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Prayer makes no part of his system of morals. And of the Christian Sabbath, he says, “whatever employment or amusement, is lawful or expedient on any one day of the week, is equally lawful and expedient on any other day.” And he rejoices at the failure of what he calls an ill-advised effort --for enforcing a stricter observance of the Lord's

day,”*

Dr. Priestley, as every one knows who is acquainted with his writings, denies the doctrine of the atonement, and considers the sufferings of Christ in the same light," with those of martyrs, who died after him, in the same cause of Christianity."--He represents Christ was fallible and peccable.” He denies the inspiration of the Scriptures. And the fact is unquestionable that the pupils of the Acadeiny at Hackney, under the immediate instruction of himself and Mr. Belsham, outran the caution of their teachers, and stood forth the open abettors of Deism. That this is the tendency of Unitarianism, is appal'ent from the writings of Steinbart, Semler, Engedin, Evanson, &c. in which we find such unblushing declarations as these, "that the prophets may have delivered the offspring of their own brains, as divine revelations;" and that “the evangelical histories contain gross contradictions."

We know full well, that some Unitarians of this vicinity, are restrained by respect to public opinion, if by no better motives, from treading in these adventurous steps of their great leaders. And we cbaritably hope, that many among them shudder at the sight of the gulf, into which these leaders plunged. But we solemnly appeal to the consciences of these men; what are l'riestley and Belsham, and the great oracles of German theology, better than “teachers of natural religion?” And is it come to this, that they who are charged to "contend earnestly for the faith," must see the Bible assailed, the Savior denied, and the whole fabric of their religion swept away, without uttering one breath of reproach against the authors of this moral desolation? Silence here, is treason against the King of Zion. The men who openly revile, or studiously disguise, the grand peculiarities of the Christian system, deserve reproach. Let them, who preach, or encourage others to preach, in this manner, look to it. We pity the miserable delusion, which can say, or insinuate, that to reproach such men, is to reproach Christ and the Apostles! : The style of this sermon denotes a correct taste; and, with one or two exceptions, such as grade for rank, the language is pure English. The sentences are generally perspicuous; but often enfeebled by epithets and connectives. Of this last remark, the closing paragraph, is a specimen

“However vain might be the philosopher's boast, that, had he a fixed and permanent stand, he could, by a combination of the mechanical powers, move and raise the material world; yet it is no idlo fancy, no vain boast, that the Christian ministry, the preaching of the Gospel. is the simple, but powerful machinery, or contrivance, by which the moral world has been moved and elevated, and is now perceptibly rising, so as to justify the belief, that it will, in due time, be lifted above the clouds of ignorance and crror, of vice and misery, into the regions of

Review of Wilberforee, 20, 203.

light, purity, peace and joy; and thus JESUS CHRIST BE MADE OF GOD, WISDOM, RIGATEOUSNESS, SANCTIFICATION, AND REDEMPTION TO THE VORLD." p. 30.

We are not in the habit of looking for the fervor of Massillon or of Chalmers, in the sermons of our liberal divines. But we certainly should not have expected to see a discourse, prepared by a proacher of respectable talents, for an occasion of special interest, and delivered to one of the most intelligent congregations in the land, closed in so languid and inanimate a strain as this.

MISCELLANEOUS.

ON TUE EXECUTION OF CRIMINALS.

1 In the course of the last month, four criminals were tried for piracy

and murder before the circuit court of the U. S. sitting at Boston. They were justly convicted, and sentenced to be executed on the 21st. inst. Before the arrival of that day, a reprieve from the President deferred the day of punishment four weeks, to the 18th day of February. This interposition of the Chief Magistrate has given rise to much conversation, and to some newspaper discussion. There is a differ

ence of opinion on the subject, among intelligent men. As to the | crude notions, which have been hastily adopted and passionately ex

pressed, they are not worthy of consideration. The writer of this article believes, that the President has judged wisely, as well as acted mercifully, in this exercise of constitutional power.

But as the question is a general one, I shall take no further notice of this particular case.

Let me inquire, then, whether the public good is promoted by a very speedy infliction of death after the sentence is pronounced, or by exhibiting more forbearance toward the unhappy convicts. That the latter method is preferable, with the single exception of cases when the prisoners cannot be held in safe custody, I think can be unanswerably established.

