صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

tells us the object of their warfare--the bringing ence than many great ones against it. Now all this every thought to the obedience of Christ : and this cannot be predicated of the advocates of peace; they object I would beg the reader to notice, because it are opposing the influence of habit ; they are conaccords with the object of Christ himself in his pre- tendins ogainst the general prejudice; they are, percepts from the Mount—the reduction of the thoughts haps, dismissing their own previous opinions: and I to obedience. The apostle doubtless knew that, if would submit it to the candour of the reader, that he could effect this, there was little reason to fear these circumstances ought to attach, in his mind, that his converts would slaughter one another. He suspicion to the validity of the arguments against us. followed the example of his master. He attacked The narrative of the centurion who came to Jesus wickedness in its root; and inculcated those general at Capernaum to solicit him to heal his servant, furprinciples of purity and forbearance, which, in their nishes one of these arguments. It is said that Christ prevalence, would abolish war, as they would abulish found no fault with the centurion's profession; that all other crimes. The teachers of Christianity ad. if he had disallowed the military character, he would dressed themselves not to communities but to men. have taken this opportunity of censuring it; and that, They enforced the regulation of the passions and instead of such censure, he highly commended the the rectification of the heart; and it was probably officer, and said of him, “ I have not found so great clear to the perceptions of apostles, although it is faith, no, not in Israel.”* not clear to some species of philosophy, that what- An obvious weakness in this argument is this; ever duties were binding upon one man, were bind- that it is founded not upon an approval, but upon ing upon ten, upon a hundred, and upon the state. silence. Approbation is indeed expressed, but it is

War is not often directly noticed in the writings directed, not to his arms, but to his “ faith;” and of the apostles. When it is noticed, it is condemned, those who will read the narrative, will find that no just in that way in which we should suppose any occasion was given for noticing his profession. He thing would be condemned that was notoriously op- came to Christ, not as a military officer, but simply as posed to the whole system-just as murder is con- a deserving man. A censure of his profession might demned at the present day. Who can find, in modern undoubtedly have been pronounced, but it would books, that murder is formally censured? We may have been a gratuitous censure, a censure that did not find censures of its motives, of its circumstances, of naturally arise out of the case. The objection is, in its degrees of atrocity; but the act itself no one its greatest weight, presumptive only; for none can thinks of censuring, because every one knows that it be supposed to countenance every thing that he does is wicked. Setting sta:utes aside, I doubt whether, not condemn. To observe silence t in such cases, if an Otaheitan should choose to argue that Chris- was indeed the ordinary practice of Christ. He very tians allow murder because he cannot find it formally seldom interfered with the civil or political instituprohibited in their writings, we should not be at a tions of the world. In these institutions there was loss to find direct evidence against him. And it sufficient wickedness around him; but some of them, arises, perhaps, from the same causes, that a formal | flagitious as they were, he never, on any occasion, probibition of war is not to be found in the writings even noticed. His mode of condemning and extir. of the apostles. I do not believe they imagined that pating political vices, was by the inculcation of geChristianity would ever be charged with allowing it. neral rules of purity, which, in their eventual aud They write, as is the idea of such a charge never universal application, would reform them all. occurred to them. They did, nevertheless, virtually But how happens it that Christ did not notice the forbid it; unless any one shall say that they disal- centurion's religion. He surely was an idolater, lowed the passions which occasion war, but did not And is there not as good reason for maintaining disallow war itsell'; that Christianity prohibits the that Christ approved idolatry because he did not cause but permits the effect; which is much the condemn it, as that he approved war because he did same as to say, that a law which forbad the ad- not condemn it? Reasoning from analogy, we should ministering arsenic did not forbid poisoning.

conclude that idolatry was likely to have been noBut although the general tenor of Christianity and ticed rather than war; and it is therefore peculiarly some of its particular precepts appear distinctly to and singularly unapt to bring forward the silence condemn and disallow war, it is certain that different respecting war, as an evidence of its lawfulness. conclusions have been formed; and many, who are A similar argument is advanced from the case of undoubtedly desirous of performing the duties of Cornelius, to whom Peter was sent from Joppa, of Christianity, have failed to perceive that war is un- which it is said, that although the gospel was imlan ful to them.

