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THE ONLY REMEDY FOR WAR.
BY W. E. CHANNING, D. D.
If the most terrible view of war be, that it is the triumph and jubilee of selfish and malignant passions, then its true cure is to be sought in the diffusion of the principles of Universal Justice and Love, in that spirit of Jesus Christ which expels the demons of selfishness and malignity from the heart. Even supposing that war could be abolished by processes which leave the human character unchanged, that it could be terminated by the progress of a civilization which, whilst softening manners, would not diminish the selfishness, mercenariness, hard-heartedness, fraud, ambition of men, its worst evils would still remain, and society would reap in some other forms the fruits of its guilt
. God has ordained, that the wickedness within us shall always find its expression and punishment in outward evil. War is the fiend within coming out. Human history is nothing more than the inward nature manifested in its native acts and issues. Let the soul continue unchanged; and, should war cease, the mward plague would still find its way to the surface. The infernal fire at the centre of our being, though it should not break forth in the wasting volcano, would not slumber, but by other eruptions, more insensible, yet not less deadly, would lay waste human happiness. I do not behieve that any remedy but the Christian spirit can avail against
The wild beast, that has gorged on millions of victims in every age, is not to be tamed by a polished or selfish civilization. Christianity is the only true remedy for war; not Christianity in name, not such Christianity as we see, not such as has grown up under arbitrary governments in church and state, not such as characterizes any Christian sect at the present day; but Christianity as it lived in the soul, and came forth in the life of its founder; a religion that reveals man as the object of God's infinite love, and which commends him to the unbounded love of his brethren; a religion, the essence of which is self-denial, selfsacrifice, in the cause of human nature; a religion, which proscribes, as among the worst sins, the passion of man for rule and dominion over his fellow-creatures; which knows nothing of rich or poor, high or low, bond or free, and casts down all the walls of partition which sever men from one another's sympathy and respect.
Christian love alone can supplant war; and this love is not a mere emotion, a tenderness awakened by human suffering, but an intelligent, moral, spiritual love, a perception and deep feeling of the sacredness of human nature, a recognition of the jnalienable rights, the solemn claims of every human being. It protests fear. lessly against all wrong, no matter how obscure the victim. It desires to lift up each and all, no matter how fallon. It is a sym
pathy with the spiritual principle dwelling under every human form. This is the love which is to conquer war; but, as yet, this has been little diffused. The love which Christ breathes, which looks through man's body to the immortal spirit, which sees something divine in the rational and moral powers of the lowest human being, and which challenges for the lowest, the sympathy, respect, and fostering aid of his race; this has been rare, and yet it is only by the gradual diffusion of this, that the plague of war can be stayed. This regard for humanity, could it even prevail through a narrow sphere, could it bind together but a smalt body of men, would send forth a testimony against war, which would break the slumber of the Christian world, and strike awe into inany à contemner of his race.
I am aware, that others are hoping for the abolition of war by other causes; and other causes, I am aware, must be brought into action. I only say, that, unless joined with the spirit of Christianity, they give no assurance of continued repose. This thought I would briefly illustrate. The present unusual cessation of arms in the Christian world (1839) is to some a promise a happier era in human affairs. It is indeed a cheering fact, and may well surprise us, when we consider how many causes of war have been in action, how many threatening clouds have overcast the political sky, during the pause of war. But if we examine the causes of this tranquillity, we shall learn not to confide in it too strongly.
1. The first cause was the exhaustion in which Europe was left by the bloody conflicts of the French Revolution.
The nations, worn out with struggles, wasted by successive invasions, and staggering under an unprecedented load of debt, yearned for repose. The strong man had bled too freely to right more. For years poverty has kept the peace in Europe. One of the fruits of civilization is the increasing expensiveness of war, so that when the voice of humanity cannot be heard, the hollow sound of an empty treasury is a warning which cannot be slighted. This cause of peace is evidently temporary. Nations, resting from exhaustion, may be expected to renew their pernicious activity, when their strength is renewed.
2. Another cause of the continuance of peace is undoubtedly the extension of new and profitable relations through the civilized world. Since the pacification of Europe, in 1816, a new impulse has been given to industry. The discoveries of science have been applied with wonderful success to the useful arts. Nations have begun in earnest to develope their resources. Labor is discovered to be the grand conqueror, enriching and building up nations more surely than the proudest battles. As a necessary result of this new impulse, commerce has been wonderfully enlarged. Nations send the products of their soil and machinery, where once they sent armies; and such a web of common interests has been woven, that hostilities can spring up in no corner of the civilized world, without deranging in a measure the order and industry of every other state,
Undoubtedly we have here a promise of peace; but let us not be too sanguine. We have just begun this career, and we know not its end. Let wealth grow without a corresponding growth of the temperate, just and benevolent spirit of Christianity, and I see few auguries but of evil. Wealth breeds power, and power always tempts to wrong. Communities, which at once grow rich and licentious, breed desperate men, unprincipled adventurers, restless spirits, who unsettle social order at home, who make freedom a cloak and instrument of ambition, and find an interest in embroiling their country with foreign foes. Another consequence of growing prosperity, is the rapid growth of population; and this, in the absence of Christian restraints and Christian principles, tends to pauperism and crime, tends to make men cheap, and to destroy the sacredness of human life; and communities are tempted to throw off this dangerous load, this excess of numbers, in foreign war. In truth, the vices which fester in the bosom of a prosperous, licentious, over-peopled state, are hardly less fearful than those of war, and they naturally seek and find their punishment in this awful calamity. Let us not speak of industry, commerce and wealth, as ensuring peace. Is commerce never jealous and grasping? Have commercial states no collisions? Have commercial rights never drawn the sword in self-defence? Are not such states a tempting prey ? And have they no desire to prey on others ? Why then expect from trade alone peace among nations ? Nothing, nothing can bind nations together but Christian justice and love. I insist on this the more earnestly, because it is the fashion now to trust for every good to commerce, industry, and the wonderful inventions which promise indefinite increase of wealth. With all our ingenuity, we can frame no machinery for manufacturing wisdom, virtue, peace. Rail-roads and steam-boats cannot speed the soul to its perfection. This must come, if it come at all, from each man's action on himself, from “hunger and thirst after righteousness.” not after wealth ; and I do fear, that without some great spiritual revolution, without some new life and love breathed into the church, without some deep social reforms, men will turn against each other their new accumulations of power; that their wealth and boasted inventions will be converted into weapons of destruction; that the growing prosperity of nations will become the nutriment of more wasteful wars, will become fuel for more devouring fires of ambition or revenge,
3. Another cause of the recent long cessation of foreign wars, has been the dread of internal convulsions, of civil wars. of revolution has, more or less, penetrated the whole civilized world. The grand idea of Human Rights has found its way even into despotisms. Kings have less confidence in their subjects and soldiers. Their thrones totter; and it is understood that the next general war will be a war not of nations, but of principles, that absolutism must measure swords with liberalism, despotism with free constitutions; and from this terrible encounter both parties recoil.
