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OF WAR IN CONNECTION WITH EDUCATION.
WE have endeavored to show in a former chapter, that the great work of restoring the world to permanent and universal peace depends, in the first instance, mainly on Christians. All, who profess to be governed by the principles of the Gospel, are called upon to act decidedly in their Christian character; in other words, to consider abstinence from war in all cases, as an essential and indispensable requisite of that character. world will never be permanently at peace, until this doctrine takes effect. But at the same time we are not at liberty to neglect any rightful means whatever, which can be made subservient to this most desirable result. These means are various; but one of the most important is the gentle, but efficacious influence of education. The application of this means of promoting peace may be stated in some particulars.
I,-In the first place, something is to be done by heads of families, particularly MOTHERS. It is from them that the infant mind receives, in a great degree, not only its earliest, but its most decisive direction. And it is lamentably true, that the direction, which they have been instrumental in giving, has been too often in favor of a warlike spirit. They have probably not been aware of the unpropitious tendency of the course they have of ten pursued ; but the evil has not, on that account, been
the less real and great. They have planted the seeds and promoted the incipient growth of a military spirit by permitting the childish exultation of their little ones, on witnessing a military parade and review, to go unchecked. They have fostered this unholy spirit by allowing their children the soldierlike gratification of paper military caps, guns, feathers, swords, sashes, and all the miniature paraphernalia of war. They have put into their hands the accounts of Indian and border wars, the lives of military chieftains, military and patriotic ballads and songs, which come recommended to their youthful imaginations with the emblazonment of plates and cuts. These practices, for which mothers stand in a very high degree, if not exclusively accountable, have been almost universal; their influence is felt by almost every man of the community; and it requires no small degree both of philosophy and religion to throw it off entirely, even in the soberness of manhood and old age.
"The two first books I ever read in private, (says Robert Burns,) and which gave me more pleasure than any two books I ever read since, were the life of Hannibal and the History of Sir William Wallace. Hannibal gave my young ideas such a turn, that I used to strut in raptures up and down after the recruiting drum and bagpipe, and wish myself tall enough to be a soldier; while the story of Wallace poured a Scottish prejudice into my veins, which will boil along there, till the floodgates of life shut in eternal rest.” The unfortunate Theobald Wolf Tone, speaking of his practice in early life of attending the military reviews of the garrison at Dublin, says expressly, "I place to the splendid appearance of the troops, and the pomp and parade of military show, the untameable desire, which I have ever since had, to become a soldier."
Let parents examine this matter; and considering
wherein they have been in error, pursue a different course; endeavouring to impress the susceptible minds of their children with the evils of bitterness and strife; checking all those childish practices, which, adopted under the impulse of the principle of imitation, breathe a military spirit ; and substituting for the sanguinary narratives of human warfare the far more interesting records of kindness, of forgiveness, and of early piety. *
II,-In the SECOND place, a decidedly beneficial influence in regard to this matter can be exerted by SABBATH-SCHOOL TEACHERS. There are said to be at the present time not less than an hundred thousand instructers, and a million of sabbath school pupils in the United States. It is the duty of these instructers not only
"I lately visited, (says Mr. Ladd in one of his numerous peace publications,) a distinguished instructer of youth, who has recently been converted to the peace principles; and being of a strong and discriminating mind, he did not stop half way, but came, at once, to the conclusion, that all war is contrary to the spirit of the gospel, and has not been afraid to publish his opinion to the world. He told me, that his boys were so taken up with military notions, that he could not reason with them, and he asked me to talk to them. I took the eldest boy, aged about seven years, between my knees, and something like the following conversation ensued. love to see the soldiers?" "O, yes, I love to see the rub-a-dubs.” "Would you like to be one yourself?" "O yes." "Well, but do you know what these soldiers are for?" "No." "Why, they are learning to kill people. Those bright guns are made to kill people with, and those bright bayonets to stab them with." The boy turned pale, such a thought never before entered his head. "Do you know who killed the little babes in Bethlehem, because a wicked man told them to ?" "No." "They were soldiers. Do you know who crucified our Lord, and drove spikes through his hands and feet?" The boy was silent. They were soldiers, and soldiers would burn your house and cut down your fruit trees and kill your pa, if they were told to." Both the boys were astonished, as tears stood in their eyes. "Do you want to be a soldier ?" "No." "Do you want to see the rub-a-dubs ?" "No."
to explain the doctrines which are made known in the Scriptures, but the duties, which are there inculcated; to teach not only what they are to believe, but what they are to do. And if Sabbath school teachers will but fully inform themselves in relation to the doctrines and duties of peace, and will take the pains to impress them earnestly on the minds of their pupils, it is impossible to calculate, how great would be the beneficial results. Let them, therefore, seriously consider the responsibility, which is attached to them in this respect. They must become peace-men themselves; they must imbibe the true spirit of the Gospel in relation to contentions of every kind; otherwise their instructions in respect to this subject will come with an uncertain and feeble aspect, and will do but little good. And while they endeavour to explain to their pupils, that the Gospel is a revelation of love, that it forbids a resort to arms and every species of unkindness, they will find occasion to remark on the practical results and evils of war, and the great guilt of men in permitting its existence. And thus their pupils will grow up in the spirit of peace, and will be likely in all after life to diffuse around them the benign influence of pacific principles.
III, We may remark in the THIRD place, that the instructions of the pulpit on the Sabbath constitute one of the methods of education. It is true, we do not, in fact, often speak of the Pulpit and of preaching in this way; but it is not the less true, that we have good reasons for doing so. It is beyond all question, that the influence of the Pulpit on the intellect of the community, as well as on the heart, is exceedingly great. And certainly it cannot be denied or doubted, that the inculcation of the doctrines of peace comes within the legitimate sphere of the preacher's duties. Unless the ministers of the Gospel of peace are willing to take the lead in the discussion
and enforcement of this matter, how can it be expected, that the heads of families, Sabbath school teachers, and other private members of their churches and societies will either fully understand the subject, or deeply feel its importance. Let it not be supposed, that we overrate the influence from this source. It cannot, I think, be doubted that, on all moral and religious subjects, the most important school of education is the Sanctuary; the rostrum of ancient eloquence, the professor's chair, the Porticos of the Athenean Philosophy, the Lyceum, are thrown into the shade in comparison with this; and certainly no minister, who has imbibed in its length and breadth the spirit of the Gospel, will exclude the doctrines of peace from the list of themes, on which it is alike his duty and his privilege to expatiate.
Nor are they to be introduced incidentally and after long intervals of time, as if they were of subordinate rank, and of little value. There may indeed be other themes of more stirring interest and of more vital import to individuals, those which concern the prospects and probabilities of their own personal salvation; but it does not by any means follow from this, that the subject of peace is of small consequence, and can be safely buried in a corner or hidden under a bushel. Very far from this. Every minister is sacredly bound to study this subject; to bestow upon it his prayerful and serious attention; to realize and to impress upon his own mind its importance; to methodize it and array it in chosen forms of speech; and with great earnestness to urge it home upon the belief and hearts and consciences and practice of his hearers. With the blessing of God he must educate them, not to the purposes of violence, hostility, and blood; but to the exercise of forbearance, kindness, meekness, forgiveness, and love; nor is he to circum