"There is no peace to the wicked saith God." [Isa. 57:21 cp. 48:22]
The allegorical signification of the sentence became the plan of "the foundation of the world," [Matt. 13:35; 25:34; Luke 11:50; John 17:24; Eph. 1:4; Heb. 4:3; 9:26; 1 Peter 1:20; Rev. 13:8; 17:8; the word for "world" in all these passages is "kosmos"] under the altered circumstances which sin had introduced. It constitutes the earth the arena of a terrible strife between two hostile powers, which was not to terminate until His law gained the ascendancy over the sin of the world and but one Sovereign will be obeyed by the sons of men. The enmity He put between these parties was not a mere unfriendly verbal disputation, but one which reeked of blood. It began with the dispute which caused Abel to lose his life, and has continued unto this day. For nearly 6000 years has this enmity made the earth a field of blood, and yet the war is not ended. The sin-power still lords it over the world, and is marshalling its forces for a last decisive blow. The "powers that be" [Rom. 13:1] have laid
low the saints of God in all the countries of their dominion; they have bruised them in the heel; and are now taking up their positions, and preparing themselves to arbitrate their relative and future destiny by the sword. They have forgotten, or are indifferent to, the enormities of the past. They know not that the righteous blood they have shed upon the earth cries loudly for vengeance in the ears of God. Truth, justice, and equity, their souls hate; and all that they propose is to destroy the liberty and happiness of mankind, and to make eternal their own vicious and hateful rule. But God is as just as He is full of goodness, mercy, and truth. "The death of His saints is precious in the sight of the Lord," [Psa. 116:15] and He will not permit them to go unavenged. The "powers that be" [Rom. 13:1] can therefore no more perpetually exist than convicted robbers and murderers can escape the punishment due to their crimes. The law of retribution to which God has assigned the adjudication of their punishment, says, "Give them blood to drink, for they are deserving; because they have shed the blood of saints and prophets" (Rev. 16:6): "Reward them even as they have rewarded you, and double unto them double according to their works; in the cup which they have filled fill to them double" (Rev. 18:6).
But, though the Scriptures of truth are so explicit with respect to the blasphemous and felonious character of the governments of the world; though they denounce the judgments of war, pestilence, and famine upon the nations subject to them; though they declare that the wicked are the Lord's sword to execute His judgments upon one another; though they most emphatically and solemnly aver, that God says "there shall be no peace to the wicked" (Isaiah 57:21); and though men see, and profess to deplore, the whoredoms and witchcrafts of the Roman Jezebel, and the enormities of the cruel tyrants who pour out her victims' blood like water to uphold her: notwithstanding all this, there are multitudes of people who pretend to take the Bible as the rule of their faith; who claim to be "pious," and class themselves among the saints of the Lord: I say, men of these pretensions, headed by political and spiritual guides, are clamoring for the abolition of war, and the settlement of all international differences by arbitration! Such persons may be very benevolent, or very covetous; but they are certainly not very wise. Their outcry about "peace" evinces their ignorance of the nature of "sinful flesh," [Rom. 8:3] and of the testimony of God; or, if cognizant of them, their infidelity, and shallowness of mind. Before peace can be
established in the world, "the enmity" [Eph. 2:15-16; cp Gen. 3:15] which God has put between good and evil, in word and deed, must be abolished. Peace is to be deprecated as a calamity by the faithful, so long as the Roman Jezebel and her paramours are found among the living. "What peace, so long as her whoredoms and witchcrafts are so many" (2 Kings 9:22)? Will they destroy the divisions among powers and people, which God's truth is ever calculated to make where it is received in whole or part? Arbitration indeed? And who are to be the arbitrators? The popes, cardinals, priests, emperors, and kings of nations? Can justice, integrity, and good faith proceed from such reprobates? Do the Quakers, and financial, or acquisitive reformers imagine, that a righteous arbitration could emanate from them upon any question in which the interest of nations as opposed to their's were concerned? Really, the conceit of pious infidelity is egregiously presumptuous. If this peace-mania be a specimen of "the light within," [Luke 11:35 (John 11:10)] alas! how great is the darkness [Matt. 6:23] of that place which professes to be enlightened by it.
