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design to give their names in due time as a pledge, if any be necessary, for the future character of the Advocate.
We said, at the commencement of this work, that we should dwell on the moral character of war in the light of the gospel; on its various evils, physical, political and social, moral and spiritual; on the pretexts and occasions of war; on the causes which still support the custom; on the mistakes prevalent concerning our cause; on the possibility of abolishing war; on the means requisite for this purpose; on the safety of pacific principles. Such topics we shall continue to discuss; but we propose to bring before our readers, in nearly every number of the present volume, the great subject of a conGRESS OF NATIONS; a department of our labors in which all classes seem inclined to take special interest. We design to make the Advocate a work for the people, for the mass of intelligent readers through the community; and we trust we may safely calculate this year upon a large increase of their patronage and coöperation.
ICPMore subscribers are needed to sustain the Advocate. It has been a heavy bill of expense to the Society; but this burden may very easily be relieved, if our friends now taking the work, will exert themselves to procure new subscribers; and any person sending us two new subscribers with pay for one year, shall be entitled to a third copy. Will not many of our friends undertake this slight service for the cause? May we not expect it especially from those ministers whom we have gratuitously supplied with our periodical for years?
QWe earnestly hope that all those who have the past year taken the Advocate, will continue to do so; and we shall presume they will, unless they return this number without delay. It is little, very little for a real friend of peace to pay; but the sum total is indispensable in carrying forward our cause; and we entreat our friends to pause for serious reflection, for prayer to the God of peace, before they determine to withhold the pittance required for a periodical so cheap. This year we issue it once a month, and increase its size one third without raising the price at all; improvements which we deem very desirable, but cannot sustain without a far more liberal support.
TENTH ANNUAL REPORT
AMERICAN PEACE SOCIETY.
The cause of peace, foretold by ancient prophets, dates its origin from the advent of our Saviour. Promised in the Jewish Scriptures as the Prince of peace, his birth was announced by a chosen choir of angels in the song of “Glory to God in the highest; and, on earth, peace, good-will to men.” He taught and exemplified all the principles of this cause. His Sermon on the Mount, the standard and storehouse of our views, is the fullest treatise ever written on the subject. He was the great Teacher of peace; and we regard him as the Founder and Patron of our cause. His spirit was peace; his words were peace; his walk was peace; his farewell to his disciples was peace; his dying prayer for his murderers breathed the purest spirit of peace; and, in bidding his followers preach bis gospel of peace to every creature, he made it incumbent on them not only to embrace, but to spread through the world, its principles of peace as an integral part of their religion. Thus did the early Christians understand him; and accordingly we find his apostles preaching these principles as explicitly as repentance or faith, and his disciples, during the purest era of Christianity, exemplifying them with similar care and constancy.
Had the followers of Christ continued to regard peace as an element of the gospel, and to cultivate it, like faith and love, as one of the Christian graces, there would have been little occasion for special efforts in behalf of this cause; but the war-degeneracy of the church, perceptibly commencing before the lapse of two centuries, was consummated by the formal and fatal union of church and state under Constantine
early in the fourth century. A pagan adopting Christianity from political motives, a warrior before and after his conversion, he was not likely to catch the peaceful spirit of the gospel; and little did his soldiers, his courtiers or himself know of their new religion beyond its name and its outward badges. It was only reforined paganism baptized; a mockery, a standing contradiction of the name it bore. The cross, once the symbol of peace and love, henceforth waved on the imperial banners over fields of carnage and devastation. Christianity, like modern popery with its triple crown, or still more like Mohammedism itself with its sabre and scimetar, went forth to the work of human butchery, and presumed to claim the sanction of heaven for practices which her followers had for ages held in deepest abhorrence as utterly inconsistent with their profession of faith in the Prince of peace. So complete did this degeneracy become, that Christians at length ceased even to question the lawfulness of war, and came to regard it, like government itself, as an ordinance of heaven to which they were sacredly bound to yield obedience and support. Nations, trained to war as their chief business, and converted to Christianity by the sword, brought their military habits into the fold of Christ, and thus made it the church militant with a vengeance. Christendom became a vast camp or battle-field, and Christians themselves, professed followers of the Prince of peace, the most notorious fighters on earth.
