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unlawfulness of war. When it is remembered that this charge is brought forward by an enemy of the Christians, and acknowledged by the very man who undertook their vindication-when it is further recollected how easily the charge might have been repelled if it had been unfounded, there cannot remain a doubt of the sufficiency of this evidence.
The names of Tatian, Clemens of Alexandria, Ter tullian, Cyprian, Lactantius, Archelaus, Ambrose, Chrysostom, and Cyril, may be added, as affording evidence to the point in question. Ecclesiastical history also affords a number of instances of individual suffering, even to death itself, purely for a refusal to bear arms.
We will not venture to call in question the uniform practice of the Christian Church, when that practice could not be influenced, in any degree, by a bias in favour of the former Dispensation. It was at once at variance with the maxims and policy that prevailed, both among the Jews and other nations; yet such was the clear understanding which the believers of that day had of the precepts of our Lord, that the practice of the Church was uniform, in this respect, for two centuries at least.
An argument is frequently advanced against the principle we hold in relation to war, from what is called the law of nature. It is a common propensity in animated beings, whether rational or not, to defend themselves from aggression; and hence it has been supposed, that this propensity must have the sanction of the Deity Himself.
The whole argument is more specious than solid; and, like the other arguments in favour of war, cannot bear the test of impartial examination.
Are the propensities of nature-those which actuate alike the brute creation and the most depraved of the human race to be regarded as the clear indications of the Divine will? If so, what passions so gross, what practice so vile, that may not be justified by the very same argument? To follow nature and all its impulses-to imitate the brute creation, would be made consistent with reason and religion! This would be, at once, to banish morality and religion from the earth.
That some animals are provided with weapons of defence, adds nothing to the force of the objection. Are not the far greater part of these provided with weapons of offence as well as defence? Do not a large portion of such animals subsist by violence and depredation? So that, if the argument is admitted at all, it will go to justify not only offensive wars, but even robbery, piracy, and every species of plunder, violence, and outrage, between man and man.
The argument itself is not only untenable, but it stands opposed to the whole Christian system. It is a resort, not to the precepts of Jesus Christ—not to his example, or the example of his immediate followersbut to nature-to an impulse or passion that influences the brute creation, particularly the most ferocious species. And where it is discoverable in the human race, it is most clearly displayed in those, who are the least under the influence of Christian feelings.
The Gospel was designed to raise man above the violent, as well as the low and grovelling propensities of nature; and this I consider one of its noblest characters. Thus, if we appeal to reason, to Revelation, or to history, still the result is the same-War is incompatible. EE3
with the Gospel. The prophets declared it would be ; and the Christians bore testimony, both in word and conduct, that it was.
And why should the wise of this world stumble at this except on this important ground, that "the wis dom of this world is foolishness with God"? 1 Cor. iii. 19. Man never was designed to live without God in the world. Who would be willing to say that he could sustain himself without his Divine Providence? And if his Providence is admitted-we must admit also that He can preserve us, without leaving us to the alternative of disobeying his commands, to preserve our rights or our existence. Indeed, it is madness to expect preservation on this ground.
The alarming idea, that on the principle of non-resistance, we should be exposed to the encroachments of ambition and other depraved passions, is built entirely on a disbelief of the Providence of our Divine Parent; -a disbelief equally at variance with reason and Revelation. It is opposed also to the undisputed evidence of history. But thousands of instances could be cited, in which reliance was placed in vain on the policy of war. Consult the annals of war- -and how many have been its victims! Our understandings would be lost in the numbers. The settlement of Pennsylvania is a pleasing specimen of the effect of Christian principles, as contrasted with the policy of war. There is another specimen of greater antiquity, and, I will add, of more weight, because it was nearer to primitive times. It is the case of the destruction of Jerusalem. The Jews depended on themselves; and what became of them and their city? They exhibited a scene of destruction and carnage never
before exceeded. At that very juneture, the Christians, without mixing in the war spirit, or the dictates of hu man wisdom, simply cast themselves on God for protec tion and they found it. Led by that arm which is still found to be around and underneath the true Christian, they were directed to a place of safety; while their infatuated countrymen, both as to place and nation, were swept with the besom of destruction. Look back at the history of the Church, through all ages___and what is more remarkable and obvious, than the unfailing Providence of God? Has He not, in all ages, been their bow and battle-axe, Hab. iii. 9. Jer. li. 20; their sun and shield? Psa. lxxxiv. 11. Has He not proved that his Name is a strong tower, into which the righteous may run and find safety?" Prov. xviii. 10. Has He ever left them so destitute, as to drive them from an observance of his Law, to obtain a better protection to themselves than He would afford them? No, never! the righteous have never been forsaken, nor warranted in making flesh their arm, or putting their trust in man. Even during that Dispensation, under which wars were sometimes permitted, the most conclusive evidence was given, that this was not necessary as a means of preservation. How often were the most signal victories obtained by the most unlikely means! How often were the Israelites delivered from their enemies, by special interpositions of Providence, when all outward succour and resources failed! And why should we call in question either the Power or the Providence of God!
In that memorable appearance of our Lord to his disciples after his resurrection, He made use of these expressions; "All power is given unto Me, in heaven
and in earth." And again; "Lo! I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." Matt. xxviii. 18, 20. Who then, that believes in these gracious declarations, can suppose that we dare not comply with the precepts of our Lord, or imitate his example, for fear of the consequences? Or are we, after all the light that has been afforded, to suppose that we are better acquainted with the human heart than He is—that the system He has laid down for the regulation of our conduct, is not adapted to the condition of mankind; and therefore we are at liberty, and able, to devise another scheme of preservation, in which we can have more dependence upon ourselves, and less upon Him! This indeed is the very summit of folly. Who would be willing to be cut off from the protecting care of Almighty God! And who can expect the blessings of his Providence, but in obedience to his requisitions!
Thus, if we look back to past ages, we shall be irresistibly led to the conclusion, that, in the original order of things, as first constituted by the Divine Author, there was nothing in the human character that was congenial with war:-that this afflictive scourge was the effect of those passions and motives which spring up in the depraved nature, and which the spirit of the Gospel was designed to eradicate, and which it does eradicate in all those who thoroughly submit to its operations:-that mankind, being sunk into a state far, very far, below their original purity and dignity, were not capable of coming up, at once, into the full practice and enjoyment of the excellencies of the Gospel. Hence the personal appearance of our Lord, the discoveries of the mysteries of his kingdom, and the requisitions which necessarily