« PreviousContinue »
Extracts from Mrs. Elizabeth Hamil- Christian armies in places taken by
than savage cruelties, committed by ton's Series of Popular Essays.
assault, can, alas! too amply testify. “ In every state of society, Pride The horrid outrages committed by may indeed be very properly repre- the brutal fury of the conquerors, on sented as the God of War. In the the innocent and defenceless, give us infancy of nations, long before the a complete view of the nature of the mental powers had been sufficiently pride of war ; that pride of which we cultivated to systemize ambition ; are accustomed to speak as constithe propensity to enlarge the idea of tuting the soldier's glory. self, connected with pride, inspires “I have been led to trespass too in man the desire of bringing his far on the reader's patience, in enfellow-men into subjection. From tering into these particulars; but as all that is known of the history of I am persuaded that much moral savages, it appears that the very first evil has resulted from confounding use made of the glimmering light the notions of pride with notions of afforded by the dawn of intellect, is magnanimity, dignity, and heroism, to attempt effecting by combination I have thought it of some importance a more complete gratification of pride to show, that pride has no alliance than any individual could by his with any quality or sentiment, or single arm procure.
feeling, that is the object of esteem * From what yet remains of the or moral approbation. poetry of the Barbarians of ancient “In reading the history of the Europe, we learn, that the savage on great achievements of princes and returning from his war of pride, warriors of former times, we are raised the song of triumph, in which presented with frequent opportunities he recapitulated with exultation all of observing, not only the degree in the horrid deeds of cruelty perpetrated which the selfish principle operated by his tribe in the pursuit of ven in their breasts, but the degree in geance. He gloried in having de- which it operated in the historians voured the flesh of his enemies, and by whom the account of their acin having converted their skulls into tions has been transmitted to pos. cups from which he quaffed their terity: In the triumphs obtained blood. This was then the Pride of by the proud and powerful over the War.
humble and defenceless none can sym“ As civilization advanced, war pathize, but in proportion as they assumed a somewhat milder aspect; identify themselves with the conbut still through every period of the queror. No sooner does this identifhistory of man we may perceive, that cation take place, than his triumphs in proportion as pride operates in the become theirs. However stained by contending parties, the miseries of cruelty, perfidy or injustice, he is war are augmented, and its crimes henceforth transformed into a hern, assume a deeper dye. As the pride and dignified by all the epithets exof the governing party is always pressive of admiration. The reader
, more offended by rebellion against its the young reader especially, is apt authority, than by the hostility of thus to be surprised into approbation foreign states, civil wars are accom of deeds, which, if stated in their panied by more atrocious acts of native deformity, his soul would indiscriminating cruelty, than wars have abhorred. With his notions of with foreign nations. In foreign heroism he henceforth mingles nowars, the fortified places which bid tions of a pride that disdains all the defiance to the invading army, offend restraints of religion and morality, its pride by resistance; and how dearly and which exults in annihilating the they pay for the offence, the mourn happiness, and trampling on the ful detail of the savage, and worse rights of all other mortals.”
From Dr. Kirwan's (Dean of Killala) a change of food for a total abstiSermons.
nence of forty days; it cannot, surely,
be incongruous to consider what “Before the ministry of our Lord approaches we can make to that Jesus Christ, the world was a stranger divine love which these sufferings to the principle of true benevolence. expressed, and how far man, in imiPhilosophy gave pompous precepts tation of his Saviour, can bless those that astonished the reason, but reach- who curse him, and return good for ed not the heart. Amidst the refined
evil. and ostentatious lessons of the Sage
We cannot, indeed, behold the to explain the secret of human hap- example but at a distance, nor conpiness, man still remained a prey sider it without being struck with a to himself, that is, to his worst pas
sense of our own debility: every sions,” &c.
man who compares his life with this “ To peruse the records of these divine rule, instead of exulting in his periods, one would think that men
own excellence, will smite his breast owed their being to different irre, like the publican, and cry out, 'God concileable Creators, who had placed be merciful to me a sinner! Thus them here below to glut their animo
to acquaint us with ourselves, ‘may sities by all the various horrors of perhaps be one use of the precept; endless wars and extermination. All but the precept cannot surely be conthe crimes and ravages of ambition sidered as having no other. found an apology ip the pursuit of I know it will be said, that our glory; and the bitterest indulgence passions are not in our power, and of private vengeance was coloured that therefore a precept to love or with the name of public justice; to hate is impossible ; for if the graone successful villain or another be- tification of all our wishes was offered the hero of the day; and
us to love a stranger as we love a millions of human victims often child, we could not fulfil the condipaved the way for the parade of a tion, however we might desire the triumph and short-lived possession of
reward. pre-eininence and power.” - Such was in a few words, the that we cannot love an enemy as we
But admitting this to be true, and afflicted state of the world, when a love a friend, it is yet equally cerdivine and benevolent doctrine pre- tain, that we may perform those sented a remedy to its misfortune. actions which are produced by love Alas ! too few and rapid were the from a higher principle :, we may, golden days of its influence," &c.
