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amount? He did not bid the soldiers abandon their occupation; nor did Christ tell the woman of Samaria to cease from her adulteries, or any others to relinquish the business in which they had been engaged. The grossest idolatry formed a part of the Roman military service. Did John's answer justify that? “ Do violence to no man, and be content with your wages," said the Baptist; and what sort of a soldier would he be who should “do violence to no
• But the New Testament nowhere condemns war by name.'—We deny the assertion; but, if true, what does it prove? The New Testament does not in this way condemn polygamy or concubinage, gambling or suicide, duelling, the slave-trade or piracy; but does the gospel allow such practices merely because it does not denounce them by name? It does condemn what constitutes them, every one of their moral elements; a mode of condemnation much less equivocal, and far more decisive.
Equally futile is the plea, that neither Christ nor his Apostles ever expressly censured the profession of arms.-Nor did they thus censure other professions or employments; and this argument, if it proves any thing, would justify almost every species of wickedness prevalent in their day. Because our Savior did not condemn the religion of the Syrophenician woman that came to him, Matt. xv. 21—28, does the gospel sanction idolatry? Because he did not reprove the woman of Samaria at Jacob's well, for the adultery and concubinage in which she had lived for years, John iv. 7–30, are we to regard his silence in the case as an approval of such things ? Because he did not expressly condemn the former profession even of the penitent Magdalene, Luke vii. 37–50, does the gospel connive at harlotry? Surely a cause must be hard pushed, that seeks refuge in such sophistries.
Essentially the same answer may be given to the case of the “centurion having soldiers under him,” who besought that his servant might be healed, and of whom our Savior said, “I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel,” Matt. viii. 5—13; and to the still more striking case of “Cornelius, a centurion, a devout man, one that feared God, gave much alms, and prayed to God always, Acts x. 1–35. Make the most of these cases; and what do they prove ? Merely that men, under the Jewish dispensation to which they both belonged at the time, might be devout, and still remain soldiers; a position which nobody disputes. Neither Christ nor Peter says a word respecting their profession, but they leave us to determine in other ways whether it is consistent with the gospel; their usual mode of treating the former profession or employment of converts to Christianity. Idolatry was an essential part of the profession of those centurions; and, if the notice taken of them as devout men, proves the military part to be right, it equally proves the idolatrous part to be so. The truth is, those men were first soldiers, then Christians; nor have we the slightest proof that they remained in the profession of arms, but strong presumptive evidence that they relinquished it, both from the idolatrous rites: stách ít ez pési, and from the fact that there is so authentic Tecni in se tug or we is CERTES, I a singie Caristian com as De trace DIK.
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We are reuocet, MWEVET, of our sty to obey ciri goretement as “an org.sance of Goc:" and bence the a..eged nga and even obligatin of Canstians to engage in war at the call of their Tiets.mo*, tere is ma is a. ue Sew Testament a sable that require or permis ds to Shes God at we b.doing of our rulers, and bin Christ, bis Assanti ai his ears Cisciples, பாlaniy refused, at ur frzard of ten ira, whes are requsition of citii guvernment that iingie CSDDECience to God. The question then returns, des te goste: a.* war: If so, then we my wage it at the crasani of Gurriers, but, if not, no buman autority can make it right for us to do so.
• But our Savior himsef barie his cuscipes procure swords eren by selling their gaments.' Lake uii. 35–33; Matt xxvi51–53.We will not here attempt a foli explanation of this rexed passage; it is enough for our present purpose to say, that no interpretation can make it sanction any use of the sword even in self-defence. When one of his disciples said, “ Lord, here are two swords," he replied, “ it is enough. Two swords enough to arm twelve men against the whole power of the governo.ent arrayed against them!! When one of them, at the crisis of danger, asked, “ Lord, shall we smite with the sword?" he gave no answer that is recorded; but his influence in restraining the disciples from violence, proves again that he did not design the effusion of blood. Nor did he need the sword for his protection, since he might at will have brought to his rescue “more than twelve legions of angels." When Peter, mistaking his Master's design, or yielding to his own passions, drew his sword, and smote the servant's ear, Christ performed a miracle to heal the wound, and added this de cisive rebuke of violent self-defence,“ put up thy sword; for all they that take the sword, shall perish by the sword.” When brought before Pilate, and taunted for his easy surrender by his disciples, he states the reason why they did not fight in his defence: “ My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews.” John xviii. 35, 36. Can any thing be plainer than that our Savior did not, in this whole transaction, countenance any use of the sword ?
