« PreviousContinue »
But to return to the islands of the Pacific, we see there the Christian religion preached in all its primitive simplicity and purity. No favour is shewn to the previous religion of the natives. Their customs, manners, practices, are all condemned and reprobated, and we see the consequences. “ The word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing, even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit.” Every thing is changed. What was their glory, is now their shame. War has ceased : and the warrior's spear, now valuable only for its materials, taken to plant potatoes and rail the pulpit stairs.
In view of these facts, what ought to be, the reflections of professing Christians, in this favoured land ? How are their virtues eclipsed by these tawny sons of the “farthermost isles !” Is the gospel preached to us in its purity? If so, why not the same resuits? Why this hum of busy preparation for war? Why, in time of profound peace, do we see Christians—yes professors buckling on their armour, and perhaps spending the Sabbath ove in preparation for the Mon
day's muster? Some in regimentals and with arms, passed my house on the Sabbath for the muster field_but these could hardly be Christians.
If, indeed, we believe like some, that men ' are without souls, and that they perish like
the horses, that rush with them into the deadly conflict, we might console ourselves with the reflection, that their sufferings are soon to end, and therefore to effect a pacific change, is hardly worth the effort. Or if we believe that mankind are not moral agents, and that they are hurried on by a fatal necessity to blood and slaughter, that their carcases may feed the vulture and the wolf, we might despair of effecting a change. i
Or if we thought, that warriors, while agitated by all the most direful passions, and those passions heightened into madness by the intoxicating draught of mixed rum and gun-powder-which, worse than the fabled cup of Circe, transforms them not into brutes merely, but into devils-and breathing out revenge and wrath, and dealing death and destruction in this state, while their bodies are shivered to atoms by the bursting of a
bomb, or flung into the air by the springing of a mine, their souls ascend to the blissful seats of paradise, to enjoy the smiles of that God who is love, and to hear the joyful sentence of " Come
Father ;" and so, at once, be transformed into angels of light. I say, were these our sentiments, we might glory in war as the noblest employ, ment of man, kindly hastening his fellow creatures to eternal happiness; and might imagine, that God had set the Devil to do the work of Gabriel—that a battle was the harvest of Heaven, and the reaping of it committed to Moloch.
But for those, who believe that the wicked shall be turned into hell—that they shall hear the dreadful sentence, depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels—that they shall go away into everlasting punishment-where their worm dieth not and their fire shall never be quenched and shall awake to shame and everlasting contempt-unto the resurrection of damnation —where shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth --that murderers shall have their part in the lake that barneth with fire and brimstone
that the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever--and that they shall go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched
say, how is it possible for those who believe these truths, so often repeated in the Bible, to approve of war on any account, or of declaring and waging war for any consideration whatever.
O the tremendous consequences of a single battle! how must it people the abodes of misery with friends and foes! We are commanded to pray for our enemies : how can we then glory in sending them to hell !
What responsibility rests on those persons who believe these truths, and yet stir not a finger to assist the cause of “ peace on earth and good will toward men !” “ To him who knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, it is sin." Especially, what awful responsibility rests on those ministers, who from fear of man, shun to declare the whole counsel of God -how inconsistent their conduct! But inconsistency is peculiar to no sect; for while some orthodox believers oppose the principles of peace, some universalists give thema their hearty approbation and concurrence.
NOTES OF A SERMON ON THE PRINCIPLES OF
THE PEACE SOCIETIES, PREACHED IN ENGLAND, BY A. BAPTIST MINISTER, FEB. 17, 1822.
It is pleasing to observe that in Europe, and particularly in Great Britain, all denominations unite in the great cause of permanent and universal peace. In the late reports from that country, we find that the offices of many of the societies are filled by ministers of different sects, so that the episcopalian can unite with the independent, and both with the baptist and methodist, in forwarding the great and glorious work.
The limits of a newspaper essay will not allow us to give the whole of this interesting sermon, nor to touch on another sermon, on the same subject, delivered at the same place by the same.preacher; and some of the most interesting parts of that which we now quote must be omitted, on account of the intimate connexion which binds them to the whole. The following are less connected, and there