parted to Cornelius by the especial direction of In examining the arguments by which war is heaven, yet we do not find that he therefore quitted, defended, two important considerations should be his profession, or that it was considered inconsistent borne in mind—first, that those who urge them are with his new character. The objection applies to not simply defending war, they are also defending this argument as to the last--that it is built upon themseives. If war be wrong, their conduct is silence, that it is simply negative. We do not find wrong; and the desire of self-justification prompts that he quitted the service: I might answer, neither them to give importance to whatever arguments do we find that he continued in it. We only know they can advance in its favour. Their decisions nothing of the matter; and the evidence is theremay, therefore, with reason, be regarded as in some fore so much less than proof, as silence is less than degree the decisions of a party in the cause. The approbation. Yet that the account is silent reother consideration is, that the defenders of war specting any disapprobation of war, might have been come to the discussion prepossessed in its favour. a reasonable ground of argument under different They are attached to it by their earliest habits. circumstances, It might have been a reasonable They do not examine the question as a philosopher ground of argument, if the primary object of Chriswould examine it, to whom the subject was new. tianity had been the reformation of political instituTheir opinions had been already formed. They are discussing a question which they had already determined: and every man, who is acquainted with

+ “Christianity, soliciting admission into all nations of the

world, abstained, as behoved it, from intermeddling with the the effects of evidence on the mind, knows that under civil institutions of any. But does it follow, from the silence these circumstances a very slender argument in fa

of Scripturo concerning them, that all the civil institutions

which then prevailed were right, or that the bad should not be vour of the previous opinions, possesses more influ- | exchanged for better ?"—Paley.

Matt. viii. 10.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

tions, or, perhaps, even if her primary object had doclaration ? Obviously, by understanding “ sword" been the regulation of the external conduct ; but to mean something far other than sieel. There apher primary object was neither of these. She di- pcars little reason for supposing that physical wearected herself to the reformation of the heart, know- pons were intended in the instruction of Christ. I ing that all other reformation would follow. She believe they were not intended, partly because no embraced, indeed, both morality and policy, and has one can imagine his apostles were in the habit of reformed, or will reform, both—not so much imme- using such arms, partly because they declared that diately as consequently—not so much by filtering the weapons of their warfare were not carnal, and the current, as by purifying the spring. The silence partly because the word “sword" is often used to of Peter, therefore, in the case of Cornelius, will imply " dissension," or the religious warfare of the serve the cause of war but little: that little is di- Christian. Such an use of language is found in the minished when urged against the positive evidenco last quotation; and it is is found also in such cs. of commands and prohibitions, and it is reduced to pressions as these : shield of faith,”—helmet of nothingness when it is opposed to the universal ten. | salvation, -“ sword of the spirit," _“ I have fought dency and object of the revelation.

the good fight of faith.' It has sometimes been urged that Cirist paid But it will be said that the apostles did provide taxes to the Roman government at a time when it themselves with swords, for that on the same evenwas engaged in war, and when, therefore, the money ing they asked, “ Shall we smite with the sword!" that he paid would be employed in its prosecution. This is true, aud it may probably be true also, that This we shall readily grant; but it appears to be some of them provided themselves with swords in forgotten by our opponents, that if this proves war consequence of the injunction of their Master. But to be lawful, they are proving too much. These what then ? It appears to me that the apostles taxes were thrown into the exchequer of the state, acted on this occasion upon the principles on which and a part of the money was applied to purposes of they had wished to act on another, when they asked, a most iniquitous and shocking nature-sometimes,

“ Wilt thou that we command fire to come down probably, to the gratification of the emperor's per- from heaven, and consume them?” And that their sonal vices, and to his gladiatorial exhibitions, &c., Master's principles of action were also the same in and certainly to the support of a miserable idolatry. both.—“ Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are II, therefore, the payment of taxes to such a govern- of; for the Son of Man is not come to destroy men's ment prores an approbation of war, it proves an lives, but to save them." This is the language of approbation of many other enormitics. Moreover, Christianity; and I would seriously invite him who the argument goes too far in relation even to war; now justifies “ destroying men's lives,” to consider for it must necessarily make Christ approve of all what manner of spirit he is of. the Roman wars, withont distinction of their justice I think then, that no argument arising from the or injustice of the most ambitious, the most atro- instruction to buy swords can be maintained. This, cious, and the most aggressive and these, even our at least, we know, that when the apostles were comobjectors will not defend. The payment of tribute pletely commissioned, they neither used nor possessed by our Lord, was accordant with his usual system them. An extraordinary imagination he must have, of avoiding to interfere in the civil or political in- who conceives of an apostle, preaching peace and restitutions of the world.

