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to the God of peace; together bowing let him write her a bill of divorcetheir knees at the throne of grace! ment, and give it in her hand, and and when I recollected the enmity send her out of his house.' that had formerly existed between When the question was them, compared with what I then our blessed Saviour, by the Pharisaw, tears of joy flowed from my
"Is it lawful for a man to eyes. O my friends, after the con- put away his wife? tempting him:version of Africaner and Berend, he answered and said unto them, despair not of any man, however What did Moses command you ? And wicked he may be, for the Grace of they said, Moses suffered to write a God is infinite."
bill of divorcement, and to put her away
And Jesus answered and said Defensive War considered. unto them, For the hardness of your [Printed in 1804.]
heart, he wrote you this precept.'
Mark x. 2, 3, 4, 5. « Those Writers who advocate the
Considerable stress is laid upon justice of War, and its consistency Exodus xxii. 2, for the shedding of with the divine principles of Christ,
blood in self-defence: If a thief be do not in their writings advert to the found breaking up, and be smitten essential doctrine preached by our
that he die, there shall be no blood blessed Saviour on the mountain,
shed for him. This supposes the but build their foundation on the transactions recorded in the Bible, and at best or worse may be con
transaction to take place in the night, under the old dispensation ; arguing from the morality of the law of Moses, strued chance-medley; but the 3d
and 4th verses say,
If the sun be and endeavouring, by the effort of
risen upon him, there shall be reason,
to draw parallels whereby this law or doctrine may correspond with make full restitution : if he have no
blood shed for him ; for he should that. They are not aware to what lengths theft. If the theft be certainly found
thing, then he shall be sold for his their arguments may be extended, because, if they are right in the in- in his hand alive, whether it be ox, stance of war, what was permitted or
or ass, or sheep, he shall restore
double.' winked at under the Mosaic dispensa
The advocates for war, especially tion, might be adopted by the present generation ; which would overthrow those who say they are called by the the system of government in this Holy Ghost to preach the Gospel
the glad tidings of peace and salvacountry, and totally subvert what they
tion to man, should seriously conintend to establish.
sider, whether they be justified in If war be consistent with the mild spirit of the Christian religion, poly- laid down by our Saviour, when he
their attempts to weaken the doctrine gamy may be justified on similar grounds, and the law enacted to pre
says, Matthew v. 43, &c.
have heard that it hath been said, vent it, by their own arguments, must
Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and be unjust; and thus a man may put away his wife or wives at pleasure,
hate thine enemy: but I say unto agreeably to Deut. xxiv. 1.- When
you, Love your enemies, bless them a man háth taken a wife and inarried that curse you, do good to them that
for them which her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath despitefully use you, and persecute found some uncleanness in her, then you ; that ye may be the children of
your Father which is in heaven,' &c.
Or render nugatory the prophecies * See the Writings of the late John Fletcher, Vicar of Madeley, Shropshire, recorded in the Old Testament,whereand Alexander Knox.
in we are told, Isaiah ii. 4, Micah iv.
3, 4,5—And he (Christ) shall judge enemies should not so much as covet in among the nations, and shall rebuke their possessions : "Thrice in the year many people, and they shall beat shall all your men children appear their swords into plough-shares, and before the Lord God, the God of their spears into pruning-hooks; na Israel ; for I will cast out the nations tion shall not lift up sword against before thee; and enlarge thy bornation, neither shall they learn war ders : neither shall any man desire any more.' And again, Isa. Ixv. 25– thy land, when thou shalt go up be• The wolf and the lamb shall feed fore the Lord thy God thrice in the together, and the lion shall eat straw year.'* Exod. xxxiv. 23, 24. We are i like the bullock; and dust shall be further instructed in the same history, the serpent's meat. They shall not that it was not by numbers that the hurt nor destroy in all my holy moun- Almighty fought for them, as in the tain, saith the Lord.'
instance of Gibeon, Hezekiah, and In the Armenian Magazine, for others, lest they should attribute their January and February, the subject success to the prowess of man ; as it of Defensive War has been discussed is expressed, Zech. iv. 6— Not by by a gentleman of the name of Knox: might, nor by, power, but by my spirit
, his arguments and deductions appear saith the Lord of hosts.' Hosea i. 7. to be nearly a counterpart of the It will be admitted by those who extract from the political writings believe the sacred writings, that war of John Fletcher, late Vicar of Made was directed to be made on some ley, Salop. The latter begins with occasions, wherein the Divine interat quoting the case of the Levite, ference was eminently displayed : and bir Judges xix. 20; the truth of which it will also be admitted, I presume, by sho is admitted, as well as that of the the Christian, that He who created the many battles fought, from the period man, may at one time see meet to of Moses' departure from Egypt to order a dispensation, and again annul the advent of our blessed Saviour. I it, in order to introduce another, shall only observe, that when the agreeable to His holy will and pro les Hebrews were in possession of the vidence, however widely different ; promised land, observing and doing the reasons for which cannot be unall the commandments commanded derstood by the limited comprehenby Moses, in Deut. xxviii. the Lord sion and intuitive faculties of man; their God set them on high above who, the more he knows by the aid all the nations of the earth, and pre
of reason, must be convinced he served them in this blessed state; knows but little, when put in the but when they declined from the scale with Omniscient Divinity, some law, and worshipped strange gods, they were given up to their enemies,
* It might be profitable for most, to at first for a short space of time, pause and reflect whether they will be afterwards for successive longer pe- justified in the awful day of retribution and riods, until the final destruction of judgement, which is bastening their country, city, and temple, by by permitting affairs of pleasure, business, Titus ; when they experienced, to the attendance on places of worship, where full, the completion of the woes de- those duties are to be fulfilled which are nounced by their law-giver Moses. due from the created to the Creator, and
