The War -- By: G. Frederick Wright

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 071:284 (Oct 1914)
Article: The War
Author: G. Frederick Wright

The War

Rev. G. Frederick Wright

It is of little profit to attempt to distribute praise and blame for the war which now convulses the world. In the full sense it is a judgment of God to reveal the extent to which man is in rebellion against his Maker. Only as we take a long look into the future can we justify the ways of Providence which have permitted such a catastrophe. It points to a millennium that is either far off, or that is to be ushered in, as many expect, by the personal second coming of the long-looked-for Redeemer; and it reveals the futility of all mechanical and superficial efforts to abolish war. The hearts of the people must be changed before nations can have confidence in one another. In the prophet’s description of the millennium the climax is not so much that the “wolf shall lie down with the lamb” as that “Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.” The great problem now, to take the most conspicuous cases, is to prevent Germany from envying England and England from vexing Germany.

It is futile to expect that, in the near future, self-interest will be so enlightened that it alone will prevent national misunderstandings to such an extent that wars will cease. Self-defense is the first law of nations as it is of nature. In the present instance, all parties have made themselves believe that they are fighting in self-defense. With this belief the war is thought to be no more in contravention of the New Testament than of the Old. For, according to the best authorities, the announcement of the angels at the Saviour’s birth was not a general one of “peace and good will to men,” but of “peace to men of good will.” And the great Apostle to the Gentiles could say no more than, “If it be possible, as much as in you lieth, be at peace with all men.” In the present low condition of knowledge and morality it is not possible always to live at peace with all men, and in judging nations as well as individuals great allowance should be made for “invincible ignorance.”

All civil governments rest on force. The representative of civil authority “is the minister of God, a revenger to execute

wrath upon him that doeth evil.” In forming a new state the first building to be erected is a prison. It is useless to provide a court of justice without providing at the same time a police to enforce its decisions. In a confederation of states like that of our Union, an army and navy are as necessary as a congress and a supreme court. And so, as pointed out a few months ago by our valuable contributor Mr. Raymond L. Bridgman,1 any effective world’s peace congress must have in the background t...

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