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any military force; or, as a subject, engage in any military service." Let us put a case which, I apprehend, will fairly illustrate the operation of this rule.
Suppose, that Buonaparte, instead of engaging in those mad enterprises which led to his downfall, had made still greater efforts to augment his navy, and that Providence had permitted him to be so far successful in naval conflicts as to place it nearly on an equality with that of Great Britain. Suppose, that his hostility against us had continued, while we were suffering severely from a bad harvest, and deriving important supplies of corn from America. Those who remember the Berlin decree of 1807, will not think it improbable, that he should have declared these islands in a state of blockade; and those who would willingly forget that it has ever been thought lawful policy, by a minister, to deprive an enemy of food or medicine, cannot expect, with such precedents in their recollection, that he would have made an exception in favour of the commerce necessary to our subsistence. The Annericans, meanwhile, as neutrals, must have felt it a most flagrant injustice, to have a commerce impeded, to which their own legitimate advantage, and compassion for our sufferings, might concur to prompt them. In these circumstances, let it be supposed, that the Congress (after a failure in repeated pacific remonstrances) had resolved to fit out armed ships for the convoy and protection of their merchantmen against the attacks of the French navy, and that Napoleon, in consequence, had dispatched a body of troops to make a descent on the American territory. Let it be further supposed, that, previously to these events, a truly wise and good citizen, accounted both by himself and others a Christian in faith and practice, had entered on the Presidency of the United States, with the purest intention, and the highest ability, to benefit his country. But he has since become a convert to the principle of the Peace Society. He must therefore resigu his office, either as soon as the resolution of Congress is expressed to resist invasions at sea, or, if he should hesitate whether this employment of force can be strictly called war, musi, at least, do so, in the event of invasion by land'; and thus a conscientious and able governor must be lost to the State, at a most critical moment, and plunge it into all the embarrassment and division consequent on such a loss, because he cannot, as a consistent Christian, “ execute wrath,” or send forces for “ the punishment of evil doers.” At the same moment, all those of the Christian population who
are equally enlightened, must follow the example of their President, and refuse to bear arms, in this pressing emergency, for their country's defence.
I should expect, that some candid friends of the principle we are examining, would shrink from these its consequences. They may possibly have recourse to the distinction of a more and less perfect Christianity; and may admit, that the former, although dietated by the genuine spirit of the religion, cannot be universal ; that the term “inconsistent” is to be taken in its milder sense; that a ruler, or a subject, whọ should, in such a case as we have supposed, defend his country by arms, may be a Christian of the less perfect class, but that it becomes us to diffuse that more evangelical principle whose reception will constitute Christians of the higher and more perfect order. The least, then, which can be inferred from the principle, is this, that the supposed President would have been more a Christian, if he had resigned his office, and that the great and pious Alfred would have been a better Christian, if he had not resisted the idolatrous marauders from Denmark, who laid waste his realms. But the plain question is, Was it the duty of these individuals not to act in those respects otherwise than they did ? If that be granted, while the above principle is maintained, it is granted, that their duty was to be less perfect Christians than they might have been.
I cannot but couclyde, from the view which has been thus far taken of the question, that the principle of the Peace Society requires limitation. It will be necessary, however, in order to the satisfactory admission of this inference, that we show the unlawfulness of defensive resistance not to be deducible from the precepts of the New Testament. This I propose to attempt in my next communication.
The principle on which certain scriptural precepts are
interpreted us condemning all war, shown to be not consistently used by those who so apply it.
Those of our fellow-christians who regard all war as inconsistent with the spirit of our religion, adduce, in support of this tenet, the precepts recorded by the Evangelist Matthew, chap. v. 38—41.; and, with some variation, (chiefly of language,) by Luke, chap. vi. 27–29.; the declaration found in Matt. xxvi. 52., and the admonitions of the Apostle Paul, Rom. xii. 17—21. The first of these passages is more applicable to the proof of their opinion than the rest. I shall, therefore, direct my observations, principally, to this; and afterwards more briefly notice the others. The words of our Saviour to his disciples, as given by St. Matthew, are, “ Ye have heard, that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I you, that
resist not evil : but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy