« PreviousContinue »
son's preservation, perhaps that son was gasping in agony."
“We know that many thousands rushed into this fight, even of those who had been instructed in our own religious principles, without leisure for one serious thought ; and that some officers were killed in their ball dresses. They made a leap into the gulph which divides two worlds, the present from the immutable state, without one parting prayer, or one note of preparation.”
- As I looked over this field now green with growing corn, I could mark with my eye, by the verdure of the wheat, spots where the most desperate carnage had taken place. The bodies had been heaped together, and scarcely more than covered. And so enriched is the soil, in these spots, that the grain never ripens; it grows rank and green to the end of harvest. This touching memorial, which endures when the thousand groans have expired, and when the stain of human blood has faded from the ground, still seems to cry to Heaven, that there is awful guilt somewhere, and a terrific reckoning for those, who had caused destruction, which the earth would not conceal. These
hills of superabundant vegetation, as the wind rustled through the corn, seemed the most affecting monuments which nature could devise, and gave a melancholy animation to this plain of death."
What an awful preparation for eternity! in such habiliments, on such a day, in such a frame of mind, reeking with the blood of their fellow creatures, breathing out rage, revenge, and madness, to rush uncalled, into the presence of their Judge, while in the very act of violating all his commands, and defy-. ing his vengeance !
Yes, there is “awful guilt” somewhere ; and, reader, you are probably a partaker in that guilt. What brought these armies to this fatal shock,--so fatal to thousands ? A love of military glory. Who has fed and pampered this love of glory? Every one, who endeavors to keep up a military spirit, -who delights to inflame the minds of youth by military parade ? Every one, who honors warriors merely as such ; who praises military exploits, without regard to end or object; and especially every one, whether parent, guardian, or instructer, who imbues the infant mind with such anti-christian po
tions, or who does not take care to eradicate them as fast as developed, bas incurred this awful guilt ; and though he cannot properly be called accessary to the crimes which are past, he is accessary to those which may come, for “he who sows the wind shall reap the whirlwind."
THE DOCTRINES AND PRACTICE OF THE EARLY
CHRISTIANS AS THEY RELATE TO WAR.
It has been 'my 'intention, for some time past, to prepare an essay on the above subject ; but after having taken some notes, and laid up some matter; I find that I can do nothing so well, as to give my readers extracts from the “ Tract No. 3, of the Society for the Promotion of Permanent and Universal Peace," written by the celebrated Clark
" Accustomed, as Christians have been, for many centuries, to consider the profession of arms as singularly honorable, and martial achievements, however bloody, as
But it may
the most glorious of human exploits, it must be difficult for them to see the following passages of Scripture, through a clear, pure, and uncorrupted medium ; viz. "I say unto you, resist not evil; love
enemies ; do good to them that hate, and pray for them that despitefully use and persecute you." The prejudices of some, the interests of others, and custom with all, have induced a general belief, that these, and similar passages, have no relation to wars. be important to all, but more particularly to those who desire to be accounted real followers of Christ, to know in what manner their first Fathers, the early Christians, understood ther. ; to know how those persons understood them, who were converted by the Apostles themselves, or who had opportunities of interpretation from the very lips of their immediate successors; who believed with all their hearts, that the New Testament was of divine origin; that the precepts it contained were not to be dispensed with to suit particular cases, without the imputation of evil, and who chose rather to die by the hand of the public executioner, than to do that which appeared to them to be wrong.
Now we intend to furnish the reader with such knowledge, and to prove to him, that long after the introduction of the Christian Religion into the world, that is, while the lamp of Christianity burnt pure and bright, not only the Fathers of the Church held it unlawful for Christians to bear arms, but those, who came within the pale of it, abstained from the use of them, and this to the certain loss of their lives, and that it was not till Christianity became corrupted, that its followers became soldiers."
“With respect to the opinions of the first Christian Writers after the Apostles, or of
nose who are usually called the Fathers of the Church, relative to War, I believe we shall find them alike for nearly three hundred years, if not for a longer period.”
We must now leave out the authorities, which the author has detailed at considera-- ble length, and barely give the names of the fathers and their opinions.
Justin the martyr considered war unlawful, and the devil the author of all war.
Tatian speaks in the same terms, on the same subject.
CLEMENS of Alexandria is also decisive against the lawfulness of war.