Saturday, November 19, 2005

The US is Tough on Crime?

If you are tempted to think the US is getting tough crime, consider these laws from 1641 New England relating to capital crimes:
Chapter VII

And first, of such as deserve capital punishment or cutting off from a mans people, whether by death or banishment
1. First, Blasphemy which is a cursing of God by Atheisine or the like to be punished with death.
2. Idolatry to be punished with death.
3. Witchcraft which is fellowship by covenant with a familiar Spirit to be punished with death.
4. Consulters with Witches not to be tolerated, but either to be cut off by death, or by banishment.
5. Heresie which is the maintenance of some wicked errors, over- throwing the foundation of Christian Religion, which obstinacy, if it be joyned with endeavour to seduce others thereunto, to be punished with death because such an Hereticke no, less than an Idolater, seeketh to thrust the soules of men from the Lord their God.
6. To worship God in a molten or graven Image, to be punished with death.
7. Such members of the Church, as do willfully reject to walk after due admonition, and conviction, the Churches establishment and their christian admonition and censures, shall be cut off by banishment.
8. Whosoever shall revile the Religion and Worship of God, and the Government of the Church as it is now established, to be cut off by banishment.
9. Willful perjury, whether before the judgement seat or in private conference, to be punished with death.
10. Rash perjury whether in publicke or in private, to be punished with banishment, just it is that such a man's name should be cut off from his people, who profanes so grossly the name of God before his people.
11. Profaning of the Lords day, in a carelesse and scornful neglect or contempt thereof to be punished with death.
12. To put in practice the betraying of the Country, or any principal sort therein to the hand of any foreign State, Spanish, French, Dutch, or the like: contrary to the alleageance we owe, and professe to our Dread Sovereign Lord King Charles, His Heires and Successors; which he is pleased to protect us as his loyal subjects to be punished with death.
13. Unreverend and dishonorable carriage to Magistrates to be punished with banishment for a time, till they acknowledge their fault, and professe reformation.
14. Reviling of the Magistrates in highest rancke amongst us, to wit of the Governours and Counsell to be punished with death.
15. Rebellion, Sedition, or Insurrection, by taking up armes against the present Government established in. the Country to be punished with death.
16. Rebellious children whither they continue in riot or drunkennesse after due correction from their parents, or whether they curse or smite their Parents, to be put to death.
17. Murder which is a wilfull man-slaughter not in a man's necessary and just defense, nor casually committed, but out of hatred or cruelty to be punished with death.
18. Adultery which is the defiling of the marriage bed, to be punished with death. Defiling of a women espoused, is a kind of Adultery and punishable by death, of both` parties; but if a woman be forced, then by the death of the man only.
19. Incest, which is the defiling of any near of kin, within the degrees prohibited in Leviticus to be punished with death.
20. Unnatural filthinesse to be punished with death, whether sodomy, which it carnal fellowship of man with man, or woman with woman;Or Buggery. which is carnal fellowship of man or woman, with beast or fowles.
21. Pollution of a woman known to be in her flowers to be punished with death.
22. Whoredome of a maiden in her father's house, kept secret till after her marriage with another, to be punished with death.
23 Man-stealing to be punished with death.
24. False witnesse bearing to be punished with death.

What is not shown in the above excerpt are the scripture proofs in the margin of the text of the law. The civil magistrate was understood to be God's ordained servent to execute God's wrath on those that do evil. This authority is from God. Where else but scripture can the civil magistrate learn what God's wrath is, that he is supposed to execute?

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