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and withhold or neutralize the means of grace, and thwart almost every effort for the salvation of men in Christian or pagan lands? Is it a sink of pollution, a hot-bed of the most loathsome vices and the foulest crimes? All these arguments against war will apply to you with peculiar force, since the largest share of its evils fall invariably on cities.
Look at the facts in the case. All must suffer from war, but the city far more than the country. Review its history, and say where have fallen the hottest and heaviest thunderbolts of its wrath? Ask of Tyre and Jerusalem, of Carthage, Rome and Moscow. What mean the war-ships anchored in your harbors, or the forts and batteries guarding the entrance to your wharves ? The chief treasures of the land are deposited in your vaults, and the main-springs of its business lie in your ships, and stores, and work-shops. Where does war seek its plunder ? In the city. Where does it revel in unbridled debauchery? Where do you find its famine and pestilence, its carnage and conflagration ? In cities. They are the hinges of war, the first objects of its assaults, and the chief victims of its vengeance.
So it must be. Our cities, the store-houses of the world, and the main-springs of its enterprise and prosperity, must ever be exposed to the brunt of war, and draw down upon themselves the first and fiercest thunder-bolts of the storm. An immense amount of property, owned mostly in our cities, is constantly afloat on the ocean, and would be liable, on the approach of war, to instant capture. Our whale-ships, our merchant-men in the East Indies, all our most richly ladened vessels, some of them with cargoes worth each hundreds of thousands, would be too far from home to escape the tempest by a speedy return, and would thus fall an easy prey to the public and private cruisers that would at once be scouring the whole ocean. In our last war of little more than two years' duration, (1812-4,) nearly three thousand English merchant vessels were said to have been captured by the Americans, probably not less than five thousand on both sides ; a loss perhaps of fifty millions a year, and nearly all from our cities.
Nor is this the worst of your case; for a blight would soon come upon nearly all your interests. Your stocks would fall; your banks would fail ; your vessels would rot at your wharves; your stores and workshops would be closed; the grass would ere-long grow in streets now worn with the ceaseless tread of business; nearly every species of property would immediately sink in value from twenty to fifty per cent.; many of your merchants would become bankrupts, and most of your mechanics must either starve for want of employment, or flee into the country for bread. With so much at stake, will not the city come to the aid of a cause which aims to avert such evils ? ,
Look at the comparative ability of cities. They are the main depositories of wealth. The city of Boston, with less than a seventh part of the population, was estimated (1840) to contain a third of all the property in Massachusetts, or three times as much, in proportion to her numbers, as the country. Truly then the city is by far the most able to give. The surplus wealth of the world is chiefly in its cities; and to these should we therefore go for the means of sustaining every good cause, but especially one in which they have so deep an interest.
We must gain these hinges of the world. In them will be found the master-spirits of the age-our ablest lawyers, physicians and preachers; not a few of our most gifted and highly cultivated minds; our authors, and editors, and statesmen, who give law to public opinion; the chief offices of government, with the multitude of their dependencies, and the ever-teeming press with the vast amount of its weekly and daily issues all over the land. In the single city of New York, nearly a million of publications are supposed (1845) to issue from the press every week! What then must be the combined influence of all the great cities through Christendom? It must of course decide every question of peace or war. They pitch the tune, and all the rest follow. Let London and Paris, Rome and Vienna, Boston and New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and New Orleans, go
for peace, or for war; and not all the remaining millions in their respective countries, could turn the scale.
Already has the country taken hold of this cause in earnest; and now we come to our cities, and ask them to share in this great and good work. The cause is peculiarly your own; and will you not give it your countenance, your advocacy, your money ? None of these do we ask you to withdraw from any other good cause; but does not this cause now deserve a much larger share of your aid than it has ever yet received ? Are not its claims upon you fair, unquestionable and urgent ? Shall it plead in vain ?
AMERICAN PEACE SOCIETY, BOSTON, MASS.
WAR INCONSISTENT WITH CHRISTIANITY.
BY REV. HOWARD MALCOM, D. D.,
PRESIDENT OF GEORGETOWN COLLEGE, KY.
The war spirit is so wrought into the texture of governments, and the habits of national thinking, and even into our very festivals and pomps, that its occasional recurrence is deemed a matter of unavoidable necessity. Even the friends of man's highest welfare seem to regard a general pacification of the world as a mere Utopian scheme, and choose to lend their energies and prayers to objects which seem of more probable attainment. This apathy and incredulity are to be overcome.
It is not intended here to enter upon the question, on which good men may differ in opinion, whether defensive war may in any case be justified, nor upon a regular discussion of the general subject; but merely to offer a few thoughts to show how utterly at variance the spirit of war is with truth and righteousness.
1. It contradicts the genius and intention of Christianity.
Christianity requires us to seek to amend the condition of man.
But war cannot do this. The world is no better for all the wars of five thousand years. Christianity, if it prevailed, would make the earth a paradise. War, where it prevails, makes it a slaughter-house, a den of thieves, 'a brothel, a hell. Christianity cancels the laws of retaliation. War is based upon that very principle. Christianity is the remedy for all human woes. War produces every wo known to man.
The causes of war, as well as war itself, are contrary to the gospel. It originates in the worst passions and the worst aims. We may always trace it to the thirst of revenge, the acquisition of territory, the monopoly of commerce, the quarrels of kings, the intrigues of ministers, the coercion of religious opinion, the acquisition of disputed crowns, or sone other source equally culpable. Never has any war, devised by man, been founded on holy tempers and Christian principles.
All the features, -all the concomitants,—all the results of war, are the opposite of the features, the concomitants,
the results of Christianity. The two systems conflict in every point, irreconcilably and eternally.
2. War sets at nought the example of Jesus.
One of Christ's laws is, “ Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly." His conduct was always pacific. He became invisible when the Nazarites sought to cast him down fro their precipice. When a troop came to arrest him, he struck them down, but not dead. His constant declaration was, that he came not to destroy men's lives, but to save.'
True, he'once instructed his disciples to buy swords, telling them that they were going forth into a world of enemies. But the whole passage shows he meant to speak by parable. They answer, “Here are two swords." He replies instantly, “It is enough." How could two swords have been enough for twelve apostles, if he had spoken literally? Nay, when Peter used one of these, it was too much; Christ bade him, “ Put up thy sword,” and healed the wound. He meant to show the apostles their danger, not their remedy; for they were going as “sheep among wolves.” His metaphor was indeed misunderstood, as it was when he said, “ Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees," and they thought he meant to reprove them for having no bread.
Once he drove men from the temple; but it was with
a scourge of small cords,” and a gentle doom it was, compared to their deserts. He expressly said his servants would not fight, because his kingdom was not of this world. We find his example no instances true severity. His whole life was benevolence personified. He was the PRINCE of Peace.
Do we forget that Christ is our example? Whatever is right for us to do, would, in general, have been right for him. Imagine the Redeemer robed in the trappings of a man of blood, leading on columns to slaughter, laying a country waste, setting fire to cities, storming fortresses, and consigning tens of thousands to wounds and anguish, death and damnation, just to define some point of policy, to decide some kingly quarrel, to enlarge some boundary, or avenge some insult. Could “meekness and lowliness” be learned from him thus engaged ?
There is no rank or position in an army compatible with the character of Christ. It is most certain that we gather no army lessons from him who "
came to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and to comfort all that mourn." It is most certain that no man,
- who makes fighting his profession, can find authority in the example of our Lord.
It is not necessary to enlarge on this point. It will be conceded. No warrior thinks of making Christ his pattern. How then can a follower of Christ overlook the inconsistency between the profession of religion, and the profession of arms?
3. War is not only inconsistent with the general structure and nature of Christianity, and the example of Jesus ; but it violates all the erpress precepts of the New Testament.
Even the Old Testament does not sanction war as a custom. In each case of lawful war, it was entered on by express command. If such authority were now given, we might worthily take up arms. But without it, how can we violate both the genius and precepts of our religion, and set at nought the example of a Divine guide? It should be remembered, that in no case, even under the Old Testament, was war appointed to decide doubtful questions, or to settle quarrels, but to inflict national punishment. They were intended, as are pestilence and famine, to chastise nations guilty of provoking God. Such is never the pretext of modern war; and if it were, it would require Divine authority, which, as has just been said, would induce even members of the Peace Society to fight.
As to the New Testament, a multitude of precepts might be quoted.
“ Ye have heard, an eye for an eye; but I say unto you, RESIST NOT Evil.–Follow peace with all men.Love one another.—Do justice, love mercy.--Love your enemies.-Follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace. Return good for evil.-Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice; and be ye kind one toward another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ's sake, hath forgiven you. If my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight.—Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”
It is unnecessary to adduce more of these passages. All know how much they abound in the New Testament. There they stand! No interpretation can nullify their force, or pervert their application. In any sense the words will bear, they forbid war. If language have any force, they equally forbid retaliation. Yet this is always advanced as the very best pretext for war, and is more frequently the avowed reason than any other !