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extends to capital punishment, and the power
and functions of the magistracy-nay, to the very organization of society; to its order and protection ; to the nethermost foundations of civil government. If a thief may be justly slain with the sword by the ministers of law, why not a gang of them? if a bandit, why not a banditti? and if a foraging party of freebooters, why not an iniquitous or an invading nation? Friends say, ' Apprehend them, treat them kindly, and confine them for life; but not take life, for this is what we cannot give.' What folly! How are we to apprehend them, when we may not use the sword, or any hostile force, or “ resist evil in any case:” while they use sword, pistol, musket, and cannon ? Admirable ! « He beareth not the sword in vain ;" saith “ the outward testimony of scripture !” and here this inward-light testimony expounds the way of it! It is not necessary to travel very far south to find nullification. Their views are treason against common sense, against their own safety and fire-side enjoyments, and against the commonwealth, to say nothing of the sanctions of christianity! I should think the proper means of apprehending them, would be to coax them to become Friends. By this means, it is hoped, the prophecies are all to be fulfilled, in turning “swords into ploughshares and spears into pruning hooks ;" so that the nations, becoming quite friendly, are to “learn war no more!" So we go, swimmingly along, down the stream of prosperity, to halcyon moorings and a certain port! We are all to become Friends, it seems.
3. Friends often speak of the present dispensation, as if the principles involved were not of moral and perpetual obligation, or of unalterable eternal sameness.
“ It is not lawful for christians.” If it was ever right to take life or to wage war, it may be right again. The principles concerned are all anchored in the nature of things, which results from the nature of God, and is therefore unchangeable. If revenge is wrong (as it certainly is) in the nature of things, then it was never right, and never will be, irrespective of dispensations.
4. They often forget that the sin of taking life consists wholly in that, which is more abundantly sin where life is not taken-in malevolence or personal batred and ill-feeling. “Whosoever HATETH
. HIS BROTHER, is a murderer : and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him,” From which I infer (1) that there are thousands of “murderers” that no human law can implead, and millions that appear as respectable as Friends. (2) That murder is properly distinct, and separate too, from taking life ; so that it exists, in THE IMMENSE MAJORITY OF CASES, where life is not taken; and consequently may not exist where life is taken.
5. The argument is vain, which, premising that God alone is the author and arbiter of life, as he is alone its great proprietor too, declares inferentially that therefore the thesis of Friends is true: for, obviously, if God is so the owner of all life, he may take it in any way he pleases; mediately or by the agency of others, as well as immediately by his own agency. Hence, men hold the life of all the irrationals in possession ; for God hath given us the responsible usufruct or quasi 40 allodium, in the magna charta of his empire : for use, not abuse, indeed; and to the end of time. Gen. 9:1-7. 1 Tim. 3: 5. show our title.
On Noah, and in him on all mankind,
: Brutes can feel. They suffer and enjoy; and are proper objects of benevolence, human and divine. “ A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast; but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.” Prov. 12 : 10. But does it necessarily infer cruelty, in the man that takes their life, under this charter ? May not a man, with tender christian feelings, immolate them for food ? If he is cruel, is cruelty necessary to the act ? and is not cruelty to brutes, of the very same quality, though the form and the degree may differ, with cruelty or malevolence in higher relations ? A feeling of cruelty in any aspect, is like a feeling of cruelty in all other aspects; it is homogeneous, it is bad, it is contrary to the law of God. But if merely to take life does not necessarily make a murderer, or a fiend, or no christian, of a farmer, or a butcher, or a fisherman, we may here see in its lower relations the certain
AUTHORIZE ONE MAN
difference between taking life—as one thing, and malevolence—which is another. Whence,
6. God has frequently and in recorded instances authorized the former, but never, NEVER THE OTHER. God NEVER DID, and morally he never could, (it is not improper to say that“ he cannot deny himself,")
HATE ANOTHER! He authorized Israel under Moses and Joshua, and subsequently under many other leaders, to exterminate the wicked Canaanites and others : but did he authorize malevolence to their persons ! or necessitate it, by the order or the service ? not at all. Take a case ; 1 Sam. 15: 3, 22, 23, 32, 33, " Then said Samuel, Bring ye hither to me Agag, the king of the Amalekites. And Agag came unto him delicately. And Agag said, Surely the bitterness of death is past. And Samuel said, As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women.
And SAMUEL HEWED AGAG IN PIECES BEFORE THE LORD IN GILGAL.” Would not Barclay have denounced him, had he been there? would he not have rebuked, among “absurd and impossible things,” an attempt to show the utter consistency of the act of the prophet, with “the mind of Christ ?" or, because it occurred under a former dispensation, are we to neglect the everlasting principles on which it is founded? or, because Saul spared Agag, are we to panegyrize his “tender mercies,” to the dishonor of the holy man of God, who, with his own hand, sacrificed him “ before the Lord in Gilgal ?” Did Samuel hate
" Agag, or was the act on his part malevolent? We
might almost as wisely ask, was God malevolent in issuing the order which Samuel simply executed ? or, was it not “murder” in Samuel to obey the authority of Jehovah ? or, was not Saul the better man of the two, at least the calmer in the case, and the more like-a Friend? How many frothy declaimers might have appealed to the million, the majority, very plausibly against him; and settled by acclamation the point " that it is not lawful for
“ christians to resist evil, or to war or fight in any case!” Just as now, the superficial multitude believe according to their selfishness, their education, or their caprice ; and even the plurality of “the great vulgar” yield to the same control, undisciplined by evidence! Hence
7. It comes to pass observably that many opposers of the plainly revealed doctrine of eternal punishment, (as universalists, unitarians, infidels, pseudo-philanthropists of every description,) grow very specially tender in their clemency on the topics of capital punishment, war, the importance of the "peace society,” and the superlative excellence of the ethics or creed of passive endurance! I do not say that the “peace society ” may not be in the main a good and valuable thing; or that some very sound and worthy allies are not to be found with it; or that it will not become (as I sincerely pray that it may) increasingly useful, wise, and powerful, in the pacification of society. I only say that there is an affinity or element congenial, between punishment in time and punishment in eternity ; punishment of law, human and divine ; punishment