« PreviousContinue »
made to extend to wars as well as course be, that in these little beings, private injuries.
called men, there had been implanted I wonder what a superior Being, the faculty of reason, by the use of living in the nearest planet to our which they must know that their earth, and seeing us of the size of conduct was exceptional, but that in would
say, if he were enabled these cases they seldoin minded it. to get any insight into the nature of It would also be added in reply, that modern wars.
they had a religion, which was not It must certainly strike him, if he only designed by a Spirit from heaven, were to see a number of such dimi- who had once lived amongst them, but nutive persons chasing one another had been pronounced by him, as in bodies over different parts of the efficacious to the end proposed ; that hills and valleys of the earth, and one of the great objects of this relifollowing each other in little nut- gion, was a due subjugation of their shells as it were upon the ocean, passions; and this was so much insistas a very extraordinary sight, and ed upon, that no one of them was conas mysterious, and hard to be ex- sidered to have received this religion plained. He might at first consider truly unless his passions were subthem as occupied in a game of play, dued. But here the superior Being or as migrating for more food, or for would inquire, whether they acknowa better climate. But when he saw ledged the religion spoken of, and them stop and fight, and destroy one the authority from whence it came. another, and was assured that they To which it would, of course, be rewere actually engaged in the solemn plied, that they were so tenacious of game of death, and this at such a it, notwithstanding their indulgence distance from their own homes, he of their passions, and their destrucwould wonder at the causes of these tion of one another, that
could movements, and the reason of this not offend them more grievously than destruction; and knowing that they by telling them they did not belong possessed rational faculties, he would to the religion they professed. probably consider them as animals It is not difficult to foresee what destined by nature to live upon one other questions this superior Being another.
would ask; and probably the first of I think the first question he would these would be, the duration of the ask would be, And from whence do lives of these little beings, and the these fightings come? It would be length and frequency of their wars. replied, of course, that they came It would be replied to these, that from their lusts ;--that these beings, their lives were but as a vapour, though diminutive in their appear- which appeareth for a little time and ance, were men ;-that they had then vanisheth away, and that a pride and ambition ;-that they had quarter and sometimes half of their envy and jealousy ;-that they in- time on earth was spent in these de dulged also hatred and malice, and structive pursuits. Their superior avarice, and anger ;--and that on Being would unquestionably be grievaccount of some or other of these ed at this account, because he would causes, they quarrelled and fought feel that they really frustrated their with one another.
own happiness, or that they lost, by Well—but the superior Being their own faults, a considerable porwould say, Is there no one on the tion of the enjoyment of their lives. earth, which I see below me, to ad- In this impatience and anxiety for vise them to conduct themselves their future comfort, he would probetter; or are the passions you speak bably ask, again, if they had any of eternally predominant and never notion of any generous end for which to be subdued. The reply would of they were born; for it is impossible
they could suppose that they came on account of any force which may into the world to destroy one another. be used against him; because no It would be replied, that they could one, according to its precepts, is to not be ignorant of the true object or do evil, not even that good may end; for the same religion in which
But, if he be persecuted, he they believed, and which was said is to adhere to that which is right, before to have been given them by a and to expect his reward in the other Spirit sent from heaven, inculcated, state. The impossibility, therefore, that they were sent there on a life of of breaking or dissolving individual trial, and that in a future existence responsibility, in the case of immoral they were to give an account of their action, is an argument, to many, of conduct, and were to be rewarded or the unlawfulness of these wars. And punished accordingly. The same re- they who reason in this manner think ligion, it would be replied also, incul- they have reasoned right, when they cated, notwithstanding their fightings, consider, besides, that if any of the the utmost benevolence from one to beings in question were to kill one of wards another. It wished so much his usually reputed enemies in a time every one of them to live peaceably, of peace, he would suffer death for that it enjoined it as a duty rather to it, and be considered as accountable put up with an injury than to resent also for his crime in a future state. it; and it carried its benevolence so They cannot see, therefore, how any far, that it made no distinction be- constituted authorities among them tween others of the same species, can alter the nature of things, or how who spoke a different language, or these beings can kill others in time lived in other districts of parts of the of war without the imputation of a same world.
