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they pleased, to fight it out themselves? What to them was York or Lancaster? The crown has since been bestowed more rationally; not by divine right, ascertained in battle, but by Act of Parliament, in defiance of succession: on William III., Anne, George I. and the house of Hanover, it was thus conferred. These scenes will never be reacted in this country. Their folly must be seen in all countries; and when seen, however individuals or families might be wicked enough to aim at their revival, they would find that losing the opinions and prejudices of the multitude, they had also lost the direction of their physical force. What a fine contrast to Yorkists, Lancastrians, Stuarts, Bourbons, and all the rest who "wade through slaughter to a throne," was Richard Cromwell! He was advised to take off a seditious leader, and secure his father's elevation for himself. No," said he, "I will not purchase authority at the price of one man's blood." (P)
2. Wars of conquest and usurpation. Such as those of Edward III. and Henry V., in France, by which the people got nothing for their blood and treasure, but the pleasure of seeing the lilies in the royal arms. What conquest was ever worth its purchase; even to any one? The only gain from them is to the pride of the monarch, and the avarice of the favourites, who may then acquire plunder. Will nations always sacrifice
themselves for these; or for what is baser still, the gratification of commercial rapacity? For trade now prompts to wars of encroachment and usurpation, as well as ambition.
3. Wars of passion, revenge and glory. To these, democracies are as liable as monarchies. They flow from that military spirit which leaders foster for their own purposes, till it sometimes becomes too strong for their direction. Defeat tarnishes the glory of a warlike people, and must be wiped off by victory. This was once the principle of private life. If one of a family or clan was murdered, it was necessary to retaliate, and obliterate the stain by another murder: but now the murderer only is disgraced, and imitation but involves in similar disgrace. Is this case too strong for information and Christianity?
4. Wars of religion. The most absurd and impious of all. Men have been in arms for idolatry and theism, the Turkish faith, and the (nominally) Christian faith, the Catholic religion and the Protestant religion, and in the last war, for all sorts of religion against all sorts of infidelity. Now to put down all this imposture, hypocrisy and blasphemy, it is only necessary that men should go from priests and statesmen to the New Testament to learn Christianity: they will soon find that it may be suffered for, but cannot be fought for. They will read of only one sword drawn in its defence, and then Christ
healed the wounded person, and rebuked Peter with," they that use the sword shall perish by the sword."
The opinion of the public in all countries must become more enlightened, and with that enlightenment wars will become more rare and less bloody, till they gradually cease. Armies cannot be raised, or paid, in defiance of opinion. Would it be possible, in this country, to raise a corps of fifty thousand assassins? With all the ignorance and vice that exist, hired assassination has no existence here. It has yet in Italy, and did flourish there. Opinion makes the impossibility. Were the gospel generally understood, opinion would present as insuperable a barrier to raising fifty thousand, or one thousand hired soldiers. Peace then follows in the train of improvement.
"War is a game, which, were their subjects wise,
And wisdom is their destined portion.
The Slave Trade was abolished by the voice of humanity alone. Numbers were interested in its continuance, but nobody had any thing to gain by its cessation. If the evils of war were generally known and contemplated, surely they would not produce feebler horror at its enormities, conviction of its guilt, or wishes and efforts
for its abolition, than prevailed on that subject. It is an immense advantage that, when once the subject is properly understood, the pleadings of interest will join with those of humanity, prudence co-operate with conscience, and true policy second the views of benevolence and religion. To love peace, nations have only to learn their real interests.
It is not to be imagined that violent exertions, sudden changes, or acts of legislation, will serve this great cause: they would only retard its success. Nor is it benefited by the strenuous assertion of abstract principles. That any nation should proclaim to the world that its differences shall be hereafter settled by negociation or mediation, and not by arms, is not to be expected, and probably not to be desired. All that the friends of peace can do, or ought to attempt, is, on proper occasions, to state their opinions, and constantly to diffuse information. Europe is becoming one great public. A distaste with war, a disposition to examine more rigidly into its causes and effects, and a general preference of other modes of deciding quarrels, will gradually and contemporaneously spring up and advance in all countries. Sovereigns, statesmen, generals, and also those classes of the community whose private interests are served at the expense of the public good, may be the last to partake of this improved feeling; but long before it reaches
their hearts, it will have sufficient influence to controul their measures. Religion, so often in its corrupted state the occasion of discord and bloodshed, will attain its purity and power, and bring on the universal reign of the Prince of Peace. Christianity is incompatible with war, and Christianity is both designed and destined to extend to all nations. I do not see how the obvious inference from the pacific tendency of Christianity, and its unbounded prevalence, can be eluded. But if it could, our hopes would be unshaken; for on this particular result from its progress, the prophets have bestowed their richest imagery, nor does it seem easy to reconcile the notion that mankind shall always be subject to war, with belief in, or fair interpretation of, the Jewish and Christian Scriptures. We gladly turn from it to prophecies such as these: "I will break the bow, and the sword, and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely.-And I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God." (Hosea ii. 18, 23.) "In the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come and say, Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,