« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
article for a periodical, I wrote the 'Solemn Review of the Custom of War,' which was published, I think, the very week that the Treaty of Peace was signed at Ghent.
"While writing that part I became thoroughly convinced that war is the effect of delusion, totally repugnant to the Christian religion, and wholly unnecessary, except as it becomesso from delusion and the basest passions of human nature; that when it is waged for a redress of wrongs, its tendency is to multiply wrongs a hundred fold; and that in principle, the best we can make of it, is doing evil that good may come. It is now more than eight years since 1 began to write the ' Solemn Review;' and I believe I may say with truth, that when awake, the subject of war has not been absent from my mind an hour at a time io the whole course of the eight years. On the most thorough examination, I am firmly of the opinion, that there has never been any error among Christians more grossly anti-christian or more fatal in its effects, than those which are the support of war ; that what are called preparations for war are the natural meaus of producing the calamity,—and that the popular belief that being prepared for war is the means for avoiding it, has been contradicted by the experience of more than a thousand years among the nations of Christendom.
"Though I frankly express my own views of war, as perfectly needless, unjust, and opposed to the spirit of the gospel, I have no doubt that many men better than myself, have been of a different opinion. I cannot however but doubt, whether they could have long continued of the opposite opinion, had they bestowed half as mudi attention on the subject as I have done, or as they have probably bestowed on other subjects of far less importance. I suspect that no one thing in the history of Christians will cause greater astonishment to posterity in a more enlightened age of the world, than the fact, that professed ministers of the gospel have been so generally advocates and abettors of war; and that while Christians of different sects have been alienated from each other, and have spent much of their time in contending about unintelligible dogmas, they could unite in the atrocious work of shedding human blood in the political contests of nations. Private or individual murders are justly esteemed and punished as among the grossest of human crimes; yet wholesale murder for the settlement of trivial national controversies, has been licensed, sanctioned and even commended by the rulers of Christian nations, and applauded by the ministers of the Christian religion of almost every sect in Christendom!
"Notwithstanding all my zeal in the cause of peace, and the perfect conviction that the war spirit is in direct opposition to the precepts and spirit of the gospel, I have never felt myself authorized to make my own views of the subject
a test of the Christian character, or to call in question the piety of those who have been advocates and promoters of war. Rut I can say with the greatest truth, that I am unacquainted with any errors which have been adopted by any sect of Christians which appear to me more evidential of a depraved heart, than those which sanction war, and dispose men to glory in slaughtering one another. What, we might ask with confidence, is the evil of denying or disbelieving any one of the supposed essential doctrines of any sect of Christians in New England, compared with the evil of believing that it is consistent with the spirit and precepts of the gospel for Christians of different nations to engage in war —to meet in the field of battle, and destroy one another by thousands and tens of thousands? If a man, even of apparently good character, avows a belief that human infants are not by nature totally sinful, there are a multitude of churches who would refuse to admit him to their fellowship. Yet another man who believes in the doctrine of total sinfulness by nature, may be admitted to their communion, with his hands reeking with the blood of many brethren whom be has slain in war, and this too while he justifies those fashionable murders!"
"A Solemn Review of the Custom of War" is one of the most successful and efficient pamphlets of any period. It has been translated into many languages, and circulated extensively throughout the world. It is one of the chief instruments by which the opinions of society have been affected within the present century. The season of its publication was favorable ; the world was wearied with battles and longed for rest. It found a response in the heart of tbe community, and many able men were ready to repeat and enforce its doctrines. It was followed by the formation of the Massachusetts Peace Society in 1815, and by the publication of " The Friend of Peace" in 1819, and which was continued in quarterly numbers for 10 years; being almost entirely written by himself.
