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were first driven into a nominal Christianity by the sword, it is no wonder that the religion of their descendants is now the patroness of a war-system the most terribly effective that the world ever saw. If rum-drinkers ourselves, we shall spread a rum-drinking Christianity; if slave-holders, a slave-holding Christianity; if warriors, or abettors of war, a war-tolerating Christianity. Every point of our faith, every aspect of our character, we shall be likely to impress upon our converts among the heathen; and, if peace is a part of our religion, we should of course prepare to enforce it aright all over the earth.
What, then, does the gospel teach on this subject? "Blessed are the peace-makers; for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy. Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, and do good to them that despitefully use you. Do good unto all men. If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. See that none render evil for evil unto any man. Follow peace with all men; and let all bitierness, and anger, and wrath, and clamor, be put away from you. Whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so to them. Avenge not yourselves; but whoso smiteth you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. Put up thy sword; for all they that take the sword, shall perish by the sword.' Such was the Christianity foretold by ancient prophets; and Isaiah, portraying its millennial triumphs, represents it as constraining all nations to "beat their swords into ploughshares, their spears into pruninghooks, and cease even from learning the art of war any more.'
Surely, then, peace is quite essential to a full preparation of the church for the work of converting all nations to the Christianity thus foretold by prophets, and thus taught by Christ and his Apostles. This work God has assigned to his people; but, if strangers to the pacific principles of his gospel, or reluctant to inculcate them aright, are they duly qualified to teach all nations a religion of peace? Christians they may be, and even excellent in other respects ; but, while defective on this point, are they the coworkers required by a God of peace for preaching his gospel of peace to every creature? They may teach a part of it; but will they the whole? Will they so enforce its pacific principles as to uproot the Upas of war, and sweep away the entire mass of its abominations and woes? Will they not leave in their converts the moral gangrene of war? Here then is an obvious, important part of the training necessary to qualify Christians fully for their great work of converting the world to a pure, unmutilated gospel.
We insist on all this, moreover, as necessary to insure God's full blessing. Already has the missionary cause accomplished a great deal; but, in proportion to the means used, how little in comparison with what was achieved by a dozen fishermen starting from Galilee, poor and alone, on the vast project of a world's evangelization! How can we account for the difference? Only on the supposition of God's refusal to bestow an equal blessing. But why this refusal ? Is his arm shortened ? Surely not. He could, if he would, crown our missionaries with all the success vouchsafed to Apostles. Why then does he not? There may be many other reasons ; but we think a chief one is to be found in the wardegeneracy of the church. Even under the Jewish dispensation, God manifested his abhorrence of blood by forbidding David, expressly for this reason, to build the temple ; and ever since the war-degeneracy of his followers, has the Prince of Peace shown his displeasure by his diminished blessing on their efforts to spread his religion. How rapid its early progress! How signal, how glorious the success of its first missionaries! How fast did she multiply her trophies, and gather her laurels, so long as she kept herself pure, and true to her peaceful Lord! Without scrip or purse, with no diadem on her brow save a crown of thorns, and no weapon in her hand but the sword of the Spirit, she went forth under God's smiles from conquering to conquer. Paganism bowed or fled before her; and in less than three centuries did she fill the Roman Empire with such a multitude of her converts, that Constantine took her to his throne, and robed her in imperial purple. It was a master-stroke of policy, and showed the extent of her triumphs and her power; but it proved well nigh her ruin. It was Delilah shearing Samson of his locks. She aped Cæsar, and shared Cæsar's fate. She took the sword, and she well nigh perished by the sword. The Holy Spirit, the Dove of peace from heaven, fled before the vultures of war; and from that day the church lost the secret of her power, the mainspring of her progress, her simple reliance under God on moral means alone. She abandoned her principles of peace; and the God of peace has frowned upon her for more than fifteen centuries. For ages had her members gone to the stake rather than turn warriors; but the she sent them forth, just like pagans, to this trade of blood, and has ever since lent it her sanction and support. The cross, emblem of peace, she put upon the banners of war; she left the stake, and went forth to the battle-field ; instead of baring her own bosom to the persecutor's steel, she dipt her hands in the blood of her foes; and the result was, that for a thousand years she lost far more than she gained, and left nearly all the countries touching the Mediterranean on three continents, the very centre of her primitive triumphs, in a condition less favorable to the religion of Jesus than they were at the hour of his crucifixion. Her whole war-period was at best a dead loss to the church; it merely embalmed in blood the trophies of her primitive purity and zeal. So with the Reformation; it won all its triumphs with the sword of the Spirit, and cut the sinews of its strength when it drew the sword of war; nor has it in two or three centuries gained so much as it once did in a single year.
