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ed to this? When some terrible disease advances from country to country, when the seeds of the pestilence are scattered abroad by the Almighty, it becomes us to bow in submission and to hide ourselves in the dust before that Holy Being who knows our ill deserts, and whose secret ways are inscrutable to man. But in the devastations of war, it is not an Almighty Being, whose prerogatives we are not at liberty to question, but one of the feeble, erring creatures of his footstool, that seizes the burning thunderbolt, and scatters it through the world. And what renders the act the more astonishing, it is not the mere impulse of an unforeseen phrenzy, the ebullition of a momentary madness, but a matter of calculation, and cool reasoning, and carried on in the very face of heaven, and in defiance of the divine precept, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
But it is well ordered in Providence, that criminal principles and practices do not fail to expose themselves, and ultimately to work their own cure. The cries of widows and orphans had been heard from every quarter, mingling on every breeze, but they were too little regarded. The symptoms were at last observed of a great political commotion; the clouds came; the thunders muttered; the lightnings gleamed ; there was a quaking and rocking of the earth, and then there suddenly opened the grand volcano of the French Revolution of 1790, to the wonder and bountiful edification of all the advocates of war. At that dreadful period there were certain experiments, which had a wonderful effect in enlightening the sentiments of some classes of people. It was found that the glittering sword of war could strike upward, as well as downward ; among the high and the mighty, as well as among the poor and powerless peasants. The scythe fell upon the neck of princes; those, who had been clothed in purple and fine linen, were ar
rayed in beggar's rags and ate their crumbs in a dungeon; the innocent children died with the guilty fathers ; delicate women, the delight of their friends and the ruling star of palaces, were smitten by the hand of the destroyer, and bowed their heads in blood. And then were beheld the hundred guillotines, the horrid invention of the fusillades, the drownings in the Loire, the dreadful devastations of La Vendee, the gathering of armies on the plains of Italy, the bridge of Lodi, and the battle of Marengo. These were the beginnings of terrors, the opening of the incipient seal, but the end was not yet.—For twenty successive years the apocalypse of the book of war opened itself from one end of Europe to the other, and on the ocean as well as on the land, in the thunders and fires which at once shook and enlightened and awed the world, of the Nile and Trafalgar; of Jena and Austerlitz, together with the dashing of throne against throne, and of nation against nation. At length the “white horse of death” was seen taking his way through the centre of Europe, and power was given to him to kill with the sword and with hunger; and he was followed by “the beasts of the earth," an army of five hundred thousand soldiers; and they were all offered up as victims on the frozen fields of Russia, and the Kremlin, and the ancient and mighty city of Moscow were burnt upon their funeral pyre. The earth shook to its centre; a howling and a lamentation went up to heaven; the living ate the dead and then fed upon their own flesh, and then went mad ; the wolves and the vultures held their carnival, while Rachel wept for her children and would not be comforted. Nevertheless the sickle of the des. troyer was again thrust among the clusters; the winepress of war was trodden at Dresden and Leipsic and Waterloo, till the blood " came out of the wine-press, even to the horse-bridles.”
After these dreadful convulsions were brought to a consummation, men began to pause and reflect.—They witnessed around them a perpetual desolation ; the noble and the mighty fallen from their high places ; the poor made poorer and ground into dust by taxation ; families of all ranks, mourning the loss of husbands, brothers, sons; the culture of the earth interrupted, and the once happy cottage and its vineyards all laid waste. And they very naturally asked, why is all this? Why have we been destroying each other, and making ourselves miserable? Their eyes were opened, in some degree, to their own dreadful infatuation ; they saw and they lamented their exceeding folly and crime. We may now assert with confidence, although there is an infatuated party in Europe in particular, who are doing all in their power to urge nations once more into the dreadful career of violence and bloodshed, that the great mass of reflecting and judicious men are in favor of peace ; they shudder at the thought of a renewal of the horrors of war; they behold, in such renewal, unsearchable misery to the great multitude of mankind without the compensation of a single benefit to any one, excepting a few ambitious chieftains, who are heartless enough to place the paltry glitter of their epaulets in the balance against the sighs and groans, and tears, and blood of agonizing millions.
Since the beginning of the world, there has never been so favorable an opportunity for a great movement for the promotion of universal peace. There is a general pause among the nations, an awakened expectation, an earnest hope of some permanent good, at the same time a doubt and hesitation whither to turn their course, a fearful looking for of the return of past evils with a desire to avoid them ; and if we can rightly read the signs of the times, like men in great perplexity, who
know not where to place the basis of their hopes, they would hail the proposition of an international Congress as a solace for the past, and a joyful harbinger for the future.
We now leave the subject to the serious and judicious examination of all classes of persons. If they will but recollect the relation they sustain to their Creator and the human race, and are inspired with the sentiments suitable to such a consideration, we shall not fear the results of their examination. We are not ignorant that the heart has something to do with this subject, as well as the intellect ; that it is not a mere mathematical problem, which is to be solved solely by the plus and minus of the head, but appeals, in part at least, to the instinctive intuition of the powerful logic of the affections. We do not presume to ascertain the duties of men, as we would investigate the properties of a circle, by a process of pure abstraction, without an infusion of our own feelings, or without a consideration of the nice and variously operating sensibilities appropriate to human nature. If a man asks for bread, will you give him a stone ? If he asks a fish, will you give him a serpent ? And why not? Is it the result of a cold and accurate calculation, or simply because you are yourself a man, and feel as a man? This is the inspiration of sentiment, the deduction of the heart ; and we do not hesitate to say, that on this whole
subject, (not only that of a Congress of nations, but on war and peace in general,) we are bound to recognize, and cherish, and appeal to the prompt and unerring intimations from that source.
In quitting this subject, however, we cannot withhold the expression of the hopes, which its consideration tends to cherish. There are no doubt obstacles, which force themselves on the attention, but there are encouragements still more obvious and decisive. The necessities and sufferings of mankind, the inefficiency of existing means of redress, the experience of past ages, the deductions of reasoning, the prophetic anticipations of benevolence, the opinions of wise and learned men, the advancements in civilization and freedom, all seem to point in one direction ; all seem to be verging to a common centre. Some of the grounds of encouragement have already been made the topics of remark ; and we do not feel at liberty to suppress the hopes they inspire. Even if it were a delusion, we should be almost inclined to indulge it for the happiness it imparts; but it is not. And we have the more reason to think it is not so, when, in connection with the considerations already presented, we take into view the encouragements from another and far higher source. We cannot easily rid ourselves of the impression, that the religion of the Bible, so pure and beneficent in its spirit, imperiously requires some further movements and developements in the societies of men, which can be realized only in an established Congress of nations. We trust, that no philanthropist, however he may have been cheered by the progress of society for some ages past, will permit himself to indulge the belief, that it has reached the consummation of its improvement. It is certain, that the Bible holds out far more cheering prospects than we have yet been permitted to witness; the more general diffusion of knowledge, the