But war is occasionally expedient, even indispensable to our liberties, and our very existence as a nation. —These points we are not now arguing. We simply inquire whether the gospel
sanctions war; and the moment you begin to plead its expediency or necessity, you abandon the Bible, and virtually concede that you cannot justify the custom from its pages. Does the gospel any where permit us to wage war when we deem it expedient or even necessary? If so, we may; but, if not, then no degree of expediency or necessity can prove it consistent with the gospel.
The Bible, however, allows to government what forbids to individuals.'— True, in some cases it does; but in such cases there is a clear exception in favor of government. Government, as the representative of associated individuals, is regarded by all writers on international law, and by the common sense of the world, as a moral person, subject to the same obligations with individuals in all cases not excepted by God himself; and, unless he has expressly exempted government, the general principles of the gospel are just as binding upon rulers as upon subjects. Every precept of his word, unless an exception is made in their favor expressly, or from the nature of the case, is as applicable to nations as to individuals, and bind the former as truly as they do the latter. God has no where prescribed one set of moral principles for individuals, and another for nations or governments; and, unless the general principles of his word are obligatory alike on them both, the latter have no obligations to bind them, and no rules to guide them.
The apologists for war are very fond of representing it as a judicial trial, a process of justice, a mode of condign punishment.”—This plea is quite plausible; but will facts justify it? In every judicial trial, we see first a law common to the parties ; next a judge and jury as umpires between them; then the accuser in presence of the culprit, stating his charges, and bringing witnesses to prove them; and finally, the sentence delivered and executed according to law. Is war like this? Where is the law common to both parties? Where the umpires to whose decision they refer the points in dispute ? Where the process of proving the charges by fair testimony ? Where the verdict of the jury, or the sentence of the judge? Where the penalty inflicted on the guilty alone after legal conviction? There is not in war even the shadow of any thing like this; the plea is as sheer a fiction as was ever conceived ; and we might as well speak of a duel, a street brawl, or a fight between two madmen or a dozen tigers, as a process of justice.
But we are confidently referred to the passage which speaks of civil government as ordained of God, and of the magistrate as a minister of God, armed with the sword to execute wrath upon evildoers, Rom. xiii. 1–7.-Now, the whole aim of this passage is to enforce the duty of implicit submission to government, though it be as bad as that of Nero himself then on the throne ;-a principle which cuts up by the roots the assumed right of armed resistance and revolution, which all advocates of defensive war take for granted. The Apostle is prescribing the duty, not of rulers, but of subjects alone, and authorizes only by implication, if at all, merely the sword of the magistrate, not the sword of the warrior; the sword being used here, not as an instrument of death, but only as an emblern of authority. He is looking, not at the intercourse of one nation with another, but solely at the relation and duties of subjects to their own governments. Not a word does he say about international wars; nor does the passage express or involve a solitary principle that would, in our opinion, justify any species of war. The most it can possibly mean, is that government may enforce its laws upon its own subjects, and punish them at discretion for disobedience.
