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tation of Christ, suffering for our enemies, rather than making them suffer?
“ But the temptations to which an impressed seaman is exposed do not end here. He hears the name of God constantly blasphemed, and is himself the subject of the most bitter curses and imprecations on his eyes, his limbs, and even his immortal soul,-a practice degrading both to him who uses it, and to him who suffers under it. I never learned that having a chaplain on board was any check to this heaven-daring sin; but to "swear like a man-of-war's-man’ is proverbial.
“ When the impressed seaman returns from a long cruise, to what horrid temptations to licentiousness is he exposed! I have visited the fleet and the dock-yards at Gosport and Portsmouth, and I have lived five years in the midst of slavery, and I may safely say, that I have seen more of lasciviousness and degradation of the female sex in one day in England, the I have seen in my whole lifetime among slaves in America. On board some of the ships of war there were nearly as many women as men, and on shore crowds of drunken, profligate females! It seemed to me that I had got into the midst of Sodom and Gomorrah; and all this in the midst of perhaps the most civilized, enlightened, and Christian nation in the world, and yet no more noticed than southern slavery is noticed in the northern states! This was the case twenty-five years ago; I bope it is better now in time of peace; but should war return, would not the practice of impressment, and all those horrible abominations, return with it?
“I know our brethren in England plead the necessity of impressment to man the navy in time of war, and the necessity of licentiousness to keep the men contented on board men-of-war at their naval stations; and our slaveholders plead a like necessity of slavery to the successful cultivation of their southern lands. Where is the difference? Britain wants a navy to conquer foreign colonies, and to keep possession of them when conquered; and foreign colonies are supposed to be necessary to the wealth, power, and glory of Great Britain; and our southern slaveholders think slavery necessary to their wealth, power, and glory. I believe both are mistaken.”xii-xv.
3. Dialogues illustrating the Principles of Peace. Published by the
Bowdoin Street Young Men's Peace Society. 24mo. pp. 48. Whipple & Damrell. 1838.
We have no room for extracts from this little work; but a cursory perusal has left a favorable impression of its matter, spirit and style. The dialogue is well sustained; and through the whole there runs a stream of simple and perspicuous logic adapted to the young minds for which the book was designed. We think it fitted to do good, especially among the young in our Sabbath schools.
We tuke occasion, however, to say that the author's views concerning capital punishments, and perhaps some other topics in the book, form no part of what is strictly termed the cause of peace. We are concerned only with war; and war is not a parent chastising
his child, nor a teacher using the birch or the ferule in the management of his school ;—not an executioner inflicting the penalty of the law upon a criminal legally convicted and sentenced ;—not a government suppressing mobs and insurrections with the sword of civil authority ;—not an individual defending his own lise, or that of bis family, at the risk or sacrifice of a midnight assassin ;-not one Christian or church contending in ecclesiastical strife with another. We may, by a figure of speech, call some of these war; but war, in the literal and general acceptation of the term, is something different from them all. It is a conflict of governments by the sword, one nation using every possible instrument of violence and injury to kill the citizens, destroy the property, and blast the happiness of another nation. This is war, the only species of war with which peace societies are concerned ; and we trust the community will do us and themselves the justice to bear this obvious distinction in mind.
4. Early Christians on War. By Enoch Pond, D. D.
Dr. Pond, at the request of Mr. Ladd, gives in this letter the result of his inquiries concerning “the views and practice of the early Christians in respect to war.” The writer is too candid or too cautious to decide the point at issue; and his letter, though a valuable contribution to the literature of peace, too nearly resembles the chapter in Don Quixote entitled, “a conclusion wherein nothing was concluded.” The evidence adduced seems, in our judgment, to preponderate rather strongly in favor of the position, that the early disciples abstained from war in all its forms as inconsistent with their views of the gospel; but our author is careful not to strike the balance either way, and merely says, “I do not believe, on the one hand, that the primitive Christians were Quakers; nor is it possible to believe, on the other, that they possessed the same reckless indifference in regard to war, which has prevailed among Christian nations in modern times.” This conclusion, like the decision of Sir Roger de Coverly in the notable dispute between Tom Touchy and Will Wimble, that “much might be said on both sides,” is very safe for the reputation of the judge as impartial; but we confess we see not the use of searching through tome after tome for what every body would have inferred from the slightest acquaintance with the character of the early Christians.
