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and suffering have no power. It is the courage of a soul, which reverences itself too much to be greatly moved about what befalls the body; which thirsts so intensely for a pure inward life, that it can yield up the animal life without fear; in which the idea of moral, spiritual, celestial good has been unfolded so brightly as to obscure all worldly interest; which aspires after immortality, and therefore heeds little the pains or pleasures of a day; which has so concentred its whole power and life in the love of godlike virtue, that it even finds a joy in the perils and sufferings by which its loyalty to God and virtue may be approved. This courage may be called the perfection of humanity, for it is the exercise, result, and expression of the highest attributes of our nature. Need I tell you, that this courage has hardly anything in common with what generally bears the name, and has been lauded by the crowd to the skies ? Can any man, not wholly blinded to moral distinctions, compare or confound with this divine energy, the bravery derived from constitution, nourished by ambition, and blazing out in resentment, which forms the glory of military men and of men of the world? The courage of military and ordinary life, instead of resting on high and unchangeable principles, finds its chief motive in the opinions of the world, and its chief reward in vulgar praise. Superior to bodily pain, it crouches before censure, and dares not face the scorn which faithfulness to God and unpopular duty must often incur. It wears the appearance of energy, because it conquers one strong passion, fear; but the other passions it leaves unmastered, and thus differs essentially from moral strength or greatness, which consists in subjecting all appetites and desires to a pure and high standard of rectitude. Brilliant courage, as it is called, so far from being a principle of universal self-control, is often joined with degrading pleasures, with a lawless spirit, with general licentiousness of manners, with a hardihood which defies God as well as man, and which, not satisfied with scorning death, contemns the judgment that is to follow. So wanting in moral worth is the bravery which has so long been praised, sung, courted, adored. It is time that it should be understood. It is time that the old, barbarous, indiscriminate worship of mere courage should give place to a wise moral judgment.
THE TRUE REMEDY FOR WAR.
[Lecture on War. Delivered in 1838.- From the Same.)
HAVE now set before
what I deem the chief evil of war. It is moral evil. And from these views you will easily judge, what I
regard as the true remedy of war, as the means of removing it, which above all others we should employ. If the most terrible view of war be, that it is the triumph and jubilee of selfish and malignant passions, then its true cure is to be sought in the diffusion of the principles of Universal Justice and Love, in that spirit of Jesus Christ, which expels the demons of selfishness and malignity from the heart. Even supposing, that war could be abolished by processes which leave the human character unchanged, that it could be terminated by the progress of a civilization, which, whilst softening manners, would not diminish the selfishness, mercenariness, hard-heartedness, fraud, ambition of men, its worst evils would still remain, and society would reap in some other forms the fruits of its guilt. God has ordained, that the wickedness within us shall always find its expression and punishment in outward evil. War is nothing more than a reflection or image of the soul. It is the fiend within coming out. Human history is nothing more, than the inward nature manifested in its native acts and issues. Let the soul continue unchanged; and, should war cease, the inward plague would still find its way to the surface. The infernal fire at the centre of our being, though it should not break forth in the wasting volcano, would not slumber, but by other eruptions, more insensible yet not less deadly, would lay waste human happiness. I do not believe, however, that any remedy but the Christian spirit can avail against war. The wild beast, that has gorged on millions of victims in every age, is not to be tamed by a polished or selfish civilization. Selfishness, however drilled into courtesy, always tends to strife. Man, as long as possessed by it, will sacrifice others to his own interest and glory, and will grow angry and fierce when others stand in his way.
War will never yield but to the principles of universal justice and love, and these have no sure root but in the religion of Jesus Christ. Christianity is the true remedy for war, not Christianity in name, not such Christianity as we see, not such as has grown up under arbitrary governments in church and state, not such as characterizes any Christian sect at the present day, but Christianity as it lived in the soul and came forth in the life of its founder; a religion, that reveals man as the object of God's infinite love, and which commends him to the unbounded love of his brethren; a religion, the essence of which is self-denial, selfsacrifice, in the cause of human nature; a religion, which proscribes, as among the worst sins, the passion of man for rule and dominion over his fellow-creatures; which knows nothing of rich or poor, high or low, bond or free, and casts down all the walls of partition which sever men from one another's sympathy and respect.
[Remarks on the Slavery Question. Letter to J. Phillips. 1839.- From the Same.)
offence. They do wrong in their angry denunciation of slaveholders. But is calling the slave-holder hard names a crime of unparalleled aggravation? Is it not, at least, as great a crime to spoil a man of his rights and liberty, to make him a chattel, and trample him in the dust? And why shall the latter offender escape with so much gentler rebuke? I know, as well as the slave-holder, what it is to bear the burden of hard names. The South has not been sparing of its invectives in return for my poor efforts against slavery. I understand the evil of reproach; and I am compelled to pronounce it a very slight one, and not to be named in comparison with bondage; and why is it, that he who inflicts the former should be called to drink the cup of wrath to the very dregs, whilst he who inflicts the latter receives hardly a mild rebuke? I
say these things not as a partisan of the Abolitionists, but from a love of justice. They seem to me greatly wronged by the unparalleled persecution to which they have been exposed; and the wronged should never want a defender. But I am not of them. In the spirit of many of them I see much to condemn. I utterly disapprove their sweeping denunciations. I fear that their scorn of expediency may degenerate into recklessness. I fear, that, as a natural if not necessary consequence of their multiplied meetings held chiefly for excitement, their zeal must often be forced, got up for effect, a product of calculation, not a swell of the heart. I confide in them the less, the more they increase. I fear, that their resort to political action will impair their singleness of purpose and their moral power. I distrust the system of association and agitation in a cause like this. But, because I see among them somewhat to fear and blame, must I shut my eyes on more which I ought to commend? Must not men of pure and lofty aims be honored, because, like everything human, they are not free from fault? I respect the Abolitionists for maintaining great principles with courage and fervor, amidst scorn and violence. Can men have a higher claim to respect? In their body, amidst prejudiced, narrow-minded, conceited, self-seeking members, such as are found in all associations, there is a large proportion of uncompromising, single hearted friends of truth, right, and freedom; and such men are securities against the adoption of criminal ends or criminal
In their front rank, perhaps at their head, is Gerrit Smith; a man worthy of all honor for his overflowing munificence, for his calm yet invincible moral courage, for his Christian liberality embracing men of every sect and name, and for his deep, active, inexhaustible sympathy
with the sinful, suffering, and oppressed. In their ranks may also be found our common friend, Charles Follen, that genuine man, that heroic spirit, whose love of freedom unites, in rare harmony, the old Roman force with Christian love, in whom we see the generous, rash enthusiasm of his youth, tempered by time and trial into a most sweet and winning virtue. I could name others, honored and dear. I do not, for the sake of such, shut my eyes on the defects of the association; but that it should be selected for outrage and persecution, is a monstrous wrong, against which solemn testimony ought to be borne.
There is one consolation attending persecution. It often exalts the spirit of the sufferer, and often covers with honor those whom it had destined to shame. Who made Socrates the most venerable name of antiquity? The men who mixed for him the cup of hemlock, and drove him as a criminal from the world which he had enlightened. Providence teaches us the doctrine of retribution very touchingly in the fact, that future ages guard with peculiar reverence the memories of men, who, in their own times, were contemned, abhorred, hunted like wild beasts, and destroyed by fire or sword, for their fidelity to truth. That the Abolitionists have grown strong under outrage, we know; and in this I should rejoice, were their cause ever so bad; because persecution must be worse, and its defeat must be a good. I wish that persecution, if not checked by principle, may be stayed, by seeing that it fights against itself, and builds up those whom it toils to destroy. How long the Abolitionists will be remembered, I know not; but, as long as they live in history, they will wear as a crown the sufferings which they have so firmly borne. Posterity will be just to them; nor can I doubt, what doom posterity will pronounce on the mobs or single men, who have labored to silence them by brutal force. I should be glad to see them exchanging their array of affiliated societies for less conspicuous and artificial means of action. But let them not do this from subserviency to opinion, or in opposition to their sense of right. Let them yield nothing to fear. Let them never be false to that great cause, which they have fought for so manfully, Freedom of Speech. Let them never give countenance to the doctrine, which all tyrants hold, that material power, physical pain, is mightier than the convictions of Reason, than the principle of Duty, than the Love of God and mankind. Sooner may they pine and perish in prisons, sooner bleed or be strangled by the executioner, than surrender their deliberate principles to lawless violence.
ADVICE TO A PREACHER.
[Charge at the Ordination of the Rev. J. S. Dwight. 1840.-From the Same.) I
HAVE said, you must preach plainly. I now add, preach with zeal,
fervor, earnestness. To rouse, to quicken, is the end of all preach. ing, and plainness which does not minister to this is of little worth. This topic is too familiar to need expansion; and I introduce it simply to guard you against construing it too narrowly. The minister is often exhorted to be earnest in the pulpit. You will be told, that fervor in delivering your discourse is the great means of impression. I would rather exhort you to be fervent in preparing it. Write with earnestness, and you will find little difficulty in preaching earnestly; and if you have not poured out your soul in writing, vehemence of delivery will be of little avail. To enunciate with voice of thunder and vehement gestures a cold discourse, is to make it colder still. The fire which is to burn in the pulpit, must be kindled in the study. Preach with zeal. But let it be a kindly zeal. Always speak in love. Let not earnestness be a cover for anger, or for a spirit of menace and dictation. Always speak as a brother. With the boldest, sternest, most scornful, most indignant reproofs of baseness and crime, let the spirit of humanity, of sorrowful concern be blended. In too much of the zeal of the pulpit, there is a hardness, unfeelingness, inhumanity, more intolerable to a good mind, than sleepy dulness or icy indifference.
I have said, preach plainly and preach earnestly; I now say, preach with moral courage. Fear no man, high or low, rich or poor, taught or untaught. Honor all men; love all men; but fear none. Speak what you account great truths frankly, strongly, boldly. Do not spoil them of life to avoid offence. Do not seek to propitiate passion and prejudice by compromise and concession. Beware of the sophistry, which reconciles the conscience to the suppression, or vague, lifeless utterance of unpopular truth.
Do not wink at wrong deeds or unholy prejudices, because sheltered by custom or respected names. Let your words breathe a heroic valor. You are bound indeed to listen candidly and respectfully to whatever objections may be urged against your views of truth and duty. You must also take heed lest you baptize your rash, crude notions, your hereditary or sectarian opinions with the name of Christian doctrine. But having deliberately, conscientiously sought the truth, abide by your conviction at all hazards. Never shrink from speaking your mind, through dread of reproach. Wait not to be backed by numbers. Wait not till you are sure of an echo from a crowd. The fewer the voices on the side of truth, the more distinct and strong must be your own.
Put faith in truth as mightier than error, prejudice, or