The Danish Peace Academy

Serious Reflections affectionatly recom-
mended to the well-disposed of every re-
ligious Denomination, particularly
those who mourn and lament on
account on the calamities which
attend us; and the insensibility
that so generally prevails
Written in the Year 1778

By Anthony Benezet

If people had never seen War kindled in countries & between neighbouring Nations, they could hardly believe that man would be so inattentive to the Dictates of Reason, the tender feeling of humanity, and the more sublime nature of the Gospel, (Matt. 5, 44) as deliberatly to engage in battle for the destruction of each other, That loaded as men are with their own fralties and miseries, they should industriously labour to increase them and contrive new ways for the ruin and slaughter of one another. They have but a short and uncertain time to live, a work of the greatest importance to perform, (Phil. 2, 12) and yet will not suffer these awful moments to pass away in peace.

“Wars”, says an Ancient Father, “are spetacles by which the devil doth cruelly sport with Mankind.” And Bishop Taylor well observes “That as contrary as cruelty is to mercy, tyrrany to charity, so is War and Bloodshed to the Meekness and Gentleness of the Christian Religion.” The Apostle James hath clearly answered the question with respect to the occation of War, (Chap. 4, 1), “From whence come wars & Fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts?” How extreme then must be that corruption which produce so desperate an effect. It is now several years since the hand of God has been lifted up in judgment, great distress and suffering have and still do attend us; multitudes of our Fellowmen have been hurried into eternity and yet the people do not appear humbled nor careful to inquire into the true cause. Sinners are chastised, and yet remain unconverted. Let us look nowhere else but in ourselves for the cause of our miseries; our sins are our greatest enemies and draw upon us all the rest. We fight against those we esteem our foes, and instead of labouring to overcome our sins, we basely yield to their temptations.

It is the sighing & supplications of the contrite hearted which God will hear, and when his anger is passed over, He will renember his former mercies. Let us, beloved Bretheren, not forget our profession as Christians; nor the blessing promised by Christ to the Peacemakers (Matt. 5, 9) but let all sincerely address our common Father for ability to pray, not for the destruction of our enemies, who are still our Bretheren, the Purchase of our blessed Redeemers' blood; but for an agreement with them. Nor in order to indulge our passion in the Gains and Delights of this vain world, and forget that we are called to be as Pilgrims and strangers in it, but that we may be more composed and better fitted for the Kingdom of God; that in the dispensation of his good pleasure he may grant us a Peace, as may prove to the consoltation of the Church, as well as the Nation, and be on earth an image of the transquillity of heaven. Our Savior enjoins us to to our Father, (Matt. 6, 10).

Ah! Why will Kings forget that they are men,
And men that they are bretheren - why delight
In human sacrifice? - Why burst the ties
Of nature, that should knit their souls together
In one soft bond of amity and love?

Father of men, was it for this
Thy breath divine, kindled within his breast
The vital flame? For this, was Thy fair Image
Stampt on his soul, with god-like lineaments?
For this, dominion given him absolute
O’er all thy works, only taht he might reign
Supreme in woe?

The 28 th day of the 1st month, 1778.

Source: Brookes, George S.: Friend Anthony Benezet, pp. 495-497.

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