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Progress of pacific principles. I think the principles of peace are spreading silently, yet extensively in the community. The leaven has not been at work long enough, in most cases, to produce its full effects; but I have seen enough to learn how it is working, and I feel confident that our cause is surely and steadily advancing.
I will give you a single specimen. In a town somewhat secluded, I spent part of a Sabbath, and went during the week to address the lyceum and the academy on other aspects of this great subject. I did not, in my sermon, or either of my addresses, agitate the question concerning the lawfulness of wars strictly defensive, but left it, with a few leading hints, for the people to examine and settle at their leisure. The lyceum took the lion by his beard, and discussed the question, whether war in any case is justifiable on the principles of the gospel; and, after a long and animated debate, a vote, as usual with them, was taken on the merits of the case, and every menuber, except one, gave his voice against all war as inconsistent with Christianity.
Need of efforts. The grand desideratum for our cause is effort. We cannot expect the spread of pacific principles without appropriate means; but God is ready to bless such means, and the Christian community to feel their speedy influence in revolutionizing the war sentiments of Christendomn. With two or three laborers in this immense field, with a few hundreds of dollars, and a few thousands of tracts, we cannot dream of moving a whole nation; and the cause demands in this country at least one agent for every State, and twenty or thirty thousand dollars for the present year. Even such a scale of efforts, though more than ten times as great as in past years, would not equal by half the labors and expenditures in some other enterprises of Christian reform. Let as much be done for peace, as has been for temperance or anti-slavery, and I should confidently anticipate a speedy and thorough change of public opinion concerning this master-sin and scourge of our world.
Publications on peace. I have found an increasing demand for publications on peace, and could easily have secured the circulation of a large number to good purpose. I have by direction published 1000 of the Solemn Review, 2000 of the Solemn Appeal, 10,000 of the Sketch of War, and nearly 10,000 of Peace Societies ; in all nearly 23,000, the greater part of which are already in circulation.
Wben unable to procure enough of our own publications for my use, I obtained 800 copies of the tract published by the American Tract Society on peace, and circulated most of thein. I have also distributed 50 copies of Stories for Children, 110 of the Address to Ladies, 90 of the small tracts of the London Peace Society, and a considerable number of their large tracts; nearly 600 of War unchristian by the Connecticut Peace Society, and about 70 of their tract on the Moral Dignity of the Peace Enterprise. I have likewise put in circulation some hundreds of the Friend of Peace furnished me by the Rev. Dr. WORCESTER, the venerable patriarch of the peace cause in this country, and given to leading individuals, or to peace societies in literary institutions about 40 volumes on the subject of peace.
I cannot tell the exact number of publications, large and small, I have been enabled to get into circulation during the year; but I think it cannot fall much, if it all below 20,000. This number is much in
advance of former years, yet trifling in comparison with what the cause demands; and, had there been such a system as we must erelong have, I could easily have established small depositories of our publications in a number of somewhat central and important places. In a few instances I tried to do so; but it was an experiment from which I hope for little permanent benefit without a better organization of this department at the centre,--an improvement which I confidently expect to see very soon.
REV. MR. BECKWITH'S ADDRESS,
ON THE DUTY OF CHRISTIANS TO REMOVE THE DISGRACE BROUGHT
UPON OUR RELIGION BY THE WARS OF CHRISTENDOM.
Mr. PRESIDENT,-I rise with unfeigned sorrow to offer a sentiment which may seem to cast censure on the great body of Christians through the world; but duty, always paramount to every other consideration, plainly requires us to acknowledge the guilt in which the custom of war has involved the church of Christ, and to unite our best endeavors for the removal of this stain from the sacred name we bear. I stand not here a willing accuser of my brethren; but, having been ourselves more or less under a sort of military mania, having from our childhood inhaled the moral malaria of war, I deem it high time for us, along with all the disciples of the Prince of peace, to put in practice the resolution I have the honor to move in these words,—that Christians are bound by the strongest and most sacred obligations to remove the disGRACE which the wars of Christendom have brought upon their religion.
You perceive, Sir, that this resolution embraces several points of vital importance,-the fact that the wars of nations nominally Christian HAVE disgraced our religion ; the ability of Christians, if they will, to remove this disgrace; and the pressure of obligation upon them to use the means requisite for this purpose.
