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purpose to mention Mr. Jeferson. The whole aspect of his Administration was pacific. It is but justice to this distinguished man to allow, notwithstanding the asperity with which his character has sometimes been treated, that he possessed an intellect of the most capacious grasp, and a heart endued with the kindly and benevolent sensibilities. He saw clearly the tremendous evils of tyranny, religious intolerance, church establishments, war, and slavery; and denounced them not with a humble whisper and affected meekness, but openly and boldly. He distrusted power, particularly military power; because history had taught him, that, in ninety nine cases out of an hundred, it had been perverted and abused to purposes of oppression. And this perhaps accounts for some measures in his Administration, which appeared singular enough to the advocates of the war policy. Abundance of ridicule was thrown on his gun-boat system, and his non-intercourse system, on his ultra-democracy, his experimental agriculture, and his philosophy ; but it already begins to be whispered, that he both thought and acted with a foresight in advance of the age, in which he lived. Undoubtedly he did. And Christians, who deeply lamented some peculiarities in his religious views, will not be slow, nor wanting in cordiality, in their commendation of his foresight, his independence, his regard for equal rights, his abhorrence of injustice, his broad and glowing views of the capabilities and advancement of mankind. And this is the man, saying nothing of others standing high in the ranks of politicians, who has given his seal, the ample and bright stamp of his expansive mind to the doctrine of non-intercourse as a practical and effective principle in the regulation of the affairs of nations.



CLOSELY Connected with the doctrine of peace is that of Capital punishments. The true basis of the doctrine of peace is not absolute non-resistance; the existence of civil government, in the exercise of its authority to con trol and to punish, is obviously recognized in the Scriptures; and there are some extreme cases, (very few indeed, but still some extreme cases,) where resistance and the use of force, so far as is necessary to disarm and confine the assailant, are justifiable and a duty; but the basis of the great doctrine of peace, the one immutable principle, on which it stands and stands forever, is the INVIOLABILITY OF HUMAN LIFE. Human life is sacred; it is the gift of God; it is that which nothing short of divine power can create; and no hand of man or angel, no principality or power of heaven or earth can lawfully touch it without the permission of that Being, who gave it existence. Hence the propriety and importance of saying something on the subject of Capital punishments. We oppose the practice of inflicting such punishments, FIRST, on the ground of scripture prohibition, SECONDLY, on the ground of reason and experience; and shall accordingly treat of the subject in that order.

It is our object in this Chapter to show, that the infliction of Capital punishments is unjustifiable and wrong, when viewed in the light of the Scriptures.And here we would make the remark as worthy of some notice, that the advocates of war and of Capital punishments seem disposed to support their doctrines, so far as they conceive them to depend on the Word of God, by a reference to the Old Testament rather than to the New. But certainly we ought to keep in mind, that the successive dispensations, of which we have an account in the Old Testament, are all preparatory to the coming of the Savior; that the revelations of the Old Testament are obviously and confessedly imperfect; and that the code, which stands elevated and complete, without any admixture of perishable elements, and which emphatically binds all mankind at the present moment, is that of the New Testament. The prominent passage of the Old Testament, which, in the opinion of the advocates of Capital punishments, authorizes the adoption of the retaliatory principle even to the taking of life, is as follows: "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed." Gen, 9: 6. In commenting on these expressions, we remark, in the FIRST place,that they are obviously not to be understood as a command, authorizing and requiring every one, by his own act and in his own person, to put to death any and every other individual, who has been guilty of murder. Such an interpretation, if carried out in practice, would soon fill the world with violence and confusion. Nor do we perceive, how they are to be understood as a command, authorizing and requiring even the civil magistrate to see this done; there is certainly nothing said in the passage itself, which throws the responsibility of carrying it into effect on the civil magistrate; and such an inference, although it might not necessarily be in opposition to the passage, is


nevertheless not strictly deducible from it. We propose, therefore, to consider the passage, not in the light of a command, but rather as an anticipation or prediction, (or what is perhaps the more precise expression in this case,) a DENUNCIATION of what may confidently be expected to take place. In other words, we regard it as merely expressive of a great retributive fact in nature and in the overruling Providence of God, that he, who designedly and wickedly takes human life, shall assuredly, in some way or other, meet with severe punishment, and will probably come to a violent end. It will probably not be questioned, that the phrases, shedding of blood, bearing the sword, smiting with the sword, and the like, are sometimes used metaphorically in that way, viz., to denote a severe punishment, and particularly a punishment accompanied with more or less of violence. we may add further, that this interpretation of the passage under consideration will appear the less exceptionable, if we substitute WILL for SHALL, which undoubtedly the indefinite nature of the Hebrew future will authorize us to do; so that the passage may read, “whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man WILL his blood be shed,' retaining the idea of futurity, but excluding the idea of requisition and command, which is implied in the English verb SHALL. Taking the passage in that general sense, which has now been attached to it, it may be regarded as essentially parallel with another in the fifty-fifth Psalm, where it is said, "bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days." This passage is not to be taken literally and just as it stands; nobody interprets it in that way; but it simply expresses the general fact, which, in the constitution of things and in the Providence of God, is always found to be realized, that bloody and deceitful men do not prosper, but always meet with disappointment and suffering even in the present life.

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There is another passage in the twenty second chapter of Exodus, which throws light upon the expressions under consideration. "Ye shall not afflict any widow or fatherless child. If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry. And my wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword." We are not to suppose, for we know that it was not the fact, that every oppressor of the widow and the fatherless was actually put to death by the sword. The passage simply expresses the great fact in the moral administration and Providence of God, that the divine displeasure rests upon such persons, and that in the end their conduct will meet with a severe and righteous retribution. There are some passages in the New Testament, which seem to be precisely parallel to the one under consideration; one as follows, Matt. 26: 52; "All they, that take the sword, shall perish with the sword ;" in other words, those, who resort to acts of cruelty and violence, will find themselves exposed to similar acts in return; a general and indefinite statement for what every one knows to be the fact in respect to such persons. Another passage is to be found in Revelation 13: 10, as follows, "He, that leadeth into captivity, shall go into captivity; he that killeth by the sword, must be killed by the sword." A similar interpretation is to be given here.*

This, then, we suppose to be the meaning of the passage in Genesis, that, he who sheds man's blood, shall not escape; he shall assuredly come to some evil end; he will sooner or later be overtaken by some dreadful punishment. And is not this the fact, confirmed by the whole history of mankind? The mark of Cain is stamped upon murderers, and they are lost and ruined men, even if the civil magistrate does not touch them.

*See remarks on this passage at page 121.

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