صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

good."*

wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till Thus it is no breach of Christian Warity, to he should pay all that was due unto him: so like- withdraw our company or civility when the same wise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, tends to discountenance any vicious practice. if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his This is one branch of that extrajudicial discipline, brother their trespasses.”—“Put on bowels of which supplies the defects and the remissness of mercy, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, law; and is expressly authorised by St. Paul (1 long-suffering; forbearing one another, forgiving Cor. v. 11.) “But now I have written unto you one another, if any man have a quarrel against not to keep company, if any man that is called a any, even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, “Be patient towards all men; see that none cr a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with render evil for evil to any man.”—“Avenge not such an one, no not to eat.” The use of this asyourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for sociation against vice continues to be experienced it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, in one remarkable instance, and might be extendsaith the Lord. Therefore, if thine enemy hunger, ed with good effect to others. The confederacy feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for, in amongst women of character, to exclude from their so doing, thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. society kept-mistresses and prostitutes, contriBe not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with butes more perhaps to discourage that condition

of life, and prevents greater numbers from enterI think it evident, from some of these passages ing into it, than all the considerations of prudence taken separately, and still more so from all of and religion put together. them together, that revenge, as described in the We are likewise allowed to practise so much beginning of this chapter, is forbidden in every caution as not to put ourselves in the way of injudegree, under all forms, and upon every occasion. ry, or invite the repetition of it. If a servant or We are likewise forbidden to refuse to an enemy tradesman has cheated us, we are not bound to even the most imperfect right : "if he hunger, trust him again; for this is to encourage him in feed him; if he thirst, give him drink;"+ which his dishonest practices, which is doing him much are examples of imperfect rights. If one who has harm. offended us, solicit' from us a vote to which his Where a benefit can be conferred only upon qualifications entitle him, we may not refuse it one or few, and the choice of the person upon from motives of resentment, or the remembrance whom it is conferred is a proper object of favour, of what we have suffered at his hands. His right, we are at liberty to prefer those who have not of and our obligation which follows the right, are fended us to those who have; the contrary being not altered by his enmity to us, or by ours to him. no where required.

On the other hand, I do not conceive that these Christ, who, as hath been well demonstrated, * prohibitions were intended to interfere with the estimated virtues by their solid utility, and not by punishment or prosecution of public offenders. their fashion or popularity, prefers this of the for In the eighteenth chapter of St. Matthew, our Sa- giveness of injuries to every other. He enjoins viour tells his disciples, “If thy brother who has it oftener; with more earnestness; under a greattrespassed against thee neglect to hear the church, er variety of forms; and with this weighty and pelet him be unto thee as an heathen man, and a culiar circunstance, that the forgiveness of others publican.”. Immediately after this, when St. Pe- is the condition upon which alone we are to exter asked him, "How oft shall my brother sin pect, or even ask, from God, forgiveness for ouragainst me, and I forgive him ? till seven times ?” selves. And this preference is justified by the Christ replied, " I say not unto thee until seven superior importance of the virtue itself. The times, but until seventy times seven;" that is, as feuds and animosities in families, and between often as he repeats the offence. From these two neighbours, which disturb the intercourse of huadjoining passages compared together, we are au man life, and collectively compose half the misery thorised to conclude that the forgiveness of an of it, have their foundation in the want of a for enemy is not inconsistent with the proceedings giving temper; and can never cease, but by the against him as a public offender; and that the dis exercise of this virtue, on one side, or on both. cipline established in religious or civil societies, for the restraint or punishment of criininals, ought to be upholden. If the magistrate be not tied down with these

CHAPTER IX. prohibitions from the execution of his office, neither is the prosecutor; for the office of the prose

Duelling. cutor is as necessary as that of the magistrate. DUELLING as a punishment is absurd; because

Nor, by parity of reason, are private persons it is an equal chance, whether the punishment fall withholden from the correction of vice, when it is upon the offender, or the person offended. Nor in their power to exercise it; provided they be as- is it much better as a reparation: it being difficult sured that it is the guilt which provokes them, and to explain in what the satisfaction consists, or not the injury; and that their motives are pure how it tends to undo the injury, or to afford a frorn all mixture and every particle of that spirit compensation for the damage already sustained. which delights and triumphs in the humiliation of The truth is, it is not considered as either. A an adversary.

