Графични страници
PDF файл

property on shore, but not when afloat; so that a vessel anchored in a shallow harbor may be safe at low water, and a lawful prize at high tide.

Look, also, at the improvement in civil society. Formerly man went forth, sword in hand, to plunder from his neighbor's fields or flocks what would meet the simplest wants of nature; but the refinements of modern times, introducing luxuries, and multiplying arts, conveniences, and comforts, have raised barriers against war, by rendering peace necessary to our social babits. To savages, peace and war are about the same in point of personal comfort; but to civilized communities, there is an immense difference; and this difference, so deeply felt, so universally dreaded, operates as a strong, ceaseless check upon the war-spirit.

Mark the new direction of the public mind, and the increased power of public opinion. There was a time, not very remote, when none were deemed worthy of high honor but the hero, and he was a universal favorite, an idol of the old and the young, of male and female. There was no other way to glory; and war became the great field of ambition, almost the only theatre of competition among the aspiring. Things are changed. A man may now rise in numberless ways,-by science, by the arts, by commerce, in any department of literature, in any of the learned professions. Public opinion now favors effort in these departments; and public opinion rules the world. Crowned heads bow before it ; and Napoleon himself trembled at the pen of a British reviewer, and negociated with Lord Amherst to restrain the freedom of the press in England, for the security of his own power and fame.

Trace the present intercourse of nations, and the interlinking of their interests in a thousand ways. The evils of war are now felt not merely on the tax-book, but on agriculture, on commerce, on manufactures, on all the sources of a nation's wealth and prosperity. This operates as a great check upon war. What kept us from a war with France in 1835? The weavers of Lyons, and the cotton-planters of the South. The blight of war is felt in all the walks of life, and thus leagues all classes more or less against it.

There is, also, a growing disposition to adjust international difficulties by pacific means, especially by arbitration. This method was conceived in ancient times, but rarely adopted in comparison with what it now is. Many instances within a very few years; as the offer of England to mediate between VOL. II.-NO. IX.


us and France, her actual, successful interposition between France and Switzerland, and the reference of our boundary question to the king of Holland,-a failure which would not have occurred, if it had been referred to such a body as we contemplate in a congress of nations. This disposition to a reference of disputes is a bright bow of promise in the horizon of our cause.


At the anniversary of the American Peace Society, in seconding the resolution of the Rev. John Lord, on the necessity of special efforts in this cause.

MR. PRESIDENT,– rise to second the resolution of my respected friend, and, in doing so, will only remark, that the fact which it contemplates forins one of the greatest obstacles to our cause which exists in the community at the present time. Yes, Sir, strange as it may appear, the great objection which many, especially our zealous Christian friends, make to our efforts is, that they are unnecessary; that, when all men are converted, there will be no wars; that, consequently, our only business is to labor for the conversion of the world, and the triumph of peace will follow of course; that all the time and money we spend in special efforts for the extension of our principles, are worse than useless. Hence we meet the coldness and opposition of those from whom we might expect different things.

But, Mr. President, is there any truth in the position taken by our opponents? If the argument they thus use in regard to peace is correct, would it not have been equally good against the temperance reform? Might it not have been urged with equal propriety, that drunkenness must cease when all the world should be converted to a pure Christianity; that therefore all extraordinary exertions to arrest intemperance were uncalled for; and that the friends of humanity had only to use their efforts for the conversion of sinners, and they would obtain the great object of their wishes,—the removal of the evils of intoxication? I say, Sir, would not that argument have been equally well founded, equally just ?

But, Mr. President, such an argument would be scouted by


[ocr errors]

every sensible man in our land, if applied to the temperance

And why? Because all can now see that the removal of intemperance was necessary, as a preliminary step to the progress of Christianity; that nothing so much' impeded its rapid advancement as the demoralizing, debasing, brutisying influences of inebriation. Yet, if the argument was unsound as applied to temperance, it is equally so in its application to the cause of peace. For, Sir, what so much obstructs the progress of Christian principles, especially in heathen lands, as war? Our highly valued and much respected friend, who has just returned from India, and who has favored us with his views on this subject, has told us that the warlike character of Christian nations is the most formidable obstacle to the success of missions among the heathen. And, Sir, we shall do well to bring this truth home to our minds, and fix it there deeply and impressively. We should reflect upon the terror which the name of Christian inspires among all heathen nations, from its universal association with war. “ You Cbristians wbiten the earth with the bones of your victims,” says the Hindoo. do not dare to encourage your approach, for your whole history is war and bloodshed, and you carry ruin and devastation wherever you go.”