The stigma of war, Sir, was branded upon Christianity by human hands. Once she was entirely free from this stain, and caught it first from her unhallowed and fatal union with the state. Neither Christ, nor his apostles, nor any of his early disciples, ever lent the slightest countenance to the custom of war. So long as the gospel was received in its primitive simplicity, and the lamp of piety burnt pure and bright in the church, Christians no more thought of becoming soldiers than we should of turning pirates at the permission or command of our government; but, remaining one after another in the army after their conversion, and seduced at length into alliance with the state under Constantine the Great, the followers of the Prince of peace-a lamentable proof of their degeneracy-no longer saw the glaring inconsistency of war with their religion, and
began even to apologize for the atrocities of a practice more fit for tigers or fiends than for men.
Look at the result in centuries of guilt, disgrace and wretchedness. For fifteen hundred years, the church, lured or forced into the service of war, has been chained to its car, and dragged through its pollution and its blood; and all this time has she stood before the world in a garb that utterly belies her real character as a fraternity of saints and peace-makers.
Do you deem this complaint too severe? Then review the history of Christendom written for ages in blood, and you will find proof the most ample, decisive and humiliating. How often have the professed disciples of the Prince of peace met on the field of battle to butcher one another by thousands under the pretended sanction of heaven! Even bishops themselves once led them in person to this work of mutual slaughter! Are not Christians still compelled, wherever the church is united with the state, to repeat in time of war a stereotyped form of prayer to the God of peace and love for his smiles upon enterprises of national pillage and human butchery? Have they not sometimes gone from the very table of their common Lord to strew the earth with each others' mangled corpses? The bistory of Christendom has been for ages full of facts like these ; and the great mass of mankind hold our religion responsible for them all.
War seems, indeed, to have been the business and the boast of pations professedly Christian. Of less than seven centuries Christian England spent more than two hundred and sixty years—nearly half the whole time-in waging twenty-four wars with Christian France alone; and in one hundred and three years, she had only two years of peace! Christian nations, descended from ancestors singularly warlike, have been, not in consequence, but in spite of their peaceful religion, the most notorious fighters on earth; and for twelve or fifteen hundred years, Christendom itself has been little better, I had almost said, than one vast slaughter-yard of mankind.
Look at their present policy. War, the work of marauders, incendiaries and murderers, they deem the most honorable of all employments! They study it as a science; they cultivate it as an art; they resort to it for a livelihood,-a livelihood from vice and crime, from tears and blood! The profession of arms is still among Christians themselves a highway to honor and office, to wealth, and fame, and power. What secured so much of these for the Buonaparte family? The sword. Who have ever been in our own country the most popular and successful candidates for office ? Warriors. England lavished upon one of her favorite generals nearly a million of dollars a year for his services, and then placed him at the head of her nobility, for a time at the helm of her government. What raised such men as Nelson and Wellington to the peerage ? Nothing but success in bloodshed; and war was the origin, war 'is still the support of aristocracy and despotism through the world.
Think not to exonerate the church from all share in this general reproach. Have not real as well as nominal Christians, age after age, lent their countenance to war? Have not ministers themselves apologized for its abominations, and returned thanks to God for its triumphs in carnage, plunder and devastation ? To this day are temples of the Prince of peace profaned with its fulsome praises and
blood-stained trophies. Do not professed Christians join men of the world in idolizing the demigods of war? Do they not still train some of their own children to this work of death as the business of life, and teach the rest to admire war and the warrior ?
A melancholy instance recurs to my memory. A little more than a year ago the country was shocked at the details of a duel near the city of Washington between two young men of very respectable connexions, one of whom was brought in the agonies of death to his father's bouse, as the first intimation the family had of the rencontre which terminated in that fatal catastrophe. Last summer, while travelling among the Green Mountains, I met with a minister of the gospel who had taught a school in the metropolis eight or ten years before, and had that very victim for one of his pupils. The father, he said, was an elder of high standing in the Presbyterian church, and had exerted bimself with distinguished zeal and success to check the murderous practice of duelling; but he had reflected so little on the system of wholesale murder legalized under the name of war, as to have trained all his sons to the profession of arıns, to the trade of human butchery, for a livelihood; and in the murder of this son he found the legitimate fruit of what his own hand had planted. War is only the custom of duelling extended to nations; essentially the same in its spirit, in its principles, in its general results; the very same in kind, and only worse, incomparably worse, in degree.
