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that is spent in meditations up- judges them by their feelings on sin, increases the power of and motives. Fornication and the dangerous object, which adultery, with other evil achas possessed our imagination. tions, proceed from desire, and
The desire of evil, which desire is seated in the heart ; leads its possessor to offend and he who habitually cherishagainst the laws of morality, es any impure affection, and Jesus, in symbolical language, wants only an opportunity of calls the right eye, and the , gratifying it, is as guilty in the right hand ; and as it is bet- sight of God, as if he had comter that a member, however mitted the deed. It is to ihe ornamental or useful, when heart, therefore, that our Lord infected by a disorder that constantly directs our attenendangers the whole frame, tion; and the heart he constant. should be amputated, though ly enjoins us to guard, as the it leaves the body maimed and primary seat of good and evil. unseemly ; so it is better that it is not to be doubted then, any favourite passion, which is but that many will be punishthe disease of the soul, should ed for crimes that were never be eradicated, rather than be done, but only intended ; and suffered to spread the conta.. many , rewarded for virtues gion, and thus to occasion its whicb, for want of opportunity, moral death, and its future have ever ripened into action. punishment.
Taylor's Fragments, p. 224. Other moralists judge of Wolzogenius, Campbell, and men by their actions. Christ John Jones on the text. Ра• brings them before a ley's Evidences, Vol. 2d. of his · awful and correct tribunal, and works. Bost. Ed. p. 229,
! REMARKS ON THE REPORT OF GOD'S TREATMENT OF THE
For the Christian Disciple. MR. EDITOR,
than for a system, or a party. In the Disciple for April ap
The subject of capital pun. peared an essay styled “Re- ishment is exciting great atport of God's treatment of the tention in the civilized world. first murderer." The editor Writers of celebrity are enhaving given his opinion that gaged in the discussion, and the writer was a person of tal- it is quite possible that a fyents, and approved his senti- ture and inore enlightened age ments, I enter with diffidence may outlaw them entirely.upon the task of animadvert. But premature, overstrained ing them. I am however en- condemnations of them may couraged by a belief, derived frustrate the object in view. from your liberality in admit. It was with deep regret thereting strictures upon editorial fore that I saw introduced into and communicated articles, your pages what I deem ilyou that labour for truth rather logical and injudicious re.
marks upon this topic. An ularly when the written law attempt is made to prove from bears date subsequent to the the scriptures that God for record of the precedent. If bade inflicting death upon mur. you will turn to the “
reports derers, and that he has de- of Moses,” Exodus, xxi. chap. nounced vengeance on those you will find that when our who should take away the life race had increased in numbers, of a murderer. No evil can and God had seen fit to enact arise from temperate discus- laws for the government of his sions on this important theme. people, He declared that “ he But while a great majority of that smiteth a man, so that he mankind believe in the utility die, shall be surely put to of capital punishments, and death." Not only so; death statesmen and christian moral. was denounced upon the smitists are divided in opinion res- ers merely of their parents, pecting their necessity and upon kidnappers and slava lawfulness, it appears highly dealers, upon all who cursed reprehensible to lessen the their parents, &c. We see respect due to the laws of the then that the authority is on land, and to magistrates, by the other side, and that God denouncing the vengeance of authorized taking away life for the Almighty upon the makers life. and administrators of these But the writer of the essay laws.
goes farther. He says God Your essayist instances God's left on record “a most solemn trial and punishment of Cain, declaration and warning to and argues from the clemency civil magistrates, and all othshown to the first murderer, ers, not to shed the blood even that life was not to be taken, of a murderer ;" and this is even from a man slayer. He the proof, “ Whosoever slaysays truly that “civil tribunals eth Cain, vengeance shall be pay great veneration to ancient taken on him seven fold.” Be. usages and immemorial cus- cause God, for purposes untoms; and especially to pre- known to us, saw fit to spare cedents taken from higher Cain, and set a mark upon him, courts in similar cases.' Is or gave him a sign, that no one it not going too far to say that should slay him, and afterthis example stands recorded wards decreed that murderers for our imitation ? When should be put to death, are we Cain slew Abel the world was to understand that the “ prein its infancy, the crime was cedent" is solely obligatory committed in the only family upon mankind now, and that on earth, and God did not see it is unlawful to inflict death fit to appoint the parent the as a punishment for murder ? executioner of his son. Be What reasoning! To threaten sides, it is also a custom of the vengeance of the Almighty courts of judicature implicitly on magistrates for administer. to obey a statute in prefer. ing the laws of the land apence to any precedent, partic- pears to me highly repreher.
sible. It is "scattering am- “half enlightened age would biguous words among the vul- have sentenced Cain to death, gar; it is exhibiting laws, ap- and perhaps for form sake, it proved by the majority of might be added, “and the Christian moralists, in an odi- Lord have mercy on your ous light ; it is exposing the soul !”. This sneer
at the upright Legislator and Judge most solemn manner in which to obloquy. Let every argu- our venerated judges proient be employed to change nounce the awful sentence of the minds of the community death cannot be too much cen. on this subject, and I wish the sured. The insinuation that advocates God speed, but the prayer with which it ends forbear denunciations, unau- is insincere, is untrue. I hope thorized by holy writ, and of the time will come when men dangerous tendency.
