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Title: War Inconsistent with the Religion of Jesus Christ
Author: Dodge, David Low, 1774-1852
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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INTRODUCTION                                                       vii



     I. Because it hardens the heart and blunts the tender
          feelings of mankind                                        2

    II. War is inhuman, as in its nature and tendency it
          abuses God's animal creation                               6

   III. War is inhuman, as it oppresses the poor                     8

    IV. War is inhuman, as it spreads terror and distress
          among mankind                                             12

     V. War is inhuman, as it involves men in fatigue, famine,
          and all the pains of mutilated bodies                     14

    VI. War is inhuman, as it destroys the youth and cuts
          off the hope of gray hairs                                16

   VII. War is inhuman, as it multiplies widows and orphans,
          and clothes the land in mourning                          18


      I. Because, instead of preventing, it provokes insult
           and mischief                                             23

     II. War is unwise, for instead of diminishing, it increases
           difficulties                                             26

    III. War is unwise, because it destroys property                28

     IV. War is unwise, as it is dangerous to the liberties of
           men                                                      30

      V. War is unwise, as it diminishes the happiness of
           mankind                                                  34

     VI. War is unwise, as it does not mend, but injures, the
           morals of society                                        36

    VII. War is unwise, as it is hazarding eternal things for
           only the chance of defending temporal things             42

   VIII. War is unwise, as it does not answer the professed
           end for which it is intended                             44


      I. Going to war is not keeping from the appearance
           of evil, but is running into temptation                  47

     II. War is criminal, as it naturally inflames the pride
           of man                                                   49

    III. War necessarily infringes on the consciences of
           men, and therefore is criminal                           52

     IV. War is criminal, as it is opposed to patient suffering
           under unjust and cruel treatment                         56

      V. War is criminal, as it is not doing to others as we
           should wish them to do to us                             60

     VI. War is inconsistent with mercy, and is therefore
           criminal 61

    VII. War is criminal, as the practice of it is inconsistent
           with forgiving trespasses as we wish to be forgiven
           by the final judge                                       63

   VIII. Engaging in war is not manifesting love to enemies
           or returning good for evil                               64

     IX. War is criminal, because it is actually rendering
           evil for evil                                            67

      X. War is criminal, as it is actually doing evil that good
           may come; and this is the best apology that can
           be made for it                                           71

     XI. War is opposed to the example of the Son of God,
           and is therefore criminal                                72

  OBJECTIONS ANSWERED                                               77

HYMN                                                               121



To David Low Dodge of New York belongs the high honor of having written
the first pamphlets published in America directed expressly against the
war system of nations, and of having founded the first peace society
ever organized in America or in the world. His first pamphlet, _The
Mediator's Kingdom not of this World_, was published in 1809. His second
and more important pamphlet, _War Inconsistent with the Religion of
Jesus Christ_, was prepared for the press in 1812. This was two years
before the publication of Noah Worcester's _Solemn Review of the Custom
of War_, which was issued in Boston on Christmas Day, 1814. Early in
1812 Mr. Dodge and his friends in New York deliberated on the expediency
of forming a peace society; but on account of the excitement attending
the war with Great Britain this was postponed until 1815. In August of
that year the New York Peace Society, the first in the world, was
organized, with Mr. Dodge as its president. This was four months before
the organization of the Massachusetts Peace Society (December 26, 1815)
under the leadership of Noah Worcester, and nearly a year before the
English Peace Society, the first in Europe, was formed (June 14, 1816)
in London.

The preëminent historical interest attaching to Mr. Dodge's pioneering
work in the peace cause in this country would alone justify and indeed
seem to command the republication of his pamphlets at this time, when
the great ideas for which he so courageously and prophetically stood are
at last winning the general recognition of humane and thoughtful men.
But it is not merely historical interest which warrants a revival of
attention to these almost forgotten papers. Their intrinsic power and
worth are such as make their reading, especially that of the second
essay, _War Inconsistent with the Religion of Jesus Christ_, which
stands first in the present volume, edifying and inspiring to-day.
Marked by few literary graces and cast in a theological mold which the
critical thought of the present has in large measure outgrown, there is
a force of thought, a moral earnestness, a persevering logic, a common
sense, a hatred of inhumanity, a passion for justice, a penetration and
a virtue in them, which commends them to the abiding and reverent regard
of all who work for the peace and order of the world. Among such workers
to-day are men of various political philosophies, and perhaps only a
small minority are nonresistants of the extreme type of David L. Dodge;
but to that minority, we cannot fail to remark, belongs the greatest and
most influential of all the peace prophets of this time, Leo Tolstoi.
None can read these old essays without being impressed by the fact that
their arguments are essentially the same as those of the great Russian.
There is little indeed of the Tolstoian thunder and lightning, the
pathos, wrath, and rhetoric, the poetry and prophecy, in these
old-fashioned pages; but the doctrine is the same as that of _Bethink
Yourselves!_ and _Patriotism versus Christianity_. In his central
thought and purpose, in his religious trust and reliance upon the
Christian principle, the New York merchant was a Tolstoi a hundred years
before his time.

David Low Dodge was born June 14, 1774, in that part of Pomfret,
Connecticut, now called Brooklyn. This was the home of Israel Putnam;
and David Dodge's father, a farmer and carpenter, was Putnam's neighbor
and friend,--may well have been near him when in April, 1775, upon
hearing of the battle of Lexington, he left his plow in the furrow and
started to join the forces gathering at Cambridge. David Dodge's father,
grandfather, and great-grandfather each bore the name of David Dodge.
The great-grandfather was a Congregational minister, who was understood
to have come from Wales,--a learned and wealthy man, who was for a while
settled in the vicinity of Cape Ann in Massachusetts. The grandfather,
who also received a liberal education, probably in England, came into
the possession of his father's estate, for that day a large one, and we
are not informed whether he followed any profession or regular business.
He was a man fully six feet tall, of great muscular power, and a lover
of good horses, on which he spent much time and money. He married Ann
Low, from a wealthy Massachusetts family, and settled in Beverly, where
their sons David and Samuel were born, and where the family fortunes
became much embarrassed. About 1757 the family removed to Pomfret,
Connecticut, and the boys, whose education at the hands of their mother
had been but slight, were apprenticed, David to a carpenter and Samuel
to a shoemaker. Their father, obtaining at this time a commission in the
army invading Canada, met his death in a bateau which attempted to
descend the falls of the Oswego and was dashed to pieces on the rocks
with the loss of every soul on board.

David Low Dodge's mother, when a girl, was Mary Stuart, and when she
married his father, in 1768, was a widow bearing the name of Earl. The
young husband hired a small farm, the wife by her industry and economy
had furniture sufficient to begin housekeeping, and the little home was
founded in which David Low Dodge's only sister Mary was born in 1770.
Three years later the father hired a more expensive place in the same
town, where the boy was born in 1774. "During that year," he writes in
his autobiography, "my father became serious, and commenced family
prayer. He was educated in the old semi-Arminian views of his mother and
the halfway covenant. My mother was a rigid Calvinist of the Whitefield
school. Neither of them ever made a public profession of religion, but
they were careful to observe external ordinances, catechize their
children, and give religious instruction. They were honest, industrious,
temperate, kind-hearted people, universally respected and esteemed by
all who were acquainted with them."

Such was the atmosphere in which the boy grew up. "The American
Revolution at this period was convulsing the whole country, drafting and
enlisting soldiers. Wagons were needed for the army, and by the advice
of the Putnams, the old general and his son Israel, who was about two
years younger than my father, he was induced to engage in the
manufacture of continental wagons. He hired a convenient place for
carpenters and blacksmiths, took several journeymen into the family,
and embarked all his earnings in the business." The boy's half-brothers,
William and Jesse Earl, entered the army at the tender ages of fourteen
and sixteen, endured battles, sickness, and every privation, and both
died towards the close of the war, the event almost wrecking the nervous
system of the mother, a woman of acute sensibility. Thus early were the
horrors of war brought personally home to the boy. He remembered hearing
the distant cannonading when New London was burned by the British, and
the exclamation of the man beside him, "Blood is flowing to-day." "News
came the next morning that the forts were stormed, the garrisons put to
the sword, New London burnt, and the British were marching upon Norwich,
and would proceed up into the country. My mother wrung her hands, and
asked my father if we had not better pack up some things to secrete

The boy's education was slight and fragmentary. The summer he was six
years old he attended the school of a venerable Irish maiden lady about
sixty years of age, learning Watts' _Divine Songs_, texts of Scripture,
and the _Shorter Catechism_. From the age of seven to fourteen--the
family now living on a farm in the neighboring town of Hampton--he
attended the district school for two terms each winter, having no access
to any other books than the primer, spelling book, arithmetic, and
Bible. "I used often, when not at work in the shop evenings, to retire
to the old kitchen fireplace, put my lamp into the oven, and, sitting
with my back against it, take my arithmetic, slate, and pencil, and try
to cipher a little. I often think how I should have been delighted to
have had one fifth part of the advantages enjoyed by most of my
descendants." Confined to the house for seven weeks a little later as
the result of accidents, he turned hungrily to such books as he could
secure--Dilworth's _Arithmetic_, Webster's _Abridged Grammar_, and
Salmon's _Universal English Geography_. "This opened a new and
astonishing field to me for contemplation. I now obtained the first
glimpse of the boundaries of land and water, of the lofty mountains, and
of the mighty rivers which had cut their channels through the earth. I
read and surveyed the maps and meditated upon them until I began to
lecture to my young companions, and was considered quite learned in
geography. Having an object in view, I began to thirst for knowledge,
and succeeded in borrowing in succession _The Travels of Cyrus_,
_Xerxes' Expedition into Greece_, _The History of Alexander the Great_,
and _Hannibal's Invasion of Rome_." He proposed and brought about the
formation of a society of young men in the town, for the improvement of
minds and manners. There were fourteen young men, with an equal number
of young women presently added, each furnishing a useful book as the
beginning of a library. "We obtained some of the British classics, such
as the _Spectator_, _Guardian_, etc., with a few histories; the subjects
formed a foundation for conversation when we met together."

Now the young man's ambition turned from farming to school-teaching. He
began with district schools, becoming a successful teacher from the
start, prosecuting his own studies assiduously in every leisure hour,
fired with a desire to improve the schools, which were everywhere as
wretched as can well be imagined. For some months in 1795 he left
teaching to join other young men in building a bridge at Tiverton, Rhode
Island. Then he attended the academy at North Canterbury, Connecticut,
under the charge of the eminent teacher, John Adams. "This was the only
opportunity I ever enjoyed of attending a good school, and this was
abridged to fulfill my engagement to teach the town school in
Mansfield." In 1796 he opened a private school in Norwich, adding the
next year a morning school for young ladies and an evening school for
apprentices and clerks, all of which flourished. During this time he was
profoundly interested in religious matters, attending many revivals and
becoming more and more concerned with moral and social problems. Now,
too, he married, his wife being a daughter of Aaron Cleveland of
Norwich, a strong character, afterwards a clergyman, "whose name you
will find enrolled among the poets of Connecticut," and who as early as
1775 published a poem on slavery, which, condemning slavery as wholly
antichristian, attracted a good deal of notice. He was the first man in
Connecticut to arraign slavery publicly. Elected to the General Assembly
from Norwich on that issue, he introduced a bill in behalf of

With health somewhat impaired and with family cares increasing, David
Dodge now turned from teaching to trade. First it was as a clerk in
Norwich, then as a partner in a general store, then as head of various
dry goods establishments in Hartford and other Connecticut towns, always
and everywhere successful. In 1805 Messrs. S. and H. Higginson of
Boston, cousins of his wife, a firm of high standing and large capital,
made him a proposition to enter into a copartnership with a view to
establishing an extensive importing and jobbing store in the city of New
York; and he accepted the proposition, going to New York the next year
to take charge of the concern in that city. He took a store in Pearl
Street, and the year afterwards the family took possession of the house
connected with the store, still reserving the house in Hartford as a
retreat in case of yellow fever in New York. From this time until his
death, April 23, 1852, New York was, with occasional interruptions, his
home and the center of his varied and ever enlarging activities. Just
before the outbreak of the war with England his partners became bankrupt
through losses in extensive shipping of American produce to Europe.
"Bonaparte sprung his trap upon more than a million dollars of their
property." Mr. Dodge now established cotton factories in Connecticut,
and later commenced anew the dry goods business in New York, his home
for years alternating between New York and the Norwich neighborhood; and
for the nine years following 1835 he occupied a large farm in
Plainfield, New Jersey.

Active as was his business life, and faithful his devotion to his large
business affairs,--and he came to rank with the most prominent mercantile
men of his day,--his mind was always intent upon social and religious
subjects. "During the years of 1808 to 1811 our business became extensive
and demanded much thought and attention; yet I think my affections were on
the subject of religion." Revivals of religion, the interests of his
church in Norwich or New York, the improvement of the lives of his
factory operatives, the organization in New York of the Christian Friendly
Society for the Promotion of Morals and Religion,--such were the objects
which commanded him. Throughout his long residence in New York he was a
prominent worker in the Presbyterian church, for many years an elder in
the church. He took a leading part in organizing the New York Bible
Society and the New York Tract Society, was much engaged in the early
missionary movements in New York, and in promoting the education of young
men for the ministry. He was a lover of knowledge, a great reader, and one
who thought and wrote as he read. Deeply interested in history, ancient
and modern, his chief interest was in theological discussion. He was
familiar with the chief theological controversies of the day, and upon
many of them committed his views to writing. His knowledge of the Bible
was remarkable; he read it through critically in course forty-two times.
He held firmly the Calvinistic system of doctrine, and he addressed to his
children a series of letters, characterized by great ability and logical
force, in defense of the faith, and constituting together a compendious
system of theology.

Several of these letters are included in the memorial volume published
for the family in 1854 under the editorial supervision of Rev. Matson M.
Smith. This volume contains, besides the two essays on war here
reprinted, and various verses and letters, the interesting autobiography
which he prepared, at the request of his children, a few years before
his death, and a supplementary biographical sketch by his pastor, Rev.
Asa D. Smith. In the mass of manuscripts which he left behind was an
essay upon "The Relation of the Church to the World," and one upon
"Retributive Judgment and Capital Punishment,"--to which he was sharply
opposed. He was opposed indeed to so much in human governments as now
constituted,--"whose ultimate reliance," he said, "is the sword," and
whose laws he felt to be so often contrary to the laws of Christ to
which he gave his sole allegiance,--that he would neither vote nor hold
office. Strict and inflexible as he was in his views of political and
religious duty, he was one of the most genial and delightful of men, a
Christian in whom there was no guile, fond of the young, affectionate,
courteous, "given to hospitality," "careful habitually to make even the
conventionalities of life a fitting accompaniment and expression of the
inward principle of kindness." A face as strong as it is gentle, and as
gentle as it is strong, is that which looks at us in the beautiful
portrait preserved in the family treasures, and a copy of which forms
the frontispiece of the present volume.

The character and influence of the family which he founded in New York,
during the three generations which have followed, constitute an
impressive witness to David Dodge's force and worth, his religious
consecration, and high public spirit. At the junction of Broadway and
Sixth Avenue stands the statue of his son, William Earl Dodge, whose
life of almost fourscore years ended in 1883. For long years the head of
the great house of Phelps, Dodge & Co., the manager of immense railway,
lumber, and mining interests, the president of the New York Chamber of
Commerce, a representative of New York in Congress, a leader in large
work for temperance, for the freedmen, for the Indians, for theological
education, for a score of high patriotic and philanthropic interests,
New York had in his time no more representative, more useful, or more
honored citizen. And what is said of him may be said in almost the same
words of William Earl Dodge, his son, who died but yesterday, and who
combined broad business and philanthropic activities in the same strong
and influential way as his father and grandfather before him. President
of many religious and benevolent associations, he was pre-eminently a
patriot and an international man. The logic of his life and of his
heritage placed him naturally at the head of the National Arbitration
Committee, which was appointed at the great conference on international
arbitration held at Washington in the spring of 1896, following the
anxiety attendant upon President Cleveland's Venezuelan message,--a
committee which, under his chairmanship, and since his death that of
Hon. John W. Foster, has during the decade rendered such great service
to the peace and arbitration cause in this country. It is to be noted
also that the names of his son and daughter, Cleveland H. Dodge and
Grace H. Dodge, names so conspicuously associated to-day with
charitable, religious, and educational efforts in New York, are
associated, too, like his with the commanding cause of the world's peace
and better organization; both names stand upon the American Committee of
the Thirteenth International Peace Congress, which met in Boston in
1904. Thus have the generations which have followed him well learned and
strongly emphasized the lesson taught by David Dodge almost a century
ago, that war is "inhuman, unwise, and criminal," and "inconsistent with
the religion of Jesus Christ."

It was in 1805 that a startling personal experience prompted the train
of thought which soon and forever made David L. Dodge the advocate of
the thorough-going peace principles with which his name is chiefly
identified, and led him to condemn all violence, even in self-defense,
in dealings between men, as between nations. Accustomed to carry pistols
when traveling with large sums of money, he was almost led to shoot his
landlord in a tavern at Providence, Rhode Island, who by some blunder
had come into his room at night and suddenly waked him. The thought of
what his situation and feelings would have been had he taken the man's
life shocked him into most searching thinking. For two or three years
his mind dwelt on the question. He turned to the teaching and example of
Christ, and became persuaded that these were inconsistent with violence
and the carrying of deadly weapons, and with war. The common churchman
sanctioned such things, but not the early Christians; and he found
strong words condemning war in Luther and Erasmus, the Moravians and
Quakers. Discussing the matter with many pious and Christian men, he
found them generally avoiding the gospel standard. He was shocked by the
"general want of faith in the promises"; but he himself laid aside at
once his pistols and the fear of robbers. He became absolutely convinced
that fighting and warfare were "unlawful for the followers of Christ";
and from now on he began to bear public testimony against the war

Early in the spring of 1809 he published his essay, _The Mediator's
Kingdom not of this World_, which attracted so much attention that in
two weeks nearly a thousand copies were sold. Three literary men joined
in preparing a spirited and sarcastic criticism of it; and he
immediately published a rejoinder. _The Mediator's Kingdom_ was
republished in Philadelphia and in Providence, and Mr. Dodge writes
truly: "These publications gave the first impulse in America, if we
except the uniform influence of the Friends, to inquiry into the
lawfulness of war by Christians. Some who were favorable to the
doctrines of peace judged that, with a bold hand, I had carried the
subject too far; and doubtless, as it was new and had not been much
discussed, I wrote too unguardedly, not sufficiently defining my terms.
The Rev. Dr. Noah Worcester was one who so judged, and a few years after
he published his very spirited and able essay, _The Solemn Review of
War_." This famous essay of Worcester's represents the platform of the
great body of American peace workers for a century, the position of men
like Channing and Ladd and Jay and Sumner; but to a nonresistant and
opponent even of self-defense, like David Dodge, these seemed the
exponents of a halfway covenant.

Mr. Dodge entered into private correspondence on the lawfulness of war
with Rev. Lyman Beecher, Rev. Aaron Cleveland, his father-in-law, Rev.
John B. Romeyn, and Rev. Walter King. He preserved among his manuscripts
letters of twenty-five pages from Dr. Romeyn and Mr. Cleveland, and
copies of his reply to Dr. Romeyn (one hundred and thirty-two pages) and
to Dr. Beecher (forty-four pages). Important letters from Dr. Beecher
and Governor Jay he had lost. All these took the position of Dr.
Worcester, sanctioning strictly defensive war in extreme cases,--all
except Mr. Cleveland, who finally came into complete accord with Mr.
Dodge, and published two able sermons on "The Life of Man Inviolable by
the Laws of Christ."

Early in 1812 the friends of peace whom Mr. Dodge had gathered about him
in New York conferred upon the forming of a peace society, "wholly
confined to decided evangelical Christians, with a view to diffusing
peace principles in the churches, avoiding all party questions." There
being at this juncture, however, intense political feeling over the
threatened war with Great Britain, they feared their motives would be
misapprehended, and decided for the moment simply to act individually in
diffusing information. Mr. Dodge was appointed to prepare an essay on
the subject of war, stating and answering objections; and, removing at
this time to Norwich, he there, in a period of great business
perplexity, completed his remarkable paper on "War Inconsistent with the
Christian Religion," which was published in the very midst of the war
with England.

Upon his return to New York, the friends of peace there had two or three
meetings relative to the organization of a society; and in August, 1815,
they formed the New York Peace Society, of between thirty and forty
members, their strict articles of association condemning all war,
offensive and defensive, as wholly opposed to the example and spirit and
precepts of Christ. The peace societies formed immediately afterwards in
Massachusetts, Ohio, Rhode Island, and London were organized, according
to Mr. Dodge, without any knowledge of each other, the movements being
the simultaneous separate results of a common impulse. Of the New York
society Mr. Dodge was unanimously elected president. Monthly meetings
were arranged, and at the first of these Mr. Dodge read an address upon
"The Kingdom of Peace under the Benign Reign of Messiah," of which a
thousand copies were at once printed and circulated. Within two years
the society had increased to sixty members, men active not only against
war--which the society regarded as "the greatest temporal evil, as
almost every immorality is generated in its prosecution, and poverty,
distress, famine, and pestilence follow in its train"--but in all the
benevolent enterprises of that day. "Several respectable clergymen
united with the society,--Rev. Drs. E. D. Griffin and M. L. Parvine,
Rev. E. W. Baldwin (to whose pen we were much indebted), Rev. Samuel
Whelpley, and his son, Rev. Melancthon Whelpley, Rev. H. G. Ufford, and
Rev. S. H. Cox. Dr. Cox, however, afterwards entertained different views
on the subject."

The New York Peace Society had friendly correspondence with all the
other peace societies, and for several years took two hundred copies of
Dr. Worcester's _Friend of Peace_. This seems finally to have
contributed to divide the society, some relinquishing the nonresistant
views of Mr. Dodge and adopting Worcester's less extreme position. But
our brave Tolstoian was a "thorough," and never wavered. "If it was
morally wrong for individuals to quarrel and fight, instead of returning
good for evil,"--these are his last words on the subject in his
autobiography,--"it was much more criminal for communities and nations
to return evil for evil, and not strive to overcome evil with good. In
fact, the great barrier to our progress was the example of our fathers
in the American Revolution. That they were generally true patriots, in
the political sense of the term, and many hopefully pious, I would not
call in question, while I consider them as ill directed by education as
St. Paul was when on his way to Damascus."

The New York Peace Society maintained its existence and work for many
years. In 1828 it united with other societies in the creation of the
American Peace Society, which was organized in New York on May 8 of that
year on the initiative of William Ladd. After this the New York society
seems to have done little separate work, and finally its independent
existence ceased. Mr. Dodge assisted in the organization of the new
national society, and presided at its first annual meeting, May 13,
1829. He was chosen a member of its board of directors, and later became
a life director, maintaining his connection with the society until his
death in 1852, faithful to the end to the radical views by which he had
become so powerfully possessed almost half a century before.

For two generations New York has been without a local peace society. The
services of eminent individual citizens of the city and state of New
York for the peace cause during that period, however, have been signal.
Judge William Jay of New York was for a decade president of the American
Peace Society,--the important decade covering the great peace congresses
in Europe at the middle of the last century; and it was his proposal
that an arbitration clause should be attached to all future commercial
treaties which furnished the basis for the most constructive debates of
the first congress, that at London in 1843. The three really important
members of the American delegation at The Hague Conference were citizens
of New York,--Andrew D. White, Seth Low, and Frederick W. Holls. A
remarkable plan adopted by the New York State Bar Association suggested
important features of The Hague Court as finally constituted. It is a
citizen of New York, Andrew Carnegie, who has given $1,500,000 for a
worthy building for the court at The Hague,--a temple of peace. Mr.
Carnegie, whose influence in behalf of international fraternity is
perhaps second to that of no other to-day, has also given $5,000,000 to
establish a pension fund for "heroes of peace," whose heroism, too long
comparatively neglected, he rightly sees to be not less than the heroism
of the soldier. The most important series of arbitration conferences in
recent times have been those at Lake Mohonk, in the state of New York,
arranged by Albert K. Smiley,--conferences of growing size and
importance, commanding world-wide attention, and performing for this
country almost the same service performed for France and England by
their national peace congresses. Finally, it must not be forgotten that
Theodore Roosevelt, the President of the United States, through whose
initiative the second Hague Conference will presently meet, is also a
citizen of New York.

At this very time a promising movement is gaining head to organize once
more in David Dodge's city a New York Peace Society. At one of the
recent Mohonk conferences a large committee of New York men, under the
chairmanship of Mr. Warner Van Norden, was formed for conference with
this end in view. Upon the American committee of the International Peace
Congress which met in Boston in 1904 were no less than sixteen residents
of the city of New York,--Andrew Carnegie, Hon. Oscar S. Straus, Hon.
George F. Seward, Walter S. Logan, Felix Adler, William D. Howells, Mrs.
Charles Russell Lowell, Mrs. Anna Garlin Spencer, Miss Grace H. Dodge,
Rev. Josiah Strong, Rev. Charles E. Jefferson, Cleveland H. Dodge,
George Foster Peabody, Professor John B. Clark, Leander T. Chamberlain,
and J. G. Phelps Stokes. In the week following the Boston congress a
series of great peace meetings was held in New York, at the Cooper Union
and elsewhere, arranged by members of this committee; and out of all
this a new impulse has come to plans for local organization in New York.
As one result a strong society was formed by the Germans of the city,
and a large Women's Peace Circle has since been organized and begun
important educational work. The larger New York Peace Society is now
certainly a thing of the near future. To the men and women who will
constitute that society, the noble body of those now working in their
various ways in the great city for the cause of peace, is dedicated
especially this republication of the old essays of David Dodge, the
founder of the first peace society in the world, who by his pioneering
and prophetic service gave to New York a place so significant in the
history of what is to-day the world's most commanding cause.

  SEPTEMBER, 1905                                   EDWIN D. MEAD


Humanity, wisdom, and goodness at once combine all that can be great and
lovely in man. Inhumanity, folly, and wickedness reverse the picture,
and at once represent all that can be odious and hateful. The former is
the spirit of Heaven, and the latter the offspring of hell. The spirit
of the gospel not only breathes "glory to God in the highest, but on
earth peace, and good will to men." The wisdom from above is first pure,
then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated; but the wisdom from
beneath is earthly, sensual, and devilish.

It is exceedingly strange that any one under the light of the gospel,
professing to be guided by its blessed precepts, with the Bible in his
hand, while the whole creation around him is so often groaning under the
weight and terrors of war, should have doubts whether any kind of wars
under the gospel dispensation, except spiritual warfare, can be the
dictate of any kind of wisdom except that from beneath; and much more
so, to believe that they are the fruit of the Divine Spirit, which is
love, joy, and peace.

An inspired apostle has informed us from whence come wars and fightings.
They come from the lusts of men that war in their members. Ever since
the fall, mankind have had naturally within them a spirit of pride,
avarice, and revenge. The gospel is directly opposed to this spirit. It
teaches humility, it inculcates love, it breathes pity and forgiveness
even to enemies, and forbids rendering evil for evil to any man.

Believing as I do, after much reflection and, as I trust, prayerful
investigation of the subject, that all kinds of carnal warfare are
unlawful upon gospel principles, I shall now endeavor to prove that WAR
is INHUMAN, UNWISE, and CRIMINAL, and then make some general remarks,
and state and answer several objections. In attempting to do this I
shall not always confine myself strictly to this order of the subject,
but shall occasionally make such remarks as may occur, directly or
indirectly, to show that the whole genius of war is contrary to the
spirit and precepts of the gospel.



That it is the duty of mankind to be tender-hearted, feeling for the
distress of others, and to do all in their power to prevent and
alleviate their misery, is evident not only from the example of the Son
of God but the precepts of the gospel.