conciliation, crying “forgive injuries,” “ love your “ He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment enemies,”—“ render not evil for evil;" and at the and, buy one. This is another passage that is conclusion of the discourse, if he chanced to meet brought against us. “ For what purpose,” it is violence or insult, promptly drawing his sword and asked, were they to buy swords, if swords might maiming or murdering the offender. We insist upon not be used ?" It may be doubted whether, with this consideration. If swords were to be worn, swords somo of those who advance this objection, it is not were to be used; and there is no rational way in an objection of words rather than of opinion. It which they could have been used, but some such as may be doubted whether they themselves think there that which we have been supposing. If, therefore, is any weight in it. To those, however, who may the words, “ He that hath no sword, let him sell his be influenced by it, I would observe that, as it ap- garment and buy one," do not mean to authorize suck pears to me, a sufficient answer to the objection may an use of the sword, they do not mean to authorize be found in the immediate context: “ Lord, behold its use at all: and those who adduce tho passage, here are two swords," said they, and he immediately must allow its application in such a sense, or they answered, " It is enough." How could two be must exclude it from any application to their purpose. enough when eleven wore to be supplied with them? It has been said, again that when soldiers came That swords in the sense, and for the purpose, of to John the Baptist to enquire of him what they military weapons, were even intended in this passage, should do, he did not direct them to leave the ser. there appears much reason for doubting.

This rea

vicc, but to be content with their wages. This, also, son will be discovered by examining and connecting is at best but a negative evidence. It does not prove such expressions as these : “ The Son of Man is that the military profession was wrong, and it cernot come to destroy men's lives, but to save them,” tainly does not prove that it was right. But in truth, said our Lord. Yet, on another occasion, he says, if it asserted the latter, Christians have, as I conI came not to send peace on earth, but a sword." ceive, nothing to do with it : for I think that we How are we to explain the meaning of the latter need not enquire what Joho allowed, or what he for

bade. He, confessedly, belonged to that system Luke xxli. 36. Upon the interpretation of this passage of which required “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for Scripture, I would subjoin the sentiments of two or threo a tooth;" and the observations which we shall by authors. Bishop Pearce says, “It is plain that Jesus never intended to make any resistance, or suffer a sword to be used

and by make on the authority of the law of Moses, on this occasion." And Campbell says, “ We are sure that he apply, therefore, to that of John the Baptist. Aldid not intend to be understood literally, but as speaking of though it could be proved (which it cannot be) the weapons of their spiritual warfare." whole speeon is allegorical. My fellow soldiers, you have

that be allowed wars, he acted not inconsistently hitherto lived in peace, but now a dreadful war is at hand; 80 with his own dispensation ; and with that dispensathat, omitting all other things, you must think only of arms. tion we have no business. Yet, if any one still inBut when he prayod in the garden, and reproved Peter for amiting with the sword, he himself showed what these arms

sists upon the authority of John, I would refer him were." See Peace and War, an Essay. Hatcbard, 1824 for an answer to Jesus Christ himself. What an

And Beza: “ This

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

thority He attached to John on questions relating to in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy His own dispensation, may be learnt from this borders." * The least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than Two things are to be observed in relation to these he."

