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path of obedience to him be found a path of safety both for individuals and for nations.
This point needs little proof; but take, an illustration from the Old Testament. God bade the Israelites, “thrice in a year shall all your man-children
appear before the Lord;" and he added the promise, “neither shall any man desire thy land when thou shalt go up to appear before the Lord thy God thrice in the year.” So the result proved; for a learned author assures us, " that the Hebrew territories remained free from invasions, while all the adult males three times every year went to the Tabernacle or the Temple, without leaving in their cities and villages any guard to protect them from foreign incursions ; and in no instance does there appear to have been any hostile attack made upon them at such times.”
The Bible is full of instances very like this; the history of God's ancient people exhibits a series of similar interpositions ; nor should we, from the nature of the case, expect any other result. If he knows what is best for us, can we suppose that a God of infinite love would enjoin upon us a course of conduct fatal to our welfare? The supposition would impeach every attribute of his character. If he hath the hearts of all entirely in his hand; if he doeth his pleasure in the armies of heaven, and among the inhabitants of earth ; if he controls every event from the falling of a sparrow to the revolutions of an empire and a world ; if all his attributes are pledged for the protection of such as obey his will, and trust his promises for safety ; can we doubt that he will fulfil those promises in their actual preservation from danger ?
To this question, the history not only of the Israelites, but of Christian missionaries in every age, gives a most triumphant answer. They have gone forth to combat the errors and sins of a world lying in wickedness; and while assailing time-hallowed prejudices, and thus provoking both anger and revenge, they have for the most part been safe under the invisible but omnipotent and almighty protection of Him who called them to such perilous, godlike services. Look at the herald of the cross. He is far away from his native land, with no promise or hope of safety from its power; he takes up his abode in Greenland or Caffraria, among savages and cannibals ; he has no means whatever of defence, but, like a lamb among wolves, is entirely at the mercy of men inured to blood, and steeled to compassion. Yet is the mis-, sionary safe even there. Trusting in his character, in his work, in his God, he walks unharmed, and sleeps without fear, in the midst of those whose chief business is the butchery of mankind. The warrior just returned from battle, the savage holding still in his hand the green scalps of his victims, the cannibal fresh from the taste of human flesh, all unite in spontaneous deference to the man of peace, the messenger of love from the Great Spirit to his wild, wandering children. There is no weapon of death in his hand, no word of menace on his lips, no scowl of defiance or malice on his brow; and the rude, untutored sons of nature welcome
him to their homes and their hearts, as one whom none must harm. Even in their bosoms we find a principle which reveres his character and mission of peace, and renders him far safer than he would be with all the bayonets of Christendom to guard him. We grant that missionaries have sometimes been persecuted, and have occasionally fallen victims; but we believe this has always resulted from some misapprehension of their real character and intentions. When these have been fully understood, the heralds of the cross, in the simple panoply of the gospel, have been safe, like those saints of old who passed unharmed through the fiery furnace. God has been their protector; and even in the lion's den have his Egedes and Eliots, his Brainerds and Martyns, walked fearless and secure, not merely because his providence guarded them, but because his hand had planted in men a principle which makes them spontaneously yield to the charms of goodness, to the welcome power of peace and love.
Let us look at some instances of providential protection. The natives of the South Sea Islands once came down upon the missionaries, with the intention of killing them, for the sole purpose of seizing their property which they coveted. The missionaries expostulated with them in vain ; they still persisted in their bloody design, and seemed on the point of carrying it into effect. God was the only resort; and the missionaries, turning towards each other, knelt in prayer, and expected every moment the warclub to dash out their brains. They rose at length from their knees; and the natives were gone! They feared an ambush, or some other stratagem, and searched for them with care, but could discover no traces of their assailants. They went to the seashore ; but the natives were not there. At length they met a little boy, of whom they inquired, where are all the people ?' " Why," said be,“ don't you know? They are gone to the other side of the island to hide themselves in the wood.” And how came they to do that?' “When they saw you praying,” replied the boy, “and heard you call on your God, and knew that he is a great and mighty God, they were afraid he would come down, and kill them all, and so they all ran away to hide themselves."
