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Mercy, in the present' case, takes place of justice, and supersedes or sets aside punishment. Justice, in the present case, is the ballance of common equity, by which is weighed out or dispensed rewards and punishments, in an equal proportion to the good or evil, the virtuousness or viciousness of mens actions. And, that I may keep the argument clear of all incumbrances, and thereby guard against captious opposers, I will state the notion of rea wards and punishments, and of good and evil actions as the foundation of them. Those words reward and punish are relative, the former is a relative to some past: good action or merit, the latter is a relative to some past evil action or guilt. For though in 'a loose and popular : way of speaking all favours may be called rewards, and all aflictions may be called punishments, (as a man by suffering great pain in a fit of the gout may be said to suffer great punishment thereby) yet, strictly speaking, no favours nor afflictions come under the denomination of rewards and punishments, but such only as have had some good or evil actions, done by the receiver, to be the ground and foundation of them. If the settled price of labour be one milling per day, and a man labours a day for me, and if I pay the labourer one filling, that pay is properly called reward; because there was something done by the receiver relative to reward, which was the ground of that pay, and which therefore gives

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it that denomination. But if a man's presa fing neceffity, and not any precedent service done me, should excite me to put a shilling into his hand, in order to supply that neceflity, this action would properly come under the denomination of a gift, and not of a reward; because there was nothing in the receiver, relative to reward, to be the ground of that action, which could bring it under that denomination. And, as there must be a precedent. good action or some service done, to be a foundation for reward; so that action or service must be done by the receiver, and not by another, to constitute what he receives a reward. If one man should perform a day's labour for me, and I should deliver a shilling to another, he that received it would not be rewarded thereby; because there was nothing in him, relative to reward, to be the ground of it, which could give the action that denomination. Again, If a man, by á fall from his horse, Thould break a limb, or otherwise fuffer great pain thereby, this would be a very great affliction to that man; and yet it would not come under the denomination of punishment, because there was no precedent evil getion in him, (which is the relative to punishment) that was the ground of the affliction, which could give it that denomination. But if a man Thould steal an horse, and should be {entenced to death or banishment for it; the execution of that sentence would properly come under the denomination of punishment, because

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there was a precedent evil action or guilt in him, which is the relative to punishment, that was the ground of that sentence, and therefore would bring it under that denomination. And, as there must be some precedent eyil action or guilt, to be the ground of punish, ment; so that evil action must be done, and that guilt must be attracted by the sufferer only, and not by another, to constitute any affliction punishment. If one man should steal an horse, and another man, known to be innocent with regard to that fact, should be hanged; in that case, tho' the person hanged would suffer one of the greatest of natural evils, yet that fuffering would not be a punishment to him, be cause he had no precedent guilt, which is the relative to punishment, to be the ground of that suffering, and therefore, it could not come under the denomination of punishment to him. And, as to the guilt that was contracted by the other, it could not possibly alter the case with respect to him ; because be could not possibly become guilty thereby. And, fupposing the innocent person should, not only consent to be hanged, but should voluntarily offer himself to suffer, in order to save the guilty; this would not alter the case at all, because such consent and voluntary offer could not poflibly make him guilty of the other's crime, and where there is no guilt there can be no punishment; it being the same gross absurdity to suppose punilhment without crime, as it is to suppose a son without a father. And, to

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suppose that punishment may be transferred from one person to another, when guilt, which is the ground of it, cannot, is the same grofs abfurdity. How idle then must it be for men to pretend that the innocent Jesus bore the punishment that was due for the fins of mankind? I say how vain must such a pretence be? For, as it was impossible that Christ should be guilty of our crimes; so it was equally as impossible that he should suffer the punishment due for them. Again, the good or evil, or the merit or demerit of actions, which is the ground and foundation of rewards and punishments, does not arise from the good or evil effects and consequences of those actions, but from the good or evil motive or principle they spring from, suppose the action of another, by mere accident and without any design of the agent, should become very beneficial to me, in this case, tho’ the action in it's effect and consequence would be a natural good to me; yet it would not be a moral good in the actor, because it's being a good to me was not the produce of his in-. clination and will, and therefore, it could not be a proper foundation for reward. Whereas, if that good to me was intended by the agent, and I was the proper object of his regard, then it would be a moral good in the actor, and he would be worthy of a reward upon the account of it. Again, if a man, by mere accident and without any design, should take away the life of another; in this case, tho' the action in it's effect and consequence would be the

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greatest greatest of natural evils to the man who loft his life by it, yet it would not be a moral evil in the agent, because it was not the produce of any evil or vicious inclination in him, and consequently, he could not contract guilt to himself by it, nor be worthy of punishment on 'the account of it. Whereas, if he intended that evil to a man, without any just ground to inflict it, he would be guilty of moral evil, and be worthy of punishment.' And, tho' an evil disposition does not, I think, constitute guilt, until it becomes the ground and foundation of action, or, at least, until it is intended to be fo; yet, I think, it is the evil disposition only which communicates guilt to the action, if I may so speak, or in other words, it is the evil disposition that renders the action vicious and blameworthy which is produced by it. So that the merit and demerit of actions, by which they become the ground and foundation of rewards and punishments, result not from their effects and consequences, but from their causes.

But to return, justice, (as I observed above) is the ballance of common equity, by which is weighed out or dispensed rewards and punishments, in equal proportion to the merit or demerit of mens actions. Justice, in the administration of rewards, is the mean betwixt bounty and fraud. He who rewards the labourer equal to the value of his labour, is just. He who rewards the labourer below it's value, defrauds him, and thereby is criminally unjust. He who rewards the labourer above

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