Page images


made by Christians as they should be, would banish this terribie scourge ere long from Christendom, and eventually from the face of the whole earth. There is no impossibility in the case. War is just as curable as any other evil, and requires for its extinction only the means of God's appointment. There is no more need of this custom than there is of duelling or the Slave-trade. It exists solely because men in their folly still choose it; its continuance depends entirely on their choice; and whenever you can change that choice, and make the mass of mankind resolve that war shall cease, it must of necessity come to an end at once and for

Such a change is clearly possible; already is it rapidly taking place under the influence of this cause; and nations will one day find it just as easy for them to settle their difficulties without war, as the members of a Church now do theirs without duels. A variety of substitutes might be adopted far more effectual than the sword for all purposes of protection and redress.

But you tell us perhaps, • Make men Christians, and then wars will cease.' What sort of Christians ? Surely not such as have for fifteen centuries been butchering one another! Convert men to the whole gospel, to.its pacific as well as its other truths, to a kind of Christianity that shall forbid them to fight in any case; then, and only then, will the spread of our religion insure the abolition of this custom. Christianity has for ages been pretty steadily gaining ground in Christendom; and yet in the last century have her standing warriors increased not less than six hundred per cent., from half a million to more than three millions ! Can such a Christianity put an end to war?

It is not enough, then, merely to support and to propagate any form of Christianity which neglects to apply the only part of the gospel that can ever abolish this custom. For such a result, we rely of course upon the gospel, but only on the gospel rightly applied. Such an application is indispensable. What is the gospel ? Merely a collection of principles which can produce no result without an application, any more than medicine can cure a sick man who does not take it. How does the gospel convert the sinner? Only by its truths addressed to his soul. How will it ever abolish paganism? Solely by being sent and applied to paganism. How can it reclaim the blasphemer or the Sabbathbreaker ? Only by a direct, specific application to their sins. In no other way can it cure any moral evil; and in like manner must we apply the gospel to war, before the spread of Christianity will insure a corresponding prevalence of peace.

But are you waiting for the millenium to come, and saying that, when it does come,-never before,-peace will follow as a matter of course? Very true; and so will repentance and faith follow as a matter of course; but how are you to reach the millenium ? Would you first get into the millenium, and then convert the world? Is the millenium to make mon christians, or the making of all men Christians to be itselt the millenium? How would you introduce a millenium of repentance ? Simply by first filling the world with repentance—with men penitent for their sins. How a millenium of faith? Solely by filling the world with faith-with believers in Jesus. How then a millenium of peace? In the same way; for peace, just like repentance and faith, must come before the millenium, as one of its indispensable harbingers, or along with the millenium, as one of its inseparable concomitants; for, unless men are converted to peace as fast as they are to God, such a conversion of the whole world plainly could not ensure its entire, perpetual pacification.

But come that glorious era must, for God himself hath promised it as explicitly as he has the world's conversion, or the salvation of any believer in Christ; yet it never can come, any more than cither of those results, without the use of such means as he hath appointed for the purpose.

These means are all included in such an application of the gospel as shall everywhere Christianize the public mind on this subject. War has, in every age and clime, resulted from a public opinion grossly perverted; that opinion must be radically, universally, permanently changed; and for the production of such a change, first in Christendom, and finally through the world, all the main-springs of influence upon the popular mind must be set and kept at work. The pulpit must speak often and aloud; the press, with her thousand tongues, must speak in the ear of all reading communities; instructors in all our seminaries of learning must speak to the young minds under their care; teachers in Sabbath-schools must speak to their pupils; every pious parent or guardian must speak to the group of interesting minds clustered around his own fireside; every Church, every Christian, every friend of God or man, high and low, old and young, male and female, should zealously cooperate in using the means which God has appointed to usher in that glorious era when nations shall beat their swords into plough-shares, their spears into pruning-hooks, and cease from learning the art of war any more.

Remember, then, the absolute necessity of means, and use all in your power. Can you write, or speak, or pray for this cause? Then do so. Have you influence? Then use it. Have you money? Be sure to give a portion of it; nor forget for how many purposes the cause needs such aid. We must support agencies, send forth lecturers, and scatter periodicals, tracts and volumes through the land. Such operations, altogether indispensable, require a large amount of funds; and Christians should at length give to this cause as liberally as they do to other causes that aim in like manner at the glory of God in the present and immortal welfare of mankind.





If the most terrible view of war be, that it is the triumph and jubilee of selfish and malignant passions, then its true cure is to be sought in the diffusion of the principles of Universal Justice and Love, in that spirit of Jesus Christ which expels the demons of selfishness and malignity from the heart. Even supposing that war could be abolished by processes which leave the human character unchanged, that it could be terminated by the progress of a civilization which, whilst softening manners, would not diminish the selfishness, mercenariness, hard-heartedness, fraud, ambition of men, its worst evils would still remain, and society would reap in some other forms the fruits of its guilt. God has ordained, that the wickedness within us shall always find its expression and punishment in outward evil. War is the fiend within coming out. Human history is nothing more than the inward nature manifested in its native acts and issues. Let the soul continue unchanged; and, should war cease, the inward plague would still find its way to the surface. The infernal fire at the centre of our being, though it should not break forth in the wasting volcano, would not slumber, but by other eruptions, more insensible, yet not less deadly, would lay waste human happiness. I do not believe that any remedy but the Christian spirit can avail against

The wild beast, that has gorged on millions of victims in every age, is not to be tamed by a polished or selfish civilization. Christianity is the only true remedy for war; not Christianity in name, not such Christianity as we see, not such as has grown up under arbitrary governments in church and state, not such as characterizes any Christian sect at the present day; but Christianity as it lived in the soul, and came forth in the life of its founder; a religion that reveals man as the object of God's infinite love, and which commends him to the unbounded love of his brethren; a religion, the essence of which is self-denial, selfsacrifice, in the cause of human nature; a religion, which proscribes, as among the worst sins, the passion of man for rule and dominion over his fellow-creatures; which knows nothing of rich or poor, high or low, bond or free, and casts down all the walls of partition which sever men from one another's sympathy and respect.

