Images de page
PDF
ePub

THE

HERALD OF PEACE,

FOR

JANUARY, FEBRUARY, AND MARCH,

1822.

UNDER a conviction, increas

[ocr errors]

ingly powerful, that the principles of Peace which we have advocated are true, and that their universal prevalence must necessarily precede the grand era of Millennial glory, we again appear before our friends and the public. Although it has been deemed expedient to pursue our labours in future under a Quarterly, instead of a Monthly form, yet we trust this change will not lessen the benefits to others which we are desirous of producing; and we can assure our readers, that it is with great and sincere pleasure we desire to resume the silver trumpet of Peace, and to proclaim anew the glad tidings of great joy, which are eventually to extend to all the race of mankind.

In some parts of America, where the principles of Peace are widely circulating, the ministers of the Gospel, in their corporate as well as individual capacity, have stood forth as strenuous supporters of the cause of Peace. An enquiry respecting the most effectual means for diffusing abroad the love of Christ, has formed a part of their deliberations when assembled in convocation, and they have laboured to prepare the way for that acceptable year of the Lord, when the Saviour of mankind shall sway his benign sceptre over all the nations of the world.

VOL. I, NEW SERIES,

In our Number for May 1820, we invited the ministers of Christ, generally, to the consideration of this subject. And most happy should we feel if all who fill the sacred office, were the avowed champions of permanent and universal Peace, to the exclusion of every kind of war. As yet, however, very few from among the preachers of the Gospel are to be found in our ranks. This backwardness, we believe, arises in most cases from the fact, that the subject of Peace has not hitherto obtained their serious attention; otherwise we cannot but think that, versed as they are in the knowledge of the New Testament, they would have felt alive to the great duty of bearing a frequent, and a decided testimony against all war. That this investigation has not been entered upon by them can excite no surprise, when we consider how many centuries have passed, not only without the absolutely pacific nature of Christianity being clearly understood, but during which a spirit of ambition, covet ousness, and revenge, issuing in awful and bloody warfare, has continually actuated governments, nations, and individuals professing the religion of the Lamb of God!

To you then, O ye servants of God, and ministers of the Gospel! do we again address ourselves, believing,

B

[ocr errors]

that as labourers for the universal diffusion of Christianity, as those who pray that the kingdom of God may come, and his will be done on earth as it is in heaven, you cannot be indifferent to the cultivation of a spirit which emanated from the mind of Christ, and which was forcibly and beautifully illustrated by his example.

In the name therefore of him, who is emphatically styled the Prince of Peace, we earnestly and affectionately-nay more, we solemnly entreat your close attention to a subject upon which we are persuaded the prosperity and joy of the Christian church, as well as the happiness of the world, materially depend; a subject, to which it will ever be our delightful employment continually to advert, and which we are anxious should receive the attention and the best efforts of all good men.

It is not our intention, at present, to enter into the arguments upon which our views of the extent and obligations of the Christian spirit are founded. For these we refer to the Tracts of the Peace Society, and to the pages of the Herald where the doctrine of absolute and universal Peace has been viewed in all its bearings. We now only wish to urge upon you the great and indispensable duty of examining for yourselves, and of ascertaining whether it be a topic deserving of those high regards we bestow upon it, or whether we are ourselves deceived by ingenious fancies and wild chimeras.

If however those views of Peace, for which we contend, are clearly scriptural, and really of that moment which we believe they are-if the numerous and dreadful contests be

tween Christian nations would have been prevented, had these always prevailed as an essential part of Christianity-if, even now, the diligent promulgation of these doctrines is calculated to preserve the nations of Christendom from future wars, how imperative is the duty, and how delightful will you find the employment, of promoting by your talents and influence, a genuine spirit of brotherly love! Thus contributing your efforts towards the future peace of your country and the tranquillity of the world!

The station which you occupy is one of considerable influence, and high responsibility: and we hesitate not to advance our belief that, if all the ministers of Christ, of different denominations, throughout Europe, were to distinguish themselves as the zealous advocates of Peace, wars would actually cease in this our favoured portion of the globe! Who, indeed, can doubt that the blessing of God would accompany and give efficacy to their mild and dignified interference, if, in the prospect of any dissensions among the nations, they were to stand forward and say, "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you' by us, we pray you in Christ's stead be ye reconciled" to each other.

Fifth Annual Report of the Society for the Promotion of Permanent and Universal Peace.

ANOTHER year has elapsed, and the Committee of the Peace Society. are again called upon to report the progress of their attempts to fulfil the trust reposed in them. This they do with confidence; a confidence not arising from any brilliant results produced by their labours; these may

be easily overlooked by the careless observer, and even not much arrest the attention of some who are watch

ing the progress of public institutions towards the amelioration of the moral and social condition of the human family. Their confidence is founded on the rock of Christian principle, that cannot be shaken, by opposition, by discouraging events, by the scepticism of the well-meaning, but short-sighted, who appear, at least with respect to the important principle of our Society, to lose their hold of that faith which overcomes the world-of that faith in the Divine promises which induces to a steady perseverance in the path of Christian duty, regardless alike of the opposition or of the scoffs of the world.

When we look around, and view the progress of moral and religious institutions extending their influence to the most remote parts of the earth, can we take such a survey and not see the finger of God? Let us, then, be encouraged not to relax in our endeavours to complete the Christian character of these laudable efforts towards the instruction of the rising generation-the propagation of the gospel through the wide distribution of the Sacred Volume, the extermination of the gross superstitions and bloody rites of the heathen, and give full effect to the benevolent, the pious labours of our Christian brethren, by purifying the Christian profession from the most sanguinary, the most destructive, the most demoralizing practice that ever prevailed in ancient or modern times.*

* It is an interesting fact, that in some instances where the divine precepts of the Gospel have been suffered, undebased by our civilized and learned sophisms, to produce their genuine fruit among the untutored heathen in remote and isolated situations, and in ignorance of the inconsistency of our conduct with the Christian moral code, the result has been a relinquishment of war; and the hatred of contending Chiefs having been converted into the bonds of Christian brotherhood, they have "met together in the same tent, and united in singing praises to the God of Peace."

66

For

It is a serious and important consideration, that till the Christian world can, by the adoption of the pacific principle, bring their profession to the touchstone of their divine Legislator, By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another"-at every step they take, every effort they make towards propagating the Gospel, they will move as men in fetters, and find themselves impeded in their progress in the dissemination of the pure principles of Christianity, and towards the fulfilment of prophecy. upon the consistency of their missionary and other labours with the word of prophecy, they must depend for the fulness of the divine blessing on their efforts; and then, but not till then, will be verified that prophetic declaration," they shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." It is therefore a duty we owe to our Christian brethren to assist them to extricate themselves from those shackles, which, unless thrown off, will prevent that grand desideratum towards which all their and our labours ought to tend, the establishment of Christ's Kingdom on the earth.

Your Committee, impressed with the importance of disseminating the principles of peace in other countries, as well as in Great Britain, have, during the last year, been actively engaged in endeavouring to extend their operations to the continent of Europe. To effect this object, they have adopted measures to establish a correspondence with persons abroad; a Circular has consequently been printed in English, French, and Spanish, and sent abroad for distri

bution. Several of our Tracts have been conveyed to France, Italy and Spain. A Society favourable to the cause of Peace has been at length established at PARIS, under the sancA tion of the French Government. Prospectus published by that Society,

developing their views, will be found in the Appendix No. I.; also the substance of a Letter from our Foreign Secretary, Mr. Bowring, giving an account of his attendance at a meeting of the new Society at Paris, to establish a correspondence with our Society. Your Committee have just received a letter from a gentleman in an official situation at Gibraltar, who offers to be the Society's Correspondent at that place, which promises to afford considerable facilities for introducing into Spain the pacific principles of the Gospel: for the substance of the above letter, see Appendix, No. II.

No new Tract has been added to those previously published, since last year; but the Committee hope before the close of another year to announce an increase to the number of these. A Compendium of the Tracts has been drawn up for translation into the French Language, for the use of France. A new Edition of No. 1, and an Edition of No 3, in Spanish, and the Fourth Report, have been printed; which, with the Circulars, make in all 12,250, comprising a total of 219,250, that have been printed since the formation of the Society. The sales and distributions this year have been about 22,600the amount of Subscriptions and Donations received this year is 4031.2s.1d. as adjusted to Midsummer last, and above 300 new Subscribers have been reported since last year. New Auxiliaries have been established at Gloucester and Nailsworth, and there is a prospect of one being established in the Isle of Guernsey. Your Committee give the following extract from a letter of the Secretary at Nailsworth, as containing an example worthy to be followed, particularly in districts more populous than affluent. "We have fixed the sum which constitutes a member at 5s. per annum, and 17. donation, from an apprehension that we should thereby excite a more general interest than if the amount was larger;