When the Saviour of sinners visited this dark and cruel world he became
a man of sorrow and was acquainted with grief, so that he was touched
with the feeling of our infirmities. He went about continually healing
the sick, opening the eyes of the blind, unstopping the ears of the
deaf, raising the dead, as well as preaching the gospel of peace to the
poor. He visited the houses of affliction and poured the balm of
consolation into the wounded heart. He mourned with those who mourned,
and wept with those that wept. Love to God and man flowed from his soul
pure as the river of life, refreshing the thirsty desert around him. He
was not only affectionate to his friends but kind to his enemies. He
returned love for their hatred, and blessing for their cursing. When he
was surrounded by all the powers of darkness and resigned himself into
the hands of sinners to expiate their guilt, and they smote him on the
cheek and plucked off the hair, he "was dumb and opened not his mouth."
While suffering all the contempt and torture which men and devils could
invent, instead of returning evil for evil he prayed for his murderers
and apologized for his persecutors, saying, "Father, forgive them, for
they know not what they do."

The apostle exhorts Christians, saying, "Be ye kind and tender-hearted,
forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."

Authority in abundance might be quoted to show that the spirit of the
gospel absolutely requires the exercise of love, pity, and forgiveness,
even to enemies.

But who will undertake to prove that soldiers are usually kind and
tender-hearted, and that their employment has a natural tendency to
promote active benevolence, while it requires all their study of mind
and strength of body to injure their enemies to the greatest extent?

Though we often hear of the generosity and attention of soldiers to
prisoners, and notwithstanding I am willing to allow that feelings of
humanity are not altogether obliterated from every soldier, yet much of
this apparent kindness may flow from a desire of better treatment
themselves should circumstances be reversed, or from a hope of the
applause of mankind. My object, however, is not to prove that all
soldiers are destitute of humanity, but that their occupation has a
natural tendency and actually does weaken their kind and tender
feelings, and harden their hearts.

Is it not a fact that those who are engaged in the spirit of war, either
in the council or in the field, are not usually so meek, lowly, kind,
and tender-hearted as other men? Does the soldier usually become kind
and tender-hearted while trained to the art of killing his fellow-man,
or more so when engaged in the heat of the battle, stepping forward over
the wounded and hearing the groans of the expiring? Does he actually put
on bowels of tenderness, mercy, and forgiveness, while he bathes his
sword in the blood of his brother? Do these scenes generally change the
lion into the lamb? On the contrary, do not the history of ages and the
voice of millions bear testimony that the whole trade of war has a
natural tendency to blunt the tender edge of mercy and chill all the
sympathizing feelings of the human heart? Who that is a parent, having
an uncommonly hard-hearted and unfeeling son, would send him into the
camp to subdue his inhumanity and to stamp upon him kind and tender
feelings? If war has not a natural tendency to harden the heart, permit
me to inquire why mankind do not usually feel as much at the distress
occasioned by war as by other calamities?

It would be truly astonishing, were it not so common, to see with what
composure the generality of mankind hear the account of barbarous and
destructive battles. They may have some little excitement when they hear
of savages--whose religion teaches them revenge--using the tomahawk and
scalping knife; but when thousands are torn to pieces with shot and
shells and butchered with polished steels, then it becomes a very polite
and civil business, and those who perish are contemplated as only
reclining on a bed of honor. If an individual in common life breaks a
bone or fractures a limb, all around him not only sympathize but are
ready to aid in alleviating his distress; but when thousands are slain
and ten thousand wounded in the field of battle, the shock is but
trifling, and the feelings are soon lost in admiring the gallantry of
this hero and the prowess of that veteran. And why all this sensibility
at the pains of an individual, and all this indifference at the
sufferings of thousands, if war has not a natural tendency to harden the
heart and destroy the tender feelings of mankind?

It is a fact, however, so notorious that the spirit and practice of war
do actually harden the heart and chill the kind and tender feelings of
mankind, that I think few will be found to deny it, and none who have
ever known or felt the spirit of Christ.

The spirit of war must be very unlike the spirit of the gospel, for the
gospel enforces no duty the practice of which has a natural tendency to
harden men's hearts, but in proportion as they are influenced by its
spirit and actuated by its principles they will be humane; therefore, if
war hardens men's hearts it is not a Christian duty, and of course it
cannot be right for Christians to engage in it.


When God at first created man, he gave him authority over the beasts of
the field, the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the deep. After he
had swept away the old ungodly world of mankind for their violence with
all the animal creation, except those in the ark, he was pleased to
renew to Noah the same privilege of being lord over the animal world.

It may not perhaps be improper here to digress a little and remark that
this appears to have been the original bounds of man's authority,--that
of having dominion only over the animal world and not over his
fellow-man. It appears that God reserved to himself the government of
man, whom he originally created in his own image; from which it may be
inferred that man has no lawful authority for governing his fellow-man
except as the special executor of divine command, and that no government
can be morally right except that which acknowledges and looks up to God
as the supreme head and governor.

But to return: although the animal world is put under the dominion of
man for his use, yet he has no authority to exercise cruelty towards it.
"For the merciful man regardeth the life of his beast." God is very
merciful to his creatures; he not only hears the young ravens when they
cry but he opens his hand and supplies the wants of the cattle upon a
thousand hills.

Though God has decorated the earth with beauty and richly clothed it
with food for man and beast, yet where an all-devouring army passes,
notwithstanding the earth before them is like the garden of Eden, it is
behind them a desolate wilderness; the lowing ox and bleating sheep may
cry for food, but, alas! the destroyer hath destroyed it.

The noble horse, which God has made for the use and pleasure of man,
shares largely in this desolating evil. He is often taken, without his
customary food, to run with an express, until, exhausted by fatigue, he
falls lifeless beneath his rider. Multitudes of them are chained to the
harness with scanty food, and goaded forward to drag the baggage of an
army and the thundering engines of death, until their strength has
failed, their breath exhausted, and the kindness they then receive is
the lash of the whip or the point of a spear. In such scenes the comfort
of beasts is not thought of, except by a selfish owner who fears the
loss of his property.

But all this is trifling compared with what these noble animals, who
tamely bow to the yoke of man, suffer in the charge of the battle; the
horse rushes into the combat not knowing that torture and death are
before him. His sides are often perforated with the spur of his rider,
notwithstanding he exerts all his strength to rush into the heat of the
battle, while the strokes of the sabers and the wounds of the bullets
lacerate his body, and instead of having God's pure air to breathe to
alleviate his pains, he can only snuff up the dust of his feet and the
sulphurous smoke of the cannon, emblem of the infernal abode. Thus he
has no ease for his pains unless God commissions the bayonet or the
bullet to take away his life.

But if such is the cruelty to beasts in prosecuting war, what is the
cruelty to man, born for immortality?

No wonder that those who feel so little for their fellow-men should feel
less for beasts.

If war is an inhuman and cruel employment, it must be wrong for
Christians to engage in it.


To oppress the poor is everywhere in the Scriptures considered as a
great sin: "For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the
needy, now will I arise, saith the Lord"; "Whoso stoppeth his ears at
the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself and not be heard"; "What
mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the
poor? saith the Lord God of hosts."

The threatenings against those who oppress the poor, and the blessings
pronounced upon those who plead their cause, are very numerous in the
Scriptures. The threatenings are so tremendous and awful that all men
ought to consider well before they are active in any step which has a
natural tendency to oppress the poor and needy.

That war actually does oppress the poor may be heard from ten thousand
wretched tongues who have felt its woe. Very few, comparatively, who are
instigators of war actually take the field of battle, and are seldom
seen in the front of the fire. It is usually those who are rioting on
the labors of the poor that fan up the flame of war. The great mass of
soldiers are generally from the poor of a country. They must gird on the
harness and for a few cents per day endure all the hardships of a camp
and be led forward like sheep to the slaughter. Though multitudes are
fascinated to enlist by the intoxicating cup, the glitter of arms, the
vainglory of heroes, and the empty sound of patriotism, yet many more
are called away contrary to their wishes by the iron hand of despotic
laws. Perhaps a parent is enrolled whose daily labor was hardly
sufficient to supply a scanty pittance for a numerous offspring, who are
in his absence crying for bread. And why all this sorrow in this poor
and needy family? Because the husband and father is gone, and probably
gone forever, most likely to gratify the wishes of some ambitious men
who care as little as they think of his anxious family. Perhaps an only
son is taken from old, decrepit parents, the only earthly prop of their
declining years; and with cold poverty and sorrow their gray hairs are
brought down to the dust.

War cannot be prosecuted without enormous expenses. The money that has
been expended the last twenty years in war would doubtless have been
sufficient not only to have rendered every poor person on earth
comfortable--so far as money could do it--during the same period, but,
if the residue had been applied to cultivate the earth, it would have
literally turned the desert into a fruitful field. Only the interest of
the money that has been expended in a few years by the European nations
in prosecuting war would have been sufficient, under proper direction,
to educate every poor child on earth in the common rudiments of
learning, and to support missionaries in abundance to convey the gospel
of peace to every creature. What a noble employment if those nations had
exerted their powers for these objects as much as they have for injuring
each other! And what a difference would have appeared in the world!
Blessings would have fallen on millions ready to perish, instead of
desolation, terror, and death.

The vast expenses of war must be met by corresponding taxes, whether by
duties on merchandise or direct taxes on real estate; yet they fall most
heavily on the poor. Whatever duty the merchant pays to the customhouse,
he adds the amount to the price of his goods, so that the consumer
actually pays the tax. If a tax is levied on real estate, the product of
that estate is raised to meet it, and whoever consumes the product pays
the tax. In times of war the prices of the necessaries of life are
generally very much increased, but the prices of the labor of the poor
do not usually rise in the same proportion, therefore it falls very
heavily on them. When the honest laborers are suddenly called from the
plow to take the sword and leave the tilling of the ground, either its
seed is but sparingly sown or its fruit but partially gathered, scarcity
ensues, high prices are the consequence, and the difficulty greatly
increased for the poor to obtain the necessaries of life, especially if
they were dependent on the product of a scanty farm which they are now
deprived of cultivating. Many a poor widow, who has been able in times
of peace to support her fatherless children, has been obliged in times
of war in a great measure to depend on the cold hand of charity to
supply their wants.

The calamities of war necessarily fall more on the poor than on the
rich, because the poor of a country are generally a large majority of
its inhabitants.

These are some of the evils of war at a distance, but when it comes to
their doors, if they are favored personally to escape the ferocity of
the soldiers, they fly from their habitations, leaving their little all
to the fire and pillage, glad to escape with their lives, though
destitute and dependent; and when they cast round their eyes for relief,
they only meet a fellow-sufferer, who can sympathize with them but not
supply their wants. Thus does war not only oppress the poor but adds
multitudes to their number who before were comfortable.

If war actually does oppress the poor, then we may infer that in its
nature and tendency it is very unlike the genius of the gospel, and not
right for Christians to engage in it.


In the benign reign of Messiah the earth will be filled with the
abundance of peace; there will be nothing to hurt or destroy; every one
will sit quietly under his own vine and fig tree, having nothing to
molest or make him afraid. But in times of war, mankind are usually full
of anxiety, their hearts failing them for fear, looking for those things
which are coming upon our wicked world.

One of the most delightful scenes on earth is a happy family where all
the members dwell together in love, being influenced by the blessed
precepts of the gospel of peace. But how soon does the sound of war
disturb and distress the happy circle! If it is only the distant thunder
of the cannon that salutes the ear, the mother starts from her repose,
and all the children gather round her with looks full of anxiety to know
the cause. Few women can so command their feelings as to hide the cause;
and let it be said to the honor of the female sex that they have
generally tender feelings, which cannot easily be disguised at the
distress of their fellow-beings. Perhaps a mother's heart is now wrung
with anguish in the prospect that either the partner of her life or the
sons of her care and sorrow, or both, are about to be called into the
bloody field of battle. Perhaps the decrepit parent views his darling
son leaving his peaceful abode to enter the ensanguined field, never
more to return. How soon are these joyful little circles turned into
mourning and sorrow!

Who can describe the distress of a happy village suddenly encompassed by
two contending armies--perhaps so early and suddenly that its
inhabitants are aroused from their peaceful slumbers by the confused
noise of the warriors more ferocious than the beasts that prowl in the
forest? Were it not for the tumult of the battle, shrieks of distress
from innocent women and children might be heard from almost every abode.
Children run to the arms of their distracted mothers, who are as unable
to find a refuge for themselves as for their offspring. If they fly to
the streets they are in the midst of death: hundreds of cannon are
vomiting destruction in every quarter; the hoofs of horses trampling
down everything in their way; bullets, stones, bricks, and splinters
flying in every direction; houses pierced with cannon shot and shells
which carry desolation in their course; without, multitudes of men
rushing with deadly weapons upon each other with all the rage of tigers,
plunging each other into eternity, until the streets are literally
drenched with the blood of men. To increase the distress, the village is
taken and retaken several times at the point of the bayonet. If the
inhabitants fly to their cellars to escape the fury of the storm, their
buildings may soon be wrapt in flames over their heads.

And for what, it may be asked, is all this inhuman sacrifice made?
Probably to gain the empty bubble called honor,--a standard of right and
wrong without form or dimensions. Let no one say that the writer's
imagination is heated while it is not in the power of his feeble pen to
half describe the horror and distress of the scenes which are by no
means uncommon in a state of war.

If such are some of the effects of war, then it must be a very inhuman
employment, and wrong for Christians to engage in it.


To describe the fatigues and hardships of a soldier's life would require
the experience of a soldier, so that only some of their common
sufferings can be touched upon by a person who is a stranger to the
miseries of a camp.

A great majority of those who enter the ranks of an army are persons
unaccustomed to great privations and severe fatigues; hence the great
proportion of mortality among fresh recruits. Their habits and strength
are unable to endure the hard fare, rapid and constant marches generally
imposed upon them in active service.

The young soldier commonly exchanges a wholesome table, a comfortable
dwelling, an easy bed, for bad food, the field for his house, the cold
earth for his bed, and the heavens over him for his covering. He must
stand at his post day and night, summer and winter; face the scorching
sun, the chilling tempest, and be exposed to all the storms of the
season, without any comfortable repose; perhaps during most of the time
with a scanty allowance of the coarsest food, and often destitute of
any, except the miserable supply he may have chance to plunder,--not
enough to satisfy but only to keep alive the craving demands of nature;
often compelled to march and countermarch several days and nights in
succession, without a moment to prepare his provisions to nourish him
and glad to get a little raw to sustain his life. Frequently this
hardship is endured in the cold and inclement season, while his tattered
clothing is only the remains of his summer dress. Barefooted and half
naked, fatigued and chilled, he becomes a prey to disease, and is often
left to perish without a human being to administer to him the least
comfort. If he is carried to a hospital, he is there surrounded by the
pestilential breath of hundreds of his poor fellow-sufferers, where the
best comforts that can be afforded are but scanty and dismal.

But all this is comparatively trifling to the sufferings of the wounded
on the field of battle. There thousands of mangled bodies lie on the
cold ground hours, and sometimes days, without a friendly hand to bind
up a wound; not a voice is heard except the dying groans of their
fellow-sufferers around them. No one can describe the horrors of the
scene: here lies one with a fractured skull, there another with a
severed limb, and a third with a lacerated body; some fainting with the
loss of blood, others distracted, and others again crying for help.

If such are some of the faint outlines of the fatigues and sufferings of
soldiers, then their occupation must be an inhuman employment, for they
are instrumental in bringing the same calamities on others which they
suffer themselves; and of course it is unfriendly to the spirit of the
gospel, and wrong for Christians to engage in it.


Mankind are speedily hastening into eternity, and it might be supposed
sufficiently fast without the aid of all the ingenuity and strength of
man to hurry them forward; yet it is a melancholy truth that a great
proportion of the wealth, talents, and labors of men are actually
employed in inventing and using means for the premature destruction of
their fellow-beings.

One generation passes away, and another follows in quick succession. The
young are always the stay and hope of the aged; parents labor and toil
for their children to supply their wants and to educate them to be
happy, respectable, and useful, and then depend upon them to be their
stay and comfort in their declining years. Alas, how many expectations
of fond parents are blasted! Their sons are taken away from them and
hurried into the field of slaughter.

In times of war the youth--the flower, strength, and beauty of the
country--are called from their sober, honest, and useful employments, to
the field of battle; and if they do not lose their lives or limbs, they
generally lose their habits of morality and industry. Alas! few ever
return again to the bosom of their friends. Though from their mistaken
and fascinating views of a soldier's life and honor they may be
delighted in enlisting, and merry in their departure from their peaceful
homes, yet their joy is soon turned into pain and sorrow. Unthinking
youth, like the horse, rushes thoughtlessly into the battle. Repentance
is then too late; to shrink back is death, and to go forward is only a
faint hope of life. Here on the dreadful field are thousands and
hundreds of thousands driven together to slaughter each other by a few
ambitious men, perhaps none of whom are present. A large proportion are
probably the youth of their country, the delight and comfort of their
parents. All these opposing numbers are most likely persons who never
knew or heard of each other, having no personal ill-will, most of whom
would in any other circumstances not only not injure each other but be
ready to aid in any kind office; yet by the act of war they are ranged
against each other in all the hellish rage of revenge and slaughter.

No pen, much less that of the writer's, can describe the inhumanity and
horrors of a battle. All is confusion and dismay, dust and smoke
arising, horses running, trumpets blasting, cannon roaring, bullets
whistling, and the shrieks of the wounded and dying vibrating from every
quarter. Column after column of men charge upon each other in furious
onset, with the awful crash of bayonets and sabers, with eyes flashing
and visages frightfully distorted with rage, rushing upon each other
with the violence of brutish monsters; and when these are literally cut
to pieces others march in quick succession, only to share the same cruel
and bloody tragedy. Hundreds are parrying the blows; hundreds more are
thrusting their bayonets into the bowels of their fellow-mortals, and
many, while extricating them, have their own heads cleft asunder by
swords and sabers; and all are hurried together before the tribunal of
their Judge, with hearts full of rage and hands dyed in the blood of
their brethren.

O horrid and debasing scene! my heart melts at the contemplation, and I
forbear to dwell upon the inhuman employment.


The widow and fatherless are special objects of divine compassion, and
Christianity binds men under the strongest obligation to be kind and
merciful towards them, as their situation is peculiarly tender and

"A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widow, is God in his
holy habitation." "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father
is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction."

To be active in any measure which has a natural tendency to wantonly
multiply widows and orphans in a land is the height of inhumanity as
well as daring impiety.

I will venture to say that no one circumstance in our world has so
greatly multiplied widows and fatherless children as that of war. What
has humanity ever gained by war to counterbalance simply the afflictions
of the widow and fatherless? I verily believe nothing comparatively. I
am well aware that a very popular plea for war is to defend, as it is
styled, "our firesides, our wives and children"; but this generally is
only a specious address to the feelings, to rouse up a martial spirit
which makes thousands of women and children wretched where one is made
happy. I am sensible that those will sneer at my opinion who regard more
the honor that comes from men than they do the consolation of the widow
and the fatherless.

In times of war thousands of virtuous women are deprived of their
husbands and ten thousands of helpless children of their fathers. The
little tender children may now gather round their disconsolate mothers,
anxiously inquiring about their fathers, remembering their kind visages,
recollecting how they used fondly to dandle them on their knees and
affectionately instruct them; but now they are torn from their embraces
by the cruelty of war, and they have no fathers left them but their
Father in heaven.

It is probably no exaggeration to suppose that in Europe there are now
two hundred thousand widows and a million fatherless children occasioned
by war. What a mass of affliction! humanity bleeds at the thought! These
children must now roam about without a father to provide for, protect,
or instruct them. They now become an easy prey to all kinds of vice;
many probably will be trained up for ignominious death, and most of them
fit only for a soldier's life, to slaughter and to be slaughtered,
unless some humane hand kindly takes them under its protection.

And here I cannot help admiring the spirit of Christianity. It is owing
to the blessed spirit and temper of the gospel of peace that many of the
evils of war are so much ameliorated at the present day as well as the
inhuman slavery of men.

The numerous asylums that now exist for the relief of the needy, the
widow, and the fatherless are some of the precious fruits of
Christianity; and if this spirit were universal the bow would soon be
broken to pieces, the spear cut asunder, and the chariots of war burnt
with fire, and wars would cease to the ends of the earth.

And is it not the duty of all who name the name of Christ to do all in
their power to counteract this destroying evil?

War not only multiplies widows and orphans but clothes the land in
mourning. In times of war multitudes of people are clothed with ensigns
of mourning. Here are gray-headed parents shrouded in blackness, weeping
for the loss of darling sons; there are widows covered with veils
mourning the loss of husbands, and refusing to be comforted; children
crying because their fathers are no more. Cities and villages are
covered in darkness and desolation; weeping and mourning arise from
almost every abode.

And it may be asked, What inhuman hand is the cause of all this sorrow?
Perhaps some rash man, in the impetuosity of his spirit, has taken some
unjust, high ground, and is too proud to retrace a step, and had rather
see millions wretched than to nobly confess that he had been in the

Surely Christians cannot be active in such measures without incurring
the displeasure of God, who styles himself the father of the fatherless
and the judge and avenger of the widow.

Thus I have shown that war is inhuman and therefore wholly inconsistent
with Christianity, by proving that it tends to destroy humane
dispositions; that it hardens the hearts and blunts the tender feelings
of men; that it involves the abuse of God's animal creation; that it
oppresses the poor; that it spreads terror and distress among mankind;
that it subjects soldiers to cruel privations and sufferings; that it
destroys the youth and cuts off the hope of the aged; and that it
multiplies widows and orphans and occasions mourning and sorrow.

The fact that war is inhuman is indeed one of those obvious truths which
it is difficult to render more plain by argument; those who know in what
war consists cannot help knowing that it is inhuman.

What Mr. Windham said with reference to the inhumanity of slavery may be
said of the inhumanity of war. In one of his speeches in the House of
Commons against the slave trade he stated his difficulty in arguing
against such a trade to be of that kind which is felt in arguing in
favor of a self-evident proposition. "If it were denied that two and two
made four, it would not be a very easy task," he said, "to find
arguments to support the affirmative side of the question. Precisely
similar was his embarrassment in having to prove that the slave trade
was unjust and inhuman."

Whoever admits that the slave trade is inhuman must admit that war is
inhuman in a greater variety of ways and on a much larger scale.

The inhumanity of the slave trade was the great and, finally, triumphant
argument by which it was proved to be inconsistent with Christianity.

The advocates of slavery, like the advocates of war, resorted to the Old
Testament for support; but it appeared that slavery, as it appears that
war, was permitted and approved of for reasons and on principles
peculiar to the ancient economy. This is apparent as well from the
difference between the general design of the old and new dispensations
as from the whole genius and spirit of the gospel. Hence those who
opposed the slave trade argued from the general nature and spirit of
Christianity as the strongest ground which could be taken. If slavery
was inconsistent with this, it ought not to be tolerated; but slavery is
inhuman and is therefore inconsistent with Christianity. Exactly the
same is true of war, nor can anything short of an express revelation
from God, commanding war or slavery, render either of them justifiable.

It deserves to be distinctly considered that the gospel contains little
or nothing directly by way of precept against slavery; but slavery is
inconsistent with its general requirements and inculcations and is
therefore wrong. But war, besides being inconsistent with the genius and
spirit of the gospel, is prohibited by those precepts which forbid
retaliation and revenge and those which require forgiveness and good

It is plain, then, that he who does not advocate and defend the slave
trade, to be consistent, must grant that war is incompatible with
Christianity, and that it is a violation of the gospel to countenance


That the principles and practice of war are unwise I argue:


The maxim, that in order to preserve peace, mankind must be prepared for
war, has become so common, and sanctioned by such high authority, that
few question its wisdom or policy; but if stripped of its specious garb,
it may appear to proceed not from that wisdom which came down from
above, which is "first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be
entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and
without hypocrisy"; and if it is not the wisdom from above, then it must
be the wisdom from beneath.

Are not pride, avarice, and revenge the seeds of all kinds of carnal
warfare? From these grow all the quarreling among children, the discord
among families, the bickerings, law suits, and broils among neighbors,
the boxing among bullies, the dueling among modern gentlemen, and wars
among nations. They all originate from one and the same spirit.

Now, is the mild, meek, and peaceable man, unarmed, more liable to
inspire jealousy in others that he is about to insult and abuse them
than the high-toned duelist who constantly carries with him deathly
weapons? Does he, in fact, so often get into difficulty, quarreling and
fighting? The respectable Society of Friends stands a living monument to
answer the question.

On the principles of self-defense, as they are styled, if one man
suspects an injury from another, unless he is naturally a more powerful
man, he must take a cane, as the principles of self-defense require a
superior power in your own hand, either by art or muscular strength.
When the other learns the suspicions and sees the preparation, he in his
turn must take a bludgeon to preserve the balance of power and proclaim
a threatening to awe his antagonist, who must now take a sword and
return a threatening in order to maintain his dignity; for it will not
do for men of honor to retract, however much they may be in the wrong.
The other, again, must take a deathly weapon for his defense, and
nothing is now wanting but an unhappy meeting to set each other's blood
a flowing.

Much in the same way do nations often get into desperate warfare. One
nation is busily increasing its military strength on the plausible maxim
of preserving peace and maintaining its rights. Another nation views the
preparations with a jealous eye, and also goes to work on the same
principle to make formidable preparations. All the nations around take
the alarm, and on the same principle begin active preparations, all
vying with each other to become the most formidable. If one sends an
ambassador to inquire the cause of the great preparations, the answer
always is, let the motive be what it may, _For their own defense_. Then
the other makes new exertions and begins to fortify towns on the
confines of his neighbor, who must not only do the same but march a
large army for the defense of his frontier; and the other must do
likewise. By this time, if no old quarrel remained unsettled, perhaps
one charges the other with encroachment on territory; the other denies
the charge, and contends sharply for his pretended rights. Ministers may
be interchanged, and while negotiations are pending a high tone must be
taken by both parties, for this is an essential principle in the
doctrine of self-defense; the contrary would betray weakness and fear.
Newspapers must be ushered forth with flaming pieces to rouse, as it is
called, the spirit of the countries, so as to impress upon the populace
the idea that the approaching war is just and necessary, for all wars
must be just and necessary on both sides. In the meantime envoys
extraordinary may be sent to other powers by each party to enlist their
aid,--most of whom are already prepared for war,--and each one selects
his side according to his interests and feelings. At length the
_ultimatum_ is given and refused, and the dreadful conflict commences.
Few wars, however, begin in this slow and progressive mode; a trifling
aggression is sufficient to blow up the flame with nations already

Thus, we see, nations resemble bulldogs who happen to meet. They will
first raise their hairs, show their teeth, then growl, and then seize
upon each other with all their strength and fury; and bulldogs have
something of the same kind of honor, for they scorn to retreat.

Hence we see that the acknowledged principles of defensive war are the
vital springs of most of the wars that agitate and desolate our world.
The pretended distinction between offensive and defensive war is but a
name. All parties engaged in war proclaim to the world that they only
are fighting in defense of their rights, and that their enemies are the
aggressors; while it may be impossible for man to decide which are most
in the wrong.

The popular maxim of being prepared for war in order to be at peace may
be seen to be erroneous in fact, for the history of nations abundantly
shows that few nations ever made great preparations for war and remained
long in peace. When nations prepare for war they actually go to war, and
tell the world that their preparations were not a mere show.

Thus we may see that the principles and preparations of war actually
engender war instead of promoting peace; and of course they are unwise,
and, if unwise, then it is folly for Christians to engage in them.


As the principles and preparations of war have a natural tendency to
generate war and are actually the cause of a great proportion of the
wars which do exist, so actual hostilities have a natural tendency to
increase difficulties and to spread abroad the destroying evil.