crime, whom they could not kill But here the superior Being would without such an imputation in time interrupt. What? he would say, of peace. They see in the book of Are they not to resent injuries, and the Great Spirit noʻdispensation given yet do they go to war? And are they to societies to alter the nature of not afraid of fighting in this manner, actions which it has pronounced to be when they are to give an account of crimes. their conduct in a future state? It But the superior Being would say, would be replied, No. They have Is it really defined, and is it defined their philosophers among them; and clearly in the Great Book of the most of these have determined, that Spirit, that if one of them should kill in this particular case responsibility another, he is guilty of a crime? It lies at the door of those who employ would be replied not only of a crime, them. But notwithstanding this, there but of the greatest of all crimes; and are others living amongst them who that no dispensation is given to any of think otherwise. These are of opi- them to commit it in any case. And nion, that they who employ them, it would be observed, further, that cannot take the responsibility upon there are other crimes, which these themselves without taking it from fightings generally include, which are those who they thus employ. But equally specified and forbidden in the religion of the Great Spirit no the Great Book, but which they think where says, that any
constituted au- it proper to sanction in the present thorities among them can take
case. Thus all kinds of treachery the responsibility of individual crea- and deceit are considered to be al tures ; but, on the other hand, in the lowable; for a very ancient philomost positive terms, that every indi- sopher among them has left a maxim vidual creature is responsible wholly upon record, and it has not yet been for himself. And this religion does beaten out of their heads, notwithnot give any creature an exemption standing the precepts in the Great
Book, in nearly the following words: 'no more of the system. He would “ Who thinks of requiring open cou- suddenly turn away his face, and rage of an enemy, or that treachery retire into one of the deep valleys of is not equally allowable in war?” his planet, either with exclamations
Strange! the superior Being would against the folly, or with emotions of reply. They seem to me to be re- pity for the situation, or with expresversing the order of their nature, and sions of disgust at the wickedness, of the end of their existence. But how these little creatures. do they justify themselves on these occasions? It would be answered, Some boundless confignity of shade,
“ O for a lodge in some vast wilderness, they not only justify themselves, but
Where rumour of oppression and deceit, they even go so far as to call these Of unsuccessful, or successful war, fightings honourable. The greater Might never reach me more ! My ear is pained, the treachery, if it succeed, and the My soul is sick with every day's report greater the number of these beings Londs, intersected by a narrow frith,
Of wrong and outrage with which earth is fill'd. killed, the more glorious is the action
Abhor each other. Monntains interposed esteemed.
Make enemies of nations, who had else, Still more strange! the superior Like kindred drops, been mingled into one.Being would reply. And is it possi- Thus man devotes his brother, and destroys.
Then what is man? And what man seeing this, ble, he would add, that they enter
And having human feelings, does not blush, into this profession with a belief that
And hang his head, to think himself a man.” they are entering into an honourable employ? Some of them, it would be replied, consider it as a genteel The Sentiments of the Ancients employ; and hence they engage in
respecting War. it. Others, of a lazy disposition, prefer
[From Pictures of War, by Irenicus.) it to any other. Others are decoyed into it by treachery, in various ways. There are also strong drinks, which It is a matter of some difficulty they are fond of; and if they are to collect the sentiments of the anprevailed upon to take these to excess cients on this great subject: some they lose their reason, and then they of them have treated it historically, are obliged to submit to the engage as. Cæsar-others scientifically, as ments which they had made in a Polyænus-others again poetically, state of intoxication. It must be as Tyrtæus—while not a 'few make owned too, that when there wars it the ground-work and principal begin, the trades of many of these theme of epic composition, as Homer, little beings are stopped ; so that, to Virgil, Lucan, and the like. A very get a temporary livelihood, they go small number treat it morally, and out and fight. Nor must it be con- these not in the form of set dissertacealed that many are forced to go, tion, but in the way of occasional both against their judgment and remark. against their will.
Heráclitus.-A. C. 509.-Iron, à The superior Being, hurt at these metal more proper for ploughs and various accounts, would probablyask, tillage, is fitted for slaughter and And what then does the community get death-men raising armies of men, by these wars, as the counter-balance covet to kill one another, and punish for the loss of so much happiness, them that quit the field, for not stayand the production of so much evil ?" ing to murder men. They honour as It would be replied, Nothing. The valiant, such as are drunk with blood. community is generally worse off at No irrational creature useth a sword, the end of these wars than when it but keeps itself within the laws of its began to contend. But here the creation, except man that doeth not superior Being would wish to hear so, which brings the heavier blame,
because he hath the greatest under- weapons, wars, or fortifications, standing
She endeavoureth profitable things; Cicero.—43 B.C.-Most men be- she favours peace, and calls all lieve that greater reputation is to be mankind to agreement; she leadeth derived from the affairs of War than to a blessed estate ; she openeth the of peace. This mistaken preference way to it, and she sheweth what is ought to be reduced to its proper evil from what is good, and chaseth level, for many, from a desire of vanity out of the mind. glory, have often sought occasions Plutarch.-A. D. 119.-Some go for war.
