« AnteriorContinua »
nature! Its element is war-war, which is the pastime of kings,” but the grief and ruin of their subjects—war, whose glory is blazoned by the infatuated multitude; but whose principles and effects are detested by the well informed disciples of the meek and · lowly desus. Every effort, therefore, should be made for the abolition of war, until peace, with her olive branch, shall become the emblem of a regenerated world.
I. Why should war be abolished ?
“War is the law of violence ; peace the law of love.”. The former, therefore, must be totally irreconcileable with the Christian spirit. “In all •experience and stories,” says Lord Bacon," you shall find but three things, that prepare and dispose an estate for war, the ambition of the governors, a state of soldiery, professed, and the hard means to live among many subjects; wherefore, the last is the most forcible and the most constant."
In perfect accordance with this sentiment are the views of the apostle James.
66 From whence come wars and fightings among you ? Come they not hence, even of your lusts, that war in your members ?" " The war spirit,” says one, " is not indeed acknowledged by those under its influence to be the inspiration of the devil, but it might be with far less impropriety, than it can be deemed the inspiration of the merciful God."
2. War should be abolished, because it is opposed to the precepts of the gospel.
6. Thou shalt not kill.” This is one of the permanent laws of God's moral kingdom, binding upon all men.
“ Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” This law of love the Scribes interpreted as referring to their own family, friends, sect and nation. The law of retaliation in its full extent, they maintained. Hence their injunc
“ Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy.” But this interpretation of the law of love was not agreeable to the views of Jesus Christ. The spirit, and practice of retaliation, he utterly condemned. Hence his reply to the Scribés :: “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you, that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven." War is retaliation. The Saviour here, then, denounces its spirit and practice. The will of Christ. may, also, be known from his pronouncing a benediction upon peace-makers.
Says the apostle of the Gentiles, “ Follow peace with all men.” This exhortation, though addressed to the Hebrews, is applicable both to Jews and Gentiles. It is their incumbent duty to avoid all discord• and resentment, and to pursue pacific measures with all men. It is predicted as a characteristic of the day of the Millennium, that mankind “ shall beat their.swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword agaiost nation, neither shall they learn war any more." War shall no more be a science or occupation ; but peace,-—"abundance of peace shall prevail, so long as the moon endureth.” War then is indefensible upon Christian principles; and, therefore, all laws in its favor are unconstitutional, because not agreeable to the statute book of Heaven. The expression of a distinguished naval officer, “Our country,—may she be always right; but, right or wrong, may she always be victorious,” is inconsistent with the spirit and precepts of Christianity. Every war is anti-Christian, because contrary to the Christian code, or the precepts of the gospel.
3. War should be abolished, because it is opposed to the example of Christ.
As the spirit of the Founder of Christianity was paci. fic; so was his example. “ Christ also suffered for us," says the apostle, “ leaving us an example, that we should follow his steps; who when he was reviled, reviled not not again ; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously." “ Now if any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his ;" so also if he imitates not the example of Christ, he is none of his. Were the Saviour's example universally followed, wars would be no more. Says Soame Jenyns, “ If Christian nations were nations of Christians, all wars would be impossible, and unknown among them." How important that all men should imitate the example of Christ, the great pattern of excellence, that wars may .cease unto the ends of the earth, and peace everywhere be established.
4. The evil effects of war is another reason why it should be abolished. Nothing less than the Divine Intelligence, who alone is able to comprehend the worth of the soul, and the tendency of war to destroy it, can fully. estimate the extent of this evil. It is permitted to human ken to know only the temporal evils, and these in a partial degree. One of the evils of war is an immense waste of treasure. The following account of English wars, taken from the London Weekly Review is awfully affecting. “Of 127 years, terminating in 1815, England spent 65 in war, and 62 in peace. The war of 1688, after lasting nine years, and raising our expenditure in that period to thirty-six millions was ended by the treaty of Ryswick in 1697. Then came the war of the Spanish succession, which began in 1702, concluded in 1713, and absorbed sixty-two and a half millions of our money. Next was the Spanish war of 1739, settled finally at Aix-la-Chapelle, in 1748, after costing us nearly fixty-four millions. Then came the
Seven Years war of 1756, which terminated with the treaty of Paris in 1763, in the course of which we spent one hundred and twelve millions. The next was the American war of 1775, which lasted eight years. Our national expenditure in this time was one hundred and thirty-six millions. The French Revolutionary war began in 1793, lasted nine years, and exhibited an expenditure of four hundred and sixty-four millions. The war against Bonaparte began in 1803, and ended in 1815. During those twelve years, we spent one thousand one hundred and fisty nine millions ; seven hundred and seventy-one of which were raised by taxes, three hundred and eighty by loans. In the Revolutionary war we borrowed two hundred and one millions; in the American, one hundred and four millions; in the Seven Years war sixty millions; in the Spanish war of 1739 twenty-nine millions ; in the war of the Spanish succession, thirty-two millions and a half; in the war of 1688 twenty millions ;-total borrowed in the seven wars, during 65 years, about eight hundred and thirty four millions. In the same time we raised by taxes one thousand one hundred and eighty-nine millions; thus forming a total expenditure of two thousand and twenty-three millions." What an enormous amount of money expended in the destruction of human life, and for the gratification of ambitious or selfish purposes! . The expenses of the last war of the United States, is supposed to have amounted to at least forty millions of dollars a year. The military and naval expenses of Great Britain in the war for the year 1815 amounted to forty-five millions three hundred and sixty-two thousand six hundred and seventy-seven pounds. This fact is ascertained by consulting authentic documents. From official papers it appears, that the whole expense of her armies cost France for the year 1819, seven hundred fifty-eight millions and five hundred
thousand francs.—To impress the mind more fully with the vast expense, consequent on war, we will just compare the expenditure occasioned in this way with the civil expenditures in the same governments. In the Treasurer's Report for the year 1818, the civil expenses of the United States were estimated at three millions eight hundred and nine thousand eight bundred and six dollars ; the aonnal expense of the late war is computed at forty millions of dollars. The expenses of the war were ten times more than the expenses of civil government. The civil expenditure of the government of Great Britain during the year 1815 was four millions four hundred and sixty-one thousand and eighty-seven pounds. The expenses for war in the same year were forty-five millions three hundred sixty-two thousand six hundred and seventy-seven pounds. In the British nation the expenses of the war were ten fold greater than the expenses of civil government. France spent thirty-seven millions seven hundred thousand francs for her civil expenses in the year ending: 1817 and her expenses for war during the year 1809 were computed at seven hundred fifty-eight millions and five hundred thousand francs,-a sum of money twenty times as large as her annual civil expenses. Will this expenditure be deemed incredible when we take into account military and naval armaments, fortifications, marches, encampments, seiges, and battles ? : “ The cost of building and equipping for service a single ship of the line, even in time peace, when every thing can be done-leisurely and at the best advantage, would erect the buildings of a university and furnish them with ample apparatus; and the expense of manning the ship, and keeping it afloat from year to year, even without battles, would supply gratuitous instruction at the university for a thousand students.” The single Campaign in Russia, must have cost more than two