Such was the character of the church at the dawn of the Reformation; and a period when all Europe was in arms, and religion itself the bone of contention, was not the time to compare the lawsulness of war with the precepts of the gospel. This point most of the reformers took for granted without inquiry, and relied themselves on the sword for the propagation or desence of their principles. The Reformation was in part a political movement; and it could not have been expected, that its secular patrons, trained in camps, and retaining all the habits of warriors, would consent, like Huss and Jerome, to be burned as heretics without resistance. The reformers never questioned the right of persecution or of war; and the disciples of the Prince of peace continued without scruple to take part in some of the bloodiest wars that ever stained the pages of history:
We cannot here glance at the efforts successfully made, even during the dark ages, for the abolition of private wars; but suffice it to say, that the custom of international war received no check, scarce a rebuke, except from a solitary individual among the reformers. This exception deserves a
record more lasting than marble or brass. Erasmus, the phænix of ancient literature in modern times, pleaded the cause of peace with unrivalled beauty, pathos and power. Yet few in that warring age caught his spirit, or heeded his eloquent appeals; and it was reserved for the present century to construct a system of specific, combined efforts for the entire abolition of war, and the universal, permanent reign of peace on earth.
No individual deserves the sole honor of originating this movement; it was the result of providential causes operating powerfully on the mass of minds throughout Christendom. It came from the God of peace himself; and the fact of its having been, without concert, simultaneous on two continents, proves its divine original. _Roused by the long train of calamities attendant on the French Revolution, and the subsequent wars of Europe, the friends of humanity in England and our own country began to inquire in earnest if something could not be done to stay the ravages of this fell destroyer. The system of modern religious benevolence, already in successful operation, had prepared the way; and several pamphlets of uncommon power had been issued on the subject in Great Britain; but the decisive appeal was made by Noah WORCESTER in his Solemn Review of the Custom of War, published near the close of 1814, and followed in August, 1815, by the formation of the New York Peace Society in the city of New York, the first in modern times, by the Massachusetts Peace Society in December of the same year, and, in June of the following year, by the London Peace Society, all without any knowledge of each other's existence. The Society of Christian Morals, established at Paris in 1821, embraces peace among its objects; and the Peace Society of Geneva, Switzerland, was organized by Count de Sellon in 1830, and has been thus far in vigorous operation under the auspices of its illustrious founder. We know not to what extent auxiliary or kindred associations have been formed on the continent of Europe; but in England and America they have been extensively multiplied. The American Peace Society, as a bond of union among the friends of peace throughout our country, was organized, on the recommendation of distinguished men belonging to different religious denominations, in May, 1828, and bas since been constantly gaining accessions of confidence, numbers and resources.
This reform is too recent, and the efforts in its behalf too feeble and limited, to justify the expectation of decisive results so soon. Was it possible for a handful of philanthropists, at an annual expense of only three or four thousand dollars,
VOL. II.NO, V.
to abolish in twenty years the oldest, most inveterate custom on earth? Could they at once dissuade millions of warriors from their trade of blood, demolish a system upheld by the power and prejudices of a world, and eradicate a spirit rooted in the nature of man, and universally wrought into the very texture of society and government?
Such a hope would have been presumptuous and vain; but much more has already been accomplished than could reasonably have been expected. After more than twenty years of almost unparalleled carnage and devastation, the general peace of Christendom has been preserved for nearly a quarter of a century by the smiles of Heaven on efforts and influences which constitute the peace reform. The cause itself has assumed a definite, permanent form; it has acquired "a local habitation, and a name;" it has taken its stand among the great enterprises of the day, as a part of the instrumentalities requisite for the world's conversion; and, at length embalmed in the affections of the church, and sustained by her prayers and her patronage, it may well expect hereafter a more rapid progress towards the consummation of its high and glorious purpose. Already has it attracted the attention, and won the favor of cabinets and kings. Its silent influence has reached the camp, the senate and the palace. The war-spirit has been checked; other expedients ihan the sword for the adjustment of international disputes, are fast coming to form the settled policy of the civilized world; and, were efforts made at all in proportion to the magnitude of our object, Christendom might, in less than fifty years, disband her four millions of standing warriors as superfluous, and the eight hundred millions of dollars now wasted even in peace upon the war-system, might be appropriated in such ways as would fill every city, village and bamlet with the songs of a redeemed and regenerated population.
THE SINGLE OBJECT OF OUR CAUSE.-We wish our aims, principles and measures to be well understood. Our sole object is the peace of nations; and we hold ourselves responsible for nothing beyond this single purpose. We seek only to prevent war; but war is not a quarrel between individuals, nor strise in families or churches; not a parent chastising bis children, or a teacher his pupils; not a magistrate punishing a criminal legally sentenced to the prison or the gallows; not a government suppressing mobs or insurrections with the sword of civil authority; not an individual resisting unto death a highway robber, or a midnight assassin. On such points the cause of peace, like that of temperance, leaves its friends to think as they please, without calling them to account, or