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they are dashing themselves.
A Friend once argued with me as follows: " It can't mean temporal punishment, for they very often escape.
It must mean therefore that which is eternal; for the words are express— shall perish ;' that is, with the sword' hereafter.” This is a summary way of settling the matter, truly. But we may well
pause before we sanction such enormous error. For 3. It proves too much quite-it nullifies the thirteenth of Romans; where the clear explains or at least coerces the doubtful. Many a man “beareth
“ the sword" by the authority of God, as his civic “minister.” Inference-their inspiration is at fault again: it dogmatizes what is false, as it is wont to do. 4. A credible interpretation does more honor to the passage: Peter was ardent to fight for the kingdom of his master, and thus to carry the fortunes and the cause of MESSIAH. But this was not the way to propagate his religion. He that resorted to such means would fail of the end and destroy himself. That spiritual tyrant who affects to sit in Peter's chair (in which Peter himself never sat) and resembles him only in his errors, unites in his own regime the power of the sword with that of the keys-and how much of the religion of Christ does he propagate? Generally, the passage is an interdict against all such military measures and sanguinary means of grace: while it had a special applicability to the duty of that unparalleled crisis, to suffer rather than resist. If resistance had been wise, he would have employed it. “Twelve legions of angels" had presently" appeared for his resa
cue, asking no human sword to add its imbecility to their arms. “But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled that thus it must be ?" 54. John, 18:36.
Friends are often asked, what would be your course of duty as the head of a family, if a desperado in quest of “ beauty and booty" were to break into your house at midnight? They answer, (1) This is an extreme case, and it is not fair to try principles in that way. I reply, why? because a principle is not to be judged by looking at its native tendency, its proper fruits, its practical relation and utility ? Must we then go to the sky of utopia for all our ethical light? But it is not an extreme case: far from it! It occurs virtually every day in the year ; our newspapers groan with the records of violence, and society is bleeding in every member. Take a fact-A lady at the South was once left, in the absence of her husband, alone in the house, or with no other protection than sleeping infancy in her chamber, and a few slaves in other apartments. Just as she was about to retire, she was alarmed by the sudden appearance of an athletic negro of the neighborhood, who plainly announced a purpose more terrible than death to the thoughts of conjugal virtue. What should she do? With calm self-possession she concealed the agitation of her feelings—requested him to wash his feet in water that she would procure for him—and
watching her moment while he was so engaged, having seized an axe that she had prudently concealed, she despatched him with one well directed blow on his head! Suppose her husband had been
a Friend could he have blamed her at his return? Would any jury of men or women condemn her ? She deserves to rank with Judith who decapitated Holofernes, and.“ Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite” who “shall be blessed” for the nail she drove through the temples of Sisera! Judges, 4 :5. Hence when Friends say, (2) that if we are faithful we shall never be brought into such extremities, they utter what is foolishness itself. Was not Isaiah faithful, whom Manasseh " sawed asunder?" or Paul who was beheaded under Nero? Let the blood of the martyrs answer.
That war is ordinarily iniquitous and wrong on both sides, and that TERRIBLE ABUSES of the power of the sword have always prevailed in our world, though with SPECIAL CRIMINALITY in an age so favored with the means of knowledge and righteousness as this, must be at once admitted and maintained. Wars of conquest, ambition, martial glory, or posthumous fame, are utterly unauthorized and wrong; are “earthly, sensual, devilish ;" are worthy of the combined abhorrence of earth and heaven. If our PEACE SOCIETIES would all be DEFINITE AND SOUND in principle, aiming at things proper and practicable, and at these alone, I, for one, have no doubt not only of their high utility, but of their rapid prosperity and ultimate success. Let them honor the principles of magistracy as laid down in the New Testament; maintain the rectitude of war when strictly defensive, when absolutely necessary in the last resort, when so prosecuted that the guidance of the LORD OF HOSTS
can be devoutly invoked on its movements ; let them make no canopy or cover for law-hating infidels and universalists ; let them recognise and honor the doctrine of penalty and the armed puissance of the state ; let them show rights and duties reciprocally and wisely; let none of them misrepresent the religion of Jesus Christ, as if it contained 6 the old wives' fable” of PASSIVE ENDURANCE, or as if a man could not have prowess or “show himself a man” or act valiantly pro aris et focis * without malevolence : let them so act and so proceed, and they will take hold of the public mind; they will arrest the attention of cabinets and statesmen; they will disarm a mighty prejudice and attach devoted millions to their cause; heaven will bless their labors of philanthropy; the nations of the earth may hear their voice, feel their arguments, and echo their wishes, in the universal pacification of the globe and through the "blessed and holy' ages of the MILLENNIUM.
11. While I fully believe all that I have written on this momentous subject, I feel bound to add-that it is no part of the argument or the motive to authorize wars, feuds, and bloody rencounters, such as actually occur in almost every page of universal history! There is no need of war comparatively, on the earth ; either individually or generally. The real necessity for war is very different from the assumed necessity. There is no need of it absolutely—except what wicked passions mainly foment and make. For abuses of principle or practice, I am no apologist. DIPLOMACY, EQUITABLE, CALM, PACIFIC, OUGHT TO SETTLE ALL INTERNATIONAL DIFFERENCES : justly dreading an appeal to the sword, as a most terrible calamity. To exemplify this wisdom, is transcendently the duty especially of CHRISTIAN nations. My very soul deprecates war! It is indeed a mighty and a monstrous evil—"a game, which, were their subjects wise, kings would not play at.” Ruin to finances is nothing compared with ruin to morals. It depraves a nation! Private differences too might easily be settled in every case, but for bad passions! And for all these maladies, can nothing be done? There is apanacea, which I would here record as infallible : it is a compound in due proportions of James 4: 1-17. Matt. 18: 15-18, and 2 Cor. 5: 10-21. Whence, I observe,
12. The pacification of society and the regeneration of the world, is to be realized ONLY THROUGH THE PREVALENCE OF CHRISTIANITY ; ONLY BY THE
CHRISTIAN SENTIMENT', AMONG THE NATIONS! I believe that such a period will arrive : for it is certainly and credibly predicted : but I believe as much in the only appointed means, as I do in the desired end of the glorious consummation! It will occur not by rendering magistracy weaponless and imbecile; but by superseding its occasions of using the sword. There is NO INWARD LIGHT of any sort in man, that will correct his errors or convert his soul or reform his millions on the earth. The grace of the gospel alone can work his melioration. It is only by the diffusion of “the glorions gospel of the blessed God," and its cre