Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

2

ken of such a person. The cause of Christ does not require to be supported by unjustifiable means. To proceed fairly is not only a solenn duty, but it is even at present advantageous. Any persons, who pretend to be wiser than God, and would defend his holy doctrines by any other measures, than by those, which he allows, will eventually find, that they are injuring the very cause, which they profess to uphold, and will be convinced, “ that the foolishness of God is wiser than man, and that the weakness of God is stronger than man.”

Christians never do inore for the interests of truth and the honor of God, than when they manifest in their treatment of all classes and denominations of men, a reverent regard to Christ's commandments. Such a regard implies unyielding integrity, and caution not to be injurious even to an enemy. This temper was most happily displayed by the first preachers of Christianity : We are not, saith the apostle, as many, who corrupt the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God, speak we in Christ.

We have now made those few remarks, which were intended under the three divisions, mentioned at the beginning of this discourse. Many important ideas, nearly connected with the subject, but not mentioned, will present themselves to the mind of every reflecting hearer. To the remarks, which have been made, we ask no greater attention, than, upon examination, their truth and importance may be found to require.

My brethren, your pastor is cautioned in the words of the text to give no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed. Permit me to warn you of the danger of receiving offence, of stumbling as to religion, on account either of his fidelity or his imperfections. If you conceive prejudices against the gospel either from the virtues or the errors of its advocates, the consequences as to your spiritual interest, may be most unhappy; and they may be eternal. Religion is immutable. It is independent both of your pastor and you. Its excellence is not tarnished, though he should disgrace it. Its truths are not invalidated, though you should reject them. In whatever manner it is preached by him, or received by you, it is that, by which you will both be judged at the last day.

A long suffering God is now using means to enlighten and reclaim sinners. If this object is not effected by the instrumentality of one, it may be by that of another. But, in the state, to which we are going, means are at an end, probation ceases, and character becomes immutable. Be persuaded then to receive and embrace the word of reconciliation. Reject no longer the Son of God: Refuse not Him that speaketh, whose voice once shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.

SERMON XI I.

WAR AND PEACE.

Psalm 72: 7. In his days shall the righteous flourish: and abund

ance of peace, so long as the moon endureth.

This Psalm, it is believed, refers to Solomon, as typifying the Messiah. In colors of uncommon beauty, it portrays the blessings of good government; blessings which will never be fully enjoyed, till “ the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of bis Christ.”

In the present discourse, the following arrangement will be observed. After showing, that war is a calamity, both extensive and severe, I shall attempt, from the text and other passages of Scripture, to return an answer to this inquiry : Shall the sword devour forever?

War is a calamity of very wide extent.. Originating in the depravity of the human heart, it is likely to prevail, wherever there are human beings, in whom this depravity is unsubdued. Accordingly we find, that war has been common in every age, and among all nations, whether barbarous or refined. Conten. tion began, even before the civil state could have been formed. It commenced in the first family, and during the life of our first parents. Abel was slain by the hands of a brother. As the number of human beings increased, similar enormities became more common. As a reason why God destroyed all flesh by a deluge, it is recorded, that the earth was filled with violence.” It is probably in reference to this, that God immediately after the deluge, with so much solemnity, prohibited the wanton destruction of human life: And surely your blood of your lives will I require. At the hand of every beast will I require it.; Vol. II.

35

and at the hand of every man; and at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man.

Wboso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed. (Gen. 9: 5.)

The passion for war and conquest was next displayed in Nimrod, who, to the character of a mighty hunter, added that of a chieftain and statesman. In the days of Abraham, kings had formed alliances for the purpose of war. Nine kings were joined together in one battle in the “vale of Siddim." (Gen. 14:3.)

When the descendants of Israel were established in the land of Canaan, they had wars not unfrequently anong themselves, and almost perpetually with surrounding nations. The history of the Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans, is, for the most part, military history. These nations have long since disappeared. After having trampled on the rights of States less powerful; after having, for many ages, revelled with impunity on the spoils of others; at length made feeble by their own greatness, they were vanquished, in succession, by other States possessing the same ambition, but not, like themselves, enervated by age and luxury. So universally have events corresponded with the declaration of Christ: He that taketh the sword, shall perish by the sword. The great kingdoms and empires of ancient times, with all their power and splendor, were, at different periods, swept from the earth by the storms of war. The prophet Ezekiel, with a mind glowing with inspiration, has imagined that world which contains the spirits of all the dead. As death is the end of all men, war is represented by him as the death of nations : Ashur is there and all her company. His graves are round about him; all of them slain, fallen by the sword. Whose graves are set in the sides of the pit, and her company is round about her grave; all of them slain, fallen by the sword; which are gone down uncircumcised, to the nether parts of the earth, which caused their terror in the land of the living ; yet they have borne their shame with them, that go down to the pit. There is Meshech and Tubal, with all her multitude; her graves are round about him; all of them uncircumcised, slain with the sword, though they caused their terror in the land of the living. And they shall not lie with the mighty, that are stain of the uncircumcised, which are gone down to hell with their weapons

of war; and they have laid their swords under their heads. But their iniquity shall be upon their bones; though they were the terror of the mighty in the land of the living. There is Edom, her kings, and all her princes, which, with their might, are laid by them that are slain by the sword. There be the princes of the North, all of them, and all the Zidonians, which are gone down with the slain. With their terror they are ashamed of their might; and they bear their shame with them, that go down to the pit.

The remarks which we have made in reference to ancient kingdoms and empires, may be applied to modern Europe. In its history nothing is so prominent, and nothing so much engrosses the attention, as the operation and consequences of war. Those hordes of barbarians, that, from different quarters, and at different times, invaded and eventually crushed the Roman empire, were of a character, daring, ferocious, and warlike. (Liv. v. 36.) They scarcely pretend to any other right, than that which was founded on their courage, fortune, and military strength : We carry, said they, our right in our arms; and all things are the property of brave men. (Liv. Lib. v.) Whoever considers the extent and power of the Roman empire, will readily perceive that its subversion could not have been effected without infinite sufferings, and enormous waste of human lives. As the States now occupying Europe, were formed by a union of those hordes, with fragments of the ancient empire, they have inherited the same spirit, somewhat broken indeed, and softened by the progress of refinement, and the mild genius of Christianity. Among these States, the last twenty years have constituted an era of pre-eminent desolation.

Hitherto we have alluded to those nations and empires, with which history is most familiar. But the calamity and opprobrium of war are not confined to any community or division of the human race.

When America was first exhibited to the view of

« AnteriorContinuar »