Peace, moreover, fosters the spirit of missions. The former is closely allied to the latter. It was the spirit of peace that brought our Savior from the bosom of his Father; the spirit of peace that dictated and pervaded his sermon on the mount; the spirit of peace that breathed through his whole life, and drew from his cross the prayer, “ Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” The same spirit animated the martyr at the stake, and carried the Apostles from continent to continent, through fire and blood, with their message of salvation to perishing men. Look at Brainerd in the Indian's wigwam ; track the Moravian through the snows of Greenland ; follow the footsteps of Schwartz across the burning plains of India, or of Martyn over the mountains of Persia; and you find in each case the same spirit that loves its enemies, turns the other cheek to the smiter, and seeks to overcome evil only with good. No malice, no rancor, no purpose or desire of revenge, but an irrepressible out-gushing of good will to all. Such is the spirit of peace; nor can it exist without nourishing the disposition to bless the world with our religion of peace.
How unlike such a spirit is that of war! They are antagonistic, utterly incompatible. Could two neighbors, while fiercely panting each for the other's blood, seek one another's salvation ? No more can two nations, while putting forth their utmost energies in vindictive, murderous strife, labor one for the spiritual good of the other. So of the world; and, if all its myriads were simultaneously engaged in war, the work of its Christianization must cease for the time, nor could ever begin again until the fires of war were quenched. I grant it possible for a government to fight without infusing the war-spirit into a tithe of its subjects; but let such a spirit once madden our whole nation; let its pride, and wrath, and revenge be kindled into a blaze ; let scores and hundreds of thousands rush from our hills, and vales, and prairies to the work of blood ; let the worst passions of our nature be let loose on the field of battle to revel and rage like so many demons fresh from hell; and must not such a state of mind exclude for the time all desire, all thought of evangelizing the nations?
Peace, also, saves the men needed for the work of missions. The population of Europe, under the war influences of the last century, grew so slowly, Adam Smith says, as to double only in five hundred years; but their rate of increase during the last thirty years of general peace, would probably double their whole number in fifty or sixty years. The loss of life in the war of our Revolution has been estimated at some 300,000, ten times as many men as are needed to carry on the work of evangelizing all nations, and the late wars of Europe, in twenty-two years, sacrificed no less than nine or ten millions! The handful of men we keep for a standing army, are nearly ten times as numerous as all the missionaries now among the heathen; and Europe alone sustains even in peace some three millions of warriors, a hundred times as many men as the church needs for the world's immediate evangelization!
Nor is this all; for peace alone can furnish the Money indispensable for this work. We cannot well conceive how vastly the genius of peace has, since the downfall of Napoleon, augmented the productive power of Christendom. Its improvements in machinery, and its various applications of steam, have alone been equivalent probably to the unaided labor of half the inhabitants on the globe; and her share of this surplus the church may, if she will, spare for evangelizing the nations.
Nor is it possible without peace to raise the funds needed in the missionary cause. Our best laborers dragged by war from their fields and shops to the camp, our commerce swept from the ocean, our vessels rotting at our wharves, the grass growing in the very heart of our cities, our manufactures crippled, our agriculture neglected, every department of gainful industry paralyzed, all the great sources of our wealth dried up, at the very time that the expenses of living, and the taxes of government are enormously increased, whence could we get the means of giving the gospel to the whole world ?
