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point. The state of that people was singular. The land of Canaan was their inheritance by the free gift of Jehovah himself; and they were authorized by him to take possession by extirpating the nations that inhabited it, whose iniquities were full. Afterwards, when this land, the heritage of the Lord, was invaded, they were commanded to go to war, and expel the invaders with the edge of the sword. All this is peculiar to that people, and has no parallel in the history of mankind. From not attending to this difference of circumstances, many Christians have conceived themselves justified in being the advocates of war, and bound to approve the wars in which their country was engaged, supposing theirs was like Canaan of old, God's favorite land. Hence they have made Jehovah a party in their quarrels. How large a portion of the disciples of Christ have been hereby led astray from the pacific spirit of the Gospel! Should I not rather say, how smal. is the number of Christians who have not been drawn away from the simplicity of Christ, and have escaped the contagion of this Jewish spirit which has for ages overspread and defiled the Christian Church.
From the prevalence of a pagan spirit, multitudes that profess Christianity have lost sight of the peaceful genius of the Gospel, and become the advocates of bloodshed and of war. The ancient writers of Greece and Rome are the idols of modern times in most countries in Europe. To the generous youth in the middle and superior classes of society, they are the books of education in our public schools. And in what' veneration are they held! From them, among other evils, the youth imbibe a pagan morality that, far from being peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, more resembles that from beneath, “which is earthly, sensual, devilish.” This morality, instead of inculcating humility, meekness, benevolence and peace,—those essential attributes of the Gospel,—is selfish, proud, ambitious, savage, hates other nations, despises the mass of mankind, and seeks distinction and honor on the field of battle. With such sentiments have the greater part of statesmen and nobles come from the school and college into the senate and the cabinet. Such is the morality most commonly found in the speeches of public men; and the maxims generally recommended, accord much more with the sentiments of the Grecian and Roman classics, than with the spirit of Christ. From the influence of such a morality, millions of the youth of Europe have been brought to an untimely grave. But instead of a paragraph, a volume would be necessary to delineate all the evils which have sprung from the prevalence of a pagan morality in the higher walks of life. From them it has descended to the humbler stations of society, and thus has pervaded the general mass of the community. From these sources have flowed the ignorance and the dislike of the pacific spirit of the Gospel, and the approbation and ardent love of war, which have so much dishonored the Christian name.
If peace be the doctrine of the New Testament, how much is it to be lamented, that multitudes who profess to be Christians, are opposed to it both in sentiment and in practice. If we trace wars to their origin, the apostle James tells us what that is; and it is so bad, that it ought not to find one advocate among those who name the name of Jesus. But alas! the generality of them enter as keenly into the quarrels of nations, as any of the men of the world
Yet surely the influence of Christian principles, the feeling of that love which is due to all the children of men, and the awful thought of multitudes of immortal souls being hurried unprepared to the tribunal of God, should repress this spirit, and produce an unquenchable desire of peace on earth.
But what is still more to be bewailed, ministers of Christ, who ought to be patterns of peace and love, have drunk into the spirit of war, and sought to make their God a party in every contention in which their country happened to be engaged. They pray to him for victory over its enemies; they give him thanks when ten or twenty thousand of their foes are destroyed, and in louder strains, if still more have been slain; and in their discourses to their flock, they endeavor to inspirit them to battle and to bloodshed. How displeasing to God must such conduct be! How greatly is he dishonored by it! What miseries does war bring on the bodies, and especially on the souls of men; and these not prevented, but encouraged, by persons who profess to love God with all their heart, and their neighbor as themselves.
We have reason to bless God, that the number of those Christians who perceive and feel their obligations to seek the peace of mankind, is increasing from day to day. In the first ages of the Church, there were some who understood this to be the doctrine of the Gospel. At the Reformation, it had also its advocates; but they unhappily appended to it other sentiments which were unfounded, and thus detracted from the weight of their testimony to peace. Since that time, none have been so faithful witnesses to the pacific spirit of the religion of Jesus as the Quakers; and, had all the rulers of Christendom been of that denomination for the last hundred and fifty years, the oceans of blood shed in wars would have had no existence. And how much happier a countenance would Europe have worn than she now wears! For more than a century after their rise, few besides themselves adopted their peaceful creed; but of late, it has been embraced by considerable numbers among every sect; and there is reason to conclude, that if it has made converts in the most unfavorable circumstances, its progress will be rapid when the state of the world, by the restoration of peace, shall be more congenial to its claims.
All the disciples of Christ should imbibe the spirit of peace. It displays unspeakable mercy in God, that while individuals, who have been made partakers of his grace, maintain sentiments injurious to his honor, and the happiness of man, he should yet compassionately hold communion with them. But these unchristian opinions certainly present them from enjoying those full communications which God would otherwise impart. Let these old things which belong to the old man, be done away, and all things become new, Understand your calling, brethren. It is from darkness into marvelous light, that ye rray shine as lights in the world, that ye may do no han to any person of any country, but all the good in your power to all mankind. This was the spirit of your Master and of his religion; let it be yours; and let the ardor and universality of your benevolence continually increase.
Above all, let the ministers of Christ be men of peace, and advocates for the peace of the worid. If we seek to intiame the malevolent passions of the goal, who shall be found to cool them? The people of the world talk of glory from victory and conquest; but we know that honor and happiness can arise only from doing the will of God, and living in subjection to him, and in peace with men. Let us tell the world so, and call them away from their angry contests for mastery to dwell in love. O that those who preach to emperors and kings, to ministers of state, to senates and to parliaments, would lift up their voice like a trumpet, and proclair to them from the great. Jehovah, and from Jesus Christ who shed his blood to save sinners from misery, that the religion of the New Testament is a religion of peace; and that for the blood of every man slain in war, the Almighty Ruler of the universe will demand an account from those who direct the affairs of nations.
