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begins. Shells explode in the streets, or penetrate the roofs. Citizens are killed in the streets, and soldiers on the ramparts. Women and children retreat to cellars, and live in all discomfort. Day by day the gloom thickens. All news is of houses burnt, persons killed, prices raised, and scarcity increased. Gladly, perhaps, would the citizens surrender; but the governor is inflexible. At length, famine is threatened. The laborer, out of employment, cannot purchase at such prices, and his family, hitherto accustomed to daily, comforts, fall victims to rigorous poverty. Still the siege continues. The middling classes next sink to beggary. Every thing is sold to buy a little food. Anon, breaches are made in the walls. All must work, amid galling fire, to repair them. Mines are sprung, blowing houses and the occupants into the air.
No relief comes.
Dead animals, offal, skins, the very bodies of the slain, are eaten. Hundreds perish in desperate sorties. All are miserable. The widow, the bereft mother, the disappointed bride, and the tender orphan, mourn continually. Pestilence succeeds to famine. Thousands, who have escaped violence, die of dis
At length, the city is taken by storm; pillage, and perhaps an awful conflagration, succeed; a brutal soldiery raven among
the virtuous; and the indescribable scene ends in permanent poverty, lamentation, and dishonor. Is this Christianity ?
We will close by a confirmatory picture from the history of the peninsular wars of Napoleon. It is part of a description of the second siege of Zaragossa :
" The French fought their way into the entrance of this ill-fated city by mining and exploding one house after another, while the inhabitants were confined to that quarter of the city still in possession of the Spaniards, who were crowded, men, women and children, into the cellars, to avoid the cannon balls and bombs. Pestilence broke out as a matter of course; and when once begun, it was impossible to check its progress, or confine it to one quarter of the city. It was not long before more than thirty hospitals were established. As soon as one was destroyed by the bombardment, the patients were removed to some other building, which was in a state to afford them temporary shelter, and thus the infection was carried into every part of Zaragossa. The average of daily deaths from this cause was, at this time, not less than three hundred and fifty. Men stretched upon straw, in helpless misery, lay breathing their last, and with their dying breath spreading the mortal taint of their own disease, without medicines, food or attendance; for the ministers of charity themselves be
came the victims of the disease. The slightest wound produced gangrene and death in bodies so prepared for dissolution by distress of mind, agitation, and want of proper aliment and of sleep; for there was no respite, either by day or night, for this devoted city. By day, it was involved in a red sulphuric atmosphere of smoke and dust, which hid the face of heaven; by night the fire of cannon and mortars, and the flames of burning houses, kept it in a state of horrible illumination. The cemeteries could no longer afford room for the dead. Large pits were dug to receive them in the streets, and in the courts of the public buildings, till hands were wanted for the labor; they were laid before the churches, heaped upon one another, and covered with sheets; and not unfrequently these piles of mortality were struck by a shell, and the shattered bodies scattered in all directions. When the French entered the city, sic thousand bodies were lying in the streets and trenches, or piled up in heaps before the churches.
How wonderful that Christians, followers of the Prince of Peace, should concur in the mad idolatry of strife! How inconsistent! Behold a man rising from the Lord's supper, and proceeding to array himself in fantastic robes and plumes, girding on him the instruments of human butchery, and drilling himself in the tactics of death! See him murdering fellow Christians, and unprepared sinners, and even praying to his Redeemer for aid in the endeavor! See priest and people thronging the house of God to celebrate bloody victories, and give thanks for having sent thousands to their last account, with all their sins upon their head !
Reader ! is not this stupendous inconsistency? Is it not time you reflected on this subject ? Are you in favor of the great schemes of benevolence? Then come, unite in attacking this prolific parent of abominations. Let your voice, wherever you are, be lifted up to spread the principle of
peace on earth.” Blessed principle! You cannot err in trying to spread its influence. You cannot err in lending your aid to banish from the earth a monster of pride, corruption, destructiveness, misery and murder. Take your stand as the advocate of peace. Retire from military trainings, and discard the horrid thought of being hired to rob, ravage and destroy. Give no countenance to a system which could not continue a moment, were the spirit and precepts of Christianity to prevail on earth. Let all around you understand that you are as conscientiously peaceful, as you are honest or pure.
AMERICAN PEACE SOCIETY, BOSTON, MASS.
UNDER THE CHRISTIAN DISPENSATION.
BY JOSEPH JOHN GURNEY.
Of all the practices which lay waste the welfare of men, there is none which operates to so great an extent, or with so prodigious an efficacy, as war. Not only is it productive of an incalculable amount of bodily and mental suffering, but it is also a moral evil of the very deepest dye. “From whence come wars and fightings among you ?” asked the apostle James.
