A Century Of War And Its Lesson. -- By: Samuel Osgood
BSac 35:137 (Jan 1878) p. 93
A Century Of War And Its Lesson.
Grateful as was our last years’ review of the first century of our national life, and hopeful as was our anticipation of the new century now opening upon us, it is plain that we do not yet belong to the happy family of nations that shall not learn war any more.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God,” we are all ready to say; but these words of our Lord in his Sermon on the Mount come to us with the rising blessing of ages to deepen their rebuke of the present warfare of nations. Between men as individuals, and in social, literary, commercial, and religious relations there has been a constant and memorable progress in good neighborhood. The civilized world now has very much the same music which is the voice of sentiment, and the same arithmetic which is the tongue of trade; it employs the same engine to carry its freight and passengers, and the same lightning to carry its news; and it is getting to read the same books, to wear the same clothes, to like the same dishes, and to have very much the same code of polite manners; perhaps even to enjoy the same great moralists and preachers. Men, as mankind, have gained wonderfully in peace, and they who fight each other with fists or weapons are branded as ruffians and locked up as criminals. But the nations, what are they doing for peace? Alas, anything but peacemaking; and never was what they call their peace footing so warlike as now. It is best for us to treat the subject for ourselves, and from our own point of view, as we cannot be everybody, and look out for everything. We are American Christians, just at the close of the first century of our nation,
BSac 35:137 (Jan 1878) p. 94
and trying to make up our mind and purpose as to the new century now opening before us. Let us ask what we are to think of the war-making of the last hundred years, and what we are to do for the peacemaking of the hundred years to come.
I. What a time among the nations that century has been— the hundred years from 1776 to 1876! The new life was stirring in the Old World and the New at the outset, and there was a vague and restless Reeling .abroad among the people that startling changes were at hand. Voltaire led the protest against the old despotism among scholars and nobles, whilst Rousseau was stirring among the plainer people the great crusade for nature and man against Artifice and tyranny—marvellous prophet as he was of the new literature and society. Kings caught the contagion; and Frederick the Great of Prussia was, ambitious with his, pen as; his sword, the disciple, and the rival of Voltaire, the admirer of Washington, and the helper of Franklin and Adams in international law; whilst Joseph II.,...
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