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sal and permanent reign of peace. We must restore the pacific principles of the gospel, and incorporate them once more, where Christ and his apostles left them, in the faith and character of his disciples as a body, before the spread of Christianity will insure the abolition of war. The gospel is a sovereign remedy for all the moral maladies of our world; but it must be applied to war, before it can cure this deep and deadly gangrene of our race.
It has not been applied for fifteen centuries; and so long as Christians persist in this neglect, we cannot expect to see peace coëxtensive with Christianity.
But do you ask what specific things must be done? Let every man cease from lending his countenance to the war-system in any way or degree, and every possible means be used to render it deeply and universally odious. Let every Christian examine the subject till his own views, feelings, and habits, are cast in the pacific mould of the gospel. Let the pulpit and the press proclaim, with trumpet-tongue, the folly, guilt, and horrors of war before every Christian community on earth. Let instructors in all Christian seminaries of learning, from the highest to the lowest, infuse the pacific principles of the gospel into the forming minds under their care. Let teachers in every Sabbath-school through the world do the same to their pupils. Let every parent train his children to a love of peace, and a deep, unmingled abhorrence of war. Let all classes, high and low, old and young, male and female, unite to bring this custom into general contempt and execration, as a mass of folly, sin, and misery. Such a process would soon bring war in Christendom to a perpetual end.
How much longer, then, will the friends. of God and man slumber over this subject? Will they never open their eyes to the abominations and miseries of war, and combine their efforts to sweep it from every land blest with the light of revelation? Can they still lend their countenance to such a wholesale destroyer of property, and life, and virtue, and religion, and immortal souls? Disciples of Jesus, we leave these questions on your conscience before the God of peace. Have you done what you could? Are you now doing all that you can? If not, will you keep hold of the subject till you learn and do your whole duty as a follower of the Prince of peace?
AMERICAN PEACE SOCIETY, BOSTON, MASS.
TESTIMONIES AGAINST WAR.
Wars come solely because men choose to have them; and, could we change the choice of the world on this subject, the custom would soon die of itself. Men can put an end to it whenever they please; and we wish so far to revolutionize the war-sentiments of mankind that they will no longer tolerate this terrible scourge. It has always resulted from a public opinion grossly perverted; this opinion in favor of war must be radically changed, before peace can become permanent or general; and, among other means adapted to produce such a change, we wish, as the friends of temperance have done in their cause, to show you how men the most distinguished in all ages for their learning, wisdom, and virtues, have regarded the custom of war.
We could not expect the heathen to denounce a custom so emphatically their own; yet we find the wisest and best of them reprobating it in the strongest terms. MINUTIUS calls it “ the part of a wild beast, not of man, to inquire how bite may be returned for bite, and evil for evil.” CICERO speaks of war, "contention by violence, as belonging to the brutes, and complains bitterly of its effects on liberal arts, and peaceful pursuits. “All our noble studies, all our reputation at the bar, all our professional assiduities, are stricken from our hands as soon as the alarm of war is sounded. Wisdom itself, the mistress of affairs, is driven from the field. Force bears sway.
The statesman is despised; the grim soldier alone is caressed. Legal proceedings cease. Claims are asserted and prosecuted, not according to law, but by force of arms."
Seneca, the great moralist of antiquity, is still more strong in his condemnation of war. “ How are we to treat our fellow-creatures ? Shall we not spare the effusion of blood ? How small a matter not to hurt him whom we are
bound by every obligation to do all the good in our power!
- Some deeds, which are considered as villanous while capable of being prevented, become honorable and glorious when they rise above the control of law. The very things which, if men had done them in their private capacity, they would expiate with their lives, we extol when perpetrated in regimentals at the bidding of a general. We punish murders and massacres committed among private persons; but what do we with wars, the glorious crime of murdering whole nations? Here avarice and cruelty know no bounds; enormities forbidden in private persons, are actually enjoined by legislatures, and every species of barbaríty authorized by decrees of the senate, and votes of the people.”
WARRIORS. The testimony of a warrior against his own profession is like the concessions of an enemy, or the confession of a criminal; but still we have heard a general of our own calling " a battle a hell," and NAPOLEON himself, in moments of chagrin and serious reflection, denouncing war as “the business of barbarians."
Sir Walter RalEIGH, a scholar, a statesman, and a soldier, declares “there is no profession more unpropitious than that of warriors. Besides the envy and jealousy of men, the spoils, rapes, famine, slaughter of the innocent, devastations and burnings, with a world of miseries laid on the laboring man, they are so hateful to God, as with good reason did Monluc, the Marshal of France, confess, that, were not the mercies of God infinite, it were in vain for those of his profession to hope for any portion of them, seeing the cruelties by them permitted and perpetrated are also infinite.'
