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and his Apostles. “Woe unto you that laugh now, for ye shall mourn and weep.” “ Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils : ye cannot be partakers at the Lord's table, and the table of devils. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy ? are we stronger than he ?” “ Abstain from all appearance of evil." “ And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame to speak of those things, which are done of them in secret.” “See that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil."
Thoughts on the Continuance of War, and on what Principles
· Peace Associations are to be Encouraged.
THAT wars and fightings are limited to sinful beings, and that they are destructive to peace, life and happiness in the family of mañ are truths, which it requires no proof" to establish. It is not denied, however, that wars, though great evils in themselves, have in their results, been overruled to the extension of knowledge in the arts and sciences, and to the promotion of freedom and independence. What has been gained, however, to the cause of science and literature, by carrying knowledge and means of knowledge from nations more civilized to nations less civilized, in the results of wars, or what has been gained to the cause of rational liberty, and freedom of government in this way, is nothing in comparison with the blood and treasure, the lives and happiness, sacrificed in the camp and on the battle-ground. Nor can we trace any thing in the results of war to justify the causes, from which it proceeds. All the causes may be traced up to one common source. Man's disaffection to his Maker is the originating cause of all the pride of power, desire of conquest and ill-will, which engender strive, contention, enmity and hatred among men, and lay the foundation for wars and fightings. An inspired Apostle points us to this source in his interrogatories on the subject. “ From whence come wars and fightings among you ? come they not hence even of your lusts, that war in your members ? ye lust and have not : ye kill and desire to have and cannot obtain, ye fight and war."
On the subjects of peace and war, much has been written and much has been published. Military conquerors have had their eulogists,-martial courage has been extolled, and the glory achieved by conquest in the field of battle has employed the poet's finest powers of description :-On the other hand, the blessings of peace have been described in a manner affectingly inviting to the soul, or pourtrayed in contrast with the horrors of war: Statesmen, philosophers, and poets, have each in their turn arrayed before the mind of man motives to influence to peace, or have entered their veto against war ; still wars and fightings prevail in the family of man, nor is it reasonable to expect, that they will cease, while the human character retains the same moral lineaments, which are now its predominant features.
It is to be apprehended, that many minds, in view of the desirableness of universal peace, and the prospect presented us in prophecy, that the time is coming, when this will be the happy condition of the world, are too enthusiastic and visionary in their hopes, with regard to the means and manner, in which so great a change is to be effected. These hopes, which are built exclusively on a more general diffusion of knowledge, or on the influence of moral suasion in allaying the causes of war, or on the melioration and improvements in conducting wars, or on the coalition of the friends of peace, are hopes, which, though cherished with much confidence, will never be realized, in the restoration and continuance of universal peace on earth. Such views and such hopes, painted before the mind in glaring colours, produce a kind of enchantment, and lead us for the moment to conclude, that peace is soon to be universal in the family of man ; but, what is our disappointment to find, that this is ail theory, and that the fact, as evinced in the experience of man, is widely different.
It is not to be denied, that as nations have advanced in civilization and moral science, wars have been carried on with less barbarity than among savage nations; yet neither can knowledge, moral improvement, persuasion by motive, nor union of effort, nor all united, put an end to wars, till the character of man is radically changed. They may restrain the angry passions for a season, yet they do not form the basis on which we can calculate for a permanent and lasting peace.
What if kings and emperors covenant together to rule their subjects by equitable laws? what if they publish to the world their manifestos against war ? do pride and ambition rankle in their souls? How soon will they be involved in war! So long as the principles of war exist in their hearts, their covenants are no safeguard to peace! The ambition of kings will no more be confined by covenants, than the strength of the giant by the spider's web!
Is there then no antidote against the evil of war: Is there no way in which wars and fightings may be brought to a final close ? Blessed be God, there is? We are furnished with an antidote in the gospel of Christ ! and in humble reliance on the truth of prophecy, we may look forward and rejoice in certain hope, that wars shall one day cease. The gospel is the scheme of grace and reconciliation, by which man is restored to the love of his Maker and to the love of his fellow man. This is the only safe antidote against war, and this is effectual only, when it is applied in its regenerating influence on the soul of man. Love to God and love to man, constitute the principles of action in the soul, which are inculcated by the gospel, and which are the results of that change, which is the commencement of man's reconciliation to God. These are the leading principles of action inspired by the gospel, and these are the principles, which in their influence will restore peace to our world. Love to God and love to man form the basis, the broad basis, ons which it is safe for us to make calculations for peace on earth. Let these principles be extended through the family of man, let them have existence in every heart, let them be branched out in all the conduct and conversation of men, and peace, universal peace will be the result. The peace announced at the incarnation of Christ, and for which the gospel provides, is peace in this way and of this kind : it is peace brought about by changing the character of man, so that the principles of war shall no longer have existence in his heart. Nothing short of this change of moral character will promote in man an habitual respect for the rights of his fellow :-nothing short of this will contine him to the practice of the holy precepts of the gospel, and to the exhibition of that love for the happiness of his fellow which is the fulfilling of the law : nothing short of this change will restrain him from lifting up the sword against his fellow man. How mistaken then are the opinions and efforts of those, who are advocates for the cause of peace, and who yet hold to the perfectability of the human character, or who deny the necessity of a radical change of heart, to exterminate the principles of war! Equally mistaken are those, who strive for peace and hope for it, without the aid of the gospel, or who reject the gospel as a dead letter. All hopes of a state of universal peace in our world on other principles than those of the gospel, will prove vain. Efforts to be successful, hopes to be realized, must be in connection with the influence of the gospel. To aid in the cause of peace, so as to merit the high appellation