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The Cause of Peace.
faithful? This has been often asked foolishly, and answered falsely. But let all that pass, and then let the question come back, and abide with us, - is the Church faithful? Are we, its ministers, faithful even to its great idea of the soul's and the world's renewal ? If we were, would that renewal be a dream, or be left as only the possible work of future ages ? One thing is sure. No future age will have a heavier accountableness to bear, than this; and no denomination, than ours. This I believe, with a seriousness that makes me tremble. With our intelligence, with our Protestant independence, with our proclamation, if not possession, of perfect freedom and perfect charity, with a real individualism that offers the best of all association and cooperation, with the thrilling ties that bind us to the holy dead, and to the good of every name on earth and in heaven,- if we leave no mark on our country and age, or fail to raise the tone of morals and aim of Christians, in the Church, the state, and society, it may be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for us.
ART. II. — THE CAUSE OF PEACE.*
We have wished for some time to take notice of the progress which Peace principles are unquestionably making in this and in foreign lands. It is pleasant, when martial
1. Memoir of Thomas Thrush Esq., formerly an Officer of rank in the Royal Navy, who resigned his commission on the ground of the Unreasonableness of War. By Rev. C. WELLBELOVED. London: Longman, Brown & Co. 1845. 8vo. pp. 116.
2. Plea for Peace. A Discourse delivered on Fast Day, April 2, 1846. By Daniel SHARP, Pastor of the Charles Street Church. Boston: Wm. D. Ticknor & Co. 8vo. pp. 24.
3. A Sermon on War, preached at the Melodeon, on Sunday, June 7, 1846. By THEODORE PARKER, Minister of the Twenty-Eighth Congregational Church in Boston. Boston: Little & Brown. 1846. 8vo. pp.
43. 4. An Oration delivered before the Authorities of the City of Boston, in the Tremont Temple, July 4, 1846. By FLETCHER WEBSTER. Boston: J. H. Eastburn. 1846. 8vo. pp. 33.
5. The Advocate of Peace and Universal Brotherhood. Elin BURRITT, Editor and Proprietor. Worcester, Mass. Nos. 1–6; January - June, 1846. 8vo. pp. 24, each No.
sounds are heard in our streets and descriptions of battles fill the columns of our newspapers, to turn to the proofs which the time still furnishes of the spread of just opinions and pacific sentiments in the community. We believe that a very great advance has been made towards a proper estimation of war by Christian nations within the last few years, and circumstances which might at first seem to contradict such a belief, afford, we think, evidence on which it may rest.
Among the indications of a change in the public mind on this subject, the first place is due to the frequent contributions which the press is making to what may be called the pacific literature of the times. Not only have discourses and addresses, advocating very different views from those which were almost universally accepted in the last generation, become common, but — what is a more significant factthe secular as well as the religious journals of the day freely insert articles, the design of which is to expose the impolicy and unchristian character of war. Few of our readers probably are aware of the amount of sound instruction which is communicated in this way. Besides this means of influence, the distribution of tracts and the circulation of books prepared by the friends of peace, are forming a public opinion which is already felt in its action on both men and measures.
Dr. Sharp's Discourse and Mr. Webster's Oration, in different ways, illustrate this growth of public sentiment. The former is the clear and calm plea of a Christian “advocate for peace," and as such was strictly appropriate to the place from which it was delivered — a Christian pulpit. Yet the pulpit has not always been occupied by those who spoke in this strain ; and it is certainly among the favorable signs of the time, that so many preachers of the Gospel have of late given expression to that abhorrence of war, which it might have been thought a study of the life and teaching of Jesus must inspire in every breast. Its uselessness, its wastefulness, its inhumanity, and its immoral influences are described by Dr. Sharp, who closes his Discourse with a direct application to the circumstances in which our country was placed in relation to Great Britain at the time when it was written. Mr. Webster's Oration is, in large part, a defence of military insti
tutions, evidently called forth by what he must consider the spread of dangerous opinions. It is therefore a sign of the very tendency which he is anxious to arrest, for men do not take the trouble to defend usages the propriety of which is not doubted. The Oration is respectable as a literary performance, and is free from that vicious declamation which once distinguished Fourth of July Addresses. As an argument in justification of war, (or extenuation, he might perhaps prefer we should say, it is a rather remarkable production. If we could think Mr. Webster capable of such a mischievous prank as attempting to quiz “the Authorities of the city of Boston,” we should easily understand the meaning of such a passage as this :—“Suppose it impossible for wars to occur, where were nationality, where patriotism, where love of home and friends ? " How must the Mayor and Aldermen of Boston have shuddered at the possibility of such peaceful times that there would be no home nor friends for them to love? Unless they saw through the orator's humor, “ the authorities” must have had little stomach for their dinner that day. Then too the quiet satire of the question :“Where would be statesmanship, where had been all the illustrious legislators of former times, and of the present day, had the world been wrapped in immutable peace ?” Sad thought for those who look into the future, that an age of the world may come, when peace, mother of barbarism, shall have established a universal reign! Mr. Webster, with some slight inconsistency, “believes and hopes” that wars will one day cease, when “men obey the injunctions of Christ,” and most of his Oration was evidently written in a serious and honest spirit, though we entirely dissent from the conclusion he wishes to establish.
