The Law of God, as Contained in the Ten
Commandments, Explained and Enforced

By William S. Plumer, 1864 

The Sixth Commandment

"You shall not kill." Exodus 20:13

This commandment, as well as others, was greatly perverted by the traditions and glosses of the Scribes and Pharisees. So when our Savior came, the design of a part of his teaching was to rescue it from perversion: "But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell. Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, Matthew 5:22-23. The general scope of this teaching of our Lord is to show that not only actual murder is thus forbidden, but also all that leads to it. A few preliminary remarks seem to be called for.

1. The command reads, "You shall not kill;" and upon the face of it, we seem to be prohibited from taking the life of any creature. But other Scriptures inform us, that it is lawful for us to eat the flesh of animals, birds, and fish. Thus God says to Noah, "Every moving thing that lives shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things," Gen. 9:3. This grant is the more remarkable as it was not made until more than 2300 years after the creation. The New Testament fully sustains this grant to Noah. Our Lord himself partook of animal food, Luke 24:42. And Paul says, "I know and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself," Romans 14:14. And again, "Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, for, 'The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it.'" 1 Cor. 10:25-26. And again, "Every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it is received with thanksgiving," 1 Tim. 4:4. So that it is clear that we are not forbidden to take the life of animals for food.

Nor is it wrong to take the life of animals which are dangerous or ravenous. By miracle David slew a bear and a lion; and Paul shook off the serpent into the fire. The law of self-preservation fully justifies our destruction of injurious animals. But lest this liberty be misunderstood, it is proper to state that all cruelty to the brute creation is clearly forbidden. "God once made a dumb donkey to rebuke the madness of a prophet," Num. 22:28. "A righteous man regards the life of his beast." The emperor Domitian began his career of crime and cruelty by torturing flies with a needle. Benedict Arnold, when a lad, delighted in tormenting calves, colts, and lambs, thus preparing for his end of infamy.

2. There are three reasons why we are bound to be careful of human life. The first is, that mankind are our brethren and our flesh. Gen. 37:27; Isaiah 58:7; Acts 17:26, 28. The second is, that God made man in his own image. Gen. 9:6. Although by the fall, man has lost the moral image of God, yet he still has his natural image, consisting in his intellectual nature, which though marred is not destroyed. A third reason is, a clear and explicit command of God, hedging about human life with great care, as in this commandment, and often elsewhere; so that God requires that every beast that shall shed the blood of man shall itself be slain. Gen. 9:5; Exodus 21:28.

3. Important as is the preservation of our own lives and the lives of our fellow-men, yet we are not at liberty to use unlawful means for that purpose. We may not lie, or steal, or swear falsely, or deny God's truth—even to save life, our own or that of others. Gen. 12:12, 13; Romans 3:8; 1 Tim. 1:19, 20. Honor, truth, and conscience are worth more than life. It was the devil (and not God) who said: "Skin for skin, yes, all that a man has will he give for his life." Job 2:4.

4. There is nothing in this command forbidding us to take the life of men, who are seeking our lives, if we have no other way of escaping their malicious plots. This was clearly settled just after giving the moral law from Sinai. "If a thief is caught breaking in and is struck so that he dies, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed." Exodus 22:2. Our Lord, himself, may allude to this law as of force in his day. Matt. 24:43. The reason of the law is, that there is always a strong presumption that a house-breaker will commit murder, if necessary to effect his nefarious designs. Nearly the whole Christian world has united in declaring the right of self-defense against murderous assaults.

5. Nor is there anything in this command prohibiting war, when necessary for the defense of a nation, or for the recovery of unquestioned rights. Gen. 14:13-16; Exodus 17:8-12; Judges 5:23; 1 Sam. 30:3-20, etc. John the Baptist called upon soldiers to "do no violence, and accuse no man falsely, but be content with your wages," Luke 3:14; but he never hinted to them that their calling was unlawful. Our Lord also greatly commended the faith of the centurion, but never called on him to renounce his profession. Luke 7:8, 9. While all this is so, the world ought not to forget what Dwight says: "Aggressive war is nothing but a complication of robbery and murder;" and what Robert Hall says: "War is nothing but a temporary repeal of all the principles of virtue."

We are also warned in Scripture that war is full of terrors and horrors. The prophet Isaiah thus describes war: "Howl, for the day of the Lord is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man's heart shall melt; and they shall be afraid; pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travails; they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames. Behold, the day of the Lord comes, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light; the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. Everyone that is found shall be thrust through. Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished. Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces, and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye shall not spare children. For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood." Compare Jer. 4:19-31.

6. Although this commandment is against the murder of men's bodies, and against all that may lead thereto, it could be by fair and easy inference, shown that the murder of their souls is even more dreadful; and we may therefore expect God to inflict the direst judgments on those on whom the blood of souls is found. Ezek. 33:8. We are now prepared to consider several classes of sins against this commandment.

1. Wrong FEELINGS.
"A tart temper never mellows with age, and a sharp tongue is the only edged-tool which grows sharper with constant use."—Irving.

1. One of the tempers very unfriendly to our own life and the lives of others is discontent. When indulged, there is no telling to what length it will go. It is very deceitful, and comes to us under the most plausible pretenses. "A change of situation is but a change of one class of trials, temptations, and duties for another." "Hell and destruction are never full, so the eyes of man are never satisfied." Proverbs 27:20. Discontent is well-near universal. Through divine grace it does not reign in the righteous, but it annoys them. How much pain it produces. "As a bird that wanders from her nest, so is a man that wanders from his place."

When discontent becomes strong and violent, it exhibits itself in ill-nature towards man and in hard thoughts and wicked speeches respecting God. It makes our fellow-creatures around us unhappy. 'It converts us into "murmurers and complainers." Jude 16. It is entirely counter to the Lord's prayer, "May Your will be done." It produces languishing, and often ends in the destruction of human life. It would be well if mankind had clear apprehensions of the sinfulness of discontent. When it assumes a violent form and becomes impatient, it makes us quarrel with providence, and foolishly declares life undesirable. The prophet sent to warn Nineveh was in such a frame. "Now, O Lord, take, I beseech you, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.... I do well to be angry even unto death." Jonah 4:3, 9. How much more befitting was the language of Job in his deep afflictions: "All the days of my appointed time will I wait, until my change comes." Job 14:14.

Luther, seeing a bird light on a twig by his window, to roost for the night, wrote: "Ah, dear little bird! he has chosen his shelter, and is quietly rocking himself to sleep without a care for tomorrow's lodging, calmly holding by his little twig, and leaving God to think for him." Irrational creatures are as if they had more faith in God than men who profess to know him.

2. Ambition is no less against the spirit of this command. It may be very low in its aims, yet if it rules a man, it will ruin him. One may "aspire to be a fool," he may aim at being esteemed rough, or unpolished; or he may aim high, and desire to subject thousands to his belief, or influence, or government. He may be ready to wade through rivers of blood and build a throne on human skulls. The deadly nature of this passion is often concealed under plausible names. It is called spirit, energy, laudable emulation, etc. But in its gratification, men often destroy soul and body, and become unjust enemies of those who favor not their selfish aims. To such, how clear is the word of God: "Are you seeking great things for yourself? Don't do it!" Jer. 45:5. The higher the ambitious rise, the greater is their peril—and the more tremendous will be their fall.

3. Nor is envy less contrary to this commandment. It often destroys life. It is "a rottenness of the bones." Proverbs 14:30.

"What makes the man of envy what he is
Is worth in others, vileness in himself,
A lust of praise, with undeserving deeds,
And conscious poverty of soul."

How some hearts sicken at rising merit, and growing worth, and increasing credit in others! How embittered is rivalry! The unsanctified heart dies within it at the advance of a competitor. The hollow-hearted professor of religion sickens at the moral grandeur of a church not of his sect. How envy detracts from the worth of good men. How it destroys its subject. "Wrath is cruel, and anger is lutrageous, but who can stand before envy?" Proverbs 27:4. It directly leads to murder. 1 John 3:12. And yet how common it is. James 4:5. "The shadow does not more naturally attend the sun than envy does favor." Boston: "Envy is the devil's two edged sword drawn to slay two at once; the envious person himself, for he is like a serpent gnawing its own tail—and the party envied." Proverbs 14:30, Job 5:2, Proverbs 27:4.

