« PreviousContinue »
more general use of the inductive /cussing the political right of one nasystem of reasoning, than to any tion to wage war against another nasuperior talent or more
re aspiring genius tion ; and then to ask whether they possessed either by our contemporaries have a divine right. Indeed, the or our immediate predecessors. latter generally implies the former ;
Politics, morals, and religion, the for if a nation have a divine right, it most deservedly engrossing themes of either has, or may have, a political every age, are, in this respect, un- or moral right to do so. fortunately behind the other sciences But we must inquire into the apand arts cultivated at the present day. propriateness of the termn Christian We are, however, pleased to see a prefixed to nation, for popular use growing conviction of the necessity of has so arranged these terms; and the a more apposite, perspicuous, and controversy, either expressly or imphilosophical verbal apparatus in se- pliedly, as now-a-days, occasionally veral departments of science, and conducted in this country, is-Has especially to witness some recent one Christian nation a right to wage efforts to introduce a more improved war against another Christian nation ? terminology in the sciences of govern- But as we assume nothing, we must ment, morality, and religion.
ask the grave and somewhat startling To apply these preliminary remarks question—Is there a Christian nation to the question of this evening, it is in the world ? Or have we a definite important to note with particular at- idea of a Christian nation ? We tention the popular terms in which we have, indeed, had, for many centuries have expressed it, viz:
past, many nations called Christian " Has one
Christian nation a nations ; but we must fearlessly ask : right to wage war against another At what font were they baptized ? Christian nation ?".
Who were their god-fathers ? In We have prefixed no epithet to what record are their sponsors regiswar, or to right, while we have to tered? Ay! these, indeed, are prethe word nation. We have not de- liminary questions that demand a fined the right as human or divine. grave and profound consideration. But we have chosen from the cur- That there are many nations that rency of the age to prefix Christian have Christian communities in them, to nation. The reasons for this se- is a proposition which we most cheerlection and arrangement of terms fully and thankfully admit. By a shall appear as we proceed.
common figure of speech, we also give First, then, had we prefixed the to that which contains any thing the word offensive to the word war, we name of the thing contained in it. would, on proving that a Christian Thus, rhetorically, we call one edifice nation had no right to wage an offen- a College ; another, a Bank ; a third, sive war, be obliged to institute ano- a Church ; not because the brick and ther question, and to have asked— mortar, the plank and nails, constitute Can a Christian nation wage a de- a college, a bank, a church ; but befensive war against another Christian cause these buildings contain these nation ?—thereby implying that one institutions. So we have, if any one Christian nation might be the aggres- contend for the name, as many Chrissor, and another the aggrieved. But tian nations as we have Christian we can with difficulty imagine such a communities in different nations ; thing as a Christian nation carrying and as many Jewish nations as we on an aggressive war. We, therefore, have nations with Jewish synagogues simplify the discussion by placing in. in them ; and as many Mahometan the proposition the naked term war. nations as we have nations containing Nor are we to spend our time in dis- I mosques in them. But, according to
to this rhetorical figure, we may have tian nation. When any one produces a Christian and a Jewish nation, or a the annals of a nation whose constiChristian and a Mahometan nation in tution was given by Jesus Christ, one and the same nation, as we some- and whose citizens are all born of times find both a Jewish and a Chris- God spiritually, as well as of man tian synagogue in the same nation. physically, I will at once call it, in But å rhetorical Christian nation, good faith, without a figure, a true, and a proper and unfigurative Chris- proper, and literal Christian nation. tian nation, are very different entities. Now, although we have this adA proper literal Christian nation is vantage, which no one can take from not found in any country under the us—and conceded, too, by all the litewhole heavens. There is, indeed one rary and Christian authorities in Christian nation, composed of all the Christendom—we will not build on it Christian communities and individuals alone, nor at all, if any one pleases. in the whole earth. The Apostle We will not have it said that we Peter, in one letter addressed to all carry our definition by a grammatical the Christians scattered throughout or rhetorical decision of the great Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, question. We appeal to all our eleand Bithynia—though “strangers," mentary and most profound writers or aliens, in these respective nations on the subject of nationality. Nay, -calls them, collectively, “a holy we appeal to the common views of nation—a royal priesthood—a pecu- this whole community. Have we not liar people.” In strict logical and a church and a state in every state grammatical truth, there is not, of all in the Union, and in every European the nations of the earth, one properly nation? Do not all belong to the called a Christian nation. Therefore, state or nation ?-and a part only, we have never had, as yet, one Chris- and that often a small part, to the tian nation waging war against ano- church? Is not the bond of political ther Christian nation. Before any union blood, or naturalization? Is one, then, no matter what his learning not the bond of union in the Christian or talent, can answer the great inter- kingdom faith, or the new birth ? rogatory now in discussion, he must What nation is there, whose citizens, form a clear and well defined concep- or a majority of them, are Christians? tion of what constitutes a nation and Not one, even in profession. what constitutes a Christian.
