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The Mahometan Priests may encourage war, and not be chargeable with violating the principles of their own religion ; but can this be affirmed of the ministers of the Prince of Peace ? Does not his heavenly religion lay the axe directly at the root of that tree, whose fruit is war? Does it not require of all his disciples a temper as opposite to the spirit of war, as light is to darkdess, or as love to hatred ?
May it not then be feared, that from the influence of education, or some other cause, the ministers of religion in Christendom have failed of duly perceiving and exposing the odious nature of war, and its contrariety to the peaceful spirit of the gospel ?
It may indeed be true, that in every sermon which they have preached, something has been expressed or implied in opposition to war. But have they been sufficiently careful to make it understood, that the spirit of war, and the spirit of the gospel, are at variance ? Have they indeed clearly understood this themselves? And have not many of their hearers been left to imbibe or retain the Mahometan doctrine, that those who die in battle, whatever their characters may have been, are safe and happy?
By doctrines and promises of this import the Mahometan Priests and military Chiefs, have excited soldiers to the most bloody and desperate enterprises. And indeed it seems almost impossible that rational beings, who expect a future retribution, should be induced to hazard their lives and their eternal destiny in battle, except under the influence of this or some similar delusion! But have the clergy of Christendom been sufficiently careful to expose and to eradicate this antichristian principle? Have due exertions been made to impress on the minds of soldiers, as well as others, the danger of dying either in bed or in battle, with a temper the reverse of his who died for them? If the watchmen in Zion neglect to give warning, and the sword continue its havoc, at whose hands will the blood be required ?
The friends of peace, who now address you, are aware, that strong prejudices exist in the minds of many in favour of war, as a necessary and justifiable mode of settling controversies; and that it must be a work of time to eradicate these prejudices, and to accomplish so great a work, as the pacification of a world. But they believe that the cause, in which they have engag, ed, is not desperate ; that it is a cause which God will own and prosper ; and that those who are for them are more than those who are against them. If all the ministers of religion, and all the friends of peace in our country, should cordially unite in one vigorous effort, the time may soon come, when the custom of deciding disputes by weapons of death, will be regarded as a savage custom, derived from ages of ignorance and barbarity.
The necessity of the war spirit to the safety of a nation, is the great argument opposed to the friends of peace. But does not this spirit expose a nation to the anger of that God, on whom we are dependent for all our blessings ? Can any thing be more offensive to a kind father, than to see his children disposed to murder one another? How abhorrent then must it be in the eyes of our heavenly Father, to behold this temper in nations, professiog the peaceful religion of his Son! Nay, to witness in them a disposition to exalt the military profession, as one of the most honourable among men, and to give glory to a warrior in proportion to the slaughter and misery which he has caused among his brethren!
In what light must God view the prayers of Christians of different nations in time of war? One class calling on him as the FATHER OF MERCIES, and in the name of his benevolent Son, the PRINCE OF PEACE, to grant success to this army; another class calling on the same Father, and in the same pacific name, to give success to that army, while each is aiming at the destruction of the other! Can any thing be more shocking, or more antichristian? If such practices in a people, professing a religion which breathes nothing but love, peace, long suffering and forgiveness, Le not offensive to God, in what possible way can they incur his displeasure ?
May it not also be said, that the spirit of war endangers the freedom and liberties of our nation, as it tends to increase the power and patronage of those in authority, and to place at their disposal a body of men, who have lost the character of the citizen in that of the soldier -as it tends to bewilder the minds of the multitude by the fascinating glare of military exploits, and by extravagant and inhuman exultations for victories, which have involved thousands of their brethren in death or wretchedness—and as it tends, in various ways, to deprave the hearts of men, to corrupt the morals of society, to encourage a blind, unreflecting, ferocious, and unfeeling character, by which men are prepared to become the dupes and the slaves of martial and unprincipled leaders?
If we reflect on our local situation, the nature of our government, and the dissensions which exist in our land, will it not be evident that we have far less to fear from the rapacity and injustice of foreign nations, than from the spirit of party and of war among ourselves?