It is almost impossible for any two nations to be long engaged in war
without interfering with the rights and privileges of other nations,
which generally awakes their jealousy and resentment, so that most of
the surrounding nations are drawn into the destructive vortex, which is
the more easily done, as war inflames the martial spirit in other
nations not engaged, and rouses up the desperate passions of men.
Besides, the belligerent nations are not content with suffering
themselves, but use every art and persuasion to get the neighboring
nations to join them; and they are generally too successful, for it
seldom happens that two nations engage in war for a length of time and
conclude a peace before they have involved other nations in their
difficulties and distresses, and often a great proportion of the world
is in arms.

Moreover, the nations who first engage in the contest always widen the
breach between themselves by war.

It is much easier settling difficulties between individuals or nations
before actual hostilities commence than afterwards. Mankind are not apt
to be any more mild and accommodating in a state of actual warfare.
Besides, new difficulties constantly arise. The passions become
inflamed, and charges are often made of violating the established laws
of civilized warfare, which laws, however, are generally bounded only by
the strength of power. If one party makes an incursion into the other's
territory and storms a fortified place and burns the town, the other
party must then make a desperate effort to retaliate the same kind of
destruction, to a double degree, on the towns of their enemy.
Retaliation, or "rendering evil for evil," is not only allowed by
Mahometans and pagans, but is an open and avowed principle in the
doctrine of self-defense among professed Christian nations; not only is
it sanctioned by the laity, but too often by the priests who minister in
the name of Jesus Christ.

Both of the contending parties generally seize on each other's
possessions wherever they can get hold of them, whether on the seas or
on the land. The barbarous spoliations on each other stir up the
passions of the great mass of their inhabitants, until they esteem it a
virtue to view each other as natural and perpetual enemies, and then
their rulers can prosecute the war with what they call vigor.

Can the wound now be so easily healed as it could have been before it
became thus lacerated and inflamed? Facts speak to the contrary, and
nations seldom attempt negotiations for peace under such circumstances.
They generally prosecute the war with all their power until one party or
the other is overcome, or until both have exhausted their strength, and
then they may mutually agree to a temporary peace to gain a little
respite, when perhaps the original matter of dispute has become
comparatively so trifling that it is almost left out of the account.

With a small spirit of forbearance and accommodation how easily might
the difficulties have been settled before such an immense loss of blood
and treasure!

If war does actually increase, instead of diminishing, difficulties,
then it must be very unwise to engage in it.


Property is what a great proportion of mankind are struggling to obtain,
and many at the hazard of their lives. Though in some instances they may
misuse it, yet it is the gift of God, and when made subservient to more
important things, it may be a blessing to individuals and communities.
It has in it, therefore, a real value, and ought not to be wantonly
destroyed while it may be used as an instrument for benefiting mankind.

It is a notorious fact that war does make a great destruction of
property. Thousands of individuals on sea and on land lose their all,
for the acquisition of which they may have spent the prime of their
lives. Ships on the high seas are taken, often burnt or scuttled, and
valuable cargoes sent to the bottom of the deep, some possibly laden
with the necessaries of life and bound to ports where the innocent
inhabitants were in a state of famine. Whole countries are laid waste by
only the passing of an immense army: houses are defaced, furniture
broken to pieces, the stores of families eaten up, cornfields trodden
down, fences torn away and used for fuel, and everything swept in its
train as with the besom of destruction more terrible to the inhabitants
than the storms of heaven when sent in judgment. Beautiful towns are
often literally torn to pieces with shot and shells. Venerable cities,
the labor and pride of ages, are buried in ashes amid devouring flames,
while in melancholy grandeur the fire and smoke rise to heaven and seem
to cry for vengeance on the destroyers.

Notwithstanding an avaricious individual or nation may occasionally in
war acquire by plunder from their brethren a little wealth, yet they
usually lose on the whole more than they gain. On the general scale the
loss is incalculable. It is not my object to examine the subject in
relation to any particular nation or war, but upon the general scale in
application to all warlike nations and all wars under the light of the

If war does destroy property, reduce individuals to beggary, and
impoverish nations, then it is unwise to engage in it.


Liberty is the gift of God, and ought to be dear to every man; not,
however, that licentious liberty which is not in subordination to his
commands. Men are not independent of God. He is their creator,
preserver, and benefactor. In his hand their breath is, and he has a
right to do what he will with his own; and the Judge of all the earth
will do right. As man is not the creator and proprietor of man, he has
no right to infringe on his liberty or life without his express divine
command; and then he acts only as the executor of God. Man, therefore,
bears a very different relation to God from what he does to his

The whole system of war is tyrannical and subversive of the fundamental
principles of liberty. It often brings the great mass of community under
the severe bondage of military despotism, so that their lives and
fortunes are at the sport of a tyrant. Where martial law is proclaimed,
liberty is cast down, and despotism raises her horrid ensign in its
place and fills the dungeons and scaffolds with her victims.

Soldiers in actual service are reduced to the most abject slavery, not
able to command their time for a moment, and are constantly driven about
like beasts by petty tyrants. In them is exhibited the ridiculous
absurdity of men rushing into bondage and destruction to preserve or
acquire their liberty and save their lives.

When the inhabitants of a country are cruelly oppressed by a despotic
government, and they rise in mass to throw off the yoke, they are as
often as otherwise crushed beneath the weight of the power under which
they groaned, and then their sufferings are greatly increased; and if
they gain their object after a long and sanguinary struggle, they
actually suffer more on the whole than they would have suffered had they
remained in peace. It is generally the providence of God, too, to make a
people who have thrown off the yoke of their oppressor smart more
severely under the government of their own choice than they did under
the government which they destroyed. This fact ought well to be
considered by every one of a revolutionary spirit.

War actually generates a spirit of anarchy and rebellion which is
destructive to liberty. When the inhabitants of a country are engaged in
the peaceable employments of agriculture, manufactures, and commerce,
anarchy and rebellion seldom happen. When these useful employments
flourish, abundance flows in on every side, gentleness and humanity cast
a smile over the land, and pleasure beams in almost every countenance.
To turn the attention of a nation from these honest employments to _that
of war_ is an evil of unspeakable magnitude. The great object in times
of war is to rouse up what is styled the spirit of the country,--which,
in fact, is nothing but inflaming the most destructive passions against
its own peace and safety. If you infuse into a nation the spirit of war
for the sake of fighting a foreign enemy, you do that which is often
most dangerous to its own liberties; for if you make peace with the
common enemy, you do not destroy the spirit of war among your own
inhabitants; pride, discontent, and revenge will generally agitate the
whole body, so that anarchy and confusion will fill the land, and
nothing but a despotic power can restrain it; and often absolute
despotism is too feeble to withstand it, and the only remedy is again to
seek a common enemy. Nations have sometimes waged war against other
nations because there was such a spirit of war among their own
inhabitants that they could not be restrained from fighting, and if they
had not a common foe they would fight one another. So when a nation once
unsheathes the sword, it cannot easily return the sword again to the
scabbard, but must keep it crimsoned with the blood of man until "they
who take the sword shall perish with the sword," agreeably to the
denunciation of Heaven.

To inflame a mild republic with the _spirit of war_ is putting all its
liberties to the utmost hazard, and is an evil that few appear to
understand or appreciate. No person can calculate the greatness of the
evil to transform the citizens of a peaceful, industrious republic into
a band of furious soldiers; and yet the unhappy policy of nations is to
cultivate a martial spirit that they may appear grand, powerful, and
terrific, when in fact they are kindling flames that will eventually
burn them up root and branch.

In confirmation of what has been said, if we examine the history of
nations we shall find that they have generally lost their liberties in
consequence of the spirit and practice of war. Thus have republics who
have boasted of their freedom lost their liberty one after another, and
that this has resulted from the very nature of war and its inseparable
evils is evident from the fact that so violent and deadly is this
current of ruin, republics have generally sunk down to the lowest abyss
of tyranny and despotism, or have been annihilated and their inhabitants
scattered to the four winds of heaven. Indeed, what nation that has
become extinct did not first lose its liberty by war, and then hasten to
its end under the dominion of those passions which war inflames?

Do nations ever enjoy so much liberty as when most free from the spirit
of war? Are their liberties ever so little endangered as when this
spirit is allayed and all its foreign excitements removed? Do not
nations that have partially lost their civil liberties gradually regain
them in proportion as they continue long without war? Is it not a common
sentiment that the liberties of a people are in danger when war
engrosses their attention? On the whole, is it not undeniable that peace
is favorable to liberty, and that war is its enemy and its ruin? If so,
what can be more unwise, what more opposite to every dictate of sound
wisdom and policy, than the spirit and practice of war?


Happiness is the professed object which most men are striving to obtain.
Alas! few, comparatively, seek it where it is alone to be found. But
that happiness which flows from the benevolent spirit of the gospel is
to be prized far above rubies; it is a treasure infinitely surpassing
anything that can be found merely in riches, honors, and pleasures.

But war always diminishes the aggregate of happiness in the world. When
nations wage war upon each other, all classes of their inhabitants are
more or less oppressed. They are subjected to various privations;
prosperity declines; external sources of happiness are mostly dried up;
anxiety for friends, loss of relations, loss of property, the fear of
pillage, severe services, great privations, and the dread of conquest
keep them constantly distressed. They are like the troubled sea that
cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.

Those actually engaged in war generally suffer privations and hardships
of the severest kind. Even the sage counselors who declare wars are
often in so great anxiety and pain as to the result of their enterprises
as to be unable quietly to refresh themselves with food or sleep.

All the rejoicings occasioned by military success are fully counterbalanced
by the pain and mortification of the vanquished; and, in short, all the
interest and happiness resulting from war to individuals and nations are
dearly bought, and are at the expense of other individuals and nations.

It is because war has no tendency to increase, but does in fact greatly
diminish, happiness that it is so universally regarded and lamented as
the greatest evil that visits our world. Hence fasting has generally
been practiced by warlike Christian nations to deplore the calamity, to
humble themselves before God, and to supplicate his mercy in turning
away the judgment.

Though fasting and deep humility before God is highly suitable for
sinners, with a hearty turning away from their sins and humble
supplication for God's mercy through the mediation of Christ, yet those
fasts of nations who have voluntarily engaged in war and are determined
to prosecute it until their lusts and passions are gratified do not
appear to be such fasts as God requires.

Does it not appear absurd for nations voluntarily to engage in war, and
then to proclaim a fast to humble themselves before God for its evils,
while they have no desire to turn away from them, but, on the contrary,
make it an express object to seek the divine aid in assisting them
successfully to perpetuate it?

We often see contending nations, all of whom cannot be right, on any
principle, proclaiming fasts, and chanting forth their solemn _Te Deums_
as each may occasionally be victorious. Though such clashing hymns
cannot mingle in the golden censer, yet few Christians seem to question
the propriety of quarreling and fighting nations each in their turn
supplicating aid in their unhallowed undertakings and returning thanks
in case of success. Doubtless many would consider it as solemn mockery
to see two duelists before their meeting supplicating God's blessing
and protection in the hour of conflict, and then to see the victor
returning thanks for his success in shedding the blood of his brother;
and yet, when nations carry on the business by wholesale (if I may be
allowed the expression) it is considered a very pious employment. The
Lord has said, "And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine
eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear; your
hands are full of blood."

Penitent Christians may weep and mourn with propriety for their own sins
and the sins of the nations, with a hearty desire not only to forsake
their own iniquities, but that the nations may be brought to confess and
forsake their sins and turn from them to the living God. It is true that
war is a judgment in God's providence. It is also a sin of the highest
magnitude and ought to be repented of. It is a crime so provoking to
Heaven that other calamities generally attend it. The famine, fire, and
pestilence often attend its horrors and spread distress through a land.
War with its attending evils unquestionably diminishes the aggregate of
happiness in the world, and is therefore unwise.


The strength, defense, and glory of a country consists primarily in the
good moral character of its inhabitants. The virtuous and the good are
the salt that preserve it from ruin. Says the Rev. Dr. Miller in his
sermon on the death of Dr. Rogers (pages 366 and 388 of the Memoirs),
"It is manifest from the whole tenor of his word that God is slow to
inflict heavy judgments upon a nation in which many of his people dwell;
that he often spares it, spreads over it the protection of his
providence, and finally delivers it for their sake; and, of course, that
the presence of his beloved children, speaking after the manner of men,
is a better defense than chariots and horsemen, a better defense than
all the plans of _mere_ politicians, than all the skill, courage, and
activity of _mere_ warriors." Again, "I have no doubt that it is as
great and precious a truth at this day as it ever was, that a praying
people are, under God, the greatest security of a nation."

When the inhabitants of a country become generally profane and dissolute
in their manners, slaves to dissipation and vice, it is usually God's
providence soon to visit them in his wrath and let loose the instruments
of his destroying vengeance; how important, therefore, in a temporal
point of view, is the preservation of good morals to a nation. But no
event has so powerful a tendency to destroy the morals of a people as
that of actual war. It draws the attention of the inhabitants from
useful employments; it generates curiosity, dissipation, and idleness,
and awakes all the furious passions of men.

War occasions a great profanation of the Sabbath. Under God's providence
the Sabbath has always been a great barrier against vice, and the
observance of it is indispensable to good morals.

In time of war the Sabbath among soldiers is often a day of parade. In
the streets of the best-regulated cities may be seen soldiers marching,
flags flying, drums and fifes playing, and a rabble of children
following in the train. Now all this is not only calculated to dissipate
all reverential respect for the solemnities of the day among the
soldiers, but is calculated to destroy the respect and observance of the
day with which the children and youth have been inspired. Add to this,
flags are suspended from the windows of taverns and grogshops to entice
in the youth by the intoxicating cup. In the camp the Sabbath is almost
forgotten and rendered a common day. Armies from professing Christian
nations as often begin offensive operations on the Sabbath as on any
other day; and professing Christians not only tolerate all this but
approve of it as a work of necessity and mercy.

War occasions dishonesty. In countries where armies are raised by
voluntary enlistment all kinds of deception and art are practiced by
recruiting officers, and connived at by their governments, to induce the
heedless youth to enlist. The honor and glory of the employment is held
up to view in false colors; the importance of their bounty and wages are
magnified; the lightness of the duty and opportunities for amusements
and recreation are held out; and probably one half have the assurances
of being noncommissioned officers, with a flattering prospect of a
speedy advancement; and prospects of plunder are also held out to their
cupidity. These deceptive motives are daily urged under the stimulating
power of ardent spirits and the fascinating charms of martial music and
military finery. Many a young man who has entered the rendezvous from
curiosity or for the sake of a dram, without the least idea of joining
the army, has been entrapped into intoxication, and his hand then
grasped the pen to seal his fate.

Recruits after joining the army find from experience that most of the
allurements held out to them to enlist were but a deception, and from
lust and want they often become petty thieves and plunderers to repay
them for their great privations, fatigues, and sufferings.

War occasions drunkenness,--one of the greatest evils and most
destructive to morality, as a multitude of other vices necessarily
follow in its train. Many a young man has entered the military ranks
_temperate_, and has returned from them a _sot_. All the enticements of
liquor are exhibited in the most inviting forms to youth in the streets
by the recruiting officer, to tempt them to enlist; and while those who
have enrolled themselves remain at the rendezvous, they are probably
every day intoxicated with the inebriating poison, soul and body, and
soon the habit becomes confirmed. While in actual service their fatigues
are so great that they greedily lay hold on the destroying liquor
wherever they can find it to exhilarate their languid frames, even if
they had not before acquired an insatiable thirst; and soon this
detestable evil will become so enchanting that they will not only barter
away their wages for it but their necessary clothing. If they survive
the campaign and return to their homes, they are often the visitors of
grogshops and taverns, and by their marvelous stories attract the
populace around them, who must join them in circulating the cup; and
thus they spread this destroying evil all around.

War occasions profaneness. Profaneness is an abomination in the sight of
God: "For the Lord will not hold him guiltless who taketh his name in
vain." Profaneness draws down the judgments of heaven, "for because of
swearing the land mourneth."

That soldiers are generally considered more profane than other men is
evident, because it has become a proverb that "such a person is as
profane as a soldier, or a man-of-war's man." Young men who have been
taught to revere the name of the God of their fathers may shudder at the
awful profanations that fill their ears when they first enter an army;
but if destitute of grace in the heart, the sound will soon cease to
offend, and they will eagerly inhale the blasphemous breath and become
champions in impiety. For want of habit they may not swear with so easy
a grace as the older soldiers; they will for that reason make great
exertions and invent new oaths, which will stimulate their fellows again
to exceed in daring impiety. Seldom does a soldier return from the camp
without the foul mouth of profanity. Astonishing to think that those who
are most exposed to death should be most daring in wickedness!

War occasions gambling. A great proportion of the amusements of the camp
are petty plays at chance, and the stake usually a drink of grog. The
play is fascinating. Multitudes of soldiers become established gamblers
to the extent of their ability, and often, if they return to society,
spread the evil among their neighbors.

War begets a spirit of quarreling, boxing, and dueling; and no wonder
that it should, for the whole business of war is nothing else but
quarreling and fighting. The soldier's ambition is to be a bully, a
hero, and to be careless of his own life and the lives of others. He is
therefore impatient in contradiction, receives an insult where none was
intended, and is ready to redress the supposed injury with the valor of
his own arms; for it will not do for soldiers to shrink from the contest
and be cowards.

War destroys the habits of industry and produces idleness. Industry is
necessary to good morals as well as to the wealth and happiness of a
country, and every wise government will take all laudable means to
encourage it; but a large proportion of common soldiers who may return
from the armies have lost the relish and habits of manual labor and are
often found loitering about in public places, and if they engage in any
kinds of labor, it is with a heavy hand and generally to little purpose.
They therefore make bad husbands, unhappy neighbors, and are worse than
a dead weight in society. Their children are badly educated and provided
for, and trained up to demoralizing habits, which are handed down from
generation to generation.

These immoralities, and many more that might be named, are not confined
to soldiers in time of war, but they are diffused more or less through
the whole mass of community; and war produces a general corruption in a
nation, and is therefore unwise, even in a temporal point of view. But
when we consider the natural effects of these immoralities on the souls
of men, all temporal advantages are in comparison annihilated. In this
school of vice millions are ripening for eternal woe. The destroying
influence will spread and diffuse itself through the whole mass of
society unless the spirit of the Lord lifts up a standard against it.

The state of morals, so much depressed by the American Revolution, was
only raised by the blessed effusions of God's holy spirit.

If war does actually demoralize a people, then no wise person can
consistently engage in it.


Says our blessed Saviour: "For what is a man profited, if he should gain
the whole world, and lose his own soul?"

The loss of a soul infinitely exceeds all finite calculations. It is not
only deprived forever and ever of all good but is plunged into misery
inexpressible and everlasting. All temporal things dwindle to nothing
when placed in comparison with eternal realities. The rights, liberties,
and wealth of nations are of little value compared with one immortal
soul. But astonishing to think that millions and millions have been put
at everlasting hazard only for the chance of defending temporal things!

The habits and manners of a soldier's life are calculated, as we have
already seen, to demoralize them, to obliterate all early serious
impressions, to introduce and confirm them in the most daring wickedness
and fit them for everlasting destruction. And notwithstanding God may
have occasionally, to display his sovereign power, snatched some
soldiers from the ranks of rebellion and made them the heirs of his
grace, yet no sober Christian will say that the army is a likely place
to promote their salvation; but, on the contrary, must acknowledge that
it is a dangerous place for the souls of men. It may be assumed as an
undeniable fact that the great mass of soldiers are notoriously depraved
and wicked. With but few exceptions their impiety grows more daring the
longer they practice war; and when it is considered that thousands and
thousands of such are hurried by war prematurely into eternity, with all
their sins unpardoned, what an amazing sacrifice appears only for some
supposed temporal good. But when it is remembered that this infinite
sacrifice is made merely for the chance of obtaining some temporal
advantage, the folly of war appears in more glaring colors, as the
battle is not always to the strong. Those who are contending for their
rights, and are least in the wrong, are about as often unsuccessful as
otherwise, and then they very much increase their evils in a temporal
point of view. A wise man would not engage in a lawsuit to recover a
cent, admitting that it was his just due, if the trial put to the hazard
his whole estate. But this bears no comparison with _one soul_ in
competition with all temporal things; and yet men, professing to be
_wise_, not only put one soul at hazard but millions, not for the
_chance_ of defending all temporal good, but often for a mere bubble,
the hollow sound of honor; and many of those who are watching for souls,
and must give an account, instead of sounding the alarm, approve of it.

All who engage in war, either in the field or otherwise, practically
regard _time_ more than eternity, and _temporal_ more than _eternal_

If souls are of more value than temporal things, and eternity of more
consequence than time, it must be _unwise_ to engage in a war and put
souls to immediate hazard of everlasting ruin, and totally wrong for
Christians to engage in it.


The professed object of war generally is to preserve liberty and produce
a lasting peace; but war never did and never will preserve liberty and
produce a lasting peace, for it is a divine decree that all nations who
take the sword shall perish with the sword. War is no more adapted to
preserve liberty and produce a lasting peace than midnight darkness is
to produce noonday light.

The principles of war and the principles of the gospel are as unlike as
heaven and hell. The principles of war are terror and force, but the
principles of the gospel are mildness and persuasion. Overcome a man by
the former and you subdue only his natural power, but not his spirit;
overcome a man by the latter, and you conquer his spirit and render his
natural power harmless. Evil can never be subdued by evil. It is
returning good for evil that overcomes evil effectually. It is,
therefore, alone the spirit of the gospel that can preserve liberty and
produce a lasting peace. Wars can never cease until the principles and
spirit of war are abolished.

Mankind have been making the experiment with war for ages to secure
liberty and a lasting peace; or, rather, they have ostensibly held out
these objects as a cover to their lusts and passions. And what has been
the result? Generally the loss of liberty, the overturning of empires,
the destruction of human happiness, and the drenching of the earth with
the blood of man.

In most other pursuits mankind generally gain wisdom by experience; but
the experiment of war has not been undertaken to acquire wisdom. It has,
in fact, been undertaken and perpetuated for ages to gratify the corrupt
desires of men. The worst of men have delighted in the honors of
military fame and it is what they have a strong propensity for; and how
can a Christian take pleasure in that employment which is the highest
ambition of ungodly men? The things that are highly esteemed among men
are an abomination in the sight of God. Is it not, therefore, important
that every one naming the name of Christ should bear open testimony
against the spirit and practice of war and exhibit the spirit and temper
of the gospel before the world that lieth in wickedness, and let their
lights shine before men?

But what can the men of the world think of such Christians as are daily
praying that wars may cease to the ends of the earth, while they have
done nothing and are doing nothing to counteract its destructive
tendency? Alas! too many are doing much by their lives and conversation
to support its spirit and principles. Can unbelievers rationally
suppose such prayers to be sincere? Will they not rather conclude that
they are perfect mockery? What would be thought of a man daily praying
that the means used for his sick child might be blessed for his
recovery, when he was constantly administering to him known poison? With
the same propriety do those Christians pray that war may come to a final
end, while they are supporting its vital principles.

It is contrary to fact that war is calculated to preserve liberty and
secure a lasting peace; for it has done little else but destroy liberty
and peace and make the earth groan under the weight of its terror and

It is contrary to the word of God that war is calculated to promote
peace on earth and good will toward men. The law that is to produce this
happy effect will not be emitted from the council of war or the smoke of
a camp; but the law shall go forth out of Zion, and the Lord shall
rebuke the strong nations and they shall beat their swords into
plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; then nations shall no
more lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn the art of
war any more; then shall the earth be filled with the abundance of peace
and there shall be nothing to hurt or destroy. It is reserved alone for
the triumph of the gospel to produce peace on earth and good will to

If war does actually provoke insult and mischief; if it increases
difficulties, destroys property and liberty; if it diminishes happiness,
injures the morals of society, hazards eternal for only the chance of
defending temporal things, and, finally, does not answer the end for
which it was intended, then it must be _very unwise_ to engage in it,
and it must be wrong for Christians to do anything to promote it, and
right to do all in their power to prevent it.


I am now to show that war, when judged of on the principles of the
gospel, is highly criminal.


... I would have it understood that I consider every act of mankind
which is palpably contrary to the spirit and precepts of the gospel

It is an express precept of the gospel to abstain from all appearance of
evil. "Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation" is also an
express command of Christ.

A person desiring not only to abstain from evil, but from the very
appearance of it, will suffer wrong rather than hazard that conduct
which may involve doing wrong. He will be so guarded that if he errs at
all he will be likely to give up his right when he might retain it
without injuring others.

No person, it is believed, will attempt to maintain that there is no
appearance of evil in carnal warfare, or that it is not a scene of great

One great object of the gospel is to produce good morals, to subdue the
irascible passions of men and bring them into sweet subjection to the
gospel of peace.

But war cannot be prosecuted without rousing the corrupt passions of
mankind. In fact, it is altogether the effect of lust and passion. In
times of war almost every measure is taken for the express purpose of
inflaming the passions of men, because they are the vital springs of
war, and it would not exist without them. Those who are engaged in war,
both in the council and in the field, have a feverish passion, which
varies as circumstances may happen to change. Those who are actually
engaged in the heat of battle are usually intoxicated with rage. Should
this be denied by any one, I would appeal to the general approbation
bestowed on the artist who displays most skill in painting scenes of
this kind. He who can represent the muscular powers most strongly
exerted, the passions most inflamed, and the visage most distorted with
rage, will gain the highest applause. The truth of the assertion is,
therefore, generally admitted. Some men, perhaps, may be so much under
the influence of pride as to have the appearance of stoical indifference
when their antagonists are at some distance, but let them meet sword in
hand and the scene is at once changed.

The temptations for those who constitute, or those who encourage and
support, armies to commit or to connive at immorality are too various
and too multiplied to be distinctly mentioned.

Who can deny that war is altogether a business of strife? But, says an
inspired apostle, "where envying and strife is, there is confusion and
every evil work."

Now, if war is a scene of confusion and strife and every evil work, it
is impossible for any one to engage in it and avoid the appearance of
evil or be out of the way of temptation; those who are armed with
deathly weapons and thirsting for the blood of their fellow-mortals
surely cannot be said to exhibit no appearance of evil. But if engaging
in wars is putting on the appearance of evil and running into
temptation, then it is highly criminal to engage in it.


One of the abominable things which proceed out of the corrupt heart of
man, as represented by our Saviour, is pride. "God resisteth the proud,
but giveth grace to the humble." "The Lord hates a proud look." "Every
one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord." That pride is
criminal and that humility is commendable will doubtless be admitted by
all who believe the Scriptures.

Pride, however, is one of the chief sources of war. It is pride that
makes men glory in their strength and prowess; it is pride that hinders
them from confessing their faults and repairing the injury done to

Although pride is commonly condemned in the abstract, yet it is
generally commended in soldiers and fanned by every species of art and
adulation, not only by men of the world but too often by those who bear
the Christian name. And why is it necessary to inflame the pride of
soldiers? Because it is well understood that soldiers without pride are
not fit for their business.

If war is a Christian duty, why should not the example and precepts of
Christ, instead of the example of the heroes of this world, be exhibited
to those who fight to stimulate them? Is not Christ as worthy of
imitation as the Cæsars and Alexanders of this world? He was a
triumphant conqueror; he vanquished death and hell, and purchased
eternal redemption for his people; but he conquered by resignation and
triumphed by his death. Here is an example worthy of the highest
emulation. And why not animate soldiers by it? Only because it would
unnerve their arms for war and render them harmless to their foes.

