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diately “baptized in the name of the Lord.” 16. verse 44, 48. It may
be supposed, that our Lord forbad the use of the sword, when he said to Peter, after he had smitten the high-priest's servant,
Put up again thy sword into his place; for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” Matthew xxvi. 52.
To understand rightly the import of these words, we must take into consideration the circumstances under which Peter used his sword in this violent manner. He was not acting by authority of the government under which he lived ; but in resistance to it, a thing which the word of God most clearly condemns. Peter was then in a state of persecu
. tion for righteousness' sake; a state in which hostile weapons are forbidden to be used. The weapons of the persecuted church are prayers and tears, not swords and staves. When Christians are persecuted in one city, they are permitted to flee to another; but by no means to resist their persecutors with violence. Besides, submission to our lawful governors is in all cases a duty. If laws are made contrary to the laws of God, to obey God rather than man;" Acts, verse 29. but we must not act with hostile resistance to that government under which we live. They
“ we ought who use the sword in this way, deserve to perish by the sword. This is the doctrine which our Saviour and his Apostles taught; but they did not represent the authorized warfare (authorized by the supreme magistrate) as in all cases unlawful.
The description of the origin of wars, which is given by St. James, has also been considered as prohibiting every species of warfare. “ 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, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.” James iv. 1, 2.
In this passage the Apostle is clearly speaking concerning wars of aggression, not concerning those of defence. It is the unlawful desire of what belongs to another, and the unlawful means of obtaining it, which he condemns. The corrupt desires which “ war in our members” are to be subdued, and not indulged to the injury of our neighbours. Christianity teaches us to be content with the portion which Providence has assigned ; and the universal prevalence of this disposition would put an end to all wars between states, and angry contentions between individuals. But this disposition would not prevent an invaded or injured state from standing up in its own defence, and repelling by the sword the unprovoked aggression of an enemy.
The proper expression of love to our neighbour is comprised in that command which Cbrist hath given us ;-"Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them, for this is the law and the prophets." Matthew vii. 12. All wars which are undertaken for the purpose of extending the dominions of a state, of acquiring wealth, or subjugating our fellow-creatures, are evident breaches of this command, and highly criminal in the sight of God. But a state of warfare, in which a nation is engaged for the purpose of self-defence, and with the view of inducing perpetual peace, is not contrary to the command of Christ, not inconsistent with the sincere love of our neighbour, that is, of those whose unprovoked attacks we are labouring to repel.
Let all, however, who are engaged in warfare, be watchful against those sins to which a state of hostility exposes them. Let them labour to preserve an unfeigned good-will to their enemies; and let them be ready, on all occasions, to observe such conduct as they might reasonably expect to receive on a
change of circumstances. Let all cruelty, or want of compassion, be avoided towards a vanquished foe. Let evil be put away from the camp, lest the Almighty be provoked to withdraw his protection. Let humble trust and confidence in God accompany every measure used for self-defence. And when success attends those measures, let sincere praise be given to Him who ruleth in the armies of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth.
R E M A RKS
THIRD CHAPTER OF THE EPISTLE
TO THE ROMANS.
As “ Biblical Criticisms” are articles, which it is the design of your miscellany to comprehend; I shall make no apology for sending to you the following observations on an important passage of Scripture, which is somewhat obscured in our authorized translation of the New Testament.
This translation, I apprehend, is, upon the whole, truly excellent: so that no person, who studies the New Testament as we have it in our own language, with humble prayer to the Father of lights for the gracious assist