Images de page


conquest and the barren honour of influencing the affairs of Europe. With these maxims, and a capital whose situation alone would render it impregnable, this republic enjoyed the greatest tranquillity, while violent troubles have agitated Italy for a century. That government so detests war, that it will not suffer its nobility to learn the trade among foreigners. Kindle this spirit in the rest of the powers of Europe, and we are at peace for ever.

If it could truly be affirmed, that wars, seditions, and public plagues of this kind, ever were blessings, it would be in tyrannical monarchies. Troubles might snatch from a tyrant some reforms, they would inspire his soul with fear, and his government would become more moderate. If the property of tyranny is to be cruel and inexorable, if it inflicts on the people the same calamities as a civil war, by arming spies against their own citizens, they will prefer shedding their blood to recover their liberty, to dying by the hand and for the advantage of the tyrant. It is better that the republic should be exhausted, to deliver itself from oppression, than to satisfy the cruelty and avarice of the oppressor.

I am delighted to think that our great grandsons will not be afflicted with wars, as we and our fathers have been. The balance of Europe, the chimera that has kept Europe in flames, begins to be treated with the contempt which it always deserved.

To the Editor of the Herald of Peace. HEREWITH I forward a beautiful extract from one of Sherlock's Discourses, so applicable to the subject which the Herald professes to advocate, and coming with such force directly to the heart, that, should it meet with approbation, I trust it will be inserted.

Pleading with Infidels, he says:— "Go to your natural religion; lay before her Mahomet and his disciples, arrayed in armour and in blood,

riding in triumph over the spoils of thousands and tens of thousands who fell by his victorious sword; show her the cities which he set in flames, the countries which he ravaged and destroyed, and the miserable distress of all the inhabitants of the earth.*** -When she is tired with this prospect, then show her the blessed Jesus; humble and meek, doing good to all the sons of men, patiently instructing both the ignorant and the perverse; let her see him injured, but not provoked; let her attend him to the tribunal, and consider the patience with which he endured the scoffs and reproaches of his enemies; lead her to his cross, and let her view him in the agony of death, and hear his last prayer for his persecutors-Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!""

Let us now examine both pictures with seriousness and attention, and consider that if the meek and pacific disposition of the blessed Redeemer be the criterion by which to discern, that he is the true prophet, even the Son of God; surely Christians can expect no other than that infidels should abound, when the principles and practices of the professed followers of the Messiah are so egregiously inconsistent, I had almost said, so diametrically opposed to each other W. P. T.

Peace and War--a Vision.

THE bells were ringing so merrily, and the town was in such a blaze of light and such a ferment of joy, for the battle of Waterloo, that, though I was weary with the labours of the day, and disgusted at the thoughtless gladness of the world, I could not enjoy the luxury of sound sleep. But, while I lay fluctuating between the regions of dreams and of waking realities, now conscious of what was going on around me, and now absorbed in airy scenes, my attention, at length, became fixed on two personages in high debate. The one, whose louder voice attracted my eye,

by the help of my ear, was a male in gorgeous attire, with a haughty step, and a look that spake defiance. His head was covered with a brazen helmet, on which nodded the fiery plume of the Ortolan. Around his temples were intwined what I suppose were intended for laurel wreaths; but it was difficult to discover the lovely hue of vegetation, for they seemed to drop with blood, which the warrior every now and then wiped hastily off, as if ashamed of the gore, while proud of the wreath. His breast was covered with a steel cuirass, composed of plates which opened and shut, as if the heart that beat within had swoln too big for the chest, or was every moment throbbing with passions which gave the warrior a ghastly air that filled me with terror. Around his body was an enormous belt, on which hung a scimitar, like the old two-handled sword, fit to cleave a man in two at one stroke, from head to foot. Looking down at this immensely ponderous unwieldy thing, my eye was caught by the shoes which the rude soldier wore, that were any thing but beautiful; for they seemed as if he had been treading upon all that was foul and horrid, upon wounded flesh and scattered brain, and upon ground soaked with blood. I perceived that he did not like to move his feet, on account of the noise they made, and the blood that spirted up from them, every step he took. He appeared as if he were leaning upon a lance, which cleaved to his hand, and, with a boisterous voice, determined to conquer by sound if not by sense, he thus addressed the other personage, which came into my view.

[ocr errors]

What, then, would you have us sneak and fawn, to every scoundrel that chooses to insult us? For my part, I admire the spirit of the ancient moralist, who said, that "Revenge is sweet to the gods:" and if you say these were heathen moralists, and heathen gods, I can tell you of a Christian family, that bears for the motto of its arms, Nemo me impune la

cesset. By this spirit a man maintains his right, and without it, we should be trampled upon. Besides, it is to this noble heroism, that the world owes its Hectors, its Alexanders, and its Cæsars and Nelsons. But for these actions, we should have had no Iliad, that finest effort of poetic genius, which has so powerfully stimulated the human intellect.'

