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thing to be done, makes that so commanded absolutely and forever right. The Judge of all the earth can do only that, or command that to be done, which is right. Let them, then, that now plead a jus divinum-a special divine warrant or right for carrying on war by the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, produce a warrant from the present Monarch of the universe. What the God of Abraham did by Abraham, by Jacob, or by any of his sons, as the then moral governor of the world, before he gave up the sceptre and the crown to his Son Jesus Christ, is of no binding authority now. This is a point of much more importance than we can now develope, and one which has been, so far as known to me, wholly slurred over in this great investigation. The very basis of the Christian religion is that Jesus Christ is now the Lord and King of both earth and heaven; and that his Father and our God no longer assumes to be either the Lawgiver, Judge, or King of the world. It is positively declared by him that all legislative, judiciary, and executive power are now committed into the hands of one who is both our kinsman and God's only begotten Son. Two grand declarations that ought to revolutionize our whole views of civil government as respects its ultimate authority, and change some of our forms of legal justice, are wholly overlooked so far as of any practical value and importance. The first was announced by the Blessiah immediately before his ascension into heaven; the other was publicly propounded by an embassy from heaven immediately after his ascension. The former declares that "all authority," (exousia,) all legislative, judiciary, and regal authority in heaven and earth is given to Jesus Christ; the other affirms that God has made Jesus Lord and Christ, or anointed him Sovereign of the universe. Kings of the earth and courts of high judicature are all under him, but they do not really acknowledge it; few of them, perhaps, know or believe the fact, that Jesus Christ has been on the throne of the universe now eighteen hundred years. Hence the courts of England and America, the two most enlightened nations in the world, are yet deistical in form rather than Christian. In every place where they have the phrase "in the name of God,” they ought to have In the name of the Lord. This is the gist of the whole controversy between the friends and enemies of war, on the part of the subjects of Christ's kingdom. The coronation of Jesus Christ in heaven as LORD OF ALL, his investiture with all authority in heaven and earth, legislative, judiciary, and executive, is the annunciation, on the belief and public acknowledgment of which the first Christian church was founded in Jerusalem, where the throne of David was, in the month of June, 1314
years ago, Anno Domini 34, God the Father, in propria persona, now neither judges nor punishes any person or nation, but has committed all judgment to his Son, now constituted Head of the uni. verse and Judge of the living and the dead. This simplifies the question and levels it to the judgment of all. It is this: Has the Author and Founder of the Christian religion enacted war, or has he made it lawful and right for the subjects of his government to go to war against one another? Or has he made it right for them to go to war against any nation, or for any national object, at the bidding of the present existent political authorities of any nation in Christendom?
The question is not, Whether, under the new administration of the universe, Christian communities have a right to wage war, in its common technical sense, against other communities--as the house of Judah against the house of Israel, both of the same religion, language, and blood. This is already, by almost universal consent, decided in the negative, probably only one society of professed Christians excepted. But the question is, May a Christian community, or the members of it, in their individual capacities, take up arms at all; whether aggressively or defensively, in any national conflict. We might, as before alleged, dispense with the words aggressive and defensive; for a mere grammatical, logical, or legal quibble, will make any war either aggressive or defensive, just as the whim, caprice, or interest of an individual pleases. Napoleon, on his death-bed, declared that he had never engaged, during his whole career, in an aggressive war—that all his wars were defensive. Yet all Europe regarded him as the most aggressive warrior of any age.
But the great question is, Can an individual, not a public functionary, morally do that in obedience to his government which he cannot do in his own case? Suppose the master of apprenticed youth, or the master of a number of hired or even bond-servants, should fall out with one of his neighbors about one of the lines of his plantation, because, as he imagined, his neighbor had trespassed upon his freehold, in clearing or cultivating his lands. His neighbor refuses to retire within the precincts insisted on by the complainant; in consequence of which the master calls together his servants, and pro. ceeds to avenge himself; or, as he alleges, to defend his property. As the controversy waxes hot, he commands his servants not only to burn and destroy the improvements made on the disputed territory, but to fire upon his neighbor, his sons, and servants. They obey orders, and kill several of them. They are, however, finally taken into custody and brought to trial. An Attorney for the servants pleads that these servants were bound to obey their master, and quotes these words from the Good Book: “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh.” But, on the other side, it is shown that the “all things” enjoined are only “all things lawful.” For this obedience is to be rendered “as to Christ;” and again, “as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.” No judge nor jury could otherwise than condemn as guilty of murder servants thus acting. Now, as we all are, in our political relations to the government of any country, not at least inferior to the rank of a bond-servant to his master, we cannot of right, as Christian men, obey the POWERS THAT BE in any thing not in itself lawful and right according to the written law of the Great King-our liege Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. Indeed, we may advance in all safety one step farther, if it were necessary, and affirm, that a Christian man can never, of right, be compelled to do that for the state, in defence of state rights, which he cannot of right do for himself in defence of his own personal rights. No Christian man is commanded to love or serve his neighbor, his king, or sovereign more than he loves or serves himself. This conceded, and, unless a Christian man can go to war for himself, he cannot for the state.
