Imagens da página

But they meet us with cases of men who have which properly militates at all against our position. laughed, and danced, and sung, and committed all Great popular gatherings always furnish opportuni. manner of levities upon the scaffold. There may ties and occasions for thefts and acts of violence. have been a few, a very few, such cases. But what The sort of people who are most likely to be drawn do they prove! If it be supposed that men of ordi- together at a public execution are the very people nary mental habits will be led, in reflecting upon most likely to intend or be tempted to commit those such a scene, to say to themselves: “Well, if a course crimes. Those people who desire to witness a public of iniquity can so revolutionize all the natural and execution are precisely the people whom such a moral elements of a man's mind, rendering him so spectacle cannot profit. Let executions, then, be conscience-seared, desperate, and demoralized, that, comparatively private. To say that thus we give up all reeking with the guilt of murder, he can come to the whole principle of their preventive, deterring enact such a scene upon the very scaffold; then I see power, is entirely to mistake the mode in which this no great objection to entering upon a course of or any other punishment operates to deter froin crime which will probably lead to the commission of crime. The existence of the law, its known exismurder, and to just such a fearless, hopeless, happy tence as a stern, practical fact, must instil, as nothing gallows-death;"—if an ordinary man could be sup- else in the way of punishment could so effectnally posed to reason thus, then such a case might be do, an habitual, pervading horror of the crime for urged against our present position; otherwise not. which such a dreadful punishment is inflicted. The We think he must be already an almost hopelessly fear of death is by no means ordinarily increased, hardened wretch who could harbour for a moment | by being brought close to us. The contrary is the such a course of reflections. And, according to our merciful ordination of Providence. The imagination notions and feelings, no case of execution could read is vastly more efficient here than vision. Does imto the community generally a more awful and effec- prisonment lose its preventive efficacy because tual lesson for inspiring an habitual horror of mur. the prison walls are made of stone, and not of der, and of that course of criminal passions and glass? practices which leads to its commission, than just But although the abolitionists, in discussing the such an execution as the objector has described. question of right, are wont to descant upon the tre

But it is commonly said, and urged with great mendous severity of the penalty of death-80 great vehemence by the abolitionists, that, “ by the execu- and dreadful, they say, as to transcend the sphere of tion of the murderer, the civil government sets public human justice and all the rights of civil societyexample of the commission of the very crime it though they charge it as cruel, savage, barbarous punishes, cheapens (human life, and brutalizes the beyond measure; if not as absolutely unjust, at least moral sense of the community.” All this may seem as utterly inhuman and unchristian, inconsistent with the very plausible to the consciousness of the aboli spirit of forbearunce, foryiceness, and compassion which tionist himself, who bolds, or professes to hold, characterize the gospel; yet, when they come to the that capital punishment is legalized murder ; but question of expediency, to consider the influence of we shall not by any means allow him to take that punishment as deterring others from the commission point for granted. And unless that be granted, of crime, they take great painsi to set forth the we really see no great force in the objection here, horrors of that imprisonment which they propose 28 simply because it ceases to have any claims to a most efficient substitute; they depict it in the most truth. As to brutalizing the moral sense of the gloomy colours, as being incalculably more severe, community; this, like many other things now very awful, frightful, than death itself—and doubtless, it emphatically repeated by the abolitionists, is a mere needs all their powers of painting and rhetoric to echo of a phrase and a sentiment which were very make men believe it; in short, they seem perfectly appropriate to the habit which once existed in Eng willing to harrow up a Christian's heart to the very land of inflicting capital punishment for almost every core by the imagination of the appalling sufferings and any trivial offence. But when that punishment they would have inflicted on the convic:. is inflicted only for murder, how that can be said to They may be sincere in all this. But if so, they be a brutalizing of the moral sense of the community, must give up their claims to superlative kindness which is, in fact, the most public, emphatic, and and compassion for the criminal; they must abandon solemn expression of the detestation and horror their high-flown phrases about the meekness and which the community feel for the crime of murder, benevolence of the gospel. Diderot, who believes surpasses the acuteness of our vision and the limits with them in the superior efficacy of imprisonment of our comprehension to perceive. We will not at (or slavery) as a punishment, honestly confesses this. present allude to what irreverent, if not blasphemous, In commenting upon Beccaria's picture of the conclusions this objection would lead, as applied to horrors of imprisonment, he holds the following lan. the divinely ordained Mosaic code. We may say, guage: “So I think, and one cannot fail to be struck however, that, on this theory of moral influences, it with the author's reasons. But I observe that he is hard to understand how, with the almost universal renounces, and rightly, his favourite principle of gentleinfliction of capital punishment for murder, the world ness and humanity Towards the criminal. Despair terhas ever reached its present refined state-a state so minates not his woes amidst chains and stripes and iron refined that on this very ground some have been led gates, but only begins them.' This picture is more territo think that it might afford now to dispense with ble than that of the wheel, and the punishment which it capital punishment altogether.

