“Does Christianity Justify It?” American Sentinel 13, 17, pp. 257, 258.

IT has been decided by the United States Government that present circumstances relating to the condition of Cuba justifies war with Spain; and in this decision it has the support of the professedly Christian churches. Does Christianity justify this conclusion to which the churches have come?

Turning to the Text-book of Christianity, we find that, from the Christian standpoint, war was not justifiable when its object was to save the life of Jesus Christ. Is it then justifiable from the Christian standpoint now?

Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsemane on that memorable night, was surrounded by a mob who were bent on taking his life. They were determined to crucify the Son of God. Peter, realizing their purpose, drew a sword to defend the Saviour, and “smote a servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear.” Immediately Jesus [258] said to Peter, “Put up again thy sword into his sheath;” and touching the wound made by Peter’s sword, he healed it.

The Author of Christianity therefore plainly declared that such circumstances as had come upon Him and his disciples did not justify a resort to the sword. But if those circumstances did not justify it, what circumstances do?

It may be said that it was necessary that Jesus Christ should die for the salvation of the world. This is true; but God did not ordain that he should be betrayed and crucified. This was the work of wicked men—men whom the Christian church regards as the most guilty of their race. But to prevent this terrible deed,—the crucifixion of One who not only was the most innocent of all persons on the earth, but was Son of the infinite God—a resort to arms was not justifiable.

A few hours later, standing before Pilate, Jesus said to him: “If my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight.” He did not say, If circumstances were different, then would my servants fight. If some greater crime than my death were perpetrated, then would my servants fight. He did not say this. The reason his servants would not fight was because his kingdom was not of this world. Because that was so, fighting by his servants was not justifiable; and until his kingdom is of this world, the same reason must hold good. But Christ’s kingdom is no more of this world to-day than it was then.

Peter, drawing the sword as a servant of Jesus Christ, is a figure worthy of note. Peter was an ardent disciple of Christ, a prominent member of the littler band of Christians, but—he was not converted. Jesus told him, that same evening, that he was not converted: and the cock-crowing hour of the same night, brought ample confirmation of his words.

After his conversion, Peter never resorted to the sword. But standing there, sword in hand, bent upon its forcible use in the interests of Christianity, he well prefigured that class who, while professedly ardent servants of the Son of God, are nevertheless not sufficiently converted to have comprehended the truth that his kingdom is not of this world.

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