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Olympas. Some of you said that there were some important points omitted in the ninth chapter. Who will mention them?
Thomas. The first six verses of the ninth chapter, so far as recollected by me, were passed by without much or any notice. Olympas. Read them, Thomas.
(He reads them.] Olympas. What are the points of importance here?
Reuben. There is the grant for flesh for food, which seems to be a new arrangement.
Olympas. Wherein does it, Thomas, appear to be new?
Thomas. Because allusion is in the grant to a former one—“As I have given you the vegetable, so now give I you the animal kingdom for food.” So it would seem to read to me.
Olympas. I will now wait upon the second and third class for their voluntary remarks on this passage. You of the second class will therefore proceed with your own remarks and interrogatories.
William. I have seen the second verse fully accomplished on many occasions while travelling with my uncle through the wild woods where no person lived. God said to Noah that he would put the fear and dread of man upon all the beasts of the field, and upon every fowl of the air, and upon all reptiles. Hence when man appears they all flee. I have seen squirrels, wild turkeys, and various birds all assembled in one place, and familiarly sporting together; but when a man appeared among them they all fled. There is a reverence for man, a dread of his presence upon all animals, differing much from their fear of one another.
Mary. God, in bestowing flesh for food to man, did not allow him to eat the blood. Is it, therefore, still wrong for us to eat blood ?
Edward. I should suppose it was, because it seems to have been a precept to the whole world; for as yet there was neither Jew nor Gentile, but one family included all human nature.
Eliza. I wonder what harm there is in eating blood, more than there is in eating flesh; or why it should be wrong to eat blood, and not wrong to eat the flesh formed out of it and nourished by it.
Olympas. A divine precept always settles what is right and what is wrong. The doctor's say blood is unwholesome-a very indigestible substance. But this is not the reason given. “The life is the blood."- This was never known to naturalists till since Hunter's time; but God made it known to Moses long before. It would . seem not only to be a prohibition of cruelty, but also to have some reference to the great fact that blood was given for an atonement, and to be in sacred use for expiation. But the fact that God prohibits blood is enough. The man that eats blood sins against the precept of God given to father Noah for the benefit of all his children. Do you remember any allusion to this precept, or any similar prohibition in the New Testament, Eliza?
Eliza. The decrees passed at Jerusalem, on a reference from Antioch in Syria, forbid to the
Gentile Christians blood, whether by itself or in animals strangled, having the blood in their bodies.
Olympas. This, then, is enough, Blood is forbidden the Jews, the Gentiles, and the Christians: Surely, then, we ought to abstain from it. It has often been observed that the eating of blood brutalizes those who are addicted to it; and certain it is that they are savages who drink it from the veins of animals. Still I opine that our heavenly Father, intending it for a most sacred and to us salutary use, enjoined an abstinence from it chiefly on this account.
William. There is yet a very obscure point in 'this context which I cannot understand. It is in the fifth and sixth verses.
Olympas. I have reserved these for the senior class. I ask the views of the senior class on this passage.
Reuben, The fifth verse begins with a solemn declaration that God would require the blood of human life from the hand of beasts. Whether the Lord meant he would demand human blood for cruelty shown to beasts, or that he would not allow a beast to live that had ever killed any one, I am not confident. I refer this point to some of my class-mates.
Thomas Dilworth. Had not some preacher in my hearing strongly affirmed that this passage referred to all acts of cruelty to beasts—such as horse-racing, cock-fighting, and all manner of cruelty to brutes--I should not have found any difficulty in understanding it. To me it seems to indicate that God would require at the hand of every beast the blood which it shed. Of course it
is human blood. By this phrase I would understand that he would allow any animal to be slain for slaying man. Nay, indeed, not only allow it to be slain, but he solemnly requires it to be slain.
Francis. While I accord with the preacher who says that all cruelty, oppression, and hard service imposed on animals, deserves the frowns of indignant heaven; and while I believe that the man who for his pleasure, or even for his interest, abuses a horse, an ox, or a dog, will be charged with it in the day of judgment, if he repent not; especially horse-racers, bull-baiters, and cock-fighters, I think this is fully taught in other places, and that here exclusive reference is had to shedding human blood.
Rufus. Truly, I think that he that said, “ Thou shalt not muzzle the ox treading out the corn,” will not hold that man guiltless who starves his horse, who overworks his ass, or wantonly torments any creature detrimental to his existence.
Mary. Mr. Cowper on this subject, exactly expresses my idea, only more elegantly than I could have done it“I would not place him on my list of friends,
Though polish'd with fine manners and good sense Who heedlessly would tread upon a worm.” Olympas. I may conclude, then, that we all agree in the sentiment, while we repudiate this as the sense of the passage.
Thomas Dilworth. I think in this case, as in all others, the context helps us out of the difficulty. The preservation of human life from violence seems to be the mind of the Spirit in this connexion.
It may read, “At the hand of every beast, and at the hand of man will I require the blood of your lives.” Nay, farther, he adds, “At the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man.”
Reuben. And this certainly is confirmed by the following unequivocal precept: “Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed.” Does not this command some person to kill the man who has voluntarily killed his brother? And if man must die for killing man, surely a beast ought to die for the same deed, although incapable of reason, and therefore not a subject of moral law.
Rufus. But this would not simply allow, but constrain the punishment of murder by inflicting death in every case. And was this the law ever since the flood ?
Francis. It was not the law before the flood; for Cain, the first murderer, who literally slew his own brother, was not put to death, although his blood called to heaven for vengeance. And is it the Christian law?
Olympas. Cain was not killed-civil government was not yet set up, nor, indeed, does it appear that civil government was instituted by any divine authority before the flood. And this may explain the reason why the earth was filled with violence, private vengeance and retaliation. But in newly organizing human society after the flood, God early provided against the outrage of the antediluvian age, by making it the duty of man to set up a magistracy clothed with power of life and death. · Thomas. Are we, then, to understand that it is now the duty of the civil magistrate to punish