[merged small][ocr errors]

The accounts your Committee have received from their country Correspondents and from the several Auxiliaries, confirm their former conviction, that the holy cause in which they are engaged, however small and obscure its progress may appear for a time, will finally prevail. The following extract from the Tavistock Report proves what good may result from the smallest beginnings: "We congratulate the public on the increase that has taken place in the number of subscribers this year, which has advanced from thirty to seventy-three. In addition to this we believe we may confidently affirm, that the principles on which the institution is founded, have, by the circulation of tracts, and the indirect influence of your Society, aided by the active exertions of a Ladies' Association, instituted since our last Annual Meeting, taken a deeper root, and been more widely diffused in this neighbourhood than in any former year." Your Committee would call the attention of the other Auxiliaries to the establishment of Ladies' Associations, where it can be done with advantage.

In their Second and Third Reports your Committee announced and recommended a periodical Work, entitled, The Herald of Peace, a publication which forms a suitable medium for conveying to the Subscribers interesting information derived from original correspondence, as well as from the several Reports of the Peace Societies and their Auxiliaries. They have therefore endeavoured to extend its circulation to such Subscribers whose situation might preclude them from a sight of the Work, by sending it to their respective Auxiliary Societies and Country Correspondents for circulation. It is now proposed to commence a new series of this

work in a quarterly form. As this Publication contains a great variety of matter that interests whilst it instructs, and is made to bear more or less on the leading object of the Society, their friends are strongly recommended to promote its sale and circulation.

Your Commitee keep up a friendly correspondence with their coadjutors on the AMERICAN CONTINENT: they have just received a letter from Rhode Island, which, speaking of the Peace Society established there, says, "The cause of Peace progresses gradually every year, and we frequently hear of persons, who were opposed to the establishment of Peace Societies, becoming members of these Institutions, and actively engaged in disseminating the principles which they once destroyed." Could information be received more animating to a zealous discharge of our Christian duty of instilling into the minds of men the love of God and of our neighbour? In a letter just arrived from New-York is the following important information. "Several more Societies in distant parts of the country have been formed within the past year; and the pacific doctrines and spirit of Christianity are most evidently extending among thousands who do not belong to the Peace Societies. The subject is, to a great extent, very plainly and correctly treated from the pulpits of different denominations." The Third Annual Report of the Peace Society at NewYork, the Fifth from that of Massachusetts, and the Fourth from that of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, have been received; they confirm the above account of the progress of the cause of Peace on the American Continent: that from NewYork says, "Since our last Anniversary the number of subscribers to the Society have been considerably increased." That from Massachusetts says, "Since the Society was formed it has increased in a ratio greater than that of doubling its number annually." For

extracts from these several Reports, see the Appendix No. III.

Such have been the labours of your Committee, and such is the encouraging prospect of the extension of the Christian principle of Love and Peace. But it would be in vain, neither do they wish, to flatter your hopes beyond what experience will justify, by concealing from you the opposition we have and must be prepared to encounter, not only from open, avowed enemies, from the interested and thoughtless, but even from those who affect to deprecate the enormities of war. As we must therefore be prepared for a long and protracted conflict with the satellites of War, it is necessary that we should be deeply impressed with the importance and magnitude of the object for which we contend. If we take a retrospective view of that monstrous evil, the Slave Trade; though a single Act of the British Legislature was sufficient to affix the indelible stamp of crime upon that traffic which had been carried on as though it were "just, necessary, and honourable;" yet it did not receive this mark of deserved infamy till after many years of patient and persevering struggle, during which period there were seasons when the movements of that band of friends of humanity, who were united in determined opposition to that traffic, appeared to be retrograde, and their attempt altogether hopeless : SO powerful was the opposition raised by the partial interests implicated in that nefarious trade, to the plainest, and most obvious principles of justice and humanity. How much more gigantic, how much more, destructive, is the Moloch of War-how much more multifarious and complicated are the interests by which it is upheld! In their various ramifications we see even the moral, the devout, the pious, vindicating, or at least conniving at a custom which in its effects involves conduct the most flagitious-deeds the most ab

« PrécédentContinuer »