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of its being with impunity. A comet might as easily escape from its orbit, as a nation from the moral obligations and penalties of God's supreme law. In endeavoring to unfold the elements essential to national prosperity and existence, and the celestial doctrines of peace, equity, and mercy, as national duties, we are aware, that our work will be novel, and our efforts to overturn war and its atrocities, may be vain. Confident that truth and justice will prevail, and believing, that the perfect civilization of the Gospel, must be brought about by the discovery and application of the moral laws impressed upon man's nature, we proceed with our adventurous task. Knowing our own inability, we look for inspiring aid to the great Fountain of Light. Humbly invoking celestial aid, in the language of Milton we would say: “And chiefly Thou, O, Spirit, that dost prefer Before all temples, th' upright heart and pure, Instruct me, for Thou know'st: Thou from the first, Wast present, and with mighty wings outspread, Dove-like, sat'st brooding on the vast abyss, And mad'st it pregnant: what in me is dark, Illumine; what is low raise and support; That to the height of this great argument
I may assert eternal providence,
A. CRITICAL REVIEW OF HISTORY, FROM THE TIME OF ABRAHAM, SHOWING A MORAL LAW OF NATIONS ENJOINING PEACE, EQUITY, AND MERCY, AND PUNISHING BY NECESSITY THE WIOLATION OF IT.
WE intend, in this chapter, to unfold the law of nature, as the providence of God has impressed it upon the history of nations, commanding right, and with severe penalties prohibiting wrong.
By the light of reason, Confucius, Socrates, and Cicero, among the ancients, discovered that men were bound to one another by the obligations of justice and benevolence. Confucius declared it a duty to love all mankind—to promote peace, courtesy, and kindness; and that men ought to do to others, as they would that they should do unto them. This he called right reason, and the sovereign good; and he addressed this doctrine to princes and people. Socrates deduced from the soul's immortality and emanation from God, the same social duties; and he held, that the actions of men should conform to God's nature in justice and benevolence. Cicero, in his ethical writings, says, that mankind form one community, by the inherent relations of equity and kindness; and that reason and social communion create a common tie of humanity. The law of nature, he says, confers on all a right to share in the natural productions of the earth, which are provided for the common benefit of all. He condemns the Greek proverb, “All things in common among friends;” and he enforces hospitality and kindness. These doctrines acknowledge a universal moral obligation to do as we would be done unto—to deal justly, and to love mercy. Though these philosophers had no distinct idea of a law of nations, they discovered a natural law, which binds man to equity and mercy in every relation. President Washington, in his Farewell Address to the people of the United States, guided by Revelation, developed and applied these principles to international transactions. He says, “Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all; religion and morality enjoin this conduct, and can it be that good policy does not equally enjoin it ! It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and at no distant period, a great nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence. Who can doubt, that in the course of time and things, the fruit of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantage which might be lost by a steady adherence to it? Can it be, that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a nation with its virtue?” The distinguished, noble, and excellent John Jay, formerly Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, in his published works, affirms the same doctrine in these words: “ The moral or natural law was given by the Sovereign of the universe to all mankind; with them it was coeval, and with them it will be coexistent. Being founded by infinite wisdom and goodness on essential right, which never varies, it can require no amendment or alteration.” In our review of the history of the world, we aim to show, that national felicity and virtue are inseperably connected, and that every national violation of the moral law, produces in the course of centuries its own punishment. To ascertain the truth, we will call before us departed States and long buried Empires, and listen to the voice ascending from the tombs of the mighty dead. We will summon the Pharaohs, the kings of the Chaldeans and of the Persians, Rome, Carthage, and Syracuse, from the sleep of ages—from the pyramids, and from amid the mouldering monuments of departed greatness, to testify to the laws
of nature written by the finger of God on the heart of man, and shadowed forth in the history of the past. Like the ancient Egyptians, we will hold a judicial inquest over the character of embalmed empires, and we will call existing States to our bar of judgment.
We propose to prove that such is the constitution of man, that violence, injustice, and every violation of the moral laws of our being, punish every offending nation by a natural and inevitable mecessity.
The most ancient hero which history presents, is Cherdorlaomer, who led his forces against Bera, king of Sodom, and other neighboring princes, and brought them under subjection. The subject princes repelling force by force, rose in rebellion to regain their independence, and Cherdorlaomer again came from the east with his armed hordes, laid waste the country, and reconquered it. Sodom and Gomorrah, with Lot and his property, fell into the hands of the victor as well as other captives and much booty. Abraham with his servants went forth in arms to deliver his relative, smote the victorious party, set free the captives, and recovered their goods. On his return from this just war of defence, the king of Salem met the father of the faithful, and blessed him, offering him bread and wine to refresh himself and his weary followers.