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THE

ADVOCATE OF PEACE.

JANUARY AND FEBRUARY, 1860.

PEACE A PART OF THE GOSPEL.
Few are aware how largely the spirit and principles of peace
enter into the gospel. There is hardly any view that must not
enforce its claims upon every Christian. Take the duty of evan-
gelizing the world. The substance of all the precepts on this
point is forcibly condensed into our Saviour's last command, bid-
ding us preach his gospel, his whole gospel, to every creature.
What is that gospel ? A patron, an ally, an instigator of war?

-war burning with malice and revenge, reeking with pollution,
and steeped in blood and tears? The bare supposition outrages
all common sense ; for the gospel is directly, most glaringly re.
pugnant to every shred of a custom so foul and vindictive.

We are not now discussing a disputed point. We do not here
allude to the vexed question, whether a war strictly defensive,
if there can be such, is ever justifiable en Christian principles; a
point about which there is diversity of opinion among good men,
and we leave them to settle it, each one for himself, in the light
of the Bible. We are assailing the custom itself ; and no man in
his senses can fail to see the absolute inconsistency of such a
practice with a religion of universal peace and good-will. Look
at its details, and tell us, what part of this foul and horrid cus-
tom does the gospel sanction? Ascertain its objects, and an-
alyze its motives ; mark the spirit it cherishes, and the passions
it kindles into a blaze ; trace its progress in guilt, and its results
in mischief and woe; go to its fleets and its camps reeking with

6

Peace a part of the Gospel.

[Jan.

pollution, to its battle-fields raging with hellish malice and wrath, to its hospitals resounding with groans, and curses, and blasphe. mies; and in all these, which alone constitute war, what can you find compatible with a religion of peace, purity and love?

There is no view you can take of such a custom that will not prove its direct contrariety both to the New Testament and the Old. We do not shrink from an appeal even to the Old Testament; for, if you separate its precepts from its somewhat mysterious history, you will find the former almost as much opposed as the gospel itself to the practice of war. It enjoins piety, and love, and truth, and meekness, and a variety of other duties and graces utterly inconsistent with this trade of blood.

Glance at the great moral code of Sinai. Thou shall have no other gods before me. War, pagan in its origin, pagan still in its spirit, and always requiring soldiers to obey their superiors, right or wrong, rather than God himself, does virtually dethrone Jehovah from the hearts of an army, and put in his place a general or a prince, the idol of patriotism, or the phanton of military glory. War was the origin of nearly all the demigods ever worshipped ; most of them were warriors deified ; had Napoleon lived two thousand years earlier, he would have been the very Mars of the world ; and we seriously doubt whether the sticklers for war pay half as much respect to the Almighty, as they do to this modern monster, this ravager of a continent, and murderer of millions.-Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. Everyone knows war to be a nursery of irreligion, a school of profaneness and blasphemy.--Thou shalt not commit adultery. War is a hot-bed of the foulest, most brutal licentiousness. - Thou shalt not steal. War is a system of legalized national robbery and piracy.- 1 hou shalt not hill. War seeks to kill as its grand aim, and is in fact the most terrible engine ever devised for the wholesale destruction of mankind. Look through the Decalogue, through the whole of the Old Testament; and you will find war absolutely compelling soldiers to violate not a few of its plainest, most important precepts.

But the gospel, repealing the ancient law or license of retaliation, and putting in its place the principle of universal goodwill, is still more repugnant, if possible, to the custom of war. Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself. Can the soldier do this, and still continue his trade of human butchery? Love as yourself the very man on whom you are trying to inflict the greatest

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possible amount of evil for two worlds ! Paul tells us, that “ love is the fulfilling of the law, because it worketh no ill to his neigh

" but the soldier's whole business is to do him all the ill

:-Do good unto all men. War goes upon the avowed principle of doing them evil, as the only means of accomplishing its objects.- Whatseover ye would that men should do unto you, do ye . even so to them. The soldier do to others what he wishes done to himself! Would you like to have your dwelling burnt over your head, your family butchered before your eyes, and your own body blown or hewn to pieces ? Yet this alone is war; and to talk of a war that did not aim to perpetrate such atrocities, and inflict such miseries by wholesale, would be as plain a contradiction in terms, as to speak of living death. What I a war that sought to kill no one, to destroy no property, to do nobody any harm! You might as well call hell itself heaven.--Love your enemies.' War would fain have us hate them, and never did,

can exist without the deepest, bitterest malice.-Seek peace. Live in

peace.
Follow
peace with all men.

See that none render evil for evil to any man, friend or foe. Lay aside all malice, the great fountain of strife alike between individuals and nations. Mortify your members which are upon the earth; all those unholy passions from which alone, as James assures us, war can ever proceed. Avenge not yourselves; but, whoso smiteth you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. Resist not evil; but overcome evil with good. We cannot stop to explain these passages; but there is no possible construction that would not make them což. demn war as incompatible with Christianity.

Such, then, is confessedly the genuine spirit, an integral part of that gospel which our Saviour's last command bids us preach to every creature; and we insist upon its being our duty, in concert with the rest of his disciples, to teach the whole human race this part, as well as every other part, of our holy religion. Are we permitted at pleasure to embrace or to spread a mutilated gospel -- a gospel without peace, any more than a gospel without repentance or faith? Are we at liberty to pluck out, or to leave out, its principles of peace? No more than we are repentance or faith ; for our Saviour's last command, and all his previous instructions, rivet upon us the obligation of spreading peace, just like repentance or faith, as an integral part of the gospel, and thus rendering its pacific principles, like all its other truths, effective of their object in the spread of peace co-extensive with Christianity itself.

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