portrays is in substance more cruel than the niost bar. It is said, in corroboration of the force of the ob- barous death.(Note 54 to Beccaria.) jection above urged, that murders and other crimes "An eloquent writer," quoted with approbation by are sometimes committed in sight of the gallows, anti-capital punishment authors, makes a similar conand that villains consider public executions as their fession. “Indeed we make no doubt," says he," that great holydays. We think there is much truth in the ennui, the repining at imprisonment in a solitary ibis which deserves consideration; but nothing cell, would prove torture more esquisite than all the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

But suppose

deaths invented by a Dionysius, a Perillus, a Domitian, you have as the next below it!-and the next!- and or a Nero."

next? Why, imprisonment, forsooth: and so the But the trouble is, you cannot make men, bad argument tumbles down on the other side. What men, believe it. The less of conscience, the less of new principle of determent, pray, do you introduce thought, the less of human sympathies a man has, into your scale by this ingenious device? Have we the less will be to him the horrors of such an im- not imprisonment as a penalty now, with all its prisonment. Yet such are the men who are to be horrors, be they more or less, perpetual imprisonment restrained by it. To say that men, bad men, fear -imprisonment at hard labour? How do you propose imprisonment of any kind (unless connected with to make it a higher punishment than it is? By severe bodily torture, and we do not understand this simply cutting off all that is above it? That is like to be recommended) more than death, is simply making a man taller by cutting off his head. What false. One swallow does not make a summer; an would be the effect of cutting him down still more? exception does not disprove a rule. That an igno- Would the same rule hold ? minious death is the most fearful of all punishments We confess that, for ourselves, we had been acto any and every class of men, is a fact too notorious customed to suppose, not that men feared death to allow us to waste time in proving it.

most of all punishments, because, by a fortuitous conBut suppose the fact were otherwise, and suppose currence of accidents, human laws had almost uniyou could make men generally believe in all that is versally assigned it as their highest sanction; but said of the transcendent horrors of imprisonment; rather that wise and prudent legislators had selected what would 'then become of the application of it as the highest sanction of human laws, because another of the pet principles of the abolitionists, mankind naturally dreaded it most. viz., that the efficiency of penalties depends more on imprisonment can be made, in reality, a severer their certainty than on their severity, and that their cer- punishment than death; the abolitionists insist upon tainty is practically in the inverse ratio of their it, and we are ready freely and fully to admit it; severity? If the great practical objection to capital still we utterly deny that the generality of mankind punishment now is that juries are unwilling to find can be made to fear it more than death. The nato. a man guilty, even with the clearest evidence, be- ral instincts of the human mind are too strong for cause of the dreadful severity of the punishment, the refinements of pretended philosophy. Here is will they be more ready to bring in such à verdict the precise point where the argument pinches. Imwhen you have fairly convinced them that the prisonment (such as the abolitionists have proposed) punishment you have substituted is incomparably is the more cruel but less terrible punishment; death is more severe and terrific? The truth is, you can- the more terrible but less cruel. If, then, the design of not convince them of it; you cannot make common- penal laws is, not to take vengeance or inflict wanton sense men believe it, and you know you cannot. cruelty on the offender, but to deter others from

