Imágenes de páginas

the balls from the cannon were red hot, and set fire to the houses into which they fell; and others of the balls were hollow, and filled inside with smaller balls, and gupowder, and iron spikes, and these exploded where they fell, and killed and destroyed all around.

And by these means great multitudes of men, women, and children were killed ; and many were wounded and maimed for life; and many died miserably of their wounds, after long continued suffering ; and many men were taken prisoners, and carried into captivity far from their native land; and many women were made widows, and children orphans; and numbers who escaped with their lives and liberty, lost all their property, and were driven to wander about the world, not knowing where to lay their heads, and mourning for their slaughtered friends and relatives.

And when the news of these exploits arrived in those islands, there were great rejoicings among all the people, and they forgot the sufferings, and wounds, and deaths of their own soldiers, or considered them as of no account, so great was their joy for the injury which they had inflicted upon

others. And in their joy they illuminated their houses, and had grand reviews and mock fights. And those persons whose occupations kept them at home, and prevented them from going with the armies, and taking part in, or witnessing the actual slaughter, delighted to see these reviews and mock fights; and men, women, and children went to see them, and took pleasure in hearing the firing of the musketry and of the cannon, and in seeing the flashing of the swords, and the charging of the cavalry, and some flying and some pursuing, and others lying for dead, as if it were a real battle.

And it was the duty of the chief governor of those islands to take care that all the soldiers and their captains were always ready prepared to shed blood, and to burn and destroy at a moment's notice; and that their powder was always dry, and their arms shining and bright, and all their equipments perfect. And all the soldiers and their captains were rewarded according to the number of men, women, and children whom they had killed, and of the towns which they had battered down and burnt, and the extent of country which they had pillaged. And one portion of the property which they had carried off

was divided among them, and called prize-money; and the other portion was put into the public treasury.

And the captains who had killed and destroyed most received the greatest honour, and all the people flocked to see them ; and estates, and titles, and decorations were heaped upon them; and pillars and testimonials were erected to them in the most public places; and monuments and trophies in the houses where the people of those islands used meet, for the


praying to the meek and lowly Jesus, whose command was “ Love your enemies.'

and sang


And when the captains and the soldiers returned home, they went with all the people into these houses of prayer,

“ Not unto us, O Lord, but unto thee be the glory of all that we have slain, and all that we have destroyed;" and then they fell down on their knees, with their swords by their sides, and the banners which they had taken from the enemy waving over their heads, and prayed, saying, “ Thou Lord of peace and love, who forbiddest the shedding of blood, be merciful unto us, even as we are merciful unto others.” And when they had done singing and praying, they came out, and made ready to fight, and to burn, and to kill, and to destroy, as before.

And the people of those islands were generally successful in their warlike enterprises, and defeated their enemies with great slaughter ; but sometimes they met a reverse, and were themselves defeated, and their soldiers and their captains slain or taken prisoner by the enemy. And then, when the news of the disaster reached home, all the people were filled with indignation, and some of them cried out, “Let us send more soldiers, and take vengeance upon the enemy.” And some cried, “Let us send more soldiers, and redeem our honour and dignity :” and others cried, “Let us send more soldiers or what will become of our trade and commerce ?” And they did so, and fought, and killed, and burned, and destroyed again, and took vengeance upon the enemy; and redeemed their honour and dignity, and extended their trade and commerce.

And the captains of the soldiers were so honoured by all the people of those islands, that more persons desired to be captains than could be appointed; and there arose a rivalry among them, and they contended who should be

appointed captain. So a rule was made, that the appointment to be a captain should be sold at a high price ; and then the richest men began to buy the appointment for their sons, and bestow it on them as a means by which they might maintain themselves and their families in wealth and honor. And to prepare them for this appointment, they sent them to colleges and schools, where the art of fighting and killing, and of sinking ships, and of storming and burning towns was taught as a science. And when the young men had become proficients in the art, and their fathers had paid the stipulated price, they were appointed captains, and ever afterwards lived by fighting and killing, respected and honoured by every one.

