« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
period of its history, and about which we of the present day, have nothing to do but to look silently on, without concern and without co-operation. The prophecy of a peace, as universal as the spread of the human race, and as enduring as the moon in the firmament, will meet its accomplishment; aye, and at that very time which is already fixed by Him who seeth the end of all things from the beginning thereof. But it will be brought about by the activity of man. It will be done by the philanthropy of thinking, intelligent christians."*
We shall no doubt be told that war is an evil, but yet an unavoidable and necessary evil. To this we angwer, that whatever opinion may be held with regard to the necessity of war in any case, it cannot be denied, that a vast majority of those which do actually occur, are neither unavoidable nor necessary. We reser our readers to the list of wars and their causes, in the early part of our remarks, and without discussing the abstract question, whether universal peace is practicable, we plead for the discontinuance of those, which are clearly unnecessary, and avoidable. First let these be banished from the earth, and we shall be the better prepared to encounter those which have their origin in necessity.
But it is not a question of mere expediency that we bring home to the conscience of the christian. His religion commands peace and forbids war. How awfully has that religion been dishonored by the wars of its professed disciples! It is said that the Emperor of China, in forbidding christian missionaries access into his dominions, gave as a reason, that “ christians have whitened with human bones, all the countries into which they have been admitted.” How just a reproof! how humiliating from the mouth of a pagan!
We shall conclude our remarks with an eloquent extract from the circular of the American Peace Society, of 1828.
If we are asked what are our expectations? we answer, that we hope, by God's blessing on the means he has granted us, by the assistance of foreign peace societies, and by the aid of the benevolent of every name and nation, to bring about a more pacific spirit among christians, than has ever before existed since the decay of primitive christianity; to create both at home and abroad, in the public taste, a disgust of war and a relish for peace-to lessen the causes, and frequency of war. We hope to increase and promote the practice already begun, of submitting national differences to amicable discussion and ARBITRATION; and finally, of settling all national conti oversies by appeal to reason, as becomes rational creatures, and not by physical force, as is worthy only of brute beasts; and that this shall be done by a CONGRESS of christian nations, whose decrees shall be enforced by public opinion that rules the world.
* Thoughts on universal peace. p. 7.
By speaking and printing, Wilberforce and Clarkson unclasped the clutch of avarice, one of the strongest passions of our nature, and, as their own country is concerned, the slave-trade was abolished; yet half a century ago, the abolition of the slave-trade was more improbable than the abolition of war is now.
The success of older philanthropists, points out the MEANS 'to be used by us, which are the same as those of other benevolent socities of the day; particularly those formed for the abolishing slavery, intemperance, and dueling; the distribution of tracts, the formation of auxiliary societies, the public speaking of such ministers and laymen as favor our cause, and the prayers of christians.
We rest our HOPES on the force of truth and on the Rock Of Ages-on the promise of the immutable JEHOVAH who has declared, that the time shall come when nation shall not lift up sword against nation, nor learn war any more, and confirmed it with an oath, for the mouth of the Lord of Hosts hath spoken it, and given us the means of accomplishing that promise.
With this reliance we appeal to the feelings of the philanthropist, and we demonstrate to him, that war has broken more hearts than he has ever bound up, and made more cripples and widows and orphans than he has ever relieved.
We appeal to the political economist, and show that war dries up the sources of a nation's wealth, and burdens it with taxes for many generations.
We appeal to the patriot, and particularly to the republican patriot, while we point to the ruins of those republics, that have thrown away their liberty in pursuit of military glory.
We appeal to the lover of the arts and sciences, and show him how war has swept away, as with the besom of destruction, the chef d'œuvres of the ancients, leaving not a vestige of their painting, but a few mutilated monuments of their sculpture, and here and there an isolated column of their architecture; and the library of the world has supplied fuel for the camp.
We beseech all these to grant us their attention, their countenance, and their assistance, while we Jabor in their own cause.
