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implanted instincts. And shall not God be allowed to govern what he has implanted ? He has inscribed in his word the law of temperance for the government of the instincts of hunger and thirst ; and we unhesitatingly admit its obligation. Why not as freely and fully admit the supremacy of the laws,
“ Love your enemies," and “Recompense to no man evil for evil,” over the instinct of self-defence? But we go yet farther ; we deny that there is any such thing as defensive
We deny altogether the connexion of war with the instinct of self-defence. This instinct is simple and spontaneous, - it is that which raises the arm to ward off a blow when aimed, which adds wings to the feet when the loosening crag overhangs our path. It does not invent gunpowder, or erect armories, or forge swords or spears. These are the work of cool calculation and of arduous effort, - not the hasty offspring of untutored instinct. War implies calculation, art, and science, and therefore cannot be justified on the ground that it is the prompting of instinct. Moreover, war necessarily implies attack' as well as defence, a determination to murder others as well as a wish to avoid being murdered ourselves. If we could invent some process by which our enemies could be disarmed without injury to life or limb, such a process would be defensive war; but to nothing beyond this could the name be fairly applied.
The nominal division of wars into aggressive and defensive has long presented a barrier to the diffusion of right ideas on this subject. The unjustifiableness of aggressive war has been generally admitted ; but every nation has always contrived to style its own wars defensive. There never has been or can be a war incapable of being plausibly justified on this ground, — a ground assumed alike by both parties in every international quarrel. When we so recently apprehended a war with France, had our government declared war, it would have been termed a defensive war; for France had not only withheld our money, but had thereby assailed that indefinable abstraction, called national honor, - a thing, we are taught to believe, infinitely more precious than life, prosperity, or virtue. Then, if, on the other hand, France had declared war, it would have been deemed by her citizens a defensive war; for their property on the seas had been wantonly threatened, and their national honor outraged. But, if our reasoning on this point has been sound, we have shown that defenVOL. XVIII.
N. S. VOL. XIII. NO. III.
sive war is a contradiction of terms, — that the only distinction to be made among wars is between those where there is a greater, and those where there is a less degree of provocation.
“ But how are we to do,” some of our readers will ask, “when provocation reaches its utmost extremity,
when our lives or the lives of our friends are endangered by the lawless force whether of individuals or of armies ? Shall we not, then, repel offered violence by violence?” We answer, No. Duty is yours; events are in God's hands. And what though he let you fall a sacrifice to the principles of the Gospel ? You fall as Jesus fell, and your example will, within the sphere of your influence, exert the same benign influence, which his example has exerted over the whole world.
But we believe, that the path of peace will almost uniformly be found the path of safety. The same Being, who has given the law, “Resist not evil,” holds in his hands the hearts of all men, and adjusts the course of providence; and he can and doubtless will protect those who keep his law. Wherever the principle of non-resistance to evil has been put in practice, he has owned and blessed it; and the history of mankind presents several most striking contrasts, in which those who have taken the sword have perished by it, while under similar circumstances the friends of peace have been preserved. The Jews in their last war trusted to arms; and they exbibited a scene of destruction and carnage never surpassed. The Christian residents of the city, we are told, deeming it unlawful to fight, and relying solely on divine guidance, retired unharmed through the posts of the enemy to a little village beyond Jordan, and were all saved. The Puritan fathers of New England were men of war, and were engaged in constant hostility with the Indians; how many of New England's purest and best sons fell a sacrifice to savage barbarity! In the midst of six savage tribes of the same origin and character with the aborigines of New England, settled William Penn and his Quaker followers. Truth, honesty, and kindness were their only weapons ; their unbarred houses and unprotected firesides their only forts. Human calculation would have pronounced their days numbered and finished. But the same God had created the souls of the savages and uttered the law of peace, and they were fitted to each other ; for harmony reigns through all the works of his hands. The Indians saw that the Quakers were men of peace, and could not find it in their hearts to molest them, or to treat them otherwise than affectionately and kindly. Thus there was strength in the very weakness of the Pennsylvanians; and for more than seventy years, during which all the other provinces of North America were the theatre of the most heart-rending barbarity, Pennsylvania had not so much as a single armed man. In New England, too, the Indians always spared, when they knew them, the houses and persons of the Quakers, as also throughout the country those of the kindred brotherhood of the Moravians. The Society of Friends can, in the whole history of Indian warfare, notice the death of only three of their number; and two of these were men, who went to their labor with unloaded muskets to frighten the Indians, and the third was a woman who had fled to a fort for protection.* The experience of the Quakers during the Irish rebellion in 1798 was similar. That was a season of cold-blooded murder and outrage, exasperated by all the venom of religious bigotry. The Quakers shrunk not from danger ; but put forth that loftiest of all courage, which consists in returning good for evil, blessing for cursing. And God preserved them ; and, when strangers passed through the desolated streets, and beheld here and there a single house standing uninjured, they would point to it and say, “ That doubtless is a Quaker's house.” Only one fell, and he had assumed arms and regimentals. What a glorious commentary are facts like these upon the text of Solomon ; “When a man's ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him”! Now do not the cases above enumerated and others of a similar character authorize the presumption, that God would in like manner favor all those, who, instead of trusting to implements of war and bloodshed, should trust in Providence and in the power of virtue and of love ? Such instances of the success of a pacific policy would show, that war is not even the surest means of defence and safety from actually impending danger, and thus would drive the advocates of war from their last refuge-ground.
