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laws, and the peace, and the happiness of this country ; loosens the bonds of society; and makes an open war on his fellow-citizens, and their posterity.
At the same time he takes the decision of his own controversies out of the hands of the public, and constitutes himself his own judge and avenger. His arm he makes the umpire of all his concerns; and insolently requires his countrymen to submit their interest, when connected with his own, to the adjudication of his passions. Claiming, and sharing, all the blessings of society, he arrogates, also, the savage independence of wild and brutal nature ; wrests the sword of justice from the hand of the magistrate, and wields it, as the weapon of an assassin.
To him government is annihilated. Laws and trials, judges and juries, vanish before him. Arms are his laws, and a party his judge ; his only trial is a battle, and his hall a field of blood.
All his countrymen have the same rights which he has. Should they claim to exercise those which he claims, what would be the consequence ? Every controversy, every concern of man, would be terminated by the sword and pistol. Civil war! war, waged by friends and neighhours, by father, sons, and brothers; war, of that dreadful kind, which the Romans denominated a tumult; would spread through every country: a war, in which all the fierce passions of man would be let loose ; and wrath and malice, revenge and phrensy, would change the world into a dungeon, filled with maniacs, who had broken their chains, and glutted their rage with each other's misery. Thus duelling universally adopted, would ruin every country, destroy all the peace and safety, and blast every hope of mankind. Who but a fiend would willingingly contribute to this devastation ?
The guilt, begun in the violation of the laws of man, is finished in the violation of the laws of God. This awful being who gave us existence, and preserves it, who is every where, and sees every thing; who made and rules the universe ; who will judge and reward, both angels and men; and before whom, every work, secret thing shall be brought into judgment, with his own voice proclaimed to this bloody world, from Mount Sinai,
THOU SHALT NOT KILL.” The command forbids killing,
absolutely. No exception can be lawfully made to the precept, except those, which the lawgiver himself has made. These are limited to killing beasts, when necessary for food, or plainly noxious; and putting men to death by the sword of public justice, or in self-defence; whether private or public. This being the only ground of justifiable war. As these are the sole exceptions, it is clear that duelling is an open violation of this law of God.
The guilt of duelling in this view is manifold ; and in all its varieties is sufficiently dreadful to alarm any man, whose mind is not too stupid to discern, that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
If the duellist is a mere creature of solitude, in whose life or death, happiness or misery, no human being is particularly interested; if no bosom will glow with his prosperity, or bleed with his sufferings ; if no mourner will follow his hearse, and no eye drop a tear over his grave; still he is a man. As a man, he owes ten thousand duties to his fellow men ; and these are all commanded by his God. His labour, his example, his prayers, are daily due to the neighbour, the stranger, the poor, and the public. He cannot withdraw them without sin. The eternal being, whose wisdom and justice have sanctioned all these claims, will exact the forfeiture at his hands; and inquire of the wicked and slothful servant, why, in open defiance of his known pleasure, he has thus shrunk from his duty, and buried his talent in the grave.
Is he a son? Who licensed him in rebellion against the fifth commandment of the decalogue, to pierce his parents' hearts with agony, and to bring down their gray hairs with sorrow to the grave ? Why did he not live to honour his father and mother; to obey, to comfort, to delight, and to support them in their declining years; and to give them a rich reward for all their toil, expense, and suffering, in his birth and education, by a dutiful, discreet, and amiable life, the only reward which they ask? Why did he shroud the morning of their happiness in midnight ; and cause their rising hopes to sit in blood ? Why did he raise up before their anguished eyes, the spectre of a
son, slain in the enormous perpetration of sin ; escaping from a troubled grave ; or coming from the regions of departed spirits, to haunt their course through
declining life, to alarm their sleep, and chill their waking moments, with the despairing, agonizing cry,
“ Death! 'tis a melancholy day
" To those that have no God." Is he a husband ? He has broken the marriage vow; the oath of God. He has forsaken the wife of his youth. He has refused to furnish her sustenance; to share her joys; to sooth her sorrows; to watch her sick bed; and to provide for his children and hers, the means of living here, and the means of living for ever. He has denied the faith, and is worse than an in fidel. Where, in the fatal, guilty moment, when he resolves to cast away his life, were his tenderness to the partner of his bosom ; the yearnings of his bowels towards the offspring of his loins ; his sense of duty ; his remembrance of God? In every character, as a dependent creature, as a sinful man, his eternal life and death were suspended on his forgiveness of his enemies. He who alone can forgive sins, and save sinners, has said ;-If ye foregive not men their trespasses, neither will your heavenly father forgive you. He has gone
farther; he has forbidden man even to ask pardon of God, vnless with a forgiving spirit towards his fellow man. In vain can the duellist pretend to a forgiving temper. If he felt the spirit of the cross, could he possibly for an affront, an offence, lighter than air, shed the blood of his neighbour? Could he plunge the friends of the sufferer into an abyss of anguish ; sink his parents into irrecoverable despair; break on the wheel the hearts
of his wife and children ; and label on the door-posts of · his house :-mourning, lamentation, and wo ?
