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reflection upon their wicked- have a bearing on criminal ness, have had their minds so
causes. harrowed with keen remorse, It appears to me to be deas to impel them to a confes- monstrable from the reason sion of the fact, although they and nature of things, that the knew they must suffer death.” civil judge in estimating the
Ans. I would ask the objec- demerit of a civil crime, ought tor, · whether he thinks that to consider it merely as a civil death is the most suitable pun- misdemeanor. In apportionishment for such sincere, re- ing the reparation, or punishmorseful, and broken-hearted ment of the crime; he ought penitents? Or does he imag- to consider the sinfulness, of ine “ that the lives of others the act as not coming within would
be endangered by his jurisdiction. By sinfulness such?” Will nothing short of I mean the violations of the di. their extermination satisfy the vine law. I believe the truth hardness of the human heart? of this position, and the imGod will not break the bruised portance of this distinction, reed, nor quench the smoking will be acknowledged by our flax. He is merciful to peni. ablést civilians in theory, howtent sinners ! But their fel- ever little it may have been low men, their co-equals, sub- regarded in practice. The ject to like frailties and in- popular cry of a blood thirsty firmities, abhor and detest the mob, in the trial of civil crimes, blemishes in their own like- may have too much influence Desses. They cannot endure on a judge possessing a modthe company of their frail fel
erate share of candour, dislow-sinners. They will not cernment, and impartiality. suffer them to remain on God's Witness the trial and condem. earth, his appointed time, e- nation of our blessed Saviour ven in confinement, or banish- before the civil tribunal of ment !!!
Pontius Pilate' Obj. 13. In the black cata- God says, “to me belonglogue of human crimes, we eth
vengeance, and recomfind some that are of so deep pence: I will repay." When. a dye, and so horribly wicked, men have usurped this that we can hardly devise pun- sacred prerogative of the Deiishments adequate to the ty, under the specious pretence crimes. Great crimes, call of assisting the Almighty in for great punishments. A punishing the violations of his repeal of all the capital statutes law (or rather to make a pompin the penal code, might weak- ous display of their own hathe energies of government, tred of all iniquity) they have and strengthen the bands of given deplorable and incontestiniquity.
ible proofs of their own frailAnswer. There
two ty, and inconspetency! By systems of laws, namely, di- usurping “the power of death vine and human ; and both of for a time," and under the prethese, generally speaking, tence of rooting out the tares
from among the wheat, they crimes, as 'many persons are have, in numberless instances, apt to imagine. rooted up the wheat also. The threatening of death,
The prevention of crimes would be wholly disregarded will conduce much more to by a person in a' paroxysm of the peace, security, and happi- rage, fortitude or despair. ness of the community, than All our bloody statutes will not the punishment of them. restrain the duellist, the assasThe multitude of crimes de- sin, or the desperado ; who in notes the corruptness of gov- order to obtain the object of ernment: and, eventually, oc- his pursuit, will risk his own casions impunity. In order life, and brave all dangers. to effect a cure, the remedy Mankind have found by long must be applied where the and sad experience, that the evil originated. The frequen- threatening and infliction of cy of punishments, lessens death, will not lesson moral their value. The cruelty and depravity ; because more exinhumanity of them, will mul- tra crimes are generallly comtiply crimes: for cruelty and mitted during one capital trial, inhumanity, like most other and public "execution (excluthings, will. beget their own sive of shedding his blood) likenesses.
than the culprit himself had The civil ruler (as well as been guilty ofi the head of a family) by gove If our regislators would erning himself, and by exer- publicly acknowledge the sacising his authority with mod. cred inviolability of the hueration, will soon acquire the man life ; and would renounce love and respect of all his sub- their peculiar privilege of dejects: for a man in authority liberately shedding human hath ample means of gaining blood, I firmly believe, that an ascendency over all that the duellist, and the assassin are under him. By making would no longer consider his them wise and happy, he will profession as being honourable, gain their affections; and and would renounce the prac. these will increase and con- tice. firm his influence, and will Severity and cruelty, are beget in them a sincere regard more excusable in a savage, for the laws. The path of du. than in, 'a citizen. They are ty will then become pleasant insufferable in a christian! In and delightful. And their the New Testament (the love and respect for him, a
christian's constitution) sense of duty, and a regard to read much about our forgivtheir own happiness, will en- ing the trespassés of others
more valuable; and against us, and but little about more lasting obedience, than our punishing them. The terror, compulsion, or cruelty. Latin maxim, Humanum est
The greatness of punish- errare, Divinum parcere, (it ments does not have so bene- is man-like to transgress; God. ficial an effect in preventing like to forgive) is a moble speca
imen of heathen philosophy. Like Herschel's telescope, But the pure principles of they bring into full view many christianity, instruct us more failings of their neighbours, fully, and more forcibly, in our which would otherwise be inmoral duties. The divine visible to the candid and naked precept to do to others, as we eye. The beam in their own would that others (circum- eye, magnifies the mote in the stances exchanged) should do eye of their brother. It ought to us, is a perfect rule of moral to have a contrary effect. A rectitude. . Can any sober, re. sense of their own frailties, flecting man, who hath ever ought to incline them to forsinned against his God and giveness; or at least to mercy Judge, expect forgiveness at and moderation. the day of general retribution, I never beheld the public if his tender mercies towards execution of any person with a fellow creature, are cruelty ? whom I had had any former Can a professor of christianity, acquaintance. But I have in the exercise of an unrelenl- witnessed the execution of a ing temper, 'with a good grace number whom I never pray his Heavenly Father to before they were conducted forgive his trespasses, as he to the gallows. Their crimes forgives those who have tres- were burglary, and desertion passed against him?
from our army. If such an Mankind are not such un- affecting tragedy could force biassed and competent judges tears of sympathy from strangin criminal causes, as they ers, what would be the heart: imagine themselves to be. rending agonies of an affec. They manifest great dexteri. tionate father, mother, brothty in discovering, and magni er, sister, or wife, to behold fying the failings of others. the unnatural scene?