law.of honour having annexed the imputation of

cowardice to patience under an affront, challenges * Matt. vi. 14, 15: xviii. 34, 35. Col. iij. 12, 13. are given and accepted with no other design than 1 Thes. v. 14, 15.

to prevent or wipe off this suspicion; without * See also Exodus, xxii. 4. “If thou meet thine ene. malice against the adversary, generally without a my's ox, or his ass, going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to hiin again; if thou see the ass of him that hateth thee, lying under his burden, and wouldst for * See a View of the Internal Evidence of the Chris. bear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him.” tian Religion.

Rom. xii. 19, 20, 21.

wish to destroy him, or any other concern than to The insufficiency of the redress which the law preserve the duellist's own reputation and recep- of the land affords, for those injuries which chiefly tion in the world.

affect a man in liis sensibility and reputation, The unreasonableness of this rule of manners tempts many to redress themselves. Prosecutions is one consideration; the duty and conduct of in- for such offences, by the tribing damages that are dividuals, while such a rule exists, is another. recovered, serve only to make the sullerer more

As to which, the proper and single question is ridiculous.—This ought to be remedied. this, whether a regard for our own reputation is, For the army, where the point of honour is or is not, sufficient to justify the taking away the cultivated with exquisite attention and refinement, life of another?

I would establish a Court of Honour, with a power Murder is forbidden; and wherever human life of awarding those submissions and acknowledg. is deliberately taken away, otherwise than by pub- ments, which it is generally the purpose of a lic authority, there is murder. The value and se- challenge to obtain ; and it might grow into a curity of human life make this rule necessary; for fashion, with persons of rank of all professions, to I do not see what other idea or definition of mur- / refer their quarrels to this tribunal. der can be admitted, which will not let in so much Duelling, as the law now stands, can seldom be private violence, as to render society a scene of overtaken by legal punishment. The challenge, peril and bloodshed.

appointment, and other previous circumstances, If unauthorised laws of honour be allowed to which indicate the intention with which the comcreate exceptions to divine prohibitions, there is batants met, being suppressed, nothing appears an end of all morality, as founded in the will of to a court of justice, but the actual rencounter; the Deity; and the obligation of every duty may, and if a person be slain when actually fighting at one time or other, be discharged by the caprice with his adversary, the law deems his death na and fluctuations of fashion.

thing more than manslaughter. "But a sense of shame is so much torture; and no relief presents itself otherwise than by an attempt upon the life of our adversary." What then? The distress which men suffer by the want of money is oftentimes extreme, and no resource can

CHAPTER X. be discovered but that of removing a life which

Litigation. stands between the distressed person and his inheritance. The motive in this case is as urgent, which precept contains an indirect confession that

"If it be possible, live peaceably with all men;" and the means much the same, as in the former : get this case finds no advocate.

this is not always possible. Take away the circumstance of the duellist's

The instances * in the fifth chapter of Saint exposing his own life, and it becomes assassina- Matthew are rather to be understood as proverbial tion; adu this circumstance, and what difference methods of describing the general duties of fordoes it make ? None but this, that the fewer per- giveness and benevolence, and the temper which haps will imitate the example, and human life we ought to aim at acquiring, than as directions will be somewhat more safe, when it cannot be to be specifically observed; or of themselves of any attacked without equal danger to the aggressor's great importance to be observed. The first of these own. Experience, however, proves that there is is, “ If thine enemy smite thee on thy right cheek, fortitude enough in most men to undertake this turn to him the other also;" yet, when one of the bazarl; and were it otherwise, the defence, at officers struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, best, would be only that which a highwayman or

we find Jesus rebuking him for the outrage with bousebreaker might plead, whose attempt had becoming indignation; "If I have spoken evil

, been so daring and desperate, that few were likely thou me?" (John xviii. '43.) It may be observed,

bear witness of the evil; but if well, why smitest to repeat the same.

In expostulating with the duellist, I all along likewise, that the several examples are drawn şoppose his adversary to fall

. Which supposition from instances of small and tolerable injuries. A I am at liberty to make, because, if he have no rule which forbade all opposition to injury, or deright to kill his adversary, he has none to attempt it. fence against it, could have no other effect

, than In return, I forbear from applying to the case liver one half of mankind to the depredations of

to put the good in subjection to the bad, and deof duelling the Christian principle of the forgive the other half; which must be the case, so long as ness of injuries; because it is possible to suppose some considered themselves as bound by such a the injury to be forgiven, and the duellist to act entirely from a concern for his own reputation : rule, whilst others despised it. Saint Paul, though where this is not the case, the guilt of duelling

no one inculcated forgiveness and forbearance with is manifest, and is greater.

a deeper sense of the value and obligation of these In this view it seems unnecessary to distinguish virtues, did not interpret either of them to require het ween him who gives, and him who accepts, a

an unresisting submission to every contumely, or challenge: for, on the one hand, they incur an

a neglect of the means of safety and self-defence. equal hazard of destroying life; and on the other, He took refuge in the laws of his country, and in both act upon the same persuasion, that what they the privileges of a Roman citizen, from the condy is necrssary, in order to recover or preserve the spiracy of the Jews (Acts xxv. 11;) and from good opinion of the world.

the clandestine violence of the chief captain (Acts Public opinion is not easily controlled by civil xxii. 25.) And yet this is the same apostle who institutions: for which reason I question whether any regulations can be contrived, of sufficient "Whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, force to suppress or change the rule of honour, turn to him the other also: and if any man will sue thee whicle stigmatises all scruples about duelling with at the law and take away thy coat, let him have lig

cloak also; and whosoever shall compel thee to go a the reproach of cowardice.

mile, go with him twain."

reproved the litigiousness of his Corinthian con- Jothers, the prosecution of which, being of equal verts with so much severity. “Now, therefore, concern to the whole neighbourhood, cannot be there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go charged as a peculiar obligation upon any. to law one with another. Why do ye not rather Nevertheless, there is great merit in the person take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer your- who undertakin such prosecutions upon proper selves to be defrauded ?

motives; which amounts to the same thing. On the one hand, therefore, Christianity ex The character of an informer is in this country cludes all vindictive motives and all frivolous undeservedly odious. But where any public adcauses, of prosecution; so that where the injury vantage is likely to be attained by information, or is small, where no good purpose of public example other activity in promoting the execution of the is answered, where forbearance is not likely to laws, a good man will despise a prejudice founded invite a repetition of the injury, or where the ex- in no just reason, or will acquit himself of the pense of an action becomes a punishment too se imputation of interested designs by giving away vere for the offence; there the Christian is with his share of the penalty. holden by the authority of his religion from going On the other hand, prosecutions for the sake to law.

of the reward, or for the gratification of private On the other hand, a law-suit is inconsistent enmity, where the offence produces no public with no rule of the Gospel

, when it is instituted, mischief, or where it arises from ignorance or in1. For the establishing of some important right. advertency, are reprobated under the general de.

2. For the procuring a compensation for some scription of applying a rule of law to a purpose considerable damage.

for which it was not intended. Under which 3. For the preventing of future injury. description may be ranked an officious revival of

But since it is supposed to be undertaken sim- the laws against Popish priests, and dissenting ply with a view to the ends of justice and safety, teachers. the prosecutor of the action is bound to confine hiinself to the cheapest process which will accomplish these ends, as well as to consent to any peaceable expedient for the same purpose; as to a

CHAPTER XI. reference, in which the arbitrators can do, what

Gratitude. the law cannot, divide the damage, when the fault is mutual; or to a compounding of the dispute, Examples of ingratitude check and discourage by accepting a compensation in the gross, without voluntary beneficence: and in this, the mischief entering into articles and items, which it is often of ingratitude consists. Nor is the mischief small; very difficult to adjust separately.

for after all is done that can be done, towards proAs to the rest, the duty of the contending par- viding for the public happiness, by prescribing ties may be expressed in the following directions: rules of justice, and enforcing the observation of