But, say the abolitionists, “ When the law regards offending; which of the two should be inflicted ! and treats the substitution of perpetual laborious im- Will you exact the severer penalty, which will deter prisonment as a merciful commutation of the higher men less; or the milder penalty, which will deter penalty of death, the public will generally do the them more? We do not ask here, Which is the more same [undoubtedly, and so they would, let the law merciful and Christian ? but, Which is the wiser and do as it might); while the former, if standing at the more expedient course? Let the abolitionists be head of the scale of punishments, as the highest and consistent, and adhere to something throughout. We worst, would strike a great and real terror, and operate protest against that Protean style of argumentation, as a more powerful preventive restraint, than the by which, when the question of right is under dislatter.” We suppose we ought to be convinced by cussion, they declaim against the “death-penalty” reasoning so cogent; but we cannot help asking, for its vindictive and unchristian cruelty; and again, What would be the effect on public opinion, if, im- when the question of expediency is under discussion, prisonment being declared by law the highest penalty, they cry it down because it is not half so severe or death were declared a subordinate punishment, and in- cruel as another punishment which they propose as Aicted for inferior crimes? Would men come to its more efficient substitute. think it to be really so? Opinion and imagination They say further, “ We have perpetual imprisondoubtless have great influence over us; but there are ment in our statute book, indeed, but it is rarely if some things too hard for them. But, imprisonment ever inflicted;" and they propose to secure its perbeing really the severer punishment of the two, how petuity in this case by a constitutional provision. happens it that it never occurred to any people, to But public opinion would not sustain such & any legislator, or jurist, or man of common sense, to punishment as is proposed. Convicts imprisoned for adjust a scale of punishments, in which imprison- life, would still be, as they always have been, enlarged, ment should hold the highest and death a subordi- on an average, in about six or eight years. One nate place? If, on the other hand, the penalty of generation will not consent to be the jailers and exedeath be not introduced into the scale at all, and im- cutioners for their predecessors. They will not conprisonment is made the highest penalty, what will sent to inflict or even to witness punishment

“horrible” punishment, intense suffering; when the * If it be said that it is not the external restraint, privation, crime has long since been forgotten. Their humane toil, or suffering, which is insisted on as constituting the terrors of imprisonment, but the internal anguish, the upbraidings of the sympathies must and will operate without any mind, the corrodings of remorse and conscious guilt; we answer check. that this last is a sort of punishment-most awful indeed-but which you can neither infict nor remit, however much you may

You may pretend that imprisonment is as terrific desire it, whether in this world or the world to come.

a punishment as you please; men who are tempted imprison the murderer in order to bring this punishment upon him to commit crime well know all the contingencies, in full measure. He must infallibly meet it some time or other. If this is your only ground for imprisonment, therefore, you will above referred to, and many others still more obvious, pot stand on it long. You will soon propose to leave raurderers lo

tending to show it to be highly improbable that they be punished by God and their own consciences in the natural way, without any presumptuous interference of human lawsand penalties. would have to spend a very long life in prison; they

[ocr errors]

You need not


will count upon these contingencies; and you cannot whenever and wherever it may have been done, we help it.

shall be the last to say one word in extenuation of We shall despatch in few words our second head the deed. The wilful execution or procurement of of argument in defence of the expediency of capital an unrighteous sentence of death, kvowing it to be punishment-the fact, namely, that it is the best such, we hold, of course, to be murder, and murder security against the exercise of private revenge. of the most atrocious die. It adds to the common