Will you tell us, Sir, Christians are not responsible for the wars of Cbristendom? But why not? Because they hold not in their hands the helm of its governments? But once they did; and, during that period, were there no wars in Christendom? Alas! that was just the bloodiest era in all modern history, when the crusades, those mad and merciless wars of religion proclaimed by the pope himself, enforced by the whole clergy, and deemed a sure passport to the highest rewards of heaven, exhausted the treasures of Europe, and drenched three continents in the blood of millions on millions. Forty millions of nominal Christians sacrificed for the recovery of Palestine from unbaptized hands! What a comment on the degeneracy of the church from the precepts and example of Him who bade Peter sheathe even the sword he had drawn in defence of his Master's life, and denounced a curse, too fearfully inflicted, on those who take the sword!“ All they that take the sword, shall Perish by the sword.”
I appeal, Sir, to facts well known, and ask you to mark the disgrace actually brought upon Christianity by the martial character of Christendom. Its wars have been for centuries a standing libel on our religion, and made it a by-word and reproach, all over the earth, to infidels and Jews, Mohamedans and pagans. Have none of these ever read the blood-stained pages of our history? Know they not that Christendom is still a nursery of warriors ? Are they upacquainted with her thousands of war-ships ready to launch their volleys of death, and her millions of soldiers on tiptoe for plunder, carnage and devastation? Have they never seen her fleets and armies, never heard the thunder of her cannon, never felt her ruthless power in plundering their property, burning their towns, and slaughtering their relatives and friends ? On all these points, Sir, there is a fearful accumulation of facts; and were a tithe of these facts spread before this community, they would no longer be surprised at the
prejudices of the whole unevangelized world against the religion of the cross.
Ask the missionary. “Go back," the pagan scornfully tells him, “go back to your countrymen, to the brethren of your own faith, and teach them how to live, before you come to instruct us.” “We come,” say the heralds of the cross, “ as ambassadors of the Prince of peace, to publish in his name peace on earth and good-will to all mankind." “ Peace!” exclaims the astonished pagan; "peace from Christendom, from the very hotbed of war, from realms drenched, age after age, in Christian blood, and still bleaching with the bones of slaughtered millions !” Well did the emperor of China, as he banished the Jesuits from his empire, complain, that “ Christians, wherever they go, whiten the soil with human bones.”
Frequent and bitter, also, have been the reproaches cast upon us by the followers of the false prophet. “Why,” said a Turk to the missionary Wolff when at Jerusalem, “why do you come to us?” “ To bring you peace.” “Peace!” retorted the indignant Mussulman,“ peace!! Look yonder,” pointing to Calvary. “ There, Sir, on the very spot where your own Lord poured out his blood, has the Mohamedan been obliged to interfere to keep Christians from butchering one another.” It was literally true that Mohamedans had been obliged thus to restrain nominal Christians; and the poor Turk, like six hundred roillions of our race, knew no difference between any dwellers in Christendom, but looked upon them all as alike the accredited representatives of our religion.
Nor is infidelity less severe upon us. “ Ye bungling soul-physicians!” exclaims Voltaire in bitter sarcasm, “to bellow for an hour or more against a few flea-bites, and not say a word about that horrid distemper which tears us to pieces! Burn your books, ye moralizing philosophers! Of what avail is humanity, benevolence, meekness, temperance, piety, when half a pound of lead shatters my body; when I expire, at the age of twenty, under pains unspeakable; when my eyes, at their last opening, see my native town all in a blaze, and the last sounds I hear are the sbrieks and groans of women and children expiring amidst the ruins ? "
The Jew, too, spurns our religion as utterly unlike that which the Messjah, promised in the Old Testament as the Prince of peace, would be expected to introduce. This objection has been repeated a thousand times, but rarely with more force than at Falmouth in England, where a Jew, when a celebrated advocate of Foreign Missions was appounced to preach, posted on the door of the church this votice: “Our Messiah, when he comes, will establish a system of mercy, peace and kindness upon earth, while among you Christians, only disputes, animosities and cruelties mark your passage through the world. Possibly your religion sanctions these things; ours does not. With us the goodness and beneficence alone of the Mosaic laws constitute their grand authority, and proclaim aloud their emanation from a God of love. We want no better, we expect no better, till Messiah shall indeed come. Then will every man sit under his own vine and under his own fig tree; nation shall no longer lift up sword against nation, neither they learn war any more; the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and a little child shall lead them. Has this golden era of peace and love ever yet been witnessed? Speak,