the banditii. See In this state of things, when the Sabbath, which ought to be a every honest man wishes that the cay of rest, of worship, and of laws should have all possible effiinstruction in holy things, con cacy, much dependence must be verted into a day of sloth, placed upon our rulers. Image a day of visiting, a day of un ine to yourselves all our counhallowed amusement, a day trymen, who hold offices in the of feasting and riot, and, pre- magistracy, assembled, from the eminently, a day of sin. See President of the United States, men among our Senators, Judges to a Justice of the Peace, or a and Governors, foolish and mad Grand Juror, and addressed on enough to go openly and shame, this important subject by some lessly to murdering each other venerable civilian, like a Hale, or in a duel ; and all this under a Mansfield, skilled equally in laws, whicia profess to guard life law and in human nature. as a thing sacred, and under a “ My friends, and country. religion, which proclaims "peace men,” would he not say ? " on earth,” and declares, that great diligence, that in all your - whoso sheddeth man's blood, behaviour, your example be such by man shall his blood be shed.” as may be considered a safe patSee adultery proved in our
in our tern for imitation. Transgrescourts, time after time, for thesion of the laws in a magistrate,