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much above fearing as doing ill, for men who have a true sense of honour, and who, in consequence of this, continue doing every thing which they ought to do, fear nothing but what they ought to fear.
Nay, my brethren, may we not retort the charge of cowardice on those weak and timorous minds who tremble at undeserved reproach, who dread shame more than guilt, who fear him who can kill the body only more than him who can cast both soul and body into hell fire.
But how many noble instances are on record where persons have declined to give or to receive a challenge, without the smallest imputation on their courage or their honour! was Colonel Gardiner a 'coward who replied to one who challenged him, “ I am not afraid “ to fight but I am afraid to sin.” Was the the honour of Sir Walter Raleigh tarnished, when this great man, upon being very injuriously treated by a hot-headed, rash youth, that next proceeded to challenge him, and on his refusal to fight spit upon him, and that too in publick, took out his handkerchief, and with great calmness made only this reply, “ Young man, if I could as easily wipe your
“.blood from my conscience, as I can this in“jury from my face, I would this moment take
away your life!” Who does not admire the prudence, the magnanimity and the courage of the Marshal Turenne who, when a young officer, at the siege of a fortified town, had no less than twelve challenges sent him, all of which he put in his pocket without farther notice; but being soon after commanded upon some desperate attack on a part of the fortifications, he sent a billet to each of the challengers, acquainting them “ that he had received their papers,
which he deferred answering till a proper occasion offered, both for them and “ for himself, to exert their courage for the
publick service; that being ordered next
day to assault the enemies works he desired " their company, when they would have an
opportunity of signalizing their own bravery " and of being witness of his !". In short, to propose an example of the perfection and propriety of which their can be no question, was the sense of honour extinct in the breast of Jesus of Nazareth, who, when one of the officers that stood by struck him with the palm of his hand, calmly replied, “ if I have spo“ken evil, bear witness of the evil; if well
why smitest thou me?” All ye
who would be sincere Christians, and men of true honour, go and do likewise.
Thus much for the sinfulness of duelling; and as this is the point which I am more particularly called on to illustrate here, perhaps, the discourse might terminate. But, as I do not wish to leave any matter of this controversy wholly untouched, or to allow the duellist any advantage which he might claim from the expediency or usefulness of the practice, I beg your farther indulgence while I say a few words on its folly and mischievous tendency.
He, we are told, who wantonly and outrageously injures the honour and the feelings of his neighbour, ought to suffer for his misa conduct. And so he ought. But how will duelling answer the end of punishment, when the injured person runs the same risk of suffering with the person wlio did the injury? This is to confound innocence and guilt, reward and punishment.
He who has received any injury, we are farther told, has a right to satisfaction and compensation: his violated honour requires publick reparation. And let him have satisfaction of the most substantial and genuine kind, But surely duelling furnishes no such satisfaction. The destruction of your neighbour is no recompense for the loss which
you have sustained. You may take the life of him who gives you the lie, or charges you with a breach of trust; but hereby you will only load your conscience with the guilt of his blood, and your veracity and integrity will still be as much subject to question as before. If his charge be just, you were the person who impeached your honour, when you
committed the crime. If unjust, your best vindication will lie in manifesting to the world the falsehood of his imputation, and the infamy will then redound with tenfold weight upon the head of the slanderer.
But tamely to submit to every insult without resistance or retaliation, would only be an invitation to farther acts of injustice and oppression. I have never said that redress of in. juries is in no case to be sought for and obtained. I only say that the redress must be such asisconsistent with reason and with Christianity. But would the evil dreaded actually ensue? He must be an ungenerous and dastardly coward who will continue to persecute one who
receives his ill-usage with coolness and disregard—who returns blessing for cursing, politeness for insult, love for hatred. If your adversary be worth the gaining, if he is such a character as even your man of honour would meet in the field, such behaviour will assuredly gain him. A soft answer turneth wrath; and the most effectual way to overcome evil is by good. If he is otherwise disposed, the wisest treatment is silence and contempt; for surely it cannot be incumbent on a man of worth and respectability to enter the list of contention with any worthless and abandoned character who chooses, by insolence and abuse, to provoke his resentment. A prudent and peaceable' man has nothing to dread even from the insolent and overbearing. They will either be disarmed by forbearance, or they will reap the contempt and detestation of the world for their pains. It is by pride that contention cometh. If a man, indeed, be himself quarrelsome and contentious, if his own manners be rude, offensive and overbearing; if he tarry long at the wine, and then have wo, sorrow, contentions, babblings, and wounds without cause, he must extricate bimself in the best way For the evil consequences of such conduct,