But should there be due exertions to cultivate pacific principles, will they not tend to deprive the ambitious of every prospect of advantage from an attempt to involve the nation in war-make it both the honour and interest of our rulers to study the things which tend to peace, and thus contribute to the permanency of our Republican Institutions ?
Does not the very nature of our institutions afford peculiar encouragement to the friends of peace? Is not such the dependence of our rulers on their fellow-citizens, and such their connexion and intimacy with them, that the general diffusion of pacific principles must naturally have an immediate and salutary influence on the government, on its general policy, and its foreign negotiations ? May we not rationally hope, that this influence will result in the amicable adjustment of many controversies, and frequently prevent the sanguinary appeal to arms? And shall it be thought impossible or improbable, that pacific principles, and a pacific spirit may be communicated from one government to another, and thus produce a benign effect on the public sentiment of the civilized world?
Can it be denied, that PEACE ON EARTH was one object of our Saviour's mission, and of the institution of the Christian ministry? If not, shall this object be any longer neglected by the messengers of the Prince of Peace?
But the temporal peace and welfare of mankind are not the only objects of the ministry; the true ministers of the Gospel propose a still nobler end-the everlasting felicity of their fellow-beings. When this object is considered, in connexion with the temper and practice which is required of men as preparatory to the joys of heaven, how infinitely important does it appear, that every minister should employ his influence to bring warring passions into disrepute, and to excite and cherish the spirit of meekness, love, and peace?
Should it be asked, Why are Peace Societies recommended at this time, when there is so little prospect of another war in our country? the answer is ready: The time of peace is believed to be more favourable to the proposed design, than a time of war. There is less danger that benevolent efforts will be regarded as of a party character, and the minds of men are more tranquil and open to receive the light which may be offered on the subject.
There may be some in our country, who will reluctantly part with the delusive pleasure, which they have experienced, in rehearsing their sanguinary deeds of valour. But we should not despair of gaining even these. They are now influenced by opinions, derived from education and military habits. When they shall know that the morality of the spirit of war is called in question by many intelligent and virtuous men, and that multitudes are flocking to the STANDARD OF PEACE, they may be led to pause and reflect; and by reflection, they may become convinced, that the inhuman slaughter of brethren, as blameles as themselves, is not so glorious a thing as they once imagined. They may also be led to doubt the safety of appearing at the bar of Christ with the spirit of war in their hearts, and with hands defiled by blood !
But however it may be with other classes of society, we cannot but indulge the hope, that there will be a general union of the ministers of the Prince of
Peace, for the abolition of war. Will not a moment's reflection convince them, that they cannot preach as Christ preached, without inculcating a temper directly opposed to the spirit with which men fight and kill one another ? and that they cannot pray as he prayed, without a temper to love and forgive their enemies?
Will not such considerations be more and more perceived and felt, the more the subject of war shall be examined ? It certainly does not require extraordinary powers of mind, nor a learned education, to see that war is not made and carried on by that “LOVE” which “ worketh no ill to his neighbour;" nor by men's “ doing unto others, as they would that men should do unto them;" nor by the wisdom that is from above, which is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." Must it not then be evident to all, who duly reflect, that war originates in that wisdom which is from beneath; and that it is usually conducted on maxims and with a spirit as hostile to the Gospel as they are fatal to the peace and the lives of mankind ?
The darkness, the sophistry, and the delusion, by which men have been made to believe, that they could be “ followers of the LAMB” in making war on each other, is, we trust, rapidly passing away. The time, we hope, is near, when not only ministers, but all classes of Christians, will be " of one heart and one soul” in ascrib ing praise to the “ God of Peace,” that they lived to see the day in which Peace Societies were formed in our land.
It is not the wish of the Massachusetts Peace Society, to prescribe the manner in which their respected brethren can best exert their influence in the glorious cause of humanity and peace. But a co-operation in some form is not only cordially desired, but strongly anticipated.
The constitution of our Society was designed to embrace the friends of peace of every name. The Society is accordingly composed of men of different sentiments, both as to politics and religion. It is wished that this amiable and conciliatory principle may be extended throughout Christendom; and that all, who love our Lord Jesus Christ, may become united in one grand and persevering effort to give peace to the world.