SPEECH OF AN INDIAN CHIEF TO A SWEDISH MISSIONARY.
“ In or about the year of by interpreters. The Misour Lord, 1710, a Swedish sionary upon his return to Missionary preached a Ser. Sweden, published his sermon mon, at an Indian treaty, held and the Indian's answer. Hayin Conestogoe in Pennsylva- ing wrote them in Latin, he nia, in which sermon he set dedicated them to the Univer, forth original sin, the necessi-sity of Upsal, and requested ty of a Mediator, and endeav- them to furnish him with aroured by certain arguments to
guments to confute such induce the Indians to embrace strong reasonings of the Inthe christian religion. After dians. The Indian's speech, he had ended his discourse translated from the Latin, is one of the Indian Chiefs made as follows: a speech in reply to the ser. “Since the subject of his mon; and the discourses on (the Missionary's) errand is to both sides, were-made known persuade us to embrace a new
doctrine, perhaps it may not and give us a knowledge of be amiss, before we offer him our duty, it is still in our sense the reasons why we cannot a divine revelation. comply with his request, to
“ Now we desire to proacquaint him with the grounds pose to him (the Missionary) and principles of that religion some few questions. Does he which he would have us aban- believe that our forefathers, don.
men eminent for their piety, « Our forefathers were un- constant and warm in the pur. der a strong persuasion, as we suit of virtue, hoping thereby are, that those who act well in to merit everlasting happiness, this life shall be rewarded in were all damned? Does he the next, according to the de- think that we, who are their gree of their virtue ; and on
zealous imitators in good the other hand that those who works, and influenced by the behave wickedly here, will un- same motives as they were, dergo such punishments here. earnestly endeavouring with after as are proportionate to the greatest circumspection to the crimes they are guilty of. tread the path of integrity, This hath been constantly and are in a state of damnation ? invariably received and If these be his sentiinents, knowledged for truth, they are as impious as they are through every successive gen- bold and daring. eration of our ancestors. It “ In the nexi place we beg could not have taken its rise that he would explain himself from fable ; for human fiction, more particularly concerning however artfully and plausibly the revelation he talks of. If contrived, can never gain crede he admits no other than what. it long among any people, is contained in his written where free inquiry is allowed; book, the contrary is evident which was never denied by from what has been shown be. our ancestors, who, on the çon- fore ; but if he says, God has trary thought it the sacred, revealed himself to us, but not inviolable, natural right of ev- sufficient for our salvation ; ery man, to examine and judge then we ask, to what purpose for hinıself. Therefore we should he have revealed himthink it evident that our no- self to us in any wise.? It is tion, concerning future re- clear, that a revelation, insufwards and punishments, was
ficient to save, cannot put us either revealed immediately in a better condition, than we from heaven to some of our should be in without any rev. forefathers, and from them de- elation at all.
We cannot scended to us, or that it was conceive that God shoulà point implanted in each of us at our out to us the end we ought to creation, by the Creator of all aim at, without opening to us things. Whatever the meth- the way to arrive at that end. ods might have been, whereby But supposing our under: God hath been "pleased to standing to be so far illuminamake known to us his will, ted, as to know it to be our
it is our
duty to please God, who yet his will manifest, without the hath left us under an incapac- help of any book, or the as. ity of doing it, will this Mis, siatance of any bookish man sionary therefore conclude whatever. that we shall be eternally
“ We shall in the next place, damned ? Will he take upon
consider the arguments which him to pronounce damnation arise from a consideration of against us, for not doing those Providence.
are the things which he himself ac, work of God, which I presume knowlcdges were impossible will not be denied, it follows by us to be done ?
from thence, that we are unopinion that every man is pos- der the care and protection of sessed of sufficient knowledge God; for it cannot be suppos. for his salvation. The Al. ed ihat the Deity should abanmighty, fo: any thing we don his own creatures, and be know, may have communica- utterly regardless of their wel. ied the knowledge of himself fare. Then, to say that the 10 a different race of people Almighty hath permitted us to in a different manner.
remain in a fatal error, through “Some say they have the so many ages, is to represent will of God in writing ; be it him as a tyrant.
Hoi is it so, their revelation has no ad- consistent with his justice to vantage above
qurs; since force life upon a race of morboth must be equally sufficient tals, without their consent, to save otherwise the end of and then damn them eternally, revelation would be frustrated. without ever opening to them Besides, if they are both true, a door of salvation ?
Our conthey must be in substance the ceptions of the gracious God same ; and the difference can are more noble ; and we think only lie in the mode of com- that those who teach otherwise munication. He tells us there do little less than blasphemę. are many precepts in his writ. “Again, it is through the ten revelation, which we are goodness of the Almighty that cntirely ignorant of. But these from the beginning of time, written commands can only be through many generations to designed for those who have this day, our name has been the writings; they cannot pos- preserved, unblotted out by sibly regard us. Had the Al- enemies, unreduced to nothmighty thought so much peces- ing. By the same sary to our salvation, his good- now enjoy our lives, are fur. ncss would not have deferred nished with the necessary the communication of it to us; means of preserving those and to say, that in a matter so lives. But all these are tri. necessary, he could not at one fling, compared with our sal. and the same time equally re- vation. veal himself to all mankind, is “Therefore, since God hath nothing less than an absolute been so careful of us in mat. denial of his omnipotence. ters of little consequence, it Without doubt he can make would be absurd to affirm that