The spirit We believe that, with or without war, liberal principles and institutions are destined to advance, to make the conquest of Europe; and it is thought, that these, being recognitions of human rights, will be less prodigal of human blood than absolute power. But can we hope, that these, unsanctioned, unsustained by the Christian spirit, will ensure peace? What teaches our own experience ? Because free, have we no wars ? What indeed is the free spirit of which we so much boast ? Is it not much more a jealousy of our own rights, than a reverence for the rights of all ? Does it not consist with the inflictions of gross wrongs? Does it not spoil the Indian, and enslave the African? Is it not anxious to spread bondage over new regions? Who can look on this free country, distracted by parties, rent by local jealousies, in some districts administering justice by mobs, and silencing speech and the press by conflagration and bloodshed, who can see this free country, and say, that liberal opinions and institutions are of themselves to banish war ? No where are the just, impartial, disinterested principles of Christianity so much needed as in a free state. No where are there more elements of strife to be compose more passions to be curbed, more threatened wrongs to be repressed. Without Christian principle, freedom may swell the tide of tumults and war.
4. One other cause will probably be assigned by some for the long cessation of hostilities—the greater success of statesmen in securing that long sought good among nations, the balance of power. Be it so. But how soon may this balance be disturbed ? How does it tremble now ? Europe has long been threatened by the disproportionate growth of Russia, which, many fear, is one day to grasp at universal empire. All Europe is interested in setting bounds to this half-civilized despotism. But the great absolute powers, Prussia and Austria, dreading more the progress of liberal opinions than of Russian hordes, may throw themselves into her scale, and be found fighting with her the battles of legitimacy against free institutions. Many wise men dismiss these fears as vain. I presume not to read the future. My single object is, to show the uncertainty of all means of abolishing war, unless joined with, and governed by the spreading spirit of our disinterested faith. No calculations of interest, no schemes of policy, can do the work of love, of the spirit of human brotherhood: There can be no peace without, but through peace within. Society must be an expression of the souls of its members. Man's character moulds his outward lot. His destiny is woven by the good or evil principles which bear rule in his breast. I indeed attach importance to all the causes of peace which I have now stated. They are far from powerless; but their power will be spent in vain unless by a mightier and diviner energy, by the force of moral and religious principles, the strength of disinterested love, the true spirit of the gospel breathed into individuals, and through whole communities.
AMERICAN PEACE SOCIETY, BOSTON, MASS.
A SOLEMN REVIEW OF WAR.
BY NOAH WORCESTER, D. D.
We regard with horror the custom of the ancient heathens in offering their children a sacrifice to idols. We are shocked with the customs of the Hindoos in prostrating themselves before the car of an idol to be crushed to death; in burning women alive on the funeral piles of their husbands; in casting their children, a monthly sacrifice, into the Ganges to be drowned. We read with astonishment of the sacrifices made in Papal crusades, and in Mahometan and Hindoo pilgrimages. But that which is fashionable and popular in any country, is esteemed right and honorable, whatever may be its nature in the views of men better informed.
But while we look back, with a mixture of wonder, indignation and pity, on many of the customs of former ages, are we careful to inquire, whether some customs which we deem honorable, are not the effects of popular delusion? Is it not a fact, that one of the most horrid customs of savage men is now popular in every nation in Christendom? What custom of the most barbarous nations is more repugnant to the feelings of piety, humanity and justice, than that of deciding controversies between nations by the edge of the sword, by powder and ball, or the point of the bayonet? What other savage custom has occasioned half the desolation and misery to the human race? And what, but the grossest infatuation, could render such a custom popular among rational beings?
When we consider how great a part of mankind have perished by the hands of each other, and how large a portion of human calamity has resulted from war, it surely cannot appear indifferent, whether this custom is or is not the effect of delusion. Certainly there is no custom which deserves a more thorough examination, than that which has occasioned more slaughter and misery than all the other abominable customs of the heathen world.
War has been so long fashionable amongst all nations, that its enormity is little regarded ; or, when thought of at all, it is usually considered as an evil necessary and unavoidable; but cannot the state of society and the views of civilized men be so changed as to abolish so barbarous a custom, and render wars unnecessary and avoidable ?
Some may be ready to exclaim, 'none but God can produce such an effect as the abolition of war; and we must wait for the millennial day. We admit that God only can produce the necessary change in the state of society, and the views of men; but God works by human agency and human means. None but God could have produced such a change in the views of the British nation, as to abolish the slave-trade; yet the event was brought about by a long course of persevering and honorable exertions of benevo