It is so common to compliment the pride of soldiers that, instead of
considering it that abominable thing which the Lord hates, they consider
it a virtue. We frequently hear "gentlemen of the sword," as they are
styled, in reply to the flattery bestowed upon them, frankly declare
that it is their highest ambition to obtain the praise of their
fellow-citizens; and, of course, they confess that they are seeking the
praise of men more than the praise of God. These gentlemen, however, are
far less criminal than those who lavish flattery on them; for doubtless
most of them are sincere and think themselves in the way of their duty,
while their profession often leads them, necessarily, from the means of
knowing correctly what is duty. While professing Christians have been
taught from their cradles that the profession of arms is not merely an
allowable but a noble employment, it is easy for them to slide into the
current and go with the multitude to celebrate victories and to eulogize
heroes, without once reflecting whether they are imitating their Lord
and Master. But is it not time for Christians to examine and ascertain
if war is tolerated in the gospel of peace before they join in
festivities to celebrate its bloody feats? How would a pagan be
astonished if he had been taught the meek, lowly, and forgiving spirit
and principles of the gospel, without knowing the practice of
Christians, to see a host of men, professing to be influenced by these
blessed principles, marshaled in all the pomp of military parade,
threatening destruction to their fellow-mortals! Would he not conclude
that either he or they had mistaken the genius of the gospel, or that
they believed it to be but a fable?

It is a notorious fact, which requires no confirmation, that military
men, decorated with finery and clad in the glitter of arms, instead of
being meek and lowly in their temper and deportment, are generally
flushed with pride and haughtiness; and, indeed, what purpose do their
decorations and pageantry answer but that of swelling their vanity?
Their employment is not soft and delicate. Other men who follow rough
employments wear rough clothing; but the soldier's occupation is not
less rough than the butcher's, though, in the world's opinion, it is
more honorable to kill men than to kill cattle.

But if war has a natural tendency to inflame, and does inflame and
increase the pride of men, it is criminal; it does that which the Lord
hates, and it must be highly criminal to engage in it.


Liberty of conscience is a sacred right delegated to man by his Creator,
who has given no authority to man to infringe in the least on the
conscience of his fellow-man. Though a man, by following the dictates of
his conscience, may be injured by men, yet they have no authority to
deprive him of the rights of conscience. To control the conscience is
alone the prerogative of God. That man has no right to violate the
conscience of his fellow-man is a truth which few, under the light of
the gospel, since the days of ignorance and superstition, have ventured
to call in question.

But military governments, from their very nature, necessarily infringe
on the consciences of men. Though the word of God requires implicit
obedience to rulers in all things not contrary to the Scriptures, it
utterly forbids compliance with such commands as are inconsistent with
the gospel. We must obey God rather than man, and fear God as well as
honor the king. But governments, whether monarchial or republican, make
laws as they please, and compel obedience at the point of the sword.
They declare wars, and call upon all their subjects to support them.

Offensive war, by all professing Christians, is considered a violation
of the laws of Heaven; but offensive war is openly prosecuted by
professing Christians under the specious name of self-defense. France
invaded Spain, Germany, and Russia; England invaded Holland and
Denmark; and the United States invaded Canada, under the pretense of
defensive war. The fact is, however, that no man can, on gospel
principles, draw a line of distinction between offensive and defensive
war so as to make the former a crime and the latter a duty, simply
because the gospel has made no such distinction. But while many
Christians profess to make the distinction, and to consider offensive
war criminal, they ought to have the liberty to judge, when war is
waged, whether it is offensive or defensive, and to give or withhold
their aid accordingly; otherwise they are not permitted the free
exercise of their consciences.

But suppose this principle adopted by governments. Could they prosecute
war while they left every individual in the free exercise of his
conscience to judge whether such war was offensive or defensive and to
regulate his conduct accordingly? Would it be possible for governments
to carry on war if they depended for support on the uncertain opinion of
every individual? No; such a procedure would extinguish the vital
strength of war and lay the sword in the dust. The fact is well known,
and monarchs declare war and force their subjects to support it. The
majority in republican governments declare war and demand and enforce
obedience from the minority.

Though the constitutions of governments may, in the most solemn manner,
guarantee to citizens the free exercise of their consciences, yet
governments find it necessary practically to make an exception in
relation to war, and a man may plead conscientious motives in vain to
free himself from contributing to the support of war.

I think it proper here to notice what has appeared to me a gross
absurdity among some Christians in this land. They have openly declared
that in their opinion the late war was offensive; that it was contrary
to the laws of God, and that they were opposed to it; but though they
wished not to support it because it was criminal, yet they said, if they
were called on in a constitutional way, they would support it. Thus did
they publicly declare that they would, under certain circumstances, obey
man rather than God.

But soldiers actually resign up their consciences to their commanders,
without reserving any right to obey only in such cases as they may judge
not contrary to the laws of God. Were they at liberty to judge whether
commands were morally right or not, before they yielded obedience, it
would be totally impracticable for nations to prosecute war. Ask a
general if his soldiers have the privilege of determining whether his
commands are right or not, and he will tell you it is their duty only to

Suppose that a general and his army are shut up in a city in their own
country, and that provisions are failing; that an army is advancing for
their relief, but cannot reach the place until all means of sustenance
will be consumed; that the inhabitants cannot be let out without
admitting the besiegers; and that in this extremity, to preserve his
army for the defense of his country, the commander orders his men to
slay the inhabitants, doing this evil that good may come. But some
conscientious soldiers refuse to obey a command to put the innocent to
the sword for any supposed good. What must be the consequence? Their
lives must answer for their disobedience. Nor is this contrary to the
usages of war. And Christians satisfy their consciences upon the false
principle that soldiers are not accountable for their conduct, be it
ever so criminal, if they obey their commanders; all the blame must fall
on the officers, which involves the absurdity of obeying man rather than
God. Thus soldiers must be metamorphosed into something besides moral
and accountable beings in order to prosecute war; and, in fact, they are
treated generally not as moral agents but as a sort of machinery to
execute the worst of purposes.

The only plausible method of which I can conceive to avoid the above
consequences requires that soldiers should not practically resign their
consciences, but, when commands which are morally wrong are given, that
they should refuse obedience and die as martyrs. But to enter an army
with such views would be to belie the very oath of obedience which they
take. Besides, who could execute the martyrs and be innocent? In this
way all might become martyrs, and the army be annihilated.

But if war does not admit the free exercise of conscience on Christian
principles, then it is criminal for Christians to become soldiers, and
the principles of war must be inconsistent with the principles of


That patient suffering under unjust and cruel treatment from mankind is
everywhere in the gospel held up to view as the highest Christian virtue
probably few professing Christians will deny.

But notwithstanding this truth is generally admitted, there is very
commonly introduced a carnal, sophistical mode of reasoning to limit, or
explain away, this precious doctrine, which is peculiar to the gospel
and which distinguishes it from all other kinds of morality and religion
on earth. It has relation, it is said, only to matters of religion and
religious persecution,--as if the gospel required mankind actually to
regard a little wealth and a few temporal things more than all religious
privileges and life itself; for, by this human maxim, men may fight to
defend the former, but not the latter. And this maxim is built on the
supposition that Christians are not bound strictly by gospel precepts in
relation to temporal things, but only in relation to spiritual things.
Hence it is said that the martyrs conducted nobly in refusing to fight
for the privilege of worshiping the true God, but if Christians now
refuse to fight to defend their money and their political freedom they
act in a dastardly manner and violate the first principles of nature.
Thus are temporal regarded more than spiritual and everlasting things.

The precepts of the gospel, however, unequivocally forbid returning evil
for evil, and enjoin patient sufferings under injurious and cruel
treatment. A few instances shall be quoted: "Now we exhort you,
brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feeble-minded, support
the weak, be patient towards all men. See that none render evil for evil
to any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves,
and unto all men." "If, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it
patiently, this is acceptable with God." The apostle James, in his
solemn denunciation against oppressors, says, "Ye have condemned and
killed the just, and he doth not resist you"; he then immediately
exhorts the Christians, saying, "Be patient therefore, brethren, unto
the coming of the Lord." "Finally, be ye all of one mind, having
compassion one for another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous,
not rendering evil for evil, railing for railing; but contrariwise
blessings, knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit
a blessing." "For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his
ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against them
that do evil. And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of
that which is good?"

A patient, forbearing, suffering disposition is peculiar to the lamblike
temper of the gospel, and is wholly opposed to the bold, contending,
daring spirit of the world which leads mankind into quarreling and

It is generally admitted, I believe, that it is the duty of Christians
patiently to suffer the loss of all temporal things, and even life
itself, rather than willfully violate any of God's commands. If, then,
it is the duty of a Christian patiently to suffer death rather than
bear false witness against his neighbor, be he friend or foe, is it not
equally his duty patiently to suffer death rather than kill his
neighbor, whether friend or foe? Not merely taking away the life of our
neighbor is forbidden, but every exercise of heart and hand which may
have a natural tendency to injure him. But which is the greatest
evil,--telling a lie, or killing a man? By human maxims you may do the
latter to save your life, but not the former; though the former might
injure no one but yourself, while the latter, besides injuring yourself,
might send your neighbor to eternal destruction.

The spirit of martyrdom is the true spirit of Christianity. Christ
himself meekly and submissively died by the hands of his enemies, and
instead of resistance, even by words, he prayed, "Father, forgive them,
for they know not what they do." Stephen, when expiring under a shower
of stones from his infuriate murderers, prayed, "Lord, lay not this sin
to their charge." St. Paul testified that he was not only ready to be
bound but to die for the Lord Jesus. The early martyrs resigned up their
lives with patient submission as witnesses for Jesus,--and this at a
time, when, Sir Henry Moncrief Wellwood in his Sermons, page 335, says,
"Tertullian has told us that Christians were sufficiently numerous to
have defended themselves against the persecutions excited against them
by the heathen, if their religion had permitted them to have recourse to
the sword."

The spirit of martyrdom is the crowning test of Christianity. The martyr
takes joyfully the spoiling of his goods, and counts not his life dear
to himself.

But how opposite is the spirit of war to the spirit of martyrdom! The
former is bold and vindictive, ready to defend property and honor at the
hazard of life, ready to shed the blood of an enemy. The latter is meek
and submissive, ready to resign property and life rather than injure
even an enemy. Surely patient submission under cruel and unjust
treatment is not only the highest Christian virtue but the most extreme
contrast to the spirit of war.

Now if it is a duty required by the gospel not to return evil for evil,
but to overcome evil with good; to suffer injustice and to receive
injury with a mild, patient, and forgiving disposition,--not only in
words but in actions,--then all kinds of carnal contention and warfare
are criminal and totally repugnant to the gospel, whether engaged in by
individuals or by communities.

Can it be right for Christians to attempt to defend with hostile weapons
the things which they profess but little to regard? They profess to have
their treasure not in this world but in heaven above, which is beyond
the reach of earthly invaders, so that it is not in the power of earth
or hell to take away their dearest interests. There may be a propriety
in the men of the world exclaiming that their dearest rights are invaded
when their property and political interests are infringed upon; but it
is a shame for Christians to make this exclamation, while they profess
to believe that their dearest interest is in the hand of Omnipotence,
and that the Lord God of hosts is their defense.

Whoever, without divine command, dares to lift his hand with a deathly
weapon against the life of his fellow-man for any supposed injury denies
the Christian character in the very act, and relies on his own arm
instead of relying on God for defense.


Says our blessed Saviour, "All things whatsoever ye would that men
should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the law and the
prophets." Now if we wish men to be kind and forbearing to us, we must
be kind and forbearing to them; if we wish them to return love for
hatred and good for evil, then we must return love for hatred and good
for evil; if we wish not to be injured by men, then we must not injure
them; if we wish not to be killed, then we must not kill.

But what is the practical language of war? Does the man who is fighting
his fellow-man and exerting all his strength to overcome him really wish
to be overcome himself and to be treated as he is striving to treat his
enemy? Can it be believed that England, in the late war, wished France
to do to her what she endeavored to do to France; or that the latter
really desired in return what she endeavored to inflict on England? If
not, both violated this express precept of Christ.

None can say, consistently with the principles of the gospel, that they
wish to be killed by their enemies; therefore none can, consistently
with those principles, kill their enemies. But professing Christians do
kill their enemies, and, notwithstanding all they may say to the
contrary, their actions speak louder than their words. It is folly for a
man to say he does not wish to do a thing while he is voluntarily
exerting all his powers to accomplish it.

But if the act of war does violate this express precept of Christ, then
it must be exceedingly criminal to engage in it.


Mercy is the grand characteristic of the gospel, and the practice of
mercy is the indispensable duty of man. "Be ye merciful, as your Father
also is merciful"; "For he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the
good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust"; "Blessed are the
merciful, for they shall obtain mercy"; "For he shall have judgment
without mercy, that hath showed no mercy."

Mercy is that disposition which inclines us to relieve distress, to
forgive injuries, and to promote the best good of those who are ill
deserving. Mercy in us towards our enemies implies seeking and pursuing
their best good for time and eternity. It is sinful to exercise any
affection towards enemies short of that benevolence or mercy which
involves the advancement of their best good, and Christians may not
suspend this disposition, or do evil that any supposed good may come;
for no law can be of higher authority than the express precept of
Christ which requires this disposition towards enemies, and of course no
other consideration can be paramount to this, for nations are as much
bound as individuals.

It is surely too grossly absurd for any to pretend that destroying the
property and lives of enemies is treating them mercifully, or pursuing
their best good for time and eternity. Nor can any so impose upon their
imaginations as to think that injuring mankind is treating them with
benevolence or mercy.

But the direct object of war is injury to enemies; and the conduct of
soldiers generally speaks a language not easily to be misunderstood.
Though soldiers are not always as bad as they might be, their tender
mercies are often but cruelty. When they storm a fortified place and do
not put all the captives to the sword, they are complimented for
exercising mercy, merely because they were not so cruel as they might
have been. But shall a highway robber be called an honest man because he
takes but half the money of him whom he robs? Is it an act of mercy,
when a man encroaches on your property, to take away his life? Do
nations exercise mercy towards each other when they enter into bloody
wars in consequence of a dispute which shall govern a small portion of
territory? or does a nation show mercy to another that has actually
invaded its rights by falling upon the aggressor and doing all the
injury in its power? This surely is not forgiving injuries. And when two
contending armies come in contact and rush on each other with all the
frightful engines of death and cut each other to pieces they do not
appear to me as merciful, kind, and tender-hearted, forgiving one
another in love, even as God for Christ's sake forgives his children.
Yet this is the rule by which they should act and by which they will at
last be judged.

But the whole system of war is opposed to mercy, and is therefore
altogether unlike the spirit of the gospel, and must be criminal.


Our Saviour says: "If ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly
Father will also forgive you; but if ye forgive not men their
trespasses, neither will your heavenly Father forgive your trespasses";
"Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven."

Here it is evident that the everlasting salvation of men depends on
their exercising forgiveness towards their enemies; for if they forgive
not, they will not be forgiven of God, and with what measure they mete
to others, it will be measured to them again.

To forgive is to pass by an offense, treating the offender not according
to his desert, but as though he had done nothing amiss.

But do the principles of war lead individuals or nations to pass by
offenses and to treat offenders as if they were innocent? Do they not,
on the contrary, require justice and exact the very last mite? Has it
the aspect of forgiveness for us, when an enemy trespasses on our
rights, to arm with weapons of slaughter and meet him on the field of
battle? Who, while piercing the heart of his enemy with a sword, can
consistently utter this prayer: "Father, forgive my trespasses, as I
have forgiven the trespasses of this my enemy"? But this, in reference
to this subject, is the only prayer the gospel warrants him to make. And
professing Christian nations, while at war and bathing their swords in
each other's blood to redress mutual trespasses, are daily in their
public litanies offering this prayer; but is it not obvious that either
their prayers are perfect mockery, or they desire not to be forgiven but
to be punished to the extent of their deserts?

If individuals or nations desire that God would forgive their
trespasses, then they must not only pray for it, but actually exercise
forgiveness towards those who trespass against them; and then they may
beat their useless swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning
hooks and learn war no more.

But it must be very criminal to engage in war, or to tolerate it in any
way, if it is inconsistent with the forgiveness of injuries as we hope
to be forgiven, and in this respect violates the precepts of the gospel.


Returning good for evil and manifesting benevolence to enemies is,
perhaps, the most elevated and noble part of Christian practice,--the
inculcation of which in the gospel exalts Christianity far above any
other form of religion and proves it to be not only divine but
efficacious to subdue the turbulent and corrupt passions of men; and for
these reasons this part of duty ought to be zealously advocated and
diligently performed by every one who bears the Christian name.

The ablest writers who have defended the divine origin of the Scriptures
against infidels have urged this topic as constituting conclusive
evidence in their favor; and unbelievers, instead of attempting to meet
the argument fairly, have urged the inconsistency of Christians in
acting contrary to so conspicuous a rule of duty; and such is and ever
has been the most powerful weapon that infidels can wield against
Christianity. But it is the will of God that by welldoing we should put
to silence the ignorance of foolish men. Let Christians act in strict
conformity to this part of Christian practice, and they will wrest from
the infidel's hand his strongest weapon.

That exercising benevolence towards enemies and returning good for evil
is inculcated as one of the most important doctrines of the gospel is
evident as well from the whole tenor of the New Testament as from the
express commands of the Son of God: "I say unto you, Love your enemies,
bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for
them that despitefully use you and persecute you, that ye may be the
children of your Father in heaven"; "If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if
he thirst, give him drink; for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire
on his head"; "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good."

Such are some of the divine precepts on this subject. So different,
however, are the laws of war among Christian nations, that rendering
comfort or relief to enemies is considered high treason, and they punish
with death the performance of the very duty which God commands as a
condition of eternal life!

The common sense of every man revolts from the idea that resisting an
enemy by war is returning good for evil. Who would receive the thrust of
a sword as an act of kindness? Was it ever considered that killing a man
was doing good to him? Has not death always been considered the greatest
evil which could be returned for capital crimes? But the principles of
war not only allow enemies to return evil for evil by killing one
another, but secure the highest praise to him who kills the most. It is
often said of those who distinguish themselves in butchering their
fellow-men, that "they cover themselves with glory!"

Nations, when they go to war, do not so much as pretend to be actuated
by love to their enemies; they do not hesitate to declare in the face of
Heaven that their object is to _avenge_ their wrongs. But, says an
inspired apostle, "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but give place
unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith
the Lord." Retributive judgment, the execution of strict justice, or
vengeance, God declares often, belongs to him. He has reserved it in his
own hand as his sovereign prerogative.

It is not very surprising that savage pagans should glory in revenge,
but that those should do so who have the Bible in their hands, and
profess to take it as the rule of their faith and practice, is truly
astonishing. Still more astonishing is it that some ministers of the
gospel not only connive at but approve of the spirit and practice of
revenge by war.

But though the whole tenor of the gospel absolutely enjoins returning
good for evil and blessing for cursing; yet the open and avowed
principles of war are to return evil for evil, violence for violence.

Now if the principles of war are so directly opposed to the principles
of the gospel, if the practice of war is so perfectly contrary to
Christian practice, then it must be very criminal for Christians not to
bear open testimony against war, and much more criminal to do anything
to promote it.


It is a fact which can neither be disguised nor controverted that the
whole trade of war is returning evil for evil. This is a fundamental
principle in the system of self-defense. Therefore every exertion in the
power of contending nations is made to inflict mutual injury, not merely
upon persons in public employment and upon public property, but
indiscriminately upon all persons and property. Hence it is an
established rule of what is styled "civilized warfare" that if one party
takes a person suspected of being a spy, they put him to death; which
act is retaliated by the other the first opportunity. If one party
storms a fortified place and puts the garrison or the inhabitants to the
sword, the other, in their defense, must retaliate the same thing, and,
if possible, to a greater degree. If one side executes a number of
captives for some alleged extraordinary act, the other, on the
principles of self-defense, may execute double the number; the first may
then, on the same principles, double this number; and so they may
proceed to return evil for evil, till one or the other yields.

The principles of self-defense require not merely an eye for an eye and a
tooth for a tooth, but for one eye two eyes, for one tooth two teeth. They
require the retaliation of an injury to a double degree,--otherwise, there
would be no balance in favor of the defensive side; but as both parties
must always be on the defense, both must, of course, retaliate to a double
degree. Thus war is aggravated and inflamed, and its criminality raised to
the highest pitch.

The doctrine of retaliation is not only openly avowed and practiced by
professing Christian nations, but is sometimes defended before national
councils by professing Christians of high standing in churches. "O! tell
it not in Gath! publish it not in the streets of Askelon! lest the
daughters of the uncircumcised triumph!"

That the retaliation of injury, of whatever kind it may be and to
whomsoever it may be offered, is most absolutely and unequivocally
forbidden by the whole spirit of the gospel dispensation, as well as by
its positive precepts, surely can never be fairly controverted.

Says the great Author and finisher of our faith, "Ye have heard that it
hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: but I say
unto you that ye resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite thee on the
right cheek, turn to him the other also." Whether the literal import of
these words be contended for or not, they cannot fairly be construed as
teaching anything short of a positive and unconditional prohibition of
the retaliation of injury. Had our Lord added to these words the maxim
of the world, "If any man assaults you with deathly weapons, you may
repel him with deathly weapons," it would have directly contradicted the
spirit of this command and made his sayings like a house divided against

The apostles largely insist upon this doctrine of their divine Master,
thus: "Recompense to no man evil for evil"; "Be ye all of one mind, not
rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing"; "See that none render
evil for evil to any man." These comprehensive passages make no
conditions or limitations, and are, therefore, applicable to all men and
binding upon all in all situations and circumstances under the light of
the gospel; but had they added, "If any man injures you, you may return
him an injury and repel violence with violence," it would have been most
palpably absurd, and the precepts of the gospel would have been truly
what infidels have asserted they are,--a series of gross contradictions.

But I repeat that the open and avowed principles of war, even among
Christian nations, are those of returning evil for evil. Surely, nations
neither aim nor pretend to aim at the best good of their enemies; but,
on the contrary, their real and professed object in the sight of God and
man is to do them, while at war, all the injury in their power. What
means that language which conveys instructions to those who command
ships of war, to _sink_, _burn_, and _destroy_, if it does not mean evil
to enemies? Why do nations encourage the cupidity of men by licensing
and letting loose swarms of picaroons on their enemies, if it is not to
inflict evil on them? But all this is sanctioned under the notion of
self-defense, and, as though it were a light thing for men thus publicly
to trample on the laws of the gospel, they lift up their daring hands to
heaven and supplicate God's help to assist them in violating his own
commands! No apology can be made for such proceedings until it is shown
that war is not returning evil for evil.

But what is it to return evil for evil?

When one man is injured by another and returns injury, he returns evil
for evil and violates those precepts of the gospel which have been
quoted. When one association of men is injured by another association
and the injured returns an injury, evil is returned for evil and those
precepts are violated. When one nation infringes on the rights of
another and they in return infringe on the aggressor's rights, they
return evil for evil and violate those precepts. When one nation
declares war against another and is repelled by war, evil is returned
for evil and those precepts are violated. But these things are
constantly practiced, without a blush or a question as to their
propriety; and God is supplicated to aid in the business.

To what a state has sin reduced our world? Is not the church covered
with darkness and the people with gross darkness? A man may now engage
in war with his fellow-man and openly return evil for evil, and still
remain in respectable standing in most of the churches, being at the
same time highly applauded and caressed by the world lying in

But if we are here to be directed and at last to be judged by the
gospel, no man can return evil for evil, in war or otherwise, without
aggravated guilt.


That it is an evil to spread distress, desolation, and misery through a
land and to stain it with the blood of men probably none will deny. War,
with its attending horrors, is considered by all, even those who
advocate and prosecute it, to be the greatest evil that ever befalls
this wicked, bleeding, suffering world.

Though men go to war primarily to gratify their corrupt passions,--for
they can never propose the attainment of any good by war which shall be
commensurate with the natural and moral evils that will be occasioned by
the acquisition,--yet the prospect of attaining some supposed good must
be held out as a lure to the multitude and a means of self-justification.

Usually the object of war is pompously represented to be to preserve
liberty, to produce honorable and lasting peace, and promote the
happiness of mankind; to accomplish which, liberty, property, and
honor--that honor which comes from men--must be defended, though war is
the very thing that generally destroys liberty, property, and happiness,
and prevents lasting peace. Such is the good proposed to be attained by
the certain and overwhelming evil of war.

But no maxim is more corrupt, more false in its nature, or more ruinous
in its results than that which tolerates doing evil that good may come.
Nor can any defend this maxim without taking the part of infidels and
atheists, to whom it appropriately belongs, and with whose principles
and practice alone it is consistent.

The apostle Paul reprobates this maxim in the severest terms, and he
considered it the greatest scandal of Christian character to be accused
of approving it: "As we be slanderously reported," says he, "and as some
affirm that we say, Let us do evil that good may come; whose damnation
is just."

Now if war is in fact an evil, and it is prosecuted with a view to
attain some good, then going to war is doing evil that good may come. It
is therefore doing that which scandalizes Christian character; that
which is wholly irreconcilable with the principles of the gospel, and
which it is highly criminal for any man or nation to do.


The example of the Son of God is the only perfect model of moral
excellence, and his moral conduct, so far as he acted as man, remains a
perfect example for Christians.

But did he appear in this world as a great military character, wearing a
sword of steel, clothed with military finery, and surrounded by
glittering soldiers, marching in the pomp and parade of a warrior? No;
he was the meek and lowly Jesus, despised and rejected of men. He was
King of kings and Lord of lords, but his kingdom was not of this world.
Had his kingdom been of this world, then would he have appeared as an
earthly conqueror, and his servants would have been warriors.

Though a prince, he was the Prince of Peace. At his advent the angels
sang, "Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good will to men."
"He came not to destroy men's lives, but to save them." He was the Lamb
of God, meek and lowly. He followed peace with all men; he returned good
for evil and blessing for cursing, and "when he was reviled he reviled
not again." Finally, he was "brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as
a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth." That
he did this as a necessary part of his mediatorial work need not be
denied; but that he intended it also as an example to his followers is
fully confirmed by an inspired apostle, who says, "If, when ye do well,
and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
For hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us,
leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: who did no sin,
neither was guile found in his mouth: who, when he was reviled, reviled
not again; when he suffered, threatened not; but committed himself to
him who judgeth righteously."

Christ taught his disciples the doctrines of peace, and commanded them
to take up the cross and follow him; to live in peace and to follow
peace with all men. His last gift to them was peace. He said to them,
when about to send them into the world, "Behold I send you forth as
lambs among wolves"; thus teaching them what treatment they might expect
and what character they must maintain among wicked men. The nature of
lambs and wolves is too well known for any one to mistake this
figurative representation. Wolves are fierce, bloody, and ravenous
beasts; but lambs are mild, inoffensive, and unresisting, having no
means of relief but by flight. Now if a host of professing Christian
warriors, marshaled under the ensign of a preying eagle or a prowling
lion, clothed in all the splendor of deathly armor, and rushing forward
to destroy their fellow-creatures, are in figurative language but
_lambs_, I confess I am at a loss where to look for the _wolves_! Do
these warlike Christians appear mild as lambs and harmless as doves,
kind and tender-hearted, doing good to all, to friends and foes, as they
have opportunity? Can fighting be living peaceably with all men? Is it
returning good for evil, and overcoming evil with good? If not, it is
not imitating the example of Christ.

If Christians were like Christ, their warfare would not be carnal, but
spiritual, corresponding with the armor which he has provided. They
would conquer by faith and overcome by the blood of the Lamb, not
counting their lives dear to themselves.

On the whole, if to engage in war is not avoiding the appearance of
evil, but is running into temptation; if it inflates the pride of men;
if it infringes on the rights of conscience; if it is not forgiving
trespasses as we wish to be forgiven; if it is not patient suffering
under unjust and cruel treatment; if it is not doing to others as we
would have them do to us; if it is not manifesting love to enemies and
returning good for evil; if it is rendering evil for evil; if it is
doing evil that good may come; and if it is inconsistent with the
example of Christ, then it is altogether contrary to the spirit and
precepts of the gospel and is highly criminal. Then Christians cannot
engage in war or approve of it without incurring the displeasure of

       *       *       *       *       *

In view of the subject, if what has been said is in substance correct,
and of this I desire the reader conscientiously to judge, then the
criminality of war and its inconsistency with the gospel are undeniable.