will have more humane and The essayist avers that God's correct views on this subject, clemency to Cain resulted in but I feel persuaded that such his reformation, and argues efforts for the accomplishment from it the inutility of sangui- of this object will thwart the nary punishments. This is
success of it, and prolong the an important topic. Writers
custom he professes so much of great ability are discussing to abhor. it. Leaving it then to enlightened philanthropists, states- Reply of the Editor. men,
and christians to discuss This admonitory address the subject, it should be the has been freely admitted, as duty of writers on moral or the effusion of friendship and religious themes to inculcate fidelity Still it is believed a high respect for the laws of that most of the remarks would civil society, and for the mag. have been spared had our cor. istrates wlio administer them. respondent been acquainted
This writer terms Cain's with the whole Tract, from fratricide a 16 violation of a which the Report was taken, civil duty.” A mild phrase and with the character of its surely, when as he himself re- author. Perhaps, it was inmarks, the crime was aggra judicious to give the Report vated in many respects. Why without accompanying it with this sympathy for Cain, in the the Author's answer to some breast of this advocate for the objections. abolition of capital punish- If we have been correctly ments? Where is his fellow informed the Author is a man feeling for the murdered A. venerable for his years and bel, or his afflicted family? standing in society, amiable in Where is his tenderness for
his disposition, and was forothers among whom the mur- merly a Judge of a county court derer would roam, the terror in Connecticut. We can hardof mankind ?
ly believe that such a man I have one more objection would designedly say any thing to the essay. He says this to « lessen the respect due to
the laws of the land and to the respect” which is now enmagistrates ;” and on careful- tertained for the laws which ly reviewing the Report we require the punishments in have not been able to find, ex- question He must also be cept in a single sentence, any
that every argument thing of which such is the ap- which can be used for the purparent tendency. We do not pose of changing public opinunderstand the writer of the ion, will be interpreted, by Essays as having done any one or another, as adapted to such thing as “ denouncing the “ lessen the respect due to the vengeance of the Almighty laws and to magistrates.” Has upon the makers and adminis. not this objection been unitrators of the laws ;'! but as formly made to the attempts to merely expressing his serious abolish the law in England, belief respecting the design of which inflicts death for steal. God's treatment of Cain. This ing goods from a shop to the perhaps under a free govern value of five shillings. Inment, he had an unquestione deed we may ask, when was able right to do, however in. an attempt ever made to abol
may have been his ish or change a penal law. and opinion.
the same objection was not Our friendly Monitor ap- urged ? On similar ground the pears to be willing that the attempts which have been subject of capital punishments made to correct the common should be discussed ; and we version or translation of the agree with him that it ought Bible, have been reproached as to be done in a prudent man- tending to "lessen the respect” ner-in a manner as little as which is due to the whole vol. possible adapted to wound the feelings of those in authority “ Philanthropos,” the “ Esand to lessen the respect due sayist,” was aware of the ob. to the laws of the land.” But jection which would be brought two persons who have an equal from the other “Reports of respect to the laws in general, Moses, and he attempted an may disagree as to the utility answer, which may perhaps and justice of a particular stat. hereafter be given in this work! ute and “the respect which is At present we shall only ob. due" to it. Our Monitor says, serve in general, that in his o“Let every argument be em- pinion, christians are no more ployed to change the mind of bound to adopt one statute of the community on this subject, the penal code of Moses, than and I wish the advocates God they are to adopt the whole ; Speed.” But surely we need that if any of those laws are not tell a writer of his discern- now obligatory on christians, ment, that it is impossible to we are as really bound to take · use any argument which is a. the life of the sabbath-breaker dapted to change public opin- and the adulterer, as that of ion 'on that subject, which is the murder : not equally adapted to "lessen In regard to the mild Vol. VI, No. 5.
phrase" to express Cain's fra- Judges in regard to purity, tricide, we ought to say, that benevolence, wisdom or hur Philanthropos has explained manity Let it then be admithis meaning He regards ted that Philanthropos wrote murder as a heinous crime, his Essays, after having been and Cain's fratricide as an ag. repeatedly shocked by the apgravated murder; but in his parent indifference with which opinion men have no right to he had heard the sentences of punish crimes considered as death pronounced, or after he sins against God, but only as had witnessed, on the part of violations of civil duty. a Judge, evidence of preju.
The last objection of our dice against a criminal, and Monitor is better founded. an anxious desire to pronounce We regret that even oné re.
a sentence of guilty. Would mark of the Essayist was so it be too much to say in refero much adapted to wound the ence to such conduct- And feelings of humane Judges perhaps, for form sake, it and such we believe to be em. might be added, And the Lord inently the character of the
have mercy on your Soul 200 present Judges of our Su. Is it not very possible that in preme Court
Yet perhaps a remarking with such occur. less answerable interpretation rences impressed on the mind, may be given to the passage the most impartial writer than seems to have occurred might adopt the language of to the mind of our correspon- Philanthropos, without a susdent.
picion that his readers would The best writers are liable consider it as applicable to to use language inadvertently, judges in general ? Let the which implies, or may be un- Monitor imagine such to have derstood to imply, more than been the impression under they ever intended. There is which the unguarded language no writer, not excepting the was used-read the words a. friendly Monitor, who does gain, placing the emphasis on not need the candor of his “ perhaps,'' and then say, readers in their interpreta- whether it be certain that the tions of his remarks. Every writer's conduct « cannot be man in writing on such sub- too much censured." jects is liable to be influenced Our correspondent, we bes. by circumstances with which lieve, wrote his remarks under he has been / acquainted ; and the influence of a just and under this influence to speak high respect for our Judges, in a manner which implies and an apprehension that Phiblame, even where there is lanthropos intended a “ sneer." none in his own opinion, or a These circumstances probably greater degree of blame than led him to adopt the strong he means to impute. It will language just quoted, by which not be pretended by any one he probably intended no more that all Judges of Courts have than that the conduct of the been equal to our present Essayist was very reprehensi