Page images

most common.

They are the three dreadful rivers, whence diverge the various streams which deluge the world with sorrow.

Whatever be the motive for war, it is at all times a dreadful evil, not only as respects a waste of human blood, but also in its moral effects upon nations.

The people of England are distinguished for possessing in a remarkable degree the finer sensibilities of the heart; but no one can doubt, but what they were much blunted during the late wars.

The pompous details of conquests, and the splendid achievements of battle, appeared to be the chief subjects on which every one dealt; and while they eagerly spent their time in watching the triumphant course of a Nelson, a Wellington, and other

great heroes, they little thought of the dreadful destruction of body and soul, which were the awful concomitants of all our great victories. While the hand of frightful ambition was inhumanly exerted, and thousands were the lost and suffering victims of its rage, few hearts throbbed with anguish at the dreadful effects of war; and, I fear, very few fervently prayed that “nations might learn it no more !”

War is in direct opposition to the precepts of the gospel, and ought to be studiously avoided.

Under the Old Testament dispensation, it was certainly carried on to a great extent; but it was then commanded by God, in order to punish idolatrous and sinful nations, which would neither fear nor seek him. He led forth his people to war, not to gra

tify their passions, but to fulfil his purposes; and to show to the world that his majesty was not to be mocked with insolence, nor his power slighted with impunity. War was a means by which the mighty God proved that he was a God of retributive justice, who would by no means clear the guilty.

Before Christ, whenever ambitious, proud, and avaricious monarchs heedlessly waged war, the Lord showed his abhorrence of it by destroying their armies, and slaying their persons. It was thus with the Egyptians in the time of Moses, the Philistines in the days of David, and the Assyrians in the reign of Hezekiah.

But on the advent of Christ, a new dispensation or order of things was established, and war was positively interdicted. The glorious system which Christ brought into the world, was not like the old, for the exclusive enjoyment of a peculiar people, the Jews: it was thrown open to the enjoyment of all men, bond and free, circumcision and uncircumcision, Jew and Gentile.

Under the gospel, the Almighty did not set apart any order of men to dispense his laws, or execute his judgments ; consequently, war was to be followed no more. Nations, wilfully departing from God, or giving themselves


to abominations, are not now to be punished with war and destruction as formerly; for they will all be condemned and punished at the last great day.

The gospel was declared to be the “gospel of peace,” and universal

peace, political and spiritual, was to have sway. Two of the grand principles inculcated by our Lord, were harmony and love; and he pronouuced a blessedness on those who observe them. “ Blessed,” says he, “ are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”* As a proof, that in this declaration he means to bless all who live in perfect agreement with every order and nation of men, he severely condemned the intemperate zeal and bitter animosity of Peter, for smiting the high priest's servant. - Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into its place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” † But the most positive declaration on this subject, and that on which every nation professing Christianity ought to regulate their

political conduct, is the one made by the * Matth. v. 9.

+ Matth. xxvi. 52.

« PreviousContinue »