We take it for granted that capital punishment is enormity of the crime the character of a treacherous not shown to be wrong; if private revenge is not and nefarious attempt against the moral basis on wrong under the gospel, it is at least inexpedient in

which the whole fabric of human society reposes. well-regulated society. As a matter of expediency, Hence the Jews are properly stigmatized in the New it cannot be questioned that the calm, cautious, im- Testament as the murderers of our Lord; although partial, inflexible, the stern yet merciful, infliction of his crucifixion took place according to all the forms public justice, is vastly to be preferred to the precipi- of law. tate, reckless, cruel, often misguided executions of Further, we maintain that all possible precaution : individual vengeance.

against error ought to be taken in capital cases; and Political institutions must be conformed to the a capital sentence never passed or executed so long actual state of society; they must deal with men as as there is any reasonable doubt of the guilt of the they are, not as they ought to be. Now there is a accused. great deal of hardness of heart yet in the world. All cases of unjust executions whose occasion falls There is no people on earth who are all perfect | under these two heads, viz., false testimony, or want Christians. There never has been, and is not likely of due caution in weighing the evidence, are cases of soon to be, such a people. No Utopias or Platonic abuse. They proving nothing at all in regard to the republics have yet been realized. And those laws right, except that, like all other rights, it may be are unwise, to say the least, which are based on an abused. Other cases, if there are any, which do not assumed perfect state of society, which nowhere fall under either of these two heads, are to be exists. When that state is reached, we will agree to ascribed to the necessary fallibility of human judgabolish not only capital but all other punishments. ments; and, if they prove that, therefore, there is no

The abolitionists appeal to public opinion, to the right to inflict capital punishment upon the murconscientious scruples of jurors, to show that capital derer, they prove that there is no right to inflict any punishment is inexpedient. We appeal to public opi- punishment, or in any way to administer legal remenion, to the settled conviction and feeling of the great dies, until human justice can be raised above all mass of mankind, and of our own community,that death liability to human error. It cannot be denied that is the appropriate, and only appropriate, penalty for more caution, as a matter of fact, is taken in capital outrageous murder,to show that that penalty is expedi- cases, than in any other, whether civil or criminal; ent. Abolish it, and sooner or later you will have the so much so, that the exceeding difficulty of obtaining ancient Göel re-established, with all his vindictive a conviction for murder is constantly urged against violence, with all his rights and with all their abuse. the expediency of capital punishment by its asAbolish it, and though the face of society may now sailants. Let them agree upon their indictment. be calm and unruffled, the time is not distant when They have busied themselves of late most strenuously some atrocious assassination will call forth an un- in making up all the cases that can be discovered or controllable burst of popular fury, there will be a surmised of unjust executions for whatever crime, tumultuous resort “ to Lynch law," and it would not and arising from whatever cause, and are apparently be surprising if some of our tender-hearted reformers, endeavouring to make the world believe it the ordiwho now make such a fuss about the hangman, nary rule that no sooner does a capital trial come on should be among the foremost in executing the than, by some inexplicable fatality, both judges and violent behests of the mob. The case of Merton jury are seized with such a headlong desire to hang of Philadelphia shows what evil consequences natu- somebody, anybody but the right man, that they rally ensue when the law leaves an outrage without always convict the innocent and acquit the guilty.* any (or, what is the same thing in principle and in The cases of injustice which they allege are depractice, without any adequate) punishment. A man picted in the most glowing colours, and form a great of Merton's spirit, when wronged, will take the ven- part of the staple of most of their essays on this geance into his own hands; and, what is worse, will subject, interspersed here and there as the spice and be sustained in so doing by the acclamations of a spirit of the whole. But such things are addressed sympathizing community.

to men's feelings and imagination much more than (We have not space at present to enter on a full to their reason; and would be appropriately anstatement of facts as to our third branch of defence, swered by frequent pictures of horrible murders and viz., the good effects of the penalty as shown by the

Let them sift their cases, and see how results of statistical comparison. The subject is a many of them are cases of real, unavoidable error; tempting one, as it would afford opportunity for an and then let them show that a liability to error in exposure of the singularly reckless and unjustifiable this case invalidates the right any more than in all mode in which our opponents make up the statistics other departments of the administration of human on which they profess to rest their case so confidently. justice. Here they meet us with another objection, We may take another opportunity of doing this, but as a sort of clencher to the first. meantime think it better to occupy the short space 2. Capital punishment is the only punishment which is which remains with answers to some of the more remediless, popular and plausible objections which are urged We deny it utterly. All unjust punishment is

, against us on this question.]