It is to his services in this cause of the highest philanthropy that Noah Worcester owes his chief distinction, aud his claim to the reverence and gratitude of mankind. His independent and true-hearted pursuit of truth, his humble and gen lie advocacy of it in catholic writing and holy living, give him a place among the eminent disciples of Christ. In his labors for peace, he did something toward a palpable advancement of Christianity and civilization. He set in motion an agency which unites itself with the multitude of other agencies now carrying forward the progress of man, and which are so knit together that they reciprocally strengthen each other. The result of his labors and those of other Christians in this cause is already apparent. The extensive change that has taken place in the sentiments of men respecting war; the disapprobation expressed in so strong terms by leading statesmen, and the diminished honor paid to military greatness by men of letters ; the readiness with which opportunities of battle are now shunned, when formerly they would have been sought; and in which mediation has been accepted for peace sake; the frequent appeals of the religious press and the pulpit, which formerly spoke so rarelj, and so often in tone of the common world; all these and other signs display the coming on of a better day for man. Other causes, such as the religious, political, and commercial condition of men, have operated powerfully to favor the progress of peace, but they work indirectly. For the permanent and indestructible basis of any great improvement, there is always needed the foundation of some great principle, well understood, and intelligently acted upon. The world must be changed by a change of its ideas ; and he does most for peace, who does most to change opinion respecting the right and innocence of war, and the duty of peace, and who allies the highest truth and sternest motives that govern men, in sacred and uncompromising hostility against the evil. This did Noah Worcester; and in that blessed day which is coming, when war shall no longer be the chief occupation of governments, and the immense treasures and splendid talents now occupied in corrupting, shall be employed in blessing mankind, what higher eulogy will be found than that he wrote the "Friend of Peace?"
[To bo continued.]
LETTER OP ENCOURAGEMENT AND TENDER CAUTION.
Cardiff, 5th mo., 1756.
We are sometimes like pilgrims, whose faith and patience are at a low ebb; and were it not for the gracious condescension of Him who regardeth the sparrows, and whose arm of everlasting strength is underneath in seasons of drooping and dismay, we should be ready at times to faint; but it is the renewing of holy help that becomes strength in weakness to those that put their trust in it, and a present sufficiency when we are not able to provide for ourselves. May thou be fully grounded in this trust, that thereby, in times of discouragement and sifting, thy stability may endure, and thy experience increase in the knowledge that all things work together for good to those that truly love the appearances or manifestations of the divine will.
I believe thou knowest that I dearly love thee, and I may add, have felt sweet unity with thy spirit; and therefore hope ever freely to pour into thy mind any little hints which may in that love revive toward thee. And now, as thou hast put thy hand to a good work, let me say, look not back; and when the certainty of thy being rightly anointed for it is withdrawn, which is no uncommon trial, look not then to the
sentiments of others for support and encouragement; but labor after true quietude and patience of soul, whereby thou mayest, with comfortable assurance in the right time, have thy head raised in hope, and thy growth in religious experiences be less superficial, than I fear is often the case, even with those who have been put forth by the Heavenly Shepherd. There is no eonsolation, no confidence, wisdom or strength, like that which proceeds from the deep or hidden spring, whereunto we must learn to dig, if ever we are rightly grounded in the work of sanctification; and as the divine will, is our sanctification, if we obey it, be not slack in surrendering thyself thereto. I write not those things from an apprehension that thou needest them more than others, for my sentiments of thee are very different; but I wish thee to set out independent of any instrumental help, except that which is sent from the fountain of purity; and to look to no example further than is consistent with the holy pattern.
THE NATURE OF FAITH.
A parent sets out upon a journey, and takes with him one of his little children, always accustomed to receive benefits from his parental tenderness. The child plainly knows nothing of the destined journey, of the place which he will find, the entertainment which he will receive, the sufferings which he must undergo, or the pleasures which he may enjoy. Yet the ohild goes willingly and with delight. Why? not because he is ignorant; for ignorance by itself is a source to him of nothing but doubt and fear. Were a stranger to propose to him the same journey, in the same terms, he would decline it at once; and could not be induced to enter upon it without compulsion. Yet his ignorance, here, would be at least equally great. He is wholly governed by rational considerations. Confidence in his parent, whom he knows by experience to be only a benefactor to him, and in whose affection and tenderness he has always found safety and pleasure, is the sole ground of his cheerful acceptance of the proposed journey, and of all his subsequent conduct. In his parent's company, he feels delighted; in his care, safe. Separated from him, he is at once alarmed, anxious, and miserable. Nothing can easily restore him to peace, or comfort, or hope, but the return of his parent. In his own obedience and filial affection, and in his father's approbation and tenderness, care and guidance, he finds sufficient enjoyment, and feels satisfied and secure. He looks for no other motive than his father's choice, and his own confidence. The way which the father points out, although perfectly unknown to him; the entertainment which he provides, the places at which he chooses to stop, and measures, universally, which he is pleased to take, are, in the view of the child, all proper, right and good. For his parent's pleasure, and for that only, he inquires; and to this single object are confined all his views and all his affections.—Dwight.
