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OF WAR IN CONNECTION WITH THE MILLENNIUM.
THERE is one view of this subject, which has almost entirely escaped notice; but which, while it must be exceedingly interesting to every one, will perhaps on some minds make a stronger impression, than any other aspect in which it has been contemplated. It is this. all its forms is obviously inconsistent with the Millennial state.
In the first place, what do we understand by the Millennium or the millennial state of the world? We mean a state, where the principles of the Gospel will be recognized, felt, and put in practice; we mean a state, where men will sincerely worship God and will truly and ardently love each other; where there will be no contention, no jealousy, no acts of retaliation, no strife. This is the view we entertain of it; and which, if we do not misinterpret them, we are authorized to entertain by the Scriptures. In every age of the world, since the coming of Christ there has been essentially but one opinion on this subject. Amid all the trials, which the Church has passed through, amid all the thick darkness, in which she has been occasionally involved, the faith of the devoted Christian has always invincibly attached itself to this great result. He has believed, and firmly and unalterably believed, that a day of universal peace and puri
ty would at last come; a day, "when they shall not hurt nor destroy in all the holy mountain."
Beneath its trees, that spread their blooming light,
A little child doth take him by the mane,
Picture divine and emblem of that day,
When peace on earth and truth shall hold unbroken sway.
In the second place, how shall this result be secured and perpetuated? Are we to expect a new code, and a new system of methods of operation? Are we to expect a new Savior, a new Crucifixion, a new and amended edition of the New Testament? Certainly not. The doctrines of the Millennium are the doctrines of to-day; the principles of the Millennium are the very principles, which are obligatory on the men of the present generation; the bond, which will exclude all contention, and will bind together all hearts, will be nothing more nor less than the Gospel of Christ.
The Gospel is a book of principles; of great, operative, and unchangeable principles. Men condemn it, because they do not understand it; even Christians may be fairly charged with treating it with no small degree of disregard, because in their worldliness they have neglected to estimate its heights and depths. If heaven could be brought down to earth, if Europe and America and all other continents and parts of the world could, at the present moment, be peopled with angels and with seraphic natures, the Gospel, just as it stands, would be sufficient to guide and govern them. The blessed companies of the heavenly world, unlike the children of men, would
ask no higher and better code. But can we regard it as allowable, could we conceive of it as allowable, under any assignable circumstances, for an angel to retaliate upon an angel, for a seraph to exercise hostility upon a seraph, for one of these holy beings to hold in his own hands the right of extinguishing the life of another? What sort of heaven would that be, which should be characterized by the admission of such a principle? And we may ask further, what sort of a Millennium will that be, which shall be characterized, either practically or theoretically, in the same way? When men are fully restored to the favor of God, whether in heaven or earth, is there to be one code, one set of governmental principles for them, and another for other holy beings? Certainly not. In all the great matters of right and duty, the law of seraphs is the law of angels, and the law of angels is the law of men. If it is utterly and absolutely inconsistent with our conceptions of the heavenly world, that the power of life and death should be taken from the hands of Jehovah, and that angels and seraphs should have the right of extinguishing each other's existence, it is equally difficult to conceive of such a right in the Millennium. And if it will not be right for the men of the Millennium to exercise the power of life and death over each other, it is not right for them now. We have the same code of government now, which we shall have then; we have the New Testament now, and we shall have it then; and not only that, we shall understand it better and love it more. Nothing will be added to it; nothing will be taken from it. If it does not now consider human life inviolable, it never will; if it does not now proscribe all wars among the human species, it never will; the right of taking human life, if it exists now under the Christian code, will exist as a legal and authorized characteristic, (painful and even horrible, as
the mere thought is,) of the pure, blessed, and angelic state of the Millennium. On the supposition, therefore, that life will be inviolable in the Millennium, and that it will not be considered right for one man to put another to death for any possible reason, we argue that it is not right now. And this form of reasoning is applicable to any other analogous case whatever. If it will not be right to steal in the Millennium, it is not right to steal now; if it will not be right to be intemperate in the Millennium, it is not right to be intemperate now; if it will not be right to hold slaves in the Millennium, it is not right to hold slaves now; if it will not be right to take life and carry on war in the Millennium, it is not right to take life and to carry on war now. The principles, which will be acknowledged as authoritative in the Millennium, are the very principles, which are prescribed and are binding upon us at the present moment. No change in principles is required; but merely a change in practice. If the practice of men should to-morrow be conformed to the principles, which the finger of God has written on the pages of the New Testament, then tomorrow would behold the Millennium.
We delight to linger upon this subject. There is a charm in the millennial name. "Scribenti manum injicit, et quamlibet festinantem in se morari cogit." The wing of poetry flags under this great conception. Sometimes we see it under the type of a wilderness newly clothed with bud and blossom; sometimes we see it under the type of a city descending from heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; sometimes we behold it as a great temple arising out of the earth, and capacious enough to contain all nations. This temple is not built of earthly materials, that will perish with the using; but is supported on immutable columns. Every great moral and religious principle is a pillar in the mil
lennial temple. The principle of total abstinence from all intoxicating liquors is one pillar; it suddenly arose fair and beautiful, and even now is enveloped with some rays of millennial glory; the doctrine, that all slaveholding is a sin, is another pillar, standing firm, awfully grand, and immoveable; the doctrine of the absolute inviolability of human life is another; this is in a state of preparation, but it will soon ascend, and stand brightly and majestically in its place; and thus principle after principle will be established, column after column will be erected, till the spiritual house of the Lord shall be established in the tops of the mountains, and shall expand upon the eye of the beholder, far more beautiful than the Parthenon. And what then will be wanting? Only that the nations, in the language of prophecy, shall flow into it; only that the people should occupy it and rejoice in it, and this is millennial glory. But unless you have firm, unchangeable, immutable principles, it will be like a certain house, that was built upon the sand; "and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell and great was the fall of it."