* We have heard a good woman urge it as a personal oljection 1. Capital punishment is urung, because the innocent are to capital punishment, that she lived in bodily fear of being one sometimes executed.

day hung in her indocence. People commonly think it more im. If innocent men have been recklessly executed,

portant to be protected from being murdered, as the greater danger

of the two,


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

in one sense remediless. Done is done. Besides, it human justice. So much for the guilty but penitent is practically remediless, for rarely, if ever, is any sufferer. As for society, which is represented as effort made to remedy it so far even as a remedy endeavouring to replace the loss of one man, good is possible. This is not all. When a man, after or bad, as the case may be, by voluntarily throwing having been imprisoned for a crime, one, two, away another man confessedly good; we say, on the three, four, five, ten, twenty, or thirty years, dies; other hand, that society gains more good from the and is then found to have been innocent; how imperturbable execution of its just laws upon one will you remedy it? Any man may die at any such offender, than it could derive from the useful time; are you not, then, afraid to imprison him, lives of many such if they were spared. But we lest you should do him remediless wrong? It is wish to be understood distinctly to repudiate any said to have been ascertained that some hundreds argument tending to defend capital punishment as of persons have been buried alive; must we, there proceeding from any motive of benevolence towards fore, keep all dead bodies above ground until the air the criminal. We do not believe in any such way is tainted with the putrefaction? Is no sexton of showing kindness. The benevolence of the law allowed to throw a clod of earth upon a coffin, is no in this case is not a private but a public benevolence, man allowed to have anything to do, directly or in- a love which prefers the lives of the innocent mass directly, with a burial, until he has assured himself to the life of the guilty murderer. to a perfect certainty, by the evidence of his own To the other horn of the dilemma, we answer,

that senses, that death has actually taken place? In by all means a long respite should be given to every short, will the consciences of good men one day convict before his execution. But if, after such grow so tender that they will not dare to inove to respite, he is still unprepared to be launched into the right hand or the left, without first stopping for eternity, his blood is upon his own head. He has, & demonstration ?

in reality, destroyed himself. Living under the 3. Capital punishment violates the sacro-sanctity of known laws of God and nature and human society, human life.

he committed a crime whose penalty he knew to be The great motive of capital punishment, the only death, and he must abide the consequences. It is proper motive, is, the protection of human life from not so much the hangman that takes his life, as he violation. It is wonderful to observe by what jug. that kills himself by the hangman's instrumentality, glery its opposers are endeavouring to engross all We ought by all means to beware, that we do the the credit of this motive to themselves. We profess murderer no injustice in this world. That is our sphere to have at least as inuch regard for the sanctity of - that is our business. Let us see well to that. And human life as they; and we retort that it is they we need not trouble our heads with any fears that who would expose it to violation. They are not dis- God will do him any injustice in the world to come. tinguished from us by any greater regard for the Let us leave the retributions of the next world in sanctity of human life, but only for the sacro-sanc- God's hands. Further, we are not aware that this tity" of murderers. The Roman tribunes were held objection is often made or much felt by those who to possess this attribute of " sacro-sanctity," so that believe in the eternity of future punishment. It is whatever they might do while in office, it was sa- thrust upon them as an argumentum ad hominem, by crilege to offer them any violence.