“Come they not hence, even of your lusts which war in your members ?” War, then, has its origin in corrupt passions; and, arising out of such an evil root, this tree of bitterness seldom fails to produce, in vast abundance, the fruits of malice, wrath, cruelty, fraud, rapine, lasciviousness, confusion and murder.
Although few persons will dispute the accuracy of this picture, or deny the general position, that war is at variance with the principles of Christianity, it is still a singular fact, that the Friends * are almost the only class of Christians who regard it as their duty entirely to abstain from that practice. The generality of professed Christians are accustomed to make distinctions between one kind of war and another. They will condemn one which is oppressive and unjust, advancing in this respect no farther than the moralists of every age; while, on the other hand, they hesitate as little in expressing their approbation of wars which are defensive, or undertaken in a just cause.
The main argument from Scripture for the rectitude of warfare in what is termed a just cause, is the divinely sanctioned example of the Israelites. That they were engaged in many wars; that those wars were often
destructive, yet carried forward under the direct sanction and clear command of the Almighty; are points which no reader of the Old Testament can deny. But we must not forget,
* We hardly need inform our readers, that the author is a Quaker, one of the most eminent among his brethren, and writes here in vindication of their views concerning war.
We abridge his essay,
but omit none of his views or arguments.-Am. Ed.
P. T. NO. XVII.
that the wars of the Israelites differed from all other wars in certain very important particulars. That very divine sanction which is pleaded, did in fact distinguish their wars from all those in which any other nation is known to have been ever engaged. They were undertaken in pursuance of God's express command, and directed to the accomplishment of his revealed designs. These designs had a twofold object-the temporal preservation and prosperity of his peculiar people, and the punishment and destruction of idolatrous nations. The Israelites were sometimes engaged in war without any direction from God; but such of their military operations as were sanctioned of the Lord, assumed the character of a work of obedience and faith. They went forth to battle in compliance with his command, and in reliance
his aid. These characteristics of their warfare were attended with two very marked consequences; first, that their conflicts, so far from being attended by that destruction of moral and pious feeling which is so generally the effect of war, were often accompanied by high religious excellence in those who thus fought the battles of the Lord, as in the case of Joshua, the Judges, and David; and secondly, that these contests were followed by uniform
The Lord was carrying on his own designs by the Israelites; and, under such circumstances, their success afforded an evidence of his approbation. Now, it cannot be predicated even of the justest wars among other nations, that they are undertaken by the direct command of Jehovah; or that they are a work of obedience and faith ; or that they are often accompanied with high religious excellence in those who undertake them; or that they are followed by uniform success. Even if the system of Israelitish morals, then, was still in force without alteration, we could not justly conclude from such an example, that warfare, as generally practised, is in any case consistent with the will of God.
The defenders of modern warfare plead, also, the authority of John the Baptist. Various classes of persons resorted to him for instruction; and among
“ the soldiers demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely, and be content with your wages.” Since the precept, do violence to no man, probably related to their deportment among friends and allies, it may be allowed that he did not on this occasion forbid the practice of fighting;
but, it must still be observed, that his expressions afford no direct encouragement to that practice. His doctrine is neutral. The question whether war is in itself lawful or unlawful, was one which he obviously did not entertain. On the supposition that the soldiers would continue to be soldiers, he confined himself to recommending a gentle, orderly, and submissive demeanor.
But John the Baptist, though the forerunner of Christ, did not himself belong to the Christian dispensation. His moral system was that of the law; and, admitting that system to continue unchanged, we still may fairly deny that the example of the Hebrews, or the expressions of John, afford any valid authority for warfare as generally practised. Our objection to every species of war, however, rests principally on that more perfect revelation which distinguishes the dispensation of the gospel. We contend earnestly, that all warfare is wholly at variance with the CHRISTIAN religion.
In support of this position, I may adduce the testimony of the prophets; for, in their predictions respecting the gospel dispensation, they frequently allude both to its superior spiritualityand its purer morality. Under this dispensation, says Isaiah," they shall beat their swords into plough-shares, and their spears into pruning-hooks ; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” ii. 2—4. The prophet Micah repeats the same prediction, and adds “ they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig-tree, and none shall make them afraid." iv. 1-4.
The times here foretold, are confessedly those of the gospel, and are elsewhere described in similar language. În Isa. ix. 6, the Messiah_is expressly denominated the “ Prince of Peace.” In Isa. xi., the reign of Christ is painted in glowing colors, as accompanied by the universal harmony of God's creation. Lastly, in Zech. ix. 9, 10, we read, as the result of his reign, “ I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off ; and he shall speak peace unto the heathen ; and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.”
In these passages, a total cessation from war is described as one of the most conspicuous characteristics of Christianity Such a consequence is represented by Isaiah as arising from the conversion of heathen nations; and who