I would premise, that I do not doubt the lawfulness of capital punishments; that my readers must not confound, as many are apt to do, a reprieve with a pardon; and that, unless I am greatly mistaken, the good of the community is entirely at agreement with humanity and forbearance to the convicts. I am willing, lowever, for the purposes of this argument, to place the interest of the unbappy sufferers quite out of consideration.

The infliction of death on a human being, by a solemn judicial sentence, and in behalf of the whole community, is the highest and most solemn act, in the administration of civil government. When a man has been sentenced to die for some atrocious crime, there should be a considerable interval for the minds of the community to be fixed upon the awful consequences of sin, and the necessity of resorting to so tremendous an evil, as the punishment of death. By a suitable delay for this purpose, the sentence of the law acquires a majesty, which it could derive from no other source. The sword of justice is unsheathed; it is seen by the whole community raised against the criminals. Though the day of execution is at some distance, the advance of time is steady and sure. The day soon arrives; and when the minds of all classes of people have been some time intent on the subject, the sentence is carried into effect. In this way, a much deeper impression is made, than by hurrying away the malefactor from the court to the gallows.

Again; though we keep out of view the interest of the convicts, we are not to forget, that the community justly regard man as an immor. tal being. It is of infinite importance to the welfare of society, that this sentiment should be strengthened in every possible manner. should be strengthened because it is founded in truth, and because it does more to prevent crimes, than all the human laws, and all the sanguinary punishments, which were ever invented. If the people believe, that criminals, not less than others, have immortal souls, and that the salvation of these souls depends upon the reception of the Gospel in this life, they will expect to see a correspondent treatment of the unhappy men, whose wickedness has brought them to an igno'minous end. They read, in the accounts of the trial, wbicb reach every family, that the judge exhorted the prisoners to repentance, and prayed that Gud would have mercy on their souls. They know that criminals are usually ignorant, stupid, and hardened; and they naturally look for a longer time to be allowed them, than would otherwise be proper, on this very account.

But if the community see, that criminals are treated as though they had no souls, they will be of opinion, that all the exhortations, which are given, are a cruel mockery, or an unmeaning compliance with antiquated notions. If such treatment were habitual, its tendency would 'be very strong to destroy a habitual recurrence to the grand and aw, ful doctrine of immortality. Teach men to disregard this doctrine, and you teach them to think lightly of public executions. They next estimate human life at a very low rate; and in this way vast multitudes are prepared to become murderers. Nothing can be more natu. 'ral, easy, and certain, than this transition. When the interests of the soul are forgotten, men can be brought to view the slaughter of men with as little feeling as the slaughter of bullocks; and to take the life of an enemny, or a rival, as quick as they would kill a rattlesnake. For the truth of this declaration I confidently appeal to all history; but especially to the bloody scenes of the French revolution.

There is something very interesting and impressive in the very na. ture of a reprieve. The Chief Magistrate says, in effect, to the criminals: “Though you are justly condemned, and might have been justly executed at a shorter warning; and though the welfare of the community does not permit the granting of a pardon; yet mercy ins clines to suspend the stroke for a short interval; and during that interval you are exhorted to reflect, to repent, and to prepare for death." Such a declaration implies a consciousness of power, and exhibits bumanity and coinpassion blended with severity, in such a manner as to leave a salutary influence upon the public; more salutary than could over be left by an unfecling and inexorablo execution of the sentence. On

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this account it might be highly proper for a judge to fix a day, with particular reference to a probable reprieve.

But it will be said, that punishment should tread quick on the heels of transgression. Undoubtedly criminals, should be apprehended as speedily as possible, should be brought to trial with all convenient expedition, and should be guarded with care till the sentence of the law is inflicted. But a reprieve is not a delay of punishment. It is a delay, indeed, of the greatest and last stroke, which man can inflict upon man. But is confinement in a dungeon, and in chains, no punishment? Is it nothing to be shut up like a wild beast, and exhibited as an object of shame, commiseration, and horror? Persons have not been wanting, who contend, that perpetual inprisonment is a more terrible punishment, and carries with it greater terror to the minds of culprits, than eren death itself. This position I do not consider as tenable; but it is very clear, that a postponement of the day of execution is not a sus. pension of all punishment.

