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• dom, but to inflict it; not to lay down one's own life for the
truth, but to take away the life of others for worldly purposes
of vanity and avarice.' • But you argue in defence of this • indecent practice of hanging up flags or colours, as they are
called, in churches, that the ancients used to deposite the monuments of their victories in the temples of their gods. It is true ; but what were their gods but deinons, delighting in
blood and impurity? not the God, who is of purer eyes than ' to behold iniquity. Never let priests, dedicated to a God like
this, have any thing to do with war, unless it is to put an end ' to it, and promote love and reconciliation. If the clergy were
but unanimous in such sentiments, if they would inculcate • them every where, there is no doubt, notwithstanding the
great power of the secular arm, that their authority, per'sonal and professional, would have a preponderance against ' the influence of courts of ministers of state, and thus pre
vent war, the calamity of human nature.'
A third prejudice in favour of the lawfulness of War, is founded upon the undeniable moral excellenee of the characters of some individuals engaged in the military profession. Paley, in combating the notion, that it is unlawful for a Christian to bear
arms,'. remarks, that the profession of a soldier is no where
in Scripture) forbidden or condemned.' He instances the reply of John the Baptist to the soldiers, “ Be content with
your wages,” and remarks, that the precept supposed " them to continue in their situation. It was on a Roman
centurion,' he adds, that Christ pronounced that memorable
eulogy, “ I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.” " The first Gentile convert who was received into the Christian
Church, and to whom the Gospel was imparted by the im
mediate and special direction of Heaven, held the same sta• tion : and, in the history of this transaction, we discover not " the smallest intimation, that Cornelius, upon becoming a • Christian, quitted the service of the Roman legion; that his profession was objected to, or his continuance in it considered
wise inconsistent with his new character.' * Paley, however, was too acute a reasoner to adduce these examples as arguments in favour of the practice of War itself. “ be necessary,' he shews, ' for individuals to unite their force, • and for this end to resign themselves to the direction of a
common will : and yet, it may be true that that will is often . actuated by criminal motives, and often determined to • destructive purposes."
Let it be recollected, in the first place, that under the Roman government, which was a military despotism, the army may
o It may
* Moral Philosophy, Vol. ii. pp. 425, 6.
be considered as constituting the civil defence of the State, and the Centurion appears to have possessed a degree of civil au- 1 thority. In time of peace, the military would be mergerl in the i civil character, and the circumstances of the soldiery would re-', semble that of a militia, except in relation to the nature of the go-. vernment to which they were subordinate. On this ground, there would seem to be no reason that the Gentile convert should forsake. his calling, especially as that act might expose him to the charge of a defection from civil obedience, and thus bring a scandal on Christianity. It cannot be imagined that the New Testament designed to give the least countenance to slavery, when it directed every man to “ abide in the same calling “ wherein he was called ;" yet it follows : “ Art thou called, “ being a bondman? Care not for it; but if thou mayest be “ made free, use it rather : be not ye the slaves of men.” The case of the Christian convert in the Roman 'army, appears to us to be precisely parallel. War and Slavery are equally incompatible with the principles of Christianity; but so long as ? they exist in connexion with the political institutions of country, it may not be unlawful for a inan to continue a, soldier, or a slave, on the ground of civil obedience to the government: -“ Yet if thou mayest be made free, use it rather."
Civil obedience is a thing wholly distinct from political duty; the distinction of de jure and de facto is here perfectly legitimate. A subject is bound to obey the constituted authorities; it is equally bis duty to avail himself of every constitutional means for bringing about beneficial changes in the political system. Nero was the Cæsar to whom Paul appealed as the highest constituted authority; but would the Apostle have applauded the tyrannical system of the Roman government ?. It may be lawful to yield civil obedience to tyranny, and at the same time to compass its overthrow. If not, what do we mean by the glorious Revolution in 1688, thrice glorious, as having been bloodless ?In like manner, we conceive it neither unlawful nor inconsistent for those who think themselves justified in continuing in the army, as a matter of civil obedience, to promote, to the utmost of their power, the abolition of War; and were but the military of a country to be actuated at all generally, by this sentiment, not from effeminacy, but from the operation of Christian principle, it would be one of the most effectual means of stemming the passion for destruction.
We confess that, with our views, no genuine Christian ought to deem it lawful, on any plea short of necessity, (a plea which it would be difficult to substantiate,) to continue in the military profession. But this is not the only case in which individuals whose religious character we should be reluctant to doubt, have lived in the unconscious practice of what is in itself, thougb VOL. VII. N. S.
not in their view, 'unlawful. There have been such men as Co-
may wing its ascending way to the shores of a peaceful " eternity..'
< But,' adds the Author of the Sermon referred to, when I think
- A fearful thing,
To see it rushing forth in blood,'-
the certainty of its imposing upon him such an office, we feel as if we must retract what we have admitted as to the possibility of his being a Christian. Surely, the infatuation by which such a man is prevented from discerning the enormity of his con, duct, must be pronounced the very climax of fanaticism, How forcible, in such a reference, is the exhortation — Be not ye the “ slaves of men.”
We have one more prejudice to encounter : Wars ever have been, and Wars ever will be; they are necessary; or, to attempt to abolish war is Utopiau. This plea, the last refuge of selfish indolence and unbelief, would equally apply to all attempts to counterwork the spread of moral evil, the total extermination of which we cannot hope for, and to improve the social condition of mankind.
Yet how fatally does the apprehension, of uselessness reconcile persons to'a dereliction of active duty!
Wars, it is imagined, are necessary! For what purpose ? For self-preservation, for redress, or for honour? It we urge the former plea, as the ground of this nécessity, we must define what is meant by the term self, in application to a state or community. Does it imply the lives of the members of that community? Assuredly, War iş yot necessary or conducive to their preservation. Does it imply the preservation of territorial integrity? This can apply only to cases of actual invasion, and these are of too rare occurrence to need consideration in a general argument. Self-preservation is a plea which has in general no better foundation than the remote possibility of injury in respect of commercial interests, or of political power. In this sense, we dený its' necessity. Is it necessary for the purpose of redress? Redress, may
be necessary, and yet war be as a means both unnecessary and ineficient. Is
Is it common, asks the author of the “Solemn Review,"' for a nation to obtain a . redress of wrongs by war?' There is scarcely an instance of it in history,--scarcely an instance in which the original or pro: fessed object of waging war has been gained by the belligerent* !
War is not the only means of redress; that which is not the only means, cannot be considered as a priori necessary; war is not in general' a successful or ali efficient means of redress; it is not only therefore not vécéssary; it is impolític. In the “ Friend of Peace," the President, in his conference with
* Southey's 'admirable ballad, The battle of Blenheim,'' presents this homely truth in a form of the most touching simplicity.
" It was the English,” Kaspar cried,
« Who put the French to rout;"
I could not well make out.
Omar, demands, "What could have been done to avoid the
war? The answer he receives, is : The very same, Sir, " thut was done to make peace.” . Such a treaty as we now I have, had it been made before the war, would have saved 6 all the sacrifices of blood and treasure on both sides of the contest. This is the practical absurdity of war, that it usually terminates in a treaty, of which the status quo ante bellum is the very basis. Well might Erasmus exclaim : "Let men
cover their malice with what cloak they please; it is certain, that
They say it was a shocking sight,
After the field was won;
Lay rotting in the sun ;-
And our good Prince Eugene;
Said little Wilhelmine.
Who this great fight did win;
Quoth little Peterkin.
Southey's “ Minor Poems," Vol. III. (1815) p. 167. This Poem is accidentally omitted in the “ Contents," which has given rise to the injurious supposition that it was designedly omitted by the author. Bishop Porteus, in his Poem entitled “Death," exclaims,
- One murder makes a villain,
To kill, and numbers sanctified the crime.'
• War is a game, which, were their subjects wise,
Kings would not play at.' See « The Task,” B. ii. and v. “On Heroism,” and “ Expostulation.” In his last Poem, occur the following remarkable lines:
• Thy rack'd inhabitants repine, complain,