prophecies; 1st, that it is the will of God that war It is perhaps no trifling indication of the difficulty, should eventually be abolished. This consideration is which writers have found in discovering in the Chris- of importance; for if war be not accordant with His tian Scriptures arguments in support of war, that will, war cannot be accordant with Christianity, they have had recourse to such equivocal and far- which is the revelation of His will. Our business, fetched arguments. Grotius adduces a passage which i however, is principally with the second consideration he says is “ a leading point of evidence, to show that that Christianity will be the mean of introducing this the right of war is not taken away by the law of the period of Peace. From those who say that our religion gospel.' And what is this leading evidence ? That sanctions war, an answer must be expected to questions Paul, in writing to Timothy, exhorts that prayer such as these :- By what instrumentality and by the should be made “ for kings ! - Another evidence diffusion of what principles, will the prophecies of which this great man adduces is, that Paul suffered Isaiah be fulfilled ? Are we to expect soine new himself to be protected on his journey by a guard of system of religion, by which the imperfections of soldiers, without hinting any disapprobation of re- Christianity shall be removed and its deficiencies pelling force by force. But how does Grotius know supplied ! Are we to believe that God sent his only that Paul did not hint this? And who can imagine | Son into the world to institute a religion such as that to suffer himself to be guarded by a military this—a religion that, in a few centuries, would reescort, in the appointment of which he had no con- quire to be altered and amended! If Christianity trol, was to approve war?

allows of war, they must tell us what it is that is to extir. But perhaps the real absence of sound Christian / pate war. If she allows “ violence, and wasting, and arguments in favour of war, is in no circunstance destruction," they must tell us what are the principles so remarkably intimated as in the citations of Milton that are to produce gentleness, and benevolence, and in his Christian Doctrine. “With regard to the forbearance.--I know not what answer such enquiries duties of war," he quotes or refers to thirty-nine will receive from the adrocate of war, but I know passages of Scripture-thirty-eight of which are that Isaiah says the change will be effected by Chrisfrom the Hebrew Scriptures: and what is the indi- tianity: and if any one still chooses to expect vidual one from the Christian !—“ What king going another and a purer system, an apostle may, porto war with another king !” &c. f

haps, repress his hopes :- Though we or an angel Such are the arguments which are adduced from from heaven,” says Paul,“ preach any other gospel the Christian Scriptures, by the advocates of war. unto you, than that which we have preached unto you, In these five passages, the principal of the New let him be accursed." + Testament evidences in its favour, unquestionably Whatever the principles of Christianity will reconsist: they are the passages which men of acute quire hereafter, they require now. Christianity, minds, studiously seeking for evidence, have se. with its present principles and obligations, is to prolected. And what are they? Their evidence is in the duce universal peace. It becomes, therefore, an majority of instances negative at best. A “NOT" absurdity, a simple contradiction, to maintain that intervenes. The centurion was not found fault the principles of Christianity allow of war, when with : Cornelius was not told to leave the profes- they, and they only, are to eradicate it. If we have sion: John did not tell the soldiers to abandon the no other guarantee of Peace than the existence of army: Paul did not refuse a military guard. I our religion, and no other hope of Peace than in its cannot forbear to solicit the reader to compare these diffusion, how can that religion sanction war ? objections with the pacific evidence of the gospel which The case is clear. A more perfect obedience to has been laid before him; I would rather say, to that same gospel, which, we are told, sanctions compare it with the gospel itself: for the sum, the slaughter, will be the means, and the only means, of tendency, of the whole revelation is in our favour. exterminating slaughter from the world. It is not

In an enquiry whether Christianity allows of war, from an alteration of Christianity, but from an assi. there is a subje«t that always appears to me to be milation of Christians to its nature, that we are to of peculiar importance—the prophecies of the Old hope. It is because we violate the principles of our Testament respecting the arrival of a period of religion, because we are not what they require us to universal peace.

The belief is perhaps general be, that wars are continued. If we will not be amongst Christians, that a time will come when vice peaceable, let us then, at least, be honest, and acshall be eradicated from the world, when the violent knowledge that we continue to slaughter one another, passions of mankind shall be repressed, and when not because Christianity permits it, but because we the pure benignity of Christianity shall be universally reject her laws. diffused. That such a period will come we indeed The opinions of the earliest professors of Chrisknow assuredly, for God has promised it.

tianity upon the lawfulness of war are of importance, Of the many prophecies of the Old Testament re- because they who lived nearest to the time of its specting this period, we refer only to a few from Founder were the most likely to be informed of his the writings of Isaiah. In his predictions respecting intentions and his will, and to practise them without the “last times,” by which it is not disputed that he those adulterations which we know have been intro. referred to the prevalence of the Christian religion, duced by the lapse of ages. the prophet says—“ They shall beat their swords During a considerable period after the death of into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning Christ, it is certain, then, that his followers believed hooks : nation shall not lift up sword against nation, he had forbidden war, and that, in consequence of neither shall they learn war any more." ! Again, this belief, many of them refused to engage in it referring to the same period, he says—“ They shall whatever were the consequence, whether reproach, not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain : for or imprisonment, or death. These facts are indisthe earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, putable. “ It is as easie,” says a learned writer of as the waters cover the sea." § And again, respect the seventeenth century, “to obscure the sun at miding the same era—“ Violence shall no more be heard day, as to deny that the primitive Christians re• See Rights of War and Peace.