Satisfaction for a professed injury is the very demand, which he makes the only basis of his contest. Is this the language of forgiveness ? It is an insult to common sense, it is an outrage on common decency, to hold this language, and yet profess this temper. The language is the language of revenge. The spirit is the spirit of revenge. The varnish, notwithstanding it is so laboriously spread, is too thin to conceal the gross materials, or to deceive the most careless eye. Revenge for a supposed affront ; revenge for wounded pride, for disappointed ambition, for frustrated schemes of power, dictates the challenge, seizes the weapon of death, and goads the champion to the field. Revenge turns the heart to stone, directs the fatal aim, and gloomily smiles over the expiring victim. Remove this palliation, miserable as it is, and you make a man a fiend. A fiend would murder without emotion; while man is hurried to the dreadful work by passion only.
But what an image is presented to the eye, by a man thus dreadfully executing revenge? Aworm of the dust; a sinful worm, an apostate, who lives on mercy only ; who could not thus have lived, had not his Saviour died for him; who is crimsoned with ten thousand crimes, committed against his God; who is soon to be tried, judged, and rewarded, for them all; this worm raises its crest and talks loftily of the affront it has received, of injured honour, of wounded character, and of expiation by the blood of its fellow-worm. All this is done under the all-searching eye, and in the tremendous presence of JE. HOVAH; who has hung the pardon of this miserable being on his forgiveness of his fellow. Be astonished, O ye heavens at this ! and thou earth, be horribly afraid !
Nor is this crime merely an execution of revenge ; it is a cold deliberate revenge. The deliberate killing of a man is murder, by the decision of common sense, by the li decision of human law, by the decision of God. How few murderers have an equal opportunity, or equal advantage, to deliberate ? By a mind informed with know. ledge, softened with the humanity of polished life, enlightened by revelation, conscious of a God, and acquain. ted with the Saviour of mankind, a cool, deliberate pur. pose is formed, cherished, and executed, of murdering a fellow-creature. The servant who forgave not his fellow-servant his debt of an hundred pence, but thrust him into prison, was delivered over to the tormentors by his lord, until he should pay the ten thousand talents, which he owed, when he had nothing to pay. What will be the destiny of that servant, who in the same circumstauces, for a debt, and injury, of a tenth part of the value of an hundred
robs his fellow servant of his life? Had an apostle ; had Paul, amidst all the unexampled injuries which he suffered, sent a challenge, or fought a duel, what would have become of his character, as an apostle,
or even as a good man. This single act would have destroyed his character, and ruined his mission. Infidels would have triumphantly objected this act, as unquestionable proof of his immorality, of his consequent unfitness to be an apostle from God to mankind, and of his destitution, therefore, of inspiration. Nor could Christians have answered the objection. But can that cor duct which would have proved Paul to be a sinner, consist with a virtuous character in another man.
Further extract from Dr. Dwight's Sermon on duelling.
THE pleas of reason, humanity, and religion, against duelling, are numerous and incontrovertible ; yet how often, even in this infant country, this country boasting of its knowledge and virtue, those pleas are heard in vain! Duels in great numbers are fought ; revenge is glutted ; and the miserable victims of wrath and madness are hur. ried to an untimely end. Come then, thou surviving, and, in thine own view, fortunate and glorious champion, accompany me to the scenes of calamity which thou hast created, and survey the mischiefs of duelling:
Go with me to yonder church-yard. Whose is that newly opened grave ? Approach, and read the letters on the yet uncovered coffin. If thou canst retain a steady eye, thou wilt perceive, that they denote a man, who yesterday beheld, and enjoyed the light of the living. Then he shared in all the blessings and hopes of life. He posses. sed health, and competence, and comfort, and usefulness, and reputation. He was surrounded by neighbours who respected, and by friends who loved him. The wife of his youth found in him every joy, and the balm of every sor
The children of his bosom hung on his knees to receive his embrace, and his blessing. In a thousand designs was he embarked, to provide for their support and education, and to settle them usefully and comfortably in the world. He inspired all their enjoyments; he lighted up all their hopes.
Yesterday he was himself a creature of hope, a probationer for immortality. The voice of mercy invited him