« PreviousContinue »
into a lion; and many successive armies of Christians sacrificed their lives, to obtain the sepulchre of Him, who taught them to feed their enemies, when they were an hungered, to clothe thern, when they were naked, to pray for them at all times, and to return good for evil, and who set them the example of laying down his own life for his persecutors. At this distance of time, we look back with astonishment on the crusaders, waging war on the infidels, for the possession of an empty grave; and after an equal lapse of time, men will look back on our times, with equal astonishment, that christians should fight with and murder each other for an empty bubble.
There is more of the spirit of the crusaders among us, than we are willing to allow, and we still impiously talk of an “appeal to Heaven,” when we speak of war; and though we do not search for the miraculous spear, or the true cross, we have, on each side, our chaplains, to bless our standards, and pray for our success in defacing God's image in our fellow creatures. We have our fasts too, on commencing a war, as the judicial combatants bad before their duels; and endeavor to snatch the sword of justice from the hand of Him, who has said, “ Vengeance is mine"--attempt to be judge, jury, and executioner in our own cause, and to press the Almighty himself into our service, , though experience has shown us, that the wrong side-if ever one side is more wrong than the other, is generally successful; and though both sides are punished, the most guilty generally suffers less than the other. We can see, easily enough, the folly and wickedness of the ancient judicial combats and modern duels, while we seem to be blind to the same folly and wickedness exhibited in national combats,- which, indeed, are the most criminal of the two, inasmuch as duellists settle their own quarrels; while those, who are most efficient in making wars, fatten on the blood of others, who have no interest in the quarrel.
But as light shone out of darkness, and the reformation commenced, wars became less frequent and less ferocious; and as the light continues to increase, we have reason .to hope, that the shadows will fee away, and
then it will be evident, to christians of every sect and denomination, that their religion is a religion of peace and good will, and totally opposed to war. · I have heard this objection made against peace societies, that they are useless, because when the Christian religion shall extend over the whole world, wars will cease, and not before. This is futile,-for many real christians are now as much in favor of war, as the benevolent John Newton was in favor of the slave trade, after his conversion. No man is made perfect on earth; and I have no doubt, there were real christians engaged in our last war with Great Britain, on both sides. But there is reason to hope, that they may see cause to change their opinion, as Newton changed his,—though I doubt, whether he would ever have altered his opinjon, until he got to Heaven, had it not been for abolition societies.
EXEMPLIFICATION OF THE PACIFIC SPIRIT
AMONG THE SAVAGES OF AFRICA.
On reading the African Repository, I was struck with some facts therein related, which tend still further to convince me that wars may be avoided in the worst of circumstances. If a nation adopting the pacific principle remains safe and unmolested among hordes of barbarians, why may not a pacific nation remain safe among Christians ? Is there any thing in the Christian religion that renders its professors more ferocious than Mahometans and Pagans ?
The facts to which I refer are briefly these -Major Gray commanded an exploring party sent by the British government into the interior of Africa. He found the nations and hordes generally living in walled towns or villages, of which the following is a specimen. Boolibang, the capital of Bondoo, "} surrounded by a strong clay wall ten f high and eighteen inches thick: this isur ced with loop-holes; and is so constr
that at short intervals, projecting angles are thrown out, which enable the besieged to defend the front of the wall by a flanking fire; and it answers all the purposes of defence, where nothing but small arms is made use of. The gates and some of the intermediate parts of the wall, are surmounted by small embattled turrets, nine or ten feet square : those are likewise pierced with loop-holes.” But Boolibang, though the strongest town they had seen, was partly destroyed by the Kaartan army in 1817. Of Madina, another walled town, he says: “Outside of the walls is a strong stake or palisade fence, which gave to the place the appearance of a large fortified redoubt."
Notwithstanding all these precautions, these fortified towns were often desolated by a spirit of war and slavery. “At a small distance from Boolibang, Major Gray saw the ruins of a town which had been destroyed by e Kaartan army; and the sanguinary na
of the contest was but too evident from thickly strewed and whitened bones of lain, whose bodies had been left on the to be devoured by the birds and beasts