It is admitted by all that war cannot exist without criminality
somewhere, and generally where quarreling and strife are, there is blame
on both sides. And how it is that many Christians who manifest a
laudable zeal to expose and counteract vice and wickedness in various
other forms are silent on the subject of war, silent as to those parts
or practices of war which are manifestly and undisputably criminal, is
to me mysterious. There has been a noble and persevering opposition
against the inhuman and cruel practice of the slave trade; and by the
blessing of God the efforts against it have been successful, probably,
for the time, beyond the most sanguine expectations. When the lawfulness
of this practice was first called in question, it was violently defended
as well by professing Christians as by others. Comparatively few
Christians fifty years ago doubted the propriety of buying and holding
slaves; but now a man advocating the slave trade could hardly hold in
this vicinity a charitable standing in any of the churches. But whence
has arisen so great a revolution in the minds of the mass of professing
Christians on this subject? It has happened not because the spirit or
precepts of the gospel have changed, but because they are better

Christians who have been early educated to believe that a doctrine is
correct, and who cherish a respect for the instructions of their parents
and teachers, seldom inquire for themselves, after arriving at years of
maturity, unless something special calls up their attention; and then
they are too apt to defend the doctrine they have imbibed before they
examine it, and to exert themselves only to find evidence in its favor.
Thus error is perpetuated from generation to generation until God, in
his providence, raises up some to bear open testimony against it; and as
it becomes a subject of controversy, one after another gains light, and
truth is at length disclosed and established. Hence it is the solemn
duty of every one, however feeble his powers, to bear open testimony
against whatever error prevails, for God is able from small means to
produce great effects.

There is at present in many of our churches a noble standard lifted up
against the abominable sin of intemperance, the greatest evil, perhaps,
war excepted, in the land, and this destructive vice has already
received a check from which it will never recover unless Christians
relax their exertions. But if war is a greater evil than drunkenness,
how can Christians remain silent respecting it and be innocent?

Public teachers consider it to be their duty boldly and openly to oppose
vice. From the press and from the pulpit they denounce theft,
profaneness, Sabbath breaking, and intemperance; but war is a greater
evil than all these, for these and many other evils follow in its train.

Most Christians believe that in the millennial day all weapons of war
will be converted into harmless utensils of use, that wars will cease to
the ends of the earth, and that the benign spirit of peace will cover
the earth as the waters do the seas. But there will be then no new
gospel, no new doctrines of peace; the same blessed gospel which we
enjoy will produce "peace on earth and good will to men." And is it not
the duty of every Christian now to exhibit the same spirit and temper
which will be then manifested? If so, let every one "follow the things
that make for peace," and the God of peace shall bless him.


As was proposed, a number of objections to the general sentiments that
have been advocated shall be stated and answered.

_Objection first._ Shall we stand still and suffer an assassin to enter
our houses without resistance and let him murder ourselves and families?

_Answer._ I begin with this because it is generally the first objection
that is made to the doctrine of peace by all persons, high and low,
learned and unlearned; notwithstanding it is an objection derived from
a fear of consequences and not from a conviction of duty, and might with
the same propriety have been made to the martyrs who, for conscience'
sake, refused to repel their murderers with carnal weapons, as to
Christians who, for conscience' sake, refuse at this day to resist evil.
No Christian will pretend that defense with carnal weapons is not
criminal, if the gospel really forbids it, let the consequences of
nonresistance be what they may. For the requisitions of the gospel are
the rule of duty. But I presume the objection above stated arises
altogether from an apprehension of consequences rather than from regard
to duty.

Every candid person must admit that this objection is of no force, until
the question whether the gospel does or does not prohibit resistance
with deathly weapons is first settled. It might, therefore, justly be
dismissed without further remark; but as mankind are often more
influenced by supposed consequences than by considerations of duty, and
as the objection is very popular, it may deserve a more particular

In the first place, I would observe that the supposition of the objector
relates to a very extreme case, a case which has very rarely, if ever,
occurred to Christians holding to nonresistance with deathly weapons,
and it bears little or no resemblance to the general principles or
practices of war which are openly advocated and promoted by professing
Christians. Should an event like that supposed in the objection take
place, it would be a moment of surprise and agitation in which few could
act collectedly from principle. What was done would probably be done in
perturbation of mind. But war between nations is a business of
calculation and debate, affording so much time for reflection that men
need not act from sudden and violent impulse, but may act from fixed
principle. In this respect, therefore, war is a very different thing
from what is involved in the objection which does not in the least
affect the principles or practice of systematic warfare. It is not
uncommon to hear persons who are hopefully pious, when pressed by the
example and the precepts of Christ against war, acknowledge that most of
the wars which have existed since the gospel dispensation cannot be
justified on Christian principles; yet these very persons are never
heard to disapprove of the common principles of war, or to counteract
them by their lives and conversation before a wicked world; but, on the
contrary, they will often eulogize heroes, join in the celebration of
victories, and take as deep an interest in the result of battles as the
warriors of this world; and if their conduct is called in question, they
will attempt to justify it by pleading the necessity of self-defense,
and immediately introduce the above objection which is by no means
parallel with the general principles and practices of all wars.

The truth is, war is a very popular thing among mankind, because it is
so congenial to their natural dispositions; and, however gravely some
men may, at times, profess to deplore its calamity and wickedness, it is
too evident that they take a secret pleasure in the approbation of the
multitude and in the fascinating glory of arms; and we have reason to
believe that this objection is often made merely to ward off the arrows
of conviction which would otherwise pierce their consciences.

The objection, however, wholly overlooks the providence and promise of
God. Assassins do not stroll out of the circle of God's providence. Not
only is their breath in his hand, but the weapons they hold are under
his control. Besides, God's children are dear to him, and he shields
them by his protecting care, not suffering any event to befall them
except such as shall be for his glory and their good. Whoever touches
them touches the apple of his eye. He has promised to be a very present
help to them in every time of need, and to deliver them that trust in
him out of all their trouble. He will make even their enemies to be at
peace with them. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous and his
ears are open to their prayers, but the face of the Lord is against them
that do evil; and who is he that will harm you if ye be followers of
that which is good? But if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are
ye, and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled. If God be
thus for his children, who can be against them? Is not the arm of the
Lord powerful to save, and a better defense to all who trust in him than
swords and guns? Whoever found him unfaithful to his promises or feeble
to save? Are not the hosts of heaven at his command? Are not his angels
swift to do his will? "Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth
to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" "The angel of the
Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them." If
the Lord is on their side, Christians have no cause to fear what man
can do unto them. Says the blessed Saviour, "Whosoever will save his
life shall lose it, and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall
find it."

If consequences are rightly examined, they may prove to be of more
importance than at first supposed. If the gospel does forbid resistance
with deathly weapons, then he who saves his temporal life by killing his
enemy may lose his eternal life; while he who loses his life for
Christ's sake is sure of everlasting life. Thus the Christian, if he is
killed, goes to heaven; but the assassin, if he is killed, goes to hell,
and the soul of the slayer is in danger of following. Whoever kills
another to prevent being killed himself, does it on presumption; for,
whatever may be the appearances, God only can know whether one man will
assassinate another, before the event has taken place. Men, however,
seem to think little of killing or being killed by fighting, whether in
single combat or on the field of general battle, though they shudder at
the idea of being put to death by an assassin, unless they can inflict
or attempt to inflict on him the same evil.

But the objection is usually made on the supposition that the doctrine
in question requires Christians to stand still and rather court the
dagger than otherwise. This is an unfair statement, for it would be
presumption to stand still when there was a chance of escape. Besides,
the Christian must act on the defensive, not with carnal, but with
spiritual weapons, which are more powerful when exercised in faith than
swords or spears.

Probably no instance can be found of robbers murdering such as
conscientiously held to nonresistance. It is resistance that provokes
violence; forbearance and good will repress it. But if instances of this
kind may be found, it is no evidence against the doctrine in question
any more than against the principles of the Martyrs. God may, for wise
reasons, call away some of his children by the hands of murderers; if
so, instead of losing, they save their lives.

_Objection second._ Self-defense, and, if necessary, with deathly
weapons, is the first law of nature. All the animal creation are armed
with means of defense, and the principles of the gospel are not contrary
to the principles of nature; therefore self-defense is not inconsistent
with Christianity.

_Answer._ It is admitted that the laws of the gospel are not contrary to
the primitive laws of nature; but it is by no means granted that they
are consistent with the laws of corrupt nature. In consequence of the
revolt of man the earth was cursed for his sake. It appears probable
that before the fall of man animals were harmless and docile; and it is
not improbable that when the curse shall be removed, when the earth
shall be filled with righteousness and peace, the lion and the lamb may
literally lie down together. At present, indeed, the dove, the lamb, and
some other animals have no means of defense, unless flight be considered
such. And while warriors are figuratively represented by ferocious
beasts, real Christians are represented by lambs and doves. So far as
nature is made to speak fairly on the subject, it speaks in favor of the
doctrine which has been advocated.

But corrupt nature strongly dictates many things quite contrary to the
precepts of the gospel; and no doctrine will be given up more
reluctantly by corrupt nature than that of the lawfulness of war,
because no doctrine is more congenial with the depraved feelings and
propensities of unsanctified men, for their "feet are swift to shed
blood; destruction and misery are in their ways, and the way of peace
have they not known; there is no fear of God before their eyes."

_Objection third._ The precepts of the gospel are consistent with the
moral law, or the eternal nature of things, which is forever the
standard of right and wrong to all moral beings in the universe; and war
has been prosecuted consistently with this rule of right and wrong;
therefore war cannot be contrary to the precepts of the gospel.

_Answer._ This is an objection founded on an undefinable something aside
from divine precept; yet as some terms in it have been much used in
polemic divinity by men of eminent talents and piety, whose praise is in
the churches, I think it neither proper nor modest to dissent from so
high authority without offering some reasons. I shall, therefore, make a
few general observations on what is called the moral law, the eternal
rule of right and wrong, or the nature of things; all of which phrases,
I believe, have been occasionally used by eminent writers as conveying
the same ideas.

I cannot agree with such as suppose that a moral law or nature of things
exists independently of the will of God and is the common law of God and
man. It appears to me as inconsistent to suppose a law to exist without
a lawgiver as to suppose a world to exist without a creator. If God is
the only eternal and independent Being in the universe, and if all
things are the work of his power and goodness, then the supposition that
an eternal law exists independently of him appears to me to be absurd,
as on this supposition there exists a law without a lawgiver and an
effect without a cause. If God is not the author of all things, then
there must be more than one eternal cause of things.

To suppose that the reason and fitness of things independently of the
will of God, either in his works, his providence, or word, can be a rule
of man's duty appears to me as inconsistent as to suppose that men might
institute divine worship from such fitness of things independently of
the existence of God; for the will of God to man seems as necessary to
lay a foundation of moral obligation and to direct man's obedience as
the existence of God is necessary to lay a foundation of religious
worship. Should it be asked whether the laws of God are not founded on
the eternal nature and fitness of things, I would answer that such a
supposition appears to me no more reasonable than to suppose that his
power is founded on the eternal capacity of things; for the capacity of
things has just as much reality and eternity in it to found the
omnipotence of God upon, as the reason and nature of things have to
found his infinite wisdom or justice upon.

I therefore dissent from all standard of moral obligation which are
supposed to exist aside from, and independently of, the divine will; and
fully agree with the Assembly's Shorter Catechism, in the answer to
this question: "What is the duty which God requires of man? Answer: The
duty which God requires of man is obedience to his revealed will."
Should it, however, be said that things do exist aside from the divine
will, that it does not depend on the divine will, but on the nature of
things, that two and two make four, or that a thing cannot be in motion
and at rest at the same time, it is by no means admitted that this order
or constitution of things exists independently of God; but it is
believed to be as much the effect of his power and goodness as anything
else. And if God is not the author of all the laws both in the natural
and moral world, it may reasonably be inquired, who is?

If God is the moral governor of the world, then all his laws over men,
as moral beings, must be moral laws; and to make a distinction between
the laws designed to regulate the moral conduct of men, and to call some
of them moral and others by different names, seems to me not necessary,
while I find no such distinction in the Scriptures. Because some of
God's laws were intended to be temporary, under certain circumstances,
they were no less of a moral nature on that account; neither was it any
less criminal to violate them.

As created things are in some respects constantly changing, and as the
relations of things are often varied, so a law may be relatively right
at one time and relatively wrong at another. But as man is frail and
short-sighted, and is incapable of seeing the end from the beginning, he
is totally unable of himself to judge what is and what is not right, all
things considered; hence the necessity of a revelation from God to
direct his steps.

That there is a fitness of things and a standard of moral right and
wrong cannot be denied; but, instead of being founded in a supposed
nature of things independent of God, it originates in the very nature
and perfections of God himself, and can never be known by man any
farther than the nature and perfections of God are known. A standard of
right and wrong independent of God, whether by the name of moral law or
nature of things, is what never has been and never can be intelligibly
defined. It is like a form without dimensions, like a foundation resting
on nothing. It is, therefore, in my opinion, as extravagant to talk of
an eternal nature of things, without reference to the laws of God, as it
would be to talk of an eternal wisdom or an eternal omnipotence,
independent of the existence of God.

But if the statement of the objector is meant only to imply a rule of
right and wrong emanating from the nature and perfections of God, and
coincident with his laws, then, admitting the propriety of the terms
moral law, nature of things, etc., the objection, if it proves anything,
may prove quite too much for its advocates; for under certain
circumstances it has been consistent with this rule of moral right and
wrong utterly to exterminate nations, to destroy men, women, and
children, and show them no mercy.

Besides, the whole force of the objection rests on the supposition that
no laws which have existed, and which were not contrary to the moral
law, can be abrogated under the Christian dispensation or be
inconsistent with the precepts of the gospel. It hence follows that
whatever has been morally right and lawful for men to do must forever
remain right and lawful to be done. This is a necessary result from the
premises; but no Christian can consistently subscribe to this. The
premises must, therefore, be unsound and the objection of no force.

If literal sacrifices, slavery, and many other practices which are
totally abolished under the Christian dispensation were not contrary to
the moral law under the Old Testament economy, why may not the same be
true of war? Why may not the gospel forbid war as consistently as it can
forbid slavery?

_Objection fourth._ The nature of religion and morality under the
ancient dispensation was the same as under the new. Love to God and man
was the substance of the law and the prophets; and though truth under
the former was inculcated more by types and ceremonies, yet the essence
of religion was the same under that as under the present dispensation;
and as war was not inconsistent with the nature and precepts of religion
then, it cannot be inconsistent with the nature and precepts of religion
now, under like circumstances.

_Answer._ It is readily admitted that the essence of religion is the
same under the present as under the former dispensation, both requiring
at all times and in all actions holy exercises of heart in cordial
obedience to divine command; yet the laws for external conduct under the
two dispensations differ widely, and the practice of war involves much
of the external conduct of men. It was never right for men to indulge
unholy feelings in the act of war, but the external act was required as
a means of executing the divine vengeance; the gospel does not command,
but seems plainly to forbid, the external act of war.

But to suppose that saints under the gospel can ever be placed in
circumstances like those of the ancient church is to suppose that they
may be put under the same typical economy which has vanished away, given
place to the substance, and ceased to be binding even on the natural
Israelites. To be in like circumstances they must also be made the
executors of God's wrath, to inflict vengeance, by his particular
command, on idolatrous and rebellious nations. The Israelites had the
same high authority to exterminate the Canaanites and subdue the
idolatrous nations about Palestine that the holy angels had to destroy
Sodom and Gomorrah.

It is perfectly plain that if God should positively command Christians
to take the weapons of war and not only repel invasion but actually
exterminate nations, it would be their duty to obey, and a refusal would
be open rebellion against God. The Old Testament saints received such
commands, but Christians have no such authority, which makes a material
difference in circumstances.

Some general observations relative to the different dispensations of the
church of God may illustrate this topic more fully.

The Old Testament economy has sometimes, perhaps without reason, been
divided into the Adamic, Patriarchal, and Mosaic dispensations of the
church; but as the latter was more full and complete, and as the
distinction between the Mosaic and Christian dispensations is common, I
shall confine my remarks chiefly to that distinction, though I consider
the great distinction to be between the Old and New Testament economies.

The Old Testament economy, in general, was typical of the New. Under the
former dispensation literal and temporal things typified spiritual and
everlasting things under the latter. The nation of Israel, chosen and
separated from all other nations, typified the true Israel of God, who
are chosen out of every nation and sanctified and set apart as a holy
nation and peculiar people, to offer up spiritual sacrifices to God. The
land of Canaan was a type of the heavenly Canaan. Jerusalem was a type
of the New Jerusalem from above. Mount Zion and the royal throne of
Israel, which were in Jerusalem, typified the heavenly Zion and the
throne of the true David who now reigns in glory. The sacrifices were
types of spiritual offerings. The Israelites had enemies within and foes
without, literal weapons of war and literal warfare, typical of
spiritual foes, spiritual armor, and spiritual warfare.[1] Their kings
were seated on the throne of the Lord (see 1 Chron. xxix. 23). At the
command of God they judged and made war and conquered their enemies and
thus typified the Son of God who is now on the throne of his Father
David, and who in righteousness judges and makes war and rides forth
conquering and to conquer. The ancient promises and threatenings were
mostly temporal, but typical of spiritual and everlasting promises and
threatenings. Doubtless the gospel was preached by types and figures
under the Old Testament economy, and the saints of old looked upon those
temporal things merely as shadows representing a more enduring
substance. When they looked upon Canaan, the land of promise, they
viewed it as a type of the heavenly Canaan, and confessed that they were
strangers and pilgrims on earth seeking a better country. When they
looked on the bleeding lamb they beheld, by the eye of faith, the Lamb
of God who taketh away the sins of the world.

Thus we may see that almost the whole of the Old Testament economy was
typical and temporary, and not intended to be perfect and everlasting.
But under the gospel dispensation we have a new covenant and better
promises which are intended to be perfect and everlasting. It is
therefore more proper for those who live under this new and perfect
dispensation to look at the substance than at the shadow for a rule of
duty. Errors are often and easily propagated by reasoning from analogy
and introducing it as proof of sentiments instead of illustration. This
is frequently done in relation to the Old Testament economy and common
political government. It is not uncommon to hear ministers, in their
political sermons, reason and infer just as if there were a perfect
parallel between the Jewish theocracy and political governments, when at
the head of one was the Lord of hosts and at the head of the others are
but men; when one was the church of the living God, and the others are
but human institutions. They not unfrequently speak of God's driving out
the heathen before his American Israel and planting them in a goodly
land, as though there were a perfect parallel between the Americans
driving the Indians from their native soil and taking possession of it
themselves, without divine commission, and the Israelites going at the
express command of God and taking possession of Canaan. Thus they
endeavor to keep up a parallel between God's ancient church and civil
governments. The economy of God's ancient covenant people was by no
means a political institution in the popular sense, but it was a
dispensation of the church of God, and in its rites, ceremonies, and
government was typical of the kingdom of Messiah under his mediatorial
reign, and differed widely in its nature, origin, and design from mere
political governments; therefore all reasoning drawn from a supposed
analogy between them is specious and false. The Israelites had no
authority to enact laws or to alter God's laws one iota; their duty was
implicitly to obey them.

But if Christians take their authority for going to war from the
practice of the Old Testament saints, their example will prove too much;
it will not only allow war, but _offensive war_ in its most dreadful

_Objection fifth._ Abraham went to war, not like the Israelites at the
command of God, yet he met with the divine approbation when he returned
from the slaughter of the kings; he, therefore, must have acted on a
universal law still in force; and as Christians are called the children
of Abraham they ought, of course, to imitate his example in such things
as God approved.

_Answer._ Abraham, like the Israelites, was under a typical dispensation
and practiced rites and ceremonies which were a shadow of good things to
come. That he acted without divine command, in the war referred to, is
more than we are warranted to say. He was a prophet and the friend of
God and probably was acquainted with the divine will on this subject.

Christians are not called the children of Abraham because they imitate
his example in war, but because they exercise like precious faith with
him. If Christians are warranted to imitate the example of Abraham in
all things which were tolerated by God, then they may sacrifice cattle,
practice polygamy, and buy and hold slaves. But if they object to his
example as a rule of duty in these instances, why not object to his
example as a rule of duty in the case of war?

But to say that he acted from some universal law still in force is
taking for granted the question in dispute, and cannot be admitted
without evidence.

The war waged by Abraham against the kings was, I apprehend, offensive
rather than defensive; for Lot, his brother's son, whom he rescued, did
not then belong to his family or kingdom, but was separated from him and
was also a patriarch, a father of nations, and a prince or head over his
own house or kingdom.

It appears very evident that offensive as well as defensive war was
tolerated under the patriarchal economy, as may be seen from the words
of the inspired Jacob when blessing his sons (Gen. xlviii. 22). That,
as well as the Mosaic dispensation, was typical, and doubtless war was
allowed under both for the same reasons.

But there can be no doubt that whoever attempts to justify war by the
example of Abraham may equally justify the slavery of our fellow-men;
and whoever depends on his example for authority for engaging in war, to
be consistent, must advocate and defend the doctrine of slavery.

_Objection sixth._ It appears to be a universal law of God that "whoso
sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed." If one man, or
one nation, attacks another and sheds his blood, his own must be shed in
return. Hence this precept not only authorizes taking away the life of a
murderer, but authorizes nations to repel by war nations that wage war
against them.

_Answer._ Whether this was a precept given to man as a rule of duty or
not is very questionable, though it has generally been so construed, at
least since the dark ages of the church; and it is still more
questionable whether it is a universal and perpetual law.

If we attend to the phraseology of this decree of God, we shall find it
to be very different from that of the precepts, generally, delivered to
Moses. God did not say to Noah, as he often did to Moses, thou shalt do
this, or that, but he said, "_I will require the life of man_," etc. If
God had designed to delegate executive authority to Noah and his
descendants to execute retributive judgment on the manslayer, the
connection of the whole language must have been altered, for God
declared what he would do himself. It appears, therefore, to have been
God's _decree_, and the promulgation of _his_ law by which he would
inflict righteous judgment on the guilty; the penalty was intended as a
warning to deter mankind from violence, the sin for which the old world
was swept away. And I see no reason why this threatening should not be
considered parallel with the decrees of Christ,--that "all they that
take the sword shall perish with the sword; he that leadeth into
captivity shall go into captivity; he that killeth with the sword must
be killed with the sword; here is the faith and the patience of the
saints." Why the former should be considered as a rule of obedience for
man, and these latter passages not so, I am unable to say. "He that
killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword" is as positive as
"whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed."

It may be observed that the faith and patience of the saints is here
spoken of in such a way as to imply that they exercised and manifested
their faith and patience when they were put to death by violence or
carried into captivity. And, indeed, how could their faith and patience
appear if they, like the wicked world, returned evil for evil, carried
into captivity, and killed with the sword?

The original threatening has been fulfilled by the providence, and
sometimes by the express command, of God. As Noah was the head of the
new world and the father of nations, it seems to have had reference to
nations rather than to individuals; and all nations that have shed blood
in war must, in their turn, have their own blood shed; so that all they
that take the sword may perish with the sword agreeably to the
threatening made known to Noah, and to those announced by Christ.

But, admitting that the law quoted in the objection was intended as a
rule of duty for man, it does not appear that it was designed to be
universal and perpetual. Before the flood no authority appears in any
sense to have been delegated to man to shed the blood of man. So far
from executing the penalty of death or causing it to be executed upon
Cain, who was of the wicked one and slew his brother, notwithstanding
his guilty forebodings, God threatened a sevenfold vengeance on him who
should presume to do it.

Under the Mosaic dispensation many crimes were punishable with death
according to positive precept; but God, for wise reasons, did not always
have the penalty executed. David was guilty of murder and adultery, both
capital crimes; yet he was permitted to live.

All kinds of vindictive punishment under the Christian dispensation
appear to be absolutely forbidden. By vindictive I mean that which is
intended to vindicate the law, as executing strict justice, and prevent
offenses only, as taking away life, but which is not designed to promote
the individual good of the person punished. That punishment which is
designed and which has a tendency to promote the good of the punished,
as well as to deter offenders, I consider to be strictly disciplinary or
corrective, and consistent with the spirit and precepts of the gospel.
Says an apostle, "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but give place
unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith
the Lord." "For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God."
It has been said that this only forbids a revengeful temper, but this
evasion will not do; for Christians are here forbidden to do the very
thing which God declares he will do himself, and he does nothing but
what is holy.

"Render to no man evil for evil," is a positive precept without any
limitation, and which admits of no evasion; and it must plainly rescind
the law of shedding man's blood because he had shed the blood of man.

But the exclamation is often made, What, not punish a murderer with
death! Little do those who make this exclamation think that they
themselves also are sinners and that every sin deserves not only
temporal death but God's wrath and curse forever, and that they are in
like condemnation unless redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. For such, it
might be well to inquire if they know "what manner of spirit they are

The most prominent characteristic of Messiah's reign over men in this
world is mercy, since he has secured the rights and honor of the divine
government by the sacrifice of himself so that the guilty may live. He
has given his life as a ransom and taken the world into his hands as the
ruler, judge, and rewarder, and offers the chief of sinners mercy; and
the merits of his blood are sufficient to cleanse from all sin as well
against man as against God. And who can help being astonished at the
amazing difference between his laws and his dealings with men, and those
sanguinary laws of men according to which under the light of the gospel
they punish with death.

The professed principle and design of these laws is strict justice; but
were men dealt with according to strict justice by him who rules above,
who would be able to stand? These laws of men accept no atonement for
capital offenses; no mercy is offered, for none is provided for those
who incur their penalty; but the gospel offers mercy to the chief of
sinners while it condemns those who reject the offers. Capital offenders
will never be condemned by civil governments for the rejection of
offered mercy, for no mercy is provided for them. How unlike the divine
government! But Christians are commanded to be merciful, as their Father
in heaven is merciful, who showers down blessings on the evil and
unthankful. Our Master has told us that with what judgment we judge we
shall be judged; and with what measure we mete it shall be measured to
us again; that if we forgive we shall be forgiven; and if we forgive not
we shall not be forgiven; and that if we show no mercy we shall have
judgment without mercy.

Christians ought to ponder the subject well before they advocate the
consistency and safety of dispensing justice without mercy. Let them
learn what that meaneth, "I will have mercy and not sacrifice."

_Objection seventh._ "Every purpose is established by counsel, and with
good advice make war"; "For by wise counsel thou shalt make war," etc.
Here war is recognized as a duty under certain circumstances, and the
manner in which it is to be undertaken is pointed out, viz., by wise

_Answer._ The inspired Proverbs are maxims of wisdom illustrated, for
the most part, by some familiar subject that existed at the time they
were delivered. The object here is not to inculcate the lawfulness of
war but the necessity of sound wisdom in relation to the actions of men;
and the subject of war appears to be introduced merely to illustrate
this idea. The counsel and wisdom of men in relation to their temporal
and worldly concerns are often worthy of imitation in reference to
spiritual things; for the children of this world are, in some sense,
wiser in their generation than the children of light, and the conduct of
worldly men is often very appropriately introduced to illustrate
Christian duty. Our Lord says, "What king, going to war with another
king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten
thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?"
Doubtless our Lord's design was to warn people to count the cost before
they professed to be followers of him, that they might not be deceived
and discouraged, and that they might act from principle and not from
hypocrisy. But he inculcated these things by referring to the example of
kings in their consultations about war. And it is believed that the
passages before cited are of similar import. These references to war,
being introduced merely for the illustration of other subjects, will no
more prove the lawfulness of war than the reference of the apostle to
the Olympic games, for illustration, will prove the lawfulness of those
heathen feats. But if this explanation should not be satisfactory, it
may be observed that the Proverbs were written under the Old Testament
economy which tolerated offensive as well as defensive war; whence it
does not appear that any war can be undertaken under the present
dispensation, "by wise counsel," except that which is spiritual; so that
if the ancient was typical of the new dispensation, then the passages
quoted will now apply only to spiritual warfare.