But there is a reflex light of ChrisWe have very high Roman autho- tianity-a moralizing and a civilizing rity for defending a nation—from influence, as well as its direct soulnascor. Pardon me for quoting it :- redeeming radiance, which imparts to Genus hominum qui non aliunde those nations ihat have the oracles of venerunt sed ibi nati sunt; which, in God a higher standard of moral excelour vernacular, means a race or lence, a more dsicriminating conscientribe of men who have not come tiousness, and a more elevated nafrom abroad, but live where they tional character ; which, in contrast were born. Being a Roman word, with Pagan nations, obtains for them derived from natural birth, a Roman the honorary distinction of Christian author has the best right to define it. nations. Still, as nations, or states, Now a Christian is not one born the spirit and character of the nation where he lives ; he is born from is anti-Christian. A community of above, as all Christians of all parties Jews in London, in New York, or admit. Therefore, no nation, as such, New Orleans, even were they natuas respects either its natural birth or ralized citizens of the United States, its constitution, can, with any show would not impart to them an Ameriof truth or reason, be called a Chris- can or Gentile spirit, nor would they impart to our nation a Jewish spirit to wage war against another Christian or character. They would still be nation, we have the question reduced Jews, and we Americans.
to a more rational and simple form, The American nation, as a nation, and I trust will be still more intelliis no more in spirit Christian thau gible and acceptable in this form, were Greece and Rome when the viz.—Can Christ's kingdom or church Apostles planted churches in Corinth, inone nation wage war against his own Athens, or in the metropolis of the kingdom or church in another nation? empire, with Cæsar's household in it. - Reduced to this simple view and Roman policy, valour, bravery, gal style, where is the man so ignorant of lantry, chivalry, are of as much praise, the letter and spirit of Christianity as admiration, and glory, in Washington to answer this question in the affirand London, as they were in the very mative? Is there a man of ordinary centre of the Pagan world in the days Bible education in this city or comof Julius or Augustus Cæsar. We monwealth, that would, or could, afworship our heroes because of their firm that Christ's church in England martial and Roman virtue. Virtue, may of right wage war against Christ's in the Roman language and style, was church in America ? only a name of bravery or courage. But I will be told this form of the Such was its literal meaning. With question meets not the exact state of a Roman it was queen of all the the case, as now impinging the congraces and of all moral excellencies. science of very many good men. It raised from Plebeian to Patrician While they will, with an emphatic rank, and created military tribunes, No, negative the question as thus decemvirs, triumvirs, dictators, con- propounded, they will, in another form suls, kings, emperors. With us it propound their peculiar difficulty : cannot make a king ; but may, per- -“ Suppose,” say they, “England haps, a third time make for us a proclaims war against our nation, President. If, indeed, it does not yet or that we proclaim war against Engmake for us a king, we shall blame land, have we a right, as Christian the soil, not the culture. Kings can- men, to volunteer, or enlist, or, if not grow in America. But in our drafted, to fight against England !" free and liberal institutions, we can Ought our motto to be, “Our country, impart more than kingly power under right or wrong ?” Or, has our governa less offensive name.
ment a right to compel us to take up But a Christian community is, by arms ? the highest authority, called a king- This form of the question makes it dom. He, however, who gave it this important that we should have as clear name, said to Cæsar's representative, and definite conceptions of the word
My kingdom is not of this world. right as of any other word in the Had my kingdom been of this world, question before us. We must, then, my servants would have fought, and have a little more definition. For I should not have been delivered to the doctrine of right and wrong, so the Jews. But now is my kingdom frequently spoken of by elementary not from hence.” It is, then, decided political writers, I cannot say that I -first, that we have no Christian entertain a very high regard. Men nation or kingdom in the world ; but without religious faith, being without that Christ has one grand kingdom an infallible guide, are peculiarly fond composed of all the Christian commu- of abstractions. Led by imagination nities in the world, of which he is more than by reason, authority, or himself its proper sovereign, its law- experience, they pride themselves in giver and king.
striking out for themselves and others Having, then, no Christian nation a new path, rather than to walk in
the old and long frequented ways. Josephus, a distinguished Jew, a They have a theory of man in society THEOCRACY. It was not a republican, with political rights; but as they can- aristocratical, or monarchical, but a not agree as to the word natural pre- theocratical government, and that, fixed to right-whether nature be a indeed, of the most absolute characdivinity or the cause of things—I will ter, for certain high ends and purnot now debate with them the question poses in the destinies of mankind of natural right, but take the surer temporal, spiritual, and eternal. God and well established ground—of a was, therefore, in person, the King, divine warrant, or a right founded on Lawgiver, and Judge of the Jewish a divine annunciation.
nation. Much, in all cases of any impor- It was not for desiring a king that tance, depends on beginning right; God was at one time displeased with and in a question upon right itself
, them. It was for asking a king like every thing depends upon that ulti-those of other nations, and thereby remate tribunal to which we make our fusing God himself and God alone appeal. In all questions involving as their king. Still he never made the moral destinies of the world, we their kings any more than viceroys. require more than hypothetical or ab- He, for many centuries, down to the stract reasoning from principles merely end of Old Testament history, held, assumed or conceded. We need de- in his own hand, the sovereignty of monstration, or, what, in this case of the nation. Hence the kings ruled moral reasoning, is the only substitute for him, and the High Priest, or some for it, oracular authority. All ques- special Prophet, was
the Lord's tions on morals and religion, all ques- mouth to them. Their kings were, tions on origin, relations, obligations, therefore, unlike other kings. They and destiny of man, can only be satis- truly, and only they, of all the kings factorily decided by an appeal to an on earth, were the Lord's anointed." infallible standard. I need not say The Jewish kingdom was emphatithat we all, I mean the civilized world, cally a typical institution, prospective the great, the wise, the good of human of a kingdom not of this world, to be kind, concede to the Bible this oracular instituted in future times, and to be authority; and, therefore, constitute it placed under the special government the ultimate reason and authority for of his only Son and Heir. Hence it each and every question of this ? What, came to pass that the enemies of then, says the Bible on the subject of Israel became typical of the enemies
of Jesus Christ ; and hence the temIt certainly commanded and au- poral judgments inflicted on them thorized war amongst the Jews. God were but shadows through which to had given to man, ever since the flood, set forth the spiritual and eternal the right of taking away the life of man judgments to be inflicted on the enefor one certain definite cause. Hence mies of the Messiah's reign and kingmurderers ever since the flood were dom. Whether, therefore, the eneput to death by express divine autho- mies of the Jews fell in battle, or by rity. “ He that shed's man's blood, any of the angels of death, it was God by man shall his blood be shed.” He that slew them. Hence their kings gave authority only, however, to one and God's angels were but mere family or nation, whose God and sheriffs, executing, as it were, the King he assumed to be. Soon as mandates of high heaven. that family was developed into a na- It is, howerer, important to reiterate tion, he placed it under his own spe- that God gave to Noah, and through cial direction and authority. Its go- him to all his sons and successors in vernment has been properly called by government, a right to take away, in civil justice, the life of a murderer. | no binding authority now. This is a As the world of the ungodly, antece- point of much more importance than dent to the deluge, during the first we can now develope, and one which five hundred years of Noah's life, was has been, so far as known to me, wholly given to violence and outrage against slurred over in this great investigaeach other, it became expedient to tion. The very basis of the Christian prevent the same violence and blood- religion is that Jesus Christ is now the shed after the flood ; and for this Lord and King of both earth and purpose God gave to man, or the hu- heaven ; and that his Father and our man race in Noah's family, the right God no longer assumes to be either to exact blood for blood from him the Lawgiver, Judge, or King of the who had deliberately and maliciously world. It is positively declared by taken
away the life of his fellow. him that all legislative, judiciary, and Had not this been first ordained, no executive power are now committed war, without a special divine commis- into the hands of one who is both our sion, could have been sanctioned as kinsman and God's only begotten Son. lawful and right even under the Old Two grand declarations that ought to Testament insti ion.* Hence we revolutionize our whole views of civil may say, that wars were first allowed government as respects its ultimate by God against those who had first authority, and change some of our waged war against their fellows; and, forms of legal justice, are wholly overconsequently, as viewed by God him- looked so far as of any practical value self they were murderers. The first and importance. The first was anand second wars reported in the annals nounced by the Messiah immediately of the world were begun by the ene- before his ascension into heaven ; the mies of God and his people, and hence other was publicly propounded by an the reprisals made by Abraham and embassy from heaven immediately Moses are distinctly stated as occasion after his ascension. The former deed bythe enemies of God and his people. clares that “all authority," (exousia)
But what is most important here all legislative, judiciary, and regal and opposite to the occasion, is, that authority in heaven and earth is given these wars waged by God's people in to Jesus Christ ; the other affirms their typical character, were waged that God has made Jesus Lord and under and in pursuance of a special Christ, or anointed him Sovereign of divine commission. They were, there the universe. Kings of the earth fore, right. For a divine precept au- and courts of high judicature are all thorizing any thing to be done, makes under him, but they do not really acthat so commanded absolutely and for knowledge it ; few of them, perhaps, ever right. The Judge of all the know or believe the fact, that Jesus earth can do oniy that, or command Christ has been on the throne of the that to be done, which is right. Let universe now eighteen hundred years. them, then, that now plead a jus Hence the courts of England and divinum—a special divine warrant or America, the two most enlightened right for carrying on war by the au- nations in the world, are yet deistical thority of the Lord Jesus Christ, pro- in form rather than Christian. In duce a warrant from the present every place where they have the Monarch of the universe. What the phrase, “ In the name of God,” they God of Abraham did by Abraham, by ought to have In the name of the Jacob, or by any of his sons, as the Lord. This is the gist of the whole then moral governor of the world, controversy between the friends and before he gave up the sceptre and the enemies of war, on the part of the crown to his Son Jesus Christ, is of subjects of Christ's kingdom. The
* See Essay on Capital Punishments, price 4d. coronation of Jesus Christ in heaven