But most of all, we appeal to the piety of the christian, while we beg his prayers, his services, and his alms; for the cause of his Master and his Redeemer is our cause. He blessed the peace-maker; and will his disciple, for whom he shed his blood, do nothing to obtain his blessing?
We appeal to you, mintsters of the gospel of peace. Do you excuse yourselves, by saying that you already preach the gospel, which is sufficient to bring about the millennium, and that therefore there is no need of peace societies. We demand an answer to these two plain questions. If the gospel does indeed allow nations to settle their differences by an appeal to arms, how can the preaching of the gospel produce peace ? and if the gospel does not allow of war, why are not christians told so? Why, since the present generation came on the stage of action, have five millions and sixty thousand men, bearing the christian name, been sacrificed by christians, so called, on the bloody altar of Moloch, at the shrine of military glory.
The gospel has been preached, without the help of peace societies, for now these eighteen hundred years, and it has not yet produced peace among its followers, if we except the three first ages of the church, “ when the lamp of christianity burnt bright.” Now try the aid of peace societies, and grant us your assistance, your influence, and your prayers.
We appeal to you who were “last at the cross, and earliest at the grave
of our Great Master." Oh! could you witness the misery of your sex, in the warlike states of Europe, where so many men have been consumed in war, and left an equal number of women to want, and what is infinitely worse, to vice and degradation, your hearts would bleed. Remember that the same causes which produced this misery and vice in the old world, will, if unresisted, produce them in the new. Then plead for peace, for “ who can plead like you." Blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called the children of God.”
ART. V.-REVIEW OF LETTERS ON Missions.
Letters on Missions, by WILLIAM Swan, Missionary to Siberia. With
an introductory preface by WILLIAM ORME, foreign secretary to the London Missionary Society. London: 1830.
The prejudice is by far too prevalent, we fear, even among professed christians, that missionaries to the heathen are bound by obligations altogether peculiar, to devote themselves to the interests of the church. The wealthy " disciple," who makes it a leading object of his exertions to accumulate an inheritance for his children, is full of apprehension, that the trifling fractions, which he may have contributed to the missionary fund, may not be applied to the support of men, sufficiently devoted to their work. His next door neighbor, a fellow member of the church, is athirst for honorable distinction. At a single party of pleasure, he expends ten times more than he gives during a year to all the benevolent designs, which attract his attention and solicit his assistance. Yet this man can speak with promptness, fluency, and animation on the obligations of the christian missionary, to devote himself to his appropriate work, with a self-denied spirit, with unshrinking resolution, and untiring perseverance! And professors of religion, generally, as one goes to his farm and another to his merchandize," sternly demand of their brethren, who go forth to the "ends of the earth” to impart the bread of life to the famishing pagans, high-souled endeavors and strenuous exertions in their appropriate sphere of usefulness. Now, we beg to be informed on what page of the sacred volume are we taught, that upon christian missionaries obligations and self-denial and exertions are imposed, altogether peculiar in their character. We have read, and read with thrilling interest, the declaration of the Savior addressed to the multitude around hiin; "whosoever he be of you
that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” But on what principles of interpretation this startling assurance is applied exclusively to the christian missionary, we are at a loss to determine. In what system of hermeneutics are we to look for the rule, that whenever in the new testament self-denial and
exhausting efforts are enjoined, the general term “disciple" has a specific application to the missionary to the heathen? The truth is, that every christian is held by obligations, sacred and strong; obligations, which, like an adamantine chain, bind him to the throne of the Messiah, to consecrate his entire being-whatever he is and
hath-to the service of his Savior. These obligations, he may re· fuse cordially and practically to acknowledge, or he may resist their
force; but he cannot break away from their controlling power. No agency beneath the throne of God, can free him from their binding influence. In whatever plan he may form, 'in whatever enterprise he may engage, in whatever method he may propose to expend his time and exhaust his strength, it is his sacred duty, cordially to aim, and earnestly to endeavor, to glorify the Savior, and build up the church. To this great end, all his powers and resources are to be perpetually devoted. For the glory of Christ, for the upbuilding of the church, he is to live, and move, to think, and act. In this one design-so animating and sublime-he is to be wholly and everlastingly absorbed.