It may be said, that a reprieve will give the convicts false hopes of a pardon. But this can easily be sufficiently guarded against, and I believe usually is guarded against, in the warrant of reprieve itself.

It may be said, that the infliction of death soon after conviction is necessary to terrify others, who are teinpted to similar crimes. But it should be remembered, that perpetrators of great crimes do not expect to be taken and convicted. Not one in ten thousand ever thought of balancing between a speedy death after convictiòn, and a more lingering death after lying three or six months in a dungeon, loaded with irous. No murderer or pirate ever congratulated himself, when about to commit the crime, that after trial and sentence, he should have the privilege of lying in prison a few weeks, surrounded by every circumstance of ignominy, and suffering, before he was led forth to an abhorred death. Absolute impunity is what all criminals hope for, and endeavor to obtain.

But it is unnecessary to argue the question further on general principles. The experience of the world shows, where the truth lies. Utterly disclaiming that national partiality, which can see nothing evil in its own country, and nothing good abroad, it may truly be said, that in no community upon earth have capital punishments so completely answered their end, as in some parts, perhaps in the whole, of the United States. I cannot pronounce positively in regard to any other part of the country but New-England; but here, the infliction of death has been an object of great terror, and has always been regarded with soJemnity and awe. Though executions have been deferred from three months to a year, the justice of the sentence has never been questioned on that account, nor has there been any of that false compassion, so much dreaded by some, which would attempt a rescue, or even murmur at the decision of the law. In a word, the majesty of the law has been triumphant in the highest sense; and the sentence of the court has been, in fact as well as in theory, the solemn, deliberate sentence of the whole community.

But how is it in Great Britain? There criminals are usually executed in two or three days after sentence is pronounced. Are executions regarded with terror there? Not at all. The great mass of the people

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neither know nor care any thing about them. In extraordinary cases, a rabble assembles to witness the last scene; but a large part of this rabble make a jest and a scoff of the whole transaction, and another part are engaged in picking pockets, which is a capital offence.

There are some persons who think that crimes may be prevented by the simple expedient of hanging men, and cutting off their heads. But this is mere drivelling in the science of civil government. It is the mere practice of the rudest and most ferocious savages, who have but one punishment for all crimes; and that punishment is death. That Great Britain, an enlightened and Christian nation, should have kept up this practice so extensively, is supremely disgraceful to her. During a part of the sixteenth century, including the reign of Henry VIII, history tells us, that in England alone, 2000 culprits a year, on an average, were brought to the gallows and the block. A large part of these were executed for theft and robbery. Did this deluge of human blood prevent robbing and stealing? Throughout the Burman empire, capital punishments are the perpetual resort of the police. They are inflicted every week, for all crimes, great and small. And yet in no country upon earth are all crimes, great and small, more frequent.

I have put the interests of the prisoners out of consideration. But, at the close, I must say, that they have souls to be saved or lost; that they are usually ignorant of the Gospel; that God saves men by the preaching of Christ; that many criminals have first heard of a Savior in prison; that many have given satisfactory evidence of true faith in their last moments; and that a few days may be of inestimable value to them. God works by means; and, usually at least, when he lesigns to save men, he provides some way for them to hear the truth. This is often done by a respite.

A. B.

TO A PROFESSING CHRISTIAN.

“High-built abundance, heap on heap, for what?
To breed nezo wants and beggar as the more."

YouxG.

My dear Brother, WHENEVER We survey the state of our churches, we cannot fail of discovering an awful attempt, by individuals, to blend together the church and the world, than which no two points can be more opposite, or more impossible to reconcile with each other. The time and talents of such persons are principally directed to an accumulation of Wealth and distinction; and so far as a profession of religion may be thought necessary, in aid of either object, so far they very wil lingly subscribe to an orthodox, or any other creed. Think ne not, my dear brother, disposed to do injustice to any character; neither would I have you, for a moinent, think.me capable of with holling a decided and open disapprobation of whatever shall be found in a member of a Christian church, contrary to the true spirit of the Gospel, and calculated to produce mischievous effects upon the great cause,

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