+ Luke xlv. 31. Isa. ii. 4.

§ Id. xi. 9.

• Isa. Ix. 18.

+ Gal. 1. 8.

[ocr errors]


nounced all revenge and war.” Christ and his of a part of the Roman armies, including more than apostles delivered general precepts for the regulation one-third of the standing legions of Rome, distinctly of our conduct. It was necessary for their succes- informs ils, i hat “not a Christian could be found sors to apply them to their practice in life.

And to

amongst them.” what did they apply the pacific precepts which had All this is explicit. The evidence of the follow. been delivered? They applied them to war; they ing facts is, however, yet more determinate and were assured that the precepts absolutely forbade it. satisfactory. Some of the arguments which, at the This belief they derived from those very precepts | present day, are brought against the advocates of on which we have insisted; they referred, expressly, peace, were then urged against these early Christo the same passages in the New Testament, and tians; and these arguments they examined and repel. from the authority and obligation of those passages,

led. This indicates investigation and enquiry, and they refuse to bear arms. A few examples from manifests that their belief of the unlawfulness of their history will show with what undoubting confi- war was not a vague opinion, hastily admitted and dence they believed in the unlawfulness of war, and loosely floating amongst them, but that it was the how much they were willing to suffer in the cause result of deliberate examination, and a consequent of Peace.

firm conviction that Christ had forbidden it. The Maximilian, as it is related in the Acts of Ruinart, very same arguments which are brought in defence was brought before the tribunal to be enrolled as a of war at the present day, were brought against the soldier. On the proconsol's asking his name, Maxi. Christians sixieen hundred years ago; and, sixteen milian replied, “ I am a Christian, and cannot fight." | hundred years ago, they were repelled by these It was, however, ordered that he should be enrolled, faithful contenders for the purity of our religion. but he refused to serve, still alleging that he was a It is remarkable, too, that Tertullian appeals to the Christian. He was immediately told that there was precepts from the Mount, in proof of those prinno alternative between bearing arms and being put ciples on which this chapter has been insisting :to death. But his fidelity was not to be shaken :- that the dispositions which the precepts inculcate ar: “ I cannot fight,” said he, “ if I die.” He con- not compatible with war, and that war, therefore, is tinued steadfast to his principles, and was consigned | irreconcilable with Christianity. to the executioner.

If it be possible, a still stronger evidence of the The primitive Christians not only refused to be primitive belief, is contained in the circumstance, enlisted in the army, but when they embraced Chris- that some of the Christian authors declared that the tianity, whilst already enlisted, they abandoned the refusal of the Christians to bear arms, was a fulfilprofession at whatever cost. Marcellus was a cen- ment of ancient prophecy. The peculiar strength turion in the legion called Trajana. Whilst holding of this evidence consists in this that the fact of a this commission, he became a Christian; and believ- refusal to bear arms is assumed as notorious and ing, in common with his fellow. Christians, that war unquestioned. Irenæus, who lived about the year was no. longer permitted to him, he threw down his 180, affirms that the prophecy of Isaiah, which de. belt at the head of the legion, declaring, that he had clared that men should turn their swords into ploughbecome a Christian, and that he would serve no shares and their spears into pruning-hooks, kad been longer. He was committed to prison; but he was fulfilled in his time ; " for the Christians," says he, still faithful to Christianity. “ It is not lawful,” “ have changed their swords and their lances into said he, “ for a Christian to bear arms for any earthly instruments of peace, and they know not how to consideration ;” and he was, in consequence, put to fight.Justin Martyn, his contemporary, writesdeath. Almost immediately afterwards, Cassian, " That the prophecy is fulfilled you have good rea. who was notary to the same legion, gave up his son to believe, for we, who in times past killed one office. He steadfastly maintained the sentiments of another, do not now fight with our enemics." TertulMarcellus ; and, like him, was consigned to the exe- lian, who lived later, says, “ You must confess that cutioner. Martin, of whom so much is said by Sul- the prophecy has been accomplished, as far as the picius Severus, was bred to the profession of arms, practice of every individual is concerned, to whom it which, on his acceptance of Christianity, he aban, is applicable.” doned. To Julian the Apostate, the only reason It has been sometimes said, that the motive which that we find he gave for his conduct was this :-“I influenced the early Christians to refuse to engage am a Christian, and therefore I cannot fight.” in war, consisted in the idolatry which was con

