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the happiness and the duty of keeping within their own boundaries, instead of offering themselves as victims to the selfishness and pride of the few; and governments, either anticipating or following the taste of their subjects, must learn to place their glory in promoting the internal welfare of the realms committed to their
Recapitulation of the second inquiry.— Rapid growth of
these opinions not to be expected.—Many reasons strongly adverse, and some propitious, to it.- Discussion seasonable.- Proposed modification of the Peace Society's principle.- Author liable to misrepresentation. Inquiry into the duty of statesmen, declined.— Positive as well as negative influence of Christians. - Conclusion.
You will recollect, that my first three Letters were designed to show the necessity of introducing some limitation into the principles of the Peace Society; and, at the beginning of the fourth, I recapitulated the arguments which brought me to that conclusion. Having siuce been employed in inquiring what the practical limitation ought to be, it may be well to retrace (although with an aim rather to brevity than exactness) the course pursued in this latter part of my attempt. It began with the position, that a Christian ought only to bear arms judicially; and with an endeavour to show, that this rule, when rightly understood, is much more restrictive than has been commonly supposed; which was illustrated by some considerations on the alleged analogy between civilized nations and individuals in a state of nature. I then undertook to show, that the above rule is quite inconsistent with unlimited military service, inasmuch as the character and acts of no government give us any reason to expect that its employment of arms will be always truly judicial. In my fifth Letter, it was stated, as my belief, that a Christian is bound to bear arms, when required by the State, for the defence of his country, within its borders; and the extent of this general duty was more nearly defined, by showing what territories can in nó case be included in the term country; after which, some distinctions and suggestions were offered respecting the naval service. In the four subsequent Letters, I was engaged in meeting some supposed objections to the limited military service described : first, in showing that national aggrandizement by force, whether viewed in its purpose, or in its achievement, has been hitherto not only such as a Christian could not generally consider just, and in wbich, therefore, he could not have co-operated, but has been, moreover, iujurious and dangerous, rather than beneficial, to the nations achieving it: secondly, that the preservation of our foreign territories does not necessarily depend on the unlimited service
of a regular army, nor our commerce and naval strength on the retaining of those territories: thirdly, that the policy of forcible aggrandizement, in order to national security, or of assisting other nations in their wars, for our own defence, or of inuring ourselves to actual service abroad, for the same purpose, cannot be shown to be either generally lawful, needful, or effectual. The remarks which followed, and which occupied the last of those four Letters, (the ninth of the series,) were addressed especially to Christians, urging on them, in further reply to the objections before considered, the duty of confidence (while using proper defensive means) in the Great Arbiter of all events, suggesting, also, as an additional reason for that confidence, the probability of some contemporaneous progress among different nations in sanctioning and adopting the principles here maintained. That probability had been more than once previously mentioned as a general answer to each of the objections discussed, they being respectively founded on the contrary supposition. My last cominunication treated of specific extensions of service for a defensive or auxiliary purpose'; waving, however, the particular examination of cases, as an inquiry which is, at present, of no practical importance. Reverting, in conclusion, to the fundamental principle here maintained, the duty of refusing to enter an unlimited military service, I suggested briefly the excellent and extensive effects which might be anticipated from this being firmly settled among Christians as a fixed tenet of their morality.
After the many contrary intimations which have been given, it will scarcely be supposed, that I expect an immediate or rapid change of national feeling and opinion on this subject. The habits and sentiments of European governments and subjects, as exemplified during the last and present centuries ; that unprincipled desire for war, (itself the effect of recent and protracted warfare,) which actually exists in multitudes of all countries; prevailing immorality and irreligion, springing, in a great degree, from the same source; the frequently recurring distresses of the people, which prepare them for any service that may remove them from indigence and hardship; the restless and irregular feeling which makes numbers in every class impatient of home pursuits ; and the unenlightened state in which so many remain, as to moral and religious knowledge; all powerfully co-operate against the general and practical reception of the principles I have defended. There are, however, some better omens: the