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difficult of discovery, for he whom we choose to fear, may say he had previous fear of us, and that his fear prompted the hostile symptoms which made us fear again. The truth is, that to attempt to make any distinctions upon the subject, is vain. War must be wholly forbidden, or allowed without restriction to defence; for no definitions of lawful and unlawful war, will be, or can bé, attended to. If the principles of Christianity, in any case, or for any purpose, allow armies to meet and slaughter one another, her principles will never conduct us to the period which prophecy has assured us they shall produce. There is no hope of eradicating war, but by a total abandonment of it.
The positions, then, which we endeavor to establish are these : 1. That those considerations which operate as General Causes of War, are commonly such as Christianity condemns.—2. That the Effects of War are, to a very great extent, prejudicial to the moral character of a people, and to their social and political welfare.-3. That the General Character of Christianity is wholly incongruous with war, and that its General Duties are incompatible with it.-4. That some of the express Precepts and Declarations of the Christian Scriptures virtually forbid it.–5. That the Primitive Christians believed that Christ had forbidden war; and that some of them suffered death in affirmance of this belief.-6. That God has declared in Prophecy, that war shall eventually be eradicated from the earth; and that this eradication will be effected by Christianity, by the influence of its present Principles.—7. That, as we shall next prove, those who have refused to engage in war, in consequence of believing it inconsistent with Christianity, have found that Providence has protected them.
Now, the establishment of any considerable number of these positions is sufficient for our argument. The establishment of the whole forms a body of evidence, to which I am not able to believe that an inquirer, to whom the subject was new, would be able to withhold his assent. But whatever may be the determination upon this question, surely it is reasonable to try the experiment, whether security cannot be maintained without slaughter. Whatever the reasons for war, it certainly produces enormous mischief. Even waiving the obligations of Christianity, we have to chosse between evils that are certain, and evils that are doubtful ; between the actual endurance of a great calamity, and the possibility of a less. It certainly cannot be proved, that Peace would not be the best policy; and, since we know that the present system is bad, it were reasonable and wise to try whether the other is not better. Whenever a people shall pursue, steadily and uniformly, the pacific morality of the gospel, and shall do this from the pure motive of obedience, there is no reason to fear that they would experience any evils such as we now endure, or that they would not find that the surest, and the only rule of wisdom, of safety, and of expediency, is to maintain the spirit of Christianity in every circumstance of life.
AMERICAN PEACE SOCIETY, BOSTON, MASS.
The duties of Christianity require irresistance ; and surely it is reasonable to believe, even without a reference to experience, that God will make our irresistance subservient to our interests; that, if he requires us not to be concerned in war, he will
preserve us in peace, nor desert those who have abandoned all protection but his. If we refer to experience, we shall find that the reasonableness of this confidence is confirmed. Thousands have confided in Heaven in opposition to all their apparent interests ; but of these thousands has one eventually repented his confidence, or reposed in vain ? “ lle that will lose his life for my sake, and the gospel's, the same shall find it.” If it be said we take futurity into the calculation in our estimate of interest, I answer, so we ought. Who is the man that would exclude futurity, or what are his principles? I do not comprehend the foundation of these objections against a reference to futurity which are thus flippantly made. Are we not immortal beings? Have we not interests beyond the present life? It is a deplorable temper of mind, which would diminish the frequency or the influence of our references to futurity. Yet, even in reference only to the present state of existence, I believe we shall find that the testimony of experience is, that forbearance is most conducive to our interests. “If a man's ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him."
The reader of American history will recollect, that in the be ginning of the last century, a desultory and most dreadful warfare was carried on by the natives against the European settlers, a warfare that was provoked, as such warfare has almost always originally been, by the injuries and violence of the Christians. The mode of destruction was secret and sudden. The barbarians sometimes lay in wait for those who might come within their reach on the highway or in the fields, and shot them without warning ; and sometimes they attacked the Europeans in their houses,“ scalping some, and knocking out the brains of others.” From this horrible warfare, the inhabitants sought safety by abandoning their homes, and retiring to fortified places, or to the neighborhood of garrisons; and those whom necessity still compelled to pass beyond the limits of such protection, pro. vided themselves with arms for their defence. But amidst this dreadful desolation and universal terror, the Society of Friends, who were a considerable proportion of the whole population, were steadfast to their principles. They would neither retire to garrisons, nor provide themselves with arms. They remained openly in the country, whilst the rest were flying to the forts.
They still pursued their occupations in the fields or at their homes, without a weapon either for annoyance or defence. And what was their fate? They lived in security and quiet. The habitation which, to his armed neighbor, was the scene of murder and the scalping knise, was to the unarmed Quaker a place of safety and of peace.
Three of the Society, however, were killed. And who were they? They were three who abandoned their principles. Two of these victims were men who, in the simple language of the narrator, " used to go to their labor without any weapons, and trusted to the Almighty, and depended on bis providence to protect them (it being their principle not to use weapons of war to offend others, or to defend themselves); but the spirit of distrust taking place in their minds, they took weapons of war to defend themselves, and the Indians who had seen them several times without them, and left them alone, saying they were peaceable men, and hurt nobody, therefore they would not hurt them, now seeing them have guns, and supposing they designed to kill the Indians, they therefore shot the men dead.” The third whose life was sacrificed, was a woman who “had remained in her habitation," not thinking herself warranted in going “ to a fortified place for preservation, neither she, her son, nor daughter, nor io take thither the little ones; but the poor woman after some time began to let in a slavish fear, and advised her children to go with her to a fort not far from their dwelling.” She went; and shortly afterwards the Indians lay by the way, and killed her.
