Page images



"And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."-MICAH iv. 3.

War! thou direful scourge of all nations,
The joy of conquerors, and pride of kings;
On what unjust claims, and shameful pretexts,
Is thy fierce devouring sword unsheathed!
Through thee th' world is robb'd of all its beauty,
And turned into one vast Aceldama,

Where woe and horror for ever abide.

ONE of the dreadful consequences of the fall, is the universal hatred which

pervades all nature. When God created the world he endowed all his creatures with reciprocal love: a blessed fondness subsisted, and a delightful harmony reigned. The beasts of the field, the fowls of the air, all the vast tribes in the sea, and the innumerable creeping things on the earth, were happy together, and none were found to hurt, or destroy. It was sin which produced the sad change, for when Adam fell, all nature fell with him. It was then the world was filled with the seeds of bitter opposition, and fierce destruction; and it was then war with all its horrors commenced.

But our souls are not so much distressed at the effects of transgression upon the inferior creation, as upon man, the proud lord of all. He who is pre-eminent above all God's works,


who is endowed with the noblest faculties, enriched with reason's glorious powers, and capable of pity, love, and reflection, such as brutes never know; remorselessly wages war with his fellow-creatures to gratify his evil passions, or add one mite to his fading possessions.

"Lands intersected by a narrow frith,
Abhor each other. Mountains interposed
Make enemies of nations, who had else
Like kindred drops been mingled into one."

War is one of the most horrible practices of degenerate man; it is the greatest blot upon his character, and stamps eternal infamy upon his name. If we examine the page of history, we shall find that in most instances it can neither be excused for its expediency, nor defended for its justice.

The motive which incites to it, may be found in the heart of the ambitious, the courts of the proud, and the councils of the avaricious.

Ambition knows no bounds, nor regards the expense which gratifies it. An ambitious prince is always planning the conquest of nations, and the destruction of kingdoms. It concerns him little what blood he sheds, or what lives he sacrifices: he drives on his warchariots amidst the dying groans of thousands, and the oppressed cries of millions. He is never satisfied; but like Alexander, weeps because world after world does not appear to glut his ambitious soul.

Pride is another cause of war, and it is manifested in various ways. Sometimes it sets up a foolish cry that national dignity has been insulted, and

soon a furious war commences, which ends not, till national dignity be greatly humbled, or supported at the loss of many thousand valuable lives.

A third cause of war is covetousness. All nations are eager for great wealth, and vast possessions; envious of what others enjoy, and never happy till they try to wrest it from them. If no honourable or honest motive justifies a rupture, some frivolous affair is made a pretext for one. Avarice must be satiated, and no matter how. Power often wreaks itself on the innocent, and feeble; and sometimes countries that have no other fault than that of being rich, are made the scenes of cruelty, bloodshed, and oppression.

It is not necessary that I enter into a minute detail of all the causes of war, because the foregoing are the

« PreviousContinue »