Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

prosecution of it the more fierce and cruel; there having scarce been so much rage and inhumanity practised in any.war, as in that between Christians. The ancient Romans, who for some ages arrived to the greatest perfection in the observation of the obligations of honour, justice, and humanity, of all men who had no light from religion, instituted a particular triumph for those their generals who returned with victory without the slaughter of men. It were to be wished, that the modern Christian Romans were endued with the same blessed spirit, and that they believed that the voice of blood is loud and importunate; they would not then think it their office and duty, so far to kindle this firebrand war, and to nourish all occasions to inflame it, as to obstruct and divert all overtures of extinguishing it; and to curse and excommunicate all those who shall consent or submit to such overtures, when they are wearied, tired, and even consu. med with weltering in each other's blood, and have scarce blood enough left to give them strength to enjoy the blessings of peace. What can be more unmerciful, more unworthy of the title of Christians, than such an aversion from stopping those issues of blood, and from binding up those wounds which have been bleeding so long? and yet we have seen those inhuman bulls let loose by two popes, who would be thought to have the sole

power committed to them by Christ, to inform the world of his will and pleasure; the one against the peace of Germany, and the other against that with the Low-Countries; by both which these his vi. cars general absolve all men from observing it, though they are bound by their oaths never to swerve from it. We may piously believe, that all the princes of the world, who have wantonly, or without just and manifest provocation, obliged their subjects to serve them in a war, by which millions of men have been exposed to slaughter, fire, and famine, will sooner find remission of all the other sins they have committed, than for that obstinate outrage against the life of man, and the murders which have been committed by their authority:

OF PEACE.

Montpellier, 1670. It was a very proper answer to him who asked, why any man should be delighted with beauty? that it was a question that none but a blind man could ask; since any beautiful object doth so much attract the sight of all men, that it is in no man's power not to be pleased with it. Nor can any aversion or malignity towards the object, irreconcile the eyes from looking upon it: as a man who

hath an envenomed and mortal hatred against another, who hath a most graceful and beautiful person, cannot hinder his eye from being delighted to behold that person; though that delight is far from going to the heart; as no man's malice to. wards an excellent musician can keep his ear from being pleased with his music. No man can ask how or why men come to be delighted with peace, but he who is without natural bowels, who is deprived of all those affections, which can only make life pleasant to him. Peace is that harmony in the state, that health is in the body. No honour, no profit, no plenty can make him happy, who is sick with a fever in his blood, and with defluctions and aches in his joints and bones; but health restored gives a relish to the other blessings, and is very merry without them: no kingdom can flourish or be at ease, in which there is no peace; which only makes men dwell at home, and enjoy the labour of their own hands, and improve all the advantages which the air, and the climate, and the soil administers to them; and all which yield no comfort, where there is no peace. God himself reckons health the greatest blessing he can bestow upon mankind, and peace the greatest comfort and ornament he can confer upon states; which are a multitude of men gathered together. They who delight most in war, are so much ashamed of

it, that they pretend, Pacis gerere negocium; to have no other end, to desire nothing but peace, that their heart is set upon nothing else. When Cæsar was engaging all the world in war, he wrote to Tully, Neque tutius, neque honestius reperies quidquam, quam

ab omni contentione abesse ; there was nothing worthier of an honest man than to have contention with nobody. It was the highest aggravation that the prophet could find out in the description of the greatest wickedness, that “the way of peace they knew not;" and the greatest punishment of all their crookedness and perverseness was, that " they should not know peace.” A greater curse cannot befall the most wicked nation, than to be deprived of peace. There is nothing of real and substantial comfort in this world, but what is the product of peace; and whatsoever we may lawfully and innocently take delight in, is the fruit and

The solemn service of God, and performing our duty to him in the exercise of regular devotion, which is the greatest business of our life, and in which we ought to take most delight, is the issue of peace. War breaks all that order, interrupts all that devotion, and even extinguisheth all that zeal, which peace had kindled in us, lays waste the dwelling-place of God as well as of man; and introduces and propagates opinions and practice, as much against heaven as against

effect of peace.

earth, and erects a deity that delights in nothing but cruelty and blood. Are we pleased with the enlarged commerce and society of large and opulent cities, or with the retired pleasures of the country? do we love stately palaces, and noble houses, or take delight in pleasant groves and woods, or fruitful gardens, which teach and instruct nature to produce and bring forth more fruits and flowers, and plants, than her own store can supply her with all this we owe to peace; and the dissolution of this peace disfigures all this beauty, and in a short time covers and buries all this order and delight in ruin and rubbish. Finally, have we any content, satisfaction, and joy, in the conversation of each other, in the knowledge and understanding of those arts and sciences, which more adorn mankind, than all those buildings and plantations do the fields and grounds on which they stand ? even this is the blessed effect and legacy of peace; and war lays our natures and manners as waste as our gardens and our habitations; and we can as easily preserve the beauty of the one, as the integrity of the other, under the cursed jurisdiction of drums and trumpets.

“ If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men,” was one of the primitive injunctions of Christianity, Rom. xii. 18, and comprehends not only particular and private men

« AnteriorContinuar »