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but half estimates its foul atrocity and its infernal character, will enter into the poet's spirit, and, with a full appreciation of his emphatic language, will be prepared with him to exclaim
“ Could I embody and unbosom now
But as it is, I live and die unheard,
How dreadful are all the aspects of war! How widely different is war, in the printed page, from war in actual existence and operation! The full and faithful history of a great campaign has yet to be written. The civil historian discourses of marches, positions, charges, routs, and retreats-things which constitute but a small section of a boundless subject. Every aspect of war, in the countries where it rages, is inscribed, in tears and blood, with lamentation, mourning, and woe! The soul of the Christian philanthropist sickens and is ready to die, when he thinks of only the wars of Europe—the smallest continental compartment of our globe. The spirit of such a man shudders at the recollection of the hundreds of millions of men who, during so long a series of ages, have been trained to the profession of murder, and paid to bear and use the instruments of death! The heart of such a man recoils with horror at the remembrance of the untold myriads who have perished by the sword ! Who, Sir, can depict the ravaged fields, the sacked cities, and the
plundered palaces? Who can record the history of violated virtue, broken hearts, ruined families, the groans and tears of wailing widows and helpless orphans, the sighs of ruptured and sorrowing friendship, the agonies of bereaved and despairing love? How often has the demon of war turned the fairest fields of that fertile continent into a desolate wilderness,-scattering its society like chaff before the wind, -arresting the peaceful pursuits of commerce, agriculture, and the arts,-extinguishing the lights of science, education, and religion,-covering whole kingdoms with rapine and murder, famine and pestilence, and polluting fountains and rivers with the blood of man!
But, Sir, war presents another and a still more hideous and appalling aspect to the mind of the Christian. As a minister of religion, I am bound to reflect on the spiritual condition of military hosts in the hour of conflict. While nothing is heard but the deathful volleys of battle, the savage yells and the maddened shouts of infuriated men, the work of dissolution is advancing with a rapidity which it is terrible to meditate! The murderous metal pouring like hail through the air, is but too apt an emblem of the flight of spirits successively passing into eternity, where they must appear before the bar of God, to "give an account of the deeds done in the body.” Who shall describe the scene presented by these mutual murderers, as they approach in thousands the throne of the Prince of Peace for judgment! Of the innumerable spirits now in the eternal world, how vast a proportion left their bodies, bathed in blood, upon the battle field! Is it not, Sir, inexpressibly awful to think, that, to such an extent, man should have been the butcher of his fellow
and his brother, and that the invisible regions should be so largely peopled by the souls of men who fell by mutual violence? My regrets are multiplied, and my griefs are deepened, when I reflect that it is of Europe that I am speaking-of Europe, where Christianity has so long been known, and where, upon the whole, it has, at times, existed in greater purity, and exerted a greater power than in any other country. It but slightly consoles me to know that Christianity has done much to mitigate the horrors and the cruelties of wars, and much, very much, to prevent the frequency of their recurrence. The fact at once proves and proclaims in how very imperfect a degree European nations have yet been imbued with the doctrines of the gospel.
Without enlarging on this terrible theme, I submit, that, whether we look at the peculiar genius of the warrior, at the warlike principle, or at the results of war, there is little to admire, nothing to love, much to denounce and to execrate. In spite of a world's practice for several hundreds of generations, and in spite of all that has been said and done to dignify “the profession of arms,” the Christian can look upon military greatness only as the attribute of a devil! It is a mere capacity to destroy! The poet, the musician, the painter, the sculptor, and the orator, have all combined their arts to deceive the nations of the earth, and, as John Foster remarks, to impress the mind with the idea, " that the grandest employment of a great spirit is the destruction of human creatures."—"A transforming magic of genius," as the same great writer observes, “displays a number of atrocious savages in a hideous slaughterhouse of men, as demigods in a temple of
."* Yes, and the infatuated millions surround the temple with songs of praise, and offer incense to the sanguinary deities within! What is military greatness, Sir, as compared with that which is moral! You will remember Addison's beautiful remark relative to the judgment of the angelic world respecting the comparative greatness of the military and the moral character :—“The evening walk of a wise man is more illustrious in their sight than the march of a general at the head of a hundred thousand soldiers ! Men are denominated great and glorious, only by an unfeigned exercise of humility-by a contemplation of God's works, and by a generous concern for the good of mankind !” Moral greatness is “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and of good fruits.” The military hero's selfish, sanguinary greatness vanishes like vapour before the rising sun, in the presence of the generous, the social greatness, which flows from Christian principle. True greatness is personal It resides in the soul, and is, therefore, independent of matter. It is immortal as its temple! Extremes try men! The world has been furnished with a fruitful example in the history of Napoleon. Let us look at the late military monarch of France, the dictator of Europe, without his crown, his throne, and his legions, during his testing exile on the solitary rock of St. Helena. Let us compare the hero at arms,
the world's wonder, with John Williams, the English missionary, on the islands of the South Seas. How poor and pitiful, in my esteem at least, is the great, proud soldier beside the humble, meek evangelist! There we see the real character of the man
* Foster's Essays, p. 342.
“Whose game was empire, and whose stakes were thrones,
Whose table, earth, --whose dice were human bones !
I defend not the barbarity of his treatment by our government and its representative. I blush for it! I speak of the man, apart from his imperial dominions and, without hesitation, I submit that he cannot, for a moment, bear comparison with the murdered missionary just mentioned. In Williams you behold the voluntary and happy exile for the sake of humanity and religion ; the zealous and stedfast adherent of Christian truth; alone, unsupported by physical force or regal authority; with no admiring crowds to inspire courage and cheer sadness; with little to excite vanity or nourish energy. In Williams, thus situated, you see a man of God, calmly, but resolutely, with invincible patience and unwearied perseverance, consecrating his time, his talents, his all, without money and without price, to the work of Christian philanthropy, and waiting for his reward in a future world. In this heroic man, the Light of Polynesia, now, alas ! extinct, you are presented with an exhibition of real moral greatness; of that sublime and quiet energy which alone is adequate to the demands of the missionary's high vocation. We see in John Williams a man entirely controlled by the love of Christ, blended with compassion for perishing men; a man giving himself up to the arduous work of civilizing the barbarous, and saving the lost. In behalf of these objects he sacrifices friendship with its many sweets, home with all its endearments, England with all its comforts and luxuries, braves the perils of the deep, reaches the isles of the Pacific, and there takes up his