This opinion becomes the to war as if to hunt and catch men; more dangerous, when we consider not out of necessity, and in order to that it generally accompanies great peace, which is the true end of war. minds, and great talents, and is pro- --There is no war among men, but portioned to the passion of the one, what arises from some vice; either and the fitness of the other, for a, from inordinate lust, or from covetmilitary life.- If we would form our ousness, or from ambition, or iinmojudgment in this case according to, derate love of glory. - War is a truth, we shall find that many trans- cruel thing, and draws with it a long actions of peace are of greater im- train of injuries and insolence. portance, and followed by higher re- Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. putation, than those of war. Though A. D. 16).- I prayed to my country , Themistocles received just praise, gods; but when I was neglected by and though his name be more illus- them, and observed myself pressed by trious than that of Solon; though the enemy, considering the fewness Salamis be cited in testimony of a of my forces, I called to one, and invery celebrated victory, and pre- treated those who with us are called, ferred to the council of the Areopa- Christians, and I found a great gus, which Solon first instituted; yet, number of them ; and I forced them we must pronounce the latter no less with threats, which ought not to have distinguished than the former. The been, because afterwards I knew former served the state once, the, their strength and force; therefore latter serves it for ever. By the they betook themselves neither to the ; council of the Areopagus, the Athe-use of darts nor trumpets, for they nians
preserve their laws, and the use not so to do, for the cause and institutions of their ancestors. The name of their God, which they bear , mistocles. could name no service of in their consciences. his to the Areopagus, but must have, Maximus Tyrius. -- A. D. 193.acknowledged the assistance of Solon; Even if you take away from war any . for the war was conducted by the character of injustice, yet the necesadvice of that assembly.--The same sity of it appears a matter much to may be said of Pausanias and Lys be lamented. sander, whose achievements, though Porphyry. - A. D. 270. - That supposed to have extended the do- which is easily acquired, and at minion of the Spartans, are not in small charge, conduces to the general, the least to be compared to the laws piety. Whereas tyrants, and such as and discipline established by Lycur- devastate kingdoms, do not raise gus, which inspired with obedience wars either civil or foreign, to feed and bravery the troops whom these coarsely on herbs, roots, or apples; generals led.-War should be made, but to pamper themselves with flesh, with no other view than the attain-, fowl, and delicious fare. ment of peace.
Arist&us. -We wage war, that Seneca. - A. D. 65. — Wilt thou we may gain peace. know what things wisdom hath found Taxiles the Scythian said to Alexout, what she hath made ! Not ander, “What necessity is there,
that we, O Alexander, should make had permitted them to have recourse war one upon another, seeing that to the sword. thou comest not to abridge us of our Clemens Alexandrinus—A.D 206. water, or of our necessary sustenance; -Observes in his time, that Chrisin the defence of which things only tians were so far from wars,
that they men endued with reason make war. had no marks or signs of violence
among them; “ Neither sword Sentiments of the Christian Fathers, bow to them that follow peace.”
or other Ancient Christians, re- Origen.---A. D. 254.---On Luke specting War.
xxii. 36, thus remarks, “ If any one Justin.-- A. D. 137.-We (Chris- looking to the letter, and not under. tians) fight' not against enemies.- standing the spirit of the words, shall Justin elsewhere makes Satan “the sell his bodily garment, and buy a author of all war.”
sword, taking the words of Christ Tatian, who was the disciple of contrary to his will, he shall perish.” Justin, in his oration to the Greeks, Cyprian. A. D. 258. - In his speaks precisely in the same terms epistle to Donatus, says, “ Suppose on the same subject.
thyself with me on the top of some very Irenæus.—A. D. 180.—The Chris- exalted eminence, and from thence tians have changed their swords and look down upon the appearances of their lances into instruments of peace; things beneath thee. The things thou and they know not how to fight. wilt principally observe will be, the
Tertullian.-A. D. 197.-It is highways beset with robbers; the much questioned, whether Christians seas with pirates; encampments, may take arms, or whether soldiers marches, and all the terrible forms may be admitted to Christianity.- of war and bloodshed.
When a How many great offences may be single murder is committed, it shall seen in military duties, which can- be deemed perhaps a crime; but that not be otherwise interpreted than as crime shall commence a virtue, when breaches of our Christian laws!- committed under the shelter of public Shall it be lawful to use the sword, authority; so that punishment is not when the Lord saith, “ He that useth rated by the measure of guilt, but the the sword, shall perish by the sword.” more enormous the size of the wickedCan one who professes the peaceable ness is, so much the greater is the doctrine of the Gospel, be a soldier, chance for impunity.” when it is his duty not so much as to Lactantius.---A. D. 311.-.-In his go to law? And shall he, who is not treatise concerning the true worship to revenge his own wrongs, be in- of God, says, " It can never be law. strumental in bringing others into ful for a righteous man to go to war, chains, imprisonment, torment, death? whose warfare is in righteousness -In his dissertation on the worship itself.” And again, “ It can never of idols, he says, “Though the soldiers be lawful to kill a man, whose person came to John, and received a certain the Divine Being designed to be form to be observed; and though the sacred, as to violence.” centurion believed; yet Jesus Christ, Ambrose.---A. D. 393.---On Luke by disarming Peter, disarmed every xxii. 36.---"O Lord, why commandest soldier afterwards, for custom never thou me to buy a sword, who forsanctions an illicit act.”—In his dis- biddest me to smite with it? Why
capula, he says, “ That commandest thou me to have it, whom no Christians were to be found in the thou prohibitest to draw it? Unless Roman armies.”—He tells us also, perhaps a defence be prepared, not a that the Christians in his day were necessary revenge, and that I may sufficiently numerous to have de- seem to have been able to revenge, fended themselves, if their religion but that I would not. For the law