Mr. Parker's Sermon may also be taken as a proof of that advance in public sentiment, of which we have spoken. Such an emphatic condemnation of all war would have been regarded a very few years ago with surprise, if not with suspicion of the preacher's sanity. Now no one is surprised, and many agree with the preacher. As a bold and forcible statement of the evils of war, it is entitled to perusal and commendation. Mr. Parker shows by strong language and yet stronger facts, that war causes an immense waste of property, a terrible waste of life, and a fearful
corruption of morals. By a rhetorical supposition he brings the strife of arms into our own neighborhood, and then turns the feelings which his graphic power has awakened against the war which the United States are at this moment waging with Mexico. We cannot however admire the style in which the Sermon is written. As a discourse for the pulpit, it lacks the dignity which ought not to be sacrificed to coarser qualities of style, and discovers that continual aim at effect, which good taste must pronounce a fault. Mr. Parker's later productions are seriously marred by this tendency, which, if not checked, will soon destroy his claim to be considered one of our good writers. He betrays too on almost every occasion, as in this sermon, a petulant anxiety to disparage the Old Testament, which is discreditable to him as a scholar and a believer, neither of which characters, we presume, he wishes to be considered as having forfeited.
The Memoir of the late Mr. Thrush, prepared by his friend, the venerable Mr. Wellbeloved, is a valuable addition to our libraries, — more brief than we should have been glad to receive under this title, but long enough to make the reader acquainted with the chief incidents in the life, as well as the prominent traits in the character, of a most excellent man. Mr. Thrush was one of those few, who act out their convictions at whatever cost of worldly ease, — the true martyrs of principle. They are nobler men than the warriors or rulers whose names shine through the ages, and their lives are better worth studying. They shame, and they encourage us; for they remind us of our own cowardly virtue, and they show us what calm energy our nature can exhibit amidst circumstances of trial confronted for conscience' sake. Mr. Thrush was remarkable for firmness of character. He acted deliberately, but resolutely, forming his opinions with care, and then maintaining them with a practical steadfastness worthy of all admiration. These traits were early exhibited. His mother, a sensible and estimable woman, was left a widow, with the care of seven children, when Thomas, the second son, was only nine years old. His inclinations when a youth led him to desire a seafaring life, but the wishes of his mother controlled him, and he prepared himself for the mercantile profession. His love of the sea, however, was too strong
Memoir of Thrush.
to be supplanted by a fondness for other pursuits, and after giving a fair trial to the employment which he had adopted, he addressed a letter to his mother in which, with the utmost filial respect, he entreated her to consent to a change in his mode of life. It was a letter which no mother could resist; and at the age of twenty-one he made his first voyage, in a small coasting vessel. After other trading voyages, interrupted by considerable intervals of home life, during which he faithfully pursued those studies which would qualify him to enter the naval service, he obtained the appointment of master's mate on board a sloop of war destined for the East Indies. He was now in the employment which he had long coveted, and the attention which he gave to its duties, with the honorable deportment which he maintained, recommended him for promotion. He gradually rose till he reached the rank of Post Captain, and was entrusted with various services in which he displayed good judgment and humane feeling. Mr. Wellbeloved observes of this part of his life:
“It is remarkable, that though the term of Mr. Thrush's service in the navy extended over a period of more than twenty years, during the greater part of which the nation was in a state of war, he was never engaged in any distinguished action with the enemy, nor did he ever obtain more than a trifling share of prize-money. This was a cause of regret to many of his friends, if not to himself; but it proved a source of consolation to him afterwards, when he calmly reviewed his life in the light of Christian truth, that he had not participated in the guilt of shedding human blood, or been enriched by the spoils of war.” - Pp. 30, 31.
Mr. Thrush was married, in 1804, to one who shared with him the various experience of nearly forty years. The almost romantic attachment which marked their union, is but partially revealed in the letters from which extracts are given in this volume. Not long after his marriage he purchased a house near the residence of his wife's family in Yorkshire, and retired from active service, partly that he might recover from the effects of severe illness incurred on the West India station. In “the quiet retreat of Sutton ” he found an opportunity, on which he gladly seized, of examining carefully and candidly the Scriptural evidence for the doctrines of the Established Church; in