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RETALIATION. When the Sun of Righteousness rose, in all the majesty of light and glory, re-illuming the immortal mind with its animating, soul-cheering rays, the opprobrious law of Retaliation was expunged from the record, but not from human nature. To this foul blot upon the fair escutcheon of man, as it came from the clean hands of his Creator, we trace a dark catalogue of evils, from the puerile quarrels in the nursery, up to the most sanguinary conflicts on the field of false honour, and the barbarous battle-ground of national armies. Its victims are found in all the avenues of private and public life. Even brute animals have been sacrificed at its baleful shrine, by demons in human shape—bipeds, so deeply dyed in the wool by degrading baseness, that they had no courage to move in a higher sphere. All such automatons of the devil, , should be enclosed in a case of asafætida, and transported on a thunder-cloud beyond 54° 40'.
Retaliation not only demands an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth,” but would gladly go the whole pig, and settle its accounts by the rule of geometrical progression. The man who indulges this unholy propensity, is liable to dethrone reason, insult justice, thwart the design of his creation, deprive himself of the endearing consolations of that love which is the crowning attribute of the great Jehovah, and violates the heavenly injunctions of the immaculate Redeemer.
Retaliation is put in motion by the fire of anger, fed by the fuel of revenge, fanned by the wind of false pride, propelled by the locomotive of inconsistency, with duplicity for fireman, old Chaos the engineer, and
Lucifer the conductor. Such a motley crew cannot render passengers comfortable in passing over the railroad of life. And then the fare—how expensive, and the food-how bitter. Accumulating trouble, increasing vexation, wasting envy, tormenting jealousy, lost friendships, unyielding animosities, dismembered families, distracted churches, protracted law-suits, biting anguish, keen remorse, inveterate malice, burning revenge, fights, riots, mobs, wars, and sometimes nations have been lost in the awful vortex of the terminus depot of this hydra.
We have a remedy in the Golden Rule—a rule professedly admired by all, but practised only by a few, and not always by them. Its universal practical application, would drive back Retaliation to its original Pandora box, and relieve society from one of the most efficient disturbers of peace and harmony. Let ministers and laymen, at all times and under all circumstances, practise the forbearance and charity inculcated by the gospel of Christ—then their example will do much towards stripping this monster of its crown of thorns and plume of thistles. It is under the melting sunbeams of the religion of the Cross, shining in all the beauty of native loveliness, without an intervening cloud of error, that sullied human nature must be brightened, its tarnished lustre renovated, its injured character redeemed, and the soul prepared for heaven.
Let charity-broad and universal, pervade the whole human family—then a blow will be struck for the King of kings, that will resound through the wilderness of mind, and cause it to bud and blossom like the rose. Then the family of man will be rapidly evangelized and made free in the fraternizing Gospel of the WORD—a Gospel, untrammelled by the inventions and dogmas of men—a Gospel, crowned with all the glory of original simplicity and heavenly love.
Do not, with too severe
To be able to administer reproof advantageously and successfully, is no ordinary gift, and one more to be desired by the active philanthropist, than the laurels of the hero, or the honors of civic fame. Men must be led—they have too much of the spirit that entered the swine, to be drove. Reprove with kindness and gentleness, is the injunction.
The first requisite for one who assumes the high prerogative of a Reprover, is a naturally kind heart, filled with the milk of human kindness, united with a clear head to discern, and sound discretion to direct in action at all times. The next is a thorough knowledge of human nature, and the manner it is moulded and affected by the multiform circumstances of life. To arrive at correct conclusions on this point, we must first become well acquainted with ourselves, and explore, impartially, the labyrinthian mazes of our own minds. Time, manner, and place; are the next considerations. To crown all these, our souls should be imbued with the religion of the cross, and feel, deeply, the value of the immortal spirit of man.
With these qualifications, all shining harmoniously in one person, that person is prepared to eclipse all earthly fame, as a benefactor of mankind. To snatch one immortal, from the deadly coil of the serpent of sin, is an act that will resound and echo through heaven, where Greek and Roman fame will never be rehearsed. To save a soul from eternal death! how sublime the thought! how noble the object! how glorious the act !
From the government of children in the nursery, up to the man of low, medium, and high degree; let the above rules be observed, in giving reproof—incalculable good will result from their observance. Let the parent, the husband, the wife, the friend, the moral reformer, the layman, the minister--all, be kind, affectionate, prudent, discreet, and faithful; in giving Reproof, looking well to the time, place, and manner. These rules are as applicable to public, as private Reprovers.
Finally, ever bear in mind, that pure motives must impel to action, ardent prayer should warm the heart —and a firm reliance on God to bless our exertions, will give a zest to every effort, for He alone can crown the labor with success.
For this he still lives on, careless of all
The man who permits Revenge to reign triumphant in his bosom, is in as miserable, and in a more dangerous situation than one who has the hydrophobia. He frequently becomes a murderer—thus two or more lives are sacrificed, instead of one-disease destroys the latter; the murderous hand and the gallows destroy the others. Hydrophobia warns, and enables us to guard against danger; revenge strikes in the dark, without notice. The former paralyzes the mental powers by its paroxysms, and is excusable—the latter produces rage as violent, aided by increased mental vigor to plan and execute, aggravating criminality. The one is sometimes cured by medicine—the latter, only by sacrifice. The one is communicated; the other, an inherent passion, indulged without excuse. The one has its moments of repose at intervals ; the other preys upon the mind like a Promethean vulture. The course of Revenge is right onward; it follows the object of its vengeance with the perseverance of a lion, and is held in check only by self love, based upon the first law of nature, self preservation. The dread of punishment for overt acts of violence, is the most powerful shield, to guard us from the attacks of Revenge. Self love, not the most amiable passion of our nature, creates fear, which, like the safety valve of a steam engine, regulates the steam generated by Revenge. Were it