And we must fight for peace

This point has so much interest to our generation that it demands a separate consideration. We have always seen a world at war, and even now it is very incompletely pacified. Dissensions, quarrels, contendings, and even wars are not likely soon to cease. And, as a matter of fact, no one will venture to argue---even after these thousands of years of wrong---that we are yet within sight of the time when all quarrels [international, national, domestic, or social] shall be at an end, when the law-courts shall be abolished, and when they shall not 'learn war' no more. Yet force is not the supreme law of Christ's kingdom, and material war---war on the physical plane---is contrary to the spirit of His rule. The testimony of His warriors, the inscription on their banner, will always be 'The love of Christ constraineth,' not 'the sword of the Lord and of Gideon.'

All war is a filthy business. I utterly and entirely dissent from the view that there is something essentially uplifting in war as war. Every normal human being must dread, loathe, and detest war, for if it reveals some things that savor of heaven it reveals more that reek of hell. See what the glorification of war has done for any nation. It is only a matter of history. For as sure as you get a nation mastered by the monster of militarism, a nation in which everything else in administration is subordinated to militaristic ideals, you get a Government without sentiment, without humanity, without respect for the ordinary obligations of truth and honor.

If we want to fight for God we have to fight war. We are not expected to fall upon the neck of every person we meet, or to proclaim ourselves bosom friends at the first sight of every acquaintance. We are not asked to believe that we have no enemies. But we can repress hostile feelings by definite goodwill. Unless we have utterly given place to the devil, we must wish everyone well, even when they have done us wrong; for repentance can come to those who have injured us only when they have become better persons. This goodwill, as a persistent orientation of soul, is a creative sentiment, and it means sweetening our own hearts as well as sweetening others. We who want to end war need to ask ourselves whether in our personal relationships we act as a unifying or disintegrating force; whether we have the effect of making friends or multiplying enemies. We ought to be concerned about any misunderstanding, rupture of intimacy, or drift towards hostility as a thing at all costs to be avoided, because it cuts us off from that mediated communion with God which is the foundation of all health of soul.

We must go on fighting when we have won peace.---This sounds a little paradoxical, but it is not. We are to stop war between nations: but we can never stop fighting. A battlefield is the scene of deeds of self-sacrifice so transcendent, and at the same time so dramatic, that, in spite of all its horrors and crimes, it awakens the most passionate moral enthusiasm. Is there no other way of arousing this moral enthusiasm, no other way of evoking to the same degree the spirit of self-sacrifice? Yes, if civilization as a whole could rise to the moral level requisite for it. The one great thing which modern civilization has yet to do is to find a moral substitute for war, an incentive to action that would bring out the grandest qualities of human nature without the accompaniment of slaughter and the suffering and anguish that follow in its train.

We want a trained and disciplined people; a muscular, full-blooded, and courageous people; a people that can use its weapons and aim straight. But---and here the whole question comes---are the only weapons guns and bayonets? When we are taught to aim straight, shall the only target be the bodies of our fellow-men? Are not the digging implement and plough as good for human handling as sword and gun? Aim skillfully with them at God's good earth, and the results, in turning wildernesses into fruitful fields, are surely as good as the maiming of limbs and the beating out of brains! Does not Nature offer us a field for all our courage and all our skill? To tunnel her mountains, drain her swamps, combat her diseases, explore her unknown territories; to become masters of her sea and land, of her heights above and depths beneath; to wring from her those jealously guarded secrets which, once disclosed, will make man as what God wills---is there not enough in this warfare to call our all the strength and daring there is in us?

Instead of the conscripts of slaughter let us have the conscripts of industry, the conscripts of human development. The militarists are right in demanding national organization, a training system which lets no individual escape. But let us have the right training and for the right objects. In previous ages man has been marvelously industrious and marvelously brave in the business of making his brother man miserable. We want now all that industry and all that courage in making him happy. After his ages of madness let him begin his period of sanity. After placing his valor, his civilization, his religion so long at the devil's service, let him, for a change, place these crowns at the feet of Jesus.

In Christ, timothy. maranatha