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Observer, June 1, 71.
compare than either of them-who liveth and was dead, and is alive for evermore as the pattern and pledge of resurrection life, we have the famous two as types and representatives of the host alive when the King shouts with the voice of the archangel, and causes the trumpet to be sounded. A noble company who are alive and remain shall never see death, but be changed and glorified in a moment.
When it became thoroughly manifest, from the testimony of the old rocks, that death was in the world before sin, there was a perfect jubilee among unbelieving philosophers. A loud cry of victory, as though some ancient and pestilent superstition had been stricken with the iron into the heart, and could never rise again. But when the tumult subsided, and we quietly turned to our Bible, we began to wonder what had caused all the uproar. When our renowned Paul teaches that by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, he is not discoursing of animals from the mastodon to the beetle. He is standing in the moral world, with beings in his survey made in the image of God, and it is of men only that he declares the relation between sin and death. Man alone was a moral agent, he only had potential immortality, he only could forsake his own sphere, and in such wreck be swept from the prospect of the heavenlies to the shores of ordinary brute life, falling under all the conditions of inferior existence. G. G
(To be continued.)
CAN A CHRISTIAN BE A SOLDIER ?
Ir should be borne in mind that those who take the affirmative of this question have to prove their proposition. The position they have to maintain, as put by "Truth Seeker," is this-That Christ under certain circumstances binds his followers to engage in war; for if they are not thus bound, then, to my mind, it seems clear that they are bound not to go to war. The nature of war is such, that it cannot be a matter of indifference whether we war or not, and if it is not a matter of indifference, whether we war or not, then it is a matter of duty one way or the other. I wish that "Truth Seeker and others who seem only to beat about the bush, would take this question up in a logical manner, realizing that upon them devolves the burden of proof. That they have to show that Christ has commanded His followers to engage in war. This appears to me to be especially the duty of "Truth Seeker," since he affirms war (other than defensive) to be unlawful. Defensive war is war, the difference between which and aggressive war is only in the motive that prompts to action. In defensive war we kill human beings; in aggressive war we do the same. "An act of war is going out to subdue an enemy by force "a deliberate intention to take his life, even many lives, should the opportunity present itself. The task of "Truth Seeker" is to show that a Christian is justified in subduing an enemy by force; that he is justified in killing him and all who take part with him. In a case of this kind we are right in demanding, not an inferential proof, not an applica tion" of principles of construction to passages said to condemn defensive war," but a "thus saith the Lord;" yes, as clear a "thus saith the Lord" as we would demand should any one propose to shew that stealing under certain circumstances would be right and proper.
On page 125 of E. O. for April "Truth Seeker" remarks "I only propose to prove that war is necessary, and that it may be consistent with
Observer, June 1, '71.
the most elevated piety."
With the first part of this proposition we have at present nothing to do. Whether war is necessary or unnecessary is not now the question in dispute; but the second part places before your readers the proposition "Truth Seeker" has undertaken, according to his own words, to prove. Let us see how he proposes to do this. In the first place he commences to lay down what he terms "principles of construction," and then applies them to passages which he tells us are used to condemn war. It is not our business now to examine these so-called "principles of construction," nor, their application to the passages referred to. What we have to do, as taking the negative side of this question, is to examine the arguments presented to prove the proposition laid down. I trust "Truth Seeker" is not so illogical in his reasoning as to ask us to prove a negative. If we accept the "principles of construction and their application to the passages said to condemn defensive war, this will not form a proof that war may be consistent with the most elevated piety. Suppose we admit that in the four passages given by "Truth Seeker' there is nothing to condemn defensive war. What then? Is the proposition proved because these passages do not condemn war? Verily, no! If you blot out all the passages said to condemn war, that will not prove war to be right. War, in the abstract, is admitted even by Truth Seeker' to be unlawful for a Christian to engage in What we want is proof that what is wrong in it itself may, under certain circumstances, be lawful for a Christian to do.
