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Arabs indiscriminately; though we find a law enjoining such a practice, under certain restrictions, among the precepts of the Koran, chap. xvii. 35. "If a man is unlawfully killed, we give to his nearest relation the right of revenge: but, let him not go beyond bounds in putting the murderer to death;" that is, let him not have recourse to cruelty and torture in doing it.
"Among the Abyssinians, who came originally from Arabia Felix, across the Red Sea, I find," says Michaëlis, "from the Jesuit Lobos, Relation historique d' Abyssinie, i. p. 122-124, that the magistrate first discovers the murderer, and then delivers him to the vengeance of the nearest kinsman of the deceased. Here, therefore, we have an example of this practice under the superintendance of the magistrate."
In Persia the relations of an individual who has been murdered, go before a court of justice, uttering loud lamentations, and demanding that the mur derer may be delivered into their hands; on which the judge commits the prisoner to their charge, pronouncing at the same time, these words "I give this murderer into your hands; take satisfaction yourselves for the blood which he has shed; but remember that God is just and merciful." The relations are then at liberty to glut their vengeance upon the murderer in what way they please.*
According to the laws of the Athenians, if any one come to an untimely end, his nearest relations might bring the action of Avdgoλn↓ia against those whom they suspected, either to be abettors of the crime, or protectors of the felon and the right of prosecution in all cases of murder belonged to the kindred of the murdered, kinsfolk's children, and those of the same gargiat.
It was decreed, also, in the Roman laws,‡ "hæredes, quos necem testatoris inultam omisisse constiterit, fructus integros cogantur reddere."
In Germany, likewise, from which many of our own institutions and customs have been borrowed, the most distant relations took a very considerable share to themselves in every affront, as we read in the admirable treatise of Tacitus,§" Suscipere tam inimicitias, seu patris, seu propinqui, quàm amicitias necesse est." This sentence is in the usual style of the Roman historian, brief but expressive; and the best comment upon it will be found in the decrees and statutes to which it gave rise, in after times, when laws were first collected and arranged into a system. "Ad quemcunque hæreditas terræ pervenerit, ad illum vestis bellica, id est, lorica, et ultio proximi, et solutio leudis, debet pertinere."'ll
These are all remnants of an age long prior to that in which regular laws were instituted; and in my view of the subject, bear strong marks of affinity to the practice which it has been the object of this paper to retrace from the state in which we now find it to its first origin. If any of respondents, however, can shew that the theory which I have adopted is founded upon erroneous principles, it will ee the means of throwing
* Sir John's Chardin's Travels, &c. 4to. edit. 1711. p. 292.
+ Potter's Archæologia Græca, edit. 1728, vol. i. bk.i. ch. 26. p. 177.
Cod. lib. vi. tit. xxxv. de his, quibus, ut indignis, hæreditates auferuntur. Leg, I § Germania, § 21. Lex Angl. et Werin. Tit. 6 de Alodibus. Leg. 5.
light on a subject which would probably have remained in that obscurity in which time never ceases to veil the rude productions of a barbarous age, had not recent circumstances excited considerable attention to it.
P. S. Since writing the above, I have met with the following passage from Blackstone, which seems so much to my purpose that I am tempted to transcribe it :
"The decision of suits, by an appeal to the God of battles, is by some said to have been invented by the Burgundi, one of the northern or German clans that planted themselves in Gaul. And it is true, that the first written injunction of judiciary combats that we meet with, is in the laws of Gundebald, A. D. 501, which are preserved in the Burgundian code. Yet it does not seem to have been merely a local custom of this or that particular tribe, but to have been the common usage of all those warlike people from the earliest times. And it may also seem from a passage in Velleius Paterculus, that the Germans, when they first became known to the Romans, were wont to decide all contests of right by the sword: for when Quintilius Varus endeavoured to introduce among them the Roman laws and method of trial, it was looked upon (says the historian) as a "novitas incognitæ disciplinæ, ut solita armis decerni jure terminarentur." And among the ancient Goths in Sweden we find the practice of judiciary duels established upon much the same footing as they formerly were in our country.' Blackstone's Comm. 15th ed. vol. iii. b. iii. ch. 22. p. 337. See also vol. iv. b. iv, ch. 33. p.417.
ON THE GIFT OF TONGUES.
THE impression made upon my mind, when little more than a child, on first reading the account of the Apostles receiving the Gift of Tongues, as related in the 2nd chapter of the Acts, was, that every person present, of whatever nation he might be, heard, at the same time, the speaker in the language of his (the hearer's) own country.
This I soon learned, to my surprise, was not the sense in which it was generally, perhaps universally, understood.