We have never been disposed to rely on the Fathers as decisive witnesses concerning the moral character of war; and we have expected from them only a general confirmation of what the gospel teaches on this subject; but we should be slow to believe, that “their testimony is often self-contradictory," or that "it would not
be difficult to prove from them both sides of the question concerning war.” Dr. Pond has quoted some of these alleged self-contradictions; but not one of them do we regard as really denying the fact, that the early disciples, down to the corruption of Christianity, held war to be inconsistent with their profession as followers of the Prince of peace. This position is sufficiently proved even by the quotations made by Dr. Pond himself; and the incidental allusions to the subject adduced as contradictions, ought, in accordance with the established laws of interpretation, to be construed as consistent with it.
We have never seen such an investigation of this point as we deem desirable; and we hope that some able friend of peace will set himself to the task, and scrutinize the whole field through other optics than modern, semi-pagan prejudices in favor of the war-system as “an ordinance of God.” We have much confidence in Dr. Pond's qualifications for such a service; and, if he will only do it to his own satisfaction, we shall be glad to give the result without abridgment on our pages, as we wished to do with the letter before us.
Some of the points proved or admitted in this document, are the following:
1. “We have no account, during the first century, of any Christian being engaged in war.”
2. All the Fathers during the first and second centuries confessedly speak in a way that would condemn all war. “They hold the same language as the inspired writers in regard to returning evil for evil, loving our enemies, &c.;" but such language, understood in its plain, obvious import, would, as all admit, forbid every species of
3. The early Fathers speak of the ancient prophecies concerning the reign of peace under the gospel, as actually fulfilled in the Christians of that age. On this point Dr. Pond is decided.
4. Celsus, the first writer of a book against Christians, charges them, near the close of the second century, with refusing to engage in war under any circumstances; and Origen, in answering Celsus fifty years afterwards, did not deny the charge, but justified Christians on the ground, that their religion forbids war. These points our author readily concedes; and we confess we see not what more is needed to substantiate the position we have laid down above.
5. But Dr. Pond gives us some very strong quotations from Tertullian in the first part of the third century.
“In his Apology (chap. 37), speaking of the abuses and persecutions to which the Christians at that period were exposed, Tertullian asks, 'In all this conspiracy of evils against us, in the midst of these mortal provocations, what one evil have you observed to have been returned by Christians? Whereas, in a night's time, we could have made ourselves ample satisfaction, had we not thought it unlawful
to repay one injury with another. But God forbid that any of this divine sect should seek revenge, or refuse to suffer what is sent to refine them. But if we would not revenge ourselves in the dark, but choose rather, as professed enemies, to engage you in the open field, do you think we could want forces ? We are but of yesterday, and by to-day are grown up, and overspread your empire. Your cities, your islands, your forts, towns, assemblies, and your very camps, wards, companies, palace, senate, forum, all swarm with Christians. Your temples, indeed, we leave to yourselves, and they are the only places you can name without Christians. What war can we now be unprepared for, were it not agreeable to our religion to be killed, rather than to kill ?' In this passage, the doctrine of non-resistance is very clearly stated; and yet, Tertullian speaks of Christians as being found in the Roman forts and camps. ' Possibly, however, they were not there in the capacity of soldiers.