4. Revenge is another malignant exercise of the heart. Some of the more devilish exhibitions of it will be considered hereafter. It manifests itself in the rencontres of public assemblies. But often it works secretly, where all seems fair and kind. It clandestinely attacks property, liberty, or reputation. Possibly it becomes open, and indulges in innuendo, invective or scurrility; or it delights in the envenomed retort, and with keen irony, biting sarcasm, or scornful ridicule, assaults its object. "Dear friends, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God. For it is written, 'I will take vengeance; I will repay those who deserve it', says the Lord. Instead, do what the Scriptures say: 'If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink, and they will be ashamed of what they have done to you.' Don't let evil get the best of you, but conquer evil by doing good." Romans 12:19-21

5. Sinful anger is also contrary to the sixth commandment. All anger is not wicked. Jesus Christ himself was angry. Mark 3:5. We are bound to express hearty and decided displeasure at wrongs committed against ourselves or others. But anger is sinful when it becomes outrageous, Proverbs 27:4; when we give way to passion, so that reason is virtually dethroned; or when it is without just cause, Matt. 5:22; or when it is of long continuance, Eph. 4:26; or when it is accompanied with ill-will. It is not easy, yet it is possible to "be angry and sin not."' Anger may rise in the bosom of a wise man, but it abides only in the bosom of fools. "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you with all malice." Eph. 4:31.

It is peculiarly sinful to bring our angry feelings into religion. "The wrath of man works not the righteousness of God." Seeker: "He who would be angry and sin not—must not be angry with anything but sin." James 1:20. "He who is slow to wrath, is of great understanding; but he who is hasty of spirit exalts folly." Proverbs 14:29. See also Proverbs 16:32.

6. Hatred of our fellow-men, in any degree and in every shape, is sinful. It is essentially ill-will. Very properly does the apostle put it in the catalogue of works of the flesh. Gal. 5:19-21. "He who says he is in the light and hates his brother, is in darkness even until now." I John 2:9. "Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him." 1 John 3:15. "If any man says 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar." 1 John 4:20. These Scriptures settle the question. Hatred leads to actual murder, because it "stirs up strifes." Proverbs 10:12.

7. Rancour (bitterness or resentment) is hatred of long standing, known in Scripture by the epithets of hatred and perpetual hatred. Ezek. 25:15, 35:5. Rancour is of course inveterate and exceedingly stubborn. It shows itself in shyness and coolness of manner, in grudges and in heart-burnings. Where such a sentiment possesses the heart, holiness cannot dwell. Left to himself, the subject of such an affection will soon be prepared for any deed of violence.

8. One of the strongest exhibitions of depravity is the spirit of unmercifulness. The Lord said, "Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy." Matt. 5:7. The same principle is asserted throughout the Scriptures. Yet behold the wretchedness of our race. "And man, whose heaven-erected face

The smiles of love adorn,
Man's inhumanity to man
Makes countless thousands mourn."

How often does the creditor take the debtor by the throat, and sternly say, "Pay me wat you owe!" The poor man cries, "Have patience with me, and I will pay you all." But the greedy monster wields all his power to distress even friends, that in some way he may extort the amount of his claims. Everywhere are found marks of this evil spirit. Oh how will the injured, and abused, and wronged of the race arise and clank their chains and show their scars, and pour abundant shame on the inhuman wretches, who made their lives a burden! What would a tyrant monarch, a tyrant governor, a tyrant husband, a tyrant father, a tyrant master, a tyrant creditor, a tyrant officer do in heaven—where all is gentleness and love? Ah, without repentance, he shall never see that holy, happy place. "He shall have judgment without mercy, who has showed no mercy." James 2:13.

9. An unforgiving temper is no less clearly sinful. The Lord says, "If you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." Matt. 6:15. To pretend to forgive, only because we cannot otherwise be forgiven; and to forgive but not forget—is not what the Lord requires. He, who cherishes a sense of wrongs with an intention to requite them as soon as occasion offers, can never truly pray, "Forgive us our debts—as we forgive our debtors." When such a one reads that we must forgive a brother seventy times seven, he does not even attempt conformity to this law.

10. Contempt is a sentiment not to be cherished. Commonly its chief ingredients are haughtiness and scorn. It forgets that God has made from one blood all nations of men; that we are all sinners before God; and that the Almighty is no respecter of people. Haughty scorner is the designation of an ungodly man.

11. Sometimes malice shows itself at the downfall of others. But "he who is glad at calamities shall not be unpunished." Proverbs 17:5. None but devils and those who are of their father the devil, will exult because evil has come on a fellow-worm.

12. Any unkind feeling to men is sinful, and strictly forbidden by the spirit of the sixth commandment. "Be kindly affectioned one to another."

13. Nor is ingratitude an uncommon sin. An ancient heathen said, "If ingratitude were punishable, there would not be courts enough in the world to try the causes." Another said, "Call me ungrateful, and after that you can say no more evil of me." How many are annually carried to the grave through the ingratitude of those from whom better things might have been expected!

14. Of all the dispositions of the mind, perhaps none leads to more frequent violations of the sixth commandment than PRIDE. Leighton: "Pride is the spring of malice and desire of revenge, and of rash anger and contention." Tully was proud of his humble origin, and boasted that he was "the first of his family." Others find fuel for this passion in the ancient respectability of their households. Diogenes was proud of the lowliness of his circumstances; while many are lifted up with their wealth. The disposition, which makes one man put on purple and fine linen, makes another assume the roughness of a voluntary humility. Men are proud of their parents, of their children, of their brothers and sisters, of their companions, of their correspondents, of their acquaintance, of their learning, of their ignorance, of their talents, of their looks, of their success, of their education, or of their lack of it, of their virtues, and even of their crimes. Yes, a man may be proud of his humility!

This pride fills men with self-conceit; it causes them to speak in brash tones; it makes them stubborn, heady, intractable; it fills them with the spirit of dictation; it kindles up fearful strife. "Only by pride comes contention." Proverbs 13:10. The proud condescends to mix with others only by the force of some reason like this: "A sunbeam contracts no pollution by shining on a dung-hill." Pride fills our courts with litigants. It leads to broils, disputes, and murders. Like salamanders, the proud live in fire. Like Nabal, they are such sons of Belial that a man cannot speak to them, without incurring their displeasure. They expect all others to be humble; for pride in their fellow-men is very offensive to the proud. "Pride with pride—will not abide." At times indeed when overawed, the proud will cringe, and truckle, and show real harshness of spirit.

The Scriptures set themselves everywhere against pride. "The proud and all that do wickedly, shall be burned up." Mal. 4:1. "A proud heart is sin." Proverbs 21:4. "Everyone who is proud in heart is abomination to the Lord." Proverbs 16:5. "God resists the proud, but gives grace unto the humble." James 4:6.

2. Wrong WORDS. Another way of violating this commandment is by sinful language. "Grievous words stir up anger." Proverbs 15:1. "There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword." Proverbs 12:18. David complained, "My soul is among lions: and I lie even among those who are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword." And again: "Behold they belch out with their mouth; swords are in their lips." Again: "They whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words." Psalm 53:4; 59:7; 64:3.

In interpreting this precept, our Lord warned men against saying Raca, which means vain fellow. Michal, David's wife, violated this commandment when she scornfully said, "How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, disrobing in the sight of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!" 2 Sam. 6:20.

The Lord also forbade us to apply to men in any provoking way, the epithet fool, which signified not only that one is far from wisdom, but also that he is wicked and ungodly. He who takes away the life of a fellow creature by false testimony, is himself a murderer. Proverbs 6:16-19; 19:5. He who suborns others to do the same is a murderer. Acts 6:13. He who passes unjust sentence of death is a murderer, Proverbs 17:15; 1 Kings 21:9-14. He who rewards the righteous according to the work of the wicked is a murderer. Isaiah 5:23. He who sees a fellow-creature in danger, and warns him not, lies under blood-guiltiness. Lev. 19:17; Isaiah 58:1. He who utters even the truth maliciously is in the same condemnation. 1 Sam. 22:9, 10; Psalm 53:1. He who speaks slightingly of justice, and is regardless of truth, does what he can to spread the spirit of murder. Isaiah 59:4. He who perverts the sayings of his fellow-men, Matt. 26:60, 61; Psalm 56:5.

He who by falsehood afflicts his neighbor, Psalm 1:20; he who backbites with his tongue, Psalm 15:3; he who speaks evil of his neighbor, Titus 3:2; he who turns tale-bearer, Lev. 19:16; he who disturbs the peace of society by whispering, Romans 1:29; by mocking, Isaiah 28:22; by reviling, 1 Cor. 6:10; in short, he who, by any form of speech annoys his fellow-men, breaks up the peace of families, and fills upright men with anxiety and sorrow, violates the spirit of this commandment.

3. Wicked PLOTS. Men are not free from the guilt of breaking this precept, when they command or contrive the death of others; as when Saul bid Doeg kill the Lord's priests; or when David told Joab to put Uriah in the front of the battle; or when they counsel and advise the ruin of moral character, as did Jonadab, 2 Sam. 13:1-29; or when men stand by and consent to outrages against others, Acts 8:1; or by failing to give faithful warning, Ezek. 3:18; or by giving their voice to put men in offices which they are not capable of filling, and from their incompetency sad evils result, 1 Tim. 5:22.

4. QUARRELING. Perhaps no form of social evil is more degrading, or leads to more misery, than base quarrelling. It makes a hell upon earth. See Gal. 5:15.

5. Wrong ACTS. All expressions of the evil passions already spoken of are acts contrary to this commandment. Of this kind are all looks and gestures of a menacing, malignant, revengeful, violent, irritating, spiteful or tormenting character; all oppression, Isaiah 3:15, smiting, maiming and wounding, Num. 35:16, 21, Proverbs 28:17, or doing anything which tends to the destruction of human life, Exodus 21:18-36.

Some things suggested by this commandment require a more particular consideration. Let us therefore inquire,

6. Is SUICIDE Criminal? It cannot be denied that the value set upon our own lives is in many cases very small. Mr. Hume, of the eighteenth century, wrote in favor of suicide; and since his time societies for the encouragement of self-destruction have been formed in many parts of Europe. Their baneful influence has also been extended to America. Mr. Hume's reasoning is truly shocking to pious minds. He says: "In the sight of God every event is alike important; and the life of a man is of no greater importance to the universe than that of an oyster." This sounds well in the ears of profane men. Yet every man knows that there is no truth in it. Though lessons may be learned from the lowest of God's works, yet Infinite Wisdom has never given to the world the history of an oyster for its instruction. But God has inspired many men to write the lives of others, and has preserved them to us in the canon of Scripture. The reckless question of Mr. Hume: "Where is the crime of turning a few ounces of blood out of their channel?" is as applicable to murder as to suicide; and what further license can the murderer possibly ask than to be allowed to plead at the tribunal of public justice that he has committed no crime by turning a few ounces of blood out of their course? With all his acuteness, Mr. Hume terribly confounds the plainest distinctions. He says: "When I fall upon my own sword, I receive my death equally from the hands of the Deity, as if it had proceeded from a lion, a precipice, or a fever." If this sentence has any meaning, it is that the willful, deliberate taking of our own lives is the same as dying by the providence of God, when he permits us to fall under the influence of pestilence, or of wild beasts. And if that is true, then we are no more criminal for killing a man than we are for seeing him die of a fever.

The whole argument in favor of suicide goes on the supposition of the truth of these principles, which are clearly false.

1, That man has a right to dispose of his own life; whereas none but the Author of our existence can lawfully do so;

2, that we are competent judges of the question whether we have lived long enough or not; whereas a large proportion of mankind have been very useful after they supposed they could do no more good;

3, that we owe no obligations to parents, or children, or others, who may be dependent upon our exertions; whereas we may entail upon them untold miseries by taking our own lives;

4, that God has not legislated on the subject; whereas the sixth commandment clearly forbids it;

5, that salvation is not an object worth seeking; whereas it is the only thing claiming our supreme attention;

6, that it is heroic to sink under distress or play the coward in suffering wrong; whereas a large part of the best moral lessons, taught by example, has been delivered to mankind in the depths of affliction.

It is not necessary to use any harsh language respecting the entire class of people, who may be left to take their own lives. In some cases, no doubt, reason is dethroned before the fatal act is committed. While we may charitably hope that this is so, it is an appalling fact that the Scriptures do not mention a single instance of any godly man committing this sin. Three cases are given in Holy Scripture. One is that of Saul, a man of violent passions, who sought to compass the death of his own son, Jonathan, and of his son-in-law and deliverer, David; an open transgressor of the divine will, who, before the close of life, committed crimes which he knew ought to be punished with death. Another is that of Ahithophel, a wily statesman, a man of unusual political sagacity, but wholly unprincipled, and a traitor against King David. The third was that of Judas Iscariot, for years a thief, consummating his crimes by betraying his Redeemer. There can be no hope of the salvation of a man who, in the exercise of his reason, commits this crime.

So unmanly is suicide, that even Aristotle has condemned it: "For a man to die merely that he may avoid poverty or trials is not courage, but sheer cowardice. It declares that he lacks sufficient fortitude to encounter them." Of the self-destroyer a poet says:

"He thought, but thought amiss, that of himself
He was entire proprietor; and so,
When he was tired of time, with his own hand,
He opened the portals of eternity,
And sooner than the devils hoped, arrived In hell."

7. The Duel. The duel is a combat with deadly weapons between two people agreeably to previous arrangements. It differs from a boxing match, because in that no weapons are used. It differs from a rencounter, because that is a sudden combat without premeditation. These may be as immoral and as fatal in their consequences as the duel. But neither of them is so called.

1. The modern duel is maintained to avenge personal or family insults. It can in no way be justified. "You shall not kill," is the plain command of him that made us. No acumen can reconcile duelling with this prohibition. The law is clear. No exception is made in other parts of the divine code. The contrariety between this practice and the law of God, is manifest. The statute is unrepealed.

2. The duel includes in it also the guilt of suicide. As man has no right to take his own life, so he has no right wantonly to expose it to destruction. He who without any call of Providence knowingly puts himself in needless peril, contracts the guilt of suicide. Nor can we plead for duellists, which in some cases we may for suicides—that they are insane. Duellists themselves admit that it would be murder to call to the field any unfortunate fellow-creature, whose reason had fallen from its throne. The duellist is mad in no other sense than that the sorcery of sin has bewitched him. His blood, if shed, is, in a fearful sense, on himself. Even if from the first, he intends to fire his own weapon into the air, yet if he exposes his body to the gunfire of an antagonist, he is in heart a self-murderer. If he dies in the duel, he has done what the law of nature and the word of God forbid, and incurred the heinous guilt of dying in an act which admits of neither reparation nor repentance.

"No murderer has eternal life abiding in him." This is as true of him who kills himself as of any other murderer. Before his conversion, J. A. Haldane fought a duel, and as he raised the pistol, he prayed, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit," Life of Haldane, p. 61. Such prayers are vain and are commonly admitted to be so. They are hypocritical.

3. Moreover duelling is in its very nature murderous. The weapons chosen are the weapons of death. The efforts of each party are almost without exception for the destruction of his antagonist's life. The fact of a malignant animosity is proven by all the circumstances attending duels. The deliberate aim of a deadly weapon at a fellow-creature determines the act to be murderous in design, and if life is taken, to be murder in fact. This is indeed strong but not rash language. Matthew Hale says, "This is a plain case, and without any question. If one kills another in fight, even upon the provocation of him that is killed, this is murder." Judge Foster says, "Deliberate duelling, if death ensues, is, in the eye of the law, murder."

Sir Edward Coke says, "Single combat between any of the king's subjects is strictly prohibited by the laws of the realm, and on this principle, that in states governed by law, no man, in consequence of any injury whatever, ought to indulge the principle of private revenge." Blackstone, supported by Coke, says: "Murder is when a person of sound memory and discretion, unlawfully kills any reasonable creature, with malice aforethought, either express or implied." The applicability of this definition to the crime of killing in a duel, will be granted by all, except so much as relates to malice aforethought. Even a part of this will not be denied, namely that if there be malice at all, it is aforethought. Is there malice at all? The forbidden act of shooting with intent to kill is clearly malice implied. Is it not also malice expressed? The authority last cited says, "This malice aforethought is the grand criterion which now distinguishes murder fromn other killing; and this malice prepense is not so properly spite or malevolence to the deceased in particular, as any evil design in general; the dictate of a wicked, depraved, and malignant heart. Express malice is when one with a sedate, deliberate mind and formed design, does kill another, which formed design is evidenced by external circumstances discerning that inward intention; as lying in wait, antecedent menaces, former grudges, and concerted schemes to do some bodily harm. This takes in the case of deliberate duelling, where both parties meet avowedly with an intent to murder; thinking it their duty and claiming it as their right, to wanton with their own lives and those of their fellow-creatures; without any authority or warrant from any power either human or divine, but in direct contradiction to the laws both of God and man. These statements of principles are clear. They are made by lawyers and judges, not by divines and moralists. Their authors cannot be suspected of any wild, religious fervor, or of any foolish devotion to a fine-spun theory in ethics. Killing in a duel, then, is murder; intent to kill in a duel, is intent to commit murder. Milder terms ought not to be employed.

4. Both human and divine laws properly guard the life of man with much caution. Blackstone says: "If any man in a populous town throws carelessly from a house-top any tile or timber, and gives no notice to the crowd that is usually passing below, though he may see no one, yet if one thereby be killed, it is not merely man-slaughter, but it is murder, and the law assigns the reason that such conduct is an expression of malignity against all mankind; and even if he gives loud warning, and yet it be in a place where many people usually pass, and one be killed, it is man-slaughter, and is punishable by the laws."

The same principle was incorporated into the law of Moses, Exodus 21:29. It is right. If these things are so, by what principle is he turned loose unpunished, who not only is careless about human life, but who trains himself to the skillful use of deadly weapons that he may destroy it, meets a fellow-creature by arrangement and takes away his life? Divine law is no less loud and clear in its demands for the punishment of blood-shedding. This point will be argued at length in a succeeding section.

PLEAS FOR DUELLING. In defense of duelling, it is sometimes pleaded that the practice is in accordance with a body of rules fit for the government of gentlemen, commonly called The Code of Honor. Whenever a code is mentioned, we naturally ask for the enacting power. Who made the code of honor? God did not. All its principles are repugnant to his revealed will. Nor has any competent authority sanctioned them. Nearly all legislatures have condemned them. Yet some are so bold as to dignify them with the name of The Commandments, thus adding profaneness to other sins. Two of these Digests of the laws of crime are before us. A statement of even half their provisions would show their absurdity, their cruelty, and their wantonness. They are sufficiently bloody to satisfy the most diabolical malice. Even in America, some of their leading principles are these: Some insults cannot be compromised or settled without fighting. Words ac not satisfy words, nor blows, blows. Seconds go armed to the field, first to shoot the adversary of his principal, if he shall take any advantage; and secondly, to keep the other second in order. If principals will not fight, seconds are to pronounce them cowards, and abandon them on the field. You are not bound to fight a minor, unless you have made a companion of him. You are bound to fight a respectable stranger. Seconds have absolute control after a challenge is given and accepted. Time may always be claimed to make a will.

A code with such provisions is shockingly immoral. It violates all the charities of life. It tramples on the laws of God. It defies the statutes of the land. It reputes forbearance as weakness, and forgiveness a baseness. It exalts diabolical passions to a seat among the highest virtues. It puts revenge and murder above meekness and patience. It is also full of absurdities. It places the aggressor and the aggrieved upon the same footing; or if the former be the best shot or the smallest mark, it gives him the advantage. If a man be injured and complain, by this code he may be compelled to lose his life and to write his wife a widow and his children fatherless. There is hardly an end to the absurdities which may be fairly drawn from its rules. This code is useless. It elicits no truth. It determines not who is innocent, and who is guilty. By common consent it proves no man brave; it seldom proves him a coward. It does not even prove one a good marksman or a good swordsman. In 1815, the English almost invariably killed the French officers with the sword. Yet the former were unskilled and the latter were experts in its use. Very often: in our own land, the less skillful in the use of weapons has killed his adversary.

This code is very bloody, not only in its laws, but also in its results. During the first eighteen years of the reign of Henry the Fourth, four thousand gentlemen perished by duels in France alone. In one hundred and seventy-two consecutive duels, sixty-three people were killed, and ninety-six wounded, forty-eight of them desperately. This latter statement is made on the faith of an official paper prepared in England. A few years ago, four people were killed in four successive duels in the same vicinity. This code smells horribly of blood. Why will men worship this modern Moloch?

Some plead for the code of honor that it maintains courage among men. True courage is indeed an enviable quality. But what is it? Is it recklessness of life? Does it delight in blood? No man has true courage except so far as he is a godly man. "The righteous are as bold as a lion, but the wicked flee when no man pursues." Burke: "The only real courage is generated by the fear of God. He who fears God, fears nothing else." Addison: "Courage is that heroic spirit inspired by the conviction that our cause being just, God will protect us in its prosecution." Seneca: "Courage is properly the contempt of hazards according to reason; but to run into danger from mere passion is rather a daring and brutal fierceness than an honorable courage." Pages from similar sources and to the like effect might be cited.

The Duke of Sully, speaking of duels, says, "That which arms us against our friends or countrymen, in contempt of all laws, as well divine as human, is but a brutal fierceness, madness, and real timidity." True courage is calm, just, mild, firm, reasonable. To such a quality, good men do reverent obeisance. It is truth and justice sitting on a throne of virtue. It has no malignity. It never thirsts for vengeance. But is the duellist brave after his bloody work? Is he not timid, nervous, melancholy? Does he not often seem to anticipate the pains of hell? A dreadful sound is in his ears. A good writer says, "How fares it with him in the court of conscience? Is he able to keep off the grim arrests of that? Can he drown the cry of blood, and bribe his own thoughts to let him alone? Can he fray off the vulture from his heart, that night and day is gnawing his heart, and wounding it with ghastly and amazing reflections?"

Shall we award to such a system the meed of honor? The demand can never be granted. Humanity and God forbid it. Honor is a sacred thing. Honor is not lawless, is not cruel, delights in the approbation of the good, and abhors the infliction of misery. Honor is humane, generous, tenderhearted. Honor casts from her even her own rights, when insisting on them does a great wrong to others. Honor never willingly mingles the tears of widows and orphans with the blood of husbands and fathers. Honor looks at the things of others, bows to the majesty of law, listens to the conclusions of reason, and obeys the voice of God.

Can anything be done to arrest this evil? Yes! Public sentiment can rectify it. Good laws can be enacted. Good men can execute them. If all good men and all public functionaries would show like mildness and firmness, like sympathy for the suffering, and like determination not to swerve from duty, there would soon be a change. Let mothers teach their sons that killing in a duel is murder. Let wives soothe their irritated husbands and assert their rights not to be left mourning widows. Let young ladies discountenance the gallants who come into their society reeking with blood. Let the press and the pulpit utter just and solemn notes of remonstrance.

Is any tempted to commit this sin? Here are good answers, any one of which is sufficient to justify him in declining. You shall not kill—the Almighty. It is the glory of a man to pass over a transgression—Solomon. I am not afraid of fighting, but I am afraid of sinning—Colonel Gardiner. I neither am, nor wish to be a murderer—a modern gentleman.

Tis hard, indeed, if nothing will defend
Mankind from quarrels but their fatal end;
That now and then a hero must decease,
That the surviving world may live in peace.
Perhaps at last close scrutiny may show
The practice dastardly, and mean, and low;
That men engage in it, compell'd by force,
And fear, not courage, is its proper source;
The fear of tyrant custom, and the fear
Lest fops should censure us, and fools should sneer,
While yet we trample on our Maker's laws,
And hazard life for any or no cause.

8. Murder. All men admit murder to be a crime. Nor do they doubt that it is a fearful crime, even when attended with the fewest aggravations. None but the divine Lawgiver is competent to decide on the heinousness of any sin as against himself. No mortal is capable of knowing all the bearings of any sin in a moral government that has no end. But murder is an offence so obviously atrocious that man can judge somewhat of its mischievous effects in this life. It is the strongest expression of malignity against our fellow-creatures. It is commonly the result of pride, or cruelty, or avarice, and always of impiety. It supposes a long process of hardening the heart and indulging wicked passions. But even the temporal consequences of murder are fully known to God only. Every man sustains relations to his family, his country, and the universe, which no finite mind can gauge. Then every life is worth untold millions to its possessor.

Both in Hebrew and Greek the same word is rendered life and soul. And, indeed, the connection between them is such that the loss of the former may be the loss of the latter. The murder of an unregenerate man, forever puts him beyond the reach of renewing grace and pardoning mercy. In speaking of duelling, murder has been sufficiently defined. Within the last half century, unusual opposition to the capital punishment of murder has been manifested in many quarters. Against it forms of expression full of railing and bitterness are frequently employed. One cries out against the orthodox Christian world: "The gallows and the gospel, Christ and the hangman." Those who deny eternal punishment seem particularly anxious to have the death penalty abolished. An ex-president of the United States, some years since, declared for the abolition of capital punishments. Some legislatures have fallen in with the popular error.

HAS GOD SETTLED THIS QUESTION? Our appeal is to his word. "Whoever sheds man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed." Gen. 9:6. This command was not given to the Jews, but to Noah, the second universal father of the human race. It is limited to no time or nation. It has never been repealed. A wholesome law ought to continue while the reason for it continues. That is given in these words: "For in the image of God made he man." So that killing man is a very different thing from killing any other creature. It is a despising of God, whose natural image every man bears. To murder a man is to blot out this image of God. This interpretation of this law is agreed upon by Rivet, Le Clerc, Selden, Grotius, Michaelis, Rosenmuller and numerous other eminent scholars. Nor is this the only instance in which God has expressed his will.

The command to Noah was given sixteen hundred and fifty-seven years after the creation. Nine hundred and fifty-six years later, God ordained judicial regulations for the Jewish commonwealth. Into that code he incorporated these explicit teachings. "He who smites aman so that he dies, shall surely be put to death." And to show that no refuge was to be allowed him, God adds, "You shall take him from my altar that he may die." Exodus 21:12, 14. A year afterwards, God said again to Moses, "He who kills any man shall surely be put to death." Lev. 24:17. Thirty-eight years later, God gave minutely the law of murder and manslaughter, provided for the trial of all charged with either crime, gave particular rules according to which sentence was to be given, repeatedly stated that murderers should be put to death.

This law is the basis of the laws of most Christian countries on this subject. It reads thus: "If a man strikes someone with an iron object so that he dies, he is a murderer; the murderer shall be put to death. Or if anyone has a stone in his hand that could kill, and he strikes someone so that he dies, he is a murderer; the murderer shall be put to death. Or if anyone has a wooden object in his hand that could kill, and he hits someone so that he dies, he is a murderer; the murderer shall be put to death. The avenger of blood shall put the murderer to death; when he meets him, he shall put him to death. If anyone with malice aforethought shoves another or throws something at him intentionally so that he dies or if in hostility he hits him with his fist so that he dies, that person shall be put to death; he is a murderer. The avenger of blood shall put the murderer to death when he meets him. "'But if without hostility someone suddenly shoves another or throws something at him unintentionally or, without seeing him, drops a stone on him that could kill him, and he dies, then since he was not his enemy and he did not intend to harm him, the assembly must judge between him and the avenger of blood according to these regulations. The assembly must protect the one accused of murder from the avenger of blood and send him back to the city of refuge to which he fled. He must stay there until the death of the high priest, who was anointed with the holy oil. "'But if the accused ever goes outside the limits of the city of refuge to which he has fled and the avenger of blood finds him outside the city, the avenger of blood may kill the accused without being guilty of murder. The accused must stay in his city of refuge until the death of the high priest; only after the death of the high priest may he return to his own property. "'These are to be legal requirements for you throughout the generations to come, wherever you live. "'Anyone who kills a person is to be put to death as a murderer only on the testimony of witnesses. But no one is to be put to death on the testimony of only one witness. "'Do not accept a ransom for the life of a murderer, who deserves to die. He must surely be put to death. "'Do not accept a ransom for anyone who has fled to a city of refuge and so allow him to go back and live on his own land before the death of the high priest. "'Do not pollute the land where you are. Bloodshed pollutes the land, and atonement cannot be made for the land on which blood has been shed, except by the blood of the one who shed it. Do not defile the land where you live and where I dwell, for I, the LORD, dwell among the Israelites.'" Numbers 35:16-34

A clearer revelation of God's mind and will could not be made. Nor is this any ceremonial regulation. It is the wisdom of God expressed to a famous people for the guidance of their conduct in criminal proceedings. These laws given by God were carefully executed by the best kings, that ruled over that people. By the command of Solomon, Joab was put to death, even while holding fast to the horns of the altar; for he had killed two innocent men, "more righteous and better than he." 1 Kings 2:28-34. This case is the more remarkable as Joab had rendered eminent military services to the country. Again, God expressly says, "A man tormented by the guilt of murder will be a fugitive till death; let no one support him." Proverbs 28:17. The same doctrine is taught by Christ: "All those who take the sword shall perish with the sword." Matt. 26:52. This saying was a proverb among the Jews. Its import was precisely the same with that of the words: "Whoever sheds man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed." The meaning is, he who, under a government of laws, takes the sword into his own hand, for private revenge, and slays a man, shall himself be put to death by the sword of public justice.

The same is taught by Paul. Of the civil magistrate, he says: "For government is God’s servant to you for good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, because it does not carry the sword for no reason. For government is God's servant, an avenger that brings wrath on the one who does wrong." Romans 13:4. It is true that this passage does not confine capital punishment to the case of murder. But none will deny that if the death penalty should be inflicted on any, it should be on the willful murderer. The sword in this passage clearly points to death, as it was used for beheading. The apostle admitted the correctness of the same doctrine, in his argument before Festus. "If I be an offender, or have committed anything worthy of death, I refuse not to die," Acts 25:11; thus clearly implying that there were crimes properly punished with death; and that, if proven on the apostle, he would admit the justice of the death penalty against himself.

And in the very last book of Scripture, we have the same doctrine taught: "He who kills with the sword, must be killed with the sword." Rev. 13:10. It is true this passage is not a precept, but a prediction respecting the doom of bloody persecutors, who are wholesale murderers. Yet it is a prophecy which Jehovah has caused and will ever cause to be wonderfully fulfilled. Let bloody tyrants beware how they shed the blood of innocent men; for He who is higher than the highest regards. With an awful vengeance, even in this life, he commonly marks so heinous sin. Often in providence does "the Lord comes out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain." Isaiah 26:21.

Thus speak the Scriptures. The general consent of mankind in all ages and under all dispensations since the flood, would lead to the same conclusion. Blackstone: "Murder is a crime which shocks human nature, and which is, I believe, punished almost universally throughout the world with death." The consent of mankind approaches as near universality on this as on any other subject. Perhaps as few men have held that murder should not be punished with death, as have professed their belief that there was no God. The force of the argument is this: 'When men in every variety of circumstances, civilized and uncivilized, crude and refined, Jews, Mohammedans, Christians and Pagans, have generally agreed to any principle and acted upon it, its propriety is manifest.' There has never been a mistake among mankind of all descriptions, on any moral subject so wide-spreading as the opinion that murder should be punished with death. The experiment of sparing the lives of murderers has been fully tried. The world is now considerably less than six thousand years old. Yet for the first sixteen centuries and a half, capital punishment was not inflicted. In his adorable sovereignty, God made a great experiment, beginning in the family of Adam. The first man ever born was a murderer—the murderer of his own brother. He was constantly apprehensive of death. "It shall come to pass that everyone that finds me shall slay me." Gen. 4:14. But God sacredly guarded his life, and threatened dreadful vengeance on any who should touch him. Gen. 4:15. His punishment was expulsion from the visible church, expressed by the words, "He went out from the presence of the Lord," Gen. 4:16; together with his own reflections and the remorse of his conscience. Did his mental anguish and expulsion from the congregation of the righteous deter men from murder? No! Lamech soon followed his example, saying to his wives: "I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt. If Cain shall be avenged seven fold, truly Lamech seventy and seven fold." Gen. 4:23, 24. Nor did the thing stop here. Men went from bad to worse, until "the earth was filled with violence." Gen. 6:11. The wickedness of man grew so rapidly that God swept from the face of the earth every breathing thing; those saved in the ark alone excepted. And no sooner had Noah come out of the ark, and become heir of the new world, than God enacted that henceforth murder should be capitally punished.

Nor do the lessons of history stop here. The Jewish commonwealth, in some form or other, existed for more than fifteen hundred years. Whenever, in the kingdom of Judea, the magistrates were faithful in punishing murder with death, peace and prosperity succeeded. But whenever they became remiss in this matter, the nation groaned in misery. One of the States of America, (Michigan) about the middle of the nineteenth century, abolished capital punishment. The Grand Jury at Detroit, in 1852, under the solemnities of an oath said: "The increase of the crimes of murder and manslaughter, since the abolition of capital punishment, not only among us, but throughout our State, has become most manifest and alarming. The records of the courts of this County show that at each of the four terms, there has been at least one aggravated case of murder—and at one term two cases. Whereas, previously to the existing law, no conviction of murder had ever been had by any of the courts of the State. These facts we regard as a proof of an alarming disrespect for, and undervaluing of human life, legitimately referable to a change of the legislation upon this subject."

However men may fortify themselves with plausible arguments in favor of a sickly philanthropy, yet so exceedingly outrageous and shocking are some of the crimes which are committed, that it requires, not an ardent love of truth and commendable firmness, but an obstinacy of temper to stand up and say, they ought not to be punished with death. For a crime of deep dye, a man was sentenced to confinement, in a penitentiary, for a term of years. His treatment was mild. His tasks were moderate, and yet in cold blood he killed a kind and faithful officer. What would sickly philanthropists do in this case? Would they have him sentenced to the penitentiary? He was already there. Would they sentence him for life? How many faithful keepers might he kill before the law would assert its majesty in behalf of the lives of guards and wardens? Abolish the penalty of death, and trustworthy men could not be found to keep our prisons. Abolish capital punishments, and mankind will return to the old practice of avenging blood.

