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tians, those, who profess to believe the New Testament and to receive it as their guide, that must take the lead in this matter. The world will stop, till Christians move forward; the world will assuredly continue to engage in war, till they cease to have Christian countenance; the world will ridicule all preaching against war, while Christian soldiers mingle in its ranks and Christian chaplains pray for its success. On no subject is the cry louder and more urgent, TOUCH NOT THE UNCLEAN THING. COME OUT AND BE SEPARATE.
ON EXERCISING THE OFFICE OF CHAPLAIN.
On the subject of exercising the office of military chaplain, we shall be very brief. If wars are wrong on Gospel principles, then no man can exercise the office of chaplain in an army or in any body of men assembled for military purposes, without a violation of those principles. The first inquiry is, what is a chaplain commonly expected to do? If he were merely expected to communicate biblical instruction and to labor for the personal salvation of the soldiers, with full liberty both in public and private to express his sentiments in relation to the unlawfulness and the evils of war, we are not prepared to say, that the exercise of his office would necessarily be out of the pale of Christian duty. But
this is not the expectation. A chaplain would not be tolerated in an army for a moment, who did not profess to be interested in the success of the war, however iniquitous it might be, and who would not pray for such success. He is a component part of the army, as much so as a surgeon, and is expected to identify his interests and feelings with theirs. Such is the close connection between the chaplain and the military enterprize, to which he is attached and to which he is called to minister, that undoubtedly instances might be adduced of preachers in this situation, who have publicly addressed soldiers on military as well as religious subjects, and have encouraged them with all the powers of their rhetoric in the prosecution of their sanguinary business. Now when a person accepts the office of a chaplain, he accepts it on the implied condition, that he will discharge its duties in accordance with the common practice and the common expectation. Any other supposition would be inadmissible, because it would universally be considered as implying dishonesty. If these are correct views, then we maintain that no Christian minister can, consistently with the New Testament and without sin, exercise the office in question.
FIRST, He cannot preach as he ought to do. Now it will unquestionably be conceded, that a Christian minister is bound to declare the whole counsel and revelation of God; that he is not at liberty to mutilate and to keep back anything, which is important truth. It is true he may exercise a prayerful and sound discretion in respect to the times and places, when it may be proper for him to inculcate certain doctrines; but he is not at liberty to place himself in a situation where he cannot inculcate them at all. But this the military chaplain has done. There is a portion of the Gospel, which he has virtually pledged himself not to preach; there are some things,
which he cannot announce without giving great offence to his employers; he is silent, and from his very situation must be so. If he were to preach in the presence of the soldiers from some of the texts, which have been introduced in the course of these discussions, such as "love your enemies," "dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves," "if your enemy hunger, feed him," "do good to them that hate you," he would assuredly cause great dissatisfaction. If he were to preach from them in the spirit of the Gospel, giving them their full import, and pressing their practical application, it would be likely to be received as an insult.
SECOND, He cannot pray, as he ought to. If there is any occasion,on which his prayers are peculiarly needed, it is on the eve of a battle. The soldiers throng around him, and with whatever carelessness they may have listened on other occasions, they now eagerly attend to what falls from his lips. And how does he pray? What can he pray for? Beyond all question he will find himself in such a situation, that he cannot avoid praying distinctly and earnestly for the success of the army, in which he is employed. And if he prays for success and victory, (as we cannot suppose he expects they will be secured by a miracle,) he of course prays for a blessing on the means, which are ordinarily employed at such times. In other words, he prays, that the ball may be well directed and take effect, that the bayonet may strike surely and deep, that the sword and the lance may be plunged into the vitals of the enemy, that their houses may be burnt and destroyed, that their provisions may be cut off, that they may be sent by hundreds and thousands in all the blood and agony of mortal conflict, into the pure presence of a holy God. Whether such a prayer, (and it obviously means this or nothing,) can be considered consistent with the benevo
lent principles of that Gospel, which requires us to do good to our enemies, to pray for them that despitefully use us, not to resist evil, and not to avenge ourselves, we leave to the reader to determine.
THIRD, His presence gives a countenance to all the evils, which are attendant upon war; the profaneness, the intoxication, the sabbath-breaking, the dissoluteness, that always gather in its train. These dreadful evils, as well as cruelty and bloodshed, are universally regarded as necessarily incidental to a state of war; no wars in times past have ever existed without them, nor have we any reason to expect it will be otherwise in future. It is not to be presumed, whatever may be the unfavorable tendencies of the human passions, that society would continue to tolerate the congregation of evils, direct and indirect, that are found in war, were it not for some fallacy in fact and reasoning. Men have been taught to believe, that wars are in some cases necessary, and that even the Gospel justifies them; and the presence of the chaplain in an army, praying for its success, and throwing the ennobling sanctions of religion around the field of military preparation and battle, tends to encourage and strengthen this great error. Wars, they say, must sometimes be right, otherwise the minister of the Gospel, who certainly ought to understand the principles of the religion he teaches, would not be in the midst of them, and would not sanction them by his presence. This is the effect upon men generally, upon the mass of the community.-Furthermore, we assert it with entire confidence, that, were it not for the countenance, which they receive from professed Christians in the ranks of the army and particularly from the chaplain, the soldiers themselves, hardened as they are by the tendencies of their occupation, would experience more misgivings, more doubt, more compunction of heart
in their work of destruction and blood, than they are now generally found to do. They conclude, and very naturally too, if a preacher of the Gospel, a commissioned minister of the Most High, with all his capabilities for forming a moral and religious judgment of things, approves their employment and prays for its success, it would be an excess of scrupulosity in them to entertain a doubt. And the undoubted encouragement, which they receive from this source, extends itself, in a greater or less degree, not only to the direct evils, but also to the indirect evils of war. If the chaplain approves of war, it cannot be supposed, all things considered, that he has any very serious and fundamental objection to those incidental evils of sabbath-breaking, profaneness, and the like, without which wars never have been, and never will be carried on. Especially if it should be the case, (as under the existing circumstances we imagine it will be likely to be so,) that he seldom takes an opportunity pointedly to preach against and reprove them. -We are under the necessity, therefore, of coming to the conclusion, that ministers of the Gospel cannot innoly and lawfully exercise the office of military chap
And if they should act generally in accordance this view, we have no doubt, it would tend greatly neck the spirit of war.