_Objection eighth._ When the soldiers demanded of John the Baptist what
they should do, one of the directions which he gave them was to be
content with their wages. If their occupation had been unlawful, then he
would not have directed them to be contented with the wages of

_Answer._ John the Baptist was under the Mosaic economy, the new
dispensation not having commenced. He was but the forerunner of the
Lord, a herald to sound his approach. But he gave the soldiers another
direction, viz., to "do violence to no man," obedience to which is
totally incompatible with war, as that is nothing else but violence.
Only hinder soldiers from doing violence to any man and you stop at once
the whole progress of war; therefore, if the directions of John are
insisted on as gospel authority, they will prove, probably, much more
against the lawfulness of war than in favor of it.

_Objection ninth._ The Centurion and Cornelius were Christians and
soldiers and highly approved of God for their faith and piety; nor were
they directed by Christ or his apostles to renounce their profession;
therefore the profession of arms is not inconsistent with Christian

_Answer._ They were first soldiers and then Christians; and we have no
evidence that they continued in the profession of arms; nor are we
warranted to say that they were not directed to renounce that
profession, as the Scriptures are silent on the subject. Peter, it
appears, tarried a number of days with Cornelius, and he doubtless
explained to him the spirit and precepts of the gospel; and it is very
probable that neither Cornelius nor the Centurion continued soldiers in
any other sense than they were soldiers of Christ, as the idolatrous
rites enjoined on the Roman soldiers were totally inconsistent with the
Christian character, aside from the unlawfulness of war itself. Besides,
the Roman soldiers were as often engaged in offensive as in defensive
war; therefore, if the argument has any force on the question, it will
tolerate not only defensive but offensive war, and also the idolatrous
rites of the Roman armies.

_Objection tenth._ Our Lord paid tribute money, which went to support
military power, but he would not contribute to the support of a wicked
thing, therefore war is not inconsistent with Christianity.

_Answer._ A distinguished trait of the Christian religion is peace. The
command is, "Follow peace with all men." "Blessed are the peacemakers:
for they shall be called the children of God."

Our Lord set the example of giving no just cause of offense to any.
Tribute was demanded of him unjustly according to the existing laws, but
lest fault should be found, he wrought a miracle and paid it. Money is a
temporal thing, and belongs to the governments of this world, as the
various coins bear the ensign of the nation by whom they were made; but
the Christian's treasure is not in this world, and when the rulers of this
world call for that which bears their own image and superscription,
Christians have no right to withhold from them their dues, for they must
"render to Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's." For this cause they ought
to pay tribute and resign up temporal things without a murmur to temporal
governments, and leave it with Cæsar to manage the things of Cæsar. Thus
far are Christians warranted to act, from the example of Christ and the
precepts of the gospel; but how does the lawfulness of war follow from
Christians rendering to Cæsar his due? Is it because some of the money
goes to support war? Probably, of the money which our Lord paid as much
went to the support of idolatry and the games of the day as to the support
of war. Now if the argument is sound, we may not only prove by it the
lawfulness of war but the lawfulness of idolatry and many other abominable
things practiced by the heathen governments.

_Objection eleventh._ Our Lord, just before his crucifixion, commanded
his disciples to take swords, and, if any were destitute, to sell their
garments and procure them, as they would no longer have his personal
presence to protect them; and as they were to encounter great trials and
difficulties, they must, besides relying on providence, take all prudent
means for their defense and preservation.

_Answer._ That our Lord did not direct them to take swords for
self-defense is evident because he told them that two were enough, and
because the disciples never made any use of them after their Master
directed Peter to put up his and pronounced a penalty on all who should
have recourse to swords afterwards. But the design seems to have been to
show by example in the most trying situation where self-defense was
justifiable, if in any case, that the use of the sword was utterly
prohibited under the gospel economy, and to show the criminality and
danger of ever using deathly weapons against mankind afterwards. If
Christ's kingdom had been of this world, then, he tells us, his servants
would have fought; but his kingdom being not of this world, the weapons
of their warfare were not carnal but spiritual. He therefore rebuked
them for their mistaken zeal, healed the wound they made, and forbade
the use of the sword.

_Objection twelfth._ Christians are commanded to be in subjection to
civil rulers who are God's ministers to execute wrath on the wicked and
are ministers of good to the church; therefore Christians are bound to
take the sword at their command; for civil government is ordained of God
and civil rulers are not to bear the sword in vain, and Christians may
lawfully do what God ordains to be done.

_Answer._ That civil government, so called in distinction from religious
government, is ordained by God is fully admitted, and also that God
ordains whatsoever comes to pass. But there is a great difference
between his decretive and his preceptive will. The former is not a rule
of duty for man without the latter; the latter is always a rule of duty.
This fact might be proved by a multitude of instances from Scripture.
Persons therefore may be very wicked in doing what God ordains to be
done, if they act without his command.

That civil governments and civil rulers exist only by God's decretive
will, which is fulfilled by his providence and not by his preceptive
will, is evident because God has never authorized the appointment of
them or given any precepts or any commands as a code of laws to any
denomination or class of people as such, distinct from his own covenant
people or church; and this fact I beg leave to submit as a conclusive
evidence that civil governments and civil rulers exist only by God's
decretive will and not by his preceptive will. Under the ancient
dispensation no laws or directions were given to any class of men, as
such, other than God's own covenant people or church, unless some
special commands on singular occasions, or the general command to repent
and turn to God, be excepted.

The king on the throne of Israel was as truly an officer in the church
of God as the high priest who entered into the holy of holies. Both were
set apart and anointed with the holy oil, at the command of God, and
both were types of the Son of God. The king as much typified his kingly
office as the priest did his priestly office. Both were necessary parts
of that complete shadow of good things then to come.

Under the gospel dispensation no authority from God is to be found for
appointing and setting apart civil rulers, nor are there any directions
given to civil rulers, _as such_, how to conduct in their office, unless
those who rule in the church are called civil rulers. All the precepts
and directions in the gospel, excepting such as were special (as those
which related only to the apostles) or such as are universal (relating
alike to all men), are given to the disciples as members of Christ's
kingdom, who are not of this world, even as he was not of this world.

The Son of God came into the world to set up the kingdom of heaven,
which is a perfect and everlasting kingdom and distinct from all other
kingdoms which are to be destroyed to give place to his divine and
heavenly reign. He came in the likeness of men, sin excepted, and laid
down his life a ransom for the world, and then rose a triumphant
conqueror, and in the complex character of God and man, as Mediator, he
took the universe, his purchased possession, into his hands as a
lawgiver, judge, and rewarder. He took the scepter when it departed from
Judah, and is exalted far above all principality and power and might and
dominion, and has a name above every name, all executive power in heaven
and earth being given to him as Mediator. Thus, as Mediator, the kingdom
of heaven is his kingdom. He reigns not only as King of kings and Lord
of lords but seated on the throne of his father David, he is forever
King in Zion and is head over all things to his church. His kingdom is
not of this world, neither are his subjects of this world, though some
of them are in it.

He sent out his disciples to appear in a distinct character from the
world and to be a light to it by imitating his example and by exhibiting
his spirit and temper. They ought not to say, as the Jews did, that they
have no king but Cæsar, for they have an everlasting King and kingdom
and laws perfect and eternal. They should, therefore, set their
affections on things above and not on things beneath.

While the kingdoms of this world exist, Christians must remain in
captivity to them and must obey all their laws which are not contrary to
the laws of the gospel; otherwise they cannot remain peaceful, harmless,
and blameless in the midst of a wicked world before whom they must shine
as lights.

Though the church is now in captivity, yet her redemption draweth nigh,
for God will soon "overthrow the throne of kingdoms," and the thrones
will be cast down and the princes of this world will come to naught. The
stone which was cut out of the mountain without hands will dash them to
pieces, as the potter's vessel is shivered, and will become a great
mountain and fill the whole earth; then the kingdom and the dominion and
the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven shall be given to
the people of the saints of the most high God whose kingdom is an
everlasting kingdom and of whose dominion there shall be no end.

Though God, by his decree, has ordained civil governments and
established kingdoms, and will by his providence make them subservient
to the good of his church and people, and notwithstanding it is the duty
of Christians to be in subjection to them and pay tribute, yet it does
not follow that their genius and laws may not often be contrary to the
genius and laws of the gospel, and when they are so Christians must not
obey them nor count their lives dear to themselves. It should be
distinctly remembered that when Christians were exhorted and commanded
to be obedient to civil rulers, they were under heathen, idolatrous,
civil governments, and those civil governments were by no means
congenial with the spirit and precepts of the gospel; still Christians
were commanded to be in subjection to them; not, however, without
limitation, for they utterly refused obedience in many instances and
nobly suffered or died as martyrs.

Thus civil government may be an ordinance of God, may be subservient to
the good of the church, may be an instrument in God's hands of executing
his wrath, and Christians may be bound to obey magistrates in all things
not contrary to the gospel; and yet it will not follow that Christians
may consistently with the gospel take up the sword or do anything to
countenance war.

If it be the duty of Christians to take the sword and enter the field of
battle at the command of their civil rulers, then there could be no
impropriety in having armies wholly made up of real Christians,
especially since it is the duty of every man to become a Christian; and
as professing Christian nations are almost constantly fighting each
other, it would be perfectly proper for hosts of pious saints to be
daily engaged in shedding each other's blood. But how would it appear,
how does it appear, for those who have drunk into the same peaceful and
heavenly spirit, who are united together by the tender ties of the
Redeemer's blood, who are all members of the same family, and who hope
through divine grace to dwell together in everlasting love and
blessedness, to be fighting one another here with relentless fury?

Let us contemplate the subject, in this point of view, a little further.
Suppose an English and an American frigate in the time of war, both
manned entirely with real Christians, should meet in a neutral port.
Ought they not then to conduct towards each other as brethren of one
common Lord? As they are all members of the same family and have all
been redeemed by the same blood, and sanctified by the same divine
spirit, they surely must have the most tender affection for each other,
and it would be highly proper for them to meet together for Christian
fellowship, worship, and communion. Suppose, then, that they
occasionally go on board each other's ships for religious worship; that
their chaplains lead in their devotions, using such petitions as
these--praying that they may be all of one heart and one mind in the
knowledge of Christ, knit together in the bonds of Christian love; that
they may have much of the wisdom from above which is first pure, then
peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated; that they may do good to all as
they have opportunity, especially to the household of faith; that they
may be meek and gentle as lambs and harmless as doves; that they may be
kind and forgiving and that, like their Divine Master, they may return
good for evil and have their affections on things above and not on
things beneath; after which they unitedly partake of the symbols of
Christ's broken body and shed blood, and then part with the tenderest
tokens of Christian fellowship and love. They leave the port and meet
again at sea. It now becomes their duty, on the principles of war,
instead of meeting as Christian brethren, to meet as raging tigers and
discharge the flaming engines of death on each other; and in order to
perform "their duty to their God and country," they must exert all their
power and skill to destroy one another. The dreadful struggle and
carnage must be continued by both parties as long as both can fight.
When half of their crews are wallowing in their blood and expiring in
agonies, a violent effort must be made by one or both to board the other
and end the contest sword in hand. Those hands which recently saluted
each other with Christian love now plunge the envenomed steel into their
brethren's bosoms. At length one is vanquished and yields to the other.
Those who remain alive after the conflict again unite in prayer and give
thanks to God that he has given them courage and strength to fight so
nobly, and that he has shielded their lives in the hour of battle. Thus
they again resume their Christian fellowship and communion. This mutual
fellowship, communion, and love are perfectly consistent with Christian
character and are required by it. The conduct which has been supposed as
enemies when fighting is also entirely consistent with the principles of
war and with the character of warriors, and is such as would be highly
applauded and admired by the world. But is it not obviously and
perfectly absurd and perfectly incompatible with the principles of the
gospel for Christians to act in this twofold character? If, however, it
is the duty of Christians to obey the command of their rulers and engage
in war, then it would be perfectly proper for what has been supposed to
take place. Christians may one day surround the table of the Lord
together, and the next kill and destroy each other.

The god of this world, not being yet chained down to hell, deceives the
nations and gathers them together to battle; but the children of peace,
the citizens of Zion, ought not to mingle with them or listen to the
deceiver. They should take to themselves not carnal weapons but the
whole armor of God, that they may be able to stand in an evil day and to
quench all the fiery darts of Satan.

_Objection thirteenth._ To deny the right of the magistrate to call on
his subjects to take the sword is to deny that he is an avenger to
execute wrath, though the gospel expressly declares that he is.

_Answer._ This conclusion does not follow unless it is a fact that God
cannot and does not actually make him the instrument of doing it, by his
providence, without his command; for, as we have already observed, men
may fulfill the decrees of God under his providence, without his
command, and be very criminal in the deed. God raised up the king of
Assyria and made him the rod of his anger, to chastise his people and to
execute wrath upon the ungodly nations around. "Howbeit he meant not so,
but it was in his heart to _cut off_ nations not a few." And God
declared, with reference to him, "that when he had performed his whole
work he would punish the fruit of his stout heart and the glory of his
high looks." It will not be contended that warlike nations are commanded
by God to destroy and trample down the nations of the earth as the dust
of their feet; yet, when they do so, they doubtless fulfill his high
decree and are avengers to execute his wrath on a wicked world.

The beast represented in the Revelation with seven heads and ten horns
has generally been considered as an emblem of nations. These ten horns,
or powers, are to hate the great harlot of Babylon; to eat her flesh
and burn her with fire; and though they destroy the greatest enemy of
the church, and in this way are ministers of good to her, yet they
receive their power and their seat and their authority from the old
serpent, the dragon. And a magistrate or king may be a minister of good
to the church and an avenger to execute wrath, and still be very wicked
in the deed and use very unlawful means to accomplish the end. While he
fulfills the decree of Heaven, he acts not in obedience to the command
of God, but to the dictates of his own lusts and passions.

_Objection fourteenth._ The passages of Scripture which have been quoted
against retaliation and which inculcate love to enemies and the
returning of good for evil have reference to individuals in their
conduct towards each other, but have no relation to civil government and
are not intended as a rule of duty for one nation towards another; they
therefore have no bearing on the subject of war.

_Answer._ Those precepts of the gospel appear to be binding universally
without any limitation, and men have no right to limit that which God
has not limited. If the commands of the gospel are binding upon every
one in his individual capacity, then they must be binding upon every one
in any collective body, so that whatever is morally wrong for every
individual must be equally wrong for a collective body; and a nation is
only a large number of individuals united so as to act collectively as
one person. Therefore, if it is criminal for an individual to lie,
steal, quarrel, and fight, it is also criminal for nations to lie,
steal, quarrel, and fight. If it is the duty of an individual to be kind
and tender-hearted and to have a forgiving and merciful disposition, it
is likewise the duty of nations to be kind, forgiving, and merciful. If
it is the duty of an individual to return good for evil, then it is the
duty of nations to return good for evil.

It is self-evident that individuals cannot delegate power to communities
which they do not possess themselves. Therefore, if every individual is
bound to obey the precepts of the gospel and cannot as an individual be
released from the obligation, then individuals have no power to release
any collective body from that obligation. To say that God has given to
nations a right to return evil for evil is begging the question, for it
does not appear and cannot be shown that God has restricted the precepts
of the gospel to individuals, or that he has given any precepts to
nations as such, or to any other community than his own covenant people
or church. This objection makes government an abstraction according with
the common saying, "Government is without a soul."

No practice has a more corrupt tendency than that of attempting to limit
the Scriptures so as to make them trim with the corrupt practices of
mankind. Whoever, for the sake of supporting war, attempts to limit
these precepts of the gospel to individuals and denies that they are
binding upon nations destroys one of the main pillars by which the
lawfulness of war is upheld. The right of nations to defend themselves
with the sword is argued on the supposed right of individual
self-preservation; as it is said to be right for individuals to defend
themselves with deathly weapons, so it is lawful for nations to have
recourse to the sword for defense of their rights. But if these passages
are applicable to individuals and prohibit them from acts of
retaliation, and if the rights of nations are founded on the rights of
individuals, then nations have no right to retaliate injury.

_Objection fifteenth._ Christians, with comparatively few exceptions,
have not doubted the lawfulness of war, and many have actually fought
and bled on the field of battle and considered themselves in the way of
their duty. And shall all our pious forefathers be condemned for
engaging in war?

_Answer._ It is admitted that many pious people have engaged in war, but
they might have been in an error on this subject as well as on many
other subjects. Many of our pious forefathers engaged in the slavery of
their fellow-men, and thought themselves in the way of their duty; but
does it follow that they were not in an error? The circumstance that
multitudes defend a sentiment is no certain evidence of its truth. Some
of the reformers were objected to because the multitude were against
them. Popularity, however, ever has influenced and ever will influence
mankind more than plain gospel duty, until the earth shall be filled
with the abundance of peace. But notwithstanding this, it is not right
to follow the multitude to do evil. All ought to remember that they have
no right to follow the example of any one any further than that example
coincides with the example of Christ or the precepts of the gospel; all
other standards are fallible and dangerous.

If real Christians have, from mistaken zeal, prayed against each other
and fought each other and shed each other's blood, this does not justify

_Objection sixteenth._ If Christians generally should adopt these
sentiments, it would be impossible for them to subsist in this world in
its present state, and if they did continue it must be in abject
slavery. They would become hewers of wood and drawers of water to the
tyrannical and oppressive, and would only encourage them in their deeds
of wickedness. The injustice of men must be restrained or the earth will
again be filled with violence. The necessity of the case is such that
mankind would be warranted to take up arms to maintain their rights and
repel oppressors, if the Scriptures were silent on the subject.[2]

_Answer._ We have the history of the heathen world to teach us what
mankind are without the light of revelation. They are full of all
unrighteousness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of enmity, murder,
debate, deceit, malignity; they are proud, boasters, without natural
affection, implacable, unmerciful. Now the very design of the gospel is
to subdue and overcome these abominable passions and dispositions; not
however by returning violence for violence but by producing virtues
directly contrary. The great duty of Christians is to be a light to this
wicked world by exhibiting in their conduct and conversation the spirit
and temper of the gospel. If such were the practice of Christians, we
have reason to believe that wicked men would be overawed and deterred
from their violence in a great measure. Besides, if all real Christians
should utterly refuse to bear arms for the destruction of their
fellow-men, it would greatly diminish the strength and boldness of
warlike nations, so that it would be impracticable for them to prosecute
war with the vigor and fury that they now do.

But if the gospel prohibits war, then to urge the necessity of the case
against the commands of God is open rebellion against his government as
well as total distrust of his word and providence.

If Christians live in habitual obedience to God's commands, they have
the promise that all things shall work together for their good, and they
have no reason to fear them that kill the body and after that "have no
more that they can do."

It is strange that Christians should have so great a reluctance to
suffer inconvenience in worldly things for the sake of the gospel. The
scoffs and persecutions of the world and the fear of the loss of worldly
things are powerful barriers against _Christian_ warfare. The gospel
teaches us that all who live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer
persecution, and that through much tribulation the saints must enter
into the kingdom of heaven; and is it not plainly owing wholly to their
conformity to the world that they now suffer so little persecution and
practice so little self-denial? If there is reserved for them an eternal
weight of glory, what if they, like their Divine Master, should not have
where to lay their heads? If they are to inherit a crown of immortal
glory, what if they are called to suffer the loss of earthly things? If
they are hereafter to reign as kings and priests unto God, what if they
are not ranked among the great and honorable of the earth? If they
suffer with Christ, then will they also reign with him; but if they deny
him, he also will deny them; and if they are ashamed of him, he will
also be ashamed of them before his Father and the holy angels. Let
Christians then obey his commands and trust to his protection while they
resolutely abstain from the wicked practices of the world.

_Objection seventeenth._ It is the duty of mankind to use means for the
preservation of life and liberty; they must till the ground, if they
expect a crop. It would be presumptuous for them to pray for and to
expect their daily bread without using such means as God has put in
their power to obtain it; and it would be equally presumptuous to expect
the preservation of their lives and liberties without using such means
to preserve and defend them as God has put into their hand; they must
act as well as pray.

_Answer._ That using means is the duty of Christians, there can be no
doubt; but they must be such as God has appointed, and not such as human
wisdom may dictate. There is no dispute as to the propriety of using
means, but only as to the kind of means which Christians ought to use.
The weapons of their warfare are not carnal, but spiritual, and they are
mighty through God to the pulling down the strongholds of sin and Satan.
It is often said, If you wish to put a stop to war, spread the gospel
through the world. We would inquire, If the gospel tolerates war, how
will its universal diffusion put a stop to war?

As has already been observed, it would be open rebellion to do what God
has forbidden, and high-handed presumption to ask his aid in the things
which he has prohibited.

_Objection eighteenth._ Some ecclesiastical historians inform us that
Christians in the early ages of the church, though they contended so
firmly for the faith as to suffer martyrdom rather than submit to
idolatry, yet did not refuse to bear arms in defense of their country,
even when called upon by heathen magistrates, and their example ought to
have weight with us.

_Answer._ The testimony of the early Fathers is entitled to regard, but
must not be considered as infallible authority, for they were men of
like passions with others and cannot be followed safely any farther than
they followed Christ. But the weight of their testimony on the subject,
I apprehend, will be found to stand directly against the lawfulness of
war on Christian principles.

Erasmus, who was an eminent scholar, and who was probably as well
acquainted with the sentiments of the primitive Fathers as any modern
writer, in his _Antipolemus, or Plea against War_, replies to the
advocates of war as follows: "They further object those opinions or
decrees of the Fathers in which war seems to be approved. Of this sort
there are some, but they are only late writers, who appeared when the
true spirit of Christianity began to languish, and they are very few;
while, on the other hand, there are innumerable ones among the writers
of acknowledged sanctity which absolutely forbid war; and why should the
few rather than the many intrude themselves into our mind?"

Barclay, who examined the writings of the Fathers on this subject, says,
"It is as easy to obscure the sun at midday as to deny that the
primitive Christians renounced all revenge and war."

Clarkson, who also examined the Fathers, declares that "every Christian
writer of the second century who notices the subject makes it unlawful
for Christians to bear arms."

Clarkson has made copious extracts from the writings of the Fathers
against war, a few of which, as quoted by him and others, shall be
inserted here.

Justin Martyr and Tatian both considered the devil the author of war.

Justin Martyr, while speaking of the prophecies relating to the days of
peace, says, "That this prophecy is fulfilled you have good reason to
believe, for we who in times past killed one another do not now fight
with our enemies." Clarkson adds, "It is observable that the word
'fight' does not mean to strike, beat, or give a blow, but to fight in
war; and the word 'enemy' does not mean a common adversary who has
injured us, but an enemy of state."

Irenæus says that Christians in his day "had changed their swords and
their lances into instruments of peace, and that they knew not how to

Maximilian and a number of others in the second century actually
suffered martyrdom for refusing, on gospel principles, to bear arms.

Celsus made it one of his charges against the Christians that they
refused to bear arms for the Emperor. Origen, in the following century,
admitted the fact and justified the Christians on the ground of the
unlawfulness of war itself.

Tertullian, in his discourse to Scapula, tells us "that no Christians
were to be found in the Roman armies."

In his declaration on the worship of idols he says, "Though the soldiers
came to John and received a certain form to be observed, and though the
Centurion believed, yet Jesus Christ, by disarming Peter disarmed every
soldier afterwards; for custom can never sanction an illicit act."

Again, in his _Soldier's Garland_, he says: "Can a soldier's life be
lawful, when Christ has pronounced that he who lives by the sword shall
perish by the sword? Can one who professes the peaceable doctrine of the
gospel be a soldier when it is his duty not so much as to go to law? And
shall he who is not to avenge his own wrongs be instrumental in bringing
others into chains, imprisonment, torment, and death?"

He tells us, also, that the Christians in his day were sufficiently
numerous to have defended themselves if their religion had permitted
them to have recourse to the sword.

There are some marvelous accounts of Christian soldiers related by
Eusebius; but Valesius, in his annotations on these accounts, has
abundantly proved them to be fabulous, though he was not opposed to war
and could have had no other object but to support the truth. Eusebius,
in his orations on Constantine, uses such extravagant adulation, which
falls but little short of idolatry, that his account of Christian
warriors ought to be received with great caution, especially when we
recollect that church and state were, in his day, united.

On the whole, it is very evident that the early Christians did refuse to
bear arms, and although one of their objections was the idolatrous rites
connected with military service, yet they did object on account of the
unlawfulness of war itself.

We have no good evidence of Christians being found in the armies until
we have evidence of great corruption in the church. But admitting that
we had good evidence that there were professing Christians in the army
at an early period of the church, I apprehend it would be of little
importance, for the idolatrous rites and ceremonies of the heathen
armies were of such a nature as to be totally inconsistent with
Christian character, and the example of idolatrous Christians surely
ought to have no weight.

Some objections of less importance might be stated which have from time
to time been made against the sentiments here advocated; but to state
and reply to everything that might be said is not necessary. Specious
objections have been and still are made to almost every doctrine of
Christianity. Mankind can generally find some plausible arguments to
support whatever they wish to believe. The pleas in favor of war are
very congenial with the natural feelings of the human heart, and unless
men will examine with a serious, candid, and prayerful disposition to
ascertain the truth as it is in Jesus, they will be very likely to
imbibe and defend error.[3]

The writer, though far from supposing that everything he has said on a
subject that has been so little discussed is free from error, is
conscious of having endeavored to examine it with seriousness and
candor, and feels satisfied that the general sentiments he has advanced
are according to godliness. He sincerely hopes that every one who may
peruse these pages will do it in the meek and unbiased spirit of the
gospel, and then judge whether war can be reconciled with the lamblike
example of Christ; whether it is really forgiving the trespasses of
enemies, loving and doing them good, and returning good for evil; for if
it is not, it is unquestionably inconsistent with the spirit and the
precepts of Christianity.

All who earnestly desire and look for the millennial glory of the church
should consider that it can never arrive until the spirit and practice
of war are abolished. All who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity
cannot but ardently desire that wars may cease to the ends of the earth
and that mankind should embrace each other as brethren. If so, is it not
their duty to do all in their power to promote so benevolent an object?
Ought not every individual Christian to conduct in such a manner that if
every other person imitated his example it would be best for the whole?
If so, would they not immediately renounce everything that leads to wars
and fightings and embrace everything which would promote that glorious
reign of righteousness and peace for which they earnestly hope, long,
and pray? "The work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of
righteousness, quietness and assurance forever."


[1] Says the Rev. Dr. Scott, in his Essay, p. 422: "We ought not
therefore to fear our enemies because he will be with us, and if God be
for us, who can be against us? Or who can doubt but he that is in us is
greater than he that is in the world? This was typically intimated in
the promises made to Israel respecting their wars with the Canaanites
and other nations, which were shadows and figures of the good fight of
faith." Bishop Horne, in his preface to the Psalms, views the subject in
the same light.

[2] All these objections introduced are carefully selected from some of
the ablest advocates for the lawfulness of war.

[3] The last point American Christians will give up is the justification
of their fathers in the War of the Revolution.



    Great Sun of glory, rise and shine,
      Dispel the gloom of night;
    Let the foul spirits stretch their wings,
      And fly before thy light.

    Rebuke the nations, stop their rage,
      Destroy the warrior's skill,
    Hush all the tumults of the earth;
      O speak! say, "Peace, be still."

    Break, break the cruel warrior's sword,
      Asunder cut his bow,
    Command him by thy sovereign word
      To let the captives go.

    No more let heroes' glory sound,
      No more their triumphs tell,
    Bring all the pride of nations down--
      Let war return to hell.

    Then let thy blessed kingdom come,
      With all its heavenly train,
    And pour thy peaceful spirit down,
      Like gentle showers of rain.

    Then shall the prowling beasts of prey,
      Like lambs be meek and mild;
    Vipers and asps shall harmless twine
      Around the weaned child.