These were not the sentiments, and this was not nected with the Roman armies. One motive this the conduct, of insulated individuals who might be idolatry unquestionably afforded; but it is obvious, actuated by individual opinion, or by their private from the quotations which we have given, that their interpretations of the duties of Christianity, Their belief of the unlawfulness of fighting, independent of principles were the principles of the body. They any question of idolatry, was an insuperable objecwere recognized and defended by the Christian tion to engaging in war. Their words are explicit: writers, their contemporaries, Justin Martyr and “ I cannot fight, if I die.”—“ I am a Christian, and Tatian talk of soldiers and Christians as distinct therefore I cannot fight.“ Christ," says Tertulcharacters; and Tatian says that the Christians! ian, by disarming Peter, disarmed every soldier;" declined even military commands. Clemens of Alexan- and Peter was not about to fight in the armies of dria calls his Christian contemporaries the “Followers | idolatry. So entire was their conviction of the inof Peace," and expressly tells us that the followers compatibility of war with our religion, that they of peace used none of the implements of war.” Lac- would not even be present at the gladiatorial fights, tantius, another early Christian, says expressly, “ It “lest,” says Theophilus, "we should become par. can never be lawful for a righteous man to go to takers of the murders committed there.” Can any war.” About the end of the second century, Celsus, one believe that they, who would not even witness a one of the opponents of Christianity, charged the battle between two men, would themselves fight in Christians wiih refusing to bear arms even in case of a battle between armies? And the destruction of a necessity. Origen, the defender of the Christians, gladiator, it should be remembered, was authorized does not think of denying the fact; he admits the by the state, as much as the destruction of enemies refusal, and justities it, because war was unlawful. in war. Even after Christianity had spread over almost the It is therefore indisputable, that the Christians whole of the known world, Tertullian, in speaking who lived nearest to the time of our Saviour, be.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

were common),

lieved, with undoubting confidence, that he had un- ! of the Lord my God: but the word of the Lord equivocally forbidden war ;—that they openly avow- came to me, saying, Thou hast shed blood abundeci this belief; and that, in support of it, they were antly, and hast made great wars : thou shalt not willing to sacrifice, and did sacrifice, their fortunes į build an house unto my name, because thou hast shed and their lives.

much blood upon the earth in my sight."* So little Christians, however, afterwards became soldiers : accordancy did war possess with the purer offices and when !-When their general fidelity to Christi- even of the Jewish Dispensation. anity became relaxed ;-when, in other respects, they Perhaps the argnment to which the greatest imviolated its principles ;--when they had begun “to portance is attached by the advocates of war, and dissemble,” and “to falsify their word,” and “to | by which thinking men are chiefly induced to accheat;"_when “ Christian casuists” had persuaded | quiesce in its lawfulness is this, That a distinction them that they might “ sit at meat in the idol's tem- is to be made between rules which apply to us as indiple;"_when Christians accepted even the priest- | viduals, and rules which apply to us as subjects of the hoods of idolatry. In a word, they became soldiers state ; and that the pacific injunctions of Christ from when they had ceased to be Christians.

the Mount, and all the other kindred commands and The departure from the original faithfulness, was, prohibitions of the Christian Scriptures, hare no refirhowever, not suddenly general. Like every other ence to our conduct as members of the political body. corruption, war obtained by degrees. During the If there be soundness in the doctrines which have first two hundred years, not a Christian soldier is been delivered at the commencement of the Essay upon record. In the third century, when Christi- upon the “ Elements of Political Rectitude," this anity became partially corrupted, Christian soldiers argument possesses no force or application.