But it is time for us to draw our discussion to a close. We have spoken strongly on this subject; for we feel strongly.
* See Grimké's Dymond, pp. 94 - 96.
f Ibid. pp. 96, 167, 168.
We have used the language of firm conviction ; and have used it sincerely. Our faith in the divine origin of Christianity is not one whit stronger than our persuasion, that the precepts and example of Jesus forbid war of every kind.
Let us not, then, be too harshly censured for having spoken so freely of that war for our country's liberty, which we have been educated to regard as a holy war. We venerate the characters of many
who were engaged in it, and doubt not, that they were urged by a high sense of duty, and a spirit of self-sacrifice worthy of the noblest enterprise. We revere the character of Washington as we revere that of hardly any human being ; nor have we a doubt, that, were he now living, he would be one in mind with ourselves on the subject of
He was a friend of peace; and of all great military chieftains whose history we have read, he is the only one, in whom the virtues of peace were not tarnished by the smoke of the battle-field. But, while we honor those whom our country honors, we must look for principles to a greater than they ; and, if in our opinion they saw but part of the counsel of God, if to our ear the voice of Jesus forbids every act of violence and bloodshed, how can we, against his word, put in an exception in favor even of the wars of our own people ?
We are aware that the doctrine of the unlawfulness of war will appear to many of our readers strange, to some displeasing. But equally strange and displeasing would the doctrine, that man has no right to enslave his fellow-man, have appeared in New England seventy years ago. Equally strange and displeasing has the doctrine, that the traffic in ardent spirits is an unchristian business, appeared within the remembrance of most of our readers. And we have no doubt, that, fifty years hence, the unlawfulness of war will be deemed, as we now deem the unlawfulness of slavery, - too obvious to need proof.
We dismiss the subject by commending it to the devout inquiries and earnest efforts of Christians. If swords are to be beaten into ploughshares, and spears into pruning-hooks, it must be by Christian hands. The worst aspects of war are those which it bears in the light of the Gospel. The cause of peace puts forth its strongest claims in the name of Jesus of Nazareth. It is a cause, in which Christian ministers are bound to be peculiarly active in enlightening and guiding public opinion. They cannot, indeed, put an end to war.
But they can produce a state of things, in which all Christians shall be the firm friends of peace, in which the advocates of war will be obliged first of all to throw aside the New Testament, — in which the banner of the cross shall never again wave over the field of carnage. It is our heart's desire and prayer, that the principles of non-resistance, and universal forgiveness and love, may ere long be so inseparably connected with the Gospel, that every follower of the Lord Jesus shall say, as did the martyr of early times, “I am a Christain and therefore cannot fight.” Then will Christianity gain speedy and universal ascendency; and the peace and good will, reigning in a regenerated world, will render glory to God in the highest.
ART. VII.--Discourses on Various Subjects. By the Rev.
ORVILLE DEWEY. New York. David Felt & Co. 1835. 12mo. pp. 299.
In noticing these Discourses, we would wish to keep out of view, as far as possible, that their author is one of ourselves; that he is our personal friend; that his religious opinions are in the main our own; that he has been one of the most regular and valuable contributors to the pages of this work; that this very number opens with one of his articles, the first which he has given us since his return frorn abroad; — these things,
we say, we would fain keep out of sight, in noticing these Discourses, because we desire to consider them on the ground of their own separate merit, as specimens of the religious literature of the day, or rather as evidences of what may be done by the pulpit for the public mind and for individual souls. If we had never before heard of their author, we are quite sure, that we should have pronounced them remarkable performances. If we had been ignorant of the religious denomination to which he is considered to belong, we are certain that we should have hailed his works as powerful aids to the Christian cause universal ; that we should have said, Here is a preacher who understands the object of preaching, and can effect that object; here is a man who can speak to the human heart, and make it listen; who can address the human soul,