BUNYAN AND HIS WRITINGS.
At length Bunyan began to write, and, though it was some time before be discovered where his strength lay, his writings were not unsuccessful. They were coarse, indeed, but they showed a keen mother-wit, a great command of the homely mother-tongue, an intimate knowledge of the English Bible, and a vast and dearly-bought spiritual experience. They therefore, when the corrector of the press had improved the syntax and the spelling, were well received by the humbler class of Dissenters.
Much of Bunyan's time was spent in controversy. He wrote sharply against the Quakers, whom he seems always to have held in utter abhorrence. It is, however, a remarkable fact, that he adopted one of their peculiar fashions : his practice was to Write, not November or December, but eleventh month and twelfth month.
He wrote against the liturgy of the Church of England. No two things, according to him, had less affinity than the form of prayer and the spirit of prayer. Those, he said with much point, wbo have most of the spirit of prayer, are all to bo found in jail; and those who have most zeal for the form of prayer are all to be found at the ale-house. The doctrinal articles, on the other hand, he warmly praised, and defended against some Arminian clergyman who had signed them. The most acrimonious of all his works, is his answer to Edward Fowler, afterwards bishop of Gloucester, an excellent man, but not freo from the taint of Pelagianism.
Bunyan had also a dispute with some of the chiefs of the sect to which he belonged. He doubtless held with perfect sincerity the distinguishing tenet of that sect, but he did not consider that tenet as one of high importance; and willingly joined in communion with pious Presbyterians and Independents. The sterner Baptists, therefore, loudly pronounced him a false brother. A controversy arose which long survived the original combatants. In our own time the cause which Bunyan had defended with rude logic and rhetoric against Kiffin and Danvers was pleaded by Robert Hall with an ingenuity and eloquence such as no polemical writer has ever surpassed.
During the years which immediately followed the Restoration, Bunyan's confinement seems to have been strict. But as the passion of 1660 cooled, as the hatred with which the Puritans had been regarded while their reign was recent gave place to pity, he was less and less harshly
treated. The distress of his family, and his own patience, courage, and piety, softened the hearts of his persecutors. Like his own Christian in the cage, he found protectors even among the crowd of Vanity Fair. The Bishop of the diocese, Dr. Barlow, is said to have interceded for him. At length the prisoner was suffered to pass most of his time beyond the walls of the jail, on condition, as it would seem, that he remained within the town of Bedford.
He owed his complete liberation to one of the worst acts of one of the worst governments that England has ever seen. In 1071 the Cabal was in power. Charles II. had concluded the treaty by which he bound himself to set up the Roman Catholic religion in England. The first step which he took towards that end was to annul, by an unconstitutional exercise of his prerogative, all the penal statutes against the Roman Catholics; and, in order to disguise his real design, he annulled at the same time the penal statutes against Protestant non-conformists. Bunyan was consequently set at large. In the first warmth of his gratitude he published a tract in which he compared Charles to that humane and generous Persian king who; though not himself blessed with the light of the true religion, favored the chosen people, and permitted them, after years of captivity, to rebuild their beloved temple. To candid men, who conaider how much Bunyan had suffered, and how little he could guess the secret design of the court, the unsuspicious thankfulness with which he accepted the precious boon of freedom will not appear to require any apology.
Before he left his prison he had begun the book which has made his name immortal. The history of that book is remarkable. The author was, as he tells us, writing a treatise in which he had occasion to speak of the stages of the Christian progress. He compared that progress, as many others had compared it, to a pilgrimage. Soon his quick wit discovered innumerable points of similarity which had escaped his predecessors. Images came crowding on his mind faster than he could put them into words, quagmires and pits, steep hills, dark and horrible glens, soft vales, sunny pastures, a gloomy castle, of which the court-yard was strewn with the skulls and bones of murdered prisoners, a town all bustle and splendor, like London on the Lord Mayor's Day, and the narrow path, straight as a rule could make it, running on up hill and downhill, through city and through wilderness, to the Black River and Shining Gate. He had found out, as most people would have said, by accident, as he would doubtless have said, by the guidance of Providence, where his powers lay. He had no suspicion, indeed, that he was producing a masterpiece. He could not guess what place his allegory would occupy in English literature; for of English literature he knew nothing. Those who suppose him to have studied the Fairy Queen might easily be confuted, if this were the proper place for a detailed estimation of the passages in which the two allegories "have been thought to resemble each other. The only work of fiction, in all probability, with which he could compare his Pilgrim, was his old favorite, the legend of Sir Bevis of Southampton. He would have thought it a sin to borrow any time from the serious business of his life, from his expositions, his controversies, and his lace tags, for the purpose of amusing himself with what he considered a mere trifle. It was only, he assures us, at spare moments that he returned to the House Beautiful, the Delectable Mountains, and the Enchanted Ground. He had no assistance. Nobody but himself saw a line till the whole was complete. He then consulted his pious friends. Some were pleased, others were much scandalized. It was a vain story, a mere romance, about giants, and lions, and goblins, and warriors, sometimes fighting with monsters, and sometimes regaled by fair ladies in stately palaces. The loose atheistical wits of Will's might write such stuff to divert the painted Jezebels of the court! but did it become a minister of the Gospel to copy the evil fashions of the world? There had been a time when the cant of such fools would have made Bunyan miserable. But that time was passed ; and his mind was now in a firm and healthy state. He saw that, in employing fiction to make truth clear and goodness attractive, he was only following the example which every Christian ought to propose to himself; and he determined to print.