The vaunting hero, having paused to gain breath, gave the other personage an opportunity to reply. It was a Female, in simple attire, with nothing remarkable in her person, except the lovely innocence of her air; and nothing peculiar in her dress, except that a sky-blue cord of silk fastened her white robe round her waist, and a wreath of olive served for a bandeau to her hair. As she stretched out her hand, to address the other speaker, I perceived with delight, a most refreshing odour; for her hands dropped balm, which she had just been pouring into the wounds of a poor soldier, who had been carried off from the field of battle, where her antagonist had been displaying his warlike feats. With an elo quence that stole into the mind like flakes of falling snow, she replied—

I would not have you fawn or sneak to any one; but I would wish you to reason and persuade; for what, I ask you, is the usual result of war? Is it not that ambassadors pass between the belligerent powers, and by argumentation and mutual concession settle the dispute? Why, then, might not this be done as well at first as at last? You have anticipated my reply concerning the heathen moralists and gods, to whom revenge is sweet, and you may remember, that a Christian apostle calls these gods demons.

'As to the motto of a Christian family, which you have quoted and adopted for your own, you must admit, that such a motto was never taken from the Christian scriptures, and that the thistle, which accompanies the motto in that family shield,

is a fit emblem of the man that bears it. The rose or the lily, however, would be a fitter representative of the disciple of Jesus Christ. The scriptures, speaking of these thistles and briers, say, "the song of Belial shall be as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken by the hand; but the man that shall take them must be fenced with iron, and the staff of a spear, and they shall be utterly burnt with fire on the spot."

'You say, that by this spirit a man maintains his rights; but I appeal to all history, whether war has not more frequently done wrong than right. A fierce temper destroys a man's self-possession, and makes him mistake wrong for right, kindles the same spirit in others, who become as obstinate as himself, and leads them to go to war: neither of them knows which is in the right, while both, perhaps, are in the wrong.

But even when he who goes to war is in the right, he is not sure that he shall gain the victory, which does not always decide in favour of justice; and when it does, the battle is hard fought, and the object of contention is torn to pieces in the struggle.

'You seem to be alarmed at the thought of being insulted, and, to avoid this, you would maintain the fierce, haughty spirit of defiance that war assumes. But this spirit tempts and attracts more insults than it repels, for I, whom you think more exposed to these insults than you can be, am far less afraid of them. The thistle, with all its prickly points, is more frequently trampled upon than the defenceless lily.

'But it seems, from your statement, that we owe our heroes to war. These, however, are beings that we could well spare; for how much worse should we have been, if there never had been such creatures in the world as Alexander, or Cæsar, or Nelson? With all my admiration for the genius of the Iliad, I cannot but think it has been a curse to the earth; for its Achilles raised up an Alexander,

who again produced a Cæsar, and this last, in his turn, has created a Buonaparte, who gives to Wellington all his worth. But such a genius as Homer would have created another subject, if he had not been furnished by history with an Achilles and a Troy; and if he had turned his attention to a more peaceable and profitable theme, what a charm might he have thrown over some benevolent project, to plant a desart, or to cure a plague! For all the glory that you hope to acquire by feats of arms, I would not give a rush. It is glory only in the eyes of a savage; for when that period shall arrive, for which the wise and good confidently look, the glory of war will be exchanged for infamy and scorn. Robin Hood, and little John, will then be as glorious heroes as Achilles, or Alexander, Cæsar, or Buonaparte.'

At these words, the countenance of the fierce personage so changed, and assumed such forms of horror, that I began to fear lest his mortified pride should burst into a storm of vengeance, and, the agitation of my mind dispelling my reverie, I awoke.

London, Dec. 26th, 1820. "As the tree falls, so it lies," DEATH, being the gate through which we must all pass to life, has occupied the consideration of the wise and the good of all ages; and how much soever the terror which its contemplation naturally produces on humanity may be diminished by real and vital religion-yet, still, where is the man who can look with calm indifference on a process which must pass over him-the operation and end of which, if viewed only by the eye of reason, is involved in such inextricable mystery? If this then be the view ordinarily taken of so momentous a subject by those who for themselves have nothing to dread-what would one suppose to be the feelings of others, who, having neglected the things that make


