« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
But how are the evils, which are now complained of, to be corrected ?-In the first place, by showing that the glory, which is based upon the elements, capabilities, and spirit of war, is no glory at all; but rather dishonor, disgrace, and ruin. And, although this is certainly a matter of some difficulty, yet it can probably be accomplished with suitable pains on the part of those, who feel an interest in the subject of peace. Let Christians and philanthropists avail themselves of the agency of the press, and communicate extensively the statistics of the expenses of war, the increase of the people's burdens occasioned by war, the immense loss of human life, the demoralizing effect of standing armies, the innumerable forms of domestic wretchedness originating from national strife, and the eyes of mankind will at last begin to open; they will arise as from a dream ; the bright form of National glory, based upon war, will change its lustre and look dark and lowering; and under the impulse of better views, they will dash their idol to the ground and trample it under their feet.
In the second place, efforts ought to be made to build national reputation or glory on a more correct foundation-And in order to this, there must be, among other things, a great revolution in literature ; a revolution which is already begun and is perceptibly advancing. As matters now stand, music, painting, statuary, history, poetry, are all subservient to that false idea of national glory, which is so prevalent. But a great change is destined to take place. As an instance and illustration of what has been remarked, we doubt not that the time will come and probably soon come, when history will assume a new form, and be written upon new principles. It is now a mere series of battles. Very little is said of the organization of government, and of the principles, on which governments are in fact, or ought to be adminis
tered; still less of the progress of the arts and of knowledge in general, of the character and habits, of the virtues and the vices, of the sufferings and enjoyments of the great body of the people. Military matters are predominant, and every thing else is thrown into the back ground. But the public mind begins to tire of these details of blood, and to demand another kind of food. The multiplication of such works as Hallam's Constitutional History of England and Pitkin's Civil and Political History of the United States, (not to mention others of a mixed historical and political character such as La Croix's Review of the Constitutions of the principal States of Europe, President Adam's Defence of the Constitutions of the United States, and Judge Story's Commentaries on the American Constitution,) clearly indicates, that the public taste is becoming less warlike and more civic. So great is the change already taken place, that a debate in Congress, Convention, Parliament, Storthing, or Cortes, on some great constitutional or political question, excites an interest throughout the nation, which a few years since could have been excited only by the announcement of thirty or forty thousand slain in some great battle. And now let people generally begin to feel, that their national glory, at least one great element of it, consists in the excellence of their civil and political institutions rather than in their ability and skill in war, and the war-spirit will soon be sensibly diminished, and the effects will be exceedingly beneficial.
A change is going on also, somewhat analagous in its character, in other departments of literature.
Even Poetry, that has been so long and so unhappily allied to the spirit of war, is beginning to put away the garments rolled in blood, and to array her native beauty in the pure and beautiful vestments of peace. A few years
OF THE DUTY OF PRIVATE CHRISTIANS AND MINISTERS.
BEFORE leaving the subject of the means to be employed, in order to secure the triumph of pacific principles, it is proper to say something further of the duty, which is especially incumbent on professors of religion. The subject has already, in repeated instances, been briefly alluded to; but it is obviously too important to be passed by without some further notice. The church of Christ must take the lead in this great work, or it is in vain to expect it will ever be done. It is believed, that the experiment has already been so far tried as to give satisfaction on this point. Again and again the miseries of war have been described ; the vast expenses and the system of taxation attendant upon a state of war have been insisted on; appeals have been made both to the sympathies and the interests of men ; the subject has been frequently brought before men elevated in political life ; but all in vain. It is true, public attention has been partially gained, and a slight impression has been made adverse to the practice of war; but the root of the evil has not been touched. The elements of the volcano are still at work under the surface of society, ready to burst forth on a thousand imaginable conjunctures with unmitigated fury.
But how does this happen? Why is it, that, after this repetition of warnings and these repeated appeals, the danger is still imminent ? It is because one great means, a means more effective than any other, has been wholly overlooked. Unhappily, with the exception of the Primitive Christians and of a few more recent denominations of Christians comparatively small in number, the appeal has never been made, from the time of Christ down to the present moment, to the Christian church as a church. It is true, that appeals have frequently been made to Professors of religion as men, as citizens, and as philanthropists ; but very seldom, and never, in the way of any general and systematic effort, have these appeals been made to them as occupying the distinctive and far higher ground of christianity. They have never been taught to believe and to feel, as they ought to have been, that they cannot be accessory to war and at the same time maintain their Christian profession; that war and christianity are in utter and endless conflict with each other. Here is the key of the position; here is ground to be occupied, which has been almost wholly overlooked ; if this ground shall once be secured, and a barrier firm and impregnable shall be erected here, this tremendous evil will soon cease to spread its devastations over the world.
Professing christians occupy precisely the same position in regard to the great pacific reformation, which must sooner or later inevitably take place, that temperate drinkers but recently occupied in respect to the Temperance reformation, which is now in such encouraging progress. It is but a few years since, and drunkards universally appealed for example and authority to those, who were not drunkards, but nevertheless advocated the right and the expediency of drinking occasionally, only let it be done temperately. Nothing could be
effected under such circumstances; it was found necessary, that a new principle should be adopted ; before a reformation could reach the drunkards, it was necessary, that there should be an absolute and total reformation of the temperate drinkers. And now we have another great reformation in hand still more important; and in pursuit of it we declaim against military men and military statesmen; but we do not touch their conscience; we do not start them an hair's breadth from that position of crime and cruelty which we believe they occupy. And why not? It is because they are sustained by professors of religion ; it is because while they avowedly drink often and deeply into the spirit of war, the followers of the benevolent religion of Jesus support them by drinking temperately; it is because they see Christians cheerfully paying taxes for their support, and behold Christians in their own ranks, and hear Christians praying for their success. This is the secret, as time will assuredly show, of the great strength of that spirit of war, which has so long pervaded the world.
If these suggestions are well founded, it cannot be denied, that an immense responsibility rests upon the Church ; and we have no doubt, that the time is coming, and coming speedily, when they will be disposed to confess with sincere sorrow, that the immeasurable evils, resulting from the wars in which men have been engaged, are justly chargeable, in a very high degree, to their own stupidity, blindness, and dereliction of principle. We solemnly put it, therefore, to the professors of the Christian religion, how they can answer it to their conscience and their God, that they remain so quietly and stupidly accessory to the evil of war; by their own admission, one of the greatest evils that ever afflicted our sinful and suffering race. It will not avail them to say, that they have always assented to the evils of war;