Not by appeals to prolong a suit against your them by penalties or compulsion, much must be own conviction.

left to those offices of kindness, which men remain Not to undertake or defend a suit against a at liberty to exert or withhold. Now not only the poor adversary, or render it more dilatory or ex- choice of the objects, but the quantity and even pensive than necessary, with the hope of intimi- the existence of this sort of kindness in the world, dating or wearing him out by the expense. depends, in a great measure, upon the return

Not to influence evidence by authority or ex- which it receives: and this is a consideration of pectation;

general importance. Nor to 'stifle any in your possession, although A second reason for cultivating a grateful temit make against you.

per in ourselves, is the following: The same Hitherto we have treated of civil actions. In principle, which is touched with the kindness of criminal prosecutions, the private injury should be a human benefactor, is capable of being affected forgotten, and the prosecutor proceed with the by the divine goodness, and of becoming, under same temper, and upon the same motives, as the the influence of that affection, a source of the magistrate; the one being a necessary minister of purest and most exalted virtue. The love of God justice as well as the other, and both bound to di- is the sublimest gratitude. It is a mistake, thererect their conduct by a dispassionate care of the fore, to imagine, that this virtue is omitted in public welfare.

the Christian Scriptures; for every precept which In whatever degree the punishment of an of- commands us “to love God, because he first loved fender is conducive, or his escape dangerous, to us,” presupposes the principle of gratitude, and the interest of the community, in the same degree directs it to its proper object. is the party against whom the crime was com It is impossible to particularise the several exmitted bound to prosecute; because such prosecu- pressions of gratitude, inasmuch as they vary with tions must in their nature originate from the suf- the character and situation of the benefactor, and ferer.

with the opportunities of the person obliged; Therefore great public crimes, as robberies, which variety admits of no bounds. forgeries, and the like, ought not to be spared, It may be observed, however, that gratitude can from an apprehension of trouble or expense in never oblige a man to do what is wrong, and carrying on the prosecution, from false shame, or what by consequence he is previously obliged not misplaced compassion.

to do. It is no ingratitude to refuse to do, what There are many offences, such as nuisances, we cannot reconcile to any apprehensions of our neglect of public roads, forestalling, engrossing, duty; but it is ingratitude and hypocrisy together, smuggling, sabbath-breaking, profaneness, drunk- to pretend this reason, when it is not the real one: enness, prostitution, the keeping of lewd or dis- and the frequency of such pretences has brought orderly houses, the writing, publishing, or expos- this apology for non-compliance with the will of a ing to sale, lascivious books or pictures, with some benefactor into unmerited disgrace.

It has long been accounted a violation of delica- | servant may be a very bad servant, and yet seldom can generosity to upbraid men with the favours or never design to act in opposition to his mashey have received: but it argues a total destitu- ter's interest or will: and his master may justly taw of both these qualities, as well as of moral punish such servant for a thoughtlessness and Frosity, to take advantage of that ascendency neglect nearly as prejudicial as deliberate disobehech the conferring of benefits justly creates, to dience. I accuse you not, he may say, of any draw or drive those whom we have obliged into express intention to hurt me; but had not the mean or dishonest compliances.

fear of my displeasure, the care of my interest, and indeed all the qualities which constitute the merit of a good servant, been wanting in you,

they would not only have excluded every direct CHAPTER XII.

purpose of giving me uneasiness, but have been Slander.

so far present to your thoughts, as to have checked

that unguarded licentiousness by which I have SPEAKING is acting, both in philosophical strict- suffered so much, and inspired you in its place ness, and as to all moral purposes: for if the mis- with an habitual solicitude about the effects and chief and motive of our conduct be the same, the tendency of what you did or said.— This very Deans which we use make no difference. much resembles the case of all sins of inconsidera

And this is in effect what our Saviour declares, tion; and, amongst the foremost of these, that of Matt. xii. 37:-"By thy words thou shalt be inconsiderate slander. juztified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemn Information communicated for the real purpose ed by thy words, as well, that is, as by thy of warning, or cautioning, is not slander. actions; the one shall be taken into the account Indiscriminate praise is the opposite of slander, as well as the other, for they both possess the same but it is the opposite extreme; and, however it property of voluntarily producing good or evil. may affect to be thought to be excess of candour,

Slander may be distinguished into two kinds: is commonly the effusion of a frivolous undermalicious slander, and inconsiderate slander. standing, or proceeds from a settled contempt of

Malicious slander is the relating of either truth all moral distinctions. or falsehood, for the purpose of creating misery.

