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not to lessen the number of the moral obli. gations of the Gospel. They ought not to abridge its dignity, nor to put limits to its þenevolence. If it was the desire of Jesus Christ that men should love their enemies, it is their duty to believe that his wish could not have been otherwise than universal. If it was an object with him to cure moral evil, it is their duty to suppose that it was his desire to destroy it, not partially, but to the utmost possible extent. If it was his design to give happiness to men, it is their duty to determine that he intended to give it, not in a limited proportion, but in the largest measure,
But when they consider the nature of wars,—that they militate against the law of preservation,--that they include the commission of a multitude of crimes,—that they produce a complication of misery and suffering to man,--they conceive they would not be doing their duty as Christians, or giving to Christianity its due honour, if they were not to admit the larger ineaning of the words in question as well as the less. Reason, too, pleads for the one as well as for the other. Consistency of moral doctrine, again, demands both. But if we
admit the restricted interpretation, and exclude the larger, we offend reason. sistency is at an end. Individual responsibility for moral turpitude will be taken from
Crimes, clearly marked and defined in the page of Christianity, will cease to be crimes at the will of princes. One contradiction will rush in after another, and men will have different standards of morality, as they adhere to the commands of the Gospel, or to the customs of governments, or to the opinions of the world.
Meaning of the scriptural passages advanced by
the Quakers supported by the opinions and practice of the early Christians—Early Christian writers held it unlawful to fight, as appears from Justin, Tatian, Clemens, and others-Christians would not enter into the armies for more than two centuries, as appears from Irenæus, Tertullian, Celsus, Origen, and others—and generally left the military service if they happened to be converted in it. Іт
may be presumed to be difficult for Christians, who have been in the habit of
beholding beholding wars entered into and carried on by their own and other Christian Governments, and without any other censure than that they might be politically wrong, to see the scriptural passages of non-resistance of injuries, and love of enemies,” but through a vitiated medium. The prejudices of some, the interests of others, and custom with all, will induce a belief among them, that these have no relation to public wars. At least they will be glad to screen themselves under such a notion. But the question is, what would a Heathen have said to these passages, who, on his conversion to Christianity, believed that the New Testament was of Di. vine origin,-that it was the Book of Life, and that the precepts, which it contained, were not to be dispensed with to suit particular cases, without the imputation of evil, Now such a trial, the Quakers say, has been made. It was made by the first Christians and they affirm, that these interpreted the passages, which have been mentioned, differently from those of most of the Christians of the present age; for that both their opinions and their practice spoke loudly against the lawfulness of war.
Upon this new subject I shall enter next. And I confess I shall enter upon it willingly. First, because I know of none that is more important: Secondly, because, though controversy may have thrown some light upon it, much remains to be added. And, thirdly, because the assertions of the Society on this point are disputed by many at the present day.
With respect to the opinions of the early Christians, which I shall notice first, it must be premised, that such of them as have written books have not all of them entered upon this subject. Some of them have not had occasion even to notice it. But where they have, and where they have expressed an opinion, I believe that this will be found unfavourable to the continuance of war.
Justin the Martyr, one of the earliest writers in the second century, considers war as unlawful. He makes the devil “ the author of all war." No severer censure could have been passed upon it than this, when we consider it as coming from the lips of an early Christian. The sentiment, too, was contrary to the prevailing sentiments of the times, when, of all professions, that of war
was most honourable, and was the only one that was considered to lead to glory. It resulted therefore, in all probability, from the new views, which Justin had acquired by a perusal of such of the Scriptures as had then fallen into his hands.
Tatian, who was the disciple of Justin, in his Oration to the Greeks, speaks precisely in the same terms on the same subject.
From many expressions of Clemens of Alexandria, a contemporary of the latter, we collect his opinion to be decisive against the lawfulness of war,
Tertullian, who may be mentioned next in order of time, strongly condemned the practice of bearing arms, as it related to Christians. I shall give one or two extracts from him on this subject :-In his Dissertation 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 never sanctions an illicit act.” And in his Soldier's Garland he
“ Can a soldier's life be lawful, when Christ has pronounced that he,