On page 126 there is an argumeut given by "Truth Seeker" to this effect that because the apostles do not give in their teachings to the first disciples a direct precept (commandment) against defensive war, therefore it is right. I will undertake to find as clear and definite a precept against defensive war as "Truth Seeker," or any other student of the writings of the apostles, can produce against war in the abstract. Where can you find a direct precept against war of any kind in the teachings of the apostles? If, then, there is any truth in this argument, goes to shew what "Truth Seeker" himself declares to be unlawful, viz., that a Christian may engage in war of any kind; and the charge that he seeks to lay on the heads of those who condemn defensive war, viz., the charging of the sacred Scriptures not only with perilous omission, but with a tendency to mislead," falls on his own head with increased power and force. Again, this argument cannot be used upon this question only; but, if true, will admit of general application to all moral questions. It might be stated thus, without any violence to the way in which " Truth Seeker has used it:—whatever the apostles do not, by direct precept, condemn, is right, and consistent with the most elevated piety. With an argument like this, how many absurdities and incongruities could be maintained as right and proper for Christians to practice. Polygamy, slavery, and a host of vile iniquities are right, yea, binding upon us, if this argument be true. Polygamy and slavery were "rife in the world" when the apostles taught in the name of Christ; yet we find no direct command given by them against these evils. Why not? Because the principles upon which our holy religion is founded are directly opposed to such evils. And so it is with regard to war, aggressive or defensive. He whose advent was announced from the sky by the angelic host with, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill among men," taught principles, which if allowed their full force and power, will keep all His followers from engaging in war of any character. When the mind that was in Him is found also in us, we do not desire to kill, but to
Observer, June 1, 71.
He is the Prince of Peace,
save; for He came not to destroy, but to save. hence all His subjects are subjects of peace, not war. Upon the passage of Holy writ-" Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself," we have the following definition from the pen of" Truth Seeker :” "From these premises, it is obvious that we must adopt in all our relations of life that line of action which, in our judgment, will best promote the welfare of our fellow-men." This, he remarks, must be "admitted or denied." I have no fear in entering a denial to this definition of this passage, To love our neighbours as ourselves does not depend upon judgment, but upon knowledge. We know how we love ourselves. Then, as we love ourselves, so we must love our neighbour. Is Truth Seeker's" love for himself so small that he would not mind being killed. I trow not. To all sane persons life is dear and desired above all things, and if we show anything like the love to our neighbours (fellowmen) as we do to ourselves, swords would soon be beaten into ploughshares, and spears into pruning hooks. If our judgment had the quality lately given to that of the Pope of Rome, viz., infallibility, this definition of loving our neighbours might do; but, unfortunately, there is such a thing, even among Christians, as a perverted and warped judgment. Can we not all look back upon many things which years ago we thought right, but now we know to be just the opposite. A thing is right or wrong, notwithstanding the judgment we may form upon it. If to love our neighbours as ourselves is to " adopt in all our relations of life that line of conduct which in our judgment will best promote the welfare of our fellowmen," then all those who took part in the dark deeds of St. Bartholomew's night were loving their neighbours, yea! and all those who tortured poor victims on the rack, at the stake, and in the Inquisition have done the same; for there can be no doubt but what they did all these things, and many more, to save, if possible, their fellow-men from what in their judgment was a damnable heresy. The reasoning of "Truth Seeker upon this definition I regard as dangerous in the extreme. If, says he, you form a judgment, in case of aggression, that a defensive war would best promote the welfare of others, then you must up and kill with a right good will. If this is sound reasoning, then it follows that any half-dozen of fanatics might meet together, and consider whether it would not promote the happiness of their fellow-men to put out of existence some few persons who, in their judgment, stand in the way and prevent the prosperity of the community. Imagine a band of such persons going forth on a mission of this kind, and being interrogated as to the cause of their deeds of blood, replying, We are "loving our neighbours as ourselves." It seems clear to my mind (whether "Truth Seeker" intended it I will not venture to say) that his teaching upon this important passage involves that most pernicious principle" of doing evil that good may come." If defensive war cannot be maintained without coming under the operation of this evil principle, then the question is for ever settled. It was, and still should be a scandal for any Christian to be charged with doing this.
"Truth Seeker" thinks condemnation of defensive war involves absurdity." I fail to see any absurdity in condemning war of any kind, and until he can bring forward evidence to show that the word of God pronounces aggressive war wrong, but defensive war right, I feel sure that the great bulk of the readers of the E.O. will do the same. Is there no absurdity in a man professing the name of Christ, reasoning as though no God ruled above, talking of twenty men over-running a country. Are
Observer, June 1, 71.
not "the very hairs of the Christian's head all numbered," and by his God princes rule and kings decree judgment." "The fool hath said in his heart there is no God," but the Christian remembers His promise— "All things work together for good to those who love Him." If enemies threaten, he will remember Gideon and his band, who, without sword or spear, gained a great victory, and the mighty deliverance of Jerusalem when surrounded by one hundred and eighty thousand of the army of Sennacherib.
"Like the leaves of the forest when summer is green,
And with David he will say "Some trust in chariots, and some trust in horses, but we will remember the name of the Lord our God." W. C.
WAR is always bad, but not always bad on both sides. Hence a Christian can be a soldier.