perhaps, derive moral excellence from
natural defects, and exert our reason How far the Precept, to love our Ene- instead of indulging a passion. If mies is practicable.
our enemy hungers we may feed
him, and if he thirsts we may give [From the Adventurer.]
him drink: this, if we could love To love an enemy, is the distin. him, would be our conduct; and this guishing characteristic of a religion, may still be our conduct, though to which is not of man, but of God. It love him is impossible. The Chriscould be delivered as a precept only tian will be prompted to relieve the by Him, who lived and died to esta- necessities of his enemy by his love blish it by his example.
to God; he will rejoice in an opporAt the close of that season, in tunity to express the zeal of his grawhich human frailty has commemo titude and the alacrity of hisobedience, rated sufferings which it could not at the same time that he appropriates sustain, a season in which the most the promises and anticipates his rezealous devotion can only substitute ward.
But though he who is beneficent breach of filial duty with implacaupon these principles, may in the bility, though perhaps it is the only Scripture sense be said to love his one of which the offender has been enemy, yet something more may still guilty, demonstrate that they are be effected: the passion itself in without natural affection, and that some degree is in our power; we they would have prostituted their may rise to a yet nearer emulation offspring, if not to lust, yet to affecof divine forgiveness, we may think tions which are equally vile and as well as act with kindness, and be sordid, the thirst of gold, or the sanctified as well in heart as in life. cravings of ambition ; for he can
Though love and hatred are ne never be thought to be sincerely incessarily produced in the human terested in the felicity of his child, breast, when the proper objects of who, when some of the means of these passions occur, as the colour happiness are lost by indiscretion, of material substances is necessarily suffers his resentment to take away perceived by an eye before which the rest. they are exhibited, yet it is in our Among friends, sallies of quick power to change the passion, and to resentment are extremely frequent. cause either love or hatred to be Friendship is a constant reciprocation excited, by placing the same object in of benefits, to which the sacrifice of different circumstances, as a change private interest is sometimes necesable silk of blue and yellow may be sary: it is common for each to set held so as to excite the idea either too much value npon those which he of yellow or blue.
bestows, and too little upon those No act is deemed more injurious, which he receives ; this mutual misor resented with greater acrimony, take in so important an estimation, than the marriage of a child, espe- produces mutual charges of unkindcially of a daughter, without the ness and ingratitude ; each, perhaps, consent of a parent: it is frequently professes himself ready to forgive, considered as a breach of the strongest but neither will condescend to be and tenderest obligations; as folly forgiven. Pride, therefore, still inand ingratitude, treachery and re creases the enmity which it began ; bellion. By the imputation of these the friend is considered as selfish, vices, a child becomes the object of assuming, injurious, and revengeful ; indignation and resentment : indig- he consequently becomes an object nation and resentment in the breast of hatred ; and while he is thus therefore of the parent, are necesa, considered, to love him is impossible
. sarily excited; and there can be no But thus to consider him, is at once doubt but that these are species of a folly and a fault: each ought to hatred. But if the child is considered reflect, that he is, at least in the as still retaining the endearing soft- opinion of the other, incurring the ness of filial affection, as still longing crimes that he impates; that the for reconciliation, and profaning the foundation of their enmity is no more rites of marriage with tears; as having than a mistake; and that this misbeen driven from the path of duty, take is the effect of weakness or only by the violence of passions vanity, which is common to all manwhich none have always resisted, kind; the character of both would and which many have indulged with then assume a very different aspect, much greater turpitude, the same love would again be excited by the object that before excited indignation return of its object, and each would and resentment, will now be regarded be impatient to exchange acknowwith pity, and pity is a species of ledgments, and recover the felicity love.
which was so near being lost. Those indeed who resent this But if after we have admitted an
acquaintance to our bosom as a friend, Thus may we love our enemies, it should appear that we had mis- and add a dignity to our nature of taken his character ; if he should which pagan virtue had no concepbetray our confidence, and use the tion. But if to love our enemies is knowledge of our affairs, which the glory of a Christian, to treat perhaps he obtained by offers of others with coldness, neglect, and service, to effect our ruin; if he de- malignity, is rather the reproach of fames us to the world, and adds per a fiend than a man. Unprovoked jury to falsehood ; if he violates the enmity, the frown of unkindness, chastity of a wife, or seduces a and the menaces of oppression, should daughter to prostitution; we may be far from those who profess themstill consider him in such circum- selves to be followers of Him who in stances as will incline us to fulfil the his life went about doing good; who precept, and to regard him without instantly healed a wound that was the rancour of hatred or the fury of given in his defence; and who, when revenge.