First impressions are often very strong, and difficult to eradicate. Perhaps we frequently are more desirous to seek for reasons to establish them, than anxious to supplant them. This may be the case with me in this instance. I shall, however, after having stated the reasons which have been suggested to my mind, in support of my preconceived opinion, leave others to judge for themselves; and, if they please, to state their reasons for entertaining a contrary opinion. Though the question is not of vital importance, it is not an uninteresting one. Whenever God works a miracle, I apprehend, that it is such as, most fully, to answer the designed end, one miracle being, with him, as easy to effect as another.
It is, likewise, always something which cannot be accomplished by mere human means. Now, if the Gift of Tongues was only the being enabled to speak various languages, when the speaker pleased, this would be no more
than what might have been acquired by assiduous application; its effects would have been very circumscribed, and very greatly inferior, in every respect, to that of every one present hearing, at the same time, in his own language. Its being a miracle at all, would be generally disputed.
That, however, in this instance, was so far from being the case, that we are told, that as soon as the circumstance "was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language." "And they were all amazed, and 'marvelled, and were in doubt, saying, What meaneth this?" Now here are an almost immense multitude (three thousand of them being converted during the day, we cannot well estimate them at less than twelve thousand), speaking, at least, seventeen different languages or dialects; for that number is distinctly enumerated. Peter stood up, with the eleven, and listed up his voice, and addressed this great and mixed multitude. The eleven likewise stood up, but Peter only addressed them. He addresses them, as "men of Judea, and all that dwell at Jerusalem.” We had been before told that there were then dwelling at Jerusalem, devout men, out of every nation under heaven, and that it was them which came together to hear the Apostles, as soon as their having received the Gift of Tongues was noised abroad.
Peter then addressed himself at once to people from every nation under heaven. To what purpose would this have been, or how could the miracle appear, if only the people out of one nation at a time could understand him? That, however, evidently was not the case, since we are told, that when they had heard him, they (i. e. the people out of every nation under heaven) were pricked in their hearts, and that they who received his word were baptized; and that there were, that day, added to the disciples, three thousand souls. It does not appear that Peter spoke more than once, or that any other of the Apostles spoke. If, then, every man did not hear him speak at the same time in his own tongue wherein he was born, sixteen out of seventeen could not have been benefitted, nor could they have perceived any miraculous gift which Peter possessed; nor is it probable that he could have converted three thousand souls! These are some of the reasons which have induced me to abide by the opinion, which was, in the first instance, suggested to my mind on reading the passage in question, and which the service of this day has recalled. With this interpretation the whole seems consistent, and the effect such as might (great as it was) be expected to be produced by so powerful a cause. On the other supposition, the accounting for the effect produced is attended with great (I had almost said insurmountable) difficulties. I could enlarge both upon these difficulties, and upon the arguments to support my own opinion. I wished, however, to be as concise as possible, and, if what has been urged fail to convince, it is probable that a longer dissertation would not have been more successful. There are other Gifts of the Holy Spirit besides that of Tongues, one of which is, the leading us to the knowledge of all Truth. God grant that in this, and every other instance, we may all experience the effects of that, precious gift!
Near Sheffield, May 10th, 1818.
P. S. I should be glad to be informed by any of your readers, of any author who has considered the subject in the same light with myself. There is, I am told, a poetical epistle of Byrom's, in support of this opinion, but I have not read it.*
ON A PASSAGE IN LYNE'S LATIN PRIMER.
To the Editors of the Northern Star.
IN Lyne's LATIN PRIMER (a work on the whole of great excellence) there is a curious note on the use of the Infinitive mood appended (page 35,) to the following passage of TERENCE :
Errat longè meâ quidem sententiâ,
Qui imperium credat gravius esse aut stabilius,
"N. B. ESSE in this ninth example shows a great deal, though not all, of the nature of an INFINITIVE, word, and of the reason of its name. ESSE here, according to the construction we choose to give it, is either a verb, or a noun, or even an adjective: a verb, if we make it to affirm or predicate, ESSE is; a noun, thus, ESSE TO BE or A BEING, when it agrees with IMPERIUM ; an adjective, thus, ESSE TO BE or AS BEING, when it agrees with IMPERIUM.
The subject of Grammar has deservedly occupied the attention of the learned in all ages; but unfortunately I am either not much benefitted by their labours, or the above is an useless and unmeaning distinction; and it appears to me rather a play upon words to assert that ESSE is with any propriety called an adjective. In truth, Mr. Editor, our author has (like most other men) some whimsical and fantastic notions peculiar to himself, and I should be glad to see this passage more satisfactorily explained, or the defects which his book contains fully investigated. I send this rather as a query than a stricture on the passage.
Hull, June 1, 1818.
• We believe the following lines form that portion of the poem which relates to this subject. ED.
* Jesus, ascended into heav'n again,
One country's tongue, to his Apostles known,