Page images

of disease that ever swept over the earth. Survey the butcheries of the batile-field — 50,000 at Eylau; 80,000 at Borodino; 300,00) at Arbela ; 400,000 of the enemy alone by Julius Cæsar in a single engagement; more than 5,000,000 in the invasion of Greece by Xerxes ; 1,600,000 by Jenghiz-khan in the district of Herat, 1,760,000 in two other cities with their dependencies, and, during the last twenty-seven years of his reign, an average of more than 500,000 every year ! Look at the French butcheries in Spain or Portugal under Napoleon. Peaceful inhabitants massacred without distinction or mercy! “Often were the ditches along the line of their march,” says an eye-witness, “ literally filled with clotted, coagulated blood as with mire; the dead bodies of peasants, put to death like dogs, were lying there horribly mangled ; little naked infants of a year old or less, were found besmeared in the mud of the road, transfixed with bayonet-wounds; matrons and young women dead with cruel, shameful wounds; and priests hanged on the trees by the way-side like felons !!”

Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. But can the soldier do this, and still continue his trade of human butchery ? Love is said to be the fulfilling of the law because it worketh no ill to his neighbor ; but the soldier is required, as a matter of alleged duty, to do his neighbor all the ill he can! He is hired for this sole purpose; and he must do it, or die himself for neglect of duty!! Whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you,


ye even so to them. But would you like to have a gang of men burn your dwelling over your head, butcher your whole family, and then send a bullet or a bayonet through your own heart? This is the whole business of war; its grand maxim is to do unto others just what we would not have done to ourselves. Avenge _not yourselves. Is not war a vast engine of vengeance ?

t proceeds in all cases on the principle of injuring others, either because they have injured us, or because we fear they will, unless we prevent it by injuring them in advance Love your enemies. War requires and almost compels us to hate them. Do good unto all men. War does them evil, only evil. Lay aside all malice. War cherishes malice. Overcome evil with good. War overcomes evil only with evil. Whoso smiteth thee on one cheek, turn to him the other also. War bids us kill the man that smites us, or attempts to smite us.

Imagine a soldier repeating the Lord's prayer. Our Father in heaven! And does the soldier, while butchering men, women and children, think to resemble Him who sendo eth rain upon the evil as well as the good, and causeth his sun to rise alike on the just and the unjust ? Hallowed be thy name. Hallow God's name by plunder and bloods'ed! Thy kingdom come. That kingdom which consisteth in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, come by theft and violence, by the bloody strife and countless miseries of war! Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. By hating, robbing, and killing his brethren! Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Forgive by doing them all the injury in our power! Would soldiers like to be forgiven in this way — by God's making them as miserable as he can? Thus the soldier, if he prays consistently, must ask God to help him plunder, and burn, and ravage, and kill, and commit almost every species of wickedness! Should the pirate pray for success, would he not ask for the very same things?

Let us learn the soldier's duties (!) from Suwarrow's Catechism, a series of directions by that great general to his soldiers. “ Push hard with the bayonet. The ball will lose its way; the bayonet never. The ball is a fool; the bayonet a hero. Stab once; and off with the Turk from the bayonet! Stab the second! Stab the third! A hero will stab half a dozen! If three attack you, stab the first, fire on the second, and bayonet the third!”

Are such things only perversions of war? No; they are inseparable from any of its forms; and as well might you talk of fire without heat, as of a war without fraud, and rubbery, and murder, and misery by wholesale. Do you deem it possible for the deeds of war to be done from good motives, in a Christian spirit? What! burn villages, plunder cities, butcher men, women and children, send thousands at once into eternity in unforgiven guilt, all from motives acceptable to a God of peace and love! A Christian way to do such things! A way in which Paul or Christ would have done them!!

Now, tell us the difference between what are called offensive and defensive wars. Do they not both cherish the same spirit, employ the same means, perpetrate the same atrocities, and inflict the same miseries? Wherein do they differ? If government cannot license us to blaspheme God, and worship idols, can it authorize us to break those precepts of the Bible which every species of war must trample in the dust?

Reader, are you a disciple of the Prince of Peace? How then can you have any thing to do with such a system of wholesale robbery and murder? Are you a parent? Can you train your children to the love and practice of war ? Are you a teacher ? Can you instruct your pupils in the science of human butchery, or fill them with a thirst for the glory of plunder and bloodshed? Are you an ambassador of the Prince of Peace? Is it consistent for you to act as a military chaplain? Would you be chaplain to å horde of robbers, or a gang of pirates?






* How apt,

The evils of war none will deny; but not a few seem to doubt the possibility of abolishing a custom so long-continued, so deeply rooted in the worst passions of mankind, and so universally wrought into the very texture of society and government. Our object is so good, they will not oppose us; but they have so little faith in its practicability as to withhold their active co-operation, and even tell us, we might as well think to chain up the lightning, or hold down the earthquake, as dream of banishing war from such a world as ours.

