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as Lord of all, his investiture with all warrior of any age. — But the great authority in heaven and earth, legisla- question is, Can an individual, not tive, judiciary and executive, is the an a public functionary, morally do nunciation, on the belief and public ac- that in obedience to his government knowledgment of which the first Chris | which he cannot do in his own case ? tian church was founded in Jerusalem, Suppose the master of apprenticed where the throne of David was, in the youth, or the master of a number month of June, 1814 years ago, Anno of hired or even bond-servants, should Domini 34. God the Father, in pro- fall out with one of his neighpria persona, now neither judges nor bours about one of the lines of his punishes any person or nation, but has plantation, because, as he imagined, committed all judgment to his Son, now his neighbour had trespassed upon his constituted Head of the universe and freehold, in clearing or cultivating his Judge of the living and the dead. This lands. His neighbour refuses to retire simplifies the question and levels it to within the precincts insisted on by the judgment of all. It is this : has the the complainant ; in consequence of Author and Founder of the Christian which the master calls together his religion enacted war, or has he made servants, and proceeds to avenge himit lawful and right for the subjects of his self; or, as he alleges, to defend his government to go to war against one property. As the controversy waxes another ? Or has he made it right for hot, he commands his servants not them to go to war against any nation, only to burn and destroy the improveor for any national object, at the bid- ments made on the disputed territory, ding of the present existent politicalau- but to fire upon his neighbour, his thorities of any nation in Christendom? sons, and servants. They obey orders,
The question is not, Whether, under and kill several of them. They are, the new administration of the universe, however, finally taken into custody Christian communities have a right to and brought to trial. An Attorney wage war, in its common technical for the servants pleads that these sersense, against other communities—as vants were bound to obey their master, the house of Judah against the house and quotes these words from the Good of Israel, both of the same religion, Book : “ Servants, obey in all things language, and blood. This is already, your masters according to the flesh.” by almost universal consent, decided But, on the other side, it is shown that
in the negative, probably only one so- the “all things” enjoined are only | ciety of professed Christians excepted. "all things lawful.” For this obedi
But the question is-May a Christian ence is to be rendered “as to Christ;" community, or the members of it, in and again, “as the servants of Christ, their individual capacities, take up doing the will of God from the heart." arms at all, whether aggressively or Nojudge nor jury could otherwise than defensively, in any national conflict. condemn as guilty of murder servants We might, as before alleged, dispense) thus acting. Now, as we all are, in with the words aggressive and defen- our political relations to the governsive; for a mere grammatical, logical, ment of any country, not at least inor legal quibble, will make any war ferior to the rank of a bond-servant to either aggressive or defensive, just as his master, we cannot ofright, as Christhe whim, caprice, or interest of an tian men, obey the POWERS THAT BE individual pleases. Napoleon, on his in any thing not in itself lawful and death-bed, declared that he had never right according to the written law of engaged, during his whole career, the Great King—our liege Lord and in an aggressive war—that all his Master, Jesus Christ. Indeed, we may wars were defensive. Yet all Europe advance in all safety one step farther, regarded him as the most aggressive' if it were necessary, and affirm, that a Christian man can never, of right, be the God of the Jews. — The wars compelled to do that for the state, in of Pagan nations were, indeed, defence of state rights, which he can- much more rational than those not of right do for himself in defence of our miscalled Christian nations. of his own personal rights. No Chris No two of these nations acknowtian man is commanded to love or ledged one and the same dynasserve his neighbour, his king, or ties of gods ; and, therefore, having sovereign, more than he loves or different gods, they could, with much serves himself. This conceded, and propriety, test their claims by invoking unless a Christian man can go to war them in battle. But these Christian for himself, he cannot for the state. nations are both praying to one and