The Buonaparte family was a nursery of warriors; yet from Louis BUONAPARTE we have, after
of experience and reflection, this indignant testimony against war: “I have been as enthusiastic and joyful as any one else after victory; still I confess that even then the sight of a field of battle not only struck me with horror, but even turned me sick. And now that I am advanced in life, I cannot understand, any more than I could at fifteen years of age, how beings who call themselves reasonable, and who have so much foresight, can employ this short existence, not in loving and aiding each other, and passing through it as
gently as possible, but in striving, on the contrary, to destroy each other, as though time did not do this with sufficient rapidity. What I thought at fifteen years of age, I still think, that war, and the pain of death which society draws upon itself, are but organized barbarisms, an inheritance of the savage state, disguised or ornamented by ingenious institutions, and false eloquence."
We might quote Wellington himself, the conqueror of Napoleon, deploring the evils of this custom,
and expressing his willingness, even by the sacrifice of his life, to prevent one month of war in a country to which he was attached ;” but it is more refreshing to hear such a patriotwarrior as our own WASHINGTON reflecting how much more delightful to an undebauched mind is the task of making improvements on the earth, than all the vain-glory which can be acquired from ravaging it by the most uninterrupted career of conquests. How pitiful, in the eye of reason and religion, is that false ambition which desolates the world with fire and sword, compared to the milder virtues of making our fellow-men as happy as their frail conditions and perishable natures will permit them to be! It is time for knight-errantry and mad heroism to be at an end.”
Immediately after the battle of Germantown, Warner Mimin, in behalf of the Quakers, carried to the opposing generals, Washington and Howe, the testimony of his brethren against war; and when Mifflin, after Washington was raised to the presidency of the United States, visited him in New York, the President, having received him with much respect, said, “Will you please, Mr. Mifflin, to inform me on what principles you were opposed to the Revolution ?” “Yes, Friend Washington; on the same principle that I should now be opposed to any change in this government. All that ever was gained by revolutions, is not an adequate compensation to the poor mangled soldier for the loss of life or limb” — how much more truly he might have added, " for the loss of his soul, a gem of more value than all the kingdoms of this world." Washington, after some pause and reflection, replied, "Mr. Mifflin, Í honor your sentiments; there is more in them than mankind have generally considered.”
MACCHIAVEL himself denounces war a profession by which men cannot live honorably; an employment by
which the soldier, if he would reap any profit, is obliged to be false, and rapacious, and cruel. Nor can any man, who makes war his profession, be otherwise than vicious. Have you not a proverb, that war makes villains, and peace brings them to the gallows ?”
LORD CLARENDON, illustrious in the annals of England, is very explicit in his denunciations of this custom. all the punishments and judgments which the provoked anger of the divine providence can pour out upon a nation full of transgressions, there is none so terrible and destroying as war. A whole city on fire is a spectacle replete with horror; but a whole kingdom on fire must be a prospect much more terrible. And such is every kingdom in war, where nothing flourishes but rapine, blood and murder. We cannot make a more lively representation and emblem to ourselves of hell, than by the view of a kingdom in war."
“ They who allow no war to be lawful, ha consulted both nature and religion much better than they who think it
may be entered into to comply with the ambition, covetousness, or revenge of the greatest princes and monarchs upon earth; as if God had inhibited only single murders, and left mankind to be massacred according to the humor and appetite of unjust and unreasonable men.
It is no answer to say, that this universal suffering is the inevitable consequence of war, however warrantably soever entered into, but rather an argument that no war can warrantably be entered into. It may be, upon a strict survey and inquisition into the elements and injunctions of the Christian religion, that no war will be found justifiable; and, at all events, what can we think of most of those wars which for some hundreds of years have infested the world so much to the dishonor of Christianity, and in which the lives of more men have been lost than might have served to people all those parts of the earth which yet remain without inhabitants ?”
NECKER, the great French financier, exclaims, “ With what impatience have I wished to discuss this subject, and to expatiate on the evils which always attend this terrible calamity! War, alas ! impedes the course of every useful plan, exhausts the sources of prosperity, and diverts the attention of governors from the happiness of nations. It even suspends, sometimes, every idea of justice and humanity; and, instead of gentle and benevolent feelings, it substitutes hostility and hatred, the necessity of oppression, and the rage of desolation.”