To this doctrine, an objection is sometimes started, in the form of such inquiries as the following. What then would you have us do? Would you have us literally bring our farms and merchandize, and place them in the missionary fund? Would you have all the members of the church abandon their respective spheres of exertion, and go forth as missionaries, catechists, and schoolmasters to the pagans ? Not we. We would say to the christian husbandman, You are bound to devote to the service of your Savior, not only your property, but also your skill and strength. Move on, then, in the appropriate sphere, in which a wise Providence has placed you. The training you have received, and the habits you have formed, qualify you to break up the fallow ground, and to reap the golden harvest. You ought, then, to retain in your possession a field of exertion, which may give all your powers full play. This you could not do, if you should literally, and at once, bring all your substance, and place it in the missionary fund. But while you see to it, that all your powers have room fully to exert themselves in your appropriate sphere of labor, see to it also that in this very sphere you act as the servants of Jesus Christ.. As the servants of Jesus Christ cultivate the soil, sow your seed, and gather in your harvests. Let the inscription shine on all your possessions, Sacred to the Savior. Let the full import of this inscription, come home with animating power to your inmost heart. Derive from it your highest motives to exertion. In every plan, effort, and expenditure, act with honest and entire reference to the will and glory of your Lord.
To the christian, engaged in a secular profession or held by civil responsibilities, we would say, Your duty to your Lord may not
require you to break away from these responsibilities, or abandon that profession. But you are bound to act in the sphere in which you move, with a devotedness to Jesus Christ, as simple, cordial, and entire, as that of the self-denied and beavenly ninded missionary. No more than he, may you adopt worldly maxims, or breathe a worldly spirit. Whatever influence your learning, talents, or station may enable you to command, be it your constant aim with skill, fidelity, and energy, to exert them for your Redeemer.
“Give arm and soul" to the one great design of defending the truths, which fall from His lips; of sustaining the institutions which He set up; and extending the kingdom which He established. Indeed, the principles, motives, and aims, which should occupy the thoughts, engross the affections, and control the movements of the christian missionary, are just the principles, which should govern the lives; are just the motives, which should influence the hearts; are just the aims, which should command all the active powers, of every disciple of Jesus Christ.
In consistency with these views, we are prepared to affirm, that all the disciples of the Savior are held to each other by the bonds of the strictest fellowship. They are partners together in one great enterprise,—an enterprise one in its objects, aims, and interests, but in its departments of exertion, involving various, numerous, and complicated agencies. Every christian is bound to seek and find, and occupy his own appropriate department of exertion. To attempt this with success, he must, in the spirit of grace and supplication," look within him and around him. A regard to the character of the means, placed at his command, including his physical, intellectual and moral attributes, and the arrangements of an overruling Providence may enable him to determine what station he ought to occupy, and in what methods he ought to expend his strength. This statement very naturally leads us to the inquiry, By what qualifications should the christian missionary be distinguished?
When we say, that no one ought to think of engaging personally in the missionary service of the church, without a careful regard to his physical qualifications, we refer not so much to the sound constitution and vigorous health, which he certainly ought to possess, as to the habit by which he ought to be distinguished of promptly avoiding whatever is fitted to injure his health, and of wakefully employing whatever is adapted to maintain it. We will not conceal the gratification, which we cannot but feel in the exertions, which have been lately made in one quarter and another to rouse the christian student to his obligations to watch over the physical nature, with which he is intrusted. Let the warning fall upon his ear like repeated claps of thunder, Beware how you neglect the corporeal frame-work, with which all your intellectual operations are so