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SPIRIT OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION IN FAVOUR OF PEACE.
*) Earth, Earth, Earth, hear the word of the Lord !"
Jeremiah xxii. 29.
Forgive your enemies; do good to them that hate you."
My kingdom is not of this world ; if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight." “ Follow peace with all men.”
P E A C E.
CAUSES OF INSENSIBILITY TO THE
There is not a theme so deeply affecting the happiness both spiritual and temporal of man, as the question of peace and war, and therefore it is entitled at the least to our sincere and devoted attention. A serious appeal to Christians on a subject intimately connected with their religion, will not, we feel convinced, be treated either with levity or contempt. The very fact of a doubt having been raised with regard to the consistency of so prevalent a custom as war with the principles of our faith, should of itself be sufficient to invite reflection from all who profess to be followers of Jesus. It is time for Christians to awake and behold the danger by which they are threatened; it is time for them to shake off all apathy, and, rousing their energies, to examine our doctrines, so that if false, they may oppose them; if true, they may adopt them; but in the name of religion and of humanity, we beseech of them not to sink into a state of inactivity, while war is threatening or destroying their fellow men.
We have enough to overcome; every obstacle that can possibly be brought to impede a human undertaking, lies in our way. There are two classes of persons that do not exert their influence in the cause of peace :—first, those who are insensible to the evils of war: and secondly, those, who, notwithstanding their conviction of these evils, do not see the necessity of making any special effort for their abolition.
SECTION 1.-Prejudice of Education and Custom.
An insensibility to the horrors of war, arises from several causes : first, the strong bias of education and custom ; from the cradle to the grave, every thing in favour of war, and in concealment of its actual tendency, is brought into operation. Children, innocent children, are presented with warlike weapons in miniature, as their toys, and are taught to associate the idea of pleasure and reward, with that of a soldier's occupation. There is scarcely a book put into their hands, from Nursery Tales to Homer's Iliad, but it abounds in the praises of warriors.
The mode of education pursued at the present day, is too often a systematic corruption of the youthful dispositions, rather than the exercise of rational and of moral powers. The absurd and pernicious principles of Pagan morality, the sanguinary and criminal scenes narrated in the Iliad, the Æneid, and similar compositions, are usually impressed on the tender mind with far greater zeal than is bestowed on the mild and peaceful doctrines of Jesus. These books may be read as noble specimens of poetry, but surely with circumspection, and comments should be made, pointing out the new species of virtue, and preferable rule of moral conduct introduced by Christianity. The deceptive costume in which war is arrayed, misleads the youthful as well as the more matured. They behold the various regiments, dressed in the gayest colours, and marching with their fluttering banners and their glittering bayonets to the sound of music; they do not see those men on the field of battle engaged in deadly strife; they do not see them returning, pale, sick, and wounded; the widows and the fatherless are not there, for the children of woe make no parade of their sorrows; the martial drum and fife do not call to mind the shrieks of the wounded and the dying; the shining arms do not remind the spectators of bayonets dripping with gore. “To one who reflects," observes the eloquent Channing, “there is something very shocking in these decorations of war.