But the most absurd thing imaginable is that the arbitrationists profess to advocate peace upon Scriptural grounds! Because one of the titles of the Lord is "the Prince of Peace," [Isa. 9:6] they argue that war is displeasing to God; and that, Jesus came to establish peace as the result of preaching. But war is not displeasing to God any more than a rod is displeasing to him that uses it for correction. God instituted war when He put enmity between the serpent and the woman. It is a divine institution for the punishment of the transgressors of His law; and a most beneficent one too: for all the little liberty the world enjoys is attributable to the controversy of the tongue, the pen, and the sword. What would have been the fate of the thirteen trans-atlantic Colonies, if they had been left to the arbitrative justice of George the third's contemporaries? The heel of spiritual tyranny, backed by the civil power, would have trampled upon them to this moment, as it does upon the rights of the Quakers here at this day. The weak who contend for liberty and truth have everything to dread from arbitration. With sword in hand, they may extort justice from the strong; but, if under the necessity of expecting it at the conscience and tender mercies of "the powers that be," [Rom. 13:1] the award will be a mockery of justice, and an insult to the sufferings of the oppressed.
Yea, verily, the Lord Jesus is "the Prince of Peace;" [Isa. 9:6] and therefore, no peace society can give peace to the world. It is He alone,
who can establish "peace on earth and good will among men;" [Luke 2:14] for He only is morally fit, and potentially competent to do it. The peace of the arbitrationists is peace based upon the transgression of the divine law, and the hostility of the covenanters to the gospel of the kingdom. It is an impure peace -- peace with the serpent power reigning over the blood-stained earth. Such a peace as this avaunt! Eternal war is better for the world than such a compromise with sin. The peace Messiah brings is "first pure." [Jas. 3:17] It is a peace the result of conquest, the tranquility which succeeds the bruising of the serpent's head. It is consequent upon the establishment of God's sovereignty over the nations, by the hand of Him, whom He hath prepared to "break in pieces the oppressor" (Psalm 72:4, 7, 9, 11, 17; Rev. 11:18), and let the oppressed go free. "In His days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endures. His enemies shall lick the dust; all nations shall serve Him and call Him blessed" (Psalm 72:4, 7, 9, 11, 17; Rev. 11:18). Then shall He judge among them, and rebuke them, and speak peace to them (Zech. 9:10); "and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more" (Isaiah 2:4)
But the Father did not send Jesus with the idea of bringing about this mighty revolution among the nations by preaching the gospel; neither did He propose to effect it in the absence of His Son. When He appeared in humiliation He came to take away peace from the earth, as both His words and history prove. "Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, nay; but rather division. I am come to send fire upon the earth; and what I wish (is) that it were already kindled" (Luke 12:49, 51). "I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his nearest dearest relations. So that a man's foes shall be they of his own household" (Matt. 10:34-36). This is the way the Prince of Peace spoke when on earth. The doctrine He taught is distasteful to the natural mind, and, by the purity of its principles, and astonishing nature of its promises, excites the enmity and incredulity of the flesh. Loving sin and hating righteousness, the carnal mind becomes the enemy and persecutor of those who advocate it. The enmity on the part of the faithless is inveterate; and where they have the power, they stir up war even at the domestic hearth. If the believer will agree to be silent, or to renounce his faith, there will then be
"peace and love" [Jude 2; cf 2 Cor. 13:11] such as the world, that "loves its own," [see John 15:19] is able to afford. But the true believers are not permitted to make any compromise of the kind. They are commanded to "contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3); and so long as they do this, they may lay their account with tribulation of various kinds. There is a vast deal of this false peace and spurious charity in the protestant world. Men have become traitors to Christ, and betray Him with their lips. They say, "O how we love the Lord!" and were He here they would doubtless kiss Him; but, like Judas they have colleagued with His enemies, and are as popular with the world as its god can possibly desire.
