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received wholly and entirely from theirs, until we come to the apostles, who received it from the author, Christ Jesus himself. Look therefore in how much greater danger of erring and deceiving they are who teach what out of some principles they have deduced by reason, than they who undertake to deliver to others what they in formal terms have received themselvesBy so much more likely are protestants to err in their deductions, than catholics in their tradition.
Uncle. If I should say thus to a protestant, I fear he would not be so satisfied : for first, perhaps, he would tell me, that the conclusions of geometry are far (more) certainly known than historical narrations, although committed to writing, much more if not so— Then, that protestants pretend that their religion consists principally of the principles themselves, that is, the formal texts of scripture, but wholly of the principles and such evident deductions as no man can doubt that believes the principles.
[The MS. has no more.
The Treatise appears not to have
Against punishing Crimes with Death.
[The whole of the following paper is taken from a copy in the handwriting of archbishop Sancroft, which is preserved in MS. Tanner, No. 233.]
My fourth motion is, that they who by the rigour of the laws are to suffer death, and especially thieves, may by the clemency of this present parliament be saved from death, and inade public slaves. My reasons are, first, because the chief end of punishment being, that others may fear to offend, the punishment of public slavery, as it may be ordered, being a long and lasting punishment, is like to work more effectually to this end, than putting to death, which is dispatched in a moment. Lasting pain and public shame, though in true account not so great a punishment as death, especially if we remember the danger that follows after, yet certainly to the generality of men is much more terrible than speedy death; especially to English
For the best observers of their natures and disposition have out of their experience assured us, that they are generally not so much afraid of death, as of pain and shame. So that we have reason to expect, that this punishment will be more available the for achieving the end of all punishment, which is by fear to keep others from transgressing; and therefore, in policy, we should rather make use of it than the other.
Secondly, it seems better in order to justice; because this kind of punishment, besides the benefit of a more tasting and a more public example, leaves the criminal a possibility and power to make some kind of satisfaction for the injury done by him to his neighbour, by restitution, and to the commonwealth, by doing some service to the public; both which by capital punish
ments are quite taken away. Our commonwealth for want of public slaves wants many great advantages; as the use of galleys, the making or repairing of public ways, the opening the passages of all our great rivers, and making an intercourse between them: which, and many other noble works of great benefit to the public, by the labour of public slaves might be obtained, and that without any prejudice or danger, if they be wisely ordered.
Thirdly, it is more agreeable to charity. For it is, I conceive, most evidently demonstrable out of the principles of charity, as a certain conclusion, that destructive punishinents ought not to be used against any delinquents whatsoever, if in reason we may expect, that such as are medicinal and not destructive, will be as exemplary and as beneficial to the commonwealth, or rather much more. For certainly nothing can be more agreeable to charity, than all possible and lawful parsimony of the blood of Christians, nay even of the blood of men; nor any thing more apparently repugnant to Christian charity, and the bowels of compassion, and even to humanity itself, than to hurt, much more to destroy any person, unless this severity be necessary, or may at least be useful for the public good : for that were to shed the blood of a man and of a Christian to no purpose.
Fourthly, capital punishments as they are now ordered, are ordinarily, if not necessarily, as we may well fear, joined with the eternal destruction of the delinquents' souls; who are commonly turned out of the world without other preparation for their last account, than only some sad short recollections, and constrained sorrow for their sins and their calamities, with some stupifying comfort grounded thereupon, which is commonly, but grossly, mistaken to be true repentance.
But repentance is not so ordinary a thing, nor of so easy dispatch, as most inistake it, who conceive it to be nothing more, but true sorrow for sin past, with true intention to forsake it. Whereas it is a true and an habitual change of the soul and the whole man, an effectual forsaking of sin, and an effectual and constant practice of Christian holiness, and an universal obedience to the law of Christ. The scripture assures us expressly, that without the knowledge of God's will revealed to us by Jesus Christ, without effectual forsaking and mortifying our sins, and without the effectual practice of Christian virtues, such as may truly denominate us new creatures and holy men, without true mortification and sanctification, briefly, without holiness, no man shall see God. This being so, it is easy to judge, that it is morally impossible for our miserable delinquents ordinarily to be so qualified with true repentance, as to be in the state of salvation, experience shewing, that few of them are truly mortified and sanctified men. And indeed the course now taken, as it gives them not means, so it allows them not time between their imprisonment and execution necessary for the effecting of this great work in themselves, which yet God is willing to grant them; and therefore it cannot be excused from a most bloody and horrible uncharitableness, and a base esteem of men's souls, if we allow them not all possible means to effect this great work in themselves, and all that time and space, even to a minute, which God in his mercy is pleased to allow them. Whereas we take from them that time, and inflict on them a punishment, the consequents whereof, though we intend it not, are infinitely more grievous than the punishments which we inflict, too frequently destroying the delinquents, both body and soul.
Fifthly and lastly, as to theft, God himself, the judge of all the world, in the time of the Old Law, though a time of rigour and severity, appointed, that theft should be punished only with restitution of fourfold; or with slavery, in case it could not be paid. How ill therefore must it needs become us under the Gospel, a time of grace, mercy, and clemency, to inflict upon this fault a punishment destructive always to the body, and most frequently to the soul. For this we have no colour or pretence, but the most injurious contumely of our nation, as if we were more prone to thievery than the Jews. But the true reason is, our most unchristian overvaluing our worldly goods, which makes us provide for their security by any means, and our more unchristian undervaluing the souls of our brethren, which were not redeemed with corruptible things, as gold or silver or precious stones, but with the precious blood of Christ, and therefore should not be so basely esteemed, as to be sacrificed to, or endangered for our love of them.
- This I collected and thus digested out of a very con
“ fused, blotted, foul paper, which I found among my “ predecessor's papers: but the paper itself was of Mr.
Chillingworth's handwriting, as Archbishop Dolben as“sures me, and appears by other writings with his name “ subscribed, which I have.”