The Fruit of the Spirit (Moses Lard on War; Part 10 of 11)

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 (Part 6 of 11)
It Is Wrong To Take The Sword (Moses Lard on War; Part 7 of 11)
Love Your Enemies (Moses Lard on War; Part 8 of 11)
The Golden Rule (Moses Lard on War; Part 9 of 11)

The Fruit of the Spirit

A seventh argument will be deduced from the following:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23

On reading the fruits of the Spirit, as here enumerated, it seems to me impossible for the Christian not to feel that there is the most palpable repugnance between the spirit and acts which these fruits imply and the spirit and acts of war. Opposition cannot be well conceived which would be greater. Suppose the passage read thus: The fruit of the Spirit is love, hatred, joy, grief, peace, war, and so on, – would we not be shocked with its incongruities? We should feel that it was a tissue of contradictions; and the feeling no one could pronounce unjust. Yet how could we so feel, or why should we so feel, if war be right? If war be right, there can be no antagonism between the spirit which induces it and the Spirit which yields the preceding fruits. Nor does the fact that the passage reads not as supposed in the least change its value in the case in hand. The opposition between the contents of the passage and the spirit of war still as palpably exists; not only in the terms of the passage. It exists in the facts of the case, but it is none the less real on that account.  All Christians have the Spirit; and he who has not the Spirit is not a Christian. This we hold to be irrefutable. One of the named fruits of the Spirit is peace. The opposite of peace is war. Now how can man who is under the influence of the Spirit which induces peace, yet at the same time engage in war by the sanction of that Spirit? I hold it to be an insult to the Spirit of God to so affirm. Yet short of this affirmation the advocate of war cannot stop. I shall leave him, then, to reconcile the points of opposition; for I cannot.

Again: another fruit of the Spirit is gentleness. This is a lovely trait in the character of the Christian. Now can any two conceivable things be more opposed than this gentleness and the violence of war? In not a single feature do they agree. War is the very climax of violence. It is violent in spirit, violent in action, violent in every way. Yet, if it be right for the Christian to go to war, then, in some way, must the violence of war be shown to be consistent with the gentleness of the Spirit. But this can never be done. The conclusion is obvious – Christians cannot go to war; for they cannot become men of violence.

Continue reading to the final part of Moses Lard’s article here:
On Romans 13 (Moses Lard on War; Part 11 of 11)