for their everlasting peace, are miserably ignorant about their latter end? Surely it may be thought that such would maintain a perpetual fear of exchanging a certainty for a "dread uncertainty"-would hesitate at placing themselves in a situation more than ordinarily exposed to those calamities which have a tendency to induce the last catastrophe-for a catastrophe DEATH must appear to a mind susceptible of no other conception respecting it than the mere chance of some worse state of existSuch undoubtedly would be the prevailing feeling on this subject, had not man, instead of seeking after GOD, become the willing slave of Satan, whose province it is to blind the eyes, to place objects in a false light before the sons of men-to put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitterto call darkness light and light darkness. What but Satanic influence could induce thousands upon thousands to array themselves against each other, filled with the most deadly and murderous motives? And wherefore? why, truly, because the prince of the one party has offended or been offended with the prince of the other! Man, one would think, left to the simple bias of reason, would naturally ask, Why should I venture my life in this struggle, which, being founded in pride, can end in no good to mankind- -can terminate in no real advantage to me? And so man would argue but for the influence of Satan, whose throne would be shaken to the very foundation if the sublime and heavenly motto which ushered in the Saviour of a lost world, "Peace on earth and goodwill among men," were the basis of human conduct, instead of a miserable and mistaken expediency. What are the fruits, we may ask, of the late awful struggle of 30 years? What benefit accrues to us as a nation, or to mankind generally? Are we wiser, better, happier? Is the possession of our increased privileges, which have exalted us above all the nations of the earth, to be at

tributed to the terrible convulsions which have skaken empires to their very centre? Surely not.-He who "rides in the whirlwind" has been pleased, in some cases, to "make the wrath of man to praise him,” but, are we more humble-more convinced of the iniquity of shedding human blood-or prepared to assume any cause as a sufficient justification for plunging myriads of our fellow creatures into the horrors, the awful and indescribable horrors, of war? Let us not deceive ourselves---we have had our share in the commission of those atrocities which characterize this era as a scene of blood--we have now, (and what other can be expected?) our share in the fruits of this policy. Aye, but had ever nation the glory which we enjoy ?

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

This is true glory and renown, when God
Looking on the earth, with approbation marks
The just man, and divulges him through Heav'n

To all his Angels, who with true applause
Recount his praises: thus he did to Job,
-When, to extend his fame through Heaven and earth,
(As thou to thy reproach may'st well remember,)
He asked thee, 'Hast thou seen my servant Job?'

Famous he was in Heav'n, on earth less known ;
Where glory is false glory, attributed

To things not glorious, men not worthy of fame.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

enlarge on the subject of glory would be impertinent.

How miserable then must be that infatuation which can pervert the common feelings of our nature, and cause us to treat Death itself with unconcern! And how securely must Satan have inveigled man in the meshes of his net, ere he could be induced to rush into scenes where Death is not merely probable, but where hurtless escape is scarcely possible! Cæsar felt the moment of life, if not for himself, for his army--and deplored the apparent necessity which plunged his countrymen in desolating warand this sentiment was experienced by Xerxes, who, viewing his prodigious army from an eminence, wept on the reflection that in a few years not one of that vast multitude would be existing! The value of life ought to be considered by all. "The dread of death, notwithstanding the violent and criminal measures too frequently adopted to hasten its approach, is a sensation far more natural and common than weariness of life. Even when a fit of impatience, or of despondency, induces any one to solicit the interference of the king of terrors,' it is, in most cases, very questionable whether his actual arrival and offer of service would be acceptable. This horror of the last and great change, so strongly and generally felt among mankind, is with great propriety and wisdom permitted by the Author of our being. Without it, death would not appear to be a punishment inflicted on man in consequence of sin, agreeably to the representation of Scripture; and there would be the greatest danger of its becoming the ordinary and universal resort of melancholy, peevishness, and impatience, where any disaster, real or imaginary, happened to occur. Shall death then appear clad in terrors, so appear with the permission of Almighty God,---and shall vain and presumptuous man tempt that fate which was intended to be a punishment inflicted on man


in return for his iniquities? And what but a tempting of it is the taking part in any battle? We may succeed in deceiving ourselves as well as others, but God we cannot deceive. The close of every battle has witnessed multitudes sent "unhoused and unshrived" into the presence of the God of heaven and earth, and though it is true their own ignorance and infatuation have been auxiliary to their premature death, yet a question naturally arises, Who sent them? Their rulers. Oh! that statesmen would consider these things---countless multitudes have already appeared at the bar of heaven to explain this. Would to God that their footsteps may not be followed!


WE make no apology for the insertion of the following quotations from the very useful works of MARIA HACK, because it is of the highest importance that the minds of Youth should be impressed with a love of Peace, and an abhorrence of War; and because we have too much books of this description. reason to lament a paucity of children's

To the Editor of the Herald of Peace.

CONCEIVING as I do, that great advantage will result from impressing on the susceptible minds of the rising generation, principles of a pacific tendency, I take the liberty of forwarding, for insertion in the Herald, a few extracts of that nature, from a publication entitled "English Stories, illustrating some of the most interesting events, and characters, between the accession of Alfred and the death of John; by Maria Hack." It is a series of dialogues between a mother and her two children of twelve or thirteen and is one years of age, of those few works which exhibit War in its true colours, divested of all its captivating, but evanescent glory. The following conversation is represented as having taken place, after Mrs. B. has given a most melancholy account of the destruction of the Abbey of Croyland, by those

« PrécédentContinuer »