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ligion are so generous, and in so transcendent and heroic a manner disposed for public good, that it is not in a man's power to avoid their influence; for the Christian is as much inclined to your service when your enemy, as the moral man when your friend.
But the followers of a crucified Saviour must root out of their hearts all sense that there is any thing great and noble in pride or haughtiness of spirit; yet it will be very difficult to fix that idea in our souls, except we can think as worthily of ourselves, when we practise the contrary virtues. We must learn, and be convinced, that there is something sublime and heroic in true meekness and humility, for they arise from a great, not a grovelling idea of things; for as certainly as pride proceeds from a mean and narrow view of the little advantages about a man's self, so meekness is founded on the extended contemplation of the place we bear in the universe, and a just observation how little, how empty, how wavering, are our deepest resolves and counsels. And as to a well taught mind, when you have said an haughty and proud man, you have spoke a narrow conception, little spirit, and despicable carriage; so when you have said a man is meek and humble, you have acquainted us that such a person has arrived at the hardest task in the world, in an universal observation round him, to be quick to see his own faults, and other men's virtues, and at the height of pardoning every man sooner than himself; you have also given us to understand, that to treat him kindly, sincerely, and respectfully, is but a mere justice to him that is ready to do us the same offices. This temper of soul keeps us always awake to a just sense of things, teaches us that we are as well akin to worms as to angels; and as nothing is above these, so is nothing below those. It keeps our understanding tight about us, so that all things appear to us great or little,
This is necessary against the day wherein He who died ignominiously for us 'shall descend from heaven to be our judge, in majesty and glory.' How will the man who shall die by the sword of pride and wrath, and in contention with his brother, appear before Him, at whose presence nature shall be in an agony, and the great and glorious bodies of light be obscured; when the sun shall be darkened, the moon turned into blood, and all the powers of heaven shaken; when the heavens themselves shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements dissolve with fervent heat; when the earth also, and all the works that are therein, shall be burnt up!'
What may justly damp in our minds the diabolical madness which prompts us to decide our petty animosities by the hazard of eternity, is, that in that one act the criminal does not only highly offend, but forces himself into the presence of his judge; that is certainly his case who dies in a duel. I cannot but repeat it, he
* The paper is dated on Good-Friday.
that dies in a duel knowingly offends God, and in that very action rushes into his offended presence. Is it possible for the heart of man to conceive a more terrible image than that of a departed spirit in this condition? Could we but suppose it has just left its body, and struck with the terrible reflection that to avoid the laughter of fools, and being the by-word of idiots, it has now precipitated itself into the din of demons, and the howlings of eternal despair, how willingly now would it suffer the imputation of fear and cowardice, to have one moment left not to tremble in vain!
The scriptures are full of pathetical and warm pictures of the condition of an happy or miserable futurity; and, I am confident, that the frequent reading of them would make the way to an happy eternity so agreeable and pleasant, that he who tries it will find the difficulties, which he before suffered in shunning the allurements of vice, absorbed in the pleasure he will take in the pursuit of virtue and how happy must that mortal be, who thinks himself in the favour of an Almighty, and can think of death as a thing which it is an infirmity not to desire!
As a warm and sincere friend of the cause of the Peace Society, I am sure the reader of the Herald of Peace will hear with pleasure of the good success of those who labour in its causé, though that success may at present be no more than the turning aside the sword of a single opponent. I will not therefore apologize for sending the following Anecdote, which has recently come to my knowledge.
Some time since a Member of the Peace Society presented a set of the Society's Tracts to a gentleman of his acquaintance-He read the pamphlets with attention, and, after seriously considering the arguments they contain, became so convinced
of the unlawfulness of War and of the use of all weapons of destruction, that he packed up a brace of Pistols which he possessed, and sent them to a friend, requesting he would sell them, and expend the money they. produced in the purchase of Peace Society Tracts for distribution. His friend however was of opinion, that in disposing of them to another person he would seen in some measure to sanction their use: it is therefore intended not to sell them, but the party is recommended to send them to the depôt of the Peace Society, where they would doubtless be preserved as honourable trophies of success in this peaceful campaign. The conquests at which we aim must be achieved by slow degrees. We do not yet raise the shout of Victory; but we have cause to rejoice with thankfulness at the good which has even now been effected. The little grain of mustard seed has been sown, and shall we not acknowledge that a blessing hath evidently rested on it? It has already germinated, and put forth those first shoots which give promise of its future vigour and fruitfulness.
of "thy sentiments not exactly according with those on which the Society is founded," gave me concern; especially as thou endeavourest to maintain the allowableness of defensive WAR, condemning, at the same time, that which is offensive.
I do not wonder that men of the world should justify the destructive practice of War, on principles of human policy, or under the influence of their evil passions: but to find a professed believer in the Gospel of Peace; a man actively concerned in circulating the Holy Scriptures, and in promoting other good works, pleading for War in any shape, is indeed to me a matter of deep regret.
Whilst thou allowest "Infidelity to be the prolific source of War," thou appearest to forget that nothing can possibly furnish an infidel with more ample cause of exultation than to observe a Christian, a professed believer in the Gospel of Peace, so far abandoning his principles as to become an advocate even for defensive War.
As War generally originates in the basest passions of the human heart, and is carried on with violence and injustice, it naturally follows that the conquered party must suffer, and sometimes, as we have reason to believe, very deeply too. To suffer wrongs, and to submit patiently to injuries, is certainly not agreeable to our poor, weak, fallen nature, as men and creatures; it requires the exercise of faith to enable us to bear such evils and nothing short of it can support the mind under the severe trials that are produced by War.
Now FAITH is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. By faith we are enabled to look beyond the present state of being, to one that will last for ever; where we may hope to receive a reward according to our works (not indeed of debt, but of grace) from that almighty Being who has promised that he who loseth his life' in a way of obedience to the Gospel,
shall hereafter find it;' in other words, shall be rewarded with eternal ' life.'
FAITH is a saving grace wrought in the soul through the Spirit of Christ, by the revelation of the will of GOD in man, and an assurance of the reality and worth of eternal, invisible things: it is a dependence on the veracity of the Divine promises, which begets in our life and conversation a sincere obedience to the clear manifestations of our duty to GoD, and one towards another.
This faith, therefore, having its foundation on the infinite goodness, the almighty power, the unerring knowledge, and immutable truth of GoD, through Jesus Christ, wavereth not, and is not shaken; because it is built on that Rock on which the Church of Christ stands, and against which the gates of hell shall not prevail.'
Such a dependence on an almighty, invisible Power, ever near and able to preserve, sustains the souls of true believers under the deepest trials and sufferings; and enables them to endure conflicts, and to surmount difficulties, which, according to human reason and sight, would appear to be impossible; and to resign to the Divine disposal those things which are nearest to their hearts, even life itself, if it be required.
It was by this faith that Abraham, when he was tried, offered up his son Isaac, on whom the promise rested.
By faith, Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of GoD, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of reward.'
By faith, holy men of old wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, and out of weakness were made strong. And others had trials of cruel mockings and scourg
ings; yea, moreover, of bonds and imprisonment.'
The Apostle Paul declares, By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.' But without faith it is impossible to please him. For he that cometh to GoD must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.'
Christians must therefore 'look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of GOD.'
But recurring to the subject of War, on which we set out, and admitting that there are numerous instances to be met with in the Old Testament, in which it was allowed, and even commanded by the Almighty, we cannot find a single one in the New to justify even the defensive principle of it. Under the Gospel dispensation old things are passed away; behold! all things are become new, and all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ. Therefore, according to this new and everlasting covenant, the old was abrogated, being fulfilled by the coming, and mediatorial character of the Saviour of mankind; and 6 confirmed before of GoD in Christ.' To the Gospel alone, then, Christians must apply for precepts and examples for their direction and government.
The Gospel of Christ was ushered into the world with good tidings of great joy' in that most sublime anthem of the angelic host, Glory to GOD in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will towards men.' Christianity is altogether a system of peace. Its author is emphatically styled the PRINCE OF PEACE, of whose government there shall be no end. The whole tenor of the Gospel exhibits a spirit of meekness and gentleness unparalleled: it forbids the indulgence
of irascible or revengeful passions, and even an endeavour to repel force by force.
Jesus Christ' was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and, like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so he opened not his mouth;' saying to his followers, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews.' He gave his back to the smiters, and his cheeks to them who plucked off the hair.' And further, he thus commanded his disciples: 'Resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.' • Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.'
To shew the meek spirit of the divine Pattern of Christianity, Peter's defence of his injured Master by the sword, was thus reproved by him :
Put up thy sword again into his place: for all they that take the sword, shall perish by the sword.'
A pious writer of acknowledged repute observes, "The Christian character is meek, yielding, complying, forgiving; not prompt to act, but willing to suffer; silent and gentle under rudeness and insult; suing for reconciliation where others would demand satisfaction; giving way to the pushes of impudence; conceding and indulgent to the prejudices, the wrongheadedness, the intractability of those with whom it has to deal."
Having thus endeavoured to shew from the first authorities-as well from the doctrines of the Gospel as from the example of our Saviour — that WAR and its spirit are not reconcileable with Christianity, I shall beg leave to refer thee for a refutation of the allowableness of defensive War, (which alone thou appearest to plead for, and to justify,) to a pamphlet
* Archdeacon Paley's View of the Evidences of Christianity, Vol. ii. pp. 30, 31.
entitled "CHRISTIANITY A SYSTEM or touchstone, by which we are to judge of ourselves, whether we are Christians indeed, or only so in imagination.
OF PEACE;" in which the following passages forcibly apply to the subject in general, and to thy "extreme cases in particular. The pamphlet was written by the late Thomas Parsons, of this place, and may be had of W. Philips, George-yard, London. It has also been printed in "The Herald of Peace;" a publication which is in the hands of most of the members of Peace Societies.
[To the forcible reasonings in the passages alluded to, we request the attention of such among our Readers who may still entertain doubts on the subject.-See Herald of Peace April 1820, pp. 107-110.]
The letter thus concludes:- I wish, my dear friend, the foregoing extracts from this pious writer may prove a means of convincing thee that War is utterly inconsistent with Christianity; and that its real disciples and followers ought not, on any account, to attempt to justify a principle the most destructive of the best interests of mankind. And I am desirous not only that thy understanding should be convinced, with regard to the question of defensive war, but that thousands professing the name of Christ, who appear to be 'weak in the faith,' and as it were halting between two opinions, may be brought to acknowledge, with thee, that "Infidelity is the prolific source of all War ;" and that when this evil is eradicated, War will cease." This acknowledgment of thine appears to me altogether against thyself: for wherein does the infidel differ from the believer, but in a want of FAITH? Let us then examine our own hearts. Do we really believe that the Gospel is true, and of universal obligation to those who profess to be its followers? or do we suppose that we may select such parts of it for adoption as may suit our own frailties, and reject the rest as" hard sayings?" like the rich man, who rejected the commands of Christ because he had great possessions.
I consider this as the true criterion,
With earnest desire, then, that we may be favoured with the saving knowledge of the truth, whereby we may be redeemed from the spirit of the world, in which War originates; and with prayer, that, should it be our lot to be in any manner closely tried, we may experience preservation through faith; Ì remain,
Thy Friend, &c. &c.
Explanation of Things Wonderful.
How came public war to be the resort of Christian nations, to decide the quarrels of rulers?
Whence did the laws of war derive their barbarous character?
obtain its astonishing popularity?
To men of benevolent minds, who
As the successful Chiefs among robbers and pirates acquired wealth, crowns and dominions by rapine and violence, a dazzling lustre was thrown around these atrocities which bewildered the minds of the heedless multitude. gained an establishment, it became Having by such means an object with these Chiefs to support the delusion, by cultivating the highest respect for martial deeds, lest their own characters should sink in public estimation. Individuals who had contributed much to the elevation of these Chiefs were abundantly rewarded with wealth and honours; and this increased the splendour and the charms of the military profession.
* See our last Number, p. 188.