I acknowledge that the truth or falsehood of what is related, varies the degree of guilt considerably; and that slander, in the ordinary acceptation of the term, signities the circulation of mis

BOOK III. chievous falsehood: but truth may be made instruTental to the success of malicious designs as well = falsehood; and if the end be bad, the means cannot be innocent.

PART III. I think the idea of slander ought to be confined to the production of gratuitous mischief. When OF RELATIVE DUTIES WHICH RESULT FROM we have an end or interest of our own to serve,

THE CONSTITUTION OF THE SEXES. if we attempt to compass it by falsehood, it is fraud; if by a publication of the truth, it is not The constitution of the sexes is the foundation without some additional circumstance of breach of marriage. of promise, betraying of confidence, or the like, to Collateral to the subject of marriage, are forbe deemed criminal.

nication, seduction, adultery, incest, polygamy, Sometimes the pain is intended for the person divorce. to whom we are speaking; at other times, an en Consequential to marriage, is the relation and mity is to be gratified by the prejudice or disquiet reciprocal duty of parent and child. of a third person. To infuse suspicions, to kindle We will treat of these subjects in the following or continue disputes, to avert the favour and es- order: first, of the public use of marriage institutæem of benefactors from their dependents, to ren- tions; secondly, of the subjects collateral to marder some one whom we dislike contemptible or riage, in the order in which we have here proobnoxious in the public opinion, are all offices of posed them; thirdly, of marriage itself; and, s'ander; of which the guilt must be measured by lastly, of the relation and reciprocal duties of pathe intensity and extent of the misery produced. rents and children,

The disguises under which slander is conveyed, whether in a whisper, with injunctions of secrecy by way of caution, or with affected reluctance, are all so many aggravations of the offence, as they

CHAPTER I. indicate more deliberation and design. Inconsiderate slander is a different offence, al

Of the Public Use of Marriage Institutions, though the same mischief actually follow, and al The public use of marriage institutions conthough the mischief might have been foreseen. sists in their promoting the following beneficial The not being conscious of that design which we effects. have hitherto attributed to the slanderer, makes 1. The private comfort of individuals, especially the difference

of the female sex. It may be true, that all are not The guilt here consists in the want of that re-interested in this reason; nevertheless, it is a reagard to the consequences of our conduct, which a son to all for abstaining from any conduct which just affection for human happiness, and concern tends in its general consequence to obstruct marfor our duty would not have failed to have pro- riage: for whatever promotes the happiness of the duced in us. And it is no answer to this crimina- majority, is binding upon the whole. tion to say, that we entertained no evil design. A) 2. The production of the greatest number of

nealthy children, their better education, and the 3. Fornication produces habits of ungovernable making of due provision for their settlement in life. lewdness, which introduces the more aggravated

3. The peace of human society, in cutting off a crimes of seduction, adultery, violation, &c. Likeprincipal source of contention, by assigning one wise, however it be accounted for, the criminal or more women to one man, and protecting his cominerce of the sexes corrupts and depraves the exclusive right by sanctions of morality and law. mind and moral character more than any single

4. The better, government of society, by dis- species of vice whatsoever. That ready perceptributing the community into separate families, tion of guilt, that prompt and decisive resolution and appointing over each the authority of a mas against it, which constitutes a virtuous character, ter of a family, which has more actual influence is seldom found in persons addicted to these inthan all civil authority put together.

dulgences. They prepare an easy admission for 5. The same end, in the additional security every sin that seeks it; are, in low life, usually the which the state receives for the good behaviour of first stage in men's progress to the most desperate its citizens, from the solicitude they feel for the villanies; and, in high life, to that lamented dissowelfare of their children, and from their being luteness of principle, which manifests itself in a contined to permanent habitations.