** It is worthy of remark, also, that solely depend on him.
to recollect that both life and property when they went up to worship, they The writer remembers a gentleman of went in perfect confidence (leaving the first commercial connections observings their property, and all they had, ex
that he had so arranged his affairs, that he posed) in the promises made to them, defied the Almighty to ruin him! But the that during their absence every par- brought him intelligence that he was reticular should be safe, and that their duced to poverty!
on all flesh,
of whose attributes he is pleased to they were justified in hunting the communicate the knowledge of to peaceful aborigines of the soil with man : the greater part of which, dogs, and “ dogs of War," more sawe may conclude, are too transcen- vage still. dent for him to conceive, or have The expressions of our Lord are the least idea of, only as permitted to construed as inclination or prejudice be communicated by revelation, to
dictate. Thus, when the disciples were the good and wise in all ages, as is
informed that the kind of spirit went written on another occasion; 1 Cor. not out but by prayer and fasting, ii. 9, 10-Eye hath not seen, nor Matt. xvii. 19- Then came the disear heard, neither have entered into ciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why the heart of man, the things which could not we cast him out? And God hath prepared for them that Jesus said unto them, Because of love him : but God hath revealed your unbelief; for verily I them unto us by his Spirit.' you, if ye have faith as a grain of
The inferences which are made mustard-seed, ye shall say unto this from the men of Israel being drawn mountain, remove hence to yonder together against the Benjamites, rest place, and it shall remove, and nomore upon individual interpretation thing shall be impossible unto you. of Scripture, than the New Testa Howbeit, this kind goeth not out ment will authorise; which, being but by prayer and fasting”-it was the last wili and testament, it is our intended to strengthen them in their duty to conclude is the rule to go by, faith, having reproached them for for those professing Christianity. It deficiency therein, and also that fastwould not much avail a culprit at ing and prayer were necessary therethe bar, to insist on being tried by an to, without the least reference to war. old law, when a new one was made The text in Luke xxii. 36, &c.which effectually abɔlished the pre- . Then said he unto them, But now, ceding, for reasons obvious to the he that hath a purse let him take it, Legislature.
and likewise his scrip; and he that We discover throughout modern hath no sword, let him sell his
garhistory, that almost every page com ment, and buy one: for I say unto prises relations of battles fought, ac- you, that this that is written must companied with rapine, destruction, yet he accomplished in me, and he and violation, amongst contending was reckoned amongst the transgreskingdoms, on spots of the world in- sors; for the things concerning me habited by those called Christians, have an end. And they said, Lord, professing the principles of Chris- behold, here are two swords; and tianity. This induced the Abbé Ray- he said unto them, It is enough ;' nall to observe, that the perusal of can by no means be considered the Settlement of Pennsylvania, un as a direction to arm for military der the wise Legislator William Penn, purposes, because two swords could contained the only page of history not be sufficient; besides, in no where the mind could pause, and instance does our Lord contradict dwell with delight—the only instance himself, as he frequently inculcated on record of a country being settled in their minds, that his kingdom was without blood. Every where else, in not of this world. He meant by the establishing Christian settlements, the expressions to warn them that they progress has been marked with cru had to sustain, and encounter with elty, blood, and rapine, quoting the a variety of troubles and afflictions. authority of the Old Testament, as Even then the disciples could not though every country which those avoid believing that he would remarauders chose to possess, was a store again the kingdom to Israel. Canaan promised to them; and that Matt. xxvi. 52, is also explained
at pleasure, and a meaning given to flesh and blood, but against prinit which the words do not warrant. cipalities, against powers, against the When Peter drew his sword, and rulers of the darkness of this world, struck a servant of the High Priest, against spiritual wickedness in high Jesus said unto him, 'Put up again places : wherefore take unto you the thy sword; for all they who take up whole armour of God, that ye may the sword, shall perish by the sword.' be able to stand in the evil day, and This expression is very decisive and having done all, to stand. Stand clear : had it wanted qualification, therefore, having your loins girt the wise master would have done it, about with truth, and having on the and not left the explanation to be breast-plate of righteousness; and made by his creatures, who cannot your feet shod with the preparation command one hour of time, or in of the Gospel of peace. Above all, crease their stature one inch.