    The happy sons of Zion sit
      Secure beneath their vines;
    Or, shadowed by their fig-tree's tops,
      Shall drink their cheering wines.

    The nations to thy scepter bow,
      And own "thy gentle sway";
    Then all the wandering tribes of men
      To thee their tribute pay.

    Angelic hosts shall view the scene,
      Delighted, spread their wings;
    Down to the earth again they fly,
      And strike their lofty strings.

    The listening nations catch the sound,
      And join the heavenly choir,
    To swell aloud the song of praise,
      And vie with sacred fire.

    "Glory to God on high!" they sound,
      In strains of angels' mirth;
    "Good will and peace" to men, they sing,
      Since heaven is brought to earth.



    The writer of the following pages has, for a considerable time,
    doubted the propriety of some of the common practices of
    Christians. To satisfy himself he has, if he is not deceived,
    candidly and diligently examined the Scriptures with a view to
    ascertain and practice the truth. After considerable inquiry his
    doubts increased. He then applied to some highly respectable and
    pious friends, who frankly acknowledged that they had never
    fully examined the subject, as they had never had any doubt
    concerning it. They judged the matter weighty and advised him to
    arrange his thoughts and commit them to paper. This he has
    endeavored to do as well as a very infirm state of body and a
    press of commercial business would admit. After submitting what
    he had written to some of his friends, they unanimously advised
    him to lay it before the public, hoping that it might have a
    tendency to call the subject into notice and lead to a more
    complete and full examination. With this view he has ventured to
    commit the following sheets to the press. He has only to beg
    that the Christian who may take the trouble to read them will
    not be so solicitous to reply to the arguments as to examine and
    illustrate the truth.

The kingdom of our glorious Mediator is but little noticed in the world,
yet it is precious in the eyes of the Lord. The Lord hath chosen Zion.
She is the redeemed of the Lord. He hath said, he who touches her
touches the apple of his eye. She is purchased by the blood of the Lamb,
sanctified by the Spirit of grace, and defended by the arm of
Omnipotence. Notwithstanding she may still be covered with sackcloth,
the days of her mourning have an end. The Lord will raise her from the
dust and make her an eternal excellency and the joy of many generations.
The mystical body of Christ is composed of that innumerable company
which no man can number,--out of every nation and kindred and people and
tongue,--which will finally stand before the throne of God and the Lamb,
clothed with white robes and palms in their hands. It is but one body,
although composed of many members. The temple, which was a symbol of the
church, was composed of many stones, although but one building. The
spiritual temple is built of lively stones upon the foundation of the
apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner
stone. This spiritual temple will continue to rise under different
dispensations until the elect are gathered together from the four winds
of heaven and the top stone is carried up with shouts of Grace, Grace,
unto it!

The Mediator's kingdom is not of this world. "Jesus answered, My kingdom
is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my
servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews" (John xviii.
36). In remarking upon these words we are naturally led to consider,

    I. What the Mediator's kingdom is.
   II. Its nature.
  III. Its laws.

From which we propose to make several inferences and illustrations for

Agreeably to the arrangement of our subject, we shall first endeavor to
ascertain what the kingdom of the Mediator is; or that kingdom which he
so emphatically calls "My Kingdom," in distinction from all other
kingdoms. "Jesus answered, My kingdom----" Our glorious Mediator takes
to himself the majesty of a sovereign and claims a kingdom. In his
mediatorial character he possesses, in an extensive sense, universal
empire. He is exalted far above all principality and power and might and
dominion, and has a name which is above every name. He is King of kings
and Lord of lords. He is not only king on his holy hill of Zion but
rules amongst the nations. He is, however, in an appropriate sense, king
of saints under the gospel dispensation, as he governs the worlds with a
view to his own glory and their exaltation.

That the church, under the gospel dispensation, is in a special manner
the kingdom of heaven or the kingdom which Christ so often called his
kingdom appears evident (it is thought) from many passages of Scripture.
The prophet Daniel, while interpreting the symbols of the four great
empires which were to arise in the earth, adds that "in the days of
these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never
be destroyed." This kingdom could not be the Church Universal, for that
was established in the family of Adam and had continued without being
broken in a line of holy men down to the prophet's day. It must
therefore have a special reference to something future. When John the
Baptist came preaching, he said, "Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven
is at hand," fully implying that it had not then commenced. He preached
repentance preparatory to ushering in that kingdom which the God of
heaven was about to set up. In the days of the fourth great kingdom
mentioned in the prophecy of Daniel the Lord Jesus Christ came into our
world to establish his kingdom. As he entered upon his ministry he
declared that the time was fulfilled and that the kingdom of God was at
hand. When he first commissioned his disciples and sent them forth to
preach, he directed them to say to their hearers, "The kingdom of God is
come nigh unto you." In speaking of John the Baptist, he says, He was
the greatest of prophets; but adds, "He that is least in the kingdom of
God is greater than he"; which must be conclusive evidence that John the
Baptist was not in the kingdom of God. At the Last Supper, after our
Lord had blessed and partaken of the bread, he said to his disciples, "I
will not any more eat thereof until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of
God." In like manner, after taking the cup, he said, "I will not drink
of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God shall come." All of
which seems fully to imply that the kingdom which the God of heaven was
about to set up did not commence before the gospel dispensation. Christ
came under the Mosaic dispensation, that is, under the law, to redeem
those who were under the law, by the sacrifice of himself; "and being
found in the fashion of a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient
unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God hath highly
exalted him, and hath given him a name which is above every name." After
he arose from the dead he appeared to his disciples "by many infallible
proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things
pertaining to the kingdom of God." "And Jesus came and spake unto them,
saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye
therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the
Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe
all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you
always, even unto the end of the world. Amen." Here we see the Mediator
possessing a kingdom and giving laws to his subjects and commanding
obedience. Although his kingdom was then small, like a little leaven,
yet it had the power to leaven the whole lump. The stone which was cut
out of the mountain without hands will become a great mountain and fill
the whole earth. Every knee must finally bow to his scepter and every
tongue confess that he is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

From this concise view of the subject we conclude that the kingdom of
God, or Christ's kingdom, is in a special manner the gospel dispensation
which was not completely established until after the resurrection of our

II. The next point of inquiry is its nature. "Jesus answered, My kingdom
is not of this world." By this we understand the Mediator's kingdom, not
being of this world, supposes that its nature, its laws, and its
government are all distinct from the nature, laws, and governments of
this world. That the Mediator's kingdom is not of this world, but
spiritual, heavenly, and divine, will fully appear, it is apprehended,
from the following reasons.

1st. From the character of the King. He was not born like the kings of
the earth. He was the Son of the living God and Heir of all things. He
was conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost and born of a virgin. His
birth was not celebrated with the earthly pomp of princes, but by a few
humble shepherds and a choir of angels. His palace was a stable and his
cradle a manger. When a child he was not amused with toys, but was about
his Father's business. When he was dedicated to his ministry, it was not
by the appointment of kings, or the consecration of bishops, but by the
baptism of his humble forerunner, and the descent of the Holy Ghost in a
bodily shape like a dove, and a voice from the excellent glory, saying,
"This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." His companions were
the despised fishermen of Galilee and the angels of heaven. He was "a
man of sorrow and acquainted with grief"; yet he was the eternal Son of
the eternal Father. Nature owned his voice and devils trembled at his
power; but he was despised and rejected of men. When he fed the hungry
multitude, they were gratified with the loaves and fishes and sought to
make him a king; but he departed out of the place; for his kingdom was
not of this world. When Satan, the god of this world, offered him all
the kingdoms of this world and the glory of them if he would only fall
down and worship him, he rebuked him with holy contempt and said, Get
thee hence, Satan; for his kingdom was not of this world. The Mediator
did not intermeddle with the affairs of the governments of this world;
for his kingdom was not of this world. When he was solicited to command
a brother to divide his earthly substance, instead of complying with the
request he only gave a pointed admonition and said, "Man, who made me a
judge, or a divider, over you?" When his enemies endeavored to catch him
in his words by extorting from him something unfavorable to the laws of
Cæsar, Jesus answered them and said, "Render to Cæsar the things which
are Cæsar's, and to God the things which are God's." When they demanded
of him tribute, and that unjustly, according to their own laws, he paid
it without a murmur, to set an example of peace and quietness for his
disciples. In all things he avoided interfering or meddling with the
governments of this world.

2dly. From the representations of the Bible, "The kingdom of God is
righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." The Mediator's kingdom
is founded in right. His scepter is a right scepter. He rules in
righteousness. "The unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God."
Righteousness is opposed to all injustice, oppression, and cruelty; it
regards the rights of God and man; it requires love to the Lord our God
with all our heart, with all our mind, and with all our strength, and to
our neighbors as ourselves. His kingdom is a kingdom of peace; he is the
Prince of Peace. At his birth the angels sang, "Peace on earth, and good
will to men." Peace is opposed directly to all contention, war, and
tumult, whether it regards individuals, societies, or nations. It
forbids all wrath, clamor, and evil speaking. It forbids the resistance
of evil or retaliation, and requires good for evil, blessing for
cursing, and prayer for persecution. Our glorious Mediator not only
exhibited a pattern of peace in his life but preached peace in the great
congregation. His last and richest legacy to his disciples was the gift
of peace: "My peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as
the world giveth, give I unto you." Christ came in the power of the
Spirit, and was full of the Holy Ghost. It is the communion of the Holy
Ghost which fills the kingdom of heaven with that joy which is
unspeakable and full of glory. "Except a man be born of the Spirit, he
cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven." Finally, we have his own
express declaration, "My kingdom is not of this world."

From what has been said it may be concluded that the Mediator's kingdom
is, in a special sense, the gospel dispensation, or the kingdom of
heaven, and that it is not of this world, but spiritual, heavenly, and
divine. And this brings us to notice,

III. The laws by which it is governed. It is governed by the same laws
which regulate the heavenly hosts. "Be ye therefore perfect, even as
your Father in heaven is perfect," is the command of our Divine Master.
It is the kingdom of heaven. "Jesus said, My kingdom is not of this
world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight,
that I should not be delivered to the Jews." The laws of the Mediator's
kingdom require supreme love to God. Jesus said, "Thou shalt love the
Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy
mind; this is the first and great commandment." This implies right
apprehension of his being and perfections, and supreme love to his word
and delight in his law, such as the sweet singer of Israel expressed: O
how I love thy law! it is my meditation day and night. It implies
unlimited confidence in God and unshaken belief in the testimony he has
given of his Son and a spirit of filial obedience to all his precepts.

The laws of the Mediator's kingdom require love to man: "Thou shall love
thy neighbour as thyself." This prohibits rendering to any man evil for
evil; but, contrariwise, it demands blessing. It utterly forbids wrath,
hatred, malice, envy, pride, revenge, and fighting; but requires, on the
contrary, meekness, forgiveness, long-suffering, tenderness, compassion,
and mercy. The subjects of the Mediator's kingdom are commanded to do
good to all as they have opportunity; but especially to those of the
household of faith. This command extends not only to the gentle and kind
but to the disobedient and froward; to friends and to enemies. "If thine
enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink," is the command of
our Lord. This injunction, it is apprehended, is directly opposed to
resisting the oppression of enemies by force. Jesus said, "If my kingdom
were of this world, then would my servants fight"; but, instead of
avenging wrongs, the explicit direction is "to overcome evil with good."
The Mediator is the only avenger of the wrongs done to his subjects:
"For it is written, Vengeance is mine, and I will repay, saith the
Lord." In a special manner the subjects of the Mediator must love the
brethren. They must visit the widow, the fatherless, and the afflicted,
and live unspotted from the world. The Lord accepts every act of
kindness done to the brethren as done to himself, and regards every act
of injustice, cruelty, and revenge towards them as expressed towards
himself. He considers them his own property, the purchase of his blood.
He will, therefore, not only be their portion but their defense; a wall
of fire round about them and a glory in the midst. The Mediator sits as
King upon his holy hill of Zion, and is swaying his scepter in
righteousness throughout his vast dominions.

       *       *       *       *       *

Having very briefly considered what the Mediator's kingdom in a special
manner is, its nature and its laws, we now pass, as was proposed, to
make several inferences and illustrations.

1st. If the Mediator's kingdom is in a special manner the gospel
dispensation, and its nature and laws are not of this world, but
spiritual, heavenly, and divine, then we may infer that the kingdoms of
this world are not united to the kingdom of our Lord, but are opposed to
it. If they are not for him, they are against him; and if they gather
not with him, they scatter abroad. They must, therefore, be at war with
the Lamb; but the Lamb shall overcome them, for he hath on his vesture
and on his thigh a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. The
great conflict in our world is between the kingdom of the Mediator and
the kingdom of Satan; but the victory is not uncertain. Although the
"heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing, the kings of the
earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the
Lord, and against his Anointed, saying, Let us break their bands
asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the
heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he
speak to them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure." "Out
of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the
nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the
winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God."

The Psalmist, by the Holy Ghost, says of Christ, "Thou shalt break them
with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them to pieces like a potter's
vessel." Again, "He shall cut off the spirit of princes; he is terrible
to the kings of the earth." Isaiah, by the revealing spirit, had the
scenes of futurity opened to his view. He saw the glorious Redeemer
marching through the earth in the greatness of his power; for he saw, by
prophetic vision, the great day of his wrath appear, and none but his
redeemed were able to stand. In view of the dreadful scene his soul was
filled with astonishment, and he exclaims: "Who is this that cometh from
Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his
apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in
righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel,
and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? I have trodden
the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I
will tread them in my anger, and trample them in my fury; and their
blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments. For the day of vengeance is
in my heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. I looked, and there
was none to help; and I wondered there was none to uphold: therefore
mine arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me. And I
will tread down the people in my anger, and make them drunk in my fury,
and I will bring down their strength to the earth." From this it appears
that the nations of the earth will be gathered like the grapes of a
vineyard, and cast into the great wine press of the wrath of God
Almighty; and the great Redeemer will thresh them in his anger and
trample them in his fury. Their destruction must be inevitable if their
laws and governments are directly opposed to the Mediator's kingdom.
When he shall come out of his place to shake terribly the nations of the
earth, then the _earth_[4] will no longer cover the blood of the slain;
for he will make inquisition for blood, and write up the nations. Then
he will stain the pride of all glory and bring into contempt all the
honorable of the earth. The nations will be like stubble before the
devouring fire, and will be chased away like chaff before the whirlwind,
and no place will be found for them.

The interpretation of the symbols of the four great empires by the
prophet Daniel fully confirms this idea. In first describing the vision
to Nebuchadnezzar he says: "Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out
without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and
clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass,
the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like
the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away,
that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image
became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth." The prophet thus
interprets the vision: "And in the days of these kings shall the God of
heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom
shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and
consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as
thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands,
and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver,
and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come
to pass hereafter."

Thus we see that the kingdoms of the world by not submitting to the
kingdom of our Lord, but by making war with the Lamb, are devoted to
awful destruction, for the Lamb will overcome them. His kingdom will
stand, for it is an everlasting kingdom; and of his dominion there shall
be no end. The gospel dispensation (or the kingdom of heaven) must
remain forever, as it is governed by the same spirit which prevails in
the eternal fountain of blessedness himself. It is therefore
emphatically called the kingdom of God not only in distinction from the
kingdoms of this world but in distinction from all the other
dispensations of the church. It is not of this world; it is the kingdom
of heaven,--the reign of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy

2. If the Mediator's kingdom is not of this world, but spiritual,
heavenly, and divine, and the kingdoms of this world are opposed to it,
then we may infer that the kingdoms of this world must belong to the
kingdom of Satan. There are but two kingdoms in our world. At the head
of one is the Mediator, and at the head of the other is Satan. Satan is
the god of this world and reigns without a rival in the hearts of the
children of disobedience. He is the prince of the power of the air. All
the kingdoms of this world and the glory of them are given to him[5]
until the time that God shall write up the nations and make inquisition
for blood. Then the great battle of God Almighty will be fought, and the
beast and the false prophet will be cast into a lake of fire; and Satan
will be bound a thousand years; and the saints will take the kingdom and
possess it; and wars shall cease from under heaven. After the thousand
years Satan will again be let loose, "and shall go out to deceive the
nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to
gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the
sea." "And the devil who deceived them was cast into the lake of fire
and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be
tormented day and night for ever and ever." Thus it appears that Satan
is the mainspring of all warlike powers, and when he is bound wars will
cease; but as soon as he is again let loose they will rage. The writer
is sensible that this will be a very unpopular doctrine with the men of
this world, and with those worldly Christians who are struggling and
teasing and panting for the profits and the honors of this world. If it
is a fact that the nature and laws of the Mediator's kingdom are
diametrically opposite to the kingdoms of this world, then the inference
is irresistible that the kingdoms of this world belong not to the
kingdom of our Lord but to the kingdom of Satan; and however unsavory
the truth may be, it ought not to be disguised. Satan is the strong man,
but the Mediator is the stronger, and he will bind him and spoil his
goods. The Son of God was manifested that he might destroy the works of
the devil. When he shall destroy the rage of the nations and the tumult
of the people, then Satan's goods will be spoiled. When Satan is cast
into the bottomless pit, tumult and war will retire with him back to
hell; and instead of the blast of the trumpet and the groans of the
dying will be heard the shouts of the saints and the songs of the
redeemed. Then will be "heard as it were the voice of a great multitude,
and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings,
saying, Alleluia, for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth."

3. If the Mediator's kingdom is not of this world, and the kingdoms of
this world are under Satan's dominion, then we may infer the great
impropriety of the subjects of the Mediator's kingdom using the weapons
of this world and engaging in tumults, wars, and fightings. "Jesus
answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this
world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to
the Jews." The Jews expected in their Messiah a temporal prince; but
because his kingdom was not of this world they crucified the Lord of
life and glory. Had he only appeared in the pomp of this world and in
the splendor of a temporal conqueror to vanquish the Romans who were in
possession of their earthly Canaan and oppressing their nation, they
would immediately have rallied round his standard and followed him to
earthly conquest and glory. He was apparently too inattentive to their
rights and liberties (which the patriots of this world now emphatically
call their dearest interests). They said, "If we let him alone, all men
will believe on him; and the Romans shall take away both our place and
our nation." It may be asked, Why were the Jews apprehensive, if all men
should believe on him, the Romans would take away both their place and
their nation? The answer does not appear difficult. They doubtless
perceived that both his life and precepts directly opposed rendering
vengeance to their enemies; and, on the contrary, demanded nothing less
than love to their enemies, good for evil, and blessing for cursing.
This they could not endure, as it directly opposed their carnal desires
and filled them with malice against the Prince of Peace. They might,
with much greater propriety than any nation under the gospel light, have
said, "Shall we imbibe this pusillanimous spirit of doing good to those
who oppress us and tamely bend our necks to the yoke of tyranny and
suffer our dearest interests to be wrested from us without once making a
struggle to defend them? Rather, let us arise and fight manfully, and
defend our liberties or die gloriously in their vindication." We say
they might, with much greater propriety, have made these declarations
than any under the light of the gospel, because they considered
themselves under the Mosaic dispensation which had fully tolerated them
not only in defensive but offensive war. But when they perceived that
the doctrines of the Mediator were calculated to disannul their
dispensation and extinguish their carnal hopes (notwithstanding his
credentials were divine), their malice was kindled against him, and
their vengeance was not satiated until they wreaked their hands in the
blood of the Son of God. And we may confidently expect that wherever the
same Spirit of Christ lifts up a standard against the same carnal policy
and temporal interest there will follow the same spirit of envy,
persecution, and revenge which was manifested against the Lord of life
and glory. If any man (no matter who) will live godly in Christ Jesus,
he shall suffer persecution. The Spirit of Christ is the same now that
it was then, and the world is the same, the carnal heart is the same,
and the great adversary of souls is the same. Only let it be styled
"patriotic" to persecute the followers of the Lamb of God, and we should
soon see the heroes of this world drunk with the blood of the martyrs of
Jesus; and probably many would be as conscientious as Paul was while
breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the
meek and lowly Jesus. It is not impossible that when the witnesses[6]
are slain, their crime may be a refusal to use carnal weapons in
defense of their country.

As it is a matter of great practical consequence to know whether the
subjects of the Prince of Peace are authorized in any case under the
gospel dispensation to use carnal weapons or not, we propose in this
inference to be a little more particular. Although it is supposed that
the Lord Jesus Christ acted in a threefold capacity,--as God, Man, and
Mediator,--yet we have never heard it questioned by Christians that all
his conduct as man was to remain a perfect example for his brethren, and
all his precepts a perfect rule for their duty. As his kingdom was not
of this world, he did not intermeddle with the governments of this
world; he only submitted to all their laws which were not contrary to
the laws of his heavenly Father. He was meek and lowly; so little did he
possess of this world that he had not where to lay his head. He went
about continually doing good. He was full of compassion even to his
enemies. He wept over Jerusalem. He was finally "brought as a lamb to
the slaughter, and as sheep before their shearers are dumb, so he opened
not his mouth." When he was reviled he reviled not again, but committed
himself to him who judges righteously. He prayed for his murderers and
apologized for his persecutors, saying, "Father, forgive them, for they
know not what they do." As the church under a former dispensation had
divine authority for engaging in war, it is important to ascertain
whether this authority was abrogated under the gospel dispensation or
not.[7] That many things have been tolerated under one dispensation of
the church and prohibited under another, most Christians allow. That the
preceptive will of God is to be our only rule of duty, few Christians
deny. The knowledge communicated to us of the preceptive will of God to
his church, under the first dispensation, is very limited. We find,
however, no authority for taking the life of man in any case, not even
for murder; but, on the contrary, a sevenfold vengeance was pronounced
upon him who should slay the murderer. Under the patriarchal
dispensation he that shed man's blood by man was his blood to be shed.
In this, defensive war was tolerated. Under the Mosaic dispensation, not
only defensive but offensive war was tolerated, and not only _war_ was
permitted, but _retaliation_, as, "an eye for an eye"; "a tooth for a
tooth"; "life for life," etc.

The question to be decided is whether these regulations are still in
force, or whether they were disannulled by the gospel dispensation. The
life and precepts of our Lord and his disciples while under the unerring
guidance of his spirit must be our only authority in this inquiry. That
many things were done away by the gospel dispensation, none will deny
who believe the gospel. The ceremonial part, which was only a shadow of
good things to come, vanished away when the substance appeared; and not
only the ceremonial part was abolished, but many other practices.
Polygamy was permitted under the law, but forbidden under the gospel.
Divorce was allowed under the Mosaic but prohibited under the gospel
dispensation, except in the case of adultery. Under the Mosaic
dispensation the penalty for whoredom was stoning to death. This penalty
was not enforced under the gospel dispensation, as may be seen in John
viii. 11. That all kinds of war, revenge, and fighting were utterly
prohibited under the gospel dispensation we think appears evident not
only from the life of our glorious Mediator but from his express
precepts. "Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my
kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should
not be delivered to the Jews." No comment can add force to this passage,
for it is apprehended that no language can be more explicit against
defensive war.

In Christ's Sermon on the Mount he quoted a passage from Exodus, "Ye
have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a
tooth: but I say unto you, That _ye resist not evil_: but whatsoever
shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." The
force of this passage has generally been obviated by saying that we are
not to take all the words of our Lord literally. Although this is
admitted, yet we are absolutely bound to take the spirit of every word,
if we can understand them, by comparing the Scriptures with the
Scriptures. That the spirit of this passage is directly opposed to the
one our Lord quoted from Exodus, we think cannot fairly be denied; and,
of course, it disannulled it, for he who had power to make laws under
one dispensation had power to abrogate them under another.

The blessed Mediator did, in the most explicit manner, command his
subjects to love their enemies and render good for evil. This command we
are of opinion is totally incompatible with resisting them with carnal
weapons. He says, "But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do
good to them which hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use
you." Let us for one moment compare this precept with defensive war and
see if it can consistently be put into practice. Suppose our country is
invaded and a professed disciple of the Prince of Peace buckles on the
harness and takes the field to repel by the point of the sword his
enemy. He advances amidst the lamentations of the wounded and the
shrieks of the dying to meet his foe in arms. He sees his wrath kindled
and his spear uplifted, and in this trying moment he hears his Lord say,
"Love your enemy and render to him good for evil"; and his kindness to
him is like Joab's to Amasa; he thrusts him through the heart and
hurries him to the awful tribunal of his Judge, probably unprepared.
Dear brethren, be not deceived; for God is not mocked. Who amongst our
fellow-men would receive the thrust of a sword as an act of kindness?
Only let conscience do its office, and there will be no difficulty in
deciding whether defensive war is inconsistent with the gospel
dispensation or not. Carnal and spiritual weapons will no more unite
under the gospel dispensation than iron and miry clay.

Our very salvation depends on being possessed of a spirit of forgiveness
to enemies. "If ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your
Father forgive your trespasses." If men invade our rights and trespass
upon our privileges, is it forgiveness to repel them at the point of the
bayonet? The honest Christian will find no difficulty in conscientiously
deciding this question, notwithstanding he may be slow of heart in
believing all that is written.

All the conduct of our Lord had meaning to it, and much of it was with
an express view to teach his disciples by way of example. A little
before he was betrayed, he ordered his disciples to take swords. The
object of this must have been either to use them for defense, or for
some other purpose. The event proves that they were not taken for
self-defense. The question then is, For what were they taken? The event
appears fully to answer the question, viz.: To prohibit, by way of
example, the use of them for self-defense in the most trying situation
possible. If any situation would justify self-defense with carnal
weapons, it must have been the situation in which our Lord and his
disciples were placed at the time he was betrayed. They were in a public
garden, and they were assaulted by a mob, contrary to the statutes of
the Romans and the laws of the Jews; and the object was to take his
life. This the disciples knew, and Peter judged it a proper time for
defense, and drew his sword and smote a servant of the High Priest and
cut off his ear. As our Lord's kingdom was not of this world, he would
not suffer his subjects to use the weapons of this world in any
situation. He therefore healed the wound they made and rebuked Peter for
his mistaken zeal. "Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword
into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the
sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot pray to my Father, and he would
presently send me more than twelve legions of angels?" Here we see that
our Lord not only forbade his disciples to use the sword in self-defense,
but added a dreadful penalty to transgressors,--"all they that take the
sword shall perish with the sword." The disciples did not then fully
understand that his kingdom was not of this world. As soon as they were
prohibited using the weapons of this world they all forsook him and

The apostle James, in his epistle to the twelve tribes of Israel which
were scattered abroad, asks them this question: "From whence come wars
and fighting among you? come they not even of your lusts that war in
your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and
cannot obtain: ye fight and war, and yet ye have not." "Ye adulterers
and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity
with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend to the world is an enemy
of God." From this we think it evidently appears that the warlike spirit
of the world is directly opposed to God. The God of this world works
effectually in the hearts of the children of disobedience and stirs up
their lusts which war in their members and hurries them on to acts of
cruelty, revenge, and fighting.

This subject is of so much practical consequence that it requires a few
observations in reply to some of the arguments of worldly and
unenlightened Christians in favor of using carnal weapons. It is said
that government is an ordinance of God which exists throughout his vast
dominion. In heaven above there are angels and archangels; and upon
earth there are magistrates and powers; and in hell there is the prince
of devils. That God in his holy providence has so disposed of events
that governments of some kind or other do exist in all parts of his
dominion, none but skeptics will deny. But who would pretend that the
governments in heaven and hell are not diametrically opposite? One is
the spirit of peace and love, and the other, rebellion and war. Perhaps
the manifestation of these different spirits here on earth may fairly be
the dividing line amongst its inhabitants, and show to which kingdom
they belong. They say all powers are ordained of God. Thus far they are
correct, but it is apprehended that they do not make a proper
distinction between the ordination of God and his preceptive will for
man. So far as the former agrees with the latter, it is a rule of duty
and cannot be any further. One is the rule of God's own procedure (if
the expression is proper), and the other the rule of action for his
creatures; but the counsel of God and his laws for man are often
diametrically opposite. It is not improbable that this is part of the
mystery of God which will, by and by, be finished.

