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If sound policy were adopted, it would unite with true Christianity, in eradicating this distressing evil. Can any thing in this world compensate for the desolation and misery, which war occasions in the earth? To the loss of life and property, with almost all worldly comforts, let us add the still more important loss, which religion and virtue sustain from a state of war, and from the military life in general : will it not then be difficult to conceive, how men, who really have, what they think, the good of their country at heart, and who also consider themselves entitled to the denomination of Christians, can promote a practice which is productive of so many evils, both natural and moral ? In contemplating this distressing subject, we find it necessary to have recourse to that Christian charity, which it is our duty to extend to those, who differ from us in principle and practice.* I wish, however, for myself and my fellow professors, that we may faithfully maintain our principles on this subject : being at the same time careful to support the doctrine of peace, in the spirit of peace : then we may be made instruinental in promoting the increase of the government of the Son of God, whose introduction into this world was announced by an angel, accompanied with a 6 multitude of the heavenly host ; praising God, and saying : Glory to God in the highest, and on earth Peace, Good-will towards men." +
There are a few arguments brought forward in favour of war, from some passages in the New Testament, which it will be proper to consider. Of these the principal one is, the expression of our Lord to his disciples : “ He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one.” * This passage is generally considered to be of doubtful signification; and some who do not agree with us in our sentiments on war, consider this expression of our Lord as allegorical. + When the disciples replied : “ Here are two swords,” He gave this short answer : “It is enough.” | This seems to imply that they did not understand his meaning ; for if He had intended the external sword, how could two be sufficient for the number of the disciples, and at a time when they were about to be attacked by a multitude, that came out, as against a thief, with swords and staves ? But what seems clearly to show, that our Saviour did not intend to recommend the use of the sword in a literal sense, is the circumstance which occurred very soon after He had used the expression under consideration : for we find, that when Peter, on the very same day, made use of a sword in defence of his Master, he was reproved by Him in this manner : “ Put up again thy sword into his place ; for all they that take the sword, shall perish with the sword.” It may also be added, that it was on the same, or the succeeding day, that our Lord said to Pilate : 6 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.”|| Now, when these important and concurring circumstances are considered, can it be supposed, that our Lord intended to recommend to his disciples the use of the sword, either in defence of Him or themselves, or on any other occasion ?
* Our excellent apologist, R. Barclay, manifests the liberality of his mind on this subject, when, after arguing, with his usual ability, in favour of our principle against war, he admits that the practice of nonresistance is the most perfect part of the Christian religion, and makes considerable allowances for those who differ from us on this occasion.-See Prop. xv. close of Sect. 15.
+ Luke ii. 13, 14.
Another circumstance brought forward as an argument in favour of war, is the conversion of Cornelius, a centurion in the Roman army, and no account given of his having relinquished a military life.* As we have not any further account of this pious centurion, than that of his conversion, and the circumstances attending it, no argument of any weight can be drawn from this relation. Some ancient writers inform us, that the primitive Christians did not fight ; and we may therefore reasonably suppose, that if the centurion continued firm in his attachment to the Christian religion, he abandoned his military life. At any rate, the silence of the Sacred historian cannot, with propriety, be brought forward as an argument in support of war; or as showing it to be consistent with the Christian Dispensation.
* See Luke xxii. 36. + See Dr. Edwards on the Style, &c, of the Scriptures, page 126. # Luke xxii. 38. Matt. xxvi. 52. 1 John xviii. 36.
It is further argued, that the expression of the apostle Paul, who says respecting the magistrate : “ He beareth not the sword in vain,” + is an implied acknowledgement of the propriety of using the sword in a military manner. This argument, I conceive, arises from a misapplication of the passage. The sword here alluded to, we have reason to suppose, was only an emblem of civil power. We are informed, that one of the chief magistrates in Rome (and it is to the Romans the apostle used this expression) had a sword hung up in his court, as an emblem of his power ;# and we know that in this country, especially in corporate towns, the chief magistrates have a sword borne before them on particular occasions, as an emblem of office. But if the sword was even used in the punishment of offenders, it would be no fair argument in favour of using it for the purposes of war, and those devastations attendant on this lamentable evil.
These, and such as these, are the arguments advanced by many, in support of an evil, which, in its consequences, shocks humanity, destroys morality, weakens the influence of religion, and entails on mankind miseries incalculable and indescribable. Was the ingenuity of man as much exercised to put an end to this calamity, as his ambition is to support it, we should soon find the benefits resulting from this disposition. But it is religion, it is the Christian religion, which alone provides an adequate remedy for this malignant disorder; and when mankind are willing to receive it, in the purity, the love, the meekness, and the humility, which its Divine Author inculcated, this, with other similar predictions respecting Him, will be fulfilled : 66 He shall judge among the nations, and work conviction * among many peoples ; and they shall beat their swords into plough-shares, and their spears into pruning-hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation ; neither shall they learn war any more.” +
* Acts x. The remarks on this case apply to that of the centurion mentioned Matt. viii. 5.
+ Rom. xiii. 4. Godwin's Roman Antiquities, page 164.
General remarks on them.-Rules respecting them.-On Dancing and Music.--Necessity of properly regulating amusements for youth.--Propriety of avoiding temptation,
The little benefit, and great injury, which attend most of those enjoyments that go under the name of Amusements, have induced us to bring them into less compass, than the generality of Christians do : not that we are averse to such relaxations from bodily or mental exercise, as become rational beings, and true Christians : but the repugnancy of a great part of those pleasures to religion and virtue, and the avidity with which they are pursued, are causes of sorrow to those who have at heart the real interests, temporal and spiritual, of their fellow-creatures.
There are three rules relating to amusements, by which our conduct should be regulated.
1.–To avoid all those which tend needlessly to oppress and injure any part of the animal creation. Of this class are cock-fighting and horse-racing : also hunting, &c. when engaged in for diversion and pleasure.
2.—To abstain from such ́as are connected with a spirit of hazardous enterprize ; by which the property and temporal happiness of individuals and families, are often made to depend on the most precarious circumstances; and the gain