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mage due to himself, proceeds to furnish them with such injunctions, as should tend most effectually to their quiet and happiness, whether as placed in an individual or social state; and the first and most reasonable duty is that we owe our parents. To be sure, they are but the instruments in the hand of Providence to give us being; but at our first existence how helpless and incapable we are, and how much more room has the human species than the brute, to load its offspring with a weight of obligation ; how much more arduous the task to save the mind from ill impressions, which will produce everlasting pain, than to screen the body from the temporary inconveniencies of hunger and of cold. The protection, tenderness, and care, afforded to our helpless infancy, may call forth gratitude and love; but the benefits of a right and religious education, must command esteem and veneration : and the only way to
discharge so great an obligation, is to extend that virtuous instruction and good example to the rising generation. The Israelites were promised the long enjoyment of temporal possessions, if, next to the great Divine Parent, they honoured and protected the human.
Upon the sixth Commandment depends not only the peace, but the very existence of society: “ Thou shalt do no murder.” 66 Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall “ his blood be shed.” This precept is so obvious, and so reasonable, that nothing more need be said upon it, but that a proper attention to the grace and truth which came by Jesus Christ, and to that mild benevolence of spirit inculcated in his Gospel, will teach men so effectually to restrain their impetuous and cruel passions, that it will close up every avenue in the human heart, which can give birth to so foul a crime. Well is it worth
the while of kings, and of statesmen, to consider the fatal consequences of unnecessary ambition, to hearken to the dictates of justice, rather than the dreams of policy, and to reflect, that victory is ever preceded by destruction. Let the hero, pressing forward in the career of conquest, look behind him, and see how desolation follows his footsteps in blood.
The next Commandment comprehends, though in one word, the great duty of chastity (for in this extensive sense must adultery be understood), set forth more fully and explicitly in the law of Christ. Of its opposite vice, it shall suffice to observe at present, that it ought to be restrained both by the laws of God and man, upon principles, not only of religion, but of sound policy; for whereever the children are of uncertain parents, the care both of provision and education is greatly diminished; but upon this provision
and education undoubtedly depend both the number and prosperity of mankind.
The eighth Commandment has a near connection with the sixth, for as in the one we are forbidden to take away the life of man, so in the other we are prohibited from violently or clandestinely abstracting his means of life. So well convinced are all civilized states of the necessity of securing all just acquirements and undoubted property, that they have punished the violation with death. There are still, however, many instances which call for the restraint of religious principles, and the doctrine of the law of Christ, without which, ingenious fraud, artful or undetected dishonesty, would shake society to its foundation. It is not only the duty, it is the interest, therefore, of every state, to protect and cherish that religion, which enforces in their greatest purity, the laws of God: human laws can only restrain
crimes, by punishing the offender after they are committed; they destroy the sin, by destroying the sinner; divine laws, reverenced by the state, and promoted by example, can alone prevent their commission. Religious principles, imbibed in early youth, will keep men from the entrance into vice; penal laws can but check its progress by the fear of punishment, or punish sin by death; and as there is more joy over one sinner that repenteth, than over ninety and nine just persons that need no repentance, so it is harder, perhaps, to turn one sinner from the habit of iniquity, than to keep ninety and nine just persons in the habits of virtue.
The ninth Commandment has also a near connection with the foregoing; for as we are not, on any account, to take away the property of another, so neither are we to prevent the acquirement, or disturb the possession, of that property, by lessening our neighbour in