What a boundless spendthrift is war! It is estimated that every gun of our navy costs an average of fifteen thousand dollars a year; enough to support some twenty or thirty missionaries ! Forty millions of dollars wasted in our war with a handful of Indians in Florida ! fifty millions a year in our last war with England ! hundreds of millions in our revolutionary war! Still worse do we find it in the Old World. England, as stated by one of her ablest and best men, has lavished upon Lord Wellington alone eleven millions of dollars! As much upon a single warrior as all Christendom has ever given in five years for the support of missionaries among the heathen!! The war operations of England, near the time of the battle at Waterloo, are said to have consumed one million sterling a day; about twice as much every day as the whole church of Christ is even now contributing annually for the spread of his gospel! It has been estimated, that the late wars of Europe, in little more than twenty years, wasted in one way and another, some $40,000,000,000, the bare interest of which would be, at six per cent., $2,400,000,000 a year, and, at only two and a half per cent., no less than $1,000,000,000! the simple interest at this low rate enough to support, at $500 each, two millions of missionaries, or one to every three hundred souls in all the pagan world !!
War, also, destroys or engrosses the very producers of a nation's wealth. A million perished in six months of the Russian Campaign, and nine or ten millions in all the wars consequent on the French Revolution. Did our revolutionary struggle leave the American church for the time any surplus of money or men for spreading the gospel ? From a population of some twenty-five millions, Napoleon had at times more than a million of soldiers under arms; not less than a fifth part of all the healthy, vigorous laborers in France. In La Vendee alone, the Revolutionists in eight or nine months, massacred upwards of a million; twenty per cent. more than the whole province contained forty years after! The so called Thirty Years' War in the seventeenth century, reduced the population of Germany from sixteen millions to four tellimme, or thres fourths, and that of Wirtemburg from half a million to less than fifty thensand, or more than nine-tenths! In this single dutchy were eight towns, forty-five villages, and 36,000 brwies laid in aster, and no less than 70,000 hearth-fires completely extinguished! Let goch ravages of war overspread all Christendorn only once in a century, and where could the church find either money or men for evangelizing the nations?
Bat the war-uyaten maken enormons drafts even in a time of peace. Ours is the cheapest in Christendom; and yet does it in peace waste upon the army, and navy, and fortifications, and other war purpuwes, some twenty millions a year, besides all the millions annually spent upon for militia system. Some of our war-ehipe have cost' more than a million each ; our arsenal at Springfield cotitains muskets to the value of three millions; in the navy yard nt Charlestown we have invested $4,741,000; the Military Acadenny at West Point has already consumed 44,002,901 ; millions on millions have been squandered on the construction of some single forts; 3.d lately our government proposed to spend on a syster of land defences no less than $51,677,329.
Do you imagine the church bears only a mere fraction of these burdens ? It has been ascertained that her members and their families here my one third of all our taxes, and consequently one third of our war-expenses. An equal ratio may obtain in other countries; and, if so, Christendom filches from the church one third of all its enormous expenditures for war; nor is it any exaggeration to suppose she pays for this purpose more than a hundred times as much as she is now contributing for the spread of her gospel! Even in our own country, her war-tax is considerably inore than all she gives to build her churches, to support her ministers, and carry on all her enterprises of benevolence and reform. Does this statement neem exaggerated? Well it may; but a full knowledge of the facts in the case would convince the most skeptical, that it is much below the truth.
More enormous still are the war-expenses of most other nations. Those of England alone are supposed now to be more than #200,000,000 a year; the interest and management of her wardebt amounting to nearly $150,000,000. All Europe keeps under arms, in a time of general peace, some three millions of men, at an annual expense of six or eight hundred millions of dollars ; while the num total of her war-debts is said, on the best authorities, to be nearly ten thousand millions, the interest on which, at six por cont., would be $600,000,000 a year. Thus the mere interest on the war-dobts of Europe alone, would suffice for the support of more than one million of missionaries among the heathen, a thousand times as many as the whole church now has in the field !!
Nor is this the worst of the case ; for war either dries up or poiBons the very fountains of those moral influences which create and sustain the missionary enterprise. These are found in the general prosperity of the church at home in the growth of her numbers