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productive of mischief, in some other direction. Human laws are frequently capricious, versatile, sanguinary; and they generally rely much more upon the influence of terror than upon the allurements of personal rewards. We observed also, that the laws of Morality were instituted upon the same essential principles, of Utility, of Precepts or Rules, and of Sanctions; but that the proposed good is universal; the Precepts always wise and salutary, and the Sanctions momentous. Uncertainties surround the denunciations of punishment, but the rewards, immediate and fu ture, are most obvious and most encouraging.
We shall now remark, that if we advert to the character of human punishments, inflicted upon supposed delinquents, we shall perceive that the motives for punishing may be distinguished into the following classes. Punishments may be inflicted from a principle of resentment against the supposed offender;-by the desire of setting a salutary example, and deterring others from violating the laws;-in order to secure good subjects from suffering injury by the conduct of the depraved ;-and, finally, with the benevolent desire of reclaiming the offender himself.
According to the constitution of our moral nature, we are made to approve of what we deem
to be right, and to censure that which is wrong.
We possess a quick sense of merit and of demerit. We acknowledge, without a dissenting voice, that virtue deserves to be exempt from sufferings, and that vice deserves to be exposed to them. This principle is the guardian of right conduct; yet of all the others it is the most liable to be abused by mankind. Sudden indignation and resentment may prompt us to exaggerate the turpitude of the action, and render us deaf or blind to its palliatives. We may thus be guilty of an injustice from our respect for virtue. In personal injuries, the predominance of self-love, will render us peculiarly liable to such excesses. This predominance may also make us unjust from another cause. It will dispose us to entertain resentments against the person of the offender, after his Conduct and Dispositions may have been totally changed. As long as any one continues to be depraved, we are authorized to resent his depravity. But upon the assurances of his penitence and reformation, such resentments ought in justice to cease; for the proper object ceases to exist. The affections to
be now excited and indulged,
ought to corres
pond with the present character. We ought now to forgive, approve, and perhaps to admire.
To punish for the sake of Example, is to select an offender from the multitude, for a punishment, the infliction of which, by striking the senses, may deeply affect the minds of the spectators. But it necessarily supposes that the spectators may possess propensities to commit similar crimes; and that they are more easily governed by terror than by reason, or by a proper sense of duty.
There may be, in civil society, cases of such extreme degeneracy, as to deprive the offender of all the rights of social intercourse, éxpose him to universal contempt, and render him unworthy of existence, since his existence is dangerous to others. Nay, although the extinction of being must be considered as a tremendous punishment, in itself, yet absolute annihilation is preferable to a life destitute of rational enjoyment, and baneful to social enjoyment. For in this state the subject, by being dead to virtue, becomes as it were a gangrened member of the community. Societies of the Degenerate and Irreclaimable, cannot exist without being exposed to perpetual scenes of horror. Their extirpation will be dreaded by themselves as a punishment, from their instinctive love of life; but in reality it is not a punishment equal to that which they inflict
upon themselves and upon each other, by permanent profligacy.
To punish, in order to reform the delinquent, is doubtless the most noble of all the motives. It seeks to rescue a wanderer from destruction, while it holds forth an example, beth of terror and of encouragement to others. Severity thus directed, is an act of mercy to the offender himself, and it may engraft his future well-being upon his present sufferings.
These particulars are recalled to our memory, that they may be the more readily applied to the subjects before us. Should any ambiguities pre sent themselves, in these our scriptural researches, they will naturally induce us to prefer those explanations which are most consonant with the principles acknowledged and approved, by the universal suffrage of mankind.
Having thus endeavoured to form accurate ideas concerning the term Salvation; and also concerning the Objects of punishment in general, we shall proceed to enquire what is that punishment of sin which was denounced against offenders, prior to the advent of the Saviour of the world ; from which it was a grand design in his mission to rescue mankind? In what respects, in what manner, and to what an extent may Christ be considered as a Saviour from this punishment?
and for what purposes is the remission of punish
Enquiry into the Punishment of Disobedience, denounced in the Jewish Dispensation.
The first and leading denunciation against sin, or disobedience to the divine commands is recorded in the book of Genesis; and it stands thus: "Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die."
The dreadful sentence passed upon the actual transgressors was the following: "To the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow, and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children, and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree of which I commanded thee, saying, thou shalt not eat of it, cursed is the ground for thy sake, in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life thorns and thistles shall it bring forth-to