Why, Mr. President, what is the present feeling of the most enlightened heathen nations to whom we would fain send the gospel ? Our missionaries offer them Christianity, and tell them it will make them wiser, and happier, and better, for time and eternity; but say the heathen, in reply, “Does your religion produce all these effects among your own countrymen ? Is it not true, that you are a war-making, rum-drinking, slaveholding people? Are you not a “nation of drunkards ?' Are you not the most cruel oppressors of the red man and the black man that are to be found on the face of the globe ? Do you not make merchandize of the bodies and souls of men ? Are not two millions and a half of your fellow-men in chains, and forbidden by law to read the gospel ?”. All this the missionary cannot in truth deny; he can only apologize that these things are done by men who, although living in a Christian land, are not yet brought under the influence of its pure and holy principles. But say the heathen in reply, “Do you mean to assert that the majority of your own countrymen are yet unconverted even to a form of Christianity that tolerates the abominations of slavery and war? Then we think you had better return home, and convert your own people first. Try

the great experiment with them; and if it works well, and we see you living in harmony, peace and love ; if we see you walking in sobriety and purity, and acting on the principle of loving your neighbor as yourselves, and doing justice to the feeble and helpless, then we shall be willing to listen to your teachings. Till then, you must excuse us, if we are content with our own religion, which, although it may have very great faults, allows no greater enormities than slavery, intemperance, and war.”

Now, Sir, this is the common sense view of the whole matter. It is the natural conclusion of every human mind; and we ought not to shut our eyes to the fact. And does it not show that we must purify and elevate Christianity at home, if we hope to make converts abroad? But, alas! the great majority of our fellow-Christians appear to regard our efforts with positive jealousy, and seem actually to grudge us the miserable pittance we get. Yes, Sir, our report, just adopted, tells us that we have this year received some thirty-six or seven hundred dollars! while other societies, which meet in this ball this week, have received their thirty-seven thousand, ay, their 75,000 or $100,000, during the past year. Now, Sir, I am glad they receive so much ; I wish it were tenfold more; but I wish too, Sir, that all might feel that the cause of peace needs something too, something proportionate to its relative importance in the great scale of moral effort necessary for the renovation of the world.

If we would propagate the gospel with large and permanent success, we must do it in the spirit of primitive Christianity. It must be the true gospel of Jesus Christ. If we carry not this gospel, we labor in vain. We may, indeed, have temporary success and partial triumphs. It becomes us to bear in mind, that the spirit of propagandism is not all that is necessary to convert the heathen. Had it been, how glorious would have been the achievements of the Catholic missionaries ! What more splendid missionary establishment ever did, or probably ever will exist, than the Propaganda Fide of Rome? What more heroic, zealous, and devoted men ever entered the field of missionary labor than Francis Xavier and his contemporaries ? What missionaries ever had greater temporary triumphs in every region of the world, from the tropics to the poles, from Japan to Labrador? And yet, what were the permanent moral results of those mighty efforts? They signally failed. And why, Sir? Because they were not made

in the true spirit of Christian philanthropy; because they carried not with them the true spirit of Jesus, of primitive Christianity. Was it not so, Sir? And may we not, shall we not, meet with a similar fate, if we carry with us to the heathen a religion so far below the standard of its divine Author? Is it not our duty, Mr. President, to labor to purify and reform vurselves, while we strive to convert others to our own faith?

Can we hope for success in any other way? I think not, Sir; and therefore fully believe in the urgent necessity of cultivating and extending among ourselves the great doctrines of peace, -of producing a radical and thorough resorm among professedly Christian nations, in regard to the barbarous and wholly unchristian practice of war, as well as every other vice, so totally inconsistent with the spirit of Christianity. Thus, and thus goly, shall we please our divine Master; thus, and thus only, shall we extend his kingdom, in its purity and glory, through the world.

[blocks in formation]

The twenty-second anniversary of this Society was held on the 22d of last May in London. From the Report, which gives a brief but comprehensive view of its labors during the year, we copy the following items:

The contributions and sales for the year amount to £565 14s. 8d., or about $2,500; all received without agents to solicit funds.—Tracts, to the number of 40,000, have been put in circulation. New editions of all the Society's tracts, about twenty in both series, have been published; making, with its periodical, 60,000 copies during the year, and 842,000 since its formation; probably equal, as the publications are generally so large, to four or five millions of ordinary tract pages. Many of these publications have been sent to missionary stations, and scattered in various ways not only through England, but in many other parts of the world.— The Society, though deeming the ineasure of great importance, has never employed travelling agents; but individual friends of the cause bave occasionally lectured in different parts of the kingdom with much acceptance, particularly the Rev. James Hargreaves, one of its Secretaries.

« ПредишнаНапред »