Imatges de pÓgina

entailed upon his family and friends, also, the same tremendous evils.

Thirdly. He does incalculable and irreparable injuries to his Country. He weakens the Government of his country by practically adopting a principle, which, if right in him, would be equally right in all others; and which, if adopted by them, would destroy social order in a moment: viz. that an individual is to be his own Judge in his own cause. He injures his country, also, by robbing it of the services and life of one of its members; in all probability, more important, as the case may be, and has been, to its safety and welfare, than those of millions, like himself. Finally, he injures his country boundlessly, as well as irreparably, in contributing by his opinions, and example, to authorize, extend, and perpetuate, the same baleful iniquity in his fellow-men.


1. The observations, made in this Discourse, present to us one of the strongest examples of human depravity.

Life, to man, is his all. On it every thing is suspended, which man can call his own: his enjoyments, his hopes, his usefulness, and his salvation. Our own life is to us, therefore, invaluable. As we are most reasonably required to love our neighbour as ourselves; his life ought, in our estimation, to possess the same value. In conformity to these views, mankind have universally regarded those who have violently deprived others of life, with supreme abhorrence, and branded their names with singular infamy. Murderers have been punished, in every age and country, with the most awful expressions of detestation, with the most formidable array of terror, and with the most excruciating means of agony. On the heads of murderers, at the same time, mankind have heaped curses without bounds. The city of Refuge; nay, the Altar itself, a strong tower of defence to every other criminal; has lost its hallowed character, at the approach of a murderer; and emptied him out of its sacred recesses into the hands of the Avenger of blood. God hath said, A man that doeth violence to the blood of any person, he shall flee to the pit: let no man stay him. In solemn response, the world has cried, Amen.

But all these sentiments, all these rights, all the obligations of this law, the Duellist has violated. Nay, he has violated them in cold blood; with the deliberation of system; in the season of se renity; in the tranquillity of the closet. This violation he has made a part of his creed, and settled purpose of his life; a gov erning rule of his conduct. All this he has done amid the various advantages of birth and education; under the light of Science; with the Bible in his hand; and before the altar of his God. He has done it all, also, in the face of arguments, which have commanded the conviction of all mankind, except himself; and which would have convinced him, had his mind been honestly open to

the force of argument. His opinions have been a thousand times exposed his arguments have been a thousand times refuted. Against him have been arrayed, in every Christian country, the common sense of mankind, the feelings of humanity, the solemn voice of Law, and the Infinitely awful command of the Eternal God. With a moral hardihood, not often exampled even in this world, he encounters them all; overcomes them all; and goes coolly onward to the work of destruction: as coolly, as if he were only performing a duty. How sinful must that heart be, which can act in this manner!

2. The Government of every country is bound, indispensably, to punish Duelling with exemplary severity; and, wherever death has been the consequence, with death.

From the observations which have been made in this discourse, it is clear, tha few cases of murder occur among mankind, equally atrocious, or equally deserving of death, with that, which is committed in a duel. Every thing, pertaining to this subject, also, tends towards this issue, as regular and uniform means towards their proper ends. The crime being as gross and heinous, as murder in other cases; deserves the same punishment. It is, also, far more dangerous to a community, than murder in the customary acceptation. The persons, whom Duelling especially threatens, are, in many instances, persons of distinction; formidable obstacles to the ambition of Duellists; persons, who by their influence and talents would naturally become important instruments of the Public good; persons, against whom the vulgar assassin rarely aims the stroke of his dagger. At the same time, the ravages of Duelling are far more widely extended; and the number of its victims is of course far more multiplied.

The manner, in which God has judged concerning this subject, is awfully displayed in the following passage: If a man smite any person with an instrument of iron, so that he die; he is a murderer; the murderer shall surely be put to death. And if he smile him with throwing a stone wherewith he may die, and he die; he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death. Or if he smite him with an hand-weapon of wood, wherewith he may die, and he die; he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death. The revenger of blood himself shall slay the murderer; when he meeteth him, he shall slay him. And if he thrust him of hatred, or hurl at him by lying of wait, that he die; or in enmity smite him with his hand, that he die; he that smote him shall surely be put to death: for he is a murderer. The Revenger of blood shall slay the murderer, when he meeteth him. Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses: but one witness shall not testify against any person, to cause him to die. Moreover, ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death: but he shall be surely put to death. And ye shall take no satisfaction for him that is fled to

the city of his refuge, that he should come again to dwell in the land, until the death of the high priest. So ye shall not pollute the land, wherein ye are: for blood it defileth the land; and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood, that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it. Defile not, therefore, the land which ye shall inhabit, wherein I dwell: for I, JEHOVAH, dwell among the children of Israel.



EXODUS XX. 13.-Thou shall not kill.


THE next violation of this Command, which I shall have occasion to consider, is Suicide, or Self-Murder. In examining this subject I shall,

I. Consider the principal arguments, urged in Justification of Sui cide: and,

II. Shall allege several Proofs of its Criminality.

Before I proceed to the consideration of the arguments, which have been supposed to justify Suicide, it will be necessary to observe, that there are two, totally distinct classes of mankind, by which this crime is committed: those who are labouring under the disease of melancholy, or that of derangement; and those, who act, in the same manner, in the full possession of their faculties. In the former of these classes the mental powers are so much dis ordered, as greatly to change, if not absolutely to annihilate, the criminality. The latter are guilty of this crime, in the same sense as of any other. To the former class, it is obvious, arguments on this or any other topic can be of no use; if addressed to them while under the influence of these infirmities. An habitual conviction of the turpitude of this crime, established in their minds, when possessed of their full strength and soundness, may, indeed, and not improbably, so far influence them, as to prevent this terri ble catastrophe. In their diseased state, such of them, as have fallen under my observation, have been incapable of being controlled by the force of argument. The observations, which I shall make concerning this subject, will, therefore, be directed to those of the latter class: to men, who, in the full possession of their reason, from sudden passion, from disappointment in the pursuit of some darling object; such as Fame, Power, Wealth, or Pleasure; the loss of some important enjoyment; the sufferance of some severe disgrace; or the dread of some expected evil, put an end to their lives. These men, though acting thus irrationally under the pressure of violent feeling, may yet be rea. soned with in their cooler moments. In these moments a conviction may, perhaps, be wrought, and principles established in their minds, which may control the distempered thoughts, and prevent the dangerous decisions, too naturally springing up in seasons of violent agitation.




The general doctrine, insisted on by Mr. Hume, the only writer whom I shall attempt to answer, or whom I consider as having any claim to answer, on this subject, is, that man has a right to dispose of his own life. This he asserts in various forms of expression; all of them contributing to show, that he considered this right, as to be exercised according to the pleasure of the individual. Indeed, if such a right exists; the exercise of it cannot be limited in any other manner; unless the limitation be directly expressed by Him, who alone can give, or limit, the right. But no such limitation has been expressed by Him. In the Scriptures this is not even alluded to; and, whatever proof the Light of Nature may furnish, that God has given us this right, there cannot be a pretence, that it discovers to us any such limitation. The right itself, therefore, is to be exercised according to every man's judg ment; or, what will in this case be exactly the same, according to every man's pleasure.

But where is the proof, that God has given this right to mankind? The arguments, which Mr. Hume adduces to this purpose, are chiefly the following.

1. That we were created for the end of effectuating our own enjoyment in the present life. "Men," he says, "are intrusted to their own judgment and discretion, and may employ every faculty, with which they are endowed, to provide for their ease, happiness, or preservation."

In a former discourse I have explained the end, for which man was made; and have, I trust, satisfactorily proved, that man was created to glorify his Maker by knowing, reverencing, loving, serv ing, and enjoying, him for ever. The accomplishment of this end in the Creation of Man I have, unless I have been deceived, shown to be in the highest degree honourable to God, and in the highest degree productive of happiness to man. That this end, whether the real end, for which man was created, or not, is incomparably nobler, better, and more worthy of God, than the end proposed by Mr. Hume, which is no other than the enjoyment of

pleasures of sense in this world, cannot be denied. No more can it be denied, that of the ends, which were capable of being answered by the creation of man, God selected that, which was noblest, best, and most worthy of His character; unless it be also denied, not only that He is Infinitely Wise and Good, but that He is Wise and Good at all. As, therefore, there are ends, for which man might be created, nobler, and better, than that alleged by Mr. Hume; as one, Infinitely nobler, and better, has been pointed out; it is certain, that that, proposed by him, is not the true end of the creation of man.

Besides; the enjoyment of this pleasure in the manner, exhibited by Mr. Hume himself, is inconsistent with the existence of virtue in man; and much more with the existence of perfect virtue. But to be virtuous is to render more honour to our Creator, to be

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