The Pilgrim's Progress stole silently into the world. Not a single copy of the first edition is known to be in existence. The year of publication has not been ascertained. It is probable, that during some months, the little volume circulated only among the poor and obscure sectaries. But soon the irresistible charm of a book which gratified the imagination of the reader with all the action and scenery of a fairy tale, which exercised his ingenuity by setting him to discover a multitude of curious analogies, which interested his feelings for human beings, frail like himself, and struggling with temptations from within and without, which every moment drew a smile from him by some stroke of quaint yet simple pleasantry, and nevertheless left on his mind a sentiment of reverence for God and of sympathy for man, began to produce its effect. In puritanical circles, from which plays and novels were strictly excluded, that effect was such as no work of genius, though it was superior to the Iliad, to Don Quixote, or to Othello, can ever produce on a mind accustomed to indulge in literary luxury. In 1678 came forth a second addition with additions; and then the demand became immense. In the four following years the book was reprinted six
times. The eighth edition, which contains the last improvements made by the author, was published in 1682, the ninth in 1684, the tenth in 1685. The help of the engraver had early been called in; and tens of thousands of children looked with terror and delight on execrable copper-plates, which represented Christian thrusting his sword into Apollyon, or writhing in the grasp of Giant Despair. In Scotland, and in some of the colonies, the Pilgrim was even more popular than in his native country. Bunyan has told us, with very pardonable vanity, that in New England his dream was the daily subject of the conversation of thousands, and was thought worthy to appear in the most superb binding. He had numerous admirers in Holland, and among the Huguenots of France. With the pleasures, however, he experienced some of the pains of eminence. Knavish booksellers put forth volumes of trash under his name, and envious scribblers maintained it to be impossible that the poor ignorant tinker should really be the author of the book which was called his.
He took the best way to confound both those who counterfeited him and those who slandered him. He continued to work the Gold-field which he had discovered, and to draw from it new treasures, not indeed, with quite such ease, and in quite such abundance as when the precious soil was still virgin, but yet with success which left all competition far behind. In 1684 appeared the second part of the Pilgrim's Progress. It was soon followed by the Iloly War, which, if the Pilgrim's Progress did not exist would be the best allegory that ever was written.— "New Biographies of Illustrious Men."
Would that every one could realize the vast importance of these little words; think, speak, act. In this world where character is continually in a state of formation, and scarce ever reaches a climax, it is no little thing, but it behooves us that we reflect how to speak, think and act. In our lives is not visible the effects of our actions, but their influences will show themselves when onr bodies are laid beneath the sod. The influence of many words and actions never dies, but like circles in water when a stone is cast into its bosom, keeps widening, till wo can scarce define it, or our eyes reach its boundaries. Many times our words and actions may touch a chord in the harp of humanity, the influence of which will vibrate throughout eternity; and it is the same if the influence be for good or evil. Not a thought in our mind, not a word escapes our lips, not an action is performed, but that God is witness of. How important it is, then, that our every endeavor be for the good, and that we weigh well everv thought word and action. If we do thus, our influence will assuredly be good, and such that we shall never have the cause to regret.
Selected for Friends' Intelligencer.