Christian love alone can supplant war; and this love is not a mere emotion, a tenderness awakened by human suffering, but an intelligent, moral, spiritual love, a perception and deep feeling of the sacredness of human nature, a recognition of the inalienable rights, the solemn claims of every human being. It protests fearlessly against all wrong, no matter how obscure the victim. It desires to lift up each and all, no matter how fallen. It is a sym


P. T.

pathy with the spiritual principle dwelling under every human form. This is the love which is to conquer war; but, as yet, this has been little diffused. The love which Christ breathes, which looks through man's body to the immortal spirit, which sees something divine in the rational and moral powers of the lowest human being, and which challenges for the lowest, the sympathy, respect, and fostering aid of his race; this has been rare, and yet it is only by the gradual diffusion of this, that the plague of war can be stayed. This regard for humanity, could it even prevail through a narrow sphere, could it bind together but a small body of men, would send forth a testimony against war, which would break the slumber of the Christian world,

and strike awe into many a contemner of his race.

I am aware, that others are hoping for the abolition of war by other causes; and other causes, I am aware, must be brought into action. I only say, that, unless joined with the spirit of Christianity, they give no assurance of continued repose. This thought I would briefly illustrate. The present unusual cessation of arms in the Christian world (1839) is to some a promise of a happier era in human affairs. It is indeed a cheering fact

, and may well surprise us, when we consider how many causes of war have been in action, how many threatening clouds have overcast the political sky, during the pause of war. But if we examine the causes of this tranquillity, we shall learn not to confide in it too strongly.

1. The first cause was the exhaustion in which Europe was left by the bloody conflicts of the French Revolution. The nations, worn out with struggles, wasted by successive invasions, and staggering under an unprecedented load of debt, yearned for repose. The strong man had bled too freely to light more. For years poverty has kept the peace in Europe. One of the fruits of civilization is the increasing expensiveness of war, so that when the voice of humanity cannot be heard, the hollow sound of an empty treasury is a warning which cannot be slighted. This cause of peace is evidently temporary. Nations, resting from exhaustion, may be expected to renew their pernicious activity, when their strength is renewed.

2. Another cause of the continuance of peace is undoubtedly the extension of new and profitable relations through the civilized world. Since the pacification of Europe, in 1816, a new impulse has been given to industry. The discoveries of science have been applied with wonderful success to the useful arts. Nations have begun in earnest to develope their resources. Labor is discovered to be the grand conqueror, enriching and building up nations more surely than the proudest battles. As a necessary result of this new impulse, commerce has been wonderfully enlarged. Nations send the products of their soil and machinery, where once they sent armies; and such a web of common interests has been woven, that hostilities can spring up in no corner of the civilized world, without deranging in a measure the order and industry of every other state.

Undoubtedly we have here a promise of peace; but let us not be too sanguine. We have just begun this career, and we know not its end. Let wealth grow without a corresponding growth of the temperate, just and benevolent spirit of Christianity, and I see few auguries but of evil. Wealth breeds power, and power always tempts to wrong. Communities, which at once grow rich and licentious, breed desperate men, unprincipled adventurers, restless spirits, who unsettle social order at home, who make freedom a cloak and instrument of ambition, and find an interest in embroiling their country with foreign foes. Another consequence of growing prosperity, is the rapid growth of population; and this, in the absence of Christian restraints and Christian principles, tends to pauperism and crime, tends to make men cheap, and to destroy the sacredness of human life; and communities are tempted to throw off this dangerous load, this excess of numbers, in foreign war. In truth, the vices which fester in the bosom of a prosperous, licentious, over-peopled state, are hardly less fearful than those of war, and they naturally seek and find their punishment in this awful calamity. Let us not speak of industry, commerce and wealth, as ensuring peace. Is commerce never jealous and grasping? Have commercial states no collisions? Have commercial rights never drawn the sword in self-defence? Are not such states a tempting prey ? And have they no desire to prey on others ? Why then expect from trade alone peace among nations ? Nothing, nothing can bind nations together but Christian justice and love. I insist on this the more earnestly, because it is the fashion now to trust for every good to commerce, industry, and the wonderful inventions which promise indefinite increase of wealth. With all our ingenuity, we can frame no machinery for manufacturing wisdom, virtue, peace. Rail-roads and steam-boats cannot speed the soul to its perfection. This must come, if it come at all, from each man's action on himself, from “hunger and thirst after righteousness.” not after wealth ; and I do fear, that without some great spiritual revolution, without some new life and love breathed into the church, -without some deep social reforms, men will turn against each other their new accumulations of power; that their wealth and boasted inventions will be converted into weapons of destruction; that the growing prosperity of nations will become the nutriment of more wasteful wars, will become fuel for more devouring fires of ambition or revenge,

3. Another cause of the recent long cessation of foreign wars, has been the dread of internal convulsions, of civil wars. The spirit of revolution has, more or less, penetrated the whole civilized world. The grand idea of Human Rights has found its way even into despotisms. Kings have less confidence in their subjects and soldiers. Their thrones totter; and it is understood that the next general war will be a war not of nations, but of principles, that absolutism must measure swords with liberalism, despotism with free constitutions; and from this terrible encounter both parties recoil.

« PreviousContinue »