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who think at all, when they enter the naval or military profession.
“ Those, Sire, who live much in the world, are imperceptibly led to think and act upon the principles of those with whom they associate. Though in the busy scenes of naval service, I never entertained an idea of my profession being irreconcilable with the religion of Christ; yet, after passing weveral years in a retirement bordering on seclusion; and after more closely inspecting the Christian precepts, and reviewing my past life, it appears to me, that while I have been serving my king and my country, if not brilliantly, yet faithfully, I have been acting in open disobedience to the plain and positive commands of another and a superior Mas. ter-a Master whose claims upon my allegiance are prior, and paramount to those of your Majesty, or of any earthly sovereign.
“ When the first impressions, Sire, were formed in my mind concerning the unlawfulness of Christians' entering into or remaining in the military profession, I cannot exactly recollect. To my shame, I may, I believe, say, that I never thought seriously on
the subject, till within the last four years. Whenever I heard feelings of disapprobation expressed concerning war, I was led to regard them, as Bishop Horsely did, as a species of puritanical cant; so fully was I satisfied that war, and consequently my profession, were perfectly consonant with the precepts of Christianity. About the time I have mentioned, owing to circumstances which I need not state, I began to entertain doubts on this subject. These doubts gradually gained strength ; and early in the year 1822, I came to the resolution to investigate the subject more closely than I had hitherto done; and if, after such investigation, it should appear to me that my profession was irreconcilable with the precepts of Christ, I determined to resign my naval rank and half-pay, although I placed a high value upon the former, and the latter forms a large portion of a very limited income; and I was thereby subjecting myself alone, to a very considerable change in my mode of living, and this at an advanced period of life, when its comforts and conveniences are most wanted.
“ To take a step so highly important to
me in many points of view, but particularly in a religious one, upon the first impression of my mind, would have been highly improper; for even the best informed
persons frequently change their opinions, and see the same transaction in different points of view at different periods of time. From the very novel nature of the act I contemplated, I thought it possible that this might happen to myself; and that, in my ardour to do what I deemed an act of religious duty, I might hastily take a step, of which I might hereafter see just cause to repent, and when repentance could not avail me. I was also aware, that what I proposed doing, being so much at variance with established custom, might be attributed to vanity, or an affectation of singularity-motives by which, as far as I know myself, I have never been greatly influenced. Added to these considerations, I felt much difficulty as to the manner in which I should withdraw myself from my profession. It appeared to me, though it may savour of vanity thus to express myself,) that the measure I contemplated was one of very great importance, both in a political and religious point of view.
“Under these perplexing circumstances, I came to the resolution to retain my halfpay three years longer, should my life be spared, and to dedicate that time to serious inquiry on a subject constantly pressing upon my mind. This delay I considered as likely to cure me of any false notions that either ignorance, fanaticism, or vanity might generate. It has, Sire, pleased the Divine Disposer of events, to grant me these years: and I hope they have not been passed unprofitably. After every inquiry and consideration on one of the most important subjects that can occupy the human mind, as far as my abilities and opportunities have enabled me, and after frequent and earnest prayer to that Being who alone has power over the minds of men, that I might do nothing dishonourable to Christianity or injurious to society, I have seen no reason to regret the resolution I then formed. Some may blame me, and with seeming justice, for taking so long a time for consideration, on what I now speak of as so very clear a point. I do not, however, regret this delay, as it has effectually convinced me that I have acted not only from pure motives, but also on correct principles ; and I feel the fullest confidence, that I shall never repent of the step that conscience has dictated.”
At a time when the great enemy of mankind seems to be making a strong effort to regain his lost power--when every thing is done by the enemies of peace, to inflame a martial spirit-when even the friends of Peace seem to have partaken of the general infatuation when military pomp and parade, and adoration and worship of a military character, are the order of the daywhile we are celebrating, by military fetes, addresses, and religious ceremonies--not only our victories, but even our defeats-while these things are transacting in this country, it is gratifying to turn our eyes toward Great Britain, and to contemplate very different scenes.
It seems as if christians, in that country, were returning to first principles ;-principles, by which the Church of Christ was governed, in the first ages of Christianity, when it was a persecuted and a pure Church while the light of Christianity burnt bright."