We live at an epoch full of splendid discovery. No period in history, equally brief—one at the close of the fifteenth century, when Columbus found the Western world, and De Gama the way to the Eastern, alone excepted—has yielded so brilliant a harvest of reliable geographical knowledge as the six years closing with 1855. The period covers the investigations of Barth.Vogel, and De Lauture in Middle Africa; of Oswell, Livingstone and Andersson in the South; of Lieutenant Burton in the East. It covers the perquisitions of Layard, Rawlinson, and Place, in Assyria. It covers the highly interesting, but curiosity-provoking excursions of Herndron and Page up the Maranon and Parana into the heart of South America. It covers the explorations of M'Clure, Collinson, Rae, and Kane, within the Polar circle. It unfolds an index of courage, labor and patience, well rewarded, that might stimulate the most indolent in civilized life into the spirit of adventure. The index is that of a bulky volume, containing stores of facts precious to science, with very little that is not tributary to some department of knowledge. But foremost and chief, as the leading discoveries of the time, and the crown and compliment of all preceding research, rank these three:
1. The discovery, in 1819, by Captain Oswell and Dr. Livingstone, of the great Lake Xguni, in Southern Africa, thus partially confirming Greek and African tradition, and the conjectures of geologists, that the unknown deserts of that continent beneath the Lunar range are diversified with expanded sheets of water, and possibly an inland sea.
2. The discovery,in 1850, by Captain M'Clure, of a Northwest passage to China, three hundred years after Sir Hugh Willoughby first attempted to find it, and after three hundred years of gallant endeavor and matchless suffering in the pursuit.
3. The discovery, in 1855, by Dr. Kane, of an ioeless circum polar sea, the existence of which had been pre-supposed by science.
The latter two achievements leave only second rate honors to subsequent maritime exploration. Not but that there is a world of work to be done; not but that there are as valuable facts in the sea as ever came out of it. But the main glory of adventure consists in pioneering the way, which, once indicated, they who follow are but instruments in the hands of the true discoverer, hi not the discovery of the planet Neptune credited to Le Verrier, who demonstrated its place in 'he concave, rather than to the star-gazer, who, guided by his data, found it? So will the glory °f finding the Northwest Passage belong pri
marily to M'Clure, who, from the,heights of Baring's Island, saw, seventy nautical miles away, across impassable ice, points which Parry had reached from the opposite side; and like the Spaniard, who, "silent upon a peak in Darien," first saw the Pacific, locked down Barrow Strait homeward. Yet no little fame will be his, who, working his way through intervening ice, effects, not merely demonstrates the passage. So likewise the honor of proving an open polar sea belongs to Dr. Kane; while a large residuum of credit is reserved for the sailor who shall attain and navigate those unvisited waters. Nor is the field of unfinished labor at the North confined to these two enterprises. The coast line of the North American Continent is yet to be defined; the extent and direction of various straits, bays and inlets, separating the Arctic islands, are to be ascertained; the islands themselves are to be surveyed; Greenland is to bt; circumnavigated. All these things will doubtless be accomplished before 1957; the most of them during the current century. An expedition furnished with all the results of M'Clure, Collinson, and Kane, and instructed thoroughly by their experience of ice and cold, is already planned in England; and, if managed with sense, intrepidity, and attended with good fortune, may foregather the labors of a generation or two. The propriety of expediting overland from Canada a subsidiary company, provided completely with the appliances of scientific and geographical observation will not, we suspect, be overlooked by Her Majesty's Colonial office.
In South America, the grand labors of Humboldt and Bonpland—only less valuable because effected before the natural sciences had assumed their present better classification—with the minor attempts of Herndon and Page, only whet the appetite for information. Paraguay is still a terra incognita; the upper waters of the Amazon have been but cursorily noted; the hammer of the geologist has scarcely disturbed the echoes of the Andes, with their wonderous peaks and table-lands, abrupt chasms, and irregular stratification; the shelves of our museums boast very few representatives of the animal and vegetable fecundity which throngs the prolific pi lins at their feet. The southern half of our hemisphere is, in fact, a vast areua for remunerative research—an arena uninterrupted and unimpoverished by desert sands. Tiie Emperor of Brazil, we are glad to note, has organized an expedition to so much of the course of the Amazon as lies within his dominions. It is designed to start early in the coming autumn.
Africa more than makes up for the deficiencies of South America in the article of sand. Its animal kingdom is also upon a more stupendous scale, adding that formidable obstacle to other peculiar perils of exploration. Nevertheless, thanks to the enterprise of the Viceroy