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bances might have been expected. But quite the reverse has been the case. No deeds of violence have been offered. No complainings have been heard in our streets. Your conduct has done honour to yourselves, and to those who have the command over you.
All I shall add, then, on this head is, to beseech you, by your hopes of the Gospel-promises, to persevere in the same dutiful inoffensive behaviour towards your fellow-citizens, in all parts of your future conduct. And, as you can never be led to deeds of violence by any authority appointed over you, let it never be said that your own choice or rashness engaged you in them; so as to subject you to the severe and shameful punishments denounced against them, by the laws of your country in this world, and by the Gospel of Christ in the world to come.
Thus I have endeavoured to give the true meaning of the words "do violence to no man." I know there are some who affect to understand them in a more unlimited sense; as containing a general prohibition of all force and arms whatsoever. But, in this, they are neither warranted by scripture nor reason. Nay, the very reverse is evident from the text itself.
The soldiers, whom Saint John addresses, received wages for fighting and bearing arms against the enemies of their country. He expressly enjoins them to be content with those wages. But this he never would have done, if the service, which they performed as the condition of the wages, had been that identical violence, which he so strongly prohibits
in the former part of the verse. They must indeed be very bold, who can charge the Spirit of God with such a contradiction!
But the fact is, that to support justice, to maintain truth, to defend the goods of Providence, to repress the wild fury of lawless invaders, and by main force, if possible, to extirpate oppression and wickedness from the earth, has never been accounted violence in any language or country. On the contrary, it is duty to the public, and mercy to thousands!
If society is of God's appointment, every thing essential to its subsistence must be so too; for he that ordains the end, ordains the means. But how shall society subsist, if we are to submit to the unrighteous encroachments of every restless invader? If we are tamely to be plundered, tortured, massacred and destroyed by those who covet our possessions? Has God given us His Gospel, endowed us with reason, and made us fit for society, only to put us in a worse condition than the roaming savage, or the beast of prey?
We all allow, in common cases, that a public robber may be subdued by force or death, if other means fail. We grant also that those who invade private property may be compelled to restitution at the bar of justice. But if independent states have injured us, to what bar shall we cite them? Who shall constrain them to appear at our summons? Or, if they should appear, who shall oblige them to abide by the sentence? Open force, then, must be the dernier resort. And strange it is that those who are often so litigious in cases of private right, should affect to be the most
passive in what concerns the rights of the community!
In short, if human societies are instituted for any end at all, independent states may not only defend their rights when invaded; but if they are already deprived or defrauded of them, they may demand restitution in the loudest and most importunate manner; even by calling for it in thunder at the very gates of their enemy. This is often the shortest and most merciful method. Nor is it doing violence to our neighbours, but justice to ourselves, and to the cause of Right, Liberty, Virtue, and public Safety; which would otherwise be left unavoidably to suffer.
It were indeed sincerely to be wished, that the Gospel of the blessed Jesus might have such an universal influence on the lives of all men, as to render it no more necessary to learn the art of war. But, alas! this is a degree of perfection not to be hoped for in the present state of things, and only to be looked for in the kingdom of universal righteousness. Were all men arrived to such a degree of goodness as to render force unnecessary, then also the magistracy, the laws, and every thing else belonging to particular societies in this world, would be a needless institution. But as long as particular societies are of any use, so long will force and arms be of use; for the very end of such societies is to unite the force of individuals, for obtaining safety to the whole.
What I have already said will convince every reasonable person, that the words-do violence to no man-were never meant as a general prohibition of all force and arms; so often necessary in this embar
rassed scene of things. As for those who, from views of interest, pretended scruples of conscience, and I know not what prejudices of education, still shut their eyes against the clearest light, I do not pretend to offer arguments for their conviction.
If the barbarities that have been committed around them; if the cries of their murdered and suffering brethren; if their country swimming in blood and involved in an expensive war-if these things have not already pierced their stony hearts, and convinced their deluded reason, that their principles are absurd in idea and criminal in practice, I am sure any thing I might say farther, would have but little weight. I shall only beg leave to remind them, that they will have this cause to plead one day more before a tribunal, where subterfuges will stand them in no stead; and where it will be well if they are acquitted, and no part of the blood that has been spilt is required at their hands.
Having found it necessary to dwell so long on the former part of the text, I shall be very brief on what remains.
The Christian-soldier is forbid, in the second place, to "accuse any man falsely.”
To circumvent, to bear down, or to take away, the character of another, for the sake of revenge, profit or preferment, is indeed a crime of the most unpardonable nature. It seldom admits of any reparation, and strikes at the very root of all peace and faith and society among men. Surely, then, among a society of soldiers, whose strength consists in their harmony, and whose peculiar character is their honour and
veracity, such a pernicious vice should be discouraged in an eminent degree, as tending to their immediate ruin, and odious both to God and man.
In the third and last place, the Christian-soldier is to be" content with his wages."
This is also a very essential duty. Nothing ought to be more inviolable among men, than the performance of their covenants. Now, between the British state and its soldiery, there is a covenant of the most sacred nature. They voluntarily enlist into a certain service for certain wages. These wages are sufficient for a comfortable subsistence. The British government has mercy in its whole nature, and all its appointments are liberal. The wages of our common soldiery are almost equal to those of the inferior officers in many other services. Surely then, for them above all others, to be discontented with those wages, to neglect the duty annexed to them, or to be faint-hearted in its performance, would argue the highest baseness. It would be breach of faith, breach of honour, and a total want of every generous affection.
Moreover, to be content with one's wages implies also a faithful application of them to the uses for which they are given. They are not to be spent in riot and intemperance, but in keeping the body neat, clean, healthy, and vigorous for the discharge of its duty. Nastiness and slovenliness in dress or behaviour are sure marks of a mean and dastardly temper. The man who disregards the care of his own person, which is the image of his maker, can have neither spirit nor grace nor virtue in him. It will be almost