A case still more remarkable occurred at the siege of Copenhagen under Lord Nelson. An officer in the fleet says, “I was particularly impressed with an object which I saw three or four days after the terrific bombardment of that place. For several nights before the surrender, the darkness was ushered in with a tremendous roar of guns and mortars, accompanied by the whizzing of those destructive and burning engines of rfare, Congreve's rockets. The dreadful effects were soon visible in the brilliant lights through the city. The blazing houses of the rich, and the burning cottages of the poor, illuminated the heavens ; and the wide-spreading flames, reflecting on the water, showed a forest of ships assembled round the city for its destruction. This work of conflagration went on for several nights ; but the Danes at length surrendered ; and on walking some days after among
the ruins, consisting of the cottages of the poor, houses of the rich, manufactories, lofty steeples, and humble meeting-houses, I descried, amid this barren field of desolation, a solitary house unharmed; all around it a burnt mass, this alone untouched by the fire, a monument of mercy. Whose house is that? I asked. “That,' said the interpreter, “belongs to a Quaker. He would neither fight, nor leave his house, but remained in prayer with his family during the whole bombardment.' Surely, thought I, it is well with the righteous. God has been a shield to thee in battle, a wall of fire round about thee, a very present help in time of need.”
II. Such is God's care of the peace-maker; but let us glance at the natural tendency of his principles. Their power is peculiar and universal. They address some of the deepest, strongest elements in the nature of man. There is in innocence and love, in meekness, forbearance and forgiveness, in the spirit of self-sacrifice for others, in the principle of returning only good for evil, a charm which few can resist. Even the maniac, the beast of the forest, the very reptile at our feet, all feel its power. It allays passion; it disarms hatred; it checks revenge ; it subdues the felon and the savage. From every heart does it call back echoes of its own sweet and soothing voice. Like begets like ; and whatever spirit we breathe in our intercourse with others, we may expect them to manifest more or less of the same spirit towards ourselves. Hate them, and they will hate you ; love them, and you will ere long kindle in their bosoms an affection responsive to your own; curse them, and they will fling back your curses ; menace them, and you will rouse a spirit of stern defiance; assail them, and they will turn upon you in wrath ; do them either good or evil, and you may expect a return of your own treatment. You must first give to others what you wish from them. It is a law of our moral nature. Speak in harsh, angry tones to any man, and his first impulse will be to answer you in the same tones. Address words of respect and kindness to the veriest churl or brawler in the streets, and he will make an honest effort to treat you as well as you have treated him.
But weakness and innocence are their own protection, better far than lead and steel. "Throw an infant on the mercy of any man, civilized or savage; and, so far from killing it, he will instinctively respond to its claims upon his kindness and care. If that infant belongs to his enemy, he may wreak his vengeance on the latter by murdering the former; but the child, left to itself, he would spontaneously protect and cherish. No man assails, or challenges to mortal combat, a woman, a feeble old man, or a minister of the gospel. Whence their security ? They carry no weapons; they utter no threats; they have little or no power to defend themselves by force; they look for protection, nor look in vain, to the great principles of our nature. "In these there is far more power for such a purpose, than there is in any weapons of violence that a Hercules ever wielded ; and the feeblest, most defenceless, will generally be found to enjoy the greatest degree of safety. Even the iron tempest of war sweeps over them comparatively harmless. At the close of a battle, a soldier of the victorious army, more ferocious and reckless from the bloody work of the day, chanced to find a small boy on the field, and, very much from the habit of assailing whatever came in his way, lifted his sword to cleave him down, when the little fellow, looking up in his face, exclaimed, “O sir, don't kill me, I'm so little. Îhat simple appeal went to the warrior's heart; and returning his sword into its scabbard, he galloped away without harming the child. Some men there possibly may be who would have killed him; but scarce one man in a million would so outrage his own nature.
