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Sword. Who ever deemed this, a mean-spirited or sneaking Behaviour? All Ages have admired it, as the Resolution of a discreet and gallant Man, who was sensible of his own Importance, and knew how to treat the petulant and revengeful Humour of a difcontented Adversary with its deferved Contempt.
Barely to lose our Life, is the smallest of those Evils, which attend this mischievous Practice.--It is pregnant with a long, an almost endless Train of disastrous Consequences to Parents, Wives, Children, Friends, Associates, and the Community. It is an infallible Expedient, to be deprived of the Favour of the infinite GOD, and to be excluded from the Joys of his eternal Kingdom. It is the ready Way, to become an Object of Abhorrence to the Angels of Light; and be made the Laughing-stock of Devils, in their Dungeons of Darkness *. Shame, everlasting Shame, mall be the Reward of such Gallantry, the Promotion of such Fools to
** Let me tell you with Confidence,” (says an excellent Person, addressing Himself to one of these un. happy Desperados) " that all Duels, or single Combats, « are murderous; blanch them over (how You lift) with “ Names of Honour, and honest Pretences, their Use is « finful, and their Nature devilish.” See the select Works of Bishop Hall, in one Volume, Fol. pag. 526. Where the Reader will find a happy Mixture of true Oratory, and found Divinity; a rich Vein of Fancy, and a sweet Spirit of Piety; Contemplations upon the Hilto-, ries of Scripture (which, I think, are our Prelate's Ma., fter-piece) almost as entertaining and instructive, as the Subjects illustrated are important and wonderful.-Notwithstanding a few stiff or antique Phrases, I cannot but esteem the Works of this Author, among the most va. luable Compositions extant in our Language.
+ Prov. ii. 35:
Ther. With regard to this point, I am entirely of your Opinion, Aspaso; however I may differ in other Particulars. ; . .
Alp. Say You lo, Theron! Would You then tamely submit to Affronts, Insults, and Affaults ? .
Ther. As to the trifling Affronts of a peevish incontinent Tongue, I would treat them with a fuperior Scorn. When thus treated, they are sure to recoil, with the keenest Edge, and severest Weight, upon the impotent Malice which offers them. The Wretch should see, that I could pity his Misery, and smile at his Folly.-But with regard to Affaults, especially those of a capital Nature, the Case is otherwise. Should any one offer Violence to my Person, it is at his Peril. He would find, and perhaps to his Smart,
Et Nos Tela Manu, Ferrumque haud debile Dextra
Here, the fundamental and everlasting Law of Selfpreservation calls upon Us to play the Man. And I am sure, Christianity does not require Us, to yield our Throats to the Knife, or open our Breasts to the Dagger.
. But to retire to deliberate-to sit down-and indite a formal Challenger-seems to me altogether as savage and iniquitous, as to assault on the Highway. -He that demands my Money on the Road, or extorts it by an incendiary Letter, or decoys me into the Snare by a forged and counterfeit Note; is stigmatized for a Villain; is abhorred by every Person of Integrity; and, when detected, is rewarded with a Halter. Why fhould We reckon the Head-strong
Bravo less injurious? Who makes his Attempt upon my very Life; and thirsts, with insatiable Fury, for my Blood ?
Ap. He allows You a fair Chance; it is said.
Ther. A Chance! Of what?-Either of falling a Sacrifice to his Rage, or of imbruing my Hands in his Blood. Which is neither more nor less, than reducing me to a Neceffity, of launching into Damnation myself, or of transmitting a Fellow-creature to eternal Vengeance.--And is this an Extenuation? This a mitigating Circumstance? It really proves the Practice so inexcusably wicked, that nothing can be pleaded in its Defence. The very Argument, used to justify the horrid Deed, infames its Guilt and aggravates its Malignity. i.
'Tis Pity, but the legislative Authority would inwerpose, for the Suppression of such a flagrant Wrong to Society, and such a notorious Violation of our benign Religion. Why fhould not the Laws declare it Felony, to make the first Overture for a Duel? Since it is always more heinous, and frequently more pernicious. Is always Murder in the Intention, and frequently issues in double Destruction: the One, inflicted by the Stab of Violence; the Other, executed by the Sword of Justice.
Might it not, at least bé branded with some Mark of public Infamy, or fubjected to a severe pecuniary Mulet? So that a Gentleman of Spirit and Temper might have it in his power to return the Compliment of a challenging Letter with some such Answer;
SIR, ." However meanly You may think of Your Life, “ I set too high a Value upon mine, to expose it as
« a Mark for undisciplined and outrageous Paffions. *66 -Neither have I fo totally renounced all that is :56.humane, benevolent, or amiable, as to draw my • Sword for your Destruction, because You have “ FIRST been overcome by precipitate and unrea:< fonable Refentment. You have given me an ** Opportunity of acting the Gentleman and the *** Christian. And this Challenge I accept, as a 6 Note under your Hand for five hundred Pounds *; 66 which will very soon be demanded, according to 66 Law, by
." Your, &c.”
Afp. But to resume the proper Subject--the Nature of our Engagement. Which I now recollect, and which was explained, when I ventured to give, what You call the Challenge. --As it is not my Theron, but the Obstacles of his Faith, and the Enemies of his Felicity, which I am to encounter ; perhaps, I shall have Courage to stand my Ground.
. . And,
* Might not the Refuser of a Challenge be dignified with some honorary Distinction, resembling the Civic Crown among the antient Romans? Since, by his cool and temperate Bravery, He saves one Life from the Sword, another from the Halter.--Was some honorary Distinction on the one hand, united to a pecuniary Fosfeiture on the other, I cannot but think, they would prove an effectual Method to check the Progress of this defructive Evil. It would break the Teeth of Malice with her own Weapons, and turn the Artillery of Revenge upon Herself. Those detestable Passions would be loth to indulge themselves in this horrid Manner, if it was made the sure Way to ennoble and enrich the Object of their Rage.-N. B. The Civic Crown was an Ornament assigned to those Soldiers, who had in Battle rescued a Fellow-citizen from impending Death.
And, instead of violating all the Obligations of Equity, Honesty, and Conscience, I shall certainly evidence my Love to my Friend ; nay possibly promote his truest Good.
Ther. I don't fee, how this can be effected, by your late Attempt. You attempted to run down all Works of Righteousness, as absolutely unable to find Acceptance with GOD, and equally insufficient to recommend Us to his Favour. It is for the Credit of these, which Aspasio has depreciated, that I enter the Lifts.
Alp. I attempted to prove, That no human Works should pretend to the Honour of justifying Us, either in Whole, or in Part. Because this would be an Usurpation of the REDEEMER's Office--this would overthrow the Gospel-method of Justification, which is by imputing Righteousness without Works *-- this, instead of excluding, would introduce Boasting. And oppose, if not defeat, the grand Design of JEHOVAH, in the Salvation of Sinners; which is, to display the infinite Riches of his Grace.
When any Works are attended with such Circumstances, I cannot but wonder, to hear them called Works of Righteousness. I am at a Loss to conceive, how they can themselves be acceptable; much more, how they can recommend a Transgresfor to the Favour of GOD.--Nay, I hear our divine MASTER positively and peremptorily declaring, that they are, not good, but evil. The World hateth me, because I testify of it, that the Works thereof are evil t.
Ther. * Rom. iv. 6. + John vii. 7.