We have already observed that the the same God to decide their respecJews were placed under a theocracy, tive quarrels, and yet they will not and their kings were only vicegerents, abide the decision ; for success in war and that they were a symbolic or is not by any one of them regarded as typical nation adumbrative of a new an end of all strife as to the right relation and institution to be set up or justice of the demands of the in “ the fulness of time” under an ad- | victorious party. Did our present ministration of grace. In consequence belligerent nations regard victory and of this arrangement God was first re- | triumph as a proof of the justice of vealed as the GOD OF ABRAHAM ; and their respective claims, they would in afterwards, when he was about to the manner of carrying on their wars, make himself known in all the earth, prove themselves to be very great in contrast with the idols of the nations, simpletons indeed : for why sacrifice he chose, by Moses, to call himself the their hundred millions of dollars and GOD OF THE HEBREWS. Now, as their fifty thousand lives in one or the custom then was, all nations had two years, when they could have saved their gods, and by their wars judged these millions of men and money and decided the claims and preten- by selecting, each, one of their genuine sions of their respective divinities. Simon Pure patriots and heroes, and Esteeming the reputation and preten- having them voluntarily to meet in sions of their gods according to their single combat, before a competent success in war, that nation's god was number of witnesses, and encounter the greatest and most to be venerated each other till one of them triumphed ; whose people were most successful and and thus award, from Heaven's own triumphant in battle. God, therefore, court of infallible rectitude, to the nachose this method to reveal himself tion of the survivor, the glory of a as the God of the Hebrews. Hence great national triumph, both in herohe first poured out ten plagues upon ism and justice ? But this they dare not the gods of Egypt. The Egyptians do ; for these Christian nations are worshipped every thing from the Nile quite sceptical so far as faith in the jusand its tenantry to the veriest insect tice of their own cause, or in the right in the land. He first, then, plagued decision of their claims in the provitheir gods. Then, by causing the dence and moral government of God, is Jews to fight and destroy many na- concerned. To what purpose, we theretions, triumphant in a miraculous fore ask, do they both appeal to the style, from the victory over Amalek same God, when neither of them feels to the fall of the cities and kings of any obligation to abide his decision ! ancient Palestine, he established his But as we are neither under a Jewclaims as supreme over all. Proceed- ish nor a Pagan government, but ing in this way, he fully manifested the professedly, at least, under a Christian folly of their idolatries, and the om- dispensation, we ought to hear what nipotence, greatness, and majesty of the present King of the universe has enacted on this subject. The maxims ment. On the contrary, they were to of the Great Teacher and Supreme live peaceably with all men to the full Philanthrophist are, one would think, extent of their power. Their soverto be final and decisive on this great eign Lord, the King of nations, is question. The great Lawgiver ad- called “THE PRINCE OF PEACE.” How, dresses his followers in two very then, could a Christian soldier, whose distinct respects—first, in reference to “ shield” was faith, whose “helmet" their own profession, and then in re the hope of salvation, whose “breastference to their civil rights, duties, plate” was righteousness, whose and obligations.
