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Decalogue, upon which we are remarking, are to be found in the political and civil code of the Jews. In respect to this code, no one doubts, that it was designed to be temporary. At the coming of Christ, so far as it was a matter of divine enactment and rested upon divine authority, it was wholly done away; and the original law of Mount Sinai, after it was recognized and confirmed by the Savior, took full effect. THOU SHALT NOT KILL, therefore, is binding upon all since the time of Christ ; it is as obligatory upon the present, as upon any preceding generation; and in vain do we look in the New Testament for any suspension of its action, or any mitigation of its import.
Nor are these the only passages, which may be regarded as express prohibitions. " Since the time, (says the learned Erasmus,) that Jesus Christ said, Put up thy sword into its scabbard, Christians ought not to go to war. Christ suffered Peter to fall into an error in this matter, on purpose that when he had put up Peter's sword, it might remain no longer a doubt, that war was prohibited."*
-Nor is this all. The saying of the Savior to Pilate, that, if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, is equivalent to saying, that my servants do not fight, because my kingdom is not a worldly kingdom. This passage is also a direct, and not merely an indirect prohibition of war.
But there is one more passage, to which particular attention is requested. Heb. 12 : 14, “Follow peace with all men.” It will be noticed, it is not said, you must follow peace with your own countrymen, but may fight with a foreigner; that you must be at peace with your friend, but may kill your enemy.
your enemy. No such thing as this. But you must follow peace with all men. You are not at liberty to make distinctions and to say, I will be at peace
* As quoted in Dymond's Essays on the Principles of Morality.
with one man, and will contend with another; the command is as wide as the world ; it embraces all classes of men; it requires us to be at peace with all without any exception whatever. But furthermore, there is something peculiar in this precept, as it stands in the original. The Greek verb is DIOKETE. It is the same, that is used by the Apostle Paul, where he speaks of pressing towards the mark. It expresses, not only the doing of a thing, but doing it with zeal, with energy, with the whole power of heart and intellect. The expression is one, that is commonly applied to the combatants, the runners and charioteers of the great Grecian games. What earnestness there is in their countenance ! How every nerve and muscle is urged to the highest exercise ! How they bend forward as upon the wings of the wind ! Life itself is nothing in comparison with the object before them. It is in this manner we are required to practise peace; not to submit to it merely as a burden to be borne, but to seek it as an object of the greatest love; not to abandon it, because it will sometimes cost us inconvenience and expense, but to pursue it at every outlay of exertion and at every hazard of life. The charioteers of Greece would joyfully have died, rather than have lost their object; and so we must die, lose any thing and every thing, rather than lose the triumphal crown
FINALLY-In addition to what has been said, we shall find a further and powerful argument in support of the doctrine, that all wars are prohibited by the precepts and spirit of the New Testament, in the nature of prayer. Prayer is a duty which our natural reason tells us we owe to the Supreme Being, and which we should be bound to perform, even if we were destitute of Revelation. But in the Scriptures it is constantly enforced upon us ; we are required by the word of God to pray al
ways; to perform all our intelligent and moral acts in the spirit of supplication. And we do not hesitate in the remark, that to an enlightened and conscientious Christian prayer may be made one of the most certain tests of the rectitude of the course, which he proposes to take. If such a person cannot pray over what he propeses to do, if he cannot ask God's blessing upon it, he may safely come to the conclusion, that there is something wrong in it. And it may be asked, therefore, with great emphasis and great meaning, what sort of a prayer could a soldier offer, when going into battle? We must remember in answering this question, that his prayer must be offered, not in the spirit of the light of nature, perhaps we may say not in the spirit even of the Old Testament, but in the spirit of the Gospel. And what spirit does the Gospel require us to exercise towards others, even those whom we correctly regard as our enemies ? We have already seen. “Love your enemies. Do good to them which hate you. Bless them that curse you, and pray for them, which despitefully use you. And ye shall be the children of the Highest ; for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Beye' therefore merciful, as your Father is merciful. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath, for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore, if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink. Be not overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.”
God commands the soldier, as well as others, to do good to those who hate him, to love his enemies, to be merciful, not to avenge; but, in compliance with that great requisition, which is also binding upon him as well as upon others, to pray, and to ask God's blessing on all we do, he asks, (or rather he hypocritically professes to ask,) the divine blessing in smiting, piercing, maiming,
striking to the earth, and sending into eternity those, whom he is expressly required to love, to feed, and to pray for. Can such a prayer be accepted? Can it be offered with the least sincerity by one, who has any correct understanding of the New Testament? Will it not freeze and wither upon his lips ?
It is not long since, that we were looking over the life of the celebrated Suwarrow; and our attention was attracted by certain directions to soldiers, commonly known as Suwarrow's Catechism. It would be well for the advocates of war to compare this celebrated production, which has been a great favorite of the Russian armies, with the Savior's Sermon on the Mount. What the sermon on the Mount is, every one knows ; it breathes nothing but meekness, peace, and love. But what says the Catechism of Suwarrow? “Push hard with the bayonet. The ball will lose its way; the bayonet never. The ball is a fool ; the bayonet a hero. Stabb once ! And off with the Turk from the bayonet! stabb the second! stabb the third! A hero will stabb half a dozen ! If three attack you, stabb the first, fire on the second, and bayonet the third !”—This is the spirit of war. These are the directions of a great warrior. we ask again, can the spirit of humble, penitent, and benevolent supplication exist in connection with such a temper of mind as is indicated here?
In view of the considerations and the passages of Scripture, which have been brought forward in this Chapter, we put the serious inquiry, whether, as professed followers of Christ, whether as believers in that new and glorious Gospel which he came to announce, we are not to regard all wars as entirely prohibited, and as utterly wrong and sinful ? We are aware it is easy to cavil; it is easy to make objections, where the path is as clear as meridian day; but we address ourselves now to
those, who truly take the Gospel for their guide, and who, with a humble and prayerful spirit, are willing to go, wherever it may lead. We have no doubt what answer they will give. Let them, then, speedily awake on this momentous subject. We fear that Christians have been sadly blinded, not only on the subject of war in general, but in respect to all acts of retaliation and violence. We entreat them to pause as one man, to take the Bible into their hands, (particularly the exalted and completed Revelation of the New Testament) and examining it with the utmost care, to consider, with deep solicitude, where they have been going, and what they have been doing.
OBJECTIONS DRAWN FROM THE NEW TESTAMENT.
In the last chapter it was made to appear by a reference to the New Testament, that wars of every description are unlawful. We are aware, however, that some few things may be said, not altogether destitute of plausibility, by way of objection to what has been adduced. In the first place, it is objected, that the precepts of the New Testament are of individual, and not of national application ; that they relate to men, in their private and not in their social and corporate capacity.-We need not be at a loss for an answer, (and what we conceive to be an ample and satisfactory answer,) to this objection.