All war may have its origin and spring in lawlessness, but all war is not therefore unlawful to all whom we may perceive engaged in it. It must never be lost sight of that all war requires two sides to fight it out, and that although sometimes both sides are in the wrong, that is by no means the case always. The lawfulness or unlawfulness of a war very often depends upon the side from which you look at it. It is very wrong for the thief to be at war with society, but it is quite right for society to be at war with the thief. See, here are a thief and a policeman fighting; is that unlawful? Yes, on the one side, but not on the other. Can a Christian be that thief? I need not answer. Can a Christian be that policeman? Yes, I wish that all who enter the force were Christians. I am sure life and property would be all the safer.
Paul says that the powers that be are ordained of God; further that the ruler beareth not the sword in vain; and further that he is a revenger to execute wrath. All this is surely clear enough. If it means that it is right to have a secular government; that it is right for that secular government to have an army; and that it is right for that army to use the sword against, and rain shot and shell upon, all disturbers of the peace, I conclude that it is right for any man, be he Christian or Pagan, to serve in that army. Nay, I wish that all who serve in the army were Christians. I quite differ from our brave brother who thinks that all Christians should shy off and leave the Queen to be defended by the faithfulness of unbelievers.
But although the powers that be are ordained of God, all that they do is not ordained of God. In general I must obey magistrates, but if they set up an idol and order me to fall down and worship it, I must not obey but rather be cast into a burning fiery furnace. So, if I enter the army, I reserve my rights of conscience in common with all Christians in any service. I am not bound therefore to take part in any war the government may choose to declare. I will take care to be always on the right side, and allow myself to be shot rather than take the wrong.
Observer, June 1, '71
AN HONEST SECTARIAN
THE following remarks cut from the "Scotsman," of Saturday, May 6th, form part of a debate before the reverend Synod of Lothian and Tweeddale, sitting in Edinburgh,
The question before the court was the introduction of a Harmonium into the Church at Cramond.
I fear his coadjutors will not thank Dr. Wallace for defining their position so clearly as he has done. At the same time, all friends of New Testament faith and order will be pleased to have such corroboration of their view of the true sectarian platform, from the lips of one who stands so high in the place of honour as the minister of Old Grey Friars, Edinburgh.
"Mr. MACPHERSON said no one could allege that the Apostles or their immediate successors ever used instrumental music in the worship of God. According to Bellarmine, it was about the year 660 that instrumental music was introduced, and they knew that was exactly the time when the Church of Rome began to stand out arrayed in its gorgeous garments. From that time onward superstition began to increase, and as the darkness and superstition became darker, the use of musical instruments became more frequent, down to the time of the Reformation. It would not be disputed, he thought, that till within the last ten or twelve years musical instruments were unknown in the worship of the Church of Scotland.
Dr. WALLACE in reply said his friend had told them that the Church of Scotland had appealed to the Word of God and the example of the primitive Church; but he (Dr. Wallace) would have been glad had he pointed out any standard of the Church of Scotland, which showed that that Church appealed to the primitive Church as an authority.
Mr. MACPHERSON said he had never made any allusion to the Confession of Faith. Dr. WALLACE-My complaint exactly is that my friend did not refer to the Confession of Faith. That is what I am blaming him for. He comes forward and tells us what is the principle of the Church of Scotland upon this matter, and I say that the proper way to find out the principles of the Church of Scotland is to go to its authoritative documents and standards.
The MODERATOR-I heard Mr. Macpherson mention the Word of God.
Dr. WALLACE-Moderator, the Church of Scotland is founded upon the Confession of Faith, ratified by the Parliament of Scotland in the year 1690. He should dismiss all that Mr. Macpherson had said as to the primitive Church, because in the Church of Scotland they had nothing to do with the primitive Church. If he said that the Church of Scotland was to abstain from the use of the organ because the primitive Church did not use it, he must go on to say that not only in its omissions but in its perpetrations the Church of Scotland must follow the example of the primitive Church. But he would tell Mr. Macpherson why the primitive Church did not use the organ or harmonium. It was because the thing itself had not been invented They did not use it, simply because they had not got it to use. He (Dr. Wallace) did not pin his faith upon the primitive Church, but he had as much confidence in the primitive Christians as to believe that they would have had the good sense to employ the organ it they had possessed it. Mr. Macpherson might as well say that people now-a-days were not to use printed Bibles because the primitive Church did not use them, or that the ministers of the Church of Scotland should not wear Geneva gowns because the primitive Church did not wear them. The thing would not stand examination."
A REBUKE FOR BAPTISTS BY AN M.P. SIR R. PALMER, member for Richmond, in his speech on the evening of the 9th of May, while defending the unjust claims of the State Church against Mr. Miall's motion for its disestablishment, said "I recollect being engaged in a case during my professional career in which it was decided that Baptism is not indispensable among the Baptists." (Laughter.)
Surely the above is a specimen of that humiliating anomaly that exists among that class of open Communionists calling themselves Baptists. The great harbinger, John, was a Baptist only in virtue of the Baptisms