Having frankly stated our views and our request, we have, brethren, only to add our fervent prayer, that the God of Peace may be with you, and that the spirit of peace may guide every measure which you may adopt in relation to the all-important object which has now been proposed.
By order of the Board of the Massachusetts Peace Society, and with the ad. vice of the Conncil of Correspondence.
NOAH WORCESTER, Corresp. Secry. Boston, March 5, 1816.
Extracts from the Sunday School Repository, London, January, 1816. WE rejoice exceedingly that the cause of Sunday Schools has been alluded to before a Committee of the House of Commons, and that the facts and reasonings which were adduced on this subject, so clearly proved the vast importance of these institutions. Their incidental advantages among the lowest classes of Society, too frequently pass unobserved ; while they are silently diffusing a moral tone of feeling among the poor families, which is highly calculated to check vagrancy and disorder, and to produce regularity, cleanliness and industry. So that not only on religious principles, but on the principles of patriotism and virtue, Sunday School Teachers are bound to become increasingly zealous and laborious in their employment. We now beg leave to present our readers with extracts from the evidence of the Gentlemen who were examined. Extracts relative to Sunday Schools, from the Minutes of Evidence taken before
the Committee of the House of Commons appointed to inquire into the state of Mendicity in the Metropolis and its immediate Neighbourhood. Joseph Butterworth, Esq. M. P. Member of the Committee.
“ I would beg to state to the Committee, that from much observation I am satisfied that Sunday Schools, if properly conducted, are of essential importance to the lower classes of society. I have had occasion to inspect several Sunday Schools for some years past, and I have particularly observed the children, who at first came to the schools dirty and ragged, in the course of a few months have become clean and neat in their persons ; and their behaviour, from my own observation, and the report of a great number of teachers, has rapidly improved : I allude to those schools where the teachers are gratuitous, as I find that no persons who are paid, do the work half so well as those who do it from motives of real benevolence. A large school which I frequently visit in Drury-lane, which has upwards of 600 children, has produced many instances of great mental and moral improvement amongst the lower classes of society. At this time there are no less than twenty chimney-sweep boys in that school, who, in consequence of coming there, have their persons well cleaned every week, and their apparel kept in decent order ; I have the names of their masters : Some of the employers of those chimney-sweep boys are so well satisfied with the school, that they will take no child but what shall regularly attend it, as they find it greatly improves their morals and behaviour. In another school in Hinde-street, Mary-le-bone, there are eleven chimneysweep boys. Some time ago, when I happened to be the visitor for the day, a woman attended to return thanks for the education her daughter had received in Drury-lane school : I inquired whether her child had received any particular benefit by the instruction in the school ; she said, she had indeed received much good. And I believe the woman's words were, She should ever have reason to bless God that her child had come to that school ; that before her girl attended there, 'her husband was a profligate, disorderly man, spent most of his time and money at the public-house; and she and her daughter were reduced to the most abject poverty, and almost starved. That one Sunday afternoon the father had been swearing very much, and was somewhat in liquor ; the girl reproved the father, and told him, from what she had heard at school, she was sure it was very wicked to say such words. The father made no particular reply, but on the Monday morning his wife was surprised to see him go out and procure food for breakfast ; and from that time he became a sober, industrious man. Some weeks afterwards she ventured to ask him the cause of the change of his character; his reply was, that the words of Mary made a strong impression upon his mind, and he was determined to lead a new course of life. This was twelve months prior to the child being taken out of the school, and his character had become thoroughly confirmed and es. tablished; he is now a virtuous man, and an excellent husband. She added, that they now had their lodgings well furnished, and that they lived very comfortably; and her dress and appearance fully confirmed her testimony. I have made a particular inquiry of a great number of teachers who act gratuitously in Sunday Schools, and they are uniformly of opinion, that Sunday School instruction has a great tendency to prevent Mendicity in the lower classes of society. One fact I beg to mention, of Henry Haidy, who, when admitted a scholar at Drury-lane school, was a common street beggar; he continued to attend very regularly for about eight years, during which time he discontinued his former degrading habits : On leaving the school he was rewarded, according to the custom, with a bible, and obtained a situation at a tobacconist's, to serve behind the counter. His brother was also a scholar; afterwards became a gratuitous teacher in the same school ; obtained a situation, and, up to the period of his quitting London, bore an excellent character."