Yet it may be said, for it has been, that this right of government to punish or restrain its own subjects by force, involves the right of war. Here is the pivot of the whole controversy ; and on this point we join issue, and contend, that the right, if admitted, to infict capital punishment, and to use the sword in suppressing mobs and insurrections, does not include in itself the right of one nation to wage war with another nation under any circumstances whatever. If individuals come from a foreign country, and commit robbery, murder, or any other crimes, they become of course amenable to our laws as transient citizens, and the government clearly has a right to punish them in the same way it would offenders from its own subjects. But war is not an 'affair between individuals and governments ; it is a conflict between GOVERNMENTS THEMSELVES; and the agents employed in carrying it on, are treated, not as individuals, but as representatives of their respective governments. What then is the sole point of inquiry ? Not how government may treat its own subjects, but how one saTioN may treat Another nation. The former is the government question, the latter the peace question; points entirely distinct, and ought never to be confounded.
Take an illustration. As the head of a family, I will suppose I have a right from God to punish my children; but this right does not authorize me to punish my ncighbor's children, much less will it justify bloody contention between the two families. My authority is restricted to my own household; and from what I may lawfully do there, you cannot argue to what I may do to any other family. They are distinct, independent domestic communities under the protection of a government common to them both; if one injures the other, redress must be sought in the way which that government prescribes; and their duties and rights in respect to one another must be determined, not by what the father of each family may do in his own sphere, but by the laws under which they live. If these laws permit families to fight each other, then have they such a right, so far as the government over them can give it; and on the same principle, if the government of God, the only one over nations, allows them to war against each other, then, and only then, have they a right from God to do so.
Such is the application of our argument. From what a government may properly do to its own subjects, we cannot infer what it may rightly do to another government. Like families under a civil government, they are placed under the common jurisdiction of Jehovah, and must consult his will to learn by what means they may lawfully protect their rights, and redress their wrongs; and thus
we come back once more to the question, still unsettled, whether the gospel authorizes nations to wage war in any case.
Before proceeding to the New Testament, let us make some preliminary statements which few, if any will gainsay:
1. The deeds of war, in themselves considered, are confessedly forbidden in the Bible, and can be justified only on the ground, that government has a right in war to reverse or suspend the enactments of Heaven. The New Testament gives no such right.
2. The spirit of war is acknowledged by all to be contrary to that of the gospel. But can we have war without its spirit ? What is the spirit of any custom or act but the moral character of that custom or act? Blasphemy without the spirit of blasphemy! Intemperance and adultery, injustice and oppression, fraud and theft
, robbery and piracy, all without the spirit of such practices, all from motives directly opposed to their very nature !! The supposition is an insult to common sense; and we wonder how any sane man should dream of perpetrating the deeds of war without the spirit of war, and imagine he can destroy property, life and happiness by wholesale from motives of pure benevolence! Kill men just for their own benefit! Send them to perdition for their good !! Tremendous logic; yet the only sort of logic that ever attempts to reconcile war with the gospel; a logic that would fain make the veriest hell upon earth a nursery of pure, benevolent affections, and require us to suppose, that thousands of cut-throats by profession, generally unprincipled and reckless, fierce, irascible and vindictive, the tigers of society, will shoot, and stab, and trample one another down in the full exercise of Christian patience, forgiveness and love !!
3. The qualities required of warriors, are the reverse of those which characterize the Christian. Even Paley, the ablest champion of war, avers that “no two things can be more different than the Heroic and the Christian characters ;" and then proceeds to exhibit the two in striking contrast as utterly irreconcilable. Must not war itself be equally incompatible with Christianity ?
4. Wars of aggression all now condemn; but the New Testament makes no distinction between offensive and defensive wars.
5. The gospel enjoins no virtue which the soldier may not discard without losing his military rank or reputation; nor does it forbid a solitary vice which he may not practise without violating the principles of war.
6. While the gospel prescribes rules for every lawful relation and employment in life, it lays down not a single principle applicable to the soldier's peculiar business, and evidently designed for his use. If war is right, why this studious avoidance, this utter neglect of its agents ?
7. The Old Testament predicts that the gospel will one day banish war from the earth forever. But, if consistent with Christianity, how will the gospel ever abolish it? The gospel destroy what it sanctions and supports !
8. The first Fathers of the church held war to be unlawful for Christians; and neither Christ, nor his Apostles, nor any of his