Barclay, the celebrated Apologist, from whose Anecdotes these extracts are obtained, was attacked by a highwayman. He made no other resistance than a calm expostulation. The felon dropped his presented pistol, and offered no farther violence. A Leonard Fell was assaulted by a highway robber, who plundered him of his money and his horse, and afterwards threatened to blow out his brains. Fell solemnly spoke to the robber on the wickedness of his life. The man was astonished; he declared he would take neither his money nor horse, and returned both.
The fate of the Quakers during the rebellion in Ireland was nearly similar. It is well known that the rebellion was a time not only of open war, but of cold-blooded murder of the utmost fury of bigotry, and the utmost exasperation of revenge. Yet the Quakers were preserved even to a proverb; and when strangers passed through the streets of ruin, and observed a house standing uninjured and alone, they would sometimes point, and say, “ That doubtless is the house of a Quaker.”
It were to no purpose to say, that these facts form an exception to a general rule. The exception consists in the trial of the experiment of irresistance, not in its succcss. Neither were it to any purpose to say, that the savages of America, or the desperadoes of Ireland spared the Quakers because they were previously known to be an unoffending people, or because the Quakers had previously gained their love by forbearance or good offices. We concede all this; it is the very argument which we maintain.
We say that a uniform, undeviating regard to the peaceable obligations of Christianity becomes the safeguard of those who practise it. We venture to maintain that no reason whatever can be assigned why the fate of the Quakers would not be the fate of all who should adopt their conduct. If there be such a reason, let us hear it. The American and Irish Quakers were, to the rest of the community, what one nation is to a continent. We do not say, that if a people should be assailed, and should on a sudden choose to declare that they would try whether Providence would protect them—of such a people, we do not say that they would experience protection, and none of them be killed. But we say the evidence of experience is, that a people who habitually regard the obligations of Christianity in their conduct towards other men, and steadfastly refuse, to engage in acts of hostility, will experience protection in their peacefulness, and it matters nothing to the argument, whether we refer that protection to the immediate agency of Providence, or to the influence of such conduct upon the minds of men.
Such has been the experience of the unoffending and unresisting in individual life. A national example of a refusal to bear arms has been exhibited only once to the world; but that one example has proved, all that humanity could desire, and all that skepticism could demand, in favor of our argument. Pennsylvania was colonized by men who believed that war is absolutely incompatible with Christianity, and therefore resolved not to practise it. Having determined not to fight, they maintained no soldiers, and possessed no arms. They planted themselves in a country surrounded by savages who knew they were unarmed. Plunderers might have robbed them without retaliation, and armies might have slaughtered them without resistance. If they did not give a temptation to outrage, no temptation could be given. But these were the people who possessed their country in security, whilst those around them were trembling for their existenee. This was a land of peace, whilst every other was a land of war. The conclusion is inevitable, although it is extraordinary—they were in no need of arms because they would not use them.
These Indians were sufficiently ready to commit outrages upon other states, and often visited them with that sort of desolation and slaughter, which might be expected from men whom civilization had not reclaimed from cruelty, and whom religion had not awed into forbearance. “ But,” says Clarkson, “whatever the quarrels of the Indians were with others, they uniformly respected, and held as it were sacred, the territories of William Penn.” “ The Pennsylvanians," says Oldmixon,“never lost man, woman or child by them, which neither the colony of Maryland, nor that of Virginia could say, no more than the great colony of New England.”
The security and quiet of Pennsylvania was not a transient freedom from war, such as might accidentally happen to any nation. She continued to enjoy it " for more than seventy years,"
says Proud, “and subsisted in the midst of six Indian nations without so much as a militia for her defence.” “The Pennsylvanians," observes Clarkson, " became safe without the ordinary means of safety. The constable's staff was the only instrument of authority amongst them for the greater part of a century; and never, during the administration of Penn, or that of his proper successors, was there a quarrel or a war."
And when was the security of Pennsylvania molested, and its peace destroyed? When the men who had directed its counsels, and who would not engage in war, were outvoted in its legislature; when they who supposed that there was greater security in the sword than in Christianity, became the predominating body. From that hour, the Pennsylvanians transferred their confidence in Christian principles to a confidence in their arms; and from that hour to this, they have been subject to war.
Such is the evidence derived from a national example of the consequences of a pursuit of the Christian policy in relation to war. Here are a people who absolutely refused to fight, and incapaci. tated themselves for resistance hy refusing to possess arms; yet this was the people whose land amidst surrounding broils and slaughter, was selected as a land of security and peace. The only national opportunity which the virtue of the Christian world has afforded us of ascertaining the safety of relying upon God for defence, has determined that it is safe.
If such evidence do not satisfy us of the expediency of confiding in God, what evidence do we ask, or what can we receive? We have his promise that he will protect those who abandon their seeming interests in the performance of his will, and we have the testimony of those who have confided in him, that he hos protected them. Can the advocate of war produce one single instance in all history of a person who had given an uncon. ditional obedience to the will of heaven, and who did not find that his conduct was wise as well as virtuous, that it accorded with his interests as well as with his duty ? We ask the same. question respecting the obligations to irresistance. Where is the man who regrets, that in observance of the forbearing duties of Christianity, he consigned his preservation to the superintendence of God? And the solitary national exanıple that is before us, confirms the testimony of private life ; for there is sufficient reason for believing, that no nation in modern ages has possessed so large a portion of virtue or happiness as Pennsylvania, before it had seen human blood.
What, then, is the duty of one who believes all war unchristian ; but whose governors engage in war, and demand his service? He should mildly and temperately, yet firmly refuse to serve. If you believe Christ has prohibited slaughter, let nothing induce you to join in it; and the time will come when even the world will honor you as contributors to the work of Human Reformation.
AMERICAN PEACE SOCIETY, BOSTON, MASS.