of peace-makers, we must strive to make known, to entorce and to carry out into practice, the principles of the gospel. Peace Associations, to be of any worth, must rank and stand on the same ground with Bible, Tract and Missionary Associations. These all aim at the same grand object, which is to extend and enforce the principles of the gospel in the world, to the transformation of the moral characters of men into a meetness for heaven. It is in aid of the gospel, that these associations are formed, and the principles of action taught in the gospel are the principles to be held up, and enforced by means of these associations -If they are not auxiliaries to the gospel ; if they do not extend a knowledge of its truths, and contribute to render those truths influential on the lives of men, they have no claim to our support. Peace associations are to be maintained on the same principles with Bible and missionary societies. Take any other view of them, you find them existing only in name ; while they carry on their front the inscription peace, they have within a spirit of discord and of war. These associations must apply all their force to the Bible, to send it to the whole family of man,—to publish its truths, and by means of them, through the blessing of God, to reform the eharacter of our world. The religion of the Bible must be the religion of the world, before a final end is put to war. The delightful and happy period, foretold by inspired men of God, is advancing, when the gospel shall be published to all men, and its principles be made to reform the character of our world. That glorious change will lay the foundation for perpetual peace. Nations will then respect each other's rights and dwell in love : “ They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks ; nation shall not lift up the sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more ; the confused noise of the battle of the warrior shall cease forever, and no more shall garments be seen rolled in blood. Truth shall then spring out of the earth, and righteousness look down from heaven.” The moral character of the world will be changed-all nations be brought to renounce their idolatries, and superstitions, and return to the knowledge and love of God. The earth will then become one vast temple, in which the whole family of man shall worship the Lord Jehovah, and from which united prayers, and united praises, shall ascend as incense to heaven. O how cheering is this prospect in regard to our world! What heart does not swell with emotion, to think it probable ? what soul is not transported with delight to contemplate it, as certain ? and who does not burn with ardour to do something towards its advancement ? It is a period not only probable, and desirable,-it is certain : it is revealed by that God, who cannot lie, and who will bring to pass all that he hath promised.
It is however probable that many more wars, both bloody and destructive, will be carried on among the nations, before they shall be sufficiently scourged for their impiety. We have much reason to believe that the Catholic nations of Europe are to drink still deeper of the vials of God's wrath—that the Mahometan delusion is to be destroyed—the Ottoman empire annihilated, and perhaps other nations and sections of the globe to be still longer scourged with war, before the world shall be restored in its moral character, to enjoy a state of universal peace We are not sanguine, as to the precise time when that period, so long the object of faith and prayer, and hope, shall commence. It is however probable, that we all, who are now alive on the earth, shall have finished our courses, ere it shall commence : still we are not to cease our efforts, nor our prayers, in aid of the extension of the gospel of peace, till we are called to sleep in death! It is our duty, reader, to exhibit in our lives the principles of the gospel, and to suppress in our hearts those affections and passions, which are the originating causes of war.
CONVERSATION BETWEEN A FRIEND OF THE PILGRIM AND
A PROFESSING CHRISTIAN.
AS I was sitting the other evening by my fireside, one of my neighbours called upon me, and the following conversation ensued, which may not be uninteresting to many of your readers.
F. P. I have of late been looking at the conduct of some of my brethren, and from what I discover, am led to conclude that the direction of St. Paul, “ Be ye not conformed to the world,” is not generally regarded as binding upon christians at the present day.
C. That direction I suppose was given to the Romans in the early ages of the church, because it was necessary, at that time, for the disciples of Christ to take a more decided stand in their intercourse with the surrounding nations, who were heathen. Yet I believe it is the duty of christian men, to consider themselves, in some sense, as separate from the world.
F. P. This distinction is, by the practice of too many, narrowed down to a mere point, there is not that striking difference between the followers of the Lord Jesus and the men of the world, which the rules of the gospel, or the happiness of christians require. I do not intend by this, to intimate that christians ought to stand aloof from the world, as though they were peculiarly favoured of heaven.
C. There are some however who, in my opinion, carry this point too far, and say to others, “ Stand by thyself, for I am holier than thou,” while even the best of christians have nothing, which they did not receive. So far, therefore, from thinking themselves better than others, they ought to regard all as brethren. "
F. P. That some persons, who profess to be christians, conduct in a manner inconsistent with that humility which ought to characterize the followers of Jesus, cannot be denied : yet there is not so much danger of their erring on this side of the question, as of their uniting too much with the world.
C. Well, how far do you suppose this principle of non-conformity to be applicable to us.
F. P. I think we may conclude from the tenor of scripture, that christians are bound to live as “ strangers and pilgrims" here, that they are to regard the kingdom of their master “as not of this world,” and to live as those who seek a better country.
C. But does not this same Apostle speak of becoming all things to all men”? and does he not by this, mean that we ought to accommodate ourselves to the situation and disposition of those with whom our lot is cast ?
F. P. There are few passages of scripture which are more perverted than this expression of Paul. He indeed said, “ I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some." The object of the Apostle was very different from that of most persons who use his language. By accommodating himself to those among whom he was, his object was to benefit them in spiritual things ; « if by all means I might save some :" his intention was to be the instrument of saving their souls. Now the design of those who quote this passage, is to becoine all things to all men, in order that, they may go smoothly through the world, and avoid the cross which the christian is commanded to bear. ®
C. If we should follow your rule strictly, we must abandon many of those things which afford us pleasure, and our enjoyment, as we travel along this rugged journey, must be in a great degree diminished. You would not, I presume, have the professor of religion seclude himself entirely from the society of men of the world, and become a stranger to the sweets of social intercourse ?
F. P. I do not suppose it to be the duty of a christian to leave altogether the society of those who are impenitent, for thus his