The number increased with the When persons make such broad distinctions beincrease of the general profligacy; until at last, tween the obligations of Christianity on private and in the fourth century, Christians became soldiers on public affairs, the proof of the rectitude of the without hesitation, and perhaps without remorse. distinction must be expected of those who make it. Here and there, however, an ancient father still General rules are laid down by Christianity, of which, lifted up his voice for Peace; but these, one after in some cases, the advocate of war denies the appli. another, dropping from the world, the tenet that cability. He, therefore, is to produce the reason

War is unlawful, ceased at length to be a tenet o! | and the authority for the exception. And that authe church.

thority must be a competent authority—the authority Let it always be burne in mind, by those who are mediately or immediately of God. It is to no puradvocating war, that they are contending for a cor- pose for such a person to tell us of the magnitude of ruption which their forefathers abhorred; and that political affairs-—of the greatness of the interests they are making Jesus Christ the sanctioner of which they involve-of " necessity,” or of expedicrimes, which his purest followers offered up their ency. All these are very proper considerations in lives because they would not commit.

subordination to the Moral Law;-otherwise they An argument has sometimes been advanced in are wholly nugatory and irrelevant. Let the reader favour of war, from the divine communications to observe the manner in which the argument is supthe Jews under the administration of Moses. It has ported.—IX an individual suffers aggression, there is been said, that as wars were allowed and enjoined to a power to which he can apply that is above himself that people, they cannot be inconsistent with the and above the aggressor ; a power by which the bad will of God.

passions of thosc around him are restrained, or by The reader, who has perused the First Essay of which their aggressions are punished. But amongst this work, will be aware that to the present argu- nations there is no acknowledged superior or comment our answer is short:-If Christianity prohibits mon arbitrator. Even if there were, there is no way war, there is, to Christians, an end of the contro- in which its decisions could be enforced, but by the yersy. War cannot then be justified by the refer. sword. War, therefore, is the only means which ring to any antecedent dispensation. One brief one nation possesses of protecting itself from the observation may, however, be offered, that those aggression of another. The reader will observe the who refer, in justification of our present practice, to i fundamental fallacy upon which the argument prothe authority by which the Jews prosecuted their ceeds.--It assumes, that the reason why and indivi. wars, must be expected to produce the same autho. I dual is not permitted to use violence is, that the laws rity for our own. Wars were commanded to the will use it for him. Here is the error; for the Jews, but are they commanded to us? War, in the foundation of the duty of forbearance in private life, abstract, was never commanded : and surely those is not that the laws will punish aggression, but thut specific wars which were enjoined upon the Jews for Christianity requires forbearonce. an express purpose, are neither authority nor ex- Undoubtedly, if the existence of a common arbi. ample for us, who have received no such injunction, trator were the foundation of the duty, the duty and can plead no such purpose.

would not be binding upon nations. But that which It will, perhaps, be said, that the commands to we require to be proved is this—that Christianity prosecute wars, even to extermination, are so posi- exonerates nations from those duties which she has tive, and so often repeated, that it is not probable, imposed upon individuals. This, the present arguif they were inconsistent with the will of heaven, ment does not prove: and, in truth, with a singular that they would have been thus peremptorily enjoin- unhappiness in its application, it assumes, in effect, ed. We answer, that they were not inconsistent that she has imposed these duties upon neither the with the will of heaven then. But even then, the one nor the other, prophets foresaw that they were not accordant with If it be said, that Christianity allows to individuals the universal will of God, since they predicted, that some degree and kind of resistance, and that some when that Will should be fulfilled, war should be resistance is therefore lawful to states, we do not eradicated from the world. And by what dispensa- deny it. But if it be said, that the degree of lawful tion was this Will to be fulfilled ? By that of the resistance extends to the slaughter of our fellow “ Rod out of the stem of Jesse." It is worthy of Christians--that it extends to war-we do deny it : recollection, too, that David was forbidden to build we say that the rules of Christianity cannot, by any the temple because he had shed blood.

“ As for me it was in my mind to build an house unto the name

• 1 Chron, xxii, 7, 8,

« السابقةمتابعة »