profligacy of public conduct, and a contempt of the 6. The encouragement of industry.

obligations of religion and of moral probity. Add Some ancient nations appear to have been more to this, that habits of libertinism incapacitate and sensible of the importance of marriage institutions indispose the mind for all intellectual, moral, and than we are. The Spartans obliged their citizens religious pleasures; which is a great loss to any to marry by penalties, and the Romans encouraged man's happiness. theirs by the jus trium liberorum. A man who 4. Fornication perpetuates a disease, which had no child, was entitled by the Roman law only may be accounted one of the sorest maladies of to one half of any legacy that should be left him, human nature; and the effects of which are said that is, at the most, could only receive one half of to visit the constitution of even distant generathe testator's fortune.

tions.

The passion being natural, proves that it was intended to be gratified: but under what restric

tions, or whether without any, must be collected CHAPTER II.

from different considerations. Fornication

The Christian Scriptures condemn fornication

absolutely and peremptorily: "Out of the heart," The first and great mischief, and by conse- says our Saviour, "proceed evil thoughts, murquence the guilt, of promiscuous concubinage, ders, adulteries, fornication, thefts, false witness, and thereby to defeat the several beneficial pur- word from him upon the subject

, is final. It may consists in its tendency to diminish marriages, blasphemies; these are the things which defile a

These are Christ's own words: and one poses enumerated in the preceding chapter.

Promiscuous concubinage discourages marriage, be observed with what society fornication is classby abating the chief temptation to it. The male ed; with murders, thefts, false witness, blasphepart of the species will not undertake the en- mies. I do not mean that these crimes are all cumbrance, expense, and restraint of married life, equal, because they are all mentioned together; if they can gratify their passions at a cheaper but it proves that they are all crimes. The aposprice; and they will undertake any thing, rather tles are more full upon this topic. One well-known than not gratify them.

passage in the Epistle to the Hebrews, may stand The reader will learn to comprehend the mag- in the place of all others; because, admitting the nitude of this mischief, by attending to the im- authority by which the apostles of Christ spake portance and variety of the uses to which mar- and wrote, it is decisive: “ Marriage and the bed riage is subservient; and by recollecting withal, undefiled is honourable amongst all men: but that the malignity and moral quality of each crime whoremongers and adulterers God will judge;" is not to be estimated by the particular effect of which was a great deal to say, at a time when it one offence, or of one person's offending, but by was not agreed, even amongst philosophers themthe general tendency and consequence of crimes selves, that fornication was a crime. of the same nature. The libertine may not be The Scriptures give no sanction to those ausconscious that these irregularities hinder his own terities, which have been since imposed upon the marriage, from which he is deterred, he may al-world under the name of Christ's religion; as the lege, by different considerations; much less does celibacy of the clergy, the praise of perpetual virhe perceive how his indulgences can hinder other ginity, the prohibitio concubitus cum grarida men from marrying; but what will he say would uxore ; but with a just knowledge of, and regard be the consequence, if the same licentiousness to the condition and interest of the human spewere universal ? or what should hinder its be- cies, have provided, in the marriage of one man coming universal, if it be innocent or allowable in with one woman, an adequate gratification for the him?

propensities of their nature, and have restricted 2. Fornication supposes prostitution; and pros- them to that gratification. titution brings and leaves the victims of it to al The avowed toleration, and in some countries most certain misery. It is no small quantity of the licensing, taxing, and regulating of public misery in the aggregate, which, between want, brothels, has

appeared to the people an authorising disease, and insult

, is suffered by those outcasts of fornication; and has rontributed, with other of human society, who infest populous cities; the whole of which is a general consequence of for.

* Of this passion it has been truly said, that “ irregu. nication, and to the increase and continuance of larity has no limits; that one excess draws on another's which, every act and instance of fornication con- lent way of being virtuous, is to be so entirely." Oguer,

that the most easy, therefore, as well as the most excel tributes.

Serm. xvi.

« السابقةمتابعة »