And sometimes it happened that the same father would rear up one of his sons to be a captain, and to live by shedding blood, and another of his sons to be a minister of the Gospel of Christ, and to preach peace and goodwill to all men. And sometimes you might see the two brothers walking in the streets together, arm in arm, or going in the same carriage to the courts and levees of the chief governor of those islands; the one dressed plainly as became a minister of the Gospel, and the other in a splendid suit of scarlet or purple cloth, embroidered with gold, and a sword by his side, and martial plumes upon his head. And sometimes it happened, that if their father was a man of sufficient rank and consequence, the chief governor appointed one of his brothers to be his aide-de-camp and attendant in all his affairs of war and injury to his neighbour, and the other to be his chaplain and attendant in all his spiritual affairs, and to preach and explain to him the Gospel of Christ.

But the private soldiers were compelled to obey their captains in all things, and to undergo fatigue and hardships of every kind, and were never promoted beyond the ranks, or made captains; no matter how many men they had killed and destroyed, or how well and bravely they had obeyed orders. So, very few desired to be private soldiers. And when the people of those islands found that very few, even of the poorest sort, desired to be private soldiers, they tempted them with large bribes ; and when they were not able even by large bribes to prevail upon as many as they wished to become private soldiers, they kidnapped them, and carried them away by force from their houses and families, and put them on board their ships, and compelled them to work them, and to fire the guns, and to kill, burn, and destroy at the command of the captains. And if any of them murmured, they flogged them with whipcord upon the bare back, until they stripped the flesh off their bones, so that many of them fainted


agony, and some of them died.. And if any of them attempted to return home to their country and families, they followed and seized them, and making them kneel down upon their coffins, shot them dead; and when they had done so, they prayed to the Lord Jesus to forgive them their trespasses, as they forgave those that trespassed against them.

And it required great sums of money to pay the salaries of the captains and the wages of the soldiers, and to purchase equipments and arms and ammunition, and to build ships of war; so they levied taxes for the purpose ; and when all the taxes were not sufficient to meet the expense, they borrowed sums of money so vast that they could never be repaid, and the interest of which remained a burthen upon their own industry, and that of their children, and their children's children for ever. So the people of those islands, by means of their ships of war and their captains and their soldiers, extended their dominion and power to every part of the world, and their name became a terror to all nations, and their rich men became the richest on the face of the earth.

And the people of those islands sent out missionaries to convert the Heathen, and to teach them the pure and holy religion of the Lord Jesus; but the Heathen said, “Who are ye that come to teach us, and that practise not yourselves that which ye teach? Behold ye make war, and ye lust for conquest and power and dominion, and your name is a proverb and a byeword among all nations for love of gold, so that even the Heathen mock you.” And they closed their ears, and turned away, and said one to another, “If the God which these men preach to us were a true God, they would keep his commandments."

Thus did the people of those islands crucify their Lord afresh, and put a snare and a stumbling block in the way of the Heathen.

THE CHARACTER OF THE APOSTLE PAUL. It will be remembered by all who have read the Scriptures with attention, that the rewards which Jesus promised to his immediate disciples were annexed to futurity, and that he warned them that in this life they would have to endure privations and persecutions; that a time was approaching when the men that should kill t'iem, would think they did God service. This prediction was strikingly verified in the conduct of Paul before he became an Apostle. It was an honest, though at the same time an intemperate, and therefore a blameable zeal for the religion in which he had been educated, that impelled him to persecute the disciples of Jesus. And as a change of sentiment does not alter the natural temperament of the man, it is not surprising that we find the same zeal manifested after his conversion ; for as soon as he was made fully to comprehend that benign system which it was the object of the mission of Jesus to make known, no man could labour more ardently and effectually for its dissemination. Paul possessed a most undaunted courage, combined with a most persevering industry; and his defences at his trials, as well as his various writings, might be cited as proofs of his talents and learning. With such endowments as these, it would be next to impossible for any man to remain in obscurity. Accordingly, we find him at one time the chief instigator and actor in a violent persecution, and by and by he is pointed out as a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes, the very people he had before opposed and persecuted with so much inveteracy, so that in whatever circumstances he might have been placed, it appears quite evident that Providence had not designed him to act an inferior part.

Paul was the Apostle of the Gentiles, and the ease with which he appears to have divested himself of his national prejudices, and the alacrity with which he undertook the important work of proselyting his countrymen, afford considerable proofs of the benevolence of his disposition ; and his uncompromising integrity was perhaps never more clearly evinced than by his reproval of Peter at Antioch for withdrawing himself from the society of the Gentile converts, out of deference to the prejudices

« AnteriorContinuar »