taking the shield of faith, wherewith It is admitted by those writers, ye shall be able to quench all the that if all men were Christians, fiery darts of the wicked; and take righteousness must prevail; but, they the helmet of salvation, and the advance, whilst the wicked wear the sword of the Spirit, which is the word sword, it is necessary for the righte- of God : Praying always with all ous to wear and use it too-as though prayer and supplication in the spirit, it was in the power of Satan to over and watching thereunto with all perthrow the decrees of Heaven, and severance, and supplication for all that, to establish the kingdom of saints. These are the arms which righteousness, the righteous must be the righteous in this dispensation are instructed by, and assimilate with, to assume, and this is the discipline : the Devil and his Angels, to be a their warfare must be spiritual, not match for them. The connection is temporal ; and the sword of the certainly very incongruous, and runs Spirit, which is the word of God, will counter to the whole body of evidence accomplish all things in his own apcontained in the Scripture, because, pointed time. what concord can Christ have with The circumstance advanced, of the Belial? Those inspired writers, David soldiers going to John the Baptist
, and John, did not mean, nor does can have no reference, as a justifiany one suppose that they did mean, cation of war; nor does the Scripthat the godly should arm with in- ture imply the interpretation given struments of war against the wicked, to it by the writers in its favour. previous to the coming of those John was the fore-runner of the blessed days when righteousness shall Messiah; the old law was still in cover the earth as the waters do the force ; but they were enjoined to do sea ; and when ‘nation shall not lift violence to no man: if they did vioup sword against nation, neither lence to no man, certainly they could shall they learn war any more,' Isa. ii. not kill; neither was it likely that -Yet, in the interim, the wicked John should encourage the Roman may be instruments of wrath in the soldiers to keep the Hebrews in subhands of the Almighty to the de- jection to the Romans, whose emstruction of each other : but the peror they (the Hebrews) paid tribute godly are to fight the good fight of to. faith, as the apostle writes, Ephes. vi. Our blessed Lord, indeed, praised 10, &c. Finally, my brethren, be the faith of the centurion; it does strong in the Lord, and in the power not appear he saw him afterwards
, of his might. Put on the whole He praised the faith of many, and armour of God, that ye may be able sat down to dine with publicans and to stand against the wiles of the sinners ; but the Scripture does not Devil ; for we 'wrestle not against record that he approved the exactions
of the one, or the sinful state of the thus alone, all men will believe on others; which he certainly did, if him; and the Romans shall come the argument in favour of his appro and take away both our place and bation of the centurion's profession nation. We may infer from hence, be in force. The application is good that they did not believe he either in one instance, as well as the other; directly or indirectly encouraged war but no one supposes he approved the and fighting, but that, from the conduct of the publicans and sinners; peaceable doctrine he preached, its neither is it to be inferred he did the mild tendency would influence manprofession of the centurion.
kind, and render them unfit for the Here is also another centurion purpose of resistance, because their brought forward, to strengthen the faith would be fixed on him for every argument in favour of war. Peter thing, both spiritual and temporal. went to one at Cesarea, as he was The history of wars, from remote ordered, and preached unto him periods, furnish this remark—that Jesus crucified ; the Holy Ghost fell each contending nation throws the on Cornelius, and he was also bap- odium of aggression on the other, tized. What further passed is not which is maintained by casuists emnoticed ; whether the centurion re ployed to justify the cause of their tained his military profession or not, respective interests : and this will as his name does not afterwards continue to be the case as long as occur, only as Peter explained the wars devastate society, ruining the circumstance to the brethren.
morals and wealth of individuals, The military escort ordered by instead of promoting vital religion, Claudius Lysias to protect Paul which breathes ' peace on earth, and against the blood-thirsty Jews, is good-will to all men.' also brought forward as another ar Nevertheless, there can be gument that he, as an apostle, ap- doubt that there are many virtuous proved of military establishments. characters, both in the army and in Had Paul solicited this assistance, the navy, (it would be ungenerous to it might be used as a plea; but he conclude otherwise,) who deservedly only informed the magistrate of the hold high rank in each department. conspiracy against him, that he might It is not for an individual who writes not, on the morrow, be brought on a religious subject, to discuss the down to the council, leaving to him political necessity in which counthe means of protecting his person tries may be placed, having no busifrom insult, and perhaps destruction : ness with these matters ; his duty therefore this cannot be adduced in consisting in passive obedience to the aid of the subject.
laws, where conscience is not conIt is singular, indeed, that Christ, cerned; nor to question the authority and afterwards his apostles, should of his superiors: but he may conbe supposed to approve what they had tend for the beauty of Christianity to correct, and, because they were and holiness, without which no man sent to heal the sick, they should shall see the Lord : and that the countenance their vices, and same Almighty power which supcourage publicans and sinners, by ported and preserved Daniel in the sitting with them.
lions' den, and the worthies in the The Scribes, Pharisees, and chief fiery furnace, can and will preserve rulers amongst the Jews, entertained individuals and nations, which in a very different opinion of the effect righteousness and self-abasement look and consequences of our Saviour's up to him for protection against pripreaching ; otherwise they would not vate and foreign foes of every dehave advanced as a charge against scription ; that his angels will encamp him, John xi. 48– If we let him round those that fear him, and that