Some have argued respecting capital punishment upon entirely false principles. Some assert that punishment can be justified only upon the ground of the right acquired by society, when men enter into that state, to prevent an evil-disposed person from repeating an offence. Others say that the only justification of punishment is found in the hope that the criminal may thereby be reformed. Others say that the right to punish is based upon the obligation of society to deter those, who have not yet offended, by exhibiting examples of the misery of criminals. Yet others contend that all punishment is merely for reparation, and should be of such a kind as to gain that end. Some have laid down all these as the foundations of punishment. Let us look at these statemets.

It is admitted that some of the fore-mentioned things are occasionally gained by punishment. But neither severally nor jointly are they the ground on which it proceeds. If the right to punish is based upon the obligation of society to prevent an evil-disposed person from repeating an offence, none will deny that capital punishment gains that end, and puts it quite out of the power of the culprit again to disturb society. So that the mere admission of this principle would be no argument for the total abolition of the death penalty. But this statement of the matter does not furnish a principle sufficiently broad to cover every case of punishment. Some sentences are but light and temporary. They bear no proportion to the strength of men's passions for doing wrong. Yet severer penalties would by all enlightened men be esteemed excessive. But the great objection to this principle is, that it makes a man suffer, not for what he has done, but for fear he will hereafter do something wrong. He asks his country, "Why do you restrain my liberty?" The reply is, "We are afraid you will injure men if you are allowed to go at large." This reply suits the case of a man restrained under a writ of lunacy, or subjected to quarantine, no less than that of the culprit. He sees no justice in the case. He asks if society is not afraid that some men, going at large, will commit as great offences as himself; and the community must be very small, in which men could not be found, of whose future good conduct there was as little guaranty as of his. Some of the worst men in every country are going at large. Mere prevention therefore is not the basis of punishment.

Nor is the reformation of the criminal the ground of punishment. Incidentally it may sometimes be effected; and if in crimes of a lower grade one mode of punishment is found more conducive to reformation than another, and the ends of government can all be secured—that mode should be preferred. But who gave society a right to imprison men in order to reform them? No such grant of power is anywhere found. Surely God never gave it. When he would rescue men from vice and sin, it is by his blessed gospel. Besides, if society punishes only that she may reform bad men, then as soon as they are reformed they ought to be discharged. Would this be proper? And if reformation be the ground of punishment, then all penal sentences ought to be indefinite as to time, and the punishment should last until the reformation is effected.

Universalists urge this point with great zeal. Their chief argument is, that all suffering, under the government of God, is for the good of the sufferer, and that therefore the same principles should obtain in human society. But the argument is false. All suffering under God's government is NOT for the good of the sufferer. What benefit have the fallen angels ever reaped from their chains of darkness? What blessing has ever come on the Sodomites for their suffering the vengeance of eternal fire? When Paul says that "all things work together for good," he limits the statement to "those who love God, to those who are the called according to his purpose." To such it is a glorious truth that their afflictions do them eternal good. But where is the like declared concerning those who hate God and are ordained to a fiery condemnation?

And even if reformation were the ground of punishment, no man, before the judgment-day, can certainly know that capital punishments for high crimes are not preceded by as many conversions to God and thorough reformations as any other modes of punishment whatever. We have inspired authority for believing that one man publicly executed for his crimes was truly penitent. Doubtless there have been others.

But do not our wisest men confess that our penitentiaries are seldom, if ever, places of penitence? Neither is the utility of example to others any ground for punishing a man. Punishment may deter some men from crimes; but it may be seriously questioned whether even this influence is not greatly overestimated. It has become proverbial, that punishments so inflicted as to afford a spectacle, have in many cases a hardening effect. Be this as it may, when did society acquire the right of punishing one man for the good of others? If it has such a right, why may it not exhibit the innocent in a posture of shame and under false accusation, for the benefit of the public?

Nor is reparation the ground of punishment. If in cases purely civil, where no felony is charged, this is the great end of punishment, yet in the case of murder, reparation is wholly and absolutely impossible. No tears, no repentance, no toils, no sacrifice of worldly goods can restore life to the murdered man, or the husband and father to his bereaved family.

The true ground of punishment is JUSTICE. The penalty of law is to be inflicted because it is right. If the murderer deserves death; if his guilt is so enormous that no other punishment is adequate; if God has pronounced death the proper penalty; if criminals themselves, whenever their consciences are awakened and enlightened, do acknowledge the justice of their sentence; then we have a sure foundation on which to vindicate our laws. Justice, eternal inflexible justice is the sole ground of the right of punishment. And it is ground enough. "Whoever sheds man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed."

9. Intemperance. Modern usage has almost confined the word intemperance, unless otherwise explained by the connection, to the excessive use of intoxicating drinks. In this sense let us consider it for a little while. No form of vice is more contrary to the true spiric of the sixth commandment, and none brings more misery on society. Its sweep is wide and fearful. Every profession and every community have furnished victims to this destroyer. The annals of this miserable vice are written in blood. Its statistics rise high and tell us of hundreds of thousands of drunkards and of hundreds of thousands more reduced to pauperism or seduced to crime—by intemperance. They tell us of millions of gallons of intoxicating drink annually consumed. For every hour in the year it is calculated that at least one drunkard passes to the retributions of eternity.

Nor is intemperance in any case a slight evil. To its subjects it brings complicated forms of disease, and pains of the most excruciating character. "Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? Those who linger over wine, who go to sample bowls of mixed wine." Proverbs 23:29, 30. Loss of integrity frequently attends intemperance. Little by little the inebriate loses his once sacred regard to truth, to contracts, to promises and all engagements. At the same time, the fatal stab is given to the best and kindliest sentiments of the heart. Petulance and irritability supplant love and tenderness. Self-respect commonly dies early in this career, and the inebriate begins to herd with the degraded. Reputation cannot long stand such assaults, and by degrees public esteem and confidence are withdrawn. In his sober moments, the drunkard's bosom will be wrung with anguish. Shame, remorse, and the darkness of guilt are followed by the perishing of hope. He deplores his dreadful captivity, but has neither courage, nor expectation of bursting its bonds. Loss of property commonly follows close on the heels of other evils.

While intemperance does not always lead its victims to the commission of crimes, yet more than three-fourths of all the felonies in the land are traceable to this source. The worst thing attending intemperance is its direct and invariable tendency to destroy both soul and body in hell. "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." 1 Cor. 6:9, 10. For the impenitent, unreformed drunkard, there is no salvation. God has determined that matter already, True, the context of the passage just cited shows that drunkards may be converted: "Such were some of you," says Paul to the Corinthians. But how seldom does the drunkard turn to God. When the direct tendency of a sin is to make the whole man sottish and even less than a man, how feeble is the hope we can entertain that he will turn and live.

The case of the drunkard is very discouraging. It is hard to convince him either of his sin or his danger. He is full of confidence in his own strength. He is persuaded that the meltings of nature, which he sometimes feels, are a sign that all is not lost. His conscience is seared; his understanding is terribly darkened. Numbers of such die, giving fearful evidence to the last that they were wholly impenitent.

Nor are the evils of this sin confined to him who drinks. Others come in for a large share. The father, who had begun to depend on his son; the mother, who thought that she had borne a man; the wife, who had dreams of earthly happiness; the sisters, who had once been proud as they saw his manly bearing—all now find that honor is forsaking him, and that their hopes must soon perish. His children are often filled with terror at his approach. He is no longer the kind and judicious friend of the poor, the widow and the orphan. He is a pest to his neighborhood. His will might read thus: "I give and bequeath to society a ruined character, a wretched example, and a memory that shall rot. I give and bequeath to my parents, shame, sorrow and (so far as I am concerned) a childless old age. I give and bequeath to my brothers and sisters, deep humiliation at the mention of my name. I give and bequeath to my wife, a broken heart, an early widowhood, a shattered constitution, poverty and an early grave. I give and bequeath to each of my children, poverty, ignorance, and the remembrance that they had an monstrous father."

Multiply all these evils by hundreds of thousands and you will have something like the true result. But there are other evils of a general nature connected with intemperance. Time is wasted. Prisons are multiplied. Taxation is greatly increased. Property is destroyed; justice perverted; idleness fostered; riots encouraged; life jeoparded; and morality and religion made to bleed. Hell follows in its train. He who indulges in wine and strong drink shall find that "in the end it bites like a poisonous serpent; it stings like a viper!" Proverbs 23:32.