This skepticism is not peculiar to the cause of peace. We can hardly name an enterprise of benevolence or reform, that was not obliged at its outset to encounter the same obstacle from multitudes even of good men. says Dr. Rush, "are mankind to brand as visionary every proposition for innovation. There never was an improvement in any art or science, nor a proposal for meliorating the condition of man in any age or country, that has not been considered as an Utopian scheme.” The present methods of treating the small-pox, fevers, and other diseases, were at first viewed, not only with distrust, but absolute horror; and every one knows, that efforts in the cause of temperance, and for the abolition of the slave-trade, were for a time regarded as utterly visionary and hopeless. The use of the magnet in navigation, the application of steam to mechanical purposes, a multitude of inventions and improvements, now familiar as household words, were at first treated with utter incredulity and contempt. Our own Congress refused Fulton the use of the Representatives' Hall, to explain his scheme of applying steam to navigation. What,' said members of the French cabinet to Fulton, when soliciting their patronage, 'do you presume to think you can ever propel a boat by steam, at the rate of four miles an hour? Yes, indeed,' replied the enthusiast; and if you'll furnish me the means, I will eventually reach even six miles

[blocks in formation]

an hour. The wise men of France turned their backs on the poor inventor , and, in less than twenty years, thousands of steam-vessels, moving at the rate not of six, but fifteen or twenty miles an hour, were every where proclaiming the enthusiast to have been far wiser than the skeptic, and infinitely more useful to mankind.

But what do the friends of peace seek to accomplish ? Only the abolition of war among nations professedly Christian. Here is our whole object. We dream not of extending our efforts beyond the limits of Christendom; we rely for success entirely on the gospel as God's sovereign remedy for all the moral maladies of mankind; and our highest hopes will be realized when war shall be banished from every

Christian land, and peace be made, as a part of our religion, to go hand in hand with the gospel over the whole earth, and the world thus be,—what it never yet has been in a single case, though it ought to have been in every case,-converted to peace as fast as it shall be to God.

Now, is such an object unattainable? Do you really think it impossible for peace to prevail wherever the gospel itself does? If so, where lies the impossibility! In the nature of man? Then show us in what part of his nature. In his intellect, his conscience, his heart? Has he any principle, any passion, any habit, that defies the utmost power of God's truth and spirit? No; none of his faults are absolutely incorrigible; and, if war be the work of men, it surely can be done away by a right use of the requisite To suppose the contrary would be


libel on human nature, and an impious limitation of His power who hath the hearts of all entirely in his hands, and doeth his pleasure alike in the armies of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth.

Let us look next at the nature of war itself, and see if we can find there any thing to forbid the possibility of its abolition. It is a custom; and all customs are from their very nature subject to the will of men, liable to change, and capable of being entirely reformed. These properties are essential to any custom, and include of course the possibility of its abolition.

I know very well how common it has been, if it is not still, to represent war, unlike any other custom, as a natural, necessary evil that can be resisted no better than a pestilence, a tempest, or an earthquake. Strange misconception! Did you ever hear of a war, without any human


agency, bursting upon mankind like lightning from the · cloud, or like the eruptions of a volcano ? Does it, like a tornado or the cholera, spring from causes beyond our control ? A war without human hearts to will it, or human hands to carry it on! Is it not so entirely dependent on the will of men as to come and go just at their bidding? Is there any physical necessity which compels them, whether they will or not, to butcher one another ? Such questions answer themselves, and prove that war comes solely from the wrong choice of men, and must of necessity cease whenever they shall choose to discard it. Can civilized, Christian nations never be persuaded to abstain from the wholesale butchery of one another as a means of settling their disputes ? The advocates of war tell us they never can be; but we, relying on the corrigibility of human nature, fully believe they can be thus persuaded, and will be, under the influences of the gospel rightly applied.

But do you still plead for the necessity of war? Necessary for what?. For the gratification of bad passions ? But these passions may be restrained, or taught to gratify themselves in other ways than the wholesale butcheries of war. Necessary for the vindication of our rights, for the redress of our wrongs, for the protection of our interests? Better means than the sword for all these purposes are clearly possible, and fast coming to be adopted.* Necessary for a nation's honor ! The plea of the duellest ; and, when public sentiment shall be thoroughly Christianized, it will be as disgraceful for a nation to wage war, as it is now in New England to fight a duel. Necessary for the safety of nations? All their danger arises from the war-system itself; and, were that system universally relinquished, there would be no aggression to resist. War necessary because nations have been so long accustomed to it? This argument would prove the impossibility of any reform, improvement or change. If war cannot be abolished because it has continued so long, then every form of idolatry, all the barbarous customs of our own ancestors, all the errors and sins of past ages, must have remained to this hour. War necessary because nations recognize no other arbiter of their disputes ? The assertion is not strictly true at the present day, since they are at length beginning to employ other umpires; but, if it were true, it would not disprove the possibility of superseding this custom. Once individuals had no other means than brute violence for the redress of their wrongs,

« PreviousContinue »