Men generally rely upon force; but there is, in truth, far more efficacy in persuasion. Æsop, in one of his fables, relates a contest between the sun and the north wind to see which should first disarm a certain traveller of his cloak. The wind blew, and the traveller wrapped his cloak more tightly about him ; it blew still more loudly, but he only held his cloak with a firmer grasp than ever; the fiercer the assault, the more vigorous and determined the resistance. The sun took an opposite course; he betrayed no purpose of violence, no symptoms of wrath, but spread over hill and valley the warmth of his purest, gentlest radiance; the traveller smiled, and at once yielded to persuasion what he had denied to force. Such is human nature; and a counterpart to this beautiful picture may be found all over the earth.
Universal experience proves the truth of this principle. You will find it at work every where ; and a man, known to be unarmed, would be safer even among robbers and assassins, pirates and savages, than he would with the most formidable weapons. Let us hear the deliberate judgment of one taught by long and familiar acquaintance with the worst specimens of humanity. "Spanish smugglers," says Raymond, " are as adroit as they are determined, are familiarized at all times with peril, and mareh in the very face of death. Their first movement is a never-failing shot, and certainly would be a subject of dread to most travellers ; for where are they to be dreaded more than in deserts where crime has nothing to witness it, and the feeble no assistance ? As for myself, alone and unarmed, I have met them without anxiety, and accompanied them without fear. We have little to apprehend from men whom we inspire with no distrust or envy, and every thing to expect in those from whom we claim only what is due from man to man. The laws of nature stiil exist for those who have long shaken off the laws of civil government. At war with society, they are suinetimes at peace with their fellows. The assassin has been my guide in the deties of Italy, and the smuggler of the Pyrenees has welcomed me to his secret paths. Armed, I should hàve been the enemy of both; unarmed, they have alike respected me. In such expectation, I have long since
J aside all menacing apparatus whatever. Arms may indeed
be employed against wild beasts; but no one should forget that they are no, defence against the traitor ; that they irritate the wicked, and intimidate the simple; lastly, that the man of peace among mankind has a much more sacred defence-his character.”
III. But let us inquire more fully into the actual results of the peace principle. We shall find it has power over the young and the old, over the refined and the rude, over the bad as well as the good, over savages, maniacs, and even brutes. Nor can we wonder when we look at its nature. A slave in one of the West Indies, originally from Africa, became, after his conversion, singularly valuable on account of his integrity and general good conduct. His master at length raised him to a situation of some consequence, and used to employ him in the purchase of new slaves. On one occasion he was sent with instructions to select twenty of the strongest, most able-bodied he could find in the market; but he had not long surveyed the multitude offered for sale, before he fixed his eye intently on a feeble, decrepit old man, and told his master he must be one of the twenty. His master in surprise remonstrated against so strange a choice; but the
poor fellow begged so hard to be indulged, that the dealer said if they took twenty, he would give them the old man in the bargain. The purchase was accordingly made, and the slaves conducted to the plantation; but upon none did the negro bestow half the attention and care he did upon the old African. He took him to his own habitation, and laid him on his own bed; he fed him at his own table, and gave him drink out of his own cup; when he was cold, he carried him into the sun-shine, and when hot, he placed him under the shade of the cocoa-nut trees. Astonished at such attentions, his master interrogated him on the subject. • Why do you take such interest in that worthless old man? There must be some special reason; he is
relative of yours, perhaps your father?
“ No, massa,
" answered the poor fellow, á he no my fader!” “An elder brother then !' “ No, massa, he no my broder !”. “Then he is an uncle, or some other relation.' “ No, massa, he no be of my kindred at all, nor even my friend !” • Then asked the master in astonishment, why do you take so much interest in the old fellow?' “ He my enemy, massa, plied the slave; "he sold me to the slave-dealer; and my Bible tell me when my enemy hunger, feed him, and when he thirst, give him drink.”
Such a principle touches a responsive cord even in brutes. I once read of a lion so pained by a thorn in his paw which he could not himself extract, that he prevailed by some means upon a passing boy to pull it out; and that act of kindness attached the king of the forest to the lad, and drew forth a flood of the fondest
Martin tells a similar story of a lion on board a British war-ship. Prince had a keeper to whom he was much attached. The keeper got drunk one day; and, as the captain never forgave the crime, the keeper was ordered to be flogged. The grating