We have already observed that the Jews were placed under a theocracy, and their kings were only vicegerents, and that they were a symbolic or typical nation adumbrative of a new relation and institution to be set up in “the fulness of time" under an administration of grace. In consequence of this arrangement God was first revealed as the GOD OF ABRAHAM; and afterwards, when he was about to make himself.known in all the earth, in contrast with the idols of the nations, he chose, by Moses, to call himself the GOD OF THE HEBREWS. Now, as the custom then was, all nations had their gods, and by their wars judged and decided the claims and pretensions of their respective divinities. Esteeming the reputation and pretensions of their gods according to their success in war, that nation's god was the greatest and most to be venerated whose people were most successful and triumphant in battle. God, therefore, chose this method to reveal himself as the God of the Hebrews. Hence he first poured out ten plagues upon the gods of Egypt.The Egyptians worshipped every thing from the Nile and its tenantry to the veriest insect in the land. He first, then, plagued their gods. Then, by causing the Jews to fight and destroy many nutions, triumphant in a miraculous style, from the victory over Amalek to the fall of the cities and kings of ancient Palestine, he established his claims as supreme over all. Proceeding in this way, he fully manifested the folly of their idolatries, and the omnipotence, greatness, and majesty of the God of the Jews.
The wars of Pagan nations were, indeed, much more rational than those of our miscalled Christian nations. No two of these nations acknowledged one and the same dynasties of gods; and, therefore, having different gods, they could, with much propriety, test their claims by invoking them in battle. But these Christian nations are both praying to one and the same God to decide their respective quarrels, and yet they will not abide the decision; for success in war is not by any one of them regarded as an end of all strife as to the right or justice of the demands of the victorious party. Did our present belligerent nations regard victory and triumph as a proof of the justice of their respective claims, they would in the manner of carrying on their wars, prove themselves to be very great simpletons indeed: for why sacrifice their hundred millions of dollars and their fifty thousand lives in one or two years, when they could have saved these millions of men and money by selecting, each, one of their genuine Simon Pure patriots and heroes, and having them voluntarily to meet in single combat, before a competent number of witnesses, and encounter each other till one of them triumphed; and thus award, from Heaven's own court of infallible rectitude, to the nation of the surviver, the glory of a great national triumph, both in heroism and justice! But this they dare not do; for these Christian nations are quite sceptical so far as faith in the justice of their own cause, or in the right decision of their claims in the providence and moral government of God, is concerned. To what purpose, we therefore ask, do they both appeal to the same God, when neither of them feels any obligation to abide his decision!
But as we are neither under a Jewish nor a Pagan government, but professedly, at least, under a Christian dispensation, we ought to hear what the present King of the universe has enacted on this subject. The maxims of the Great Teacher and Supreme Philanthropist are, one would think, to be final and decisive on this great question. The great Lawgiver addresses his followers in two very distinct respects—first, in reference to their duties to him and their own profession, and then in reference to their civil rights, duties, and obligations.
So far as any indignity was offered to them or any punishment inflicted
as his followers, or for his name's sake, they were in no way to resent it. But in their civil rights he allows them the SERIES III.
advantages of the protection of civil law; and for this cause, enjoins upon them the payment of all their political dues, and to be subject to every ordinance of man of a purely civil nature, not interfering with their obligations to him.
'If a heathen man, or persecutor, smite you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If he compel you to go with him one mile, go two. If he sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy mantle also,' &c. &c. These and whatever else of evil treatment they might receive, as disciples of Christ, they must, for his sake, endure without resistance or resentment. But if in their citizen character or civil relations they are defrauded, maligned, or prosecuted, they might, and they did, appeal to Cesar. They paid tribute to civil magistrates that they might protect them; and, therefore, they might rightfully claim their protection. In this view of the matter, civil magistrates were God's ministers to the Christian “FOR GOOD." And also as God's ministers, they were revengers to execute wrath on those who did evil. Therefore, Christians are in duty bound to render to Cesar what is Cesar's, and to God what is God's—to reverence, honor, and support the civil magistrate; and, when necessary, to claim his protection.
But as respects the works peculiar to a soldier, or the prosecution of a political war, they had no commandment. On the contrary, they were to live peaceably with all men to the full extent of their power. Their sovereign Lord, the King of nations, is called “THE PRINCE OF PEACE.” How, then, could a Christian soldier, whose “shield” was faith, whose “helmet" the hope of salvation, whose “breastplate” was righteousness, whose “girdle” was truth, whose "feet were shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace," and whose "sword” was that fabricated by the Holy Spirit, even “the Word of God.” I say, how could such a one enlist to fight the battles of a Cesar, a Hannibal, a Tamerlane, a Napoleon, or even a Victoria?-!
Jesus said, “All that take the sword shall perish by the sword.” An awful warning! All that take it to support religion, it is confessed, have fallen by it; but it is to be feared it is not simply confined to that; for may I not ask the pages of universal history, have not all the nations builded by the sword finally fallen by it? Should any one say, "Some few of them yet stand,' we must respond, All that have fallen also stood for a time; and are not those that now stand just at this moment tottering to their overthrow? True, we have no doubt it will prove, in the long run, that nations and states founded by the sword shall fall by the sword.