« ForrigeFortsæt »
mischief they commit. The very multitude conceals the evil, as it divides the guilt, and the individual actor loses sight of his own doings. A vast multitude excited to fury, and moved by revenge, are under the influence of animal passions and evil principles, and for a while appear like a pack of wolves or bloodhounds in pursuit of their prey. Historians in their accounts of such horrible transactions are apt to overlook the secret and cool devisers of schemes of mischief, the men of thought and hardihood, but of feelings as blunt as their hearts are callous.
Public Wars present terrible developments of Demonism among
Men.—Misconception of the character of Warriors.—Ancient and modern Demonism in War described in the expressions of “ To put to the Sword,” and “To put to the Bayonet.”Analysis of the Elements employed in War.—The horrors of it covered by Poetry, Music, and Romance.—Minute description of the “Bayonet” used in the Stroke of Mercy in modern Wars.—Delusion in the Mind on the subject of War.—Practice of War.--Comparison of ancient and modern Battles.—Christianity does not sound a Trumpet, or preach a Crusade against War—but it condemns the principle of War.-Reference to the Wars of the Jews.—The Jews were under the stern necessity of fighting their way.—Erroneous opinion that the horrors and cruelties of War have been mitigated by Christianity. - Dangers of the Tartar Horse to Europe.—Waste of Intellect in Wars.-Rules of Morality reversed in War, exemplified in the Military Virtue of stealing a March on an Enemy.—Military Hospitals are the White Paint on the Sepulchre.—Happily the mass of the People of every Country in Europe are averse to War.-Great number of battles within one hundred and fifty years.—The union between Religion and War described in various Expressions.
OPEN and public war between tribes and nations is the widest and most terrible development of demonism among men, for it is a rule and maxim in wars to cause as much loss and damage to the enemy, and to mutilate, torture, and destroy as many bodies of men and animals as it is possible, by the instruments and machinery in possession of the belligerent parties. The thoughts of the generals, officers, and soldiers, and the
deliberations of councils of war, are employed, while the military operations are going on, in planning and executing schemes of entrapping the enemy within reach of destructive weapons, so as to decapitate, or to beat out the brains, or to disembowel, or to sever arms and legs, or to tear out the eyes, or to force iron or lead through the bodies of the officers and soldiers thus brought within long or short range. The bodies of flesh and bone being thus secured and destroyed, the souls that inhabited them are not cared for, and not thought of. Before we
further stop to notice an opinion and prepossession in the minds of almost all classes of persons, except the military, that it is a brave thing to be a soldier, and that all commanders, officers, soldiers, and even drummers, belong to a calling that requires great valour, and that every one who is seen in the garb and with the side-arms of a military man must partake of heroic qualities, and be akin to the race of the Nimrods and Alexanders among men. It will be found that there is a mistake in this matter; that a power that rests entirely on military force acts cowardly, by being under arms over an unarmed and harmless people. It is a strange propensity in a people under the influence of Christian civilisation, and enlightened on subjects connected with the history of man and the inferior animals, to bestow an admiration on qualities possessed by men as parts of their mere animal nature, and in which they are surpassed by the game-cock, the ram, and the bull-dog. We will challenge any grenadier or life-guards' dragoon to compete with those animals, in that physical courage and pugnacious tenacity for which soldiers, who are considered the bravest of the brave, get so much praise and so many medals.
We have in the preceding section treated of the instruments symbolical of demonism in ancient heathen people, and in modern people since the Christian era. We have shown that the expressions “to put to the cross," and " to put to the rack" are synonymous expressions for pain and torment, inflicted on individuals as punishment, by the civil power, or the ecclesiastical authority of a country. The Christian process is much more severe than the heathen one, as the rack was employed for the mind and the thoughts of the sufferer. There is no evidence, as far as we are acquainted, that the cross was used for what has been called "putting to the question:"—that is to say, the body of a man or woman being stretched on a wheel or a sliding machine, and then tortured gradually to compel the sufferer to endure the mental anguish of disclosing some secrets affecting the safety of other persons, or making some recantation and confession against his conscience in order to get relief from the intolerable bodily torment.
War has also its synonymes for the extremity of execution, which it is capable of inflicting on its victims. “To put to the sword" is the expression descriptive of that terrible act of demonism, of putting to death by indiscriminate slaughter the overpowered enemy who should refuse terms of surrender; or of levelling the defenceless inhabitants of a town or district in a general carnage. “To put to the sword " is a common and well-understood expression, applicable to ancient and modern wars; but for the present times there is a speciality in the weapon used, which imparts a more truthful and practical illustration of the ter- rible act, and “to put to the bayonet” is a description which conveys to the civilian and the soldier a precise idea of the mode of operation of military execution.
We have thus got the synonymes of “ to put to the sword” and “to put to the bayonet," for heathen and Christian military torture. The severity is again on the side of the system practised by nations professing the Christian religion, and it is in the ratio of a triangular wound to a straight cut. Men, as objective beings, have been, through their senses of seeing and hearing, and by the force of imagination, so imposed on and misled by the pomp and circumstance of war, that the subject can scarcely be treated of but as connected with poetry, music, and romance. Although modern warfare is a system which requires a practical knowledge of chemistry as applied to combustion and explosion, of mechanics, of the properties of wood and iron, of various branches of mathematical science, of surgery, of natural history for the best breed of horses and cattle, besides a knowledge of the geography and resources of countries where the war is to be carried on, it so happens that the vast masses of people, who understand nothing of its principles, regard war as a splendid spectacle exhibited in a country as a theatre. They also forget its daily vulgar labours, overlook the mangled corpses, and hear not the screams and the
lads and town artisans, torn from the plough and the factory to bleed and die abroad. It is a fact characteristic of the individuality of the mind, that a person travelling in the rear of an army, advancing after a few bloody engagements, will be more affected by the sight of a solitary creature lying writhing in agony from a dismembered body, half delirious, crying out for water, and occasionally naming his mother, than by the sight of an entire field of battle, with its thousands of dead and wounded strewed about.
Military historians narrate the transactions of a