The truth is, judging from their arguments, the peace-mongers are not so man-loving as they pretend. The cry for peace is a piece of ventriloquism emanating from the pocket. Their strongest argument against war is based upon its cost. The taxes are burdensome because of the extravagance and war-like habits of past governments. This pinches them in the iron chest, and diminishes the profits of trade, and curtails the means of indulging the lusts of their flesh, of their eyes, and the pride of life. It is well these mammon-worshippers should feel the pinch. They are the enemies of God, and oblivious of His slaughtered saints; and, therefore, richly deserving of all the punishment the recklessness of "the powers" [Matt. 24:29; Mark 13:25; Luke 21:26; Rom. 13:1; Heb. 6:5] have entailed upon the world. Those who escape the sword and the famine groan under the expense of punishing the wicked at their own cost. Thus, the punishment re-acts upon all classes. I say, these peace-criers are the enemies of God; for with all their profession of piety, they are at peace with the world, and in high esteem and friendship with it; and "whosoever," says the Scripture, "is a friend of the world is the enemy of God." [Jas. 4:4] Look at the peace congress at Paris [opened in Aug. 1849], composed of popish priests, dissenting ministers, French politicians, self-illuminati of the Quaker school, English radicals, American pietists of all colors, rationalists, infidels, &c., &c.; all in such high favor with the liberticide dynasty of France, as to be let into "Egypt and Sodom" (Rev. 11:8) without passports, or custom-house scrutiny; and to be feted by one of the state officials. In what way can the world show its friendship to the peace society more palpably; or the society its reciprocity of feeling with the most Godless and Christless portion of it? The peace society is the world's beloved friend. The world wants peace, that it may find a respite from the judgments of God for its iniquity; and that it
may enrich itself by commerce, and enjoy itself in all the good things of life. The society is the world's employee, its zealous, utopian, missionary, and therefore, individually and collectively "the enemy of God." [Jas. 4:4]
Still, even out of so impious a speculation as this peace society, "the wise who understand" (Dan. 12:10) may extract encouragement. They will discern a providence in the foundation of the Quaker sect. This unscriptural cry of "peace and safety," [1 Thess. 5:3] emanated from them. They have gained wealth in the temple of their god; and this with their friend "the world," is a sufficient guarantee of their worth and respectability. Whatever they were in the beginning, matters not; they are now the most popular of all religionists with the masses; to please whom a man must pander to their propensities. All sorts of anti-government factions colleague with the Quakers in their cry of peace; not because they love peace for its own sake, but by curtailing the resources of the state, and so necessitating the reduction of armies, they think they can the more easily supersede the existing tyrannies by a still worse one of their own, as it would doubtless prove. This unhallowed coalition proclaims its outcry to be "the world's cry." We accept it as such. It is the cry of the world, which echoes in tones of thunder in the ears of the true believers. It is a cry in the providence of God, which is a great "sign of the times;" [Matt. 16:3] announcing that "the Lord standeth at the door and knocks" (Rev. 3:20), and is about quickly and unexpectedly to appear (Rev. 16; 22:7, 20). It is the world's cry, as the cry of a woman in travail, which has been extorted by sudden and tormenting pains. It blows a trumpet in the wise and understanding ear, sounding the approach of "the day of the Lord as a thief in the night;" [1 Thess. 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10] for "so it cometh; and when they shall say, PEACE and SAFETY; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape" (1 Thess. 5:1-3). Such is the divine mission of the Quakers, and their allies the Cobdenite reformers. Not satisfied with crying peace, they cry "SAFETY" likewise. This is a peculiar feature of Cobdenism, which urges the disbandment of regiments, and the dismantling of ships, on the perverse presumption that danger there is none! Blind leaders of the blind [Matt. 15:14]. The groans of nations ascending to Heaven on every side; the kindling embers of war smoking in Rome, Vienna, and Constantinople -- and yet ye cry "peace and safety;" [1 Thess. 5:3] surely ye are incorrigibly demented, and ripe for capture and destruction.
Note: CONSTANTINOPLE-- In October 1853, "the embers" blazed up in Constantinople, and the Sultan declared war against Russia. In February, 1854, Mr. J. Sturge and other Quakers of the Bright and Cobden School were received at St. Petersburg by Czar Nicholas, who spoke peace and fought on. In March, England and France declared war against Russia. VIENNA -- In 1859 the fire blazed up in Vienna. Napoleon III picked a quarrel with Austria. "A mission of peace," in the hands of Lord Cowley, was only the prelude to the Austro-Sardinian war. ROME -- The Peace Congress of Geneva (September 1867), at which Garibaldi was present, was immediately followed by the revolution; and the Fall of the Temporal Power followed in 1870. So afterwards, when we saw the Peace Congress at the Hague (1899) followed in the same year by the war in South Africa; and still more recently, the "Peace of Munich" followed by the outbreak of the second "World War."