Mr. John Cooper. Q. Do the children of the poor in Spitalfields attend Sunday Schools, or any other places of instruction ? A. A considerable number of them do.
Q. Have you observed any benefit from the instruction given at those schools ? A. I and my colleague, who generally accompanies me, spend about two evenings in a week in Spitalfields, in visiting cases. We have a district assigned to us, which is under our care, as connected with the Spitalfields Benevolent Society; and we have been very much struck indeed with the benefits, in a variety of scnses, which those families have derived where
the children attend Sunday Schools : indeed, so much have we been struck with this, that in almost every case we could tell, by the appearance of the children, and their behaviour, and the appearance of the habitations frequently, whether the children were in the habit of receiving any instruction or not. I have been connected with Sunday Scools for the ten years past, and have been a visitor to a large Sunday School for these last eight years and a half, in which there are between six and seven hundred children instructed; and the beneficial effects, in so many respects, have appeared to me so obvious, that I have for some years considered that Sunday Schools, above all other institutions with which I am acquainted, are most calculated to better the condition of the poor.
Mr. John Daughtry. Q. What are the best means of curing and preventing the evil of begging in the streets ?
-It is difficult perhaps to state facts which prove the direct influence Sunday and other schools have upon this evil. But the proper observance of the Sabbath by the lower orders of society, has a most important influence on the moral character and general comfort of their families; and it will rarely be found to happen, that poor persons so brought up, and who had also the advantage of suitable instruction, have become mendicants. Sunday Schools, perhaps, above every other means, promote among the poor this much-neglected duty; the children are not only taught the sacred obligation of the Sabbath, but are habituated to observe it, by being regularly conducted to public worship. Such is the effect on the poor in general, of a stated attendance on the public service of religion, that those who are accustomed to visit them, are in most cases able to discern it in the very aspect of the family. Where the Sabbath is observed, you may expect to find, in even the poorest, cleanliness, decency, and civil behaviour; but where it is violated, the reverse of these are often met with. In the course of inspecting the condition of several hundred families, for the purpose of affording some relief to the necessitous and deserving, the most filthy and wretched of the whole was one in which the father was found working at his trade on the Sunday; his children having never, to their recollection, been in a place of worship, and none of them taught even the alphabet. Instead, however, of working on a Sunday, it is much more common to find men of this class of the poor in bed at noon, and in a state of intoxication at night. Numerous as are still such instances of depravity, more than fifteen of them out of twenty will be found to have had no such instruction in early life, as is at present afforded by Sunday Schools. Persons who have been for many years connected with these institutions, and have anxiously traced the destination of many of the children that were formerly under their care, can point out great numbers, who being grown up into life, are now good members of society; but they have never discovered any instance of one becoming a mendicant. Youthful beggars are found, with few exceptions, unable to read. It has occasionally happened, that such children have applied for admission to a Sunday School, sent by the kind interference of persons who have seen and pitied them in the streets, but they seldom remain many weeks ; either they are disinclined to submit to the restraints which the discipline of a school imposes, or their worthless parents require their services on that day, as well as on others. Well regulated Sunday Schools are directly calculated to counteract the dispositions and habits that might lead to mendicity. In the course even of a few months after the lowest order of children have been admitted, their very appearance is observed to undergo a decided improvement ; they are uniformly cleaner, and more tidily dressed ; and their minds are evidently raised a de. gree further from the meanness and degradation of mendicants. But they do not, therefore, become assuming and impertinent ; on the contrary, the order and subjection to which they are trained, and the instruction they receive in their moral and religious duties, excite a more respectful behaviour, and more correct feeling towards their superiors in general. The knowledge and moral influence of which the children thus partake, they communicate, in a greater