he was fainting in his last agony, and Every character, however it may treated with mockery and derision, deserve punishment, excites hatred conceived at once a prayer and an only in proportion as it appears to apology for his murderers; Father, be malicious; and pure malice has forgive them, they know not what never been imputed to human beings. they do. The wretch, who has thus deceived and injured us, should be considered The Rights of Cesar subordinate to the as having ultimately intended, not
Rights of God. evil to us, but good to himself. It should also be remembered that he
[From the Friend of Peace.] has mistaken the means; that he has In the Republican Advocate for forfeited the friendship of Him whose August 5th, printed at New-London, favour is better than life,' by the same an article was inserted containing reconduct which forfeited ours; and marks on “The Excuse” of some that to whatever view he sacrificed persons who had declined what is our temporal interest, to that also called “ Military duty,”-in which he sacrificed his own hope of immor- article we find the following paratality; that he is now secking feli- graph city which he can never find, and «i That Christians are not to enincurring punishment that will last gage in war, as such, no man in his
And how much better sober senses can doubt. The kingthan this wretch is he, in whom the dom of Christ and the kingdoms of contemplation of his condition can this world are distinct.
Both can excite no pity ? Surely if such an exist without infringing on the rights enemy hungers, we may, without of either. The same Saviour who said suppressing any passion, give him Render unto God the things that are food; for who that sees a criminal God's,' also said, “Render unto Cesar dragged to execution, for whatever the things that are Cesar's.' crime, would refuse him a cup of
These are not the sentiments of cold water ?
the individual only, who wrote the On the contrary, he whom God article, but the sentiments of a great has forgiven must necessarily become portion of Christians, perhaps, in amiable to man : to consider his cha- every country. They are therefore racter without prejudice or partiality, entitled to a respectful and candid after it has been changed by re
examination. pentance, is to love him; and im “ That Christians are not to engage partially to consider it, is not only in war, as such"-that is, as Chrisour duty but our interest.
tians, is a very important concession ;
and one which naturally resulted discern the just claims of Cesar, or from a view of the glaring contra of an earthly ruler. riety between the spirit of war and • Thou shalt love the Lord thy the spirit of Messiah-between every God with all thy heart, and with all thing which usually pertains to war, thy soul, and with all thy mind, and and every thing in the example of with all thy strength : This is the the Prince of Peace. But having been first commandment. The second is educated in the belief that war is a Thou shalt love thy neighbour as necessary and lawful calling, Chris- thyself. There is no other commandtians have invented this distinction— ment greater than these.'
Hence we that what they cannot do as Chris- safely infer, that no command of an tians, they may do as subjects of an earthly sovereign can annul these earthly ruler.
commands of the Most High, or susAt first view it would seem a clear pend either of them for a single case, that if a Christian cannot wage moment. war as a Christian, he must practi In exact accordance with these cally renounce his Christian profes- commands our Saviour has said to sion whenever he engages in that all his disciples,' Love your enemies;' sanguinary work. Yet this conclu- and both by precept and example he sion is supposed to be set aside by has taught them not to render evil the consideration, that he is the sub- for evil, but to overcome evil with ject of an earthly king, as well as good. These commands should be the subject of the King of kings, and regarded by every Christian as sacred, that what he cannot do as the subject permanent, and irrevocable by any of the former, he may do as the human authority whatever. subject of the latter.
Suppose then that some ferocious We readily grant that, in certain Cesar, who has no regard to these respects, “the kingdom of Christ is commands, should require me to distinct from the kingdoms of this love him with all my heart, and to world,” and that “ both may exist hate and destroy those of my neighwithout infringing on the rights of bours whom he is pleased to call either.” But they do not, and cannot enemies. Is it not absolutely imso exist, when the requirements of possible for me to obey this Cesar the one interfere with the require- and the King of kings? And if I ments of the other. If an earthly cannot obey both, can any one doubt king requires of any man what the whose command ought to be regarded King of kings forbids, one or the by me as Supreme, or whose as subother must necessarily be disobeyed. ordinate? May a guilty worm like For in such a case “ No man can serve myself presume to suspend my duty two masters.'
to God and my neighbour? Or to It is moreover granted, that “the require of me a disposition to hate same Saviour who said Render unto and destroy such of my fellow-beings God the things that are God's—said as God requires me to love, and for also, Render unto Cesar the things whom the Saviour died ? that are Cesar's." But what are the There is another prevalent opinion, things that are Cesar's ?" Most cer- which is a perfect counterpart to the tainly Cesar has no claim to any one which has been considered homage or service which would im- namely, That a Christian king cannot ply disrespect to God, or a violation make war as a Christian, yet
he of his commands. We have then to as a ruler. Thus by two gross deinquire, what are the commands of lusions men have contrived to absolve God to every Christian ; and having the whole Christian world from their ascertained the things which belong obligations to obey the moral preto God, we may the more clearly cepts of the Gospel-and that too in