“girdle" was truth, whose “ feet were So far as any indignity was offered shod with the preparation of the gosto them or any punishment inflicted pel of peace,” and whose “sword” was upon them as his followers, or for his that fabricated by the Holy Spirit, name's sake, they were in no way to even “the word of God”—I say, how resent it. But in their civil rights he could such a one enlist to fight the allows them the advantages of the battles of a Cæsar, a Hannibal, a protection of civil law ; and for this | Tamerlane, a Napoleon, or even a cause, enjoins upon them the payment Victoria ? of all their political dues, and to be Jesus said, “All that take the sword subject to every ordinance of man of shall perish by the sword.” An awa purely civil nature, not inter- ful warning! All that take it to supfering with their obligations to him. port religion, it is confessed, have
“If a heathen man, or persecutor, fallen by it; but it is to be feared it is smite you on one cheek, turn to him not simply confined to that; for may the other also. If he compel you to go I not ask the pages of universal hiswith him one mile, go two. If he sue i tory, have not all the nations builded thee at the law, and take away thy by the sword finally fallen by it ? coat, let him have thy mantle also,” &c. Should any one say, “Some few of &c. These and whatever else of evil them yet stand,” we must respond, treatment they might receive, as disci- All that have fallen stood for a time; ples of Chrst, they must, for his sake en- and are not those that now stand just dure without resistance or resentment. at this moment tottering to their overButif in their citizen character or civil | throw ? True, we have no doubt it relations they are defrauded, maligned, will prove, in the long run, that nations or prosecuted, they might, and they and states founded by the sword shall did, appeal to Cæsar. They paid fall by the sword. tribute to civil magistrates that they When the Saviour, in his sentenmight protect them; and, therefore, tious and figurative style, indicating they might rightfully claim their pro- the trials just coming upon his friends, tection. In this view of the matter, said, “You had better sell your outcivil magistrates were God's ministers side garments and buy a sword,” one to the Christian “FOR GOOD." And present, understanding him literally, also as God's ministers, they were as some of the friends of war still do, revengers to execute wrath on those immediately responded, “Lord, bere who did evil. Therefore, Christians are two swords.” What did he say ? are in duty bound to render to Cæsar - It is enough." Two swords for what is Cæsar's, and to God what is twelve Apostles! Truly, they are dull God's—to reverence, honor, and sup- scholars who thence infer he meant port the civil magistrate ; and, when that they should literally buy two necessary, to claim his protection. swords to fight with! When asked
But as respects the works peculiar by Pilate whether he was king, he to a soldier, or the prosecution of a responded that he was born to be a political war, they had no command-king ; but not a king of worldly
type or character. Had he been on performing faithfully their duty, such a king, his servants would, in- from such passages as the following: deed, have used the sword. But his —" Love your enemies, bless them kingdom neither came, nor stands, by that curse you, do good to them that the sword. When first announced as hate you, and pray for them that dea king by the Jewish Prophets, more spitefully use you and persecute you, than seven centuries before he was that you may be the children of your born, the Spirit said of his reign- Father in heaven, who makes his “ He shall judge among the nations, sun to rise upon the evil and the and decide among many people. And good, and sends his rain upon the they shall beat their swords to plough- just and unjust.” Again, in our civil shares, and their spears into pruning- relations, “ Recompense to no man hooks; nation shall not lift up sword evil for evil.” “ As much as lieth in against nation, neither shall they you, live peaceably with all men.” learn war any more,” Isa. ii. 2-4. • Dearly beloved, avenge not yourTwo Prophets almost describe it in selves ; but rather give place to the same words. Micah, as well as wrath.” “ If thine enemy hunger, Isaiah, saith-
feed him ; if he thirst, give him “ Out of Zion shall go forth the law,
drink.” “Be not overcome of evil, And the word of Jehovah from Jerusalem, but overcome evil with good.” Would And he shall judge among many people,
any one suppose that he had selected And decide among strong nations afar off; And they shall beat their swords into ploughshares,
a text suitable to the occasion ? How And their spears into pruning-hooks;
would the commander-in-chief have Neither shall they any longer learn war: listened to him ? With what spirit But they shall sit every man under his vine And under his fig-free, and none shall make him
would his audience have immediately afraid;
entered upon an engagement ? These For the mouth of Jehovah of hosts hath spoken it.” | are questions which every man must
Such was, according to prophecy, answer for himself, and which every and such is, according to fact, the na- one can feel much better than express. tive influence and tendency of the
But a Christian man cannot conChristian Institution. Decidedly, scientiously enter upon any business, then, the spirit of Christianity is nor lend his energies to any cause essentially pacific.