The Lord Jesus Christ was delivered by the determinate counsel and
foreknowledge of God; and yet, by wicked hands, he was crucified and
slain. Here, as in the case of Pharaoh, and many other instances
recorded, the divine counsel and the duty of man were directly opposite.
To ascertain our duty we must look at the preceptive will of God and not
to his eternal counsel. Although all powers are ordained of God, yet it
must not be inferred that all the laws of the heathen or civilized world
are to be a rule of duty for the Mediator's subjects, or that their
spirit is agreeable to the spirit of the gospel dispensation. It is
said, We are commanded to obey magistrates and every ordinance of man
for the Lord's sake. All this is admitted. But these injunctions are
either limited by other precepts or they are unlimited. If they are
unlimited, then all who have died martyrs fell a sacrifice to
superstition instead of duty. Notwithstanding these directions were
intended as a rule for Christians in all ages, yet they were promulgated
while the disciples were under idolatrous governments, and were never
intended to encourage them to worship idols.

These commands must, therefore, be limited. The question is, How are
they limited? We apprehend, by the spirit and other precepts of the
gospel. We have already shown, we trust, that these absolutely prohibit
war in every form. If so, then none of these injunctions can counteract
the position we are examining. They only enjoin strict obedience to all
human laws under which we live that do not contradict the spirit or
precepts of the gospel; when they do, they are not binding and must be
resisted; not, however, with carnal but spiritual weapons; we must take
joyfully the spoiling of our goods and count not our lives dear unto

It has been often said that he who refuses to comply with the commands
of the magistrate resists the powers that be, and, according to the
apostle's reasoning, resists the ordinance of God and will receive to
himself damnation. And, further, as all powers are the ordinance of God
they ought to be supported, and if they cannot without, they must be
even at the point of, the sword. Here the subject of the Mediator must
make a distinction between resisting the "powers that be" by force of
arms and refusing to obey their unlawful commands. It is not supposed
that in one case he would obey and that in the other he would disobey
the commands of his Master. No martyr ever considered himself as
violating this precept in refusing to sacrifice to an idol at the
command of an earthly power; neither will any subject of the Mediator
view himself as violating it by refusing to use carnal weapons while he
believes that his Lord has utterly forbidden his using them. It is
apprehended that if this proves anything upon the principles of war,
that it will prove too much for its advocates. The command is to obey
the powers that be and not the powers that ought to be. If it is taken
in an unlimited sense, it must prohibit resisting even tyrannical
powers, and would, of course, condemn every Christian who engaged in the
American Revolution. To say that all power is in the hands of the
people, and, of course, it is the people who are the powers that be, is
thought to be but a quibble. We will suppose a very possible case,--that
a foreign power completely overturns the government of the people and
disannuls their laws and gives a new code; in that case, the command to
obey the powers that be would not be annihilated. The precept originally
was given while the disciples were in the midst of tyrannical
governments. It is thought that it is so far from tolerating defensive
war that it is opposed to it. The precepts of the gospel cannot be
dependent upon the convulsions of the nations. If Christians are bound
to aid with carnal weapons in suppressing a rebellion, then, if the
opposing power gains the predominance, they must turn directly about and
fight the very power they were before supporting. Such conduct would not
become the citizens of Zion. If it is said the powers that be are
Christian rulers, then we say, let them govern only by the laws of the
Mediator's kingdom, and we will bow with reverence before them, and not
teach for commandments the doctrines of men, as we cannot receive human
laws for divine precepts.

It is stated that our Lord paid tribute, and that we are commanded to
pay tribute to whom tribute is due, and that tribute supports the
governments of this world. This is granted; but the Mediator's subjects
are required also to lead peaceable and quiet lives; this is more
promoted by paying tribute than by the refusal. Our Lord directs Peter
to pay the tribute lest they should give offense. But paying tribute for
the sake of preserving peace is a very different thing from actually
engaging in war.

Whenever the Christian is called upon to pay money by way of taxes or
tribute, he does not part with any spiritual treasure, but only earthly
property, for which he has the example and precepts of the Lord. The
currency of the world generally bears the ensign of the nation which
made it. If it bears the image and superscription of Cæsar, then "render
to Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's, and unto God the things which are
God's." Christians, however, whose hearts are upon this idol, will
sooner give up their lives than their God. "The love of money is the
root of all evil." The real Christian's treasure is in heaven and beyond
the reach of the powers of earth or hell. The things of this world are
but privileges loaned him, to be resigned at the call of his Lord. Shall
he then fear those who can only kill the body and afterwards have no
more that they can do? Rather, let him fear him who has power to destroy
both soul and body in hell forever. It is better for him to suffer wrong
than to do wrong.

The permission granted to the Jewish church to wage war has often been
pleaded as authority for Christians. If this proves anything, it proves
too much, for not only defensive but offensive war was permitted under
the Mosaic dispensation. This the tyrants of the world have not
generally contended was right since the gospel dispensation. We think,
however, that we have fully shown that this was abrogated under the
gospel dispensation, and that all kinds of war were prohibited; if so,
it has no weight on the subject.[9]

It has been said that Christians with a small exception have never
questioned the propriety of defensive war. As it regards nominal
Christians, this statement is perhaps correct, but as it respects the
real disciples of the Mediator, it is to be questioned. We hear of no
Christians in the first ages of the church engaged in carnal warfare
until we hear of great corruptions in the church. Most Protestants have
been of opinion that those precious disciples who inhabited the dark
valleys of Piedmont during the great corruptions of the nominal church
were the Redeemer's true subjects. These disciples, of whom the world
was not worthy, utterly refused to engage even in defensive war,
notwithstanding they were hunted down by their bloody persecutors.[10]

It has been often said that the Reformers, who were good men, did not
hesitate to engage in defensive war, and that the Reformation was
finally supported by the sword. That the Reformers were generally pious
men is readily admitted, and that the Reformation, under divine
providence, was a glorious event to the church is also granted. But the
history of the Reformers, when written by their friends, abundantly
manifests that they were men, subject to like passions with other men,
and that all the means they employed could not be justified, either by
the spirit or the precepts of the gospel.

Henry the Eighth was a vile man, but he was very active in protesting
against the Pope because his holiness would not grant him a divorce. God
makes the wrath of man praise him. It will not probably be a great
length of time (in the opinion of the writer) before those churches
which were defended with the sword will be destroyed by the sword.

It has been further urged that not only the Reformers but most pious
Protestants have prayed for the prosperity of the arms of their country,
and many have actually fought in the field of battle. All this is
likewise admitted. But many pious men have had a mistaken zeal. It is
fully believed that Protestants, generally, have been in the habit of
considering the Reformation so glorious an event that they have very
little inquired whether the means by which it was finally defended were
agreeable to the spirit of the gospel or not. They have been taught from
their earliest years to consider that the weapons of warfare used by the
Reformers were lawful, so that they have not hesitated to follow their
example. That the example and prayers of pious people ought to have
weight is readily granted, but to place a blind confidence in them, we
apprehend, is criminal, for their example is to be imitated no further
than it agrees with the spirit and precepts of the gospel. These must
forever remain a perfect standard of duty; whereas the practice of real
Christians, owing to their imperfect state, is constantly changing and
often contradictory. During the American Revolution, doubtless, real
Christians were praying and fighting for the success of the American
arms, and real Christians in the British service were praying and
fighting for the success of his Majesty's arms. The truth is, they ought
not to pray for war in any shape, but to pray that wars may cease from
under heaven, and that God's kingdom may come and his will be done on
earth as it is done in heaven; and not only to pray, but endeavor to
advance the kingdom of heaven and put a stop to wars and bloodshed. The
opinions of pious people often vary with the increase of light which
shines upon the church. One century ago most pious people believed in
the propriety of the slave trade, but very few can now be found to
advocate the abominable practice. The nature of the crime has not
changed, nor the evidence against it, but the truth is, that the opinion
of pious people has materially changed upon this subject. We ought
always to remember that the example of pious people is to be of no
weight any further than it agrees with the example of our Lord. It is
always unsafe to be looking too much to the fallible example of those
whom we have esteemed pious for a rule of duty, while we have the
unerring word in our hands to light our way; when any one is depending
upon the example of Christians not under the immediate influence of
divine inspiration for evidence to support his hypothesis, it is strong
presumptive evidence that he has not the word of God in his favor. By
the word of God and by that _only_ ought every controversy to be tried.

It is further urged that we are commanded to pray for kings and all in
authority; it is true we must pray not only for kings but all men, even
enemies. This, however, does by no means imply that we are commanded to
pray for a blessing upon their unhallowed undertakings; but it only
implies that we must pray that they may be translated out of nature's
darkness into the light of the gospel, and from the power of Satan unto
the living God.

The great difficulty with the subjects of the Mediator ever has been,
and still is, a want of faith in the promises of God. They are prone to
be afraid of consequences. They look nearly as much at consequences as
the children of Israel did while journeying from Egypt to Canaan. The
truth is, they ought to have nothing to do with consequences, but only
duties. "Thus saith the Lord," should be their warrant and only guide.
If they implicitly follow the command, consequences are all safe in
God's hand. Had Abraham looked only at consequences, it is not probable
he would ever have been styled the Father of the Faithful. It is not
uncommon for timid and worldly Christians to be alarmed at consequences
and to argue in this manner: they say, "Shall we stand still and suffer
an assassin to enter our houses and take our lives and property without
ever attempting to resist him?" All this must go upon the supposition
that he who has said he will never leave nor forsake his people, and is
a very present help in every time of need, will take no care of them. No
assassin could stand a moment before the prayer of faith which would
enter the heavens and reach the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. If
faithless Christians cannot be persuaded to look at the precepts and the
promises, but only at consequences, they ought, at least, to examine
them well. Suppose God, in his holy providence, should permit an
assassin to take the life of one of his dear children; the consequence
would be, he would immediately be translated to glory; and possibly the
assassin might become a penitent; but should he take the life of the
assassin in defending himself, the consequence then would be, he would
hurry him into the abyss of the damned where his probation would be
eternally ended. He who puts his trust in the Lord shall not fear what
man can do to him; he will be like Mount Zion which cannot be moved.

Remember, dear brethren, that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal
but spiritual, and mighty through God. "Finally, my brethren, be strong
in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of
God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we
wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against
powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against
spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole
armour of God (here is the equipment of a soldier of Jesus Christ), that
ye may be able to withstand in an evil day, and having done all, to
stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and
having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the
preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of
faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the
wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit,
which is the word of God: praying always with all prayer and
supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance
and supplication for all saints." And the very God of peace shall be
with you, and he will shortly bruise Satan under your feet. For yet a
little while and the Almighty angel will come down with a great chain in
his hand; and he will lay hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is
the devil and Satan, and will bind him a thousand years, and cast him
into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that
he shall deceive the nations no more until the thousand years are
fulfilled. Then wars will cease from under heaven and the implements of
death will be converted into the harmless utensils of husbandry, and
there will be nothing to hurt nor destroy in all God's holy mountain.
The stone which was cut out of the mountain without hands will become a
great mountain and fill the whole earth. Then will be heard "a loud
voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the
kingdom of God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our
brethren is cast down, which accused them before God day and night. And
they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their
testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore
rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them."

It is, however, very important, dear brethren, that we keep it
constantly in mind that the nature and precepts of the gospel are the
same now as they will be then, in that glorious reign of righteousness
and peace, and that it is our duty constantly to be influenced by the
same spirit now which will then be manifested by the followers of the
Lamb. The little leaven is of the same nature with whole lump when it is
leavened. Let us therefore gird up the loins of our mind and watch unto

4. If the Mediator's kingdom is not of this world, but spiritual,
heavenly, and divine, and if the kingdoms of this world are under the
dominion of Satan, and if the subjects of Christ's kingdom are not
permitted to use carnal weapons, then we may infer who is the "great
whore that sitteth upon many waters; with whom the kings of the earth
have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been
made drunk with the wine of her fornication." A virgin or chaste woman
is a familiar symbol in the Scriptures of the true church of God; and an
unchaste woman is as familiar a symbol of an apostate or corrupt church.
As a lewd woman calls herself by the name of her husband, notwithstanding
she has constant intercourse with other men, so the corrupt church calls
herself by the name of Christ, notwithstanding she has constant illicit
intercourse with the kings of the earth.[11] To understand the true nature
of spiritual whoredom will assist us in ascertaining the bounds of
mystical Babylon.

The children of Israel were separated from all the nations of the earth
and set apart to be holy unto the Lord. As they were in covenant with
the God of Israel, he addressed them in the endearing character of a
husband. Whenever they made any covenant or formed a confederacy with
the nations around them, or imitated their idolatrous abominations, they
were charged with spiritual whoredom. The church, under the gospel
dispensation, is redeemed from amongst men out of every nation, and
sanctified and set apart to be a peculiar people to show forth the
praises of God. It is styled the Bride, the Lamb's wife. Its members are
not to be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewing
of the Spirit. They do not belong to any earthly kingdom, for our Lord
has said, "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world";
but they are citizens of the heavenly Zion and belong to the household
of God; they are members of the same community, with the innumerable
company of angels and the spirits of just men made perfect; and are to
be governed by the very same spirit and temper which reigns amongst
those blessed inhabitants above. God is an overflowing and unbounded
ocean of blessedness and love; love is therefore the fulfilling of the

Whenever the subjects of the Redeemer unite themselves to the kingdoms
of this world, and engage in their political contentions and fightings,
then it appears they commit spiritual whoredom, for they forsake the
fountain of living waters and hew out to themselves cisterns,--broken
cisterns, which can hold no water. When they thus mingle with the world
and unite in its pursuits they may spiritually be styled adulterers.

The apostle James, while reproving the twelve tribes, which were
scattered abroad, for their wars and fightings and friendship to the
world, styles them adulterers and adulteresses. In direct opposition to
this representation, the first fruits of the church are styled virgins,
as not being defiled with women. "These are they which were not defiled
with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb
whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from amongst men, being the
firstfruits unto God and the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no
guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God." As virgins
are pure and undefiled, so were the disciples of Christ in the first age
of the church when they had no impure intercourse with the kingdoms of
this world and followed the Lamb in refusing to engage either in its
profits, honors, or fightings. They are, therefore, called virgins,
without fault, in opposition to those who mingle with the world, who are
spiritually styled harlots.

It evidently appears, if what has been said is true, that mystical
Babylon, that mother of harlots and abominations of the earth, is just
as extensive as the union of the church with the kingdoms of this world;
and just in that proportion in which an individual Christian, or a
single church, or a number of churches united in one body, engage in the
honors, profits, and fightings of the kingdoms of this world, just in
that proportion they may be said to be guilty of spiritual whoredom.

The writer is well aware that this inference, however just, will be
looked upon with contempt by worldly political Christians whose dearest
interest is involved in the kingdoms of this world, and especially by
those who are clothed in purple and scarlet and have a golden cup in
their hands. He has no expectation of being candidly heard by such, but
it is God's own dear children who have ignorantly mingled with the
world, having been blinded by their education, from whom he expects a
candid hearing. "If any man have ears to hear, let him hear."

It is not common for a lewd woman openly to avow to the world her
character; neither can it be expected that the mother of harlots will
own her name. The writer is of opinion that very few have understood the
full dimensions of this mystical city; she appears to him in her
greatest extent to be bounded but little short of the whole visible
church of God. She is styled "the _great City_, which spiritually is
called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified." "And in her
was found the blood of prophets and saints and of all that were slain
upon the earth." But a dreadful judgment awaits her: "She shall utterly
be burnt with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judges her." Being
mingled with the nations and supported by their power, when they become
like stubble before the devouring fire, she will be consumed with them.
The whore is represented as riding upon a scarlet-colored beast, and
upheld by him.[12]

When he, with all his heads, are cast into the lake of fire, she will
likewise be given to the burning flame. But before this great and
dreadful day of the Lord shall come, which will burn as an oven, when
the whore shall be consumed with the nations of the earth, God will call
to his people to come out of her, saying unto them, "Come out of her, my
people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of
her plagues." As God's ancient people were carried captives into literal
Babylon, so God's dear people will be found captives in mystical
Babylon, until they hear the command of their Lord to come out of her
that they be not partakers of her sins and that they receive not of her
plagues. The captive daughters of Zion are very numerous. O that they
may soon arise and shake themselves from the dust! "Shake thyself from
the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands
of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion."

5. If the Mediator's kingdom is not of this world, and the kingdoms of
this world are under the dominion of Satan, and if Christ's subjects
cannot unite themselves to the kingdoms of this world, without
committing spiritual whoredom, then we may infer the great impropriety
of the subjects of the Mediator's kingdom becoming political Christians
and enrolling themselves with the men of this world. They cannot serve
two masters: for they will either hate the one, and love the other; or
else they will hold to the one, and despise the other.

How humiliating is it to see subjects of the King of Zion engaged in the
drudgery of the prince of darkness, laboring and struggling to support
his tottering throne! Satan's kingdom is divided against itself and
must, therefore, come to an end. But how lamentable is it to see the
sons of the living God, the subjects of the Prince of Peace, taking
sides in the cause of the adversary of souls, and actually opposing and
fighting each other under his banner! They do it ignorantly and will,
therefore, obtain forgiveness, for they know not what manner of spirit
they are of. They are commanded to have no fellowship with the
unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

Before our Lord departed from this world to go to the Father, he gave
laws to his subjects for their rule of life until his second coming. All
these laws contemplated their residing as a holy nation in the midst of
a wicked and benighted world, to reflect the rays of the Sun of
righteousness on the thick darkness which covers the people. They were
to be a city set upon a hill and a light to the world. The apostle
exhorts them to "do all things without murmurings and disputings: that
ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in
the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as
lights in the world." They must be a peculiar people to show forth the
praises of God. How inconsistent is it, then, for the citizens of the
heavenly Zion to be mingling with the politicians of this world and
uniting in their processions, feasts, and cabals, when they ought rather
to be praying for them, that the very sins they commit in these scenes
may be forgiven them! Dear brethren, is it not high time to come out
from the world and be separated? "Be ye not unequally yoked together
with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with
unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what
concord hath Christ with Belial?" "Wherefore come out from among them,
and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and
I will receive you, and will be a Father to you, and ye shall be my sons
and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."

6. In view of what has been said, we finally infer that every interest
which is not built upon the sure foundation stone which God has laid in
Zion will be swept away when the storms of divine wrath shall beat upon
our guilty world. "For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an
oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be
stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of
hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch." "For the day
of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty,
and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low." "The
lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be
bowed down; and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day." "The Lord
at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. He
shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with their dead
bodies; he shall wound the head over many countries." "For, behold, the
Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to
render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For by
fire and by his sword will the Lord plead with all flesh: and the slain
of the Lord shall be many." "For the indignation of the Lord is upon all
nations, and his fury upon all their armies: he hath utterly destroyed
them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter. Their slain shall be cast
out, and their stink shall come up out of their carcasses, and the
mountains shall be melted with blood." "For this is the day of the Lord
God of hosts, a day of vengeance, that he may avenge him of his
adversaries: and the sword shall devour, and it shall be satiate and be
made drunk with their blood." The nations must drink of the wine of the
wrath of God, which shall be poured out without mixture, into the cup of
his indignation; and they will be trodden in the great wine press of the
wrath of God Almighty. And the great whore which has drunk the blood of
the saints and the blood of the martyrs of Jesus will have blood to
drink; for she is worthy.

The sword of the Lord has two edges; it will cut off the offending limbs
of the church and destroy her enemies. The fire of the Lord will purify
his saints but utterly burn up the wicked. He "whose fan is in his hand
will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner;
but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." Although the
earth is thus to be desolated, and the nations destroyed, yet the saints
of the Most High shall "possess the kingdom for ever and ever." "And the
kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole
heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High,
whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve
and obey him."

Dear brethren, these events are rapidly rolling in the fiery wheels down
the descent of time; and although the nations must first drink the vials
of divine wrath and the battle of God Almighty must first be fought, yet
the time is at hand when we shall no more hear the sound of war, and of
garments rolled in blood, for man will cease to be the enemy of man, and
every one will sit quietly under his own vine and under his own fig
tree; and there will be nothing to hurt or destroy in all God's holy
mountain, and the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the
waters cover the channels of the mighty deep.

Dear brethren, is it not "high time to awake out of sleep: for now is
our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the
day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let
us put on the armour of light." And let us pray with all prayer and
supplication in the Spirit for all men, not only for ourselves, our
families, and our friends, and the church of God, but for a dying world,
that God would in infinite compassion cut short these days of dreadful
calamity for his elect's sake; and in the midst of deserved wrath
remember mercy.

"He that hath ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the
churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life,
which is in the midst of the paradise of God."


[4] The earth, in symbolical language, is supposed by the writer to
denote civilized nations, in distinction from uncivilized, which are
symbolized by the agitated sea. Civilized nations will no longer cover
the blood of the slain, under the specious idea of defending their
rights and liberties.

[5] If the kingdoms of this world do not belong to Satan, then it was no
temptation to our Lord when he offered them to him. It is expressly said
that he was "tempted of Satan."

[6] The writer has for a length of time been of opinion that no event
has ever yet happened to the church which answers to slaying the
witnesses. It has been given as a reason by some that the witnesses have
been slain, that so much light has been diffused since the art of
printing was discovered, and since the Reformation, that no reason can
ever again be found sufficiently plausible to satisfy the consciences of
mankind in again taking the lives of their fellow-men in matters of
conscience. If our country was invaded and a law should be passed that
every man capable of bearing arms should equip himself for its defense,
on penalty of being considered as an enemy and to be publicly executed
accordingly in case of refusal for conscience' sake, there would not
probably be wanting patriots sufficient to execute the laws; if they
could not be found in our land of liberty, they might be found amongst
the tyrants of the Old World.

[7] If the permission given to the church under the Mosaic dispensation
to engage in war has not been disannulled by the gospel dispensation
(which is by no means granted), it is thought that it does not admit of
the consequences which are generally drawn. The Israelites were God's
covenant people and were utterly prohibited from making any covenant
with the nations around them, or engaging with them in their wars. It
must therefore be totally improper for God's covenant people now to
unite with those who are strangers to the covenant of promise, and
engage with them in their tumult and fightings. It is presumed that no
one who has ever read our Constitution will pretend that the American
nation has, in the Scriptural sense, made a covenant with God. If the
analogy holds good in one point, it must in another; and in that case
there is no alternative left for God's covenant people but either to
withdraw from those who are not in covenant with God, or adopt a
national religion which must be defended by the weapons of the nation.
It is believed that those who will not admit that the permission granted
to the Israelites to engage in war was abrogated by the gospel
dispensation can never fully answer the arguments in favor of a national

[8] Four things are noticeable from this history. _First_, That the
subjects of the Mediator's kingdom have no right to use carnal weapons
for defense, in the most trying situation possible. _Secondly_, The
promulgation of a decree of heaven; that all they (whether states,
churches, or kingdoms) who take the sword shall perish with the sword.
Every political or ecclesiastical body which is defended with the sword
will by the sword be destroyed. In confirmation of this sentiment, we
see while the great destroying powers were represented to St. John in
the symbols of ferocious beasts, it was added, "If any man have an ear
to hear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into
captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the
sword"; but in opposition to this it is said, "Here is the faith and the
patience of the saints." We would inquire how the faith and the patience
of the saints appear, if they, like the nations of the earth, lead into
captivity and kill with the sword? _Thirdly_, The weapon which the
subjects of the Redeemer are to use for defense is here brought into
view, viz., Prayer. Nothing which appears prevented our Lord from using
this weapon when he was betrayed, but the necessity of the Scriptures
being fulfilled. Had he prayed to his Father, more than twelve legions
of ministering spirits would have appeared swift as lightning to
discharge his will. At the time he shall come in all the glory of his
Father the holy angels will be with him. He will break through the
heavens in flaming fire and descend with the shout of the Archangel and
the trump of God, and cleave asunder the earth beneath; and send forth
his angels who will awake the sleeping millions from their tombs and
gather together his elect and take them up into the air to be ever with
their Lord. _Fourthly_, We may expect that angels will be sent to
deliver the saints in the times of trouble. Angels are ministering
spirits and are sent forth to minister to those who shall be the heirs
of salvation. What a consolation it is that the subjects of the Mediator
can apply for help in times of trouble to him who has the hosts of
heaven at his command; and who has said he will never leave nor forsake
them! The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them who fear him, to
deliver them out of all their trouble. If God be for them, who can be
against them?

[9] Although it is not expected that any intelligent and candid
Christian will attempt to say that the arguments which have been
advanced may fairly apply to offensive but not to defensive war, yet
some weak and unenlightened Christians may make the assertion. In answer
to such we would observe that this would be begging the question and
taking for granted the very subject in dispute. We cannot be satisfied
with anything short of a candid answer, drawn directly from the spirit
and precepts of the gospel. When it is fairly proved that under the
gospel dispensation our Lord did draw a clear line of distinction
between offensive and defensive war, and that he intended all such
precepts as have been adduced to apply to the former and not to the
latter, then we will acknowledge the weight of the argument. Until this
is done we shall not consider our arguments as answered.

[10] The writer perceives that he has made too unlimited a statement
respecting the disciples who inhabited the valleys of Piedmont.
Historians have generally considered those who dissented from the church
of Rome during the dark ages as possessing similar sentiments. It is
true they did agree in renouncing the authority of the Pope, but in
other things they did not all agree. Some courted the protection of
earthly powers and united with them in defending their rights by the
point of the sword, and were finally destroyed by the sword. Others,
instead of defending themselves with carnal weapons, fled from the face
of the serpent and were, under divine providence, the seed of the church
in the wilderness. It is the latter class to which the writer would be
understood as referring.

[11] As the writer has been for some time studying the symbolical
language of the Scriptures, and intends (if the Lord will, unless some
person more able should attempt an explanation) to give his views to the
public, he will not be so particular at present in explaining the symbol
of the great whore which sitteth upon many waters, as he otherwise
should. He early perceived that the heavens and the earth, with all
their furniture, were used as an alphabet, in the language of things, to
represent moral subjects. His object has been to learn the true meaning
of each symbol by comparing Scripture with Scripture. No language can be
read until the alphabet is first learned. Symbolical language does not,
like other languages, change with time and place, but represents the
same idea to all nations and at all times. He is of opinion that one
symbol does not represent two events, unless it first have a reference
to some less event which is typical of some more important event; in
that case, all together may be figurative of some great ultimate end.
Although one symbol is supposed never to represent two different things,
yet two or more symbols generally represent one thing. He has found by
tracing back a symbol to its first use, that its true meaning is
generally manifest. Since examining the Scriptures with this view he has
been irresistibly drawn into the conclusions now exhibited.

[12] The writer is fully of opinion that a ferocious beast is never used
as a symbol of a corrupt church, but of a tyrannical warlike power. He
has been for some time of opinion that the second Apocalyptic beast is
rising, and that he will possess all the power of the first beast before
him, and that under him the false prophet will appear; and the witnesses
will be slain; and upon his kingdom the six first vials of his divine
wrath will be principally poured out; and the seventh will be poured
upon Satan's kingdom universally, as he is the prince of the power of
the air.

  Transcriber's Notes

  The section in the table of contents entitled, "Because, instead of
    preventing, it provokes insult and mischief," does not exactly match
    the title of the corresponding section found within the text. This
    has been retained.
  Pg 116. The word 'Antipolemos' was changed to 'Antipolemus.'
  Pg 120. The word 'righteousnesss' was changed to 'righteousness.'
  Pg 142. A question mark was changed to a period in the following
    sentence, "The question to be decided is whether these regulations
    are still in force, or whether they were disannulled by the gospel

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This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
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