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Hamilton lost his life in a duel with Burr, on account of some expressions in a political pamphlet, purporting to have originated with Gen. Hamilton-for which this cruel result was. demanded by a wicked code of honor. On the 24th of February, 1838, Mr. Cilley, of Maine, and Mr. Graves, of Kentucky, met in Washington, and for a most trivial provocation between them, fired at each other three times with rifles. At the third fire, Mr. Cilley fell dead his wife was widowed, his children were orphanised, and his country deprived of the services of an excellent and promising son. In addition to these melancholy instances, those savage duels which have been fought in the South Western States with the murderous rifle or the bloody bowie-knife, may be referred to as frightful exhibitions of the spirit of retaliation. And yet this destruction which makes. widows and orphans mourn; which deprives community of some of its best ornaments, and which stains the hands of man with the blood of his brother, is simply the law of revenge adopted by a certain class of society, whose countenance has made it honor to demand life as the satisfaction of offended pride. But though such conduct
be deemed honorable in the parlance of this world, yet in the sight of Heaven and all correct conceptions of right,
it is fashionable murder. How pitiful and degrading is such procedure, when compared with the conduct of the Saviour, which in its own power and sublimity, illustrated the divine law, “ love your enemies." Yet we still claim to be a Christian people, even when one of the -sanctioned principles in fashion, is a direct contradiction of a most prominent precept in the Christian statutes.
In the plenitude of his wisdom and the divinity of his thoughts, our Saviour deemed that man could, and that it was his duty to
overcome evil with good,” as well as an imperative practice in the Christian profession, to “ love his enemies." And whenever and whereever the law has been put into direct operation, it has succeeded in a most admirable manner. Though our passions may rise up, and erroneous education intervene, to make us believe that retaliation is necessary, and that thorough kindness is a dangerous instrument, yet it needs but to be tried in order to be embraced. For when an individual follows its dictates, he finds that it affords him such powerful influence over others, as to lead him to the conclusion, that the law of kindness is the most effectual method of subduing enmity. This position will be susitained by historical facts.
THE POWER OF KINDNESS,
“ The quality of mercy is not strained ;
-“We do pray for mercy ;
The first illustration of the effects of the law of kindness, which will be adduced, is the conduct of Joseph towards his brethren, because it eminently exhibits the superior power of "love your enemies" over “hate your enemies."
On account of the dreams which prefigured the future exaltation of Joseph, his brethren looked upon him as their enemy. In the spirit of revenge, they plotted his murder; and though, by the intercession of one of their number, his life was spared, yet they sold him as a slave, no doubt with the hope that they should never again hear from the dreamer. All this was pure wickedness, and about as cunning a plan as revenge generally conceives. But it did not
command the desired object. For, when, through a train of circumstances, Joseph obtained the highest office under Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and his wicked brethren, through fa. mine, were driven into Egypt to buy corn, he. met them in all the fulness of the law of love. And his kindness so wrought upon them, so subdued their enmity, that they became entirely reconciled to him, and cheerfully submitted to his rule. Joseph loved his brethren hated. And it need scarcely be asked, which party was most happy, and whose conduct resulted in the most good-his brethren trembling in the fear of conscious guilt; or Joseph, who could so disarm himself of revenge, as not only to forgive their very many serious crimes, but also to crowd upon them the choicest tokens of his fraternal affection ? In this instance, the exercise of the law of kindness was completely successful, and changed enemies, charged with a murderous spirit, into reconciled and affectionate friends.
It is evident to every reader of the history of Saul, King of Israel, that he was actuated by the most inveterate animosity against David who afterwards filled the throne in Jerusalem. But notwithstanding his malignity, he was softened in a strange manner when the kindness of David met him in its full power. On one occa
sion, Saul heard that David was in the “ wilderness of Engedi,” and with an armed band he pursued him with the full
purpose dering him. While engaged in this pursuit, Saul entered the cave where David and his followers had secreted themselves. As Saul was completely in his power, the followers of David advised him to kill the King, which, unquestionably, the law of retaliation would have justified. David, however, pursued a more magnanimous course, the result of which is given in the language of the Bible.
“ But Saul rose up
out of the cave, and went on his way. David also rose afterward, and went out of the cave, and cried after Saul, saying, 'my lord the King. And when Saul looked behind him, David stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed himself. And David said to Saul, • wherefore hearest thou men's words, saying, behold, David seeketh thy hurt ?'
Behold, this day thine eyes have seen how that the Lord hath delivered thee to-day into my hand in the cave : and some bade me kill thee; but mine eye spared thee; and I said, I will not put forth my hand against my lord; for he is the Lord's anointed. Moreover, my father, see, yea, see the skirt of thy robe in my hand : for in that I cut off the skirt of thy robe, and killed thee not, know thou and see that there is neither evil nor