Once upon a time there was a man who was alive.

Location: Hattiesburg, Mississippi, United States
St. Cuthbert and Disciples in a Boat


On War

If the existence of war always implies injustice in one at least of the parties concerned, it is also the frightful parent of crimes. It reverses, with respect to its objects, all rules of morality. It is nothing less than a temporary repeal of the principles of virtue. It is a system out of which almost all the virtues are excluded, and in which nearly all the vices are incorporated. Whatever renders human nature amiable or respectable, whatever engages love or confidence, is sacrificed at its shrine. In instructing us to consider a portion of our fellow-creatures as the proper objects of enmity, it removes, as far as they are concerned, the basis of all society, of all civilization and virtue; for the basis of these is the good-will due to every individual of the species, being a part of ourselves…

The sword, and that alone, cuts asunder the bond of consanguinity which unites man to man. As it immediately aims at the extinction of life, it is next to impossible, upon the principle that every thing may be done to him whom we have a right to kill, to set limits on military license; for, when men pass from the dominion of reason to that of force, whatever restraints are attempted to be laid on the passions will be feeble and fluctuating…. The rules of morality will not suffer us to promote the dearest interest by falsehood; the maxims of war applaud it when employed in the destruction of others. That a familiarity with such maxims must tend to harden the heart, as well as to pervert the moral sentiments, is too obvious to need illustration....

Detesting war, considered as a trade or profession, and conceiving conquerors to be the enemies of the species, it appears to me that nothing is more suitable to the office of a Christian minister, than an attempt, however feeble, to take off the colours from false greatness, and to show the deformity which its delusive splendour too often conceals. This is perhaps one of the best services religion can do to society. Nor is there any more necessary. For, dominion affording a plain and palpable distinction, and every man feeling the effects of power, however incompetent he may be to judge of wisdom and goodness, the character of a hero, there is reason to fear, will always be too dazzling. The sense of his injustice will be too often lost in the admiration of his success.

Rev. Robert Hall, Sermon On War, 1802

(Robert Hall was a British Baptist minister with whom I am not particularly familiar; I came across this passage while doing book conversation work in the archive of the museum in which I am presently employed on work-study. I thought the excerpts from his sermon on war- which has quite a few outspoken and powerful such passages- presents an interesting, if historical, Evangelical voice on the nature and morality of war, in contradistinction to many contemporary Evangelical voices.)


Blogger Steve Hayes said...

Thanks for that -- definitely worth recording!

3:36 AM  
Blogger Tripp Hudgins said...

Thanks for this. I'm going to post it on my site. I'll link here for the hat tip.

11:27 AM  

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