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bition, avarice, and false glory, shall no more lead forth their victims to merciless carnage; nor enmities, jealousies, and oppressions, pour their vials of anguish on the world. The voice of Christian hope tells of past triumphs and future glories, speaking bliss to the inmost soul. We can exult in our nature and our destiny. We can look around on the earth, shake off the miserable associations of crime and misery, and trace on all things lines of benevolence and joy. The gladdening result which we anticipate is promised by the words of unerring prophecy, and shall be realized by the operations of an eternal and omnipotent Providence. The youth shall enter on a brighter world than his forefathers knew, and wonder at the blood-stained tale of ancient days ;-while hoary age shall bow in holy resignation to the grave, exchanging earth for heaven, but as a transition from glory to glory, and exclaiming, in devout gratitude, as memory reverts to the troublous scenes of childhood, 66 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation.”
The chapter on War and Military Establishments, in Paley's Moral Philosophy, is written in the same spirit as those on Crimes and Punishments, and on Establishments and Toleration; and exeites the same painful and humbling emotions. It is impossible not to wish that they had been written by any body else; or not written at all. Some observations on this chapter may usefully be introduced here, by way of proof, or illustration, of parts of the Lecture on War.
« Because the Christian Scriptures describe wars, as what they are, as crimes or judgments, some have been led to believe that it is unlawful for a Christian to bear arms."
The inference does not appear very unreasonable. If wars be crimes, a Christian should keep himself unstained with the guilt, though enjoined by authority and participated by numbers. If they be considered as judgments, it should be remembered that he who goes about to execute a divine judgment should be able to produce a divine commission. The chastisement of the wicked is frequently assigned by Providence to others as wicked, and whose very depravity qualifies them for the task, for which better men are unfitted by their benevolence.
It might be supposed from the expression, “Some have been led to believe,” that the lawfulness of the military profession had only been denied by a few speculative or enthusiastic indi.viduals. The fact is, as will be shewn presently, that it was condemned by the almost unanimous voice of the whole Christian Church, for two or three centuries.
“ But it should be remembered, that it may be necessary for individuals to unite their force, and for this end to resign themselves to the direction of a common will; and yet, it may be true that that will is often actuated by criminal motives, and often determined to destructive purposes.”. . :
What is this common will, to the guidance of which it may be supposed necessary for individuals unconditionally to commit their powers ? The argument requires us to understand by it the will of governments, which we will suppose to coincide with that of the majority of the community. Whenever that will is determined to vicious purposes, Christian individuals are certainly forbidden to resign themselves to its direction, although they may forfeit its protection and become obnoxious to its vengeance. They must obey God rather than man. No advantage to be derived from union can compensate for doing, or assisting voluntarily in, that which is morally wrong. The argument for submission is valid for all violations of the divine law, or for none. If it justifies a soldier for drawing his sword in what he deems an unjust cause, it will also justify him in perpetrating any atrocity which his superiors may command. Bands of robbers are the only societies united on such a principle. ..
in “ Hence although the origin of wars be ascribed in Scripture to the operation of lawless and malignant passion, and though war itself be enumerated among the sorest calamities with which a land can be visited, the profession of a soldier is nowhere forbidden or condemned."
Dr. Paley here refers to James iv. 1. The apostle's condemnation of war is addressed either to rulers or to subjects. If to the former, it should operate as a prohibition. If, as is most probable, to the latter, why should they be told that war was the result of lawless and malignant passions, unless to intimate that it was their duty not to aid in carrying into effect the dic
tates of such passions ? For not expressly forbidding, especially in writings or public speeches, the military profession, there might be very sufficient reasons without supposing it compatible with Christianity. Slavery has been nearly, and polygamy totally abolished, without any direct prohibition. (9) Christianity does not enjoin or recognize the essential virtues of the military character. It magnifies the passive courage of the martyr; but the active valour of the hero has no place in its catalogue of virtues ;() nor does it ever enjoin the blind and prompt submission so necessary to constitute a good soldier. In the epistles we have ample statements of the duties of husbands, wives, parents, children, masters, servants, subjects; but where shall we find the duties of a soldier? And why do we not find them, if there were soldiers in Christian Churches ? Continual injunctions to love our enemies, to forgive injuries, not to retaliate, &c., are tantamount to the prohibition of a profession which appeals to very opposite principles. Besides, as “the important transactions of peace and war were prepared or concluded by solemn sacrifices, in which the magistrate, the senator, and the soldier, were obliged to preside or to participate," as even the standards were objects of worship, the inconsistency of engaging in idolatrous rites