“ In his work on Idolatry (sect. 19), Tertullian says, “How shall any one go to war, nay, how even in peace shall he do the work of a soldier, without a sword, which the Lord hath taken away? For although the soldiers came to John, and received a rule to be observed, and though the centurion became a believer, yet Jesus Christ, in disarming Peter, disarmed every soldier afterwards ; for custom never sanctions among us an unlawful act.'
In his work, de Corona (sect. 11), Tertullian asks, ' Can it be lawful to take the sword, when the Lord has declared, that he who useth the sword shall perish with the sword? And shall a son of peace go into the battle, to whom it is not lawful so much as (litigare) to go to law? And shall he who may not revenge his own injuries, send others into bonds, and a prison, and torments, and punishments?'
“During the reign of Severus, there was a civil war, at which time more than a third of the Roman armies were in a state of open rebellion against their sovereign. Tertullian declares repeatedly, that, in these revolted legions, not one Christian soldier could be found. (See his Discourse ad Scapulam, and his Apology, chap. 35.)"
These strong statements cannot, we think, be countervailed by the incidental allusions to the subject of war which Dr. Pond quotes as contradictions. We deem it impossible in this way to destroy the force of Tertullian's explicit and repeated testimonies against
6. Our author gives some examples of Christians suffering martyrdom for their belief in the unlawfulness of the military profession.
“ It is also true, that individuals occasionally refused, at the peril of their lives, to be enrolled in the army, on the ground that they were Christians, and that it was not lawful for them to fight. Others, being converted while connected with the army, declined continuing in the profession of soldiers, and were put to death. In the Acta Sincera of Ruinart (p. 299), we have an interesting account of one Maximilian, an African youth, who had been produced by his own father before the magistrate, as a legal recruit, but who obstinately persisted in declaring that his conscience would not permit him to embrace the profession of a soldier. He was slain with the sword. In the same work (p. 302), we have an account of Marcellus, a cen
turion, who, on the day of a public festival, threw away his belt, his arms and the ensigns of his office, exclaiming with a loud voice, that henceforth he would obey none but Jesus Christ; and that he renounced for ever the use of carnal weapons, and the service of an idolatrous master. He was tried, condemned, and beheaded.”
The inference from such examples is not to be neutralized by the statement, that they “must be regarded as exceptions to what was the general course of things near the close of the third century;" for every one knows, that Christians must as a body have become deeply degenerate on this subject at a period so near the time of Constantine the Great, that fatal era of the union of church and state.
7. “ A great many causes must have operated, in the earliest and purest days of the church, to render its members adverse to war. Their love to their enemies, their passive submission under injuries, their preference, as Tertullian expresses it," rather to be killed than to kill,' the idolatrous oaths administered often, if not always, to those who entered the army, the multiform idolatries, and other vices, practised there,—all these things must have rendered the camp an abhorred place to one of the early followers of the Prince of peace, and must have rendered the life of a soldier exceedingly odious. Nor did the odium which attached to this course of life soon pass away. We discover it in those canons of the ancient church, which prohibit the ordination, not only of soldiers, but of those who had at any time been soldiers. The first council of Toledo prohibits the ordination of such persons, even though they had never been concerned in the shedding of blood."
We have now given the pith of Dr. Pond's letter; and we submit it to our readers, if he has not, after all, made out, from the views and practice of the early Christians, a pretty strong case against war as unchristian.
Newspapers on Peace. We observe, with much pleasure and hope, the disposition of our best religious papers to insert articles on peace. More than twenty have been for several months publishing more or less on the subject, some of them every week; and thus not less than one or two hundred thousand minds have been reached with appeals in behalf of this cause. We hope every religious paper in the country will do the same, and thus supersede the necessity of establishing distinct papers for this cause. The best even of our secular papers are willing to publish on peace; and we hope our friends through the land will promptly improve such facilities for promoting this cause, especially at such a time as the esent.
Mr. Garrison's views of Peace. Most of our readers already know, that Mr. Garrison proposes hereafter to give the Liberator a wider range, and to discuss, among other things, the subject of peace. His