Where the population is crowded, the statistics of this sin are most appalling. When London had a population of 2,350,000 souls, it had a total of 471,000 people steeped in crime, demoralization and vice; of whom 180,000 were habitual hard drinkers. The vices of the rest were akin to this. All these evils are quite unnecessary. Strong drink laid aside, all the affairs of life would move on better than they do. The strongest man noted in history never tasted such stimulants. In certain cases alcoholic drinks are proper for medicinal purposes. "Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that are of heavy hearts." "Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for your stomach's sake and your often infirmities," Proverbs 31:6; 1 Tim. 5:23. Medical skill, or our knowledge of our own constitutions must determine when we need such aid to our health. In all other cases, the consciences of men are left free to abstain if they choose.

The principle of voluntary abstinence is not new. By solemn vows, the Nazarites were bound to it. John the Baptist never drank wine. For thousands of years the Rechabites have been wholly abstinent. Every generation furnishes such cases. It is said, on good authority, that one of the petty kingdoms of Africa has never permitted the introduction of intoxicating drinks, and while surrounding kingdoms are torn with internal wars, and are sinking under the power of many evils, among which are the usual attendants of intemperance; this kingdom remains quiet, industrious and prosperous. Kidnapping and the slave-trade are unknown.

The Scriptures give very solemn warnings against seducing men into this vice. "How terrible it will be for you who make your neighbors drunk! You force your cup on them so that you can gloat over their nakedness and shame. But soon it will be your turn! Come, drink and be exposed! Drink from the cup of the Lord's judgment, and all your glory will be turned to shame." Hab. 2:15, 16.

10. The low estimate of human life. Perhaps there never was a century in which mankind have been more disposed to think, and speak, and act, as if human life were a trifle, than the present. This remark is fearfully true of the country in which this volume is likely to be most read. In his Thanksgiving sermon, preached Nov. 24, 1853, H. A. Boardman, says: "It is scarcely a figure to say that the history of many a steamboat and railroad line, in the Union, has been written in blood. The statistics would probably show, that a greater number of travelers perish by these agencies in our country, than in all the rest of the civilized world combined. An accident which destroys a single human being, or three or four, is nothing thought of. Even those which involve the destruction of scores of lives produce but a temporary ripple in the current of public feeling, and are presently forgotten. Men are allowed to erect buildings which may tumble down of their own frailty, and bury a crowd of inhabitants beneath their ruins. Steamboats of such fragile construction are permitted to navigate our tempestuous lakes and dangerous sea-coast, that there is less to wonder at when we hear that they have gone down into the abyss, with a load of' passengers, than when they survive a violent storm. Conductors and engineers may whirl their crowded trains into other trains, down precipices, and into drawbridges; and superintendents of management may so frame their arrangements as almost to insure the frequent recurrence of these disasters, without exposing themselves to penalties. Homicides are rapidly multiplying; and, with occasional exceptions, justice is slow in securing the murderers, and slower still in convicting and punishing them.

Society has so far reverted towards its primitive condition, that even in our older States, the practice has become common of carrying deadly weapons, and avenging affronts, real or imaginary, with instant death. The generation of young men now coming forward in our cities, seem to think it manly to wear dirks and pistols, and to use them on the slightest provocation. Approximating to savages in their equipments, they resemble them no less in the value they put upon human life. And if matters proceed much further in this direction, the shooting of a man will soon come to be looked upon as very little more than the shooting of a beast. If these practices were properly rebuked—if the force of law or of public sentiment were adequately employed to repress them—it might be out of place to cite them in this connection. But they meet with a degree of tolerance which indicates anything but a just appreciation of their enormity on the part of the community. As the natural result of these things, the feeling of personal insecurity has become very general. The unavoidable hazards of traveling are so multiplied, that a journey is a source of incessant anxiety, from its commencement to its close, both to travelers themselves, and their friends and families. Even in traversing the streets of a metropolis, people feel that they are liable to plunge, inadvertently, into some unprotected pitfall, or to be crushed by having building materials or bales of merchandise precipitated upon them from above. Nor can thoughtful parents rid themselves of solicitude for the safety of their sons, lest they may some day be brought home to them 'in their blood,' victims to that fashionable code which makes every man the avenger of his own wrongs, and converts into a 'wrong' every hasty utterance or passionate gesture. That this insensibility to the true value of life, is a mark of our imperfect civilization, is a humiliating truth which it were quite useless to deny.

If there is any gauge by which the progress of a people from barbarism to refinement can be tested, it lies in the estimate they attach to human life, and the pains which are taken to preserve and prolong it. If a nation fails in this point, the defect is one which admits of no compensation. It is idle to talk of its arts and arms, its literature and religion, its wise laws, its schools, its contented and thriving populations—if it holds human life at a cheap rate, the less it boasts of its cultivation the better. Other nations, certainly, will concede to it nothing beyond a second or third rate type of civilization, while it is disfigured by one of the radical characteristics of barbarism.

Much innocent blood is shed. Violent deeds abound. One terrible tragedy follows another with rapidity. Lately seventeen murderers were executed in one day. Fightings, assassinations, duels, suicides, and deliberate murders for revenge or for money, are reported with an alarming frequency. The cause of this deplorable state of things is to be found in human depravity. But why should this depravity now manifest itself, in so unusual a degree, in this particular form? The following answers may not include all that should be said, but they point to some leading influences which have a fearful potency for evil.

1. One fruitful source of crime has been the expectation of impunity. Many have argued, some have legislated, and more have practiced on the belief that no crime ought to be capitally punished. This has increased the hope of impunity, so that some have declared their belief that death would follow no crime.

2. The country has been and is still flooded with books which mightily stir up all the principles of wickedness. Novels or narratives of fact, have dressed up the burglar, the robber, the assassin, the duellist, the murderer—in mirthful colors, and held him forth to the youthful mind as a hero to be admired. These books are exceedingly common, are offered for sale in almost every train of cars, and are filling the pockets of thousands who never read any book suited to improve their morals.

3. Very corrupt religious doctrines extensively pervade portions of the lower classes; among them are Universalism, Deism, Spiritualism, and other infidel delusions. One who has for a long time visited prisoners in jails and penitentiaries, declares his belief that nine-tenths of our convicts disclaim the doctrine of eternal punishment. These maintain their doctrines with just such arguments as are heard from Universalist pulpits and infidel clubhouses.

4. The intemperate use of intoxicating drinks is terribly on the increase, especially among the classes who commit these bloody crimes. The liquors drunk are often terribly drugged. Reason is frequently dethroned. At all times the blood is overheated, or the temper roused, and so the poor victim of strong drink is kept ready for anything.

5. Gambling in its worst forms is also fearfully prevalent. It fosters the worst passions, and hardens the heart beyond almost all other vices. It has its schools and "hells" almost everywhere. Its leaders are among the most desperate men in the world.

6. The practice of wearing side-arms, now so common, is a great provocative of blood-shedding. It makes men familiar with the instruments of death, and so diminishes their horror of blood-shedding. It awakens apprehension that another is armed, and so leads to a speedy resort to these weapons in case of any difficulty.

11. Intolerance and persecution.

Every man has a pope in him—Luther. Intolerance is the parent of persecution. It refuses to let others alone, if they differ from us in views or sentiments. It takes a very wide scope in this respect. Galileo was persecuted for his views on science. Whately well remarks that if his cotemporaries could have answered his arguments, they would not have persecuted his person. No little of this intolerance is still manifested even among some modern philosophers. To differ from them is to incur their scorn and their ill-will. Another matter on which men are intolerant is the subject of politics. How often does the vehemence of partisans rise to invective and deadly malice. Men are oppressed for utterances which are as honest and as harmless as any held by their adversaries. But religious doctrine and worship have for many ages furnished the ground of the bitterest intolerance. It ought exceedingly to warn those, who are inclined to be bitter towards others for difference of religious belief or practice, that there is no unerring judge of truth and error upon earth, and that none have more egregiously erred than those who have made the highest pretensions to ability to discriminate between truth and error.

Beza says that such was the "folly, ignorance, ambition, wickedness of many bishops in the best times, that you would suppose the devil to have been president in their assemblies." John Owen says, "I would acknowledge myself obliged to any man that would direct me to a council, since that mentioned in Acts 15, which I may not be free from the word of God to assert, that it, in something or other, went astray."

The solemn challenge of Scripture is, "Who are you that judges another man's servant? To his own master he stands or falls." Romans 14:4. Who but God is competent to decide on the aims, hopes, fears, desires, convictions, failings, darkness, misapprehensions and invincible prejudices of men? Oh that men had the spirit qf Salvian, when he said of some of his cotemporaries, "They are heretics, but know it not; heretics to us, but not to themselves: nay, they think themselves so right, that they judge us to be heretics; what they are to us, that are we to them: they err, but with a good mind, and for this cause God shows patience towards them."

One of the saddest things attending this spirit is that intolerance begets prejudice, and persecution, persecution. No doubt this evil has existed from the first. But it comes to the Western World through Pagan Rome, which admitted no worship and no doctrine but such as was established and approved by those who claimed authority in such matters. This was the ground of that great clamor made at Philippi respecting the preaching of Paul and Silas: "They teach customs which it is not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans." Acts 16:21. Nor has there been anything new uttered for centuries in favor of intolerance.

The defense of it, made as early as the time of Augustus Caesar was, that "They, who introduced new deities draw many into innovations, from which arise conspiracies, seditions, secret meetings—which are in no way profitable for the commonwealth." The other great ground of defense of persecution was that the worship of new gods was a dishonor and a provocation to those already worshiped, and thus they sent calamities upon the people. It is a fact worthy of note, that persecution has never been raised against any man or people, whose opinions or practices have been fairly dealt with by adversaries. This is illustrated on almost every page of the history of spiritual despotism. Owen says, "The course accounted so sovereign for the extirpation of error—was first invented for the extirpation of truth."

Even persecutors have at times admitted the faultless character of their victims. Louis XII, with all his bitterness against the people of Mirindol, said: "Let them be heretics, if you please, but assuredly they are better than I and my Catholics." Thus far in the history of persecution generally, the punished have been far better than the punishers. Nor has persecution checked the progress of anything but truth. Many a time has it been confessed that so far from suppressing heresy by the sword and fagot, it has thereby been exceedingly spread and established. When a man's followers honor him in his life as a saint, they count him a martyr as soon as you shed his blood.

The fact is, that where heresy in religion exists, it is a spiritual disease, and so ought to have a spiritual remedy. The Christian church, for more than three centuries after the ascension of her Lord, neither knew nor thought of the carnal weapons of intolerance for the extirpation of wrong opinions or wrong practices in religion. Marcion reproved a great errorist in strong terms; Irenaeus says he would have no fellowship with heretics; Cyprian says, "Neither eat, nor talk, nor deal with them." Ignatius says: "Count them enemies, and separate from them who hate God; but for beating or persecuting them, that is proper to the heathen who know not God, nor our Savior; do not you so."

How terribly God has followed persecutors with his sorest judgments, can be seen in Jortin's remarks on Church History, in the fifteenth volume of Owen's Works, p. 229, and indeed in many other writings.

One good, not sought by persecutors, has been brought out of their cruel practices. It has given God's people an opportunity to illustrate the true character of a Christian.

After pagan Rome lost its power, papal Rome took up the trade of intolerance and persecution in the most fearful manner. In the Apocalypse, John speaks of that corrupt communion thus: "I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus." Rev. 17:6. That the Church of Rome is in her fixed principles and uniform practice intolerant and cruel, is as easily proved as any other proposition.

The creed of Pope Pius IV, issued Dec. 1564, after the decrees of the Council of Trent, and sworn to by every clergyman in that communion, contains these sentences: "I acknowledge the holy catholic and apostolical Romish church, to be mother and mistress (Magistram) of all churches; and I promise and swear true obedience to the Roman Pontiff, successor of the blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, and Vicar of Jesus Christ. Also, all other things handed down, defined and declared by the sacred canons and general councils, and chiefly by the most holy of Trent, I undoubtingly receive, profess, and, at the same time, all things contrary, and all heresies whatever condemned, rejected, and anathematized, I, in like manner, condemn, reject, and anathematize. And this true Catholic faith, out of which no one can have salvation, which at present I voluntarily profess and truly hold, I promise, vow, and swear," etc.

Here we have a clear and full declaration that all protestants and their children sink down to perdition. The oath taken by every Roman Catholic Bishop contains, among other things, this sentence: "Heretics, schismatics, and rebels—I will to my power persecute and oppose." In the year 1582, there was published at Rheims, a copy of the New Testament, with various notes, etc. This work, in several editions, has been frequently approved, sanctioned and published, by various Romish bishops. Here are some of the notes: "The insufficient and pretended church service of England, being in schism and heresy, is not only unprofitable, but also damnable." "If the temple of the Jews was a den of thieves, because of profane and secular merchandise; how much more now, when the house appointed for the holy sacrifice and sacrament of the body of Christ is made a den for the ministers of Calvin's bread." "The prayers and services of heretics are not acceptable to; yes, are no better than the howling of wolves." "A Christian is bound to burn and deface all heretical books." "The translators of the English Protestant Bible ought to be abhorred to the depths of hell." "Justice and vigorous punishment of sinners is not forbidden, nor the church, nor the Christian princes blamed for putting heretics to death." "To say that a heretic, evidently known to die obstinately in heresy, is damned, is not forbidden. Where heretics have unluckily been received for fear of troubling the state, they cannot be suddenly extirpated—the weeds must grow while the church obtains power, then eradicate them from the soil." "The zeal of a Catholic ought to be so great towards all heretics and their doctrines that he should give them the curse—the execration—the anathema, though they were ever so dear to him—though they were his parents."

On the Thursday before Easter, in every masshouse in the world, where service is conducted, unless public sentiment restrains the priest, there is read the Papal Bull, entitled In Coena Donini. The second clause of this Bull contains the excommunication of all Hussites, Wiclifites, Lutherans, Zuinglians, Calvinists, Huguenots, Anabaptists, Trinitarians, and other apostates from the faith; and all other heretics, by whatever name they are called, or of whatever sect they be," etc., etc. The sixth paragraph utterly curses all the civil powers, who impose new taxes without the consent of the Roman court. A more shamelessly wicked, cruel, and malignant document was probably never sent forth to the world. The phrase anathema 'let him be accursed,' occurs more than one hundred and twenty times in the canons and acts of the council of Trent. Paul said, "Bless, and curse not," Romans 12:14. But Rome thunders forth her curses on all hands. She sends forth as bitter anathemas against those who do not believe all the falsehoods and absurdities found in the Apocrypha. With her, every dogma is fundamental; every principle essential. Here are some of the decisions of the canon law: "The Roman faith destroys all heresy and tolerates none." "The Roman church admits no heresy, for the Catholic religion must be kept without spot." "It is permitted neither to think nor to teach otherwise than the court of Rome directs." "He who is separated from the church can neither have his sins pardoned, nor can he enter the kingdom of heaven." "Heretics may be excommunicated after death." The object of this canon was the confiscation of property by the church. Many a time the bones of the dead have been exhumed and burned in fulfillment of this horrible doctrine. When jackals dig up the dead, it is to fulfill the law of their animal nature. The property of heretics must be confiscated for the good of the church." "Advocates and notaries, who defend heretics, or assist them by writings or deeds, shall be adjudged infamous, and deprived of their office." "Statute laws of the civil power, by which inquisitors of heresy are impeded or prohibited are null and void." "Heretics shall not be interred in ecclesiastical ground."

How fearfully these wicked principles have been carried out, history records. At least two million Jews and fifty million Christians are supposed to have perished by the hand of this cruel power. The Duke of Alva, in a short time hanged and beheaded eighteen thousand Protestants, besides thousands put to death by his ruffian soldiery. At the command of Pope Paul III, twenty-four villages were burnt to ashes, and thousands of people, men, women and children murdered. It is supposed that not less than one million Waldenses have suffered death to gratify Romish bigotry and cruelty. St. Bartholomew's day, in 1572, will be ever memorable in France. It was the time fixed for the indiscriminate butchery of Protestants. It swept away seventy thousand people in the space of a few hours. The Dublin University Magazine for June, 1842, contains an account of a copy of a medal ordered by the Pope to be struck in commemoration of this shocking wholesale murder.

But enough of these horrible annals. Let all men express their detestation of all persecution and intolerance. God abhors them. 1 Cor. 13:1-8. Jesus Christ prayed for even his murderers.

12. Hard-heartedness, etc., etc.

Besides the things already noticed, it is clear that this commandment in its spirit and scope forbids and condemns hard-heartedness to the suffering poor, Matt. 25:42, 43; Jas. 2:15, 16; all immoderate passions, Jas. 4:1; oppression of every kind, Isaiah 3:15; devotion to carnal pleasures, Eccl. 11:9; overtaxing the bodily powers of ourselves or others, Eccl. 4:8; Exodus 2:23, 24; excess in food or drink, Luke 21:34; Proverbs 23:20, 21; in short all that tends to disturb the peace of people, families or communities, Romans 14:19; 2 Tim. 2:22; or needlessly to shorten human life, Proverbs 28:17.