Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

the mere thought is,) of the pure, blessed, and angelic state of the Millennium.—On the supposition, therefore, that life will be inviolable in the Millennium, and that it will not be considered right for one man to put another to death for any possible reason, we argue that it is not right now. And this form of reasoning is applicable to any other analogous case whatever. If it will not be right to steal in the Millennium, it is not right to steal now ; if it will not be right to be intemperate in the Millennium, it is not right to be intemperate now; if it will not be right to hold slaves in the Millennium, it is not right to hold slaves now; if it will not be right to take life and carry on war in the Millennium, it is not right to take life and to carry on war now.

The principles, which will be acknowledged as authoritative in the Millennium, are the very principles, which are prescribed and are binding upon us at the present moment. No change in principles is required ; but merely a change in practice.

If the practice of men should to-morrow be conformed to the principles, which the finger of God has written on the pages of the New Testament, then tomorrow would behold the Millennium.

We delight to linger upon this subject. There is a charm in the millennial name. - Scribenti manum injicit, et quamlibet festinantem in se morari cogit.” The wing of poetry flags under this great conception. Sometimes we see it under the type of a wilderness newly clothed with bud and blossom ; sometimes we see it under the type of a city descending from heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband ; sometimes we behold it as a great temple arising out of the earth, and capacious enough to contain all nations. This temple is not built of earthly materials, that will perish with the using ; but is supported on immutable columns. Every great moral and religious principle is a pillar in the mil

lennial temple. The principle of total abstinence from all intoxicating liquors is one pillar; it suddenly arose fair and beautiful, and even now is enveloped with some rays of millennial glory ; the doctrine, that all slaveholding is a sin, is another pillar, standing firm, awfully grand, and immoveable ; the doctrine of the absolute inviolability of human life is another; this is in a state of preparation, but it will soon ascend, and stand brightly and majestically in its place; and thus principle after principle will be established, column after column will be erected, till the spiritual house of the Lord shall be established in the tops of the mountains, and shall expand upon the eye of the beholder, far more beautiful than the Parthenon. And what then will be wanting ? Only that the nations, in the language of prophecy, shall flow into it; only that the people should occupy it and rejoice in it, and this is millennial glory. But unless' you have firm, unchangeable, immutable principles, it will be like a certain house, that was built upon the sand; " and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house ; and it fell and great was the fall of it.”

19

146

CHAPTER FOURTEENTH.

POPULAR OBJECTIONS.

WHEN the doctrine of entire abstinence from war both Offensive and Defensive is asserted and maintained, it is so far in advance both of public sentiment and publíc practice, that we are at once met with a host of objections. Some good men, who in the main are averse to violent and sanguinary measures, are greatly alarmed at its announcement, on the ground, that, if it should prevail, there would be no personal or political safety. Some of the objections, which are made, may appear to be trivial ; undoubtedly they are so; but if they are frequently made and have influence with the popular mind, they seem to require a word of notice. This is to be said, however, that these objections multiply themselves so rapidly and assume so many shapes, that we can afford to give only a few specimens, leaving the rest to be supplied by the reader's imagination.

1,-One man says, for instance, if a person or a number of persons should commence a violent attack upon you, to the hazard even of your life, what would you do ? This is my answer.

I would do as the Savior did on a certain occasion, Luke 4: 28-30. And all they in the Synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath; And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill,

whereon the city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. But he, passing through the midst of them, went his way.—In other words, (by what means we cannot tell,) HE MADE HIS ESCAPE.

Or I would do as the Apostle Paul did, when the Jews of Damascus took counsel to kill him, Acts 9 : 23-25. “ But their laying await was known of Saul; and they watched 'the gates day and night to kill him. Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket.

Or if I could not escape, I would strive by superior skill or physical power to disarm the man, as an act of benevolence to him as well as of duty to myself, and yet without endangering his life, or injury to his person. In other words I would do, as David did on a certain occasion. I would take away the spear of the assailant, but with a sacred care, not to use it against him. I certainly should not feel at liberty, under any provocation whatever or any pressure of danger, to forget the sublime and instructive declaration of the Savior already repeatedly referred to. “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight that I should not be delivered unto the Jews; but now is my kingdom not from hence.” Every thing should be done in love ; and without any possible injury to the assailant. And there can be but little doubt, that this course of kindness, patience, and forbearance, especially if it were combined with affectionate entreaty and remonstrance, would prove a successful one. But if it should prove otherwise, if it should clearly appear that all this would not avail, and that certain destruction stared me in the face, if I acted as a Christian, I should most seriously endeavour to imitate the example of the Savior, when he died in agony on the cross, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do."

II,—It is inquired again, how will it be possible to administer the laws on the system of the inviolability of human life? How will it be in the power of the magistrates, on the principles of the pacific creed, to seize delinquents and to bring them to justice ? On this topic we answer concisely, that, if the laws of the community are such as they should be, framed with suitable wisdom and sustained by public sentiment, but little danger is to be apprehended on this score. There are elements in human nature, which will infallibly secure the existence and advancement of society, if there is a suitable share of benevolence and justice in the administration of its concerns. The power of public opinion is immense ; it is based upon an ultimate principle of our mental constitution, the desire of esteem ; and this power can always, with suitable precautions, be arrayed on the side of order and the laws. There is power in justice; there is power in benevolence ; and those, who are conscious of having right and kindness on their side, will not fail of exhibiting a due degree of energy and fortitude. It will be found, on the other hand, that men, who are so degraded as to assail society by the commission of crimes, will in general discover but little moral, intellectual, or physical courage. The elements of a formidable contest are not in them. It is virtue, which gives strength ; and being destitute of the elements of a virtuous character, they are, in a great degree, destitute of decision and energy. This is a great law of nature. It is essentially true of such persons, in the language of Scripture, that “ the sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them; and they shall flee, as fleeing from a sword ; and they shall fall, when none pursueth.” Too ignorant of the provision, which a kind Providence has made in our mental constitution and in the relations we sustain for the support of society, we are apt to exaggerate the

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »