網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

Yes, the spirit of war is becoming milder, men are putting off the brute and savage. Fighting, carnage, and bloodshed, are no longer regarded as a pastime. Human ambition has selected other objects than those of war; and the resources of nations are wanted for the accomplishment of more useful purposes. And more than all, men are learning to appreciate the life and rights of individuals. Christianity is creating a sense of justice to forbid the sacrifice of thousands of men to redress every little want of national courtesy, or to settle the direction of a boundary line. Rulers are learning the great lesson, that subjects are men, not senseless, thoughtless machines. The days are coming when despots will tremble in their palaces: the human pieces upon their political chess-board will dare to question their authority to spill

their blood to gratify the whims of imperial ambition. The great tendencies in the moral world are towards peace. Every thing which increases the general intelligence, which fosters a just taste, and which diffuses a proper self respect, diminishes the number of those who are ready, with or without cause, to follow a drum and fife to a field of human slaughter. Every thing which quickens the progress of christianity promotes peace. Alexander of Russia, declared, in a letter to the London Peace Society,

war must give way whenever christianity maintains a solid seat in the heart of man. He apprehended the truth, and it is to be hoped that his successors will receive it, and act upon it. Russia must mingle more of justice and moderation with her measures, before she can safely dismiss any part of the standing army of 686,000. Peace cannot dwell with oppression, except by forcible restraint.

Perhaps those who suppose that the old ways must last forever, will ask how national differences are to be settled. We answer—much in the same manner that individuals settle their differences. Why is there any more necessity that nations should destroy each other as a preparation for the settlement of dispute, than that neighbors who have disagreed should bruise each other as a preparative to an equitable arbitration or a law suit ?

I believe that a council of nations might be established and maintained. It is a great misfortune to the world, that Henry IV. of France, did not live long enough to try his great experiment for settling Europe on the basis of perpetual peace. His minister, the Duke of Sully, has given the details of his plan; his measures were comprehensive, and Sully and other wise politicians, considered them sound; and had he lived three years longer, and had Elizabeth of England lived to lend him her aid, for that time, he might have

that 66

established a new claim, to be called Henry the Great. It is a remarkable fact, that at the peace of Westphalia, which France and Sweden concluded with the house of Austria, about forty years after the death of Henry, several of the great principles of his plan were adopted; power was balanced, and religion established, very nearly as he had proposed ; and this treaty formed the basis of the political system of Europe for nearly two centuries. Had Henry lived to establish the whole system of his principles, he might have prevented the sacrifice of millions of human lives. A Congress of the nations was a prominent feature in the “Great Scheme.” It may be owing to my inexperience in political affairs, but I can perceive nothing which is chimerical or impracticable in such a Congress. There have been two great national conventions at Aix la Chapelle; there can be others; and why not a perpetual convention? Such a convention might be endued with ample authority to arrange affairs, and settle international differences. Certainly it would be better to appeal to such a tribunal, and abide its decisions, than to appeal to arms, and await the casualities of war. Indeed any thing is better than to slaughter human beings.

It is the duty of every christian man to use all his influence against war. What if war has been the employment of mankind in ages past: must we therefore acquiesce in its destruction and atrocities ? Christ was a reformer; he had faith in the improveableness of man's nature and condition, and faith in the power of his religion to effect the work: but we are a faithless generation ; « because evils have been they must re

We are disciples of the Prince of Peace, and yet many talk of war with hardly less satisfaction than do the disciples of the warrior Mohammed.

main."

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

Keep, oh keep that hallowed seat
From the tread of vulgar feet;
If the blue lips of the sea,
Wait with icy kiss for me,
Let not thine forget the vow,
Sealed how en, Love, as now.

ABOUT PREACHING.

A good sermon should not be addressed entirely to the understanding, the fancy, the heart, the conscience, but to all. It should make the subject plain to the understanding, convincing to the reason, exciting to the imagination, interesting to the heart, searching to the conscience.

A good sermon should not contain too many thoughts. A single idea is generally enough, if properly illustrated and applied. It should have unity. It should revolve round a centre, yet never go twice round the same track. It should leave a single and distinct impression.

The best sermons do the most good, but are not the most applauded. Most people are so one-sided that they cannot appreciate what is addressed to the whole man. Logicians go away charmed with the clear, cold, argumentative discourse, and praise it to the skies; but even they are not much benefited by it. Sentimentalists adore the man who can make them weep; but they might often as well have wept over a novel. Those of a poetic turn admire the imaginative discourse, which deals only in stars, flowers and lightning; but too frequently it is a sweet song of one who has a pleasant voice. And there is a class who like no sermon which is not made up of blows aimed at the sinner's conscience. And yet there may be a mistake here. For appeals to the conscience, not backed by argument and affection, are apt to be resisted by three-fourths of an assembly. Every man's conscience is his castle ; let no one enter save by the “ Open Sesame ” of truth. We hear much of practical and doctrinal sermons.

It seems to me that every sermon should be both doctrinal and practical. I would not give much for a dry harrangue on morals, anatomizing some duty, and giving no high motive, no solemn

« 上一頁繼續 »