These men those who deny such eternal punishment; and, as would have the privileges of such a character attach thus urged, is fully answered by the argumentum ad to all murderers. They would bave every mur. hominem, that, according to the creed of those who derer possessed of a charmed existence. And this urge it, capital punishment, so far from being overthey call a superlative regard for the “ sacro-sanc. severe or cruel, sends the impenitent murderer from tity" of human life! They might as well deny the this world, where he might do much harm and could right of the magistrate (as indeed some of them do) enjoy but little good, directly to eternal blessedto seize the property of the thief; and then take to themselves the credit of a superlative regard for the 5. The voice of nature, as expressed in the universal, inrights of property

stinctive horror of the hangman and his office, condemns 4. When a murderer is executed, he has either repented, capital punishment. and is prepared to go into another world-and in that case We answer, that this feeling is not directed exhe is certainly fit to remain in this; or he has not re. clusively against the hangman's office, but the pented, and in that case, by tuking his life, men send him same feeling, though in a less degree, attaches to unprepared into eternity, and consequently consign him to the office of the police-man and the jailer. In endless torment.

deed, it is shared in some degree by all the ulti, here. This dilemma seems to be considered by many mate instrumentalities in the infliction of penalty. as conclusive of the question.

Now we utterly pro- | The more ultimate, the more absolutely necessary any test against thus appealing to the retributions of office is, the less honourable it is. Those external funcis eternity. It is getting entirely out of our depth, tions in our physical economy which are the most and setting ourselves about business which does indispensable to our existence, are deemed the most not belong to us. But if such objections must be base. This is a sufficient answer to those who say, made, then we reply to the first horn of the di- “ If you consider the office of hangman so necessary, lemma, that we never heard of a murderer confessing why not assume it yourself?”. For the rest, we aiiand deploring his crime in Christian penitence, who swer in the words of Diderot, who thought capital did not, as the apostle Paul said he would do, con- punishment inexpedient, and whose views may theresent freely to die. He has magnified the law whose fore be considered by our opponents the more impenalty he suffered. Nay, more; men under the partial. “ I have before shown,” says he, “low influence of repentance, and of the instinctive con- natural it seems that the laws should have ordaines sciousness of the justice and fitness of capital punisli- death as the punishment for murder, and that the ment for murder, have voluntarily confessed their public feeling was in harniony with those laws. The guilt, and surrendered themselves to the hands of horror which is felt for the executioner by no manis

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


proves that the penalty of death is unjust. That | illiterate, and ferocious heathenism, which will soon horror arises from the peculiar compassion which acknowledge few moral obligations, and at last set all man feels for his suffering fellow-man; and which spiritual authority and discipline at defiance. That would be the same if he saw him in that state in which there may be a regulating and controlling power to despair does not terminate his woes, but only begins them: direct and govern the capricious energies of these [terms by which Beccaria had described the horrors enormous masses of evil, which may some day be of that imprisonment which he proposed to substi: confederated for purposes of mischief, it is high tute for the penalty of death.] Arm the executioner time for all Christian ministers, and office-bearers, with chains and scourges; make it his office to render and members of every evangelical denomination, odious the life of the culprit; and the spectacle of to combine, to co-operate, and apply their united the sufferings of which he will be the instrument lever power in elevating the moral and religious . will make him equally detested; but the penalty condition of those who are falling away from the he inflicts upon the convict will be none the less wholesome and salutary restraints of Christianity. just. It is not, therefore, nature that inspires the Much may be done if we are united, if we work tohorror which is felt for the executioner, but this is gether and simultaneously—if, forgetting, or at least rather an instinctive emotion, a physical repugnance foregoing for the time, our sectarian character as which one man feels in seeing another suffer, and Christians, we go forward in this great moral enterfrom which I conclude nothing against the good of prise, in the strength and power and spirit of the the law.” (Beccaria De' delitti e delle Pene. Nota Head of the Church. That we may know the mag56.) Diderot might have added, that we are probably nitude of the evils we have to contend with, let us irritated by the want of feeling which the execu- take a glance at the present aspect of society. tioner commonly exhibits, and disgusted by the barely I. Consider the reasons why so many have fallen mercenary motives which induce him to undertake away from the observance of religious ordinances. the office. But surely it will not do to abolish all The irreligious character of many of our population offices in society which are usually exercised from has, no doubt, arisen from the universal distribution base motives, or which are repulsive to delicate sen- of infidel publications. Periodicals, of an infamous sibilities, or by which men of respectable standing spirit and tendency, are the only literary food of a would feel degraded. In short, the paradox we meet great body of our working population; and producwith here, is of wider application than the aboli- tions of revolting obscenity are insidiously and pritionists seem to suppose.* They must find better vately circulated, by which the minds of the young grounds than this before they can demolish the are corrupted and debauched, and prepared for every right of society to inflict capital punishment. We desperate achievement of immorality. These misrecommend them to make diligent inquisition. chievous productions are working their ruinous in