The co-operation of all enlightened Christians to diffuse these benevolent principles, would do much to promote the peace of the world. The great changes in the moral world, which are preg. nant with happiness to man, are to be brought about only by the most vigorous exertions of moral principle in the breast of the wise and the good. It is from the operation of such principles, that the peaceful state of the world is to be produced; and these principles inst be disseminated by those in whose hearts they reign. Few they may be at first; but the number will continually increase. Let every one consider what he can do to promote the grand work, and let him do it without delay. He that has nothing else, has a tongue to plead the cause of peace in his domestic circle, and infuse his sentiments into the minds of his neighbors too, his acquaintances, and those he meets with in the way. Another can write clearly and forcibly; let his letters to his friends bear testimony to his zeal, and let him compose tracts to enlighten society on the subject. A third has a talent for poetry ; let him in tuneful mumbers touch the reader's heart with a delineation of the miseries of war, and the blessings of peace. A fourth possesses wealth ; let him give his money to purchase these publications, and spread them far and wide. A fifth is a man of genius, and could' in a fuller and more elaborate treatise give an extensive as well as an impressive view of the doctrine ; let him consecrate his powers to this service in honor of the Prince of Peace. A sixth
has the eloquence of Apollos, and can stand up in a public assem bly, arrest the attention, and move the heart of every hearer; let him cry aloud, and merit the title of the orator of peace. The ministers of Christ from the pulpit, (and it is no improper theme for that hallowed place,) can lead their audience to a sight of the sources of wars,—those lusts which war in our members,—unveil their deformity, and display the charming beauties of peace on earth, and good-will to men.
To collect the force of all these into one centre from which the rays of light and heat may be emitted in every direction with more powerful energy, is a thing of high importance. - This effect an association will produce; and as we live in an age of societies to combine individual efforts for public benefit, why should not one be formed for promoting peace among the nations of the earth ? * The subject, every one will allow, merits all the attention that can be given it. O that God would call forth some wise, pious, enlightened, ardent philanthropist, who shall form this determination in his heart, and carry it into execution !—“To convince mankind that Christianity forbids war, to banish the idea of its lawfulness from their creed, and the love of its practice from their hearts, and to make all men seek peace with their whole soul, and pursue it with all their might, till it establish an universal reign over human nature, shall be the grand object of my existence on earth.” And how exalted an object of benevolence would he choose : The suffering of the tenants of a prison-house, in comparison with the miseries of war, is but as the anguish of a single family pining away and dying for want, when placed by the side of a whole populous province desolated by famine which has consumed all its inhabitants. Even the more extensive calamities of the African slave trade, drawn up in array before the ravages, and tortures, and horrors of war, are but like the hill Mizar compared to Leba
What blessings will not descend on the man who devotes himself to the destruction of this monstrous foe of human happiness!
The influence of the female sex is universally acknowledged and felt. I want that influence to diffuse peace and love over the face of the earth. I scarcely know how to address myself to respectable matrons who, after nursing their sons with the tenderest affection, send them away to the work of desolation, and rejoice at their success, when they make women like yourselves widows, and their children fatherless, or overwhelm an aged father and mother with sorrow, because their boy perished in the field by your young hero's sword; and then they praise God for what their sons have done ! A thousand times rather would I that God had said concerning me, “write this man childless,” than that a son of mine had ever imbrued his hands in the blood of man his brother.
* This was written before the formation of Peace Societies. Am. Ed.
A greater number of celebrated female writers than the present, no age has produced. But what grave essay in prose, or what poetic effusion of yours, do we find to bring war into disgrace, and to awaken the horror of every feeling heart against its miseries and its crimes ? In which of your works have you come forth as the advocates of humanity, and the champions of peace? Tell me, that I may withdraw the censure. You are silent; you blush at this reproach, and well you may :-- they may justly be the most burning blushes that ever reddened the female cheek. Had you employed your tender eloquence in the cause of humanity and peace, ten thousands of ingenuous youths, whose hearts' blood was poured out on the ground, and whose faces were bloodless and pale in death, as they lay in the open field, had been spared, and now adorning both the domestic circle and society with their presence and their affection. To speak thus grieves me to the heart; but I am compelled to do it, for there are seasons when truth must be spoken, however painful it may be both to the speaker and the auditor. You blush for your neglect; but I must have more than blushes; I want fruits meet for repentance. My earnest wish is to see you become the determined foes of war, and the most ardent friends of peace. I long to hear you plead with all your souls (and who can plead like you?) for the harmony of the world, and peace among the nations. If every intelligent, pious and benevolent female would engage heart and hand in the work, the success would be great beyond conception.
Oh! if all the ministers of the Gospel would unite in this labor of love, and work of peace, what wonders would be done! What an amazing change for the better would be produced! Shall I bring arguments to convince, or motives to induce you to lift up your voice for the peace of the world? I will not bring one. If you refuse your go, strip yourselves of the robes of office, depart and officiate at the altars of some savage idol who delights in slaughter and blood.” But why do I speak thus ? Surely none of you, my brethren, will refuse to come forth to the help of the Lord against so mighty a foe of human happiness, but · will each endeavor to excel every other in maintaining the honor of the Prince of Peace, and strive that there may not be an individual in his flock who has not imbibed the principles of peace. Such a union of efforts will, through the divine blessing, infallibly gain the day; and in prayer for this blessing, let every heart be continually lifted up to the God of all grace!
AMERICAN PEACE SOCIETY, BOSTON, MASS.