Originally published in Lard’s Quarterly; April 1866. For previous parts, read here:
Moses Lard: “Should Christians Go To War?” (Part 1 of 11)
The Absolute Character of War (Part 2 of 11)
War Defined and Examined (Part 3 of 11)
War Cannot Be Right When Its Cause Is Wrong (Part 4 of 11)
War Is Not of the Kingdom of Christ (Part 5 of 11)
The Will of God is Wholly Against War
My third argument will be based on the prayer which the Christian is taught by his Savior to make to the heavenly Father: namely, “Thy will be done on earth as in heaven.”
According to this, the profound and the expressed wish and desire of every Christian’s heart is to be, that the will of God may be done on earth as in heaven. This, moreover, is to be, not his occasional, but his constant prayer. Of course, then, while making it, he must do nothing inconsistent with it, or in any way calculated to defeat it. If now the will of God were today as perfectly done on earth as it is in heaven, does there live a Christian who believes that we should ever have another war? Surely not. But why? Because it is the instinctive feeling of every pious heart that the will of God is not only against war, but that were it done on earth as it is in heaven all war would cease, and peace would reign universally. In proof of the correctness of this feeling, we know that a time comes when the will of God will be done on earth as perfectly as it is in heaven; and that then there will be no war, but universal and perpetual peace. And this state of peace will be the immediate effect of the complete prevalence of the will of God. The inference, then, is just, that the will of God is wholly against war and inducive only of peace. This will the Christian is to do as far as in him lies; and no power or other will can legitimately interpose to interfere with his act, prevent it, or prescribe another. He is wholly and supremely bound to the will of God, and nothing, save that will itself, can release him from it, that he may do other acts than those prescribed in it. Certainly, then, he cannot be released to do acts contrary to it. Now, unless God has so far released the Christian from his will that he may go to war, which is an act contrary to his will, then is the Christian bound to refrain, and not to go to war. Has God, then, so far released him? I solemnly deny it; and from him who affirms is demand the most indubitable proof. God has certainly not in so many words released him. If, then, he has released him at all, it is by necessary implication. Is there a passage containing it? If so, we shall leave with the advocate of war the task of producing it. Our denial stands firm.
But to this is may be replied, that it was once, as in the days of Saul, the will of God that men should go to war, and that he actually commanded it; and further, that, since he is unchanging, it must still be his will. Here I must again remind the reader of the question at issue. It is not what may be the will of God be respecting men of the world – men who are not Christians. With this question I have nothing to do. It may, for aught I know, be God’s will, not that war should exist, but that, since nations will grow corrupt and go to war, one nation should thus become the scourge of another. He may avail himself of war to chasten; but this does not prove war right. It only proves that God will sometimes use human wrong as a rod of correction. But the question is, not what God permitted or commanded in the days of Saul, but what he commands or permits now under the reign of his Son. And as to his not changing, this is granted; but it does not therefore follow that he never changes the laws which men are to obey, or the principles by which they are to be governed. This he does. Hence, from the fact that it was once his will that Saul and others should go to war, it does not result that Christians may go to war.
Continue reading to Moses Lard’s fourth argument here:
It Is Wrong To Take The Sword (Moses Lard on War; Part 7 of 11)
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