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that they have always maintained it would be for the interests of mankind to leave off war ; the root of the malady is not reached by such methods as this ; “leviathan is not so tamed.” In this case as in others, and more than in most others Christians are bound, by every consideration of duty and of love to Christ's cause, to oppose the spirit of the Gospel to the spirit of the world ; to put off their shoes from their feet; and to stand firmly upon the only ground, which will sustain them in such a conflict, the holy ground of Christian principle. They must learn what the Gospel teaches; the doctrine of the Gospel, whatever it may be found to be, must be their immutable rule of conduct. When they conform themselves to this rule, and not otherwise, they may be said to act upon principle. And the rule of the Gospel, the principle which it establishes beyond all question, is, total abstinence; touch not, taste not, handle not; have nothing to do with war; have nothing to do with the preparations for war ; wash your hands clean, now and forever, from the stain of human blood.
But in these views it seems proper to make a distinction between ministers of the Gospel and the great mass of Christian professors.--If a great responsibility rests upon professors of religion in general, a still greater rests upon preachers and ministers. All Christians are represented as lights in the world, and are required to let their light shine for the illumination of others; but ministers are, in some important sense, the light of priyate Christians. We are persuaded, that no private Christian ought to mistake his duty on this subject; so explicit are the instructions of the New Testament in regard to it, that no one can justly plead ignorance ; but this does not alter the well-known fact, that private Christians do not, as a general thing, adopt novel principles and practices, however scriptural they may be,
OF THE DUTY OF PRIVATE CHRISTIANS &c.
unless they are led into them and encouraged in the course they take by their stated religious teachers. We come to the conclusion, therefore, that the attention of ministers of the Gospel is particularly called to the subject before us; that upon them, more than upon any other class of persons, rests the important question, whether wars shall cease from under the whole heaven. It is desirable, that they should weigh well this solemn responsibility. Whether they have done their duty in this matter hitherto, whether they have brought to its investigation all their powers of intellect, and all their spirit of prayer, is for them to determine. If they have not, let them think well of it; let them compensate, so far as can now be done, for the negligence of the past by the fervent zeal and untiring efforts of the future. If ministers will faithfully do their duty in this thing, there is no question, that the churches will ultimately, and in all probability very soon, respond to their efforts. No minister ought to rest, no minister ought to consider himself as having discharged his whole duty, until he has seen the members of his church formed into a peace society on the Gospel principle of total abstinence, renouncing forever, and at all hazards, military enrollments, military musters, the payment of military fines, and all other efforts and contributions of a clearly military nature. What a spectacle would then be presented to the world! Even impenitent and irreligious men would rejoice in it. Hope would arise in the darkened and depraved mind of the soldier. The eyes of experienced Statesmen would be gladly directed to this transcendent beam of millennial light. Mankind would smile in their sorrows, and say, It is indeed the star of Bethlehem !
PRACTICAL EFFICACY OF THE PRINCIPLES OF PEACE.
It may be said with some degree of plausibility, that the principles of peace are not the principles of protection; and that, if we throw off the aspect and attitude of war, we shall not only be insecure against hostility, but shall invite it. Whether this objection involves a fallacy or not, it is beyond all question, that it is cordially received as an undoubted truth by many persons, who invest themselves with it as with a shield, and avail themselves of its aid to throw back, to a measureless distance, whatever is addressed either to their understandings or their hearts on the great subject of univer
They take their stand upon this simple proposition alone, that no nation is safe without military preparation. They assert with as much confidence, as if they were pleading the authority of a mathematical axiom, that there is no security, and no peace, except on the condition of bloodshed; that he, who will not fight, must make up his mind to become the prey of every species of depredation. Nor can we justly assert it to be altogether without reason, that men so generally take this position, when we remember that the history of the world, with but few exceptions, is the mournful history of international jealousy and strife. And yet we feel in some degree prepared to maintain, (and we hope
with the prospect of a successful issue upon the mind of the objector himself,) that, amid all the belligerent elements existing either in individuals or communities, pacific principles are the surest safeguard. We verily believe, that in these principles there is a secret power, a hidden but most effective energy, which is but imperfectly understood. If men had the faith to receive it, they would not fail to find, that the panoply of love is more impenetrable to the attacks of adversaries than that of steel.
We hope not to be charged with extravagance. God himself has made provision for this great result. The security, which is to be found in pacific principles, is based in the constitution of the human mind itself. We are so constituted by our Maker, that we naturally feel an interest in innocence and weakness ; and it excites in every man, whose feelings have not been greatly perverted, the deepest disapprobation and abhorrence, when they are made to suffer. Why is it, that little children and women and feeble old men are, in a vast majority of cases, fully protected amid the widespread and deepest horrors of war? Will it be said, that they find their protection in force ? But they exhibit nothing of this kind ; they have no arms; they present no organization and array of battle ; on the contrary they make their appeal to the PENETRALIA of the soul; they look for protection to the great principles of humanity alone. A little child was once found on the field of battle by an infuriated soldier of a victorious army. He looked up into his face, , and prompted by the protecting instincts of nature, exclaimed, “Do not kill me, I am so little.” In such a simple appeal as this, coming from the soul and addressing itself to the original and immutable principles of our nature, we do not hesitate to say, that there is a reality and effectiveness of power. Perhaps there are men to be
found, who would kill the little child in the very act of making this simple and pathetic appeal. But do not the most sacred instincts of our nature rise up against them? Do we not call them base assassins, murderers, and monsters? Is there one to be found in a million, who would be accessory to such a crime ? It is with the greatest confidence, therefore, we assert, that, in the elements and arrangements of things, a wise and adequate provision is made for the protection of innocence and weakness. It is in consequence of this provision, which a kind Providence has made, that the tempest of war, while it smites the strong man armed, while it rends the oak and the mountain rock, so often leaves uninjured the reed and the flower, that bend submissively before it.
We might bring instances, multitudes of instances from common life, where mild and pacific measures have secured that protection, which never would have been yielded to force. There is much philosophy in one of Æsop's Fables. The sun and the north wind once had a contest, which should first disarm a certain traveller of his cloak. The wind blew, but the traveller wrapped his cloak about him ; it blew more loudly and angrily, but the traveller, exerting all his strength, held his cloak more firmly and closely than ever. The sun took an opposite course ; he gave no indications of violence and wrath; he spread over hill and valley the warmth of his purest and gentlest radiance; the traveller smiled, and at once yielded the cloak to kindness, which he had refused to force. This is a picture of human life. It finds its counterpart all the world over, and it would be an endless labor to exhaust the illustrations and proofs, which every where present themselves.
In the early part of the year 1833, or about that time, an agent of the Bible Society was travelling in the Mexican province of Texas. His course lay through a piece