which he does not approve ; and, in There is frequently a multiplication order to approve, he must understand of testimony for display rather than the nature and object of the underfor effect. And, indeed, the accumu- taking. Now how does this dictate lation of evidence does not always of discretion, religion and morality correspondingly increase its moral bear upon the case before us ? momentum. Nor is it very expedient Nothing, it is alleged, more tends on other considerations to labor a to weaken the courage of a conscienpoint which is very generally, if not tious soldier, than to reflect upon the universally, admitted. That the ge- originating causes of wars, and the nius and spirit of Christianity, as well objects for which they are prosecuted. as the letter of it, are admitted, on These, indeed, are not always easily all hands, to be decidedly “ peace on comprehended. Many wars have earth, and good will among men,” been long prosecuted, and some have needs no proof to any one that has been terminated after many and long ever read the volume that contains it. protracted efforts, before the great
But if any one desires to place in majority of the soldiers themselves, contrast the gospel of Christ and the on either side, distinctly understood genius of war, let him suppose the what they were fighting for. Even chaplain of an army addressing the in our country, a case of this sort has, soldiers on the eve of a great battle, 'it is alleged, very recently occurred.
If, it is presumed, the true and proper their respective demerits! No one caoses of most wars were clearly un-can — indeed, no one will, contend derstood, and the real design for which that the decision or termination of they are prosecuted could be really these wars naturally, necessarily, or and distinctly apprehended, they even probably, decided the controwould, in most instances, miscarry versy so justly, so rationally, so satisfor the want of efficient means of a factorily as it could have been settled successful prosecution.
in any one case of the 286, by a third A conviction of this sort, some or neutral party. years ago, occasioned an elaborate in- War is not now, nor was it ever, a vestigation of the real causes for process of justice. It never was a which the wars of Christendom had test of truth-a criterion of right. It is been undertaken, from the time of either a mere game of chance, or a Constantine the Great down to the violent outrage of the strong upon the present century. From the results weak. Need we any other proof that furnished the Peace Society of Mas- a Christian people can, in no way sachussetts, it appeared that, after whatever, countenance a war as a subtracting a number of petty wars, proper means of redressing wrongs, of long since carried on, and those waged deciding justice, or of settling controby Christian nations with tribes of versies among nations ? On the comsavages, the wars of real magnitude mon conception of the most superficial amounted in all to 286. The origin thinkers on this subject, not one of the of these wars, on a severe analysis, 286 wars which have been carried on appeared to have been as follows :- among the “Christian nations” during 22 for plunder and tribute— 44 for 1500 years was such as that an enthe extension of territory-24 for re- lightened Christian man could have venge or retaliation—6 for disputed taken any part in it—because, as adboundaries —8 respecting points of mitted, not one of them was for dehonour or prerogative_6 for the pro- | fence alone ; in other words, they tection or extension of commerce- were all aggressive wars. 55 civil wars —41 about contested But to the common mind, as it titles to crowns — 30 under pretence seems to me, the most convincing of assisting allies - 23 for mere jea- argument against a Christian becomlousy of rival greatness—28 religious ing a soldier may be drawn from the wars, including the crusades—not one fact that he fights against an innocent for defence alone; and certainly not person—I say an innocent person, so one that an enlightened Christian man far as the cause of the war is concould have given one cent for, in a templated. The men that fight are voluntary way, much less have vol- not the men that make the war. Pounteered his services or enlisted into liticians, merchants, knaves, and its ranks.
| princes cause or make the war, deIf the end alone justifies the means, clare the war, and hire men to kill what shall we think of the wisdom or for them those that may be hired on the justice of war, or of the authors the other side to thwart their schemes and prominent actors of these scenes ? | of personal and family aggrandizeA conscientious mind will ask, Did ment. The soldiers on either side these 286 wars redress the wrongs, have no enmity against the soldiers real or feigned, complained of? Did on the other side, because with them they in all cases, in a majority of the they have no quarrel. Had they met cases, or in a single case, necessarily in any other field, in their citizen determine the right side of the con- dress, other than in battle array, they troversy? Did they punish the guilty, would, most probably, have not only or the more guilty, in the ratio of inquired after the welfare of each