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sufficient for our purpose to decide the question by a reference to Christian law as developed in the gospel of Christ.
I propose then to shew
1. That war is utterly at variance with the genius and spirit of Christianity; and
2. To refer to those particular texts which are commonly supposed to bear upon the subject.
God is a God of Peace; Christ is the Prince of Peace; the gospel is the gospel of peace; and if there be one thing more than another characteristic of that gospel, it is the spirit of peace that breathes through every page. The promise of peace ushered in its advent; and Christ's legacy of peace marked its close. From beginning to end it denounces the war spirit in all its phases and developments; swellings or angry risings ; confusion or angry feelings; envyings or angry thoughts; strifes or angry words ; wranglings or angry arguments; fightings or angry acts; murders or angry issues. It is in fact a system of love and peace, worthy both of its author and its consummator; and viewed merely as a book of great universal principles; it is undeniably opposed to war in spirit and practice.
Yet it will be allowed that these general principles ought not to outweigh any direct and express commands to the contrary, that may be found in God's word; and this leads me, in the second place, to refer to those particular texts which are commonly supposed to bear upon the War Question.
St. James beautifully details the philosophy of wars and fightings. He tells us that a spirit of ambition and aggrandizementa desire to become masters- lies at its root; that bitter envyings and strife in our hearts will soon develop themselves in words, us to false-glorying and lies against the truth, which he
earthly, sensual, and devilish ;” nor will the mischief, fearful as is its present stature, stop here. The desire thus generated will break out into wars and fightings, which, instead of satisfying, will only inflame and foment further outrage. Not only, indeed, has he told us what war is, but what it is not. It is not from above: it forms no part of the pure, peaceable, and gentle wisdom of the gospel, and can never yield satisfaction like the favor and the gifts of God.
But our war-champions tell us that the Saviour, on his own
leading denounces as
declaration, came not to bring peace on earth, but a sword, and to sow dissensions and quarrels, amongst even near and dear relatives. But how was he to do this ? Simply by bringing into a dark world that light which it was determined not to comprehend. The Sun of Righteousness can no more shine into the filthy heart of man, without arousing all its evil passions, than the natural sun can throw its glory over the stagnant pool without exhaling its corruptions. Offences must come: and come they did ; but he by whom they came was not the unoffending Saviour, but the guilty and convicted sinner.
Again it is urged that, in one case at least, our Saviour recommended the use of the sword. The words occur in Luke xxii. 35, 36. “When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye anything. And they said, nothing. Then said he unto them, But now he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one."
Now here is apparently a very strong case for the advocates of war. True, our Saviour says nothing as to the employment of the sword; but if we are to understand his words literally, we must, I think, allow that it was meant for use. At all events, it was not only to be worn, but to be bought; not only to be purchased, but to be purchased at the sacrifice of a garment, certainly very useful, and probably indispensable. A sword then appears to form an important part of the equipment of a Christian.
Now for the counter-argument. If our Saviour spoke literally, his directions were, to say the least, very singular. The disciples were to take with them money, food, and arms; but were to sell their garments and go without shoes !
But figuratively regarded, how complete and beautiful are these directions. The wide world they were to traverse would not only refuse all necessary temporal supplies, but would be arrayed against them. We are not, however, left here to mere conjecture: the inference that Christ was speaking figuratively is inevitable, since he tells his disciples, in reply to their eager but unsanctified rejoinder, either that two swords were enough for the whole eleven, though each was to take one, or that they had said enough to shew that they entirely misunderstood his meaning.
(To be concluded next month.)
COWPER'S RHYMING EPISTLE. The substance of the following letter from the poet Cowper to his friend, the Rev. John Newton, has been long before the public. But the subjoined copy, from the original autograph, in the collection of the late Mr. Upcott, contains many paragraphs not found in the ordinary editions. They are printed in italics for the sake of distinction, and refer mostly to the gossip of the time and place when and whence the letter was written, for which reason, it is most probable they were suppressed by Hayley. But, as more than half a century has elapsed since these remarks were penned, there cannot now be any impropriety in making them public.
The allusions to passing events at Olney, at this distance of time are not easily intelligible. “Poor Mr. Peace," and possibly, “ Page and his wife," appear to have taken umbrage at the plain and faithful preaching of Mr. Newton, who was at this period domiciled in London, but who, now and then preached in his old pulpit. “Silver End," was the name of an obscure part of Olney, at the entrance of which Cowper's house was situate, so that he could easily have caught a glimpse of Mr. Scot in transitů. Mrs. Jones, one of the few neighbours admitted to the society of the poet, was no other than the sister of the amiable and accomplished Lady Austen, whom she had, just about the time at which this letter was written, introduced to Cowper, and whose acquaintance she was desirous of farther establishing by the proposed pic-nic in the spinney. Her “ Jones Mister," was a clergyman, residing at Clifton, within view of Olney.
The most curious discrepancy in this letter is the date, clearly written 1791, though correctly given in the printed copies, ten years earlier.
MY VERY DEAR FRIEND,-I am going to send, what when you have read, you may scratch your head, and say, I suppose, there's nobody knows, whether what I have got be verse or notby the tune and the time, it ought to be rhyme, but if it be, did you ever see, of late, or of yore, such a ditty before? The thought did occur, to me and to her, as Madam and I, did walk not fly, over hills and dales, with spreading sails, before it was dark to Weston Park.
The news at O'ney, is little or noney; but such as it is, I send it, viz., Poor Mr. Peace, cannot yet cease, addling his head, with what you said, and has left parish church, quite in the lurch, having almost swore, to go there no more.
Page and his wife, that made such a strife, we met them twain, in D......g lane, we gave them the wall, and that was all. For Mr. Scot, we have seen him not, except as he pass'd in a wonder. full haste, to see a friend in Silver End. Mrs. Jones proposes, e'er July closes, that she and her sister, and her Jones Mister, and we that are here, our course shall steer, to dine in the spinney, but for a guinea, if the weather should hold, so wet and so cold, we had better by far, stay where we are; for the grass there grows, while nobody mows, (which is very wrong.) so rank and long, that so to speak, 'tis at least a week, if it happen to rain, e'er it dries again.
I have writ Charity, not for popularity, but as well as I could, in hopes to do good. And if the Review'r, should say to be sure, the gentleman's muse, wears methodist shoes, you may know by her pace and talk about grace, that she and her bard, have little regard, for the tastes and fashions, and ruling passions, and hoydning play, of the modern day, and though she assume, a borrowed plume, and now and then wear, a tittering air, 'tis only her plan, to catch if she can, the giddy and gay, as they go that way, by a production, on a new construction, and [she] has baited her trap, in hopes to snap, all that may come, with a sugar plumb, his opinion in this, will not be 'amiss, 'tis what I intend, my principal end, and if itsucceed, and folks should read, 'till a few are brought, to a serious thought, I shall think I am paid, for all I have said, and all I have done, though I have run, many a time, after a rhyme, as far as from hence, to the end of my sense, and by hook or crook, write another book, if I live and am here, another year.
I have heard before, of a room with a floor, laid upon springs, and such like things, with so much art, in every part, that when you went in, you was forced to begin, a minuet pace, with an air and a grace, swimming about, now in and now out, with a deal of state, in a figure of eight, without pipe or string, or any such thing, and now I have writ, in a rhiming fit, what will make you dance, and as you advance, will keep you still, though against
your will, dancing away, alert and gay, 'till you come to an end of what I have pennd, which that you may do, e'er Madam and you, are quite worn out with jigging about, I take my leave, and here you receive, a bow profound, down to the ground, from your humble me,
W.C. P. S. When I concluded, doubtless you did, think me right, as well you might, in saying what, I said of Scot, and then it was true, but now it is due, to Him to note, that since I wrote, Himself and He, has visited we.
July 12th, 1791, [1781.]
PUNCTUALITY. Mr. Editor,-As I presume that the Youths' Magazine is read by many Sunday school teachers, I send you a short paper, written at the request of one of our suburban Unions, the history of which will at once explain the reason of my sending it to you, and furnish a much-needed, and I hope, profitable lesson.
Some little time since, I was requested to prepare an essay for a periodical meeting of teachers-of course at a very short notice, as those who are themselves dilatory, are always the most noted for hurrying other people. I, however, consented, choosing a theme which, I hope you will allow, was not very inappropriate.
Five minutes before the time appointed, I was at my post, and having waited till nearly five minutes after, without the pleasure of meeting any of the teachers, or even the secretary himself, I left my compliments with the door-keeper, and a message to the effect, that I had gone home again ; thus, perhaps, giving them a more effective lecture on the importance of punctuality, than I should have done, had we actually come into contact.
T. F. Time, as an element of order in Sunday schools.
If time be “the stuff life is made of,” it is highly desirable that it should be rightly divided and appropriated. The wisest of men tells us there is a time for every thing; and every day's experience proves the value of his remark. For a good thing, if