roads in every direction among the masses of our

labouring population, who are rapidly falling away, OUR HIOME HEATHEN.

not only from the ordinances of religion, but from [This paper forms the substance of a document read

the exterior semblance of even personal decency and at the meeting of a provincial presbytery, and is propriety. Public worship is forsaken, religious published in our pages by request. We bespeak for duties are neglected, wives and families are left to it the careful perusal of our readers, and especially tinual pressure of a paternal influence that is every

shift for themselves, or are degraded under the conof those among them who occupy the responsible day sinking deeper and deeper in the mire

of earthly position of office-bearers in the Church. Some may deem the ļanguage it employs as to the state of mat. speculations, or of contented profligacy. The bands ters in our large towns too strong and discouraging. affection are broken asunder, moral and religious

of social life are untwined, the cords of domestic But we believe no one will think or say so who is even slightly acquainted with the moral and religious government is subverted, and tens of thousands are condition of the lower classes in large towns. The

restrained or kept down only by the presence of misery is, that even after that condition is known

civil or military authority. And all this is going on

before the face, and under the inspection of proand acknowledged and deplored, and after such appeals as the following are perused, little or nothing is fessing Christians, who are no doubt separately, and done by way of remedy. The Church sleeps on, and

in fractional detachments, doing what they can to thousands go down unwarned to destruction.]

arrest the tide of infidelity, but whose divided efforts The increase of vice in our large towns has gone broken down under the superincumbent weight of

are only so many breakwaters, which may soon be on, for many years, with a most alarming celerity; the floods of ungodliness which are continually rising, and unless the Church rise up in her moral majesty and which in some dark night of political storm and as the spouse of Christ, to exercise her benevolent agitation, may carry away every bulwark, every bardominion over the souls and consciences of our de

rier that now guards our civil and religious liberties. graded population, she will soon be so besieged and

As a consequence of the general dissemination hemmed in by innumerable bands of enemies, that of infidel publications, infidel opinions and principles instead of going forth in the character and spirit of are becoming more common. These principles are Inissionary aggression, she will be overborne by the destroying the common relationship between God continual pressure from without of an ignorant, an and man, and, consequently, tending to the over

* A petition was some time since got up in one of our cities, as throw of all religion, and to the ultimate subversion we understand, and numerously signed by the leading abolitionists. praying the Legislature to compel the clergy, who were in favour

of all social order. of capital punishment, to perform the office of executioners. This The fruits of these principles are seen in the argument is, of course, irrefragable; it is useless to reason against a practical joke.

increase of immorality. Vice and profligacy are It is indispensable for the health of our cities that they should pervading all ranks. The conviction of irresponsi. be cleansed of the filth that is liable to be collected on them. Will these gentlemen volunteer their services? or will they condemn

bility to God is preparing the way for